Friday, March 30, 2007

Trust Drive.

£15 speeding tax for victims of violence - but REAL criminals pay nothing

Might one ask what the surcharge will be that those who are incorrectly charged with a road-based infraction can impose on the authorities?

I have on two occasions been, eventually, found in the right having been subjected to ever-escalating authoritarian pressure and threats, both financial and legal, most likely by automated system.

The only penalty that the accusers suffered was the cancellation of the original, unjust fine.

This is barking. There is no incentive at all to apply common sense to the imposition of such threats, as simply by pushing a computer key a computer racks it up until the individual caves.

This is government-sanctioned extortion, pure and simple.

I'd suggest it was resisted. By all of us.

Budge it

How ethical is my baby?

'So what I want to know is whether it is ethical to have had little Elsa at all'

Well there's a question. Do you want the 'that's all we have time for' answer, the 'unleash the hounds of blogdom' answer, or maybe the 'let's pussyfoot around a dodgy topic 'til it passes' answer?

There are probably more. I sure as heck don't have it... them. She is well cute, though. Not sure I'd use my two in the same way, but then I'm not in media. Or likely ever to be a celebrity with all the access and accolades that confers.

But you have, indeed, done the maths. As have I.

Finite land area to live on... and off. Expanding population, much of which is hell bent of making stuff to get richer or prove they are, or visit the rest before it gets lost thanks to them visiting it... because they can.

I have to say that there would look to be a 'point' (doubtless with a nifty name) in there somewhere, and it begs certain questions, the solutions to which mostly dare not speak their name. Lebensraum was an ugly word, if from a while ago.

Oddly, most in the environmental arena seems to work on the notion that Mother Nature has it sorted, and mankind is messing her up.

This is at first hard to reconcile with 'survival of the fittest', at least in a finite space, unless you pop ethics in. Because what you get in nature is a balance, pretty much sorted out by violent death and culling of the weak. Plus a bit of resources-driven restraint at the predator end as well, felis a felis, thanks to competition, famine, etc.

Mano a mano, is... different.

Because what used to happen seems to have been thrown a curve a tad by civilisation and compassion. On top of pollution, waste, etc, etc, regulation of numbers of any kind, much less by self, is not only abhorred, but even when Gaia gets her Gatling out actively countered at every and all opportunities. War, pestilence, disease. Everything she throws at us we have an answer at the UN (well...), a tsunami warning outpost or the CDC.

Your point in offsetting the food fight with carbon-based productivity is well taken.

I am just not so sure this Peter is so optimistic about the petering out. Especially now I have hit 50. Soylent Green anyone?

Life's too short, and sweet, for me to get into the bunfight you'd like some poor courageous soul to institute, so I will do the same and idly pass the time asking... 'what if?'

So let me end with these: 'What if Hugo Drax was real?' and 'What if the Douglas Adams had allowed the telephone sanitisers to join the other ship'?

Passes a Friday and fills a column, eh?

Are you a money-grubbing, career-obsessed coprorate toady?

If you work in marketing, apparently not, at least when it comes to saving the planet:

Marketers switch on to carbon neutral

Sadly it's a paid for sub, by a magazine by and for, well, marketers, so infer away.

I simply ponder out loud that when it comes to recycling, about 90% of people say they do it, and 20% actually do.

And it's not like the Beemer upgrade to full leatherette at next fiscal hinges on it, hmnn?

There is an e-bit in there... honest

Talk about Newsnight


At first I almost joined those in Daily Mail Land wondering why on Earth we had Comical Ali's daft cousin on to waffle for Iran and Islam, but actually I'd say go for it... he did more damage to his cause under Jeremy's more than gentle probing than could have been hoped. For all the good it does knowing that 'we' are 'dealing' with those whose national footy stadium must be the only one with wheeled goalposts.

Sadly, the opposing side of the inevitable Newsnight 'twofer' seemed to be a guy who would have followed Nevile Chamberlain into the gates of hell or, rather, the gas chambers. Usually I am irritated by the dog-fight style of provoking commentary that simply drives ratings and makes the BBC moderator look the only voice of reason, but this issue deserved a lot more.

As it stands, no one is coming out of this well, especially the poor sods seemingly almost forgotten about, at least 14 of them. Plus ca change...

I await with dread the eventual outcome, even, god willing (or should that be 'fingers' crossed'?, their return. Then we will see the pols and the media and their 'experts' at their ... most predictable.


In light of recent comparisons with Communist Russian state behaviours by certain people and administrations, I was amazed to see the staged crowd scenes by Labour's hype & spin department.

As to Mr. Miliband as a leader, you only have to read his Spectator speech, repeated in the Telegraph the other day:

A shame so many used it as a shop to simply fire insults at each other, but then, that's today's' Parliament. Thank heavens I still have a vote. All I need now is a worthy direction to point it.

That's along with the rest of the electorate, some of which I do hope are still also watching closely. And not just the Westminster Wonderboys and Girls in the lobby, with pens poised to tell us what to think in their 'We know best-fest', flush with exclusive new vigour following the shock and awe victory over Mr. Fawkes the other night, by cleverly choosing a weak foe bobbing about in a big seas (sound familiar?) and using overwhelming force... that was of course available by taxpayers' funding.


Sadly I these days have to view all such pieces with a cloud of suspicion over the objectivity of the news media, but what I saw made me very sad and very angry.

Like so many cases, a person says dark is milk, and that's it. Maybe JP does get to rebut, but the silky words of the PR blonde distraction effort still register despite her getting to squirm and issue a series of nonsense about 'reviews' and 'talking' and 'stats' any pol would be proud of. And to her 'determination to strive harder' she gets a thank you... 'as that's all we have time for'. This latter is set to be carved into the headstone of accuracy and truth in broadcast news.

In a few nights, for the media and all who watched it, this will be passed. Not for these kids. And how many luvvies in London would see doing without their choccy fix.. as one ethical commitment too far? Do I not buy my kids an Easter Egg? If so whose? I have no idea how to act as consumer. Oh well, the moment has passed. But I'm sure it will win a news award.

ps: Why, if this site is moderated, do we get a post that says 'test blog', yet some I am aware of that do offer interesting commentary do not make it on board?

ADDENDUM - I was 'dissed'... I think. Why does it always come across as a BBC shill?

Mr. Wallace @ 32

'...maybe some posts do not get on here as they may be too long winded or tedious.(Don't take that wrong, it's just an observation)'

None taken! Plus adding to the quality of discussion significantly by offering some possible explanations, thanks. Though as the issue of editorial control and 'moderation' does crop up on these pages, one has to wonder 'who' gets to decide on 'what' is long-winded and/or tedious as a basis for rejection. I don't think 'you are boring' or 'I prefer complex things debated in one sentence' is really legitimate for censorship purposes. There lies the route to a soundbite-driven culture. Worse, the removal of context as a way to ensure accurate communication of thoughts and information. I do agree that brevity is best, if possible. However I think it was Mark Twain who said: 'It takes a long time to craft a worthwhile piece of long copy. Even longer to produce a short one'. Unpaid bloggers sadly do not always enjoy the luxury of time in getting across points as, say, big media commentators. 'You doesn't pays yer money, so's yer takes even more chances'.

