Sunday, January 20, 2008

Today is the first Sunday of the rest of my blogging life

More pondering, sorry.

I've just completed the Sunday Times. I say 'completed' but it would be very inaccurate to say I read it all. I have certainly seen each page (except the Sports section, which is now ready to light the fire, along with several ad inserts), and indeed many have been torn out and lie ready to prompt me to hit the online page of the forthcoming week to capture links and maybe make a comment or two.

Thing is, it all took a good couple of hours. And while there were more than a few eco bits in there it has all become a chore, and frankly I question how relevant it is whether some sqillionaire has warmed his outdoor pool with ground heat or Audi has made a 27 litre diesel supercar. Not my zone really. Nor is it likely to be that of most reading here or surfing for a nice idea on what to do with their TV dinner packaging tray.

So I have decided to give the rest a miss. No Observer. No Indy. No Telegraph. So I guess I might miss out on how to offset my ski holiday by doing a Husky-swap with a Finnish family who are over to stock up on organic cheddar in one's farmhouse weekend retreat.

I think I still may keep up with some of the e-mailed dailies to stay abreast of a few things (frankly I can see most of the press releases I get at here reprinted in most, and pretty much verbatim), and when something truly relevant to moving the enviROI crops up add it to the pot.

SO I can then spend the time on perking up the bits that may help sell the site a bit more to the audience I really want to reach a bit better.

Mind you, once I can afford to get a bit of help I probably won't resist getting back in the sniping set again. It is, after all, quite fun seeing a pompous green balloon self-inflating at 1000 metres... and then trying to pop it.


Just watched the Andrew Marr show. There's a new BBC service that let's you re-view (I think for a week) it here.

Now in line with my new notion of getting all philosophical, what struck me was just how much of what was trotted out, covering a wealth of rather depressing areas, could surely be put down to simple overcrowding and, possibly, by extension population.

That said, having lived in cities like Hong Kong, where population density makes London look like the moors, it is certainly true that there have to be cultural failings as well that lead to societal breakdown of the scale we are seeing.

But what really worried me was the ongoing total lack of quality when it comes to our public service leadership and those in the media they deal with, to actually say anything meaningful, let alone, true, or factually correct, such that one can get anywhere near forming an informed opinion on what is happening, what the people in charge think about it or what they plan to do. If I heard 'looking at' once I must have heard it a hundred times! I do not pay folk to look at things. They have had 10 years to gaze. And if it is broke it needs fixing. Not looking at any more.

So we had the likes of the Home Secretary and the leader of the Lib Dems wittering on about generalities and saying nothing. Or if they did it didn't compute or get caught up by the interviewer.

For instance, and it is telling that I cannot now recall whether it was the Labour lady or Lib Dem man who said it after just an hour, there was the claim that in an area of the country a young person would die 14 years earlier if poor than their richer counterparts.

Well... d'uh. Thing is, this was in relation to a conversation to the NHS. How the heck can a figure like that be trotted out on the specific area of health care whilst ignoring all other societal factors?

In combo none is a great reflection, but a poorer person is more likely surely to eat a poorer diet, perhaps smoke and drink more due to less guidance on the perils, have more exposure to dangerous drugs or be in the wrong pub at the wrong time or drive a car without ABS and an airbag.

It was a silly soundbite that spoke volumes... of mush. And it came from a national leader and stayed unchallenged in its simplicity and, I'd maintain inaccuracy, by a national broadcaster's supposedly top interviewer.



Times - Jacqui Smith admits 'I won't walk down a street alone at night'

My main concern is that in an interview on a major BBC show (Andrew Marr), this was mentioned and she said it was not true that she'd said it [like this]. And I'm pretty sure the question was raised because of this article.

Maybe this might explaina bit: '...but the words are unquotable – the kind of robot-speak perfected by Labour ministers who never deviate from the script.'

But to the quote. Well here is the relevant section:

Would she feel safe walking alone at night in, say, Hackney, east London? She looks alarmed: “No. Why would I do that?”

Perhaps deprived Hackney is an unfair example – what about well-heeled Kensington and Chelsea? “No. But I would never have done, at any point in my life. I just don’t think it’s a thing that people do. I wouldn’t walk around at midnight. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to do so.”

Later an aide calls me fretting about these comments.

I can see why. The robot-speak actually had a short-circuit and a glimmer of truth came out. Allowing for editorial licence (and not very much in this case) it seems a fair version if that is how the interview went.

So how then was she allowed to fudge like she did? Either the Sunday Times was wrong or she was. And now it has all dribbled away. Not feeling very well served by my government... or media these days, sadly.

Less is, well, less, but with luck as good as it should be

There is a major spring clean stuttering along at Junkk Towers.

Mostly it is because, between the site evolution and the blog demands, there is simply too much going on for little old me to handle properly. And as I feel I am doing all poorly, until I can find, and fund, a way to do all well, the only real option is to cut back and do as much as I can better.

And that includes the blog.

I've claimed this before mind, and the addiction is hard to resist. And even as the backlog of simple articles and links worth having on the site extends to the hundreds, so almost all also are hard to resit commenting upon in some way. which currently is not simply possible.

So... what to do?

Well, on this blog you will, when I get a moment, be soon discovering some new, and I hope exciting interim plans for the site, many of which will also involve the blog, as I have mentioned before the interface here is now so superior to my site's management system it is easier to create here and import over. Not that I have been much... like a year. And having hit 3,000 for the opt in newsltter, I think a new one might be... overdue.

And all this does have a bearing on the blog.

I am hence planning to try and restrict myself to two main areas: the factual and the philosophical. By factual I refer to pure information, probably under category headings that you will have seen cropping up of late. Not much more than a link, attribution and maybe a line or two of top line opinion or a caveat or somesuch.

Then there is the more philosophical. This is musing on the overall scheme of things rather than much specific, though there will almost always be a story and/or link that has inspired.

Anyway, between with these two bookends from me and Dave's more than useful and welcome additions to any I might find it hard to resist to add inbetween I hope the blog will remain of use and stimulating.

If not, please let me knwo and tell me what I can do btter. Given time.