Sunday, July 31, 2005


So it appears Microsoft is trying to patent, (copyright? Well, make their own. Where's a lawyer when you really need one?) emoticons, or smilies to you and me.

Hmn, this brings to mind when Warner Brothers tried to stop the Marx Brothers doing something or other and ended up on the wrong end of Groucho's brilliant, non-legalese (don't get me started) rebuttal, which as I recall rather hilariously involved questioning who first 'owned' the name 'Brothers', which was a nice case of the biter bit.

Now I'm pretty sure that Bill Gates didn't know about this, at least until now (and I don't mean that he reads my mighty blog... yet). I'm also pretty sure that the guy who reports to the guy who reports to the guy who reports to Bill didn't know about this. So I hope they will move quite swiftly and stop this nonsense right away.

It is pointless, greedy and will only benefit lawyers (don't get me started) to pursue. And I am sure Microsoft wouldn't want any of us to think of them in these ways.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

...and the winner is! doesn't usually go for awards. There is always a fee too much, a rule too onerous, a catch too dodgy, an agenda too obvious or a faint sniff of frigging in the rigging to make the amount and/or effort involved really worth it.

But today I slapped in our entry to the start-ups awards, [link direct by clicking on headline. No, I didn't realise you could do that until recently, either]

The forms were short, the requirements simple, the judges relevant, the sponsors radars’ worth getting into, the cost reasonable… and the categories relevant. So, when do I collect my cheque!? Oh, the competition. Well, with all the ‘may the best win’ and all, I hope we wipe the board, including the big one, the top of the lot one.

Trouble is, that was won last year by a company with green in it, and we do know how awards like to share it all about evenly. Plus I was a bit iffy on certain questions, especially the financial ones. When the bean-counters want to see your beans, if you're a start-up there may not be an easy way of even the collector of beans to know what they have. Plus there tends to be a lot out for a while at the start, to offset the amount in when absolute amounts are calculated. And let me tell, you, trying to save the planet is not cheap.

But we're hopeful. A category like ‘Online Business’ is a definite match. ‘Best use of Technology’ hopeful (computers, databasing, search, ideas, making stuff,.. hi tech to promote low tech... to promote good practice). ‘Micro Business’ is a must, as you don't get much more micro than us. ‘Innovative’.. .well, need we say more? ‘Community Impact’... modesty prevents, but between pretty much everything we do, and especially stuff such as RE-Box, Green nappies, our charities initiative, etc, we think we're ok there.

Even the statement of what they are looking for is refreshing: ‘Originality of Thought’ (saving the planet AND making money from junk?). ‘Customer Satisfaction’ (ditto), ‘Balanced Approach to Work/life’ (on balance, the family had to go on holiday without me while we're launching this summer). ‘Sheer Bravery and Guts’ (One of our complementitors - guys by whom we should be supported and with whom we should working, but do get measured by reaching & teaching the public - seem to be keeping their communications budgets to themselves for now. Go figure.) had £20M last year to play with, while I’m looking enviously at the boys' piggy banks. ‘Building the Community’ (where to start/). ‘Flexibility in Working Practices (sure you can work at the weekend,,!).

Of course, as it was not a 'weekday-job' I have just sprinted down the Post Office to get it off registered in time for Monday's deadline. And as Emma, Queen of Filing, wasn't here I couldn't find half the neat things I only just thought of to stick in the pack. But it has gone, and no more to concern ourselves with until we hear back. Or don't.

The judging will be taking place over the next few weeks, so they will miss our main consumer campaign later this year, which is what we start-ups do to get going. Which means that, as a start-up, a lot of what we're up to may need to be taken on trust for now, though a roam around the site can't hurt.

So if you know any of the sponsors, or judges, please feel free to have a wee word...

Friday, July 29, 2005

For best results, hire an idiot

When I was in Hong Kong, I had a neat job. I had just set up my own freelance creative consultancy, so I was immediately persona non grata in the entire mainstream ad/design community, and hence became a bottom feeder. And as I was spectacularly bad at that, I was in danger of starving.

I can't quite remember how we were introduced, but my saviour came in the form of a very dodgy bloke who invited me to a very dodgy part of Kowloon to a really dodgy building, into which I only ventured on the basis that white slavery was not prevalent and my type was not going to be high on the menu (though if I'd thought that notion through...). Anyway up, I went from a dingy hallway on the floor straight into Dr. No's R&D dept, where I was introduced to his version of Q’u, whose name was, I'm pretty certain, Q'u.

Between my Cantonese (essentially English with a few added ee's, o's and ahs, only spoken a lot louder) and their English (the same), it transpired they wanted me to write the instructions for all the high-tech toys (that was, literally, what we were on about) they were making, destined for the West. And this was my interview, because they had run through all the technical writers in town and were not yet happy.

I had been recommended because in my file somewhere was BSc Civ Eng, which meant although I was a writer, I was also technical, hence... I fit the bill. So 'Q'u' proceeded to show me their next Mattel's-butt-kicking electro-plastic contraption, with programmable this and multiple options that. I nodded sagely throughout. Then they asked me if I had any questions. I could have asked several, but one above all had concerned me since the beginning; hence I asked: ''Where's the ON button?'.

And I was hired.

For the next few years I had a nice little earner, as all manner of bizarre contraptions would arrive at my flat, and I'd spend the day trying to figure them out and then writing down for American 8-year-olds (and their Dads) what they did and how to make them do it.

Big up to 'Q'u' and his colleagues for doing what they did well, and then getting someone else in who did what he did well (ie: be an idiot) to help them sell it.

So it really amazes me that instructions are still written by guys who know what they're doing, for people who do not. And it has now moved online into the wwwosphere.

Take this very blog, which I create daily upon my Mac (a format I opted for many years ago because I could relate to a picture of a filing cabinet and not to a C: command). And here's the thing. I can't, for now, blog. At least not on my station. Something about cookies, and java. A veritable elevenses' worth of hi-tech blogsworths.

So.. I went to help, which sent me to FAQs.

And this is where it goes truly in the direction of a pear-like entity. Without specifically saying that what they said couldn't now happen would be cured, there were all sorts of confident headings and links. Clearing caches. Deleting Cookies. Krakatoa, Script of Java. And these all linked to further places that even more confidently told me what I'd see. But... I didn't! On my Mac, IE>Tools does not have Internet Options, so I couldn't do a darn thing with them.

