Recent Articles

Tories have no counter-argument to immigration proposals

by Lee Griffin     February 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Health Tourists are the latest group to come under fire in the shooting gallery that is winning the public’s hearts before the General Election. Labour have here taken a problem (foreigners coming to the UK and stealing our j…healthcare) and turned it in to a somewhat solid policy idea.

Of course solid doesn’t mean good, and I need to make sure it’s clear no-one thinks I’m even slightly in favour of these sort of right-wing populist policies rather than allowing those desperate enough to get good healthcare using our country’s system.

As with all immigration policy it is hamstrung (thankfully) by the lack of ability to wage it against the European Economic Area (EEA).

But for the purpose of the next minute or so of your attention I am not really going to argue about immigration…this is about elections, and more specifically why this story is another example of why the Tories lead is likely to be slipping.
continue reading… »

Population growth: Are you pro-cancer?

by Lee Griffin     November 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

It is documented that the human condition is generally compassionate and generous. Ask a person for their seat in a subway (where there is no predefined right to a seat) and half the time they’ll give it to you, even if you give no reason.

However put in to the mix a sense of ownership and expectation for ones own outcome and we become much more selfish. Jump the queue and expect evil stares, the odd comment, and the person you’ve cut in front of to get abusive.

This is the problem with population growth in the UK. When trying to find something to blame there really is a simple choice in front of you.

You either put your gaze on those that have just as much right to be in the position you are, or those you perceive are “jumping the queue”; this is why the stance of anti-immigration is the natural position for a population to take when faced with problems caused by population growth.
continue reading… »

Backlash to Royal Mail legal threats

by Lee Griffin     October 14, 2009 at 10:04 am

Surreptitiously, and with a “not for publication” notice, the Royal Mail last week succeeded in shutting down a swathe of important community online tools

They range from helping you to find jobs like Job Centre Pro Plus to increasing democracy and political awareness like theStraightChoice with threats of legal action.

There are several posts already popping up from those directly affected, those indirectly affected, and from those supporting the idea of open source and free for not-for-profit use of the postcode “database”.

The question has to be asked, how much longer can the Royal Mail retain “ownership” over postcode information when that very information is, collectively, in the public domain?

Another site affected was

They sent an email to supporters yesterday stating:

We are left with the choice of paying the Royal Mail up to £4,000 a year for access to the postcode database and either running a much less accurate and useful service or shutting PlanningAlerts down altogether. If are concerned about this, please consider doing the following:

— Write to your MP —

Tom Watson MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on the Royal Mail to allow non-profit organisations to use the postcode database for free. Please write to your MP asking them to sign this Early Day Motion (number EDM 2000) and protest at the actions of The Royal Mail.

You can write to your MP here:

They have also set up a petition which has already been signed by nearly 1,200 people.

Tory education policy: Set ’em while they’re young

by Lee Griffin     October 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Here’s my (brief) story. I’m a web developer, I dabble in new web technologies and find it all incredibly exciting. I started web development almost as soon as I first got an opportunity to go on to the internet, around 1998 and years later I took Computer Science at A-Level and university. Yet despite all of this I was never at any point sure, not even 70 or 80% let alone 100%, what it was I wanted to *be* when I “grew up.”

One of the reasons for this was the feeling that the state of this world was not one for pigeon-holing one’s self; I’d started my journey with 28.8kbps internet, AOL chat rooms and over the next 5 years was entering a world of ISDN, CSS, standards and the monopoly of internet explorer.

The fact was that the world of employment and hobby could change very quickly, for the better or for the worse. For me a broad understanding of science, mathematics, philosophy and literature would provide for my future far better than becoming an absolute expert in the one field that I had such an affinity for.

So why, in this world of changing ambitions, vast opportunities for development and greater accessibility to new careers and education, do Tories want to propose to set up highly specialised schools for kids aged 14+?
continue reading… »

BHA threaten job cuts over minimum wage requirement

by Lee Griffin     September 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Don't tip the waiter game, box artIn the hospitality industry regulation has been so relaxed that we, as customers, may have been completely overpaying for the food and drink we’re buying. Yes, that steak may appear to be only £10 on the menu; however, thanks to lack of enforcement in ensuring that the tips we give to waiting staff are actually reaching those workers, we are at risk of willingly and “voluntarily” giving restaurants more than they ask for on the price of our lunch. We have no guarantee that those tips go to those that we feel deserve it.

So it should be with much greater fanfare that from next month our politicians will have set down the law that makes everything much more fair. That is unless you are the British Hospitality Association (BHA). If you are one of their illustrious sort then the response should be simply childish, petulant and threatening rhetoric about cutting restaurant staff jobs.
continue reading… »

The case against First Past the Post

by Lee Griffin     June 6, 2009 at 10:54 am

There is a voting system that exists that tends to take away the meaning of your local MP as a representative, a system that allows a minority of MPs to greatly influence the direction of laws passed by the House of Commons, a system that encourages back room dealing and negotiations away from the public eye. That voting system is First Past the Post (FPTP).