And I do still feel the actual answer to my question may still elude us. On reflection, my thought is that the moderator is tolerant of those simply trying to ensure they are posting correctly on a technical basis, though that could possibly make for longer, and less productive, threads.

'ps .what's wrong with the Daily Mail? It's a great paper'

I don't think I wrote that there was anything wrong with it, necessarily. It was just a way of making an observation... in shortwi...handed terms:)


It's a new category I have created, for when I question if the awareness is not swamped by the irony of the action's consequences.

Sydney ready to switch off lights

'Are you in Sydney and planning to take part in the event?'

No, put what's the betting some won't see the irony of travelling there to do so. Like news media. If so...

'Send us your photos...'

Don't forget to use a flash. It's meant to be dark, see.

Just wondering, how much CO2 does a candle give off vs. a light? It may well be a whole new eco-romantic movement in waiting.

Dilemma Number 2

I like the Eden Project. I don't like some of the senior folk privileged enough to be running it, but hopefully they are just an arrogant green elite minority. But when they dragged me and our then Head of Prose & Comms Anita all the way to Cornwall to tell us how great they were and didn't need to work with us on reuse (oddly, I still see no great efforts on this emanating from there) as they knew a lot better, I was a bit miffed.

And so again I was struck by today's PR event on BBC Breakfast, with an eco-motor show held there. Now, there are some who may see a certain irony in trying to get people to drive to Cornwall to see a show about how cars pollute and emit, but there you go. It's probably more logical than the NEC or London, apart from the whole majority of the audience base getting there issue. Oh, well. It's the message that is important, see.

Anyway, a lot of car brands got to say their 'all we have time for' sales pitch to the microphone munchkin. Nothing much about bio fuels looking less optimal on food production, etc. At least we were spared the Prius. Maybe explaining how getting it there was worse for the environment in comparison to many other makes was a factor.

And at the end we had Green Guru Dick Strawbridge, who has also to find time in his busy schedule (doubtless why he drove and didn't take the train. Hey, that's why we did, though it was car sharing...ish) to respond to our outreach efforts. Admittedly this may not happen as he was part of my less than positive feedback on the SKY BIG Idea set-up, but we did try and get int touch in several ways way before that.

Nobly, he had driven there in his 20-year old chip-fat powered Land Rover, which promoted me to write and ask:

'What's the tax on Dick Strawbridge's 20 year old Land Rover these days? Are bio 4x4's exempt?'

Sadly, selling new cars is all they had time for. Anyone know? I just thought as an example of joined-up e-government it was a fair question.


I'm guessing that after several sustained, and apologised for, complaints about mangled on air journalistic/editorial efforts by Breakfast TV, I suspect I am less likely to be featured on air, at least via the BBC, any more. Especially when it is to 'Defensive Declan'.

However, on a morning when our public broadcaster sees fit to publicise a hen and stag night promoter exclusively, in the guise of 'worrying whether we are spending too much money on more and more grandiose wadding-related events', I popped a mild effort in as a result of a piece on water conservation:

'Instead of an additional manufactured item such as a branded product like a Hippo, one alternative to displacing the volume of water in the WC cistern is to locate a second use item of packaging such as bottle or container selected to fit the space.'

Now the Hippo is OK. But it is frankly just a heavy duty plastic bag, and I have a small problem with new things being manufactured in the name of green that are really not helping the overall global enviROI.


From a paid national paper journalist:

Pretty please can someone comment?

Make that 3.

And if this one is moderated in... four


Part of the problem

My headline says it all, about his:

Lying for Bush gives you cancer

In light of the content, I'd question your headline.

Recently I challenged the BBC on a website headline that stated that the British Military had strayed into Iranian waters, and it was only in the second paragraph that I discovered it was 'according to a source from Iran'.

I would hope that I do not engage in practices such as not practicing what I critique. If I do, slap me down. Quick and hard.

The Fast Ark

I have a a rough guide to those worth working with, based on what I call The Fast Ark.

You can climb aboard and help row. You can be a passenger. Or you can be an anchor.

It is obvious that those in the last two categories are destined only to impede progress, and are hence not worth much at all, save as targets for persuasion and conversion to rowers.

I was pondering this as i read the following:

Only one in 40 officers free to answer calls

While one accepts certain reduced %ages are inevitable by 24/7 shifts and the need for coordination and logistical support, this does not look healthy.

Especially as I look at my new rate bill, with the costs kindly broken out.

What might be helpful, and concentrate the minds of those we vote into, and out of office to manage such things, might be a traffic light system for such services (like the food packaging one), where one can get an idea of who is rowing, who is coxing, who are passengers. And how effective all are in their contributions.

We'll be able to figure the anchors out for ourselves, I'd hazard.


I was watching the BBC Breakfast News when a piece came on about a train crash enquiry/case.

They had of course wheeled out a spokesperson/victim, to whom our sympathies must be extended.

He seemed to be of the view that a fine of £10M will be appropriate. I fear I must question the logic of all this as an effective deterrent. While money is a great motivator, just how it works in ways to the decision makers in corporations is in question. Look at the famous Pinto case.

As I wrote:

How is a fine, of any size, or a company apology, going to act as a deterrent when individuals must have been culpable? Have there been any individual, career-related penalties?

Until people take responsibility, and are held truly accountable, I rather fear that all that's happening is money getting shunted to where it is really not going to do much use from where it could be better applied to rectify faults.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Give 'em enough rope...

I had first entitled this 'Some parapets are not worth poking over', but hey, it's Friday.

First up there's this:

Guido Fawkes apologises to BBC's Political Editor x2

To which I wrote in this:

Nothing much worth commenting on here any further, bar the reassuring notion that it seems even the Newsnight team is not above a duplicate post.

Or... (SFX: sinister music) did they think it was so good they posted it twice????

Now they have corrected it (see pic), without credit or explanation, I have had a further mooch at it all and have decided to change my mind about the not commenting.... because I can.

Especially as they seem to be gloating... a lot: If you live by gunpowder...

This week, however, we learned that when it comes to making and breaking reputations there's life in the old media dog yet....

If you choose your foe and battleground well enough. If he was dumb enough to accept the set-up (in any and all forms that phrase can take), more fool him. But pride comes before the fall.

Thing is, until now I had never heard of him... and he's the number one political blogger?