But there was a saviour at hand: if all else fails, throw baby out with bathwater... and get new baby. There was a button that was a link to Firefox. Click, and lo!, there I was staring not just at a upload page but one with an actual panel that said Mac OSX version. Woo-hoo! 8.6MB of slicker surfing awaited. And in the flicker of a modem it was done. Trouble was, I now had on my desktop 8.7MB of an Excel document that ran to 60,000 lines of gobbledegook. Now, this was certainly not previously mentioned as a possibility. Or, to me, much use.

So.. I went to help, which sent me to FAQs.

Which gave me a sense of deja vu.

I have now written to ‘contact us’, and we all know here that goes, especially on free services.

Except, of course, That comes straight to me. I am the LCD screener. Which stands for 'Lowest Common Denominator'. Or idiot. Which means that our site should cope with just about any human-related foible or if, technically it can’t, at least explain why.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fine for whom?

In the course of's unrelenting pursuit of information, I end up reading some stuff of interminable dreariness. Magazines that even ‘Have I Got News For You’ would refuse to believe anyone could be motivated to write, let alone read, or, even, in some cases, reach in their pockets for. Yet they are out there. Even the most obscure niche of the most specialist industry has a community, and the nether reaches of the re-world has some doozies.

And I really couldn't face talking about any of them.

But a small piece in one, that was nothing really to do with any specific industry, caught my eye. Basically, some poor devil lost his life at work, and his firm had been fined £10,000. Other than seeming a rather woeful amount for a life when a rich director get £50,000 in the same week for a paper saying something nasty about him, this got me to wondering. I do presume that the victim's next of kin would be attended to by company and/or personal insurances, no matter what the circumstances, accidental or criminal, careless or negligent. A fine certainly would seem to indicate that the employer/company was deemed at fault. But getting hooked on semantics, a fine doesn't sound like an award, which I would further presume would go to those who are suffering from the consequences. And if not, to whom does it go? The regulators? Staff party? Making up for the shortfall in London's congestion charge costs? Filling the gap in Gordon's fiscally prudent pensions black hole?

Even if financial penalties do end up swinging by the nearest and dearest, I've often wondered in some cases why some have benefited. If, say, a hospital is responsible for the death of a young parent, I can easily appreciate that compensatory funds should go to those they will no longer be around to care for (so long as the public purse is spared further by the guys responsible being held to account in tangible ways not involving money). But I'm not quite clear on where money goes in a lot of other cases where all it would be is... money.

Taking the medical world again as an example, and if you believe in a state-supported health service, as I do, then all that is happening is much needed funds are being diverted away from those who most need them to those who do not. All I can see as the main beneficiaries from this ‘fine’ culture is those who have managed to buy off accountability for their responsibility with blood money, and those who have allowed themselves to be bought with it. Plus, of course, the lawyers (don't get me started).

So it would appear that justice never gets served, nor is there any tangible incentive (jail, job loss, demotion...) to put right what has gone wrong before. When reported, along with the amount I’d like it made much clearer where these monies go, come from, for what, who authorised them and why.

What are the odds?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Complements all round

Wow. After all the grief that's been flying about recently, and my drifts into grumpy old bloggerdom, it's nice to wallow in some good, old-fashioned, positive news again.

A while ago, as a consequence of a thing we do with a guy who knew a guy who did a thing... who liked what was up to and wrote about it... we were contacted by some very nice folks at (link above). And, I am happy to say, after a woeful delay that was purely down to us, we have at last established diplomatic relations. We're mentioned on their site, and they're mentioned on ours, they do what they do very well, and we.. well, you get the picture. It's not the first, and we do hope will not be the last of many complementary relationships that will result in mutual benefit, tangible rewards... and end up helping save the planet. This, you will by now know, is how likes things to happen.

Our involvement with will primarily take the form of being just one (well, two, as Chief of Stuff Emma is much more skilled and diligent at monitoring such things than me, which is why she got tasked with being our very own Forum Queen) of many folks who engage with their various Forums on things environmental. And just to spice things up we have been invited to take part in an online interview with them next week. I must say I await this with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Of course, any expansion of our profile can only be good, and we truly look forward to getting some interesting questions and, hopefully, answering them in a way that shows people we're worth our salt.

But I have to say that the Luddite in me is also nervous. The whole blog thing has gone ok, so far, and it would appear most who feel moved to write in response are positive, which is nice. But Forums are a tad more Wild West to my limited experience. Emails cannot convey tones of voice or body language, and I have sometimes dipped into a Forum during a flame barrage, and exited none the wiser with my tail on fire as two guys slug it out.

But I am encouraged. This Forum seems well run and populated by interested, interesting, caring folks. I think we will have a good time engaging with them, and some nice things will result for all concerned. How neat would that be! Join us if you can a week today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why I really... dislike... the word 'hate'

I really dislike Jeremy Clarkson. No, I don't. I've never met him. What's to dislike? Actually, what I often find a shame is that a communicator and entertainer of his calibre and talent can, on occasion, come out with a few things I, personally and sometimes professionally, don't like, and wish he wouldn't. But then, so does Transport 2000 (Jeremy will know what I mean). So at risk of incurring his... dislike... of such criticism (which, if you read on I am really anticipating and hoping won't happen, for all sorts of selfish reasons), I am going to explain why here.

He's got kids, and I think they're around the same age as mine. And because of kids I've become aware of something. In this PC-obsessed age, that Jeremy so witheringly lampoons (usually with total justification), there have been a few small nuggets that have kinda, sorta... to me made sense that they be used with care (actually I like that, Potentially Careful seems as equally cautionary as Politically Correct, yet not so institutionally arrogant). And one involves 'hate'. There is too much of it in the world, in deed, that I don't really need to see it used in word, unless absolutely necessary. And I REALLY don't need to see it used flippantly, whilst accepting that this is a potential route to drawing its bite (a bit of Blogic for another time, I guess). For such a small word, it carries a big punch, and should be used with care. So when Jeremy opines that he no longer hates David Beckham having now met him I cheer, but then shudder when he starts looking around for his next victim to... er... hate. And the media is full of it. A critic goes into print to explain why he hates Harry Potter! So is it any wonder then that our kids start mixing up the words and deeds surrounding such a hateful word with a lot more that is really innocuous?