For a long time now we, supporters of electoral reform, have spent our time defending the supposed negative aspects of good PR systems. We have to contest with the broad and misleading statements of the likes Cameron makes, and we have to defend against shoddy government spin of shoddy reviews in to the subject.

The reality is that it is now time for FPTP to be put in the dock, to try to put an end to the sort of articles that blindly make sweeping statements for FPTP. In this time of reform the narrative shouldn’t be why the PR systems are supposedly bad, but why does anyone think that FPTP is any better?
continue reading… »

Top Stories and Blog Review – Wednesday 6th May

by Lee Griffin     May 6, 2009 at 9:24 am


Why is Labour still seduced by Thatcher?
Lumley in fresh attack over Gurkha rights
UK recession ‘worst since 1930s’ says body
Brown: Mail plan may be your suicide note

Obama’s $63 billion global health initiative
U.S. tries again on N. Korea nuke talks
German court bans very long names
Joe Biden pushes Israel to halt settlements

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Lee Griffin

Chicken Yoghurt details the moral virtues of our immigration minister.

Mark Easton turns Influenza A in to a philosophical musing on infantalisation of our population

Samedifference highlights the situation asthmatic children can find themselves in at school.

Lib Dem Voice looks at the figures coming up to the June 7th elections.

Jonathan Freedland/CiF comments on the all around bankruptcy of Labour MPs, and downplays Brown as the cause of their woes.

And finally Charlotte Gore is one of many bloggers to point out the Brown camp’s faux pas on BBC News. Alternatively you can browse through previous Netcasts

Top Stories and Blog Review – Wednesday 29th April

by Lee Griffin     April 29, 2009 at 9:44 am


MPs urged to change Gurkha rules
Brown raises stakes in expenses battle
Phone bills ‘will rise’ to pay for database
Private funeral for Ian Tomlinson

US sets fight in the poppies to stop Taliban
European ministers on joint Sri Lanka trip
Sri Lanka bars Swede over stand on war
U.S. spends $1 billion a day on stimulus


Planet Jamie does some *phine* work in debunking the propaganda of Phorm’s frankly hilarious “Stop Phoul Play” PR-fail site.

Moments of Clarity is disapproving of compromise on the expenses issue.

Michael Tomasky/CiF muses on the republican defection, I have to wonder if a move towards a UK style absolute majority is ever “positive”.

Brad Hicks REALLY hates newspapers.

Next Left is extremely hopeful for the death of ID cards.

Mark Reckons investigates the significance of the number of people asking Brown to resign.

And finally Jock’s Place looks back to 1909 and the “People’s Budget”. Remember you can always browse through our previous Netcasts

Top Stories and Blog Review – Wednesday 22nd April

by Lee Griffin     April 22, 2009 at 11:09 am


MPs to get extra £150 a day instead of expenses
Released terrorist suspects face deportation
March sees 40% jump in house sales
Student studies affected by rising fees

Obama u-turn on torture culprits
Sri Lanka on brink of refugee crisis
China unveil nuclear submarines
Japanese woman sentenced to hang

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Lee Griffin

John Q Publican has a brilliant analysis on the mentality and actions of the police at protests.

Faisal Islam/Snowblog looks towards todays budget.

Chicken Yoghurt quite rightly makes it clear we are not anti-police, merely against their brutal and disproportionate actions.

Political wonders whether or not Gordon Brown will rue the decisions he’s made on expenses.

Himmelgarten Cafe on the creep of prejudice against fatties. Would it be acceptable if the same arguments were used against disabled people?

My blog has a quick comment on the release of the “terrorists” in Manchester, but more worryingly why are they being deported?

Plane stupid notes about further abuses of section 44 powers to restrict harmless photography.

And finally Science, so what? talks about the pressing issue of our beloved bees; alternatively browse through previous Netcasts

Top Stories & Blog Review – Wednesday 15th April

by Lee Griffin     April 15, 2009 at 10:05 am


Real IRA threaten new campaign on Britain
Appalling treatment of detainees laid bare
DNA pioneer: drop innocent from database
How Nordic countries celebrate young lives

Taleban leader risks his life to seek peace
North Korea ejects U.N. monitors
Somali pirates hijack 4 more ships
Germany bans genetically modified corn

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Lee Griffin

Jo Christie-Smith brands Labour as bullies with their recent “no benefits for Alcoholics” re-announcement.

The Freedom Bill website alerts us to a poll that shows a majority of people now against the database state.

Charlotte Gore thinks that the Lib Dem’s should definitely not be cosying up to anyone come election time, be your own boss!

Himmelgarten Cafe echos my sentiments on arbitrary detention and release of people, and how media portrayal only gives the authorities more power

Bad Conscience wonders why Labour must persist in banging their head against a red topped wall.

Innerbrat thinks we can all live in harmony with our views, as long as we accept people see prejudice where others do not.

Next Left discusses the legitimacy of direct action as a protest tool.

And on a more pop culture theme, Robert Sharp will probably be putting money on Susan Boyle. If you like this entry you can browse through previous Netcasts

« Older Entries ¦ ¦ Newer Entries »