The whole smacks of set up. First choose a rubber dinghy bobbing about in a big sea and make an example of the poor sods inside to send a message about the teeth the old dog has to warn off others. One guy in a hostile studio, with the guys behind the camera and hands to edit slider on one side... AND in control?! You must be sooooo proud.

Who can remember the points the poor sap made? I can't. With luck, and YouTube, it's out there so if one did need to debate it with the full BBC team, and all their archive and edit and research resources, a lone warrior 'might' have some chance of recalling facts and tweaking them to suit. In the cold hard light of the next days some blog responders (congrats for running those I see... but, all who have written?) seem less than impressed.

In passing, by the by, I think you have not answered Dennis' main point, that JP admitted that what they did was not 'optimal' professionally, but was done to fill some time. Post Blue Peter, the dictates of time seem to be throwing Aunty off the professional rails a lot these days.

Care to explain why this little blog note..."

'Well that makes.. two of us! Well tucked away little devil of a blog this... wonder why?

As I wrote to a paper the other day in response to a piece about broadcast standards:

'You want unreality [Rest above].'

Tick reply here:

1) It wasn't us
2) It wasn't a problem
3) If it was so what?

And if you get pressed...

4) It was not perhaps the best way to do it
5) We are addressing this at all levels
6) An urgent review is under way

But whatever happens, no one is responsible!'

...didn't make it to a Newswatch blog... yet (who's to wonder if it may pop in soon, after all these days):

Maybe the BBC thought it was 'unsuitable?

Getting back to Mr. Fawkes, from what I recall he had some fair points. Certainly in written form in the blurbs that got me to watch (not his blog, which I personally don't find to my tastes). A few on this blog know that when it does suit, the moderator will not play ball, by taking his away, along with the paying field. A point admitted by the eminence gris , but perhaps not with the irony one would have hoped. He of course would not get to smug to the camera as much, one suspects, if he was too nasty to the guys sending the taxi and big upping his paper.

And having a 'gotcha' on the facts is, sadly, a bit of a bummer for any erstwhile critic. But just how many blogs and post links did you guys wheel out to crow about GF's faux pas?

It's not like the BBC, or Mr. White, is immune from some sloppy stuff (accepting, of course, that you are all very busy). Obviously the 'I don't know Mr. Prescott's age' thing was just being absent-minded, and not worth harping on or hounding.

But oo, guess who just sent me this:

"This was a genuine mistake resulting from the producer misreading [your] e-mail and not a deliberate attempt to doctor our viewers' opinions. The mistake was made in the initial e-mail summary compiled by the producer and sent to the presenters and hence was repeated twice during the programme. Of course we should have read the e-mail more carefully but
I can see how the mistake was made as [you say] the exact opposite of what [you] really think[s] - which is only revealed by the line "yeah right" right at the end - so while not excusing it - I can see how the error was made."

I trust this proves satisfactory. Please be assured that your comments have
been registered and are available to the 'Breakfast' production staff.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact the BBC with your e-mail.

Now, do I accept this? They don't read information thoroughly. Are incapable of assessing tone of voice from the written word and print only what they want to see, regardless of what it may convey. And defend running one line out of three in this way (also ignoring the first, which was as equally negative as my sadly over sarcastic 'Yeah, right'; a phrase JP would never use in rebuttal on Newsnight, I'm sure, he said.. sarc...) with a load of waffle and spin
and insincere apology with no hint of any chance to take this further should I wish to. And these guys were not under the spotlight, live!

Nah... I think I'll go with what the masters of journalistic integrity would do, and trump... no... no, I won't. I'll simply publish in full and let the people make their own minds up.

Me, I'll just keep on offering information as accurately and objectively and attributed as I can, with the odd bit of subjective opinion lobbed in to show I do have them. And why not?

It's... more honest, less hypocritical... and safer, I do believe

Don't like it? Well, I'm sure you can sort it all in post:)

Guardian - The Daily Telegraph's Spy column today publishes a picture it says is
of Paul Staines, aka political blogger Guido Fawkes (P6). Spy decided
to do this after Staines made a film for BBC2's Newsnight this week
demanding more honesty and openness from political journalists.
However, he refused to appear on camera himself, at one point being
interviewed by video link from a dark studio, appearing in
silhouette. A BBC insider tells Spy: 'The whole disguise thing was
really a bit of a joke. But I think it made him look a bit of a prat.' - All this is getting a bit 'confused' in the reporting, or, soem might call it 'mis-reported'. Who came up with this black-out idea that so misfired? The BBC or the Guy himself? And why are the major media so keen to stick the knives in themsleves? Oh... yes... they are the only ones who should be doing this.

Guardian - A parody of democracy - a long while later. Maybe it's 'cos their man was in it:)

If you have nothing to add...

... don't let that stop you!

Paper or plastic? No thanks

We do, Ms. Ashbrook, we do. This on the day our national emissions rose again, I doubt mitigated much by a few less witches' knickers.
It's just our media have grasped what's more important to them.
Sadly, they still own the ball and the ball park.
And if they are kept busy playing there, the authorities can breathe easier that they are not as fussed as they may be by the bigger picture.

Big Blue mentality

That was a song I wrote a long time ago. It was about the rigid structures and factional infighting that defined IBM and its less than terrific grasp of market leadership in the face of new challenges.

It popped into my head today because I have been blogging about The Apprentice and big corporations such as Tescos. And then, an hour ago, I was standing in our local Morrisons.

There was a scene straight out of a reality TV producer's wettest dream. Senior management. Middle management. Floor management. Minions. All in various degrees of Armani, gel, Specsavers and testosterone. And as for the men...

And the object of this high-powered cabal? A mop display.

All were sincere, with eyebrows furrowed as the man with 2.0l BMW 3-series told the guys with the 1.8l BMW 3-series what he thought. Priceless. meanwhile a little old lady gave up waiting to be helped with the small matter of buying something.

Bet they all have a degree in metrics and have been to customer service courses though.


Now I am usually not slow to cock an eyebrow at a rather premature green claim that can all too often backfire and make things worse, but this seems one for the 'Well, D'Uh...' files:

"Greener" buildings could slow global warming: UNEP

Of course any savings WILL get totally obliterated by all these brainstrains and their press gangs going around the planet having conferences on this guff. And our tab.

That's why they get the big bucks.

They love (Tesco in the) US. They really love (Tesco in the) US

CNN Money - 10 Green Giants

An interesting and worthy piece; worth noting.

I cant speak for the non UK-based organisations, but was interested to see Tesco at No. 4.

That would be this Tesco, I presume.

I have mentioned to a few folk our leading supermarket's accolade over the pond, and most have replied 'Our Tesco??!'

They may have more than one wind-powered store, but I'm pretty sure they are just trialling it/them. And when you don't spend on electricity from the grid, the money goes where? Bringing mangoes over by air-conditioned camel? Or boosting the bottom line? Just good business.

