Monday, September 26, 2011

Some light reading before bed

Loving the Labour Party Conference. Had a great evening/night.

Ed Balls tells it like it is while Rory Weal steals the show

Top speech by Ed Balls (if a little troubled in the delivery possibly because of Ed's stutter). He outlined the problem and gave Labour's answer. Solutions that could get the economy moving again but are getting ignored due to Osborne and Cameron's arrogance.

Ed Balls urges VAT cuts for growth

Just before that I saw Rory Weal speak at the Labour Party Conference and was so proud to be part of the same party.

Rory Weal at the Labour Party Conference & Standing ovation for Rory Weal

Also heard Maria Eagles' speech mocking the transport ministers road sign review ("No Left Turn" being central). Tremendous

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hurrah for the Victoria and Albert Museum

Went for a meeting at the V&A today, wonderful place and lovely, lovely people (we work with the people running their shop). On our way out we got to nose round the Sacred objects exhibits which, as a Catholic, was so special.

Unfortunately this was the only picture I got.

REM split

Sad to hear REM have split as they were one of my favourite bands of all time.  

I have to admit their newer stuff largely passed me by but their older stuff is as good and as fresh as ever. This was from their Life's Rich Pageant album from back in 1986.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A nice night a Goodison Park

Everton 2 - 1 West Brom (aet) - Carling Cup.

Well I say nice, it wasn't a classic but always good to progress. Frustrating in parts but with impressive performances from Drenthe, Velios and Fellaini and lovely goals from the Divine Afro and Phil Neville (superstar, got more medals than Steve Gerrard).

Everton had all the ball in the first half but created nothing then it's fair to say West Brom bossed the second half until the last 15 minutes when the Toffees got going.

Roysten Drenthe in particular looked to be enjoying himself once Everton started playing and the space opened up.

Fenerbahce's Women and children only football match in Turkey

Thought this was a brilliant thing. After they were put under threat of playing games behind closed doors Turkish side Fenerbahce came up with the superb idea of maintaining support for the team by banning men and only allowing women and children into the match.

41,000 women and children turned up for the match against Manisaspor in Istanbul so I think it can be judged a success. Wonder how many of those women had never been the match before?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Liverpool Seamen Gates

Popped down to Liverpool One at the weekend to see a new Merchant Seaman monument. This were to gates of the old Seaman's Hostel situated on the site where John Lewis is now. Such a beautiful piece of work, well worth a visit.

I know a lot of people have worked long and hard to bring them home to Liverpool

Sky on fire over Liverpool

Absolutely lovely sunset over South Liverpool tonight

Radio 5live pro-coalition bias?

Radio 5live Breakfast interview a coalition minister :

"So Deputy Prime minister it's been a tough year for you hasn't it"
"So, Mr Lansley, what would you say to people who are worried about you policy"
"So Mr Cameron are you doing a brilliant job or a very brilliant job"
"Tell me about your kids"

They get a Labour MP on it's :

"Doesn't this alledged in-fighting and back-biting prove you aren't fit for goverment"
"Did Gordon Brown's temp get in the way of goverment"
"This new book proves you were all at it doesn't it"
"Was Ed Balls constantly plotting against his colleagues"
"Scandal, scandal, scandal"

I have always listened to 5live and, let's face it as a sports addict, I always will. I remember getting a call of a radio listeners survey and having a choice of "Up to an hour", "One to two hours" "Over two hours" and worked out I listened to about 6 hours of radio a day. I do like the current crop of presenters but I think they need to have a look at themselves in how they treat the respective parties.

This morning is a case in point...their presenter just gave endless open forums for Nick Clegg to rattle off the party line (eg "When we came into government we had a deficit bigger than Ireland, bigger than Italy", then went on to chat about his kids...Once the interview was over Rachel and John Pienaar got together to wax lyrical about how brave Clegg is and generally saluted his indefatigablility. Earlier Tim Farron had been asked about Vince Cable attack on the Tories as "ideological descendants of those who sent children up chimneys" and was allowed get away with saying that he was actually talking about "Red tape". Compare that to recent grillings Andy Burnham and Ed Balls were subjected to in the wake of Alistair Darling's book.

I switched over to the Today Show on Radio4 and Clegg tried the same "When we came into government we had a deficit bigger than Ireland, bigger than Italy" line and was immediately taken apart. Our economy is much bigger than those countries and Italy is currently getting downgraded because of lack of growth not it's structural deficit.

I wouldn't say this is an institutional problem throughout the BBC (although I'm sure some of you will put me right) but there is a real pro-Coalition bias at 5live and it needs sorting out.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Still obsessing about the colour of Everton's socks

Great result though, you'd have to chalk it down as "Resilient". We battered them in the first half but looked totally leaden in the second (faced with some pretty un-ambitious, time wasting opposition).

Great to see the new boys chip in with goals. Velios and Drenthe took theirs really well and Denis looked lively too.