It's such a shame. I have been asked who I'd fancy most to be the celebrity endorser of, which would need to be, I stress, an unpaid role (so we’ll stand by the letterbox in anticipation of the flood). It required fair thought. Certainly not some celebrity with a book/record/new series to sell who needs a patina of goodness to make them acceptable to hype-obsessed media outlets who in turn are vaguely aware of their public service duties. And while I love most of them to death, the usual green darlings are either a bit too over-exposed (by being few and far between?) or, if I may be frank... obvious (though if the awesome Ray Mears insisted on taking me on summer hols to pick up tips on how to get by when the next ice age comes, I may just let him. He apparently didn't like the new Land Rover because you couldn't make replacement wheel hubs out of baked bean cans any more - how is that!).

No, I plumped for our Jezza. And it did bring a few of my advisors out in a fit of the vapours. But my reasoning was simple. is about choice. We would like people to engage with what we espouse because they see the merit, the benefit.. and WANT to do it. No fines. No shaming. Just reward. And if I can get the epitome of shameless, conspicuous consumption to say, in his own inimitable, eloquent way that there are aspects of he could see himself taking on board… I think that will speak a few more volumes about what we're standing for. Especially if he understands how it would save a bit of time (which I’m sure he needs) and maybe even make a bit of money (ok, not such a problem, but petrol is hitting £1 a gallon soon) ... or pull his highly paid buns out of the fire when no minion is around to get that whatever in the middle of nowhere (I am assuming he will have a web-enabled mobile to access the site for inspiration..

But I don't think I can make him 'our face' when he has to pursue the ratings to support his lifestyle by saying things I don't think he wants to, or really needs to, and that compromise all his highly necessary, well-researched, clearly explained reality-checking messages not just to those in authority, but also those of us (for there are many) who pay attention to his words.

I hope writing this will not spoil any chance we may have of meeting, and potentially enjoying one another's company in the future. Especially as I have a heck of an idea for Top Gear that we'd like to pitch to him. I think it'll be all right, as Jeremy is a big man in every sense of the word, and when he disagrees usually does so with a certain style and good humour. He also, when concentrating on being a journalist rather than a shock jock, has commendable ethical standards, a healthy dose of common sense and a fearless self-confidence to confront the totally barking in an already insane world.

So I hope he'll take the call (we have people on the track of his people). If it helps, I was once a Civil Engineer. And just like his justifiably-admired Brunel, I'm trying to make the world a better place, but am not ashamed to try and do it in an old-fashioned way. I also totally agree that safety cameras, if indeed they do provide that function, should have the limit posted on them. And I once at school sat behind a guy called Aston, which was a giggle at roll-call.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What makes the news?

To answer my last stated question in the previous blog, no, it would seem I cannot let this all go quite yet. But I'm hoping that by getting this of my chest I at last can, if ruefully accepting that even if a majority agree with me, I doubt anything we write or do will ever change things.

Everyone depends on the media to some extent. Some of us may even need to engage with it proactively for more professional reasons, to assist in our communications aims (and let's face it, few of us do not have some reason to want to reach out beyond our immediate spheres of contact).

But as readers will gather, I am often troubled with the blurring of what used to be more clearly defined lines between news, facts, opinion and entertainment in how information is served up to us. Too often the serious is sensationalised, the complex trivialised, and in-depth questions sacrificed in favour of quick opinion.

In the wake of the tragic, mistaken shooting of this poor young Brazilian, I this morning turned on my TV to be subjected to a 'news' story from the house of one of his extended family members in Brazil, with footage of sad, solemn kids throwing a ball to each other. They have lost a family member, and I presume a close and much-loved one. But I just wonder if the scene I witnessed was the little ones' idea, and what its purpose was.

From the same report I also question the pride being shown in the 'scoop' of a cousin making his financial claim 'here, live'. Again I must ask: did he come up with this all on his own? Or was the thought planted to keep the story running?

I feel that too many of these, and so many other so-called news items, are now unrepresentative, staged theatre by those who should be tasked only to report, and by 'adding' in this way to the story serve neither it nor the subsequent circumstances well.

But the authorities are complicit too. They play along with all these ratings-fests with ever-more stage-managed victims'/perpetrators' photocalls, with either an involved individual or a mouthpiece trotting out words I often doubt anyone closely involved to the events has ever articulated.

Our thoughts therefore become shaped only by what we are served up, because it is an inevitability (one I am happy to accept) that we do not get to share in the thoughts and actions of those who have the understandable desire to maintain a dignified silence on what is ultimately a very personal affair.

So it is those who make the most noise who get the most notice. And into whose hands does that play, I wonder?

The fog of war

It was very dark. And I was very tired. It had been a long day, on top of a long week. All I wanted to do was get some sleep. But they said they needed me, and I didn't want to let them down. I knew the rules, and had had them drummed into me ad nauseam. And I also knew roughly what to expect, as there had been some extensive training provided before I was allowed to be let loose. But when the gloom and silence were replaced in an instant by a cacophony of strobing, flicking lights, flashes and a bewildering array of sounds, all, it seemed, aimed at me, I felt I had no choice to react... and pulled the trigger. And stop it all did. Trouble was, it had stopped because I had dealt with not only those aiming at me, but those amongst whom they had been hiding, and those who were on my side. And boy, were my kids miffed. We were that close to getting to the next level, and it was bad enough that I had not only taken out my squad, but the number of negative points for the civilian casualties had put us back to the beginning of the game.

I have never been in such a situation beyond an XBox, and never want to be. Even in a civilian sense. Like my unfortunate namesake, Tony Martin, I have never been confronted by intruders in my own home, much less in the dark, and with the frightening knowledge that I'm on my own, there are more of them than me, they have got past major defences and despite a lot of noise are still coming in my direction, probably not to shake hands and bid me goodnight. At such a point, dealing with the legal system subsequently probably seems a less pressing concern.

It's not a defence of course, for deliberate, premeditated acts of revenge or cruelty, but I do have to ask myself if it's asking a lot of those put in the firing line, or who we put in harm's way on our behalf, to then have their actions in extreme situations micro-analysed and judged so quickly and confidently post-event. Especially when such analysis, based on much group-debated, studied hindsight, is weighed equally with that of an individual caught in an instant.

I started this before the weekend thinking of other, primarily military, events around the world. I finish it at the end looking much closer to home. And it is with a heavy heart. A young Brazilian man is dead. A few media organs that I recall were trumpeting his death as a terrorist are now giving voice to those who refer to the 'blunder' of an innocent's shooting (with things made.. foggy.. when we're talking Semtex waistcoats). Or worse, and I think unfairly, his murder.

