Thursday, 20 October 2011

Gaddafi Photo

Why have we seen photos of the body of Colonel Gaddafi? Surely there was no reason for them to be released? Graphic photos of someone who has been shot should not be floating around the internet or shown on television news. This could be an incitement to additional violence by those who support Gaddafi or be used by them as propaganda.

It may even be the case that given the graphic nature of the photos they could pose a national security risk. All we needed was the transitional authorities in Libya to tell us that Gaddafi was dead. They are the good guys whoever they are.

Did you see what I did there? I used the same arguments that were used to stop us seeing Osama bin Laden's body. But do those arguments actually have any validity? Could the photos really be an incitement to additional violence, or might they instead bring a sort of closure to the episode? Or there is a third possibility, in this age of Photoshop, might they resolve nothing because of nagging doubts that they are real? What do you think? Did you agree with seeing the body, or would you have preferred a censoring of the photos?

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

When sorry isn't sorry

If someone said to you that it had been found that I had stolen some money and for this I am sorry, would you think I was sorry for stealing or sorry that I have been found out? I think that the best answer is that I was sorry that I had been found out, otherwise I could have gone for the simpler statement "I am sorry for stealing some money".

Dr Fox went to the House of Commons and said "the ministerial code has been found to be breached and for this I am sorry". I could have been wrong and Dr Fox was actually sorry for his actions but no I was right as he continued by saying "I accept that it is not only substance but perception that matters and that is why I chose to resign". As far as I can see he really isn't sorry for his actions and we can't feel too sorry for him as he hasn't lost his livelihood. He is still an MP. It's Mr Werrity I feel sorry for. How can he make a living now if he is not advising on anything and everything?

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Monday, 17 October 2011

Warm words from David Cameron

When Margaret Thatcher privatised electricity companies it was supposed to make the companies competitive. There would be improvements in efficiency and it was a win-win situation. I had my reservations then and I definitely have them now that David Cameron is telling us to shop around. Prices are going up because of world energy prices but David tells us that we have to find ways of keeping prices down. I wished that I understood the tariffs and which company was best for me but I can't say that I do.

The argument for energy costs is a bit like the argument for good education. We don't want choice, we just want good local education, or in the case of energy, we just want a cheap supply. We don't want children transported from one part of town to another while other children are being transported in the opposite direction. As for electricity, it all comes from the same place, it is just a matter of which company we have to pay.

If the companies are spending their money on advertising and getting a profit, and we are spending our time changing suppliers then it must be an inefficient system. Not only is it inefficient but I have to wonder if I am failing to get the best price. Am I getting a fair deal? I don't know as I am also told that there is a lack of transparency from these companies.

It is one thing to have a prime minister tell us to get the best deals from the privatised companies. It is another to get a prime minister to give us the most efficient system to get the best price. I can't help thinking that that system was pre-Margaret Thatcher.

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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Seeing Red

I can't help feeling that Wales should be in next week's final of the rugby world cup. I have previously written blogs to say that rugby is far superior to football for many reasons, one of which is the respect that is shown to referees and I will still show respect to this rugby referee even if he made a mistake but I have to say that this referee got it wrong and the wrong team is going to the final. Alain Rolland did have options but he took the one that ruined the game.

A spear tackle is when a player's feet are raised above his head and he is taken to the ground. Sam Warburton did spear tackle Vincent Clerc but he let go as soon as he knew what was happening. There was no malicious intent. I know intent does not matter and laws are laws but interpretation of the punishment should include intent as there should be no place in the game for evil players. Interpretation of the punishment should include the severity of the injury and referees do look at the injured player before giving out a card. That seems reasonable but in this case I didn't even see the card being issued as the cameras missed it, but Sam was on the bench immediately and then we saw the referee look at the injured player.

It could have just been a penalty. It could have been a yellow card. However the most severe punishment was given when things could have been so much worse. There could have been intent, M Clerc could have landed on his head and he could have been driven into the ground. He could have been seriously injured. You don't have to watch much contact sport to see how players act maliciously but this was not one of those times.

Will this red card reduce malice? Of course not because none was there in the first place.

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Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Conscientious Objection

I can understand that there is a social aspect to religion. We should be looking for a peaceful world and care for those who need support. It is even better if the support means that individuals can look after themselves. So a great example would be for the state to provide employment rather than unemployment benefits and it is not difficult to understand if an archbishop should make a public statement along these lines. However there is a problem if those jobs relate to weapons of destruction.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu has called for the government to buy more Harrier jump jets following a visit to BAe at Samlesbury where more than 500 jobs are set to go. Now I don't know what your ideas of a peaceful world includes. It may be that fighter planes bearing missiles and bombs may be part of your idea of gaining world peace but at the very least the idea is contentious.

It would have been so much easier for the Archbishop to pick on other causes that could create employment or even to take the opposite view and say that we should not be involved on creating weapons of destruction. It makes you wonder where conscientious objectors get their ideas.

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Friday, 7 October 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Beware the dreaded keyboards

Can you picture the scene? It is a big budget musical and everyone is happy and a character in the mould of Tommy Steele is shaking everyone's hand. Now think of Howard Hughes who had an obsessive-compulsive disorder. He would use tissues to pick things up so that he wouldn't catch germs. Howard's actions don't sound too sensible but if you follow the adverts and want to kill 99% of household germs then maybe these germs are things to avoid (even if tissues aren't the best method of containing them). Maybe that star of the musical should avoid shaking those hands on stage.

Today's news was that research has shown that if you share a desk then you should use "clean wipes" because poor hygiene is making us ill. The advice is to clean the keyboard "every now and again" to make sure that the previous user hasn't left their nasty bacteria on it. The study didn't even look at viruses even though I thought a virus could only live inside a living cell. If things are really this bad then "every now and again" should mean "every time another person uses the keyboard - even if they only use it for a second".

Maybe Howard was right after all, but I know that I would prefer to be in the musical rather than helping Howard buy his tissues. Which are the best "clean wipes"? The ones that kill bacteria or viruses or the ones that kill the 1% left by the other wipes? We didn't even have wipes like this a few years ago and now they must be a really big business. My guess is that worry about hygiene is a bigger cause of sickness than bacteria passed on by poor hygiene on keyboards.

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