Thursday, April 24, 2008

Current quietness

I've not posted much lately as several things have occupied my time, although in the interim we still don't have either the results of the Zimbabwean presidential election or an ending to the US Democrat nomination battle. Does anything ever change?

I'll probably be quiet over the next week or so as well as certain other events here in London will be occupying my time. But don't worry, normal service will be resumed!

Friday, April 18, 2008

On the anniversary of Zimbabwean independence

Today twenty-eight years ago Zimbabwe became independent. The people of Zimbabwe gained the opportunity to democratically determine their own future.

Apparently. Has anyone seen any evidence of this lately?

In his speech to mark the day Robert Mugabe said that Zimbabweans "established democracy, based on one person, one vote". (BBC News: Mugabe speech marks independence) It's clear who he wants that one person to be!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Doctor Who - Black Orchid

And now for my old reviews of the latest Doctor Who stories released on DVD from the Doctor Who Ratings Guide.

It's back to normal this time, with Black Orchid:

Nice setting, shame about the plot

After an absence of nearly sixteen years the historicals make a brief reappearance with this story, taking the TARDIS crew to an upper-class country house in 1920s Britain. This is a period made familiar by many period dramas and books and it allows for an interesting little story that tries to merge the series with the genre.

A major plot point is the similarity between Nyssa and Ann but fortunately the entire story does not revolve solely around this element. Instead we get a brief exploration of the way of life for an upper-class family and how the values of the period require certain aspects to be kept firmly locked away. Unfortunately the realisation of the story isn't the best as there is little mystery about who is committing the murders - thus eliminating all the other characters as suspects - whilst the Doctor establishes his credentials with the police not through his actions over the course of the story but rather through showing them the TARDIS as a quick solution to the problem. The result is a plot which is clearly telegraphed and unexciting. However there is more to this story as the setting is developed well and allows for some good character development for some of the regulars.

This story is notable as being the only time in the television series when Davison's Doctor actually gets to play cricket (though he gets more practice in comic strips such as The Tides of Time and has it brought back to him in The Stockbridge Horror) and there is much clear enjoyment. As often happens the Doctor is mistaken for someone else and exploits the situation to his advantage. This story takes place on a more limited scale than many and thus allows for the character to be exposed well in the more down to earth environment of the story. Sarah Sutton has the dual role of Nyssa and Ann Talbot and manages to carry off both of them easily though the story is not long enough to fully develop the latter. Nevertheless it gives Sutton a chance to shine when often there can be competition for space amongst the three companions. Matthew Waterhouse has much less to do in the story and Adric makes little contribution beyond stuffing his face at the ball. The guest cast give reasonable performances but few make any spectacular impact.

The sets for the story work well, though it does feel that the railway station is not 1920s authentic due to the abandoned second platform being all too clear. Otherwise the story is a competent production that compares well to contemporary period dramas. It is unfortunate that the plot is weak and telegraphed but otherwise this brief story is a welcome one-off return for the historical stories. 7/10
Doctor Who - Black Orchid can be purchased from

Clegg's murky past

Nick Clegg has hardly been reticent in his admissions about his past life - many would think he should have been more reticent! But it's curious that whilst he has no qualms about exposing himself to public ridicule as "Cleggover", he feels the need to lie about other events in his past.

Stories have abounded that when at university Nick Clegg was a member of the Conservatives. He has denied this - see The Daily Telegraph: Three Line Whip: 'Tory mystery' in Nick Clegg's past where:

...Clegg's spokesman denies it.

"Nick is one hundred per cent adamant that this isn't true".
However over on CentreRight: Nick Clegg's Tory past, Greg Hands produces evidence showing that Clegg was indeed a member of the Conservative Association in his first year at Cambridge. There is no other Clegg it could have been.

So why does Nick Clegg feel the need to lie about this? It's not remotely as damaging as his Cleggover revelations, and he's not the first leading Liberal Democrat to have had a past in other parties - Vincent Cable went from being a university Liberal to being a Labour activists before becoming a Social Democrat. And he's talked about believing in honesty - so why does he feel the need to lie about this?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Has Young Fine Gael lost the plot?

Young Fine Gael, the youth wing of one of the Irish political parties (but don't ask me what they stand for!), have launched posters in support of the European Constitution Lisbon "Treaty". And these are frankly some of the silliest arguments made in its favour yet:

Aren't they truly dire? Has Young Fine Gael got no serious reasons for people in the Republic of Ireland to vote yes?

