Tuesday, December 21
Blogger is Temporarily Insane
For some reason Blogger has decided to start inserting white space at it's own whim. Hopefully normal service will resume shortly.
Minnesota Attempts to Reduce Welfare for Smokers.
Tis the season to be jolly and stuff ourselves with all kinds of carcinogenic substances, so Via TalkLeft comes this story: let's hope John Reid hasn't seen it. As a smoker I'm firmly in favour of the right to smoke if you want to, provided there are sufficient safeguards for children and it's not promoted as healthy, sexy or any of those other qualities used to market addictive substances. It's my body, damned. In any case, it's us smokers who are substantially funding the costs of the NHS with our taxes: a pack of cigarettes in the UK now costs 4.75 pounds sterling, or around 7 euros, or more or less 10 dollars. The majority of this cost is tax.
In related news, big restrictions on advertising cigarettes and tobacco come in today:
Tobacco companies in the U.K. must restrict their advertisements to the size of a paperback book after new regulations came into force today.
Don't worry too much though: it's still fine to sell alcopops and run Happy Hours all night and serve 13 year olds so much booze that they fight, stab each other and pass out in city centres at weekends with monotonous regularity. 24 hour pub opening is official New Labour policy after all, so it must be OK.
Blunkett Damned With Faint Praise As Tony Makes A Run For It.
Well, the Budd report is out, but it's equivocal on guilt or innocence. He found the fast tracking happened, but no physical or testimonial evidence to link Blunkett directly to damning emails and faxes. No smoking gun -however I'm listening to it live and there are many nuances: the clear implication from Budd is that he doesn't have evidence but he knows what he thinks, ie that Blunkett is guilty as sin and the Home Office is corrupt and incompetent.
No surprises there then.
And don't you just love the way Blair has absented himself in a hurry? He must have been seriously worried about Budd's report and its fallout: why else the emergency trip to Baghdad?
What's that you say, Mr Tony Blair? " Baghdad is safer than Westminster?"
Monday, December 20
Finally, The Lawyers Speak The Truth
Light blogging the next couple of days, as No 2 son arrives today by the wonder that is Easyjet and I get to revert to Mum-hood for the duration of the Christmas holiday. No doubt a bag of dirty washing will accompany him.
In the meantime a couple of interesting news items today:
Clive Stafford-Smith, my hero, writes in today's Guardian pointing out that Britain is complicit in Gitmo and that Blair is as equally accountable for this as Bush:
Alongside the stars and stripes, I saw the union flag flying on a truck in Guantánamo Bay. Who knows why it was there, but it is public knowledge that British intelligence got there long before me, or any consular official. The cynic might wonder at the role played by MI5 in the ongoing detention of Moazzam Begg. Only time will tell what they have been up to.
And finally, to many cheers from lawyers all over the world, the barristers finally revolt.
It's about bloody time.
Satire Eats Itself
Poor old Simon Hoggart. The funniest political journalist around in the UK has admitted to partaking of Blunkett's sloppy seconds and sleeping with Kimberley Fortier Quinn not only before, but while, Blunkett was sleeping with her. I do hope he used a condom.
How many more public faces are going to come out as having slept with her? I do have a a sneaking admiration for her in as the Becky Sharp de nos jours, but really, neither of them are exactly, er, attractive. I can see how Simon Hoggart could laugh a woman into bed (I know I would, I find him hilarious and he has a deeply sexy voice) but Blunkett? With those mad eyes, scraggly grey beard and hateful personality... ugh. The thought makes my stomach lurch.
Can't wait for the News Quiz of The Year, the panel will rip Hoggart a new one. And thus satire eats itself.
11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004