As to the biodiesel delivery trucks, yes, I read about them, too. They are how many, where and doing what, right now? And biodiesel - that fuel solution with such green support - makes up for shunting food from one end of the county to the other how? Read about the trains thing too. Sounds good. How is it progressing?

As to estimating carbon costs, will these be shared in the same way as they did the on-pack health stats, not by a simple, customer-comprehensible traffic light (as requested by the Food Agency), but by an obscure set of charts no customer can understand, but necessary so they get the full picture? Or simply don't bother as it's all to hard basket.

But it is all better than nothing, so long as it is genuine and not self-interested greenwashing. Hate for those bonuses to be in part not met by weighing profits vs. planet in anything but the best way. Like the bags thing though. Tangible incentives are nifty. I like that idea. Wonder where they go that one from several years ago, but only now seemed moved to act with legislative pressures and potential profit in a pincer action on decisions.

Pledges are good. Don't know about the US, but over here it's a product range that makes tired and overused natural products look better than they really are.

See what staying up all night does for you

He can try and play it. I'll still 'Hmn' it.

Miliband - I'm in tune with the 'I can' generation

An interesting collection of virtues there. And a few notable absences: Honesty. Ethics, Substance. Leadership. Trust...

With the exception of the first that has been cited, all seem more to do with self, as opposed to public... service.

But then, that is probably what politicians today think politics requires... as virtues. With luck the vote, while we still enjoy a free one, will rectify such a notion.

Though obviously out of tune with the hipster, ‘cool’ and ‘now’ crowd embodied by today’s David Brent ministerial class, but still as a British subject, parent, worker, homeowner (and voter, let’s not forget), I can think of and wish for a bit more from my aspiring leaders than ‘being in tune with the times’ as a number one ambition.

It all rather smacks of reacting to now, rather than thinking ahead, proactively creating and inspiring to improve on the future.

As does “I can”. Leaves things a tad vague to my tastes, and almost begs to be followed by ‘...but I may not’, which renders it without any value. Or if there is movement intended, it seems towards more and more ‘talk’ at the expense of any ‘walk’. Sounds about right.

This nation is rapidly in danger of seeing merit in and rewarding the culture of rushing to be the first to be second. Not to do what's right. But simply not to be seen to be wrong.

When I see third sector initiatives - delivered to meet calls bannered under slick titles such as ‘Inspiring Creative Innovation’ and ‘Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship’ - getting rejected for being ‘unproven’ (what else is an innovation but..?) at the expense of ‘proven’ over-staffed, unaccountable, mysteriously vague ROI’d quango money pits, then I know the bean counters have truly decided to be the only ones left seated, albeit with ever more growling stomachs, in the cafe.

Me, I prefer those who say “I am...” and are, or, at a pinch, “I will...”, and do, so long as the promise is met within a decent, specified, reasonable time period.

I of course appreciate it is me who is meant to be motivated by this mantra, but as those who would wish to enjoy the fruits of government seem so unable to live by it, I’m hard pressed to see why I should do their jobs, and pay them for not doing them.

But I am in fact doing all I can. Not because of what hype and spin soundbite politicians have had written by minders to parrot from their membership cards (and it seems not that often delivered in reality), but in spite of them.

And that... really excites me, at least.

GUARDIAN - A backroom conspiracy

'We can't just carry on with New Labour. It is seen as self-obsessed, media-fixated and corrupt '

It has been said before, but it's worth saying it again. Repeat after me....

'....and that's because...'

ps: Nice, uncorrupt piece by Mr. Miliband in the Telegraph today. Two out of three ain't half bad. Literally.

Guardian - Labour must act against this group of dedicated wreckers

Has anyone read what the 'other' option being touted to lead our country has by way of a vision thing?

ps; It's in the Telegraph. Linked from the above. Saves me cut, edtitting and pasting, as I don't have 'people' on the public payroll to do it for me.

Telegraph - Labour's fresh voice

'Isn't it insane that under New Labour the taxpayer pours billions into the NHS, but still ends up with worse benefits than they could buy from the reviled free market system of the US?'

Welcome to our world.

Imagine if they were running a business?

Better yet, how would they fare on The Apprentice?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Beam me up.

It has been... another... long day.

So I was in an odd mood when a student asked me to fill out some questions on Social Enterprise.

While there are many good examples I have come across, there are still way too many who know how to play the game and are supported by a system too lazy and inept to make the effort to really get the money where it will do the most good.

Here are the questions, along with my, often rather flip but still honest, answers:


1. Why do you feel there has been such a dramatic increase in the number of social enterprises over recent years?

We’ve pretty much messed the place up, so for our kids’ sake some feel it’s worth trying to get it back on track. Others see it as a nice comfy little earner, or nice on the resume.

2. Why do you feel the work carried out by social enterprises is so vital to the UK?

Because the more traditional bodies, such as government, have, are and will make a total fist of it as those in charge and those joining public service are no longer doing so with the primary aim of serving the public.

3. Do you think social enterprises are the best way forward to meet the social needs of the UK population – please state why?

Possibly. Yes because most efforts succeed mainly by being what people need and want, and hence get supported by those they are there trying to help. No if, and by my experience, when some simply see it as a way to pursue agendas more motivated by personal gain rather than any real social improvement.

4. How successful do you feel social enterprises have been in solving the social problems of local communities or society in general?

Some... a lot. Most.... Not so hot. Many simply add whole new layers of cost and interference into already crowded and under-funded areas.

5. Do you think the public and private sectors fail to fully address and satisfy the social needs of the UK and why?
(if yes, proceed to question 10, if no proceed to question 11)

Yes. Public by seeking to meet targets and career agendas rather than needs. Private by being way too short-term and looking only at the bottom line.

6. Do you believe the public and/or private sectors have the capabilities to fully accommodate for the social needs? – please provide details

Public... no. Not any more. The systems have been corrupted by the process being more important than the product... or service. Private... possibly. But it needs a real shift in bottom line mindsets that impact personal career developments in that sector.


7. How does this organisation compete for sources of income considering the competitiveness within the social economy is increasing?

Badly! It’s not what you are, but who you know. And how well you let box tickers tick the boxes and sign off the readies rather than any real attempt at creating viable social ROIs.

8. What is the main source of income the organisation receives?


9. Is there a procedure in place in the event of a lack of funding?

Dig deeper into personal bank account.

10. Do you feel there has been a significant change in the amount of support or funding provided by the public and corporations?

Yes, There seems to be a lot more about, but they still seem to keep most of it to themselves first building empires and armies of bean-counters before any gets doled out where it does the most good. And do corporations fund anything that is not their mate’s wife’s hairdresser’s favourite charity to look good at CSR report time in the annual AGM? Or what makes them more profit?