Still at least the Irish get a say on this "Treaty", thanks to Supreme Court rulings, which is more than everyone gets. But then if other countries let the people have a say, they might "get it wrong" and that would never do for the "European Project", would it?

Oh and for those wondering, Young Fine Gael can hardly be called a counterpart of Conservative Future. The European affiliations aren't the same for one thing - Young Fine Gael is in Youth of the European People's Party and Conservative Future is, for some inexplicable reason, in European Democrat Students.

Hat tip to Iain Dale: Well I'm Convinced, How About You?!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Monday, April 07, 2008

Another Liberal Democrat leadership election farce

Is this the rightful leader of the Liberal Democrats...December is always a difficult time for the postal system, so one has to wonder who thought it was a good idea to have a Saturday December 15th deadline for returning postal ballots in the most recent Liberal Democrat leadership election. The latest damning revelation is that over a thousand ballot papers arrived between the 15th and the declaration on the 18th. And these ballots would have given the election to Chris Huhne. (The Independent: Meet the real leader of the Liberal Democrats)

...or this?It gets worse. The returning officer asked both candidates if they wanted the late ballots counted, and it was Nick Clegg who was firmest against this.

So Nick Clegg isn't even the choice of his party to lead them. How long before Cleggover becomes Cleggunder?

Diana - now please let it end!

So Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed was "unlawfully killed" due to the negligence of her driver and the paparazzi, with no conspiracy involved, according to the inquest. (BBC News: Princess Diana unlawfully killed) And evaporated are the claims of Mohamed Al-Fayed who, more than anyone else, has kept the conspiracy theories going for a decade. (BBC News: Fayed conspiracy claim collapses)

So would it be too much to wish for this to be the end of the matter? For newspapers like the Daily Express to stop running Diana conspiracy front pages all the time? For the media to move on and let all the families mourn in privacy? Sadly I think the media has shown itself too irresponsible on that score.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Harriet Harman's rubbish memory

I'm just watching Prime Minister's Questions and Harriet Harman has attacked the Conservatives for having questions asked by the Senior Member of the Shadow Cabinet not the Shadow Leader of the House.

If Harriet Harman cares to remember when Labour were last in opposition (perhaps not given how pilloried she was by her own side), she will recall that when Tony Blair didn't do Prime Minister's Questions, it wasn't Ann Taylor but John Prescott who stood in for him. Was Harriet Harman complaining then? Or is she so incompetent she thinks the world began in May 1997?

Bring back John Prescott!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The many re-entries of Dan Quayle

Further to my earlier comment about the re-appearance again of Dan Quayle on the search engine terms, here are a couple of clips from YouTube, starting with the moment where any credibility Quayle might have ever had evaporated:

And eventually George (H. W.) Bush noticed. Or at least his latex double did:

But will Quayle make a re-entry here?

One day we will know...

March on this blog

Time again for the monthly look at who's been visiting this blog. For those who wish to see stats for earlier months you can now click on one of the labels at the end of this post. Comparisons are with the stats for February.

First off the sites most people come from:

  1. Google (-)
  2. Facebook (+6)
  3. (-)
  4. educationet (+14)
  5. Mars Hill (-1)
  6. Wikipedia (+5)
  7. Norfolk Blogger (NEW)
  8. Piled Higher and Deeper (NEW)
  9. Vote 2007 (-4)
  10. Yahoo (-1)
Dropping out of the top ten are ConservativeHome (at 12, down 6), Live Search (at 16, down 9), BBC (at 17, down 15) and Cllr Iain Lindley's Diary (at 62, down a whopping 52).

Then we have the top ten search engine requests that brought people here:

  1. what does your birthday say about you (-)
  2. tim roll-pickering (+1)
  3. brian wilde (NEW)
  4. whatever happened to dan quayle (yet another RE-ENTRY, which gives me an idea...)
  5. educationet (-3)
  6. oldest political party (+3)
  7. ashley mcalister ulu (NEW)
  8. doctor who beneath the surface (NEW)
  9. laura blomeley (-2)
  10. prince harry who cares (NEW)
A mixture of new searches, old ones and re-entries.

Finally as ever we have a list of all the cities detected that people are in:


Thank you all for reading!


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