Sunday, December 31, 2006

Eggs at the Ready

It's Sunday, December 31 and the local Tesco is already flogging Cadbury's Cream Eggs. An old joke become reality in the eggciting world of marketing.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ikea Sale - hell in a flatpack

Just back from the post-Christmas sale at the local Ikea store. What did we ever do to Sweden to deserve that kind of punishment?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blair and the Bee Gee

I don’t care whether he pays for his holidays or not but the ability of the Prime Minister to ingratiate himself with aged rockers is a new phenomenon in British politics. New Labour has had several run ins with wealthy business types (remember the Hinduja twins?), but Blair’s high profile groupie act takes hob-nobbing to new heights of ridiculousness.



Monday, December 18, 2006

Prostitution and the law

Harriet Harman's proposal to make it an offence to use a prostitute's services won't make the problem go away - just force if further into the dingy backstreets of our towns and cities - not to mention cyberspace.

Comments by the English Collective of Prostitutes in the wake of the Ipswich murders have highlighted the effect of police "crackdowns" and the danger they represent to those working on the streets.

A response has to be properly thought through, but we've got to realise, whether we opt for toleration zones, as even David Blunkett seems to have accepted during his time as Home Secretary, or legalised brothels; prostitutes have to be protected: we might not like what they do, or accept their reasons for doing it, but prostitutes deserve protection not persecution and it's about time we accepted the simple reality that not even the threat of prosecution will stop men paying for sex, and that criminalisation won't work.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tony's bolony

Of course its natural for the police to interview a serving British prime minister - like a fish riding a donkey

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pinochet remembered

The next time Thatcher or any of her cronies start getting misty eyed about the departed General, remember this quote from Channel 4's Jon Snow:
"I had to work in Chile during the worst of his activities and it was a searing and unforgettable period of fear"

A good friend to Britain indeed. Perhaps we should be more concerned about the 3,100 killed and/or "disappeared", or the US inspired coup that brought down a democratically elected government than remembering how Pinochet used the Falklands to settle scores with Argentina by feeding us intelligence as the Task Force sailed for the South Atlantic.

With thugs like this, who needs enemies?
Fountain at the Louvre. A glorious day in May in the city of Paris (with a nod to Van Morrison and Angelou)

Let's face it, December needs some sunshine to go with the tinsel...

Party on, Bishop

The Right Reverend Tom Butler's tired and emotional spree has given the tabloids a field day. No hypocrisy there at all, I mean, journalists never overindulge at all, do they?

Leaving aside forgiveness for a Bishop on the razzle - two issues do worry me. Firstly, why did Nicola Sumpter and her partner decide the best people to call were those working at the Sun newspaper? Surely they weren't paid for their story by those famously abstemious hacks.

And secondly, look out for the vengeful conservative evangelicals taking sweet revenge on a liberal Bishop with a record of supporting gay clergy.

Always best to watch the self-righteous brigade - you never know when they're going to fall prey to the demon drink, or even just their own pride (one of the seven deadlies, folks - in case you'd forgotten).

Good to see the fetishists getting on side with this - See Proccie's take on this.

Better still, stick with Ship of Fools - Christian unrest at its very best...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Westfield Editorial: British Bull

Westfield Editorial: British Bull

Puke for Britain - "Oi, what are you lookin' at?"

British Bull

Len Sutera, a 58 year old former milman for the West Midlands, has been told he will have to take a Home Office "britishness" test. Len was born in the US, but returned to the UK aged 11 months and says he's never left the country since.

How do you prove "britishness" - you could go down the Norman Tebbit cricket team test route. Although that's not much use for those who don't like sport (yes, we do exist). Maybe it might be better to judge britishness by adopting a more modern social outlook - just indulge in some binge drinking with the occasional outbreak of mindless unprovoked violence. Go on, puke on a copper's trousers, show you're a patriot!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Own Goal

I reproduce or recycle press releases as a rule, but this really got to me.

Actor Paul McGann Speaks Out In Support Of Banned Charity TV Ad

Paul McGann has today spoken out in support of charity World Vision as news broke of the British Advertising Clearance Centre’s (BACC) ban on the airing of their new TV advert. Paul McGann supplied the voice-over for the ad which shows a child in Malawi making a football from plastic bags and string. The BACC banned the ad on the basis that it was ‘unfair to football’ as it mentioned the £49 million it cost to sponsor the England football team alongside the 60p a day it costs to sponsor Masidi - the boy in the film.

Paul McGann said, “Does one laugh or cry? An advert describing how 60p a day might help a child in a developing country is pulled in order to spare the image of corporate sponsorship in a couple of rich ones. You couldn’t make it up.”

The ad, which can be viewed on World Vision’s website, was filmed by the young boy who stars in it. Communities were given broadcast-quality cameras and Masidi chose to film his favourite past time – football. In Malawi, however, footballs are hard to come by, so Masidi makes his from maize, plastic bags and string before joining his friends for a skilled kick-about – in bare feet. A thirty second ad compares the three years it took to develop the World Cup ball with the ten minutes it takes Masidi to make his match ball. The advert was created by London agency FCBi.