11. What are the main challenges faced by the organisation from both a short term and long term aspect?

Competition from those funded by government and quangos to unfairly compete on what should not be a commercial basis. Intellectual property raiding by private sector.

12. Are there any strategic plans in place to reduce or eliminate the impact these challenges could potentially have on the organisation?

Yes. If you can’t get them to join you, beat them and hope they rain on some other person’s parade. Win the public, and you win. There’s always the vote. For now.

Al a kazam! Al a kaboom! Al a can't be bovvered...

Newsnight - Tuesday, 27th March, 2007

Interesting. Which is more than I can say about the Al Gore interview, which doubtless was a BBC 'exclusive'. What did he offer? 2 minutes between more important meetings?

Other than a few side mentions, almost 100% of responses to last night's programme are concerned with poverty, which may have a part to play in my area of interest (other than wondering if it is a mandatory to be Scottish to get into government and/or be a spokesperson these days - if so, sign me up. I am, at least half), which is the environment and how to just keep it ticking along, and with luck tickedy boo.

So it seems we may have to call in Al.

I have lately weathered a lot of blog storms (sorry and sorry for the puns) about the issues of climate change, post IPCC and Ch4/Durkin, and Mr. Gore's role in it all has popped up on occasion.

It has not been pretty. I'm afraid this piece didn't scrub up much better.

For a start, the programme was launched with Mr. Gore quoted as saying the US could learn a lesson from the UK Government.

Sadly it was not too clear what that was. Hopefully it is not saying to the population to do one thing whilst those doing the saying don't feel it really can or should apply to them.

Mr. Gore was mildly tasked on this aspect of leadership by example. At least on his electricity consumption, which he had a good chance to field, and did so fairly comprehensively; though saying something is a lie and not really saying where sets up some red flags. Personally I thought he would have been better advised to point out that as his is not exactly a two-up, two down family home and as he runs his office from it (with staff), there is likely a bit more than a microwave and TV left on standby in there.

Sadly we did not go on to find out why him flying (if indeed he does) by private jet is necessary thanks to a busy schedule that the rest of us apparently do not suffer from. I'm off next month to Geneva and simply can't wait to get in that aluminium tube and see what I can catch in the 90 minute flight from row 22b. But the price and time advantage vs. a train was simply too great to enjoy the slooooow travel now promoted by all our offsetting travel writers with places to eventually get to, and people to sponge off.

So we're winning the war on climate change? When EU ministers think their 4x4 is OK but yours is not, and then vote to let even more planes shuttle back and forth to the US, along with Air Force Gore, of course. Not.

I was also very surprised how unconvincing he was. He droned, dealt out dry facts and frankly didn't look as if he cared a damn what anyone thought.

Maybe the CH4 doco was reckless, but explaining how by just saying 'his' 'experts' are better than 'theirs' is a level of argument my 10 year olds would demolish. And I now have a lot of highly-educated and aware mates tackling me more challengingly on my advocacy, based on being swayed by this show. It's no good just saying they are naughty people and 'we' wear white hats, so we must be right. The small group of sceptics I am aware of seems pretty big to me, outside of the green elite and business leaders with their eyes on a) not being walloped with punitive measures and b) making a nifty profit. These folk only know what they know, and calling them deniers won't help much to change their minds.

The poverty story does make one wonder. Is it just possible a reason that most average people are not as engaged as one would imagine, or hope, is because we are being talked down to mostly by guys who have scored nice little earners but are often shown to be doing so from very dubious and shaky pedestals. I would accept that Mr. Gore is better placed morally than most, as he has form going back a long way. Genuine stuff. But unfortunately for him, and in my view his - and my - cause, he is not the best person to communicate effectively with the general public by dint of personality and personal circumstances. Not his fault, but a simple fact of media life.

The world's mid to low-income consumers really are the only ones that matter when it comes to making the necessary changes in personal choices to in turn help the planet.

Can this nation's 'leaders' (especially, lord help us, the self-anointed 'green elites'), and Mr. Gore for his own country, and all the trendy media who would support them, really put hands on hearts and say their efforts at reaching this majority, much less influence them, have been successful to date? I'd say not.

So we need some new brooms.


ps: Ribena has been fined for its lack of Vitamin C in the iconic drink. That'll teach 'em! I'm guessing about what they make in an hour, right?

pps: I am thinking of taking the Italians to court for war reparations for stuff I am sure happened to my great, great, etc granny, who I'm pretty sure was a Roman comfort woman. Now can we fill five minutes with some spokesperson and critics hauled off the BBC rentamouth crowd to chew on this, please? And anyone who says I can't is a racist, and I demand compo!



The percent you can claim back via tax credits (minus admin costs of an army of pen-pushers with only one personal voting option to stay employed by those who created them) to compensate for what you've had taken directly in tax - a long way shy of a 100, Jimmy!

Taking a private jet to go to an enviro awards ceremony or media opp - worth every tonne, especially if Bono can hitch his hat a ride.

Telling your customers that what's in your product isn't quite what they may actually find - £70k

Taking a bit of distant history and turning it into a divisive conflict tournament for a few days - loadsaratings!

The trust the people now have in government, activists, spokespersons, business... and the media that is meant to keep us informed objectively on their activities - er.... less.

A whole lot less.

ADDENDUM: I was rebutted -


Well one bit out of a few is not too bad! Better than none!

I don't think we are disagreeing too much at all on anything, even what the problems are. But I'm afraid I must offer the opinion that your reply rather makes my point.

I have worked my whole life in media communications. One lesson I learned early on was when we were pitching and my boss said to a client ''I'm afraid you are not understanding my point", to which the client replied: '"And I'm afraid you are not making it clearly enough for me to be persuaded by it. Oh, and I'm the one you want to pay for the consequences of your proposal'.

I would dispute the word wilful totally, but for the purposes of brevity I summarised my feelings, which stand. Without reference to the archive it's hard to get into detail, but that's how it came across ... to me. And another, sad fact of our sound-bite culture. Who has time for the full story... 'when that's all we have time for'.

Be assured, I am keen for most, if not all, of Mr. Gore's views to prevail. But I concern myself that the messenger, and not the message, is at the fore, and there may be some flaws to this that outweigh any earlier gains in 'awareness'.

It is a fundamental aspect of the fight to win hearts and minds, to effect what I see as necessary changes to lifestyles to redirect our futures in a better environmental direction.

I am not telling you you are wrong in your data. How can I? I don't know yet what is fact and what is not. I am simply sharing how I feel. Yet your response has been that I am wrong and it seems I must now change to your way. I'm sorry, but my first instinct is to push back even harder.

I have lived through but been too badly burned by too many flame wars between big-oil-funded deniers and rabid eco-fascists (the only 'camps' that seem to get featured, and hence dominate any public media outlet) to feel like getting into the global warming 'debate' any more, as both can only seemingly operate in the most didactic manner. For the few paras you lob in here I can point you at scores of blog pages that have run to hundreds of posts, pro and con. We seem no further ahead.