In the circumstances, I'd say I'd call it a mistake. A horrible, tragic mistake. Especially when we have some slick 'spokespersons' calling it a 'shoot to kill' policy. Seems more like a 'shoot before someone may blow more people in the vicinity up' policy. I'd love to see what these guys' smug plan would be if stuck 100m meters away from someone who is possibly about to shred the neighbourhood. Unlike most, and most especially these comfortable spokespersons (How DO they get themselves on prime time? Who invites them?), the officers in question have gone into harm’s way on a defensive basis, albeit in this case wrongly. I talked recently about cock-ups. This was different. It was one as a result of split-second reaction and not clinical premeditation, which is key. And they did wait. It was not a sniper's bullet from afar. This seems the least best of a bad job. If it could have been done any other way they will have to live with it. If turns out there was ineptitude or malice they need to bear the consequences. As professionals that goes with the job. Some poor guy pulled the trigger who I am currently pretty sure will live with that error in humility for the rest of his life. A commander who gave him the authority may now be staring into space wishing that in this case they had been better informed. But when there is no time, things seldom conform to the ideal. But one thing is for sure, there are those with no such feelings who truly bear the blame. And far from sharing the sadness, they are revelling in having stirred the pot of anger and hate.

I'm not advocating the fog of war being used as a forgive-all defence, but in the circumstances I'd say we need to cut some slack. Especially until it's all been assessed. And even more so by those who they are seeking to defend. I presume all these media commentators use the Tube too.

Wow. I hope that I can soon get back to writing a blog in a lighter vein. It's a messed up world, and it's pretty clear which species is messing it up. Many of us are doing so unintentionally and passively through ignorance and laziness. But some just seem bent on getting it all over with by actively speeding the process up even quicker through deliberate, direct action, in pursuit of... now what is it they want again?

Friday, July 22, 2005

In praise of cock-ups

When I lived overseas, mosquitoes were a pain. One trick I was told of to pass an idle evening was to allow one to alight on your arm, and as it started to feed pinch the flesh either side of their probo-syringe-thingy. By all accounts this traps them in full suck mode and they can't stop, eventually blowing themselves up. This got me thinking of recent events closer to home.

The 'bad' guys nearly always seem to enjoy almost flawless precision and the seamless cooperation of mechanical and sometimes human components to their nefarious plans. They are only brought to book in a protracted period subsequent to their actions. So yesterday's attempted, and failed, rehash-up in London allows me not only to share in the collective sigh of relief we all feel, but to rejoice that even the forces of evil have to contend with the odd cock-up.

But here's the thing. These guys are not so well equipped to deal with them. And this should be capitalised upon. I do not wish to in any way ignore the deadly seriousness of all this (by all accounts one 'warrior' decided to show his 'courage' by selecting a mother and child as the best place in the carriage to stage his attack) but there seems to be an opportunity here. And I do not think it is working to have solemn pols trot out the usual crafted responses, and the media creating self-fulfilling headlines by telling us how we all feel, or reading out the most extreme opinions of selected individuals live on TV to boost their ratings.

These bombers are losers. And now they are plonkers. Yesterday they failed. And now they are on the run. It is unlikely this was part of the plan. So we have a unique opportunity to shape how they are viewed as they are pursued and, hopefully, brought to justice. They are not now 'fighting' innocent civilians. They are being hunted down by our professional defence services. Is this how they imagined it? Is this the glory they sought? Will this be the way they get celebrated by their supporters? Best yet, what if there's a bit of dissent in the ranks. A mole perhaps, who isn't so sure what they are doing is not serving anyone other than some bitter and twisted old men who somehow don't seem to feel the need for self-termination applies to them in the same way it does the youngsters they dispatch? Or maybe those merry pranksters at MI5 have been busy crimping their style, along with their fuses? Nothing better to make for a jumpy jihadi than not being awfully sure if you're going to be a damp squib with no more than a Roman Candle fizzing in you rucksack and the only thing you're going to die of is embarrassment.

We are supposed to have a skilled set of spin-meisters out there. I'd like to think they could manage things to take advantage of our national character and work with all involved to ensure that this and any future such events - and their perpetrators - get treated in a manner that starves them of the motivation to try again. Treat their actions seriously, but their intent with the distain it deserves and them as the poor, sad, bad jokes that they are.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Oo-er, responsibility beckons. Commitment looms. I have an audience at last!

I took some persuading by a few folks, but having leapt into blogdom have found it to be quite therapeutic. ‘Cross of Ross’ now has an outlet that is guaranteed to print, daily, without editing and hence leaving my words and thoughts subject to mis-interpretation by being taken out of context. And it also serves, I'm told, to keep the spiders noting is refreshed daily, as we still build up our editorial and info upload systems (more exciting news on that very soon!).

But now the pressure is on. I'm feeling the heat of knowing there is an audience out there, and a critical one (well, two, now) at that, though they have been of the most encouraging, positive variety... so far. But I know where there is an opinion there can be a dissenting one... and rightly so! Our PR crew seem to live in dread that I will end up bringing into my sights some organ of government or business that they are in the process of chatting up on our behalf. But I hope I am managing still to hew close to that fine line that walks between reasonable, fair, reasonably well informed corporate individual 'blogmment'... and a bit of a personal rant. This latter would on occasion be much more satisfying, but not serve’s stated aims of balance and objectivity wherever possible.

Even in my blog I prefer, and hence try (though not always successfully) to cock a querulous metaphorical eyebrow more than overtly state something is outright 'not on'. Rarely can one be so sure of the facts to be that black and white, though I do believe a clearly stated and adequately justified opinion is permitted some latitude in contributing to ongoing debate. If I stray, I'm sure those who care will soon let me know. There are those in my circle who will cheerfully admit to being a counterpoint to most of my views (I have a blog coming on the problems of putting people in all-encompassing boxes, and hence will try to live by my words in not assigning either them or me any narrow categories here) on life, the universe and everything. Yet somehow we work together happily and successfully through mutual respect, understanding and an acceptance that it is possible to get on when you don't always agree, so long as when you don't always agree it’s with grace, style and good humour. Something a few others could try to grasp and live by!

I am also, even at this early stage, feeling the pressure of delivering. It's my blog and I can slide if I want to, but I feel that I pretty much should try and meet my daily weekday dose (with weekends off). So far the writing side is none too onerous, and I do seem to have on file a fair number of 'back-issues', mostly non-topical in a time-critical sense at least (when there something that demands an instant blog it just adds to the reserve). But I already live in dread of 'writers block', and drying up when it comes to either content or style. Or both!

So may I ask a couple of favours. Do feel free to send me anything you think blogworthy… but first please do consider doing your own, as my opinion on something will never be the same as yours. But whatever happens, let your mates know... we need all the traffic through we can get!! Remember, blog it, and they may come!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

For whom the wind blows. Or doesn't.