More than 100,000 children living in poverty in the developing world are sponsored with World Vision in the UK for just 60p per day. More about the benefits of child sponsorship can be found at

For further information contact

Beverley Tricker

Tricker PR

Office 01224 646491

Mobile 07702 363039


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cultural architecture, so to speak

I came across this nonsensical piece of drivel in a school monitoring report

Cultural architects are individuals or teams that have fully understood and subscribe to a leader’s aims and objectives for the organisation. They are the people who will influence others positively on behalf of the leader even when the leader is not present.”

They used to be called brown nosers, but that was before management-speak took over the world.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Freedom of Speech Just Got Silenced

The removal of placades from Parliament Square is another example of Government paranoia about protest. Brian Haw has been protesting agaisnt the Iraq war in Parliament Square for 5 years. After court action to try and remove him failed (why, what harm was he doing - embarrassing he might be, but a threat to national security?).

Politicians - on both sides of the Atlantic - like to portray themselves as champions of freedom and democracy, yet the right to protest has to be the best measure of the health of a democracy - and we've just failed it, miserably.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Labour Party blues

OK, so anyone can mislay around a thousand foreign ex convicts, maybe even accept that the NHS really is having its best ever year, but who in their right mind would think John Prescott could turn into a geriatric leg-over merchant?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Madness and the Special Relationship

Tony Blair's comments to the Australian Parliament about the "madness" of European anti-Americanism gives us an interesting insight into his thinking.

Is Blair really so frightened that the US will "walk away" that he wants his fellow European leaders and the media to back peddle on their criticisms of the Bush administration? If there's any "madness" here Prime Minister, it's surely in the fear that we shouldn't be too critical of the US, for fear of losing the Americans' support.

If the special relationship is worth having it has to be robust enough to withstand criticism where it's warranted - rolling over and letting Bush and Co. get away with anything they want is not being anti-American, rather it's about fighting our corner and defending our side of the relationship, which should be part and parcel of the free exchange of ideas Blair also mentioned in the same speech.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blair does Parkie, with God in the audience...

Interesting to see that Tony Blair, Britain's Labour Prime Minister and, some say far too close friend of President Bush, fears divine judgement over his decision to go to war in Iraq.

While he seems happy to discuss this on a chatshow (far less confrontational than Parliament) he's strangely silent on the ongoing denial of justice at Guantanamo, which he only "hopes" the US will get round to closing "soon".

Quite how he'll answer for all this at the final judgement is anyone's guess, but given his much vaunted up-coming handover to Gordon Brown, one thing is for sure: he'll escape the judgement of the British electorate yet again.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Jingoism and the Cabinet Minister

Dr Reid, the UK Defence Minister, makes a spirited call for balance and for the media to be slow to criticise the military in Iraq. The danger here - given the traditional view that British soldiers can do no wrong - is obvious. Perhaps the media should lay off all but the most heinous abuses by troops on the ground and concentrate instead on the culpability of those who sent them there in the first place.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Nude cyclists have balance problems

A group of German naturalists found themselves on the wrong side of the law when they tried to celebrate World Nude Cycling Day in the only way they knew how. The judge in the Karsruhe Administrative Court rejected the group’s claim that it was only exercising its right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and found that the police could prevent the cycle ride because it was in the public interest to prohibit displays of nudity, and, presumably, the risk of exposure to involuntary yodelling when riding over cobbled or other uneven surfaces. In reaching its decision the court found it had to balance the rights of the cyclists to exercise their freedom of expression against the rights of the wider public, which could be offended by an unexpected display of mass nudity in a public place.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sex and the Politician

News that Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat Party President and leadership contender, has admitted to being bisexual makes you wonder whether he made the decision to announce it himself, rather than face yet another embarrassing press disclosure. Aside from accusations surrounding past denials about his sexuality, and the Bermondsey bye-election was way back in the far less enlightened 1980s, the danger is that this latest Lib Dem story will merely encourage the tabloids to keep on hunting for prurient Lib Dem stories to fill their pages. You can just see it now: "kinky candidate caught in polling booth".

Isn't rather time to grow up and accept that politicians have private lives and should be allowed to lead them.

Good news for those politicos feeling a bit stressed in case the News of Screws is on the snoop - they could always relieve the tension with a bit of "horizontal jogging", after all, the scientists reckon it's a great stress reliever for those in the public eye. Just so long as they don't get caught doing it public - or in view of a paparazzi's lens.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

At last, some good news from Turkey

The decision to end the prosecution of Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's leading author, for insulting the secular republic is very good news, not just for Pamuk but for all progressive Turkish writers, academics and journalists; it is also a sign that freedom of expression is finally being taken seriously by the authorities in Ankara.

Accepting adverse criticism in no way undermines Turkish democracy, rather it strengthens it and should go some way to aleviating fears over Turkish membership of the EU.

It's to be hoped that the decision also means that a sensible debate will now be possible on the persecution of the Armenian and Kurdish people.

Edukashun, edukashun, edukashun.

It looks like the danger of too much rhetoric backed by too little substance has finally come home to roost in the shape of Labour's much trumpeted education reforms.

With commentators unable to give a proper explanation of the difference between current "foundation" schools and the much vaunted (but ill described) "trust" schools the National Governors' Council is now warning that the complex politicking is very confusing, and even off-putting for parents.

The DfES strategy of spinning even the most mundane of changes means that genuinely beneficial changes intended to raise standards and support schools in difficult areas risk being lost to view as Kelly and Adonis try to browbeat Labour backbench opponents.