For professional reasons I try a lot more than most to understand the problem, to be objective in seeking and sharing the solutions. Many do not have the time or inclination to do so. And they are 'our' audience to convince. If it is all so obvious, how has this failed to happen yet? Are you saying that the masses can't understand, and so don't know what's good for them?
We're getting to points where people are being asked to cut back, and if they are being asked to do so by those who reserve the right not to, or who will suffer in relative terms much less, we are entering eco-farming territory Mr. Orwell would recognise.

Ask the average person in the street what they think of the global warming issue, and I'll be interested in who cites the IPCC report, and who mentions the GGWS, both of which are used by various media to bash on their agendas. And you surely can't be saying that the BBC is not sympathetic to the notions in support of man's influence? But equally it is rather telling that you seem to require that only what you agree with gets shared. Allow debate to take place, and counter in ways that people can understand... and respond to.

I simply feel that those who think they know better then the rest of us are in danger of being more worried about being proved right, than seeing anything right get done by the best folk for the job.


All concerned have a passion that is to be applauded, and some... levels of conviction that are to be envied.

It could however be wished that such knowledge and desires to share are matched with an equal ability to convince, otherwise we are in danger of spinning in one place.

Sadly, it would appear that I suffer from a similar inability to get some to see my key point, which I must accept as a failing on my part. At least I hope I am not using the basis of my facts being the only facts that are valid, as can happen, and would rather deal in what seems to come across more by the evidence of my of my own eyes as I look out the window, and then witnessing what gets traded in blogs such as this.

The thing is, we are usually not debating from opposing sides, or even trying to effect a compromise between differing views.

So I end up agreeing with most of what people believe in and seek to share, if it's what's best for our kids' futures.

I simply question how effective such belief alone often is in effecting the necessary changes in the optimum timescales.

Applying highly simplistic tags to a very complex issue, the 'deniers' have a huge advantage.

They are basically saying 'There's nothing wrong. Or if there is it's not down to us. Or if it was/is there's little we can do now to change it. So just chill out as you warm up, keep on doing what comes naturally and partayyyyy!'

Those who take a different view, including myself, would beg to differ. Speaking personally, I don't really yet pretend to know with certainty whether what we are experiencing is as a result of a climatological natural phenomenon or not, but the visible influences are looking tangible, rather frequent and moving a lot faster than a geological timescale.

Hence I'm operating on the basis that whatever man is doing, we may not be helping. And hence it might be as well to check our headlong rush into potential oblivion.

Which brings us to scale. Do we 'cut back a bit'? Do we stop? Do we reverse? All involve compromise, which to a race with competitive cultures which have evolved into growing economies, is not going to be easy to manage.

So far, I don't think the problem has been sold very well, very consistently or at all convincingly. And with very few solutions that make sense or simply smack of bandwagon jumping. And while there are many sincere folk doing their best to share their messages, and doing so in an inspiring way and with best of practices and personal examples... too many are not.

As it stands, I regret that I think the 'my way or no way' style of persuasion stands a polar bear on a shrinking ice flow's chance of getting Joe Blow out of his aircon car, Fiesta family into a Prius, any Isligtonistas off their ski trip this Easter, or me to concede its OK to just talk loudly without being too concerned whether the message is being received, understood or being acted upon.

A bit like a Brit on holiday abroad. 'Silly foreigners don't see how obvious what I'm saying is'.

Good luck. Over and out.

Now I see why we must stop 4x4s at all costs!

Carbon emissions from power stations soar

Ironically, right next door...

Government to unveil greener cars plan

Right hand, meet left.

BBC - Emissions soar from UK generators

Biter bit?


Tablet facing race complaint

Good job they are unlikely to be up for any senior Conservative spokespersons posts.

Think it. Just don't get caught telling.

Who needs freedom of speech anyway?

Branson's Solar Spaceship Ate My Hamster!

Green visionary or pipe dreamer?

“the 50-year-old entrepreneur has repeatedly managed to get Hollywood celebrities and other investors to join his ventures."

Bong smoker, more like.

Lord spare us from yet more hype based on celebrity obsession fuelled by the media.

Would we even have heard about this but for that para above?

Yes, it would be nice to think it 'could' work, but as with all things green and topical, the one thing that gets forgotten is the enviROI; the cost to the planet.

A bunch of dipsy celebs boost their cred by blowing chump change on something financially unsound but which does make a positive difference is fine by me.

Getting a wadge of PR by consuming vast resources to screw up the planet even more for my kids... no, I don't think so.

DTI, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely...

(to the music of Edwin Starr)

I was just passing this and couldn't resist popping in.

Could the DTI face being broken up?

In light of this question - "What is the DTI for?" Asked its Head of Department in 1989: "I've got bugger all to do, and thousands of staff to help me do it." - and the fact I for one can't see how much has changed since then, I have to ask if the headline question was posed in any way as it should be.

'Can the DTI avoid being erased for the sorry money pit it was, is and always will be', would be more like it.

Apprentice Shi*

I was just watching BBC Breakfast with Sir Alan Sugar explaining the new show's format.

I haven't watched it before. Doubt I will now.

He deems the winner's paths to be a great accolade to the BBC. I must see how Ruth Badger's consultancy is doing.

But I was mostly struck at his admission that what is shown is nothing like reality because that 'doesn't put bums on seats'. So a man of his calibre is merely a puppet to what some luvvie production munchkins want for ratings.

And hence... even though it's obvious it wasn't isn't and never was intended to be, lets be clear it's nothing like real business then.

Please let's not try to pretend it is.

Guardian -

I watched BBC Breakfast the other day with Sir Alan Sugar explaining the new show's format.

I haven't watched it before. On the basis of his performance I saw nor reason to try try this time. From what I read above I was well motivated not to.

He deemed previous winner's paths to be a great accolade to the BBC. I must see how Ruth Badger's consultancy is doing.

But I was mostly struck at his admission - like we didn't know, but really, today's media is all about saying one thing as po-faced as possible while doing the direct opposite off camera - that what is shown is nothing like reality because that 'doesn't put bums on seats'. So a man of his calibre is merely a puppet to what some luvvie production munchkins want for ratings.

And hence... even though it's obvious it wasn't, isn't and never was intended to be, lets be clear it's nothing like real business then.

Please BBC, let's not try to pretend it is. There are some in this country who don't get their business and career guidance from such as Dragon's Den and rubbish like this.

It is only popular because slickly produced public executions have always been so, and if you are handed the full force of a national broadcast medium machine you are pretty much certain of a nicer job thanks to the ratings boost. Except if you made Castaway. Keelhauling may help there, not that I've watched it either.