Climate change. That's changing the climate, right? And that's bad... right? Mind you, actually spending a summer holiday in the UK outdoors has been a nice novelty. It was this in mind that I was considering wind power, having just read an article in Newsweek about the decline of Germany's Green Party, where the topic came up. I'm keeping an open mind on the whole thing still (including the demise of the German Green party, the reasons for which were interesting), but there's one aspect that occurred to me that I at least have not read before in the bags of wind debate. No possibility of a ROI without subsidy, covered. Social upheavals, covered. Even the real possibility of additional environmental damage, though this usually refers more to the consequences to the natural infrastructure through construction of the turbines than the odd shredded seagull (that's not a proper scientific name, by the way, though possibly a Cantonese dish).

But what no one seems to have mentioned, perhaps because it is not an issue and you can tell me to shut up if you know better, is the consequences of sucking the power of the wind out of it at a point that has not done so before. Maybe it is infinitesimal, but everything in physics, and nature has lots of physics, has consequences. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and all that stuff. So I just wonder if by sticking these dirty great big windmill farms all around to catch the wind at the edge may not have an effect, and possibly an adverse one, further down the line? Just asking.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and as all who cock an eyebrow at the promo-guff spouted about 'non-polluting' electric cars (it mostly just happens in another place, at least for now), free energy either.

I'm all for wind power if it doesn't just change one set of climate for another, and the only people who benefit are a bunch of German construction companies with good lobbying skills.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Conflicting Interests

One of the nice things about is that we are not, and will try never to be, beholden to any interest groups and their agendas. There are of course lots of other ones too, like the fact that we really don't care what gets done, so long as it's done well, efficiently, cost-effectively, for the right reasons... and ends up saving the planet.

So it may seem odd that I immediately share here something I have just read that doesn't exactly, per se, shall we say, on balance, serve our main areas of interest, namely re-use, and especially re-use of packaging, followed, quite closely, by related recycling issues.

Because it seems new research has revealed that 70% of us believe that recycling is the most important thing we can do for the environment, while just 5% think taking fewer foreign holidays makes a difference. So people's perceptions about what they can do to help the environment are out of step with their actual environmental impact.

Rationally, I cannot and would not dispute the facts at all. What comes out the back of a 747-load of delegates to a climate change conference in Bali (may as well discuss such things where the climate is nice) kinda puts the consequences of my 5 sorting bins to shame (especially when it appears they don't have a clue what to do with the raw materials when we give it to them - see yesterday's blog).

So... oops! Revise the business model? Nah! I don't think we need to. And for a lot of reasons.

For one, we do and will continue to focus on all such issues, and the minute we see a travel company, aircraft maker or airline doing their bit for green and good we'll report it. Heck, we may even let them broadcast the fact on our pages!

Also, to mangle one of my Mum's OWU's (old wives' utterances), a bigger right doesn't mean you divert from committing to a smaller right. So we'll keep right on doing our little acorn bit, because what doesn't really trash your day makes the planet stronger. And we figure helping you save time, save money and having a bit more fun doing so still ticks all the boxes that really matter.

And finally, there's the small matter of pragmatism vs. idealism. Just check out these spiffy stats that came along with the report:

15% of a household's annual energy consumption results from personal transport, and home heating accounts for 24%. So... "there are many simple things that we can do that would reduce our impact on the environment. For example, driving a mile less a day or turning our home heating down by two degrees, saves the energy of a whole year's worth of packaging."

But here's my personal favourite:

"21% of people acknowledge the value of taking public transport, the same proportion as recognise the value of walking or cycling, rather than driving their own car. This is has risen from 9% and 7%, respectively since 1999

I don't know about you, but when I see phrases like 'recognise the value', I feel a warm fuzzy glow inside, even if it is somewhere closer to the pit of my tummy. Knowing that some campaign has actually 'proved the value' usually means it has only proved the value of spending money in the media to raise awareness. But with no incentive attached it is more likely consumer code for 'fine for other folks, but not guys like me with jobs to go to, or two kids and a ton of shopping to collect'. But I for one shall certainly 'seriously consider' (another research goody to trot out) getting out of my car and walking the last mile of the journey. Not.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Build it and they will come

A fair old while ago, I was invited to be part of a panel discussion about the dispersal of EU media funds to improve the lot of the aspiring creative 'yoof' in our area. There was much talk of roadshows and bursaries and bestowing of equipment hither and thither, and the various officers involved were getting quite excited at the prospect of ticking all sorts of 'training/education/start-up' boxes. On the other side of the coin, more than a few of the guys from the industry side were a little dubious about setting up a bunch of inexperienced new guys to compete unfairly by being able to undercut due to massive IT subsidies.

I chipped in to suggest that perhaps the best way to serve the up and coming talents of the region was to invest the money in creating more work for the existing guys, and market dynamics would inevitably lead to them requiring more staff, thereby drawing the talent pool smoothly from bottom up to meet demand, rather than artificially punting highly-educated, but not necessarily very well (in a practical sense) trained kids into an already highly-competitive, saturated marketplace.

Naturally, I was not invited back. And the funds went into creating vast legions of Mac-savvy would-be designers, sound engineers, etc, who are either now working at Tescos or trying to explain to their hotshop’s new customers (who shifted to them for a few £ difference) why they can't do the changes in time because they hadn't allowed for those in their quote.

Which brings me to what promoted today's blog. Apparently, 190,000 tons of recycler-collected green glass has got nowhere to go, with a surplus of 550,000 anticipated by 2008.

Hence I really, really, REALLY hope that this will be borne in mind before the next round of vastly expensive ads are commissioned to tell us to... recycle. Because if the public finds out they are going to all this effort and it isn't being used productively and in an environmentally-sound manner, there may be a slight slip in trust and, hence, cooperation.

By all means encourage a recycling, but for heaven’s sake make sure you have figured out what to do with it when you get it. Before you set out to fulfil a demand, create one first.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Untruths and Lies

Considering a rather notorious (strictly professional) connection with Ms. Moore, of 'bury bad news in 9/11' fame, it is perhaps an odd coincidence that what struck me as a rather momentous bit news was lurking today in a small backwater of the online news media I was browsing, all of which are swamped still with the bomb plot latest. It was, quite simply, that a senior member of government, Stephen Byers, lied, and had to admit that he had lied. Not forgot (or did not recall). Not bent the facts. Lied. I don't know if it was the skill of the interrogator or the obvious stack of evidence as proof, but he seemed pretty well bound to say it as it was. No Clintonian or Blairite verbal convolutions here. Not even, as I can see, an attempt at raising context or attempting justification. To mix it metaphorically in the farmyard, a porky was uttered, and now it has come home to roost. Thing is, what will be the consequences? I have long instilled in my kids that they should not lie, and rely on those who set examples to live up to that. But with kids I also know that if there are no consequences to being caught out, the whole system breaks down.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Green Goes The Nappies, O!

