Monday, June 26, 2006

If the shoe fits...

I recently went through the heels in a pair of shoes, therefore I need some new ones to replace them. I hate shopping for shoes. Most places seem to stop at size 11, which is rubbish. I'm not freakishly tall or owt like that, but it's a real bind finding somewhere on the high street that do shoes big enough. If you do, good luck getting anything under £60 or so. It's size-ist. And as the population gets taller, it'll become more of an issue to more people.
Just one more size up is all I ask. Is that really too much?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Criminal justice

Any government minister can say what they like - evidentially the current debate about the justice system IS being driven by tabloid knee-jerk headlines. Today's nonsense from Blair has at least been put into perspective by a chap called Ian Loader, professor of criminology at Oxford university. Very well put sir.
The bit that disturbs me from the government's outpouring is the line "there should be no contradiction between the rights of the suspect and the rights of the law-abiding majority". The basic fundament of the justice system is that one is innocent until proved otherwise. That means a suspect is a member of the law-abiding majority. This quote seems to suggest a shift in that basic tenet of the system, but then that tallies with moves to withdraw juries from certain trials.

Worrying times, and that's not to do with a perception of a disintegration of law and order on the streets. More the creeping totalitarianism from Downing Street.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nothing but a lottery

I heard on the radio this morning a throwaway piece about people who play the lottery having a say in how the proceeds are allocated to their 'good causes'. Don't ask the public - the public are idiots. How else would you explain the enduring popularity of the Sun, Daily Mail, Carling lager, crap flags on cars or the Conservative party?
There is only one fair way of distributing the lottery funds. When you go into the shop, hand over your pound and get given back 76p and a receipt.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wheeled luggage

There is one reason for having wheels on your suitcase and that's if it's too heavy to carry. If your case is too heavy to carry, you have too much stuff and should have a smaller case with less in it. That way you can just carry it.
If your case isn't too heavy to carry, you have no reason for having an 8 foot handle to drag it behind you with. If you persist, I propose you pay additional tax to compensate for the extra amount of space you take up on the pavement. I reserve the right to kick your luggage.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Irish question

Pick a town - any town. With greater than 95% accuracy, I'd wager a small amount that in that town there is an Irish bar. You know the sort - bike in the window, brooms on the ceiling, that type of thing. Funny how in Ireland you only find this sort of bar in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. Venture away from the capital and you'll find that most bars' Irish credentials come from the fact that they're in Ireland rather than having quaint nick-nacks strewn about the place.
That's a separate argument though. The real question is this: is the worldwide proliferation of Irish bars a stealthy attempt at world domination by Leinster House? In this age of one true superpower, the Irish have seen the vacuum of opposition and are setting about winning hearts and minds the world over with their unique brand of hospitality. Before too long, every major political landmark will be trapped in a pincer of Irish bars from where the final assault can be launched. It's the only good reason I can think of.

If I'm right, I may have said too much. Should I disapper without warning, avenge my death.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Many of the archetypal Bush-isms (e.g. "The problem with the French is that they've no word for 'entrepreneur'") merely make him out to be a simple bumpkin. However, the assertion from the Bush camp early this week that the suicides of three detainees at Guantanamo Bay was "an act of war" marks him out as the dangerous loony he quite obviously is.
I'm not sure the language exists to fully explain the massive surge of bile that near erupted inside me when this staggering claim was made. No matter what the circumstances, taking one's own life is a pretty desperate thing to do and quite possibly not something you'd do lightly. Having been locked up for over four years with no indication of ever being charged with anything, let alone a likely release date, would make most people a wee bit desperate. If the aim was to highlight their plight, there'd be other ways to do it. If it was an act of war, wouldn't taking other people out with them be a better way? There is no way that these tragic suicides can be interpreted as war. Unnecessary was another word used by the White House. Unnecessary is certainly apt, however not in the way it was used. There are many reasons why the deaths are unnecessary - the fact that these people have been held for so long without reason given being the most unnecessary of them - but a PR stunt..?? An act of war? No.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Children singing

I've no real problem with concept of kids singing per se, but it seems to be the vogue in TV advertising to get a bunch of children harmonising. It's annoying and will not make me buy your products.

EDIT - Ditto whispering. Stop it!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cameron - part 1 of (probably) many

David Cameron - or Dave, take your pick - is an upstart I have yet to properly work out. The Labour dubbing of him as a 'chameleon' seems pretty accurate. The fact he's won no more votes than William Hague and yet is seen as far more electable than the squeaky-voiced Yorkshire disgrace is bewildering and more to do with Labour's current failings than anything he's done.
I liken him to Peter Jackson - manager of Huddersfield Town AFC. Jackson strikes me as a Championship Manager type of bloke. He'll see a player get a good report or do well on the latest edition of aforementioned game and next thing you'll see that Town are tapping up that player. Cameron seems to do the same with newspaper headlines. Sees something that's upsetting the populous and makes a statement on it that afternoon. I'd rather have Peter Jackson running the country to be honest, but I hope it doesn't come to that.
Cameron's a hypocrite as well. Sure, he bikes it to work, but is followed moments later by a car carrying his papers, briefcase, change of clothes etc.

Anyway, today's Cameron rant is his assertion that Radio 1's rap show, hosted by vicar's son Tim Westwood, encourages youngsters to carry knives. Only if they're to be used to stab Westwood, Dave.



A report out today concludes that 14 European nations, including the UK, collaborated - for want of a better word - with the US in transporting prisoners for torture. I can't begin to express my apoplexy, but referring to this practice as 'extraordinary rendition' really gets my goat. Call it what it is - transportation for torture which borders on abduction. It's that process of mangling into management speak something which is utterly abhorrent, as if to make it sound like an everyday activity to which no-one could possibly object that sickens.

Besides, some former Foreign Office staff have called the process massively damaging, which must be one of the understatements of the century. If the US wish to be a recruitment sergeant for terrorist groups, they're going about it the right way. A true cynic may suggest that this autocatalytic process that America find themselves at the heart of is exactly what the Republican party do want. And since when was information gathererd by torture ever considered to be reliable anyway? Even putting to one side the morality of torture to one side, it's a bizarre and unnecessary thing. That so many nations are in cahoots is almost enough to make one give up trying to be human any more.