Given Lancashire winning, Everton's result, Waterloo winning away at Penrith plus England beating Georgia and Peterborough getting 3 points too you can't really complain at that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another McGough Moliere, this time Tartuffe

Off to see Tartuffe at the Liverpool Playhouse tonight. Hope it's as much fun as the last Roger McGough Moliere adaptation. The Hypochondriac was brilliant fun so hoping it's another good'n.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Join Labour's NHS Campaign

Around 7000 cancer sufferers who have done the right thing and have paid into the system, may lose as much as £94 per week

Click below to call on David Cameron to stop this before it is too late 

Ed Miliband on the offensive

Nice to see Ed Miliband MP, going on the offensive again. Stinging George Osborne with a good quip about his lurid past yesterday (A bit undignified but given Cameron's style and Osborne's awful joke at the GQ Awards who can argue with it) and today he has written to David Cameron demanding that he returns to the House of Commons to correct inaccurate statistics that the Cameron used at PMQs. Put simply David Cameron is far to cavalier in the House of Commons...he seems to think it's all beneath him. Arrogantly dismissive whenever anyone calls him to account. Not good enough and we need to pin him on it. The letter from Ed Miliband MP to David Cameron is below: Dear Prime Minister, Yesterday, in response to me at Prime Minister’s Questions, you said that “since the election there are 500,000 more jobs in the private sector. There are more people—300,000 more people—in work than there were a year ago” (Hansard, 14 September 2011, column 1028). This answer is inaccurate. Between June 2010 and June 2011 the Office of National Statistics has confirmed that private sector employment increased by only 264,000 and that net employment increased by just 24,000. The only way it is possible to claim 500,000 extra private sector jobs is by including jobs created between 1 April and 30 June 2010 – but of course this includes time when Labour was still in office, which is not “since the election” at all. You also said, after I correctly pointed out that the UK has grown more slowly in the last year than any other EU country apart from Portugal and Romania, that “this year, Britain is growing faster than America” (Hansard, 14 September 2011, column 1029). In fact, the UK has grown by 0.7 per cent over the last year to the end of Q2 2011, the latest period for which figures are available, while the USA grew by 1.5 per cent over the same period. Everyone in public life has a responsibility to ensure we rebuild and maintain trust in politics and politicians. Ensuring accuracy in our answers in the House of Commons is central to that, a responsibility underlined in the Ministerial Code. Furthermore, the British people will want to be assured that the decisions you take, which have such profound consequences for families and young people, are being based on properly researched data and empirical evidence. As such, I trust you will return to the House and correct the record at the earliest opportunity. Yours, Ed Miliband MP

Friday, September 09, 2011

Rugby World Cup time, how do you face the Haka

Ah the age old question, doesthe Haka give the all Blacks the psychological edge? How do you face it? How do you avoid being culturally disrespectful without being meek?

The Cockerill model is the one for me but eventually that will lead to an all out brawl

Personally I think it'd be interesting to see how Wayne Rooney would face it...or even Duncan Ferguson.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Tories have killed the economy?

Staggering data from a report in the Daily Mail today (never one to forego a scaremongering story). They have mapped the current economic mess onto previous crashes to show how long it took to recover each time.

As you can see this current crash is on course to be the longest in history...what is pretty obvious from the graph is that we were on target to come out of the mess and recovering strongly until the current stagnation happened under the Tories. For everyone who still clings to the notion that Labour messed up and the Tories are merely taking restorative measures this has to be a wake-up call surely. This is not due to a royal wedding or a few days of snow...this a stagnant economy and it's exactly what Alistair Darling was trying to avoid with stimulus and tax cuts, it's exactly what Ed Balls has been talking about for month.

Join the Labour Party

Through the miracle of Blogger scheduling at the time this post is published I will be out campaigning for the Labour Party. I do not claim to be Mr Socialism, I am not out every night, I don't know the words to The Internationale, I've only been a member for 18 thing I do know is that I am absolutely loving it.

By no means are Labour perfect, there are lots in our recent history we should be regretfull about but there is also tonnes we should be massively proud of. Just 'cause the media have it in for New Labour doesn't mean we should be ashamed to shout about the acheivement. Being from a working class family in Liverpool throws the political spectrum into sharp relief and we only have to think back to the 80s as a portant of what the Tories are trying to achieve this time round. Think back to the way school and hospitals were then and look around now. Are Labour guilty of just not being perfect? Personally I think we seem frightened to stand by our record and the things New Labour put in place, fair enough there were mess-ups and things we got wrong but so far this Coalition is just a littany of broken promises and misery from a team of empty vessels. Any objection people raise to their policies is blithely dismissed and mocked, it's be easy to stomach if they actually had a mandate!

In my time in the party it's been brilliant. My Constituency Labour Party has been welcoming and full of great's been a pleasure to work with them and the outstanding victories in the May council elections were a privelige to be part of. I am not saying all local Labour parties are all like this but you really should give it a go. Be part of the fightback.