Guardian - Last night's TV

Guardian - Stepping out from under Sir Alan's shadow

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tax and spend, OK. But where's it going and what's the return?

The real battle is over services, not tax

To the author:

Forgive me, but I don't subscribe, so I don't have the benefit of the full article to comment upon. So maybe you have covered this.

Like any businessperson, or indeed any individual managing a budget, my greatest concern is what I get for my expenditure and, In the case of investment, how good the return is.

What appals me is the way government, and its hired but unaccountable mercenaries in the quango sector, can claim results based on expenditure with no measure at all of how well anything has performed in real terms.

As a parent I despair over what the money lavished upon health and education has actually resulted in. As a professional ad man and green advocate my jaw stands agape that entities such as WRAP can claim response rates for recycling as 'good' when they have blown bazzillions of public funds on campaigns that may look nice, tick boxes, meet agendas, etc, but may not actually result in as good, or even a better planet for the money.

My battle is to get this whole sorry mess back on track, for my kids' sake. It will take a long time, at least before any rectifying efforts bear fruit. And for that reason, I doubt any short-term oriented pol who does appreciate this truth will be in the least bit interested or motivated to do so.

Fly away, Peter. Or, maybe, not.

Make green taxes fair

Like you, I am middle of the road, greenwise (though wondering when ever it could be OK to straddle the white line). So I pretty much agree.

But I would make a small plea to pols, activists and media from the London C-(for centric) zone to at least acknowledge that some do not live within our fine capital.

Noting the dashing hybrid, I can only wonder how I am helping the planet driving along the motorway or along country lanes (no trains worth mentioning here) lugging a heavy battery.

That said, I also wonder how a Porsche Cayenne, at a dead stop parked in the City after a 3 mile trip, is 'worse' than such a vehicle buzzing about all day, emitting away.

And before we get on taxing fuel, like the ill-considered road-pricing first outing, bear in mind the district nurse racking up a hundred miles a day. She has a vote and knows how to use it. Tricky, ain't it?

As to flights, who is this 'us' who are accorded short haul flights, and who is the 'them' who decides to take or bestow upon this Peter, to the detriment or benefit of 'whom'? I just ask, because there may be some Kalahari bushmen breathing the same air as we do who will be well chuffed to get such an allowance to trade.

Or is just for 'us' to play with, and not 'them'? Also pretty tricky, huh?

As to fair, well, you are having a laugh, right?

Sod it. There goes the SAAB (the money to buy it aspect may have been a factor, too)

If we want to save the planet, we need a five-year freeze on biofuels


Will the next pro/con sledgehammer issue and its big (corn) oil denier and eco-fascist advocates please take to the stand... the people were in danger of thinking they had some idea of how to help save the planet, at least with personal transport. Seems not. Phew. Imagine if something had been resolved? Where are the op-ed jollies in that!!!

Next thing we'll find out that CarbCon trading is just a nifty way for short-term pols meet targets, tick boxes and make your mates in the City rich enough to fly you around the lecture circuit in their private jets.

I guess I'll hang with the 10 year old Volvo a tad longer.

Actually, there are some good points to be gleaned. I'll let you do that for yourselves.

Easy for me to agree

Commuter train or cattle truck?

This is the sort of environmental campaigning I like to see and fully endorse.

Identify the solutions, and where they are not working get them sorted first.

All it needs now is to get from a minor blog post to a mainstream voting issue.

(Sound of breath being held).

Life Cycle

Cycling proficiency for the 21st century
'Only 2% of children currently cycle to school compared with 50% in 1969.'

I do wonder if that may in part be anything to do with the distance that many kids are now from their designated school, and the assault course that is the UK road system they would need to attempt to cycle to it. And once there, the provisions for dealing with being soaked to the skin.

But I am sure a nice shiny Comms trick between Government and compliant (nice COI campaign ad revenue follows, no doubt) media will have all of us rushing our little loved ones onto to their Raleighs. Or maybe not. But at least boxes will have been ticked everywhere, including Broadcasting House.

I did have to laugh at yesterday's BBC Dog's Breakfast 'News', when the 'reporter' on this 'story' cited, without irony, his taxi driver's feelings on the subject en route to advocating that our children should be daily obliged to embrace this mode of transport to get to and from school. Not so practical for the rest of us, then? Or maybe just too dangerous, time consuming and dirty for most adults with things to do, people to see...

The problem with the media #234

As also reported on BBC, a bit after the bit about the ballet dancing cat in ther 'main' news:

Captured sailor's family speak of their distress

She is also 26 years old, we are told.

The state of mind and ages of the other 14 are not a matter of concern to the news media, it seems. Bless.

What's this lifting off my chest?

Unreality television

You want unreality? Try Newswatch, their navel gazing sop self-critique show, where sleepy junior management are wheeled out at dawn on the weekend to issue insincere mea culpas, or defensive denials, to transgressions throughout primetime the rest of the week.

Or their complaints department, which will review what you have said thoroughly and get back in some tick-box period to say they value your input, can't see a problem, will bear it in mind, but anyway for now buzz off.

If I was paying for this I'd be livi... oh, I am.

ps: Didn't write this to the Telegraph, but I am currently watching Breakfast TV, with the blonde and the bouffant in a love-fest with Mark Curry, who seems to get wheeled on at the drop of anything to comment, and promote his business. Oh, and he's an ex-BBC employee.

Oh, I couldn't resist. First salvo to Newswatch, which is always worth a laugh:

'Has BBC Breakfast been engaged to act as the PR agency for Mark Curry's business interests? He seems to have been invited to comment on... anything... recently, and then pitch his wares at the same time. Nice to help your mates and all, but a little incestuous perhaps?'

ADDENDUM: Newswatch

Well that makes.. two of us! Well tucked away little devil of a blog this... wonder why?

As I wrote to a paper the other day in response to a piece about broadcast standards:

'You want unreality [Rest above].'

Tick reply here:

1) It wasn't us
2) It wasn't a problem
3) If it was so what?

And if you get pressed...

4) It was not perhaps the best way to do it
5) We are addressing this at all levels
6) An urgent review is under way

But whatever happens, no one is responsible!

Woe is m... oney

Unwise councils

It's an idealistic dream to think that these things can be reversed, any more than you can uncrash a plane.

The comparison with the private sector (the more realistic, SME-one, not the big corporations who behave, especially at the top, just like government) is interesting, though I do wonder to what extent the inefficient can get weeded out at all, let alone cost-effectively, without gridlock.

There is a vast army that has been created to serve itself, and those who created it, though naked self-interest first and foremost. All within the democratic process.

It may appeal to have more and more bean counters, but eventually if there is no one left (or can afford) to make any beans to count, then cannibalism seems the only recourse. In political terms that seems to translate into social unrest.

'..they should make a point of voting for parties and individuals who recognise this profligacy cannot be sustained any longer.'