We have a simple set of beliefs at Chief amongst these is that people respond best when they WANT to do something rather than being cajoled, shamed or coerced into it. And that includes doing the 'right' thing. Not far behind is that market forces and consumer power are facts of life, so it's best to figure out how to understand and benefit from shaping them. This is seldom served well by the grant mentality, which tends to view the goal as getting, spending and then reapplying for the next grant, rather than creating an independent, viable business model based on customer demand. You survive, and thrive, by making consumers want your product.

So it was a privilege yesterday to find myself presenting some marketing, design and ad concepts to a local organisation called EnviroAbility, who I am hoping represent the new wave of thinking that is to be found in community groups. Their efforts span many relevant and worthwhile areas, from recycling to book swaps to collecting unwanted tools for reuse. We have already worked with them on creating the RE-Box doorstep collection brand, which has proven highly successful.

This time it was looking at better ways to market their Green Nappies service, which is basically an environmentally much more sound way of dealing with our little darlings' 24/7 waste consequences, and that's a fact despite anything that was broadcast in a rather unhelpful report on the matter recently. Plus these products are now not just as good as disposables, but BETTER in almost every way.

What was key is that they were treating this as a true business opportunity, with an analysis of the market, target demographics, etc. And, most importantly, had an appreciation that they were competing with major, established BRANDS here. These are guys blowing millions on making consumers opt for them. So, with huge immodesty, all credit Green Nappies for getting in a pro. With a few decades of fmcg ad experience behind me, I do know a thing or two.

My strategic analysis was made a whole lot easier by a wealth of information and research made freely available by organisations such as WRAP (who had seed-funded this effort, in what I think is a much better way for such money to be invested). And the production burdens were equally eased by a lot of resource material that was on offer.

However what was most interesting to me was how much so many of the suggested creative directions for this material were very much constrained. I don't know by what, or who, but great selling and persuading messages were buried in cold facts and figures of no interest to anyone but the target obessives, as opposed to the actual target markets. Maybe I have answered my own question there.

What’s for sure is that it was liberating to turn this material into a hard-hitting, results-driven, consumer-influencing campaign.

Best of all, with my final presentation words echoing away, it was great to see the smiles on the faces of the collection of high-calibre local business folk who form the EnviroAbility board. They got it. I think, with's help wherever possible, they are going to make it happen. And we're going to see a new way of doing good, AND doing well.

So watch this space. And this URL: (direct link above)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blessed are the righteous... if usually unemployed.

Definitions do matter. Somewhere in my lists of blogs printed or pending (so please accept now my apologies for any repetitions that may occur) is one about how I truly object to is having put 'none of the above' (or its nearest approximation currently, namely not ticking anything I don't fancy) on a polling form recorded and then listed as a 'spoiled vote'.

I get a similar feeling when I see the word 'whistleblower'. While there certainly have been those who have betrayed the trust of their countries or companies for less than noble reasons, the huge majority seem to have been motivated by genuine decency and sense of outrage at a deviation from ethical standards by those above and/or around them, who should simply know better.

Trouble is, despite the courage of their convictions and actions, they are usually hung out to dry. Firstly it's by those in their own organisations who should appreciate that rot, once established, will inevitably spread and corrupt all it touches, bad and good. Then it is by the guardians of society, who these days seem more obsessed with covering their own behinds than looking hard at those of others they have been tasked to monitor. And accepting the now inevitable failure of the system we pay to do so, even those traditional guardians of the public interest, the media, seem content to make a brief fuss and then drop any follow up in pursuit of fresh pickings. And then finally there is us, the public, who may get indignant, tut-tut a bit... but then allow our memories to fade as easily as all the rest.

So let me do my rather pathetic lone bit to keep a small flame burning in support of the EU official driven from her job for exposing widespread fraud at the European Commission's Eurostat data office. So far, no Eurostat official has been punished for the diversion of £3m of taxpayer funds into illegal accounts over three years ago in a scam described as a "vast enterprise of looting" by investigators. All the accused are still working for the EU or have retired with full pensions.

The heroic (that's a better word already) EU accountant who helped uncover the Eurostat abuses, Dorte Schmidt-Brown, has had to flee her home to Denmark after being subjected to a campaign of threats and harassment.

Despite Lord Kinnock, then administration commissioner, saying she had been treated "disgracefully" and sending a personal apology – though this is after him initially dismissing her claims as groundless - the European Court of First Instance refused her claim for redress and ordered her to pay her own costs.

Chris Heaton-Harris, a Tory MEP and leading anti-fraud campaigner, has said: "They're covering it up, hoping we'll all forget about it."

I have not. And every time someone reads this blog, hopefully you will not either. Not just Dorte, but all the others like her, too. Maybe there should be a website devoted to them... and also those whose actions or inactions have managed to get them listed there. Let me know if you fancy getting one going. I am already seeing what can be done with the right message and access to the internet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mixed signals.. means bad reception?

Recently I was watching the BBC's special coverage of Africa to coincide with the G8, and my ears pricked up when the topic of mobile phone recycling came up. At we seem to get a press release almost every day about some scheme to give our old ones new homes, all of which we have been happy to put on our pages (though I do question the sheer number of different schemes, whose inevitable separate administration and logistical streams must eat into the total benefits hugely. Maybe it’s time to consider consolidating?).

It was not the most in-depth piece, but quite interesting as it traced a discarded 'old' mobile from the UK to a village in Nigeria. I wish I had a better appreciation of the various factors involved, but I have to say I came away with a certain sense of unease. I'm not against anyone making a profit from waste (I live in hope), but there were an awful lot of people in the 'chain' who looked like they were doing more than well out of some people at the end of the chain who were not. And while the fragrant BBC reporter did her best to delve, a comfortably be-suited spokesperson for this industry seemed to be saying that 'they' should not have to choose between putting food on the table and, to be slightly flip (in the absence of a cable-based terrestrial network, mobiles do at last offer viable communications), downloading the latest crazy frog ringtone. Not exactly what Saint Bob had in mind, I'm sure. Sometimes we all have to make choices, and I'd frankly prefer my aid money went on genuine need-based growth projects, and not some local corporation or street guy rooking his neighbours to make a call instead of eating. Trust is a fragile commodity.

