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.