And these parties would be...? We're two months off and I am none the wiser.

So what has been written makes for interesting comment, but I don't see any practical solutions.

Which is the other sad legacy of present day life. Those make are marginalised by those who do little more than talk.

Word from above

Let the free market fight climate change

'There is potential merit in much that is advocated here. However, as a country-dweller of modest means I can only hope that whichever administration finds itself tasked with resolving what is a very complex long term problem, it can find itself able to do so from more than the perspective of a London C (for centric) - zone urban elite who can afford to indulge in symbolic practices. Or, worse, have mates in high places who don't see cutting back as the way to adequately dispose of their salaries.

At the end of the day, if we accept that a reduction of emissions is the prime objective, and an increase in efficiencies a valid route to this, the only acceptable routes are via establishing genuine enviROIs. It's one thing to practice, or impose, some green 'measure' even if there is a financial cost, quite another if it does not even end up helping the planet either.

Hence my doubts on current carbcon trading proposals, which seem more focused on allowing things (and commissions for 'handling') to continue than any reductions at commercial or personal levels for those who can afford to pay.

While I have no problem with the notion of wealth creation ('Where there's muck...' 'n all), I really would advocate that in looking to the future it may help to realise that money... isn't everything.'

Monday, March 26, 2007

One's gob is smacked

I know a headline like 'Major global blue-chip will say anything to flog tat' is not exactly news, but this left me... almost... speechless:

New Zealand schoolgirls find there's no C in Ribena

Just how low will they stoop?

And heaven forfend one affects the legal process at any stage.

Mail - The schoolgirls who cost Ribena £80k for its vitamin fib

No news is...

Is there no end to my ignorance?

You don't need to understand the news. You are not meant to. It is merely one of a few ways to fill space and generate ratings, especially if you work for the BBC, as that is how you can get measured accurately enough to bail for the even bigger money.

I have a complaint in process at present for them taking a solicited comment, deleting the beginning and ending and re-presenting the middle chunk to say the total opposite of what I meant, to suit their agenda.

They will of course have a 'thorough review' and in two weeks I'll be told they care a lot so now be a good boy and buzz off.

This time, I think I may not be so inclined to do so.

From a Horse's Mouth. About policies from 'tother end

I would have pitched in. Not really worth it. It would be tilling already very overworked soil.

A Stalinist solution

Now let's see what she and her paper DO about it

Because I doubt we'll ever get a mention.

Dear Ms. Stephenson,

I could not agree more with what you wrote on Thursday about yet another climate change conference. At least it was in London. I just heard on the politics show yesterday some Lib Dem luvvie justifying a jolly to Brazil because she had her people ask some people to pay some people to whack a fir in the firmament. Or so she thought they had... maybe.

There is a vast industry involved in saving this earth. And it is growing daily. Trouble is, the majority are engaged in the age old profession of being 'all marf and no trarzers'. This green elite, sadly many located with the London C-entric zone, and spanning politicians, activists and some media, have spun a very nice little earner out of spinning.... in one place.

What a waste of space they all are. And yes, the same people pontificate to the same people again and again. And as part of what I do, I am cursed to read it all... again and again. I feel I should, in case there may be a nugget of gold in all the slurry that can be turned into a shiny piece of inspiration.

The eco-blosphere is alive with debate, but sadly its the big-oil denier vs. eco-fascist kind, so even those from the day-to-day world who may try and dip in get very burned in the flames and retire immediately.

There are those trying to make a difference, and do with style, grace and humour which, I am hoping, will win out over agenda, target, personal interest and greed. To be cliched myself, I think it is the British way, and what folk will engage with. Fines, nannying, guilt-trips and scaremongering are so.... last resort of the feeble self-appointed opportunitsa.

No sense

I just have one question to this:

Consumers in the dark over 'greenest' gadgets

In the name of all that is green and profitable to promote, why are they not making it the easiest thing in the world to make the best eco-decisions?

A new source of free, but doubtless still taxable, energy

Ministers suspend solar panel grants

As it is obvious they think the sun will shine from there no matter what they do, I'd suggest photovoltaics in every Ministerial chair seat.

I love to say I 'told you so', so...

... well, D'uh: Biofuel demand makes food expensive

In the spirit of shared citizen journalism, another forward from Dave of Solarventi, with whom I must move in and between us we may just manage 'A' life.

I suspect I read more e-news than even him, and what worries me is how I see those in politics and business squaring up behind this industry, and I don't think green is the colour they are looking for on the bottom line.

To try and spin it more positively, an Taiwanese guy once eat a Volkswagen. But he may have needed the iron.... glass, rubber...

H2 Oh... yeah!

I am again grateful to Dave of Solarventi for this encouraging notion on Hydrogen.

This is a fuel I have some significant faith in, IF it can be produced to a reasonable enviROI.

There is also the small matter of reduction. As water, in the form of vapour, is still a greenhouse gas, I don't want to find we substitute one man-made exhaust pollutant for another, no matter how seemingly benign it may be.

Walking the walk so others can talk

Today is a very interesting day to be reading this:

Parents who park near schools may be fined

Every school day, rain or shine (barring monsoons), I walk the boys to school. I do it because we are relatively near, it gives us a chance to chat... and I enjoy the exercise. Where possible, and time permitting, I also meet them at the end of the school day to stroll back.

But today, despite clement weather, we are going by car.

Why? Because they are going on trip, and I am afraid I don't see how to get them, much earlier, to school to meet the coach along with a suitcase and ruscksack apiece.

It's not practical. Just as it is not practical for some others to do it daily. And the BBC blonde and bouffant (and reporter - I just heard him tell us what his cabby said en route to the story!) seemed to feel it would not be for them. While it is for our kids. As to safety, kids are to be 'trained'. And doubtless there is a nice little extra group who can be hired to act as councilors to those who have suffered a loss those another group has be tasked to 'encourage':

Parents could face fines...

Powers come into force...

...all councils will have to collect information...

...every authority will have to develop school "travel plans" to meet tough targets...

The theory is sound. Typically the practices is being managed cack-handedly with breath-taking hypocrisy and a stunning simplistic dismissal of the dangers posed by kids being forced onto busy roads. As I wrote to the BBC just now:

Interesting that the presenters today on kids' cycling did not feel the piece they carried applied to them in any way.

I just loved the reporter mentioning his cabbie's views en route to the story. Irony anyone?

I know it's probably 'just not practical', but if we are to trot out official propaganda (in some papers backed, it seems, by fines!) it should be shown for the latest half-considered nonsense it is.

How can something be deemed OK to apply for kids daily but not media workers? More media churn with no analysis or real critique.

BBC - Cycling tests return to schools

'Children are taught the kind of observation, road positioning and defensive driving tactics that new motorists learn.' - Without the ton of metal to protect them if it all goes pear shaped.