With many trade and child protection (and direct environmental consequences such as managed forests) issues abounding, there is a lot of scrutiny on what comes IN these days, and rightly so. But maybe the time has come to be a bit more concerned about where our re-useable or re-cyclable products are GOING? It's great that we are more and more concerned enough to dispose of things responsibly, and I'd hate to propose anything that puts any obstacles (even if it is a few minutes of extra time) in the way of to doing so. But especially when people's disposal choices are being influenced by charitable aims, I think in making their decision they have a right to know, and should make their choice through having a clear understanding of the path to the beneficiaries. I guess that's a project for someone like us, then, when we can afford the time and money to get all investigative. But in the interim if anyone knows of any comparisons of such schemes, we'd be happy to print it.

I'd suggest the people best placed to do this properly, from information to collection to dissemination, are the major mobile handset and service companies who sell us the things in the first place. Managing this well would be a great CSR opportunity, do good in the right places at fair prices… and cut out the dodgy middlemen. A plan?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ready, aim... fizzzzzzz...pfft

Now here's the thing. I am not the biggest fan of targets for targets' sake, and Lord knows our little enviro-arena seems to have more than a village funfair. But to help you assess if you are aiming in the right direction, and actually hitting close to the mark, they are kinda useful. So I wasn't overly encouraged to read that the 'G8 [are] to agree [with] the need for climate action but no targets. That smacks a bit of me telling my twins that it's good to go for them to bed early, but I'm off and would they please put the lights out when they eventually decide to go.

I'm getting less and less inclined to read, listen or generally engage in any way with the myriad talking shops that exist to shunt highly paid delegates around the world, whose only function is to have meetings on where their offices will be, how many staff they'll need and how the index-linked, benefits structure is to be guaranteed. Oh, and when the next meeting should convene, 5 star exotic hotel availability permitting. This only creates an empire-building culture and navel gazing to the detirment of actually doing something.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Spoilers

Again I write before the full story unfolds. But I know what I want to write as it's not the first time, and sadly will not be the last, in this country or any other. The perpetrators of the London bomb blasts are cowards. So if I hear or read one thing about 'tough', 'daring' or 'audacious' in the media or by any apologists I think I'll gag. In a democracy it is easy to make and plant a bomb. All 'coordination' takes is a map, a schedule and an alarm clock. And if you are so sad with your own life you want to end it by taking other, innocent ones with you, it is even easier. One has to presume this was timed to coincide with the G8. Those guys are up there; this happened at the other end of the country. An easy, soft, target.

All these terrorists are simply losers and bullies. They have no honour. They are not fighting FOR anything, and like the bitter and twisted puppetmasters who direct these sad cases, are simply out to destroy everything. Like any parasite. they can cause pain and kill, but they need to know how insignificant they are to the positive body of people on this planet. They only shame themselves further with these petty efforts.

Now is the time to focus on what is good, and in so doing starve these spoilers of the fuel that feeds their wicked flame. I have just read a online newswire posting (URL link by clicking above, or cut & pasting below) by John Mappin of, who advocates positive news. He has been quoted as saying: "It is extremely important that the media who report such tragedy do not fall into the trap of forwarding the terror and fear unnecessarily. For in so doing they themselves become merchants of chaos serving those who would have us hate."

Let us hope his call is heeded. But already I question the value of some coverage I am seeing, other than serving the ratings ambitions of the media. If there is nothing more to say, don't say anything. Don't fill space with pointless, silly commentator questions and morbid interviews with 'experts' or 'past victims'. Sick footage does not help my comprehension of what happened. What did was a vox pop with a bleeding girl who ended by saying her wound was insignificant, and she was more concerned for the others. She, fellow noble innocents, and the efforts of the emergency services are what will inspire.

And finally, though the perpetrators cannot be ignored if they are to be caught and brought to justice, let's never forget that the most important people in this tragic event are the victims.

John Mappin's post:

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Olympic Ideals

I have written this yesterday (which is as convoluted a shared concept of time travel as I, and possibly you can cope with first thing), at breakfast time, and hence before the announcement of the result of the Olympic host city. I do so blissfully unconcerned by the result (total sporting trophies in the cupboard: one, and that for a beanbag race at age 8. But then, it may even be an Olympic sport by now). No, it's because, having had a BBC outline of the performance of the British bid, I am proud of 'them' (whoever 'they' are).

Also as a non-resident within the GLA that maybe easier for me to say on a ROI basis (and we at to prefer stuff to cost the public little or nothing if possible - I bet Tone will be happy to bask now and leave the tab for his successors to cope with), but I am truly impressed by the creativity shown in the bid. And while I really haven't seen all the videos and stuff to comment that objectively, by creativity I really mean what I heard of the thought processes and cost-effective ideas that have gone into the presentation. Now if/as they.. er,.. have.. blow out (you know what I mean) it will weaken my argument, but as with all things there are many other factors in the mix. However if it's all about promoting sport and inspiring kids for the future, then it's hats off to them whatever happens.

My favourite was the report that while the French filled their VIP front row with a bunch of pols on a jolly, Les Anglais had a bunch of kids in there. Calculated, yes, but sheer genius in making a point, and making it well. Also getting genuine folks to present, rather than sticking on a slick vid. You can only take so much CGI in a day.

And if I may make yet another Junkkocentric point in my blog, I anticipate all future such bids to copy this strategy in pale imitation. Nice to see some UK Go3 & marketing guys being first to be first, rather than queuing up to be second once the focus groups have had their bland way. Now, to make sure in 2012 we still have a green, clean and pleasant land around which to hold this, or any other event, what next would it make sense for business and government to support up front? Answers on an e-card to...!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

.. fun, supplemental

I don't know if it's 'form' to do more than one a day, but I couldn't resist this just in from Reuters in proving my point, entitled "Food axis of evil invites Chirac to dinner":

'Jacques Chirac's mouth must be watering. Finland and Britain, the French president's two gastronomic nightmares, have invited him to dine on their finest food.

Stung by Chirac's reported comments on British and Finnish cuisine, Finnish European lawmaker Alexander Stubb, married to a British woman, has asked him to dinner.

Stubb was thoughtful enough to allow Chirac to show off the glories of the French table if he takes up the offer. "We hope that, as the president of an esteemed wine-producing country, you could provide the wines," he wrote.'

