November 2008

Some animals are more equal than others

Archived Stop Press article

happy petshappy pets

A draft document, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, gives detailed advice to dog, cat and horse owners about looking after animals - and tells them how to avoid being prosecuted for cruelty. Environment Minster Hilary Benn said the toughened codes of practice were designed to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the law and would protect animals from cruelty. Everyone is being very sniffy about them and calls them patronising but I'm all in favour of strict rules that will facilitate strong punishments for animal cruelty. What a pity these rules do not apply to farm animals. CIWF (Compassion in World Farming) tells us all about the horrors that our farm animals experience. UK farm animals have better treatment than many other animals in Europe and other countries but it would still be the sign of a civilised society if the standards applied to our pets could be similar for our farm animals. We could outlaw factory farming and treat all our animals as sentient beings.

Jacqui Smith can't wait..

..neither can the hackers

Jaqui's printJaqui's print

Jacqui Smith says public demand means people will be able to pre-register for an ID card within the next few months.The cards will be available for all from 2012 but she said:
"I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don't want to wait that long."

Phil Booth, national coordinator of the NO2ID campaign, said Jacqui Smith's claim that people were saying they wanted an ID card "beggared belief" and would "come back to haunt her".

Carry on bouncing

Winner and friend Winner and friend
Clan Broon wins

When Boris Johnson became Mayor of London, the Tories held his old seat of Henley as predicted. Nulabour has held Glenrothes, another case of the incumbent wins but not at all as predicted. So what happened?

Well, we start by saying that this was Scotland and Gordon Brown's back yard. The SNP under Alex Salmond has always said Scotland is an independent country waiting to happen, while Nulabour in Scotland under Brown seems to want it both ways when it comes to the union. Brown bashing has reached, justifiably in my opinion, record levels. Also there had to come a time when the bumptious Salmond had annoyed so many people he, like Brown, became a target. The confusion about policies and positions had in density gone from a Scotch mist to a full fog. So much that, we are told, even Nulabour insiders and Ministers thought the seat was lost.

Shame on David Miliband

Dalai LamaDalai Lama

Referring to his “Middle-Way” approach – which accepts Chinese sovereignty over Tibet but which requires “genuine autonomy” for the Tibetan people in return – the Dalai Lama states that:

“Taking these developments into account, it appears that my continuing to hold on to this position [the Middle Way- which accepts Chinese sovereignty over Tibet but which requires “genuine autonomy” for the Tibetan people in return] is creating obstacles to the Tibet problem, rather than helping resolve it.”

The Dalai Lama's comments are available at the Free Tibet website. Stating his belief that the Tibetan issue is a matter for the entire Tibetan people he said:

“Therefore the issue of the common good of Tibet would be better decided by the Tibetan people.”

A couple of weeks before the next talks between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government our Foreign Secretary David Miliband has told the Chinese that the British wholeheartedly support Chinese sovereignty over Tibet by 'updating' the wording of the Simla accords of 1913. At the time, London recognised China's "suzerainty" over the Tibetan region, but crucially not its sovereignty.

Uneconomic growth


Boris Johnson is telling us to spend, spend, spend in the huge new Westfield shopping centre. The world's finances are in freefall and our politicians and 'experts' say: reduce interest rates, flood the market with money, get people to spend more, kickstart the economy and, surely we shall just get back to all the debt, waste and mismanagement that we had before.

Our bankers, politicians and media haven't exactly shown any competence so far so why should we believe them now? Perhaps the answer is to produce less, to mend rather than throw and buy again, to make things rather than simply rely on the financial sector. Perhaps we should start to put quality of life into equations. Work less, earn less, consume less, waste less and have more time.

It was Western governments that set interest rates too low for too long, encouraging us all to abuse credit. Here in the UK we seem to be being lulled by our jet setting PM that all will be well yet European and UK banks are five times more exposed to emerging markets than US banks.

Reward the incompetents -

it's only public money

the screamthe scream

Adair Turner, chairman of the Financial services Authority, was testifying before MPs investigating the recent banking crisis, which forced ministers to use £37 billion of taxpayers money propping up British banks.Asked if he would pay bonuses to FSA staff who oversaw the banking system this year, see here, Lord Turner said that he would:

"We do have a bonus system. I am sure we will be paying some bonuses this year. They have earned it. They have done pretty good work.We have people who have been working extremely long hours and quite competently."

Fine words from Sainsbury's

Archived Stop Press article

butter no parsnipsbutter no parsnips

Sainsbury's has launched an online poll to protest at the EU directive forbidding the sale of vegetables and fruit that are not perfectly formed. See also here.

Just think - the EU's so called 'green' initiatives to prevent climate change global warming will be costing you £9 billion a year yet people who sell fruit and vegetables that do not comply with silly EU rules could be convicted of a crime. Sainsbury's decided against selling a Hallowe'en range of mis-shapen fruit and veg for fear shop managers could be prosecuted.The repeal of the law could reduce prices by up to 40% and cut down on the one-fifth of produce wasted.

The European Commission is upset by the campaign and says that it is changing some of the rules in July 2009. Big business does well out of the EU and I'm afraid Sainsbury's has meekly accepted these 'bonkers' rules in the past and now feels will give it good publicity with no risk of a fine to oppose them.

The news?

Up in the air

Air, hot air?Air, hot air?

Tempers are frayed and that's a fact. Anyone with a mortgage on a house, a job and savings with a view to hanging on to all three, is bound to be jumpy as the government takes on another pile of bad debt in the shape of the rump of Bradford and Bingley. So what can the rest of us do? Well the state broadcaster, otherwise known as the BBC, is naturally not slow to help. The Radio 4 Today programme led off by in the week of the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham by talking up Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats. I know of many people angry about this.

David Vance wrote on the Biased BBC website -


What is it with the BBC's love-in with Vince Cable? Just after 7am this morning on Today, the nationalisation of the Bradford & Bingley was being covered and WHO do the BBC invite on for a bit of a chin-wag on the topic? A member of the Government perhaps? Nope. A member of the Opposition then? Nope. Instead Lib Dem Vince Cable is afforded yet ANOTHER prime time media slot care of the BBC, giving him the opportunity to explain why if only people had listened to him back when the Building Societies were being de-mutualised, then none of this current chaos afflicting them would have happened. Blah Blab Blah. I have no problem with Vince Cable mouthing his Lib-Dem platitudes, I do have a problem with the amazingly high profile he is given by the BBC, which is out of all proportion to that given to wee Georgie Osbourne, for example. Does Vince have friends in high places?

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