Prig, pompous, humourless... nil point. Humour, balloon, prick... one-nil.

Saving the planet was never going to be easy, but it can still be fun

Last night, purely by coincidence, I chanced upon a TV programme entitled 'Big Ideas That Changed The World'. This episode was introduced as a history of environmentalism by writer Bjorn Lomborg. Now, I hope I have remembered all that I watched correctly, and I stand ready to be corrected on fact. But as a blog is meant as personal opinion, here goes...

Mr. Lomborg's claim to fame was writing a book called the 'Sceptical Environmentalist', which it seems did what it said on the jacket. And hence one could not dispute that what he was outlining should be viewed in context. His basic premise was that the green lobby relied (relies?) on faulty information, and in the show he made a valid point on the pessimism at the heart of environmentalism, and that environmental groups have a vested interest in painting it black, and keeping it there. And I must say I couldn't help but contrast the sincere aims of Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring (which got DDT off the spice rack), or the noble group of Greenpeace protesters who braved an Alaskan nuclear test, with the dogmatic, grant-dependent academics and salaried, head-officed, international conference-attending personnel, stances and actions of the activist corporations (you know, the, er, good kind) that exist today.

Mr. Lomborg did not seem to be a corporate (the, er, bad kind?) apologist. And there were countless interesting facts, theories and examples though, as is always the way, one has to be aware that this was a single, one presumes self-edited viewpoint, with no live debate from alternative views.

But I was taken with points such as Kyoto costing $150 billion a year. I have no problem with that if it is working/works in its aims, but this was contrasted with the benefits of diverting this money to world poverty (so, by no coincidence it's time to focus again on their Bob-nesses, and I deliberately note the spread from Geldof to Mugabe).

What did strike a chord were notions I had not previously heard, and hence considered, before. And these made sense, whilst freely acknowledging that it appealed to me on a rather selfish basis. A lot of global warming is from poorer countries using inefficient carbon fuels because they don't have the technology to do otherwise. Help them raise above this situation, and they can afford to avoid greenhouse gases and the mistakes of industrialising nations in the past. Now that's something I can subscribe to: end-benefit.

And to build on that shameless allusion to's core values, I'd like to end on one last image. There was archive footage of Mr. Lomborg's book signing, when a po-faced activist from central casting (no obvious beard, but there were very possibly sandals below shot) mouthing some 'you dare to disagree with us so we need to make you pay' polemic, smacked a Baked Alaska in the author's face.

You know what I loved? Despite his surprise, Mr. Lomborg seemed to crack a smile almost immediately, and in wiping the goo from his face with his finger even managed an appreciative lip-smacking taste. There is nothing as irresistible as a sense of humour. The way we will eventually win out over global warming is to be professional in what we do, but always chill out as we do it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The outlook is fine, with the slight possibility of motivation in the unforeseeable future.

I have just had forwarded to me that Geoff Hoon is suggesting compulsory voting, backed... surprise... by fines if the public fails to vote in British General Elections. The Commons leader says a move towards compulsory voting is necessary to reinvigorate UK democracy. The proposals, which would also give voters a "none of the above" choice, follow the 61% general election turnout. Mr Hoon said British people could expect a "modest fine" for failing to vote, although he steered away from saying he wanted the scheme to be completely compulsory.

I rather love the notion of 'reinvigorating democracy' (which, according to my PC's dictionary is 'the right to PARTCIPATE - and this to me does not include any form of coercion in its meaning - in the system of government), is being introduced in almost its first breath as something with a fine attached.

And then there's the fact that it's not necessarily going to be 'completely compulsory'. Is this not like being 'a little bit pregnant'? Surely it either is, or is not compulsory. As with a lot of motoring-related laws these days, there seems to be an attempt at introducing ambiguity in the hope of deriving revenue from the confusion it produces.

Is it just me, or is this the mindset of every official and action of every department these days? Create a half-baked situation backed by fines first, and then figure out how it may actually work whilst generating revenue to cover the necessary ministry of minions to administer it all.

It certainly seems to be the basis of a lot of environmental stuff flying around. But most seem to be lazy or greedy options. I'd much rather people were persuaded to follow mutually beneficial paths by smart people finding ways to encourage them to do so because they want to, based on a clear understanding of the advantages. A very good place to start is in the form of incentives. This is the core basis of the model. Time will tell if it succeeds, but it has to be better than starting with 'or else'.

As an interim measure I'd suggest making 'none of the above' a more respected statement of dissatisfaction, and not a statistic ranked with spoiled votes.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Back from camp. With dignity, and possibly a couple of ribs, sorely compromised. And blogwise, the pressure's on! Not one week and I have faltered. I was going to miss today as well, but fortunately I had one up my sleeve for just such an eventuality...

Now that I have gone to the blog side, I'd like to give a big up to the chap who eventually turned the nagging of others and my consequent dormant thoughts into action. I met Lloyd Davies of Perfect Path at Internet World, where we were exhibiting, and he was speaking, surprisingly enough, about Blogs. I was inspired by his talk, we me t..yadayada.. the rest is history. Time will tell whether this was a good thing. I notice he's the first 'respondee', and I'm already being monitored on an aggregator, whatever that is. I think he said I needed one. My PR also has also sweetly advised she's keeping an eye out. So far, I'm ok, though Lloyd wants me to tilt at many windmills (and there are many that need a good tilting at). But at our stage of development there are those who you need onside more than off. So I'm already walking a fine line between. With almost no power it seems there is still great responsibility. Just ask any guy put in charge of 5 Cub Scouts for the weekend.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Hypocritical Oaths

I note that Chancellor Brown has accused his colleagues in the EU of hypocrisy, based on their postures on African debt vs. their stout defences of EU subsidies. By my understanding a sort of robbing Bob to pay Pierre. So good on Gordo. Not enough politicians vent the odd 'hypocrite' oath, and it is one that deserves to, and hence should be used a lot more often. Just.. a slight note of caution: it can have a nasty habit of making those who live in glass houses wish their boomerang-lobbing technique were a tad better. There are many in the environmental sector who would do well to remember that. Oh, and the government, too.

A shortish blog today, and none over the weekend. With G8 , Live 8 and all sorts of other fun and worthy stuff taking place, I'm decamping with my kids to another: Scout Camp. Not quite sure of the carbon consequences, but we'll certainly be closer to nature. Ging gang gooly, gooly, gooly, ging gang goo... hey, we're holding our own musical G8!