Never trust a Lib Dem

So after making a big show about forcing a "Listening Exercise" over Lansley's NHS Reform bill the Lib Dems meekly voted for the reforms in the same way they voted for them in the first place.

So now pandora's box is open and the NHS is all about competition...The private sector can swoop in on the profitable areas whilst leaving the scraps to the NHS in the same way the vultures jumped on the profitable areas of the Post Office's business.

It couldn't have happened without Nick Clegg and your friendly neighbourhood Lib Dems...we should never let them forget it. You expect the Tories to bow down to their business friends and allow them to feather their nests with public money. Profit is all they ever care about...The Lib Dems however have enabled all these wretched policies to get voted in.

The NHS reforms were in no-one's manifesto. Cameron expressly promised he wouldn't impose top down NHS reforms and yet here we are. Cameron is a arrogant liar whilst Clegg is a vile little quisling. It's a tricky call on what's worse.

Nye Bevan said the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it. The storm of dismay and derision proves there is folk left....Personally I'd love to see it start at the Lib Dem conference but I very much doubt it

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Oh look, Cameron lying about NHS staff supporting his reforms

So that arrogant wretch has been blithely lying about support for the Tories ridiculous NHS reforms...Well done to the NHS organisations for standing up and calling him to account on his arrogant duplicitousness.

The BMA have been screaming from the rooftops about Lansley's bill for months but still Cameron claims to have support for the bill amongst NHS staff...well now the Royal Collage of Nursing and the Royal College of GPs have stated categorically that they aren't. 

David Cameron told MPs that doctors and nurses were now "supporting" government plans to overhaul the NHS in England.

Following the remarks during prime minister's questions, the Royal College of Nursing issued a statement saying it still had "very serious concerns".

The Royal College of GPs said it was "extremely worried" about some aspects.

(Report on the BBC)

Never Trust a Tory

Monday, September 05, 2011

It's back : NHS privatisation

So, it would appear that it's back....after the Coalition's much publicised "Listening Exercise" it would appear there is around 1000 amendments but despite the national outcry over this bill the government are only giving MPs two days to debate it....apparently that's less than 10 seconds per amendment.

The noises we are hearing are not good. Senior Lib Dems are voicing concern that this is still a back door privatisation. Shirley Williams herself breaking ranks

The future of the government's health reforms has been plunged into fresh doubt as the Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams raises new concerns, and secret emails reveal plans to hand over the running of up to 20 hospitals to overseas companies.

The revelations come as MPs prepare to return to Westminster on Tuesday for what promises to be a crucial stage of the flagship health and social care bill. Baroness Williams, one of the original leaders of a Lib Dem rebellion against health secretary Andrew Lansley's plans – who appeared to have been pacified after changes were made over the summer – said she had new doubts, having re-examined the proposals. "Despite the great efforts made by Nick Clegg and Paul Burstow [the Lib Dem health minister], I still have huge concerns about the bill. The battle is far from over," she said These secret emails are pretty much a smoking gun and should be enough to derail this ridiculous unheralded, unmandated destruction of our much loved health service.

Unison are seizing on this because they prove that the government are lying to us "Regardless of what Cameron and Clegg say in public, it is clear that behind the scenes the government is planning to privatise the NHS. Private companies will only run hospitals if they see a profit in it. This, together with lifting the cap off the number of private patients NHS hospitals can treat, will completely change the culture of the NHS. It will be profits before patients. "We demand that the government come clean on their plans. If this is true, patient choice is a complete sham. The move to any qualified provider is clearly about creating a market for private companies. Any MP who votes for the health and social care bill is voting for the end of the NHS."

The BBC lay out the issues at stake in frightening detail

Despite protecting the NHS budget, the health service is still having to make savings. It has been tasked with finding £20bn over the next four years - that is about 4% a year from its annual budget. The government argues this can be made through making the service more efficient, but the fear is that the NHS will fall back on the easier option of restricting access to care. Reports have emerged of NHS trusts limiting access to some services, such as IVF, while completely stopping funding others.

There are also signs that waiting times may be on the rise. The prime minister recently reiterated his commitment to keeping waiting times for hospital operations to below 18 weeks. In practice, that means nine in 10 patients have to be seen that quickly to reflect the fact there are valid medical and personal reasons why some people wait longer. In a third of areas, this standard is being breached, although nationally it is being kept because other areas are overperforming. With winter just round the corner - when more demands are placed on the health service - the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

So despite the talk the Coalition ARE looking to privatise the NHS and it looks like the only people who can stop it at the Lib Dems...this is their chance however there are reports of Clegg calling a meeting of their MPs and ordering them not to "Rock the boat".

So there you have it, another betrayal. The Tories have no mandate from the people, they expressly promised no top-down reforms of the health service, they promised us a listening exercise....but here we are.

There's nobody better than Mikel Arteta

Bit delayed in getting round to doing this because we feeling pretty low on Wednesday & Thursday then busy over the weekend. What a rotten way to lose a player, so many flashbacks to Rooney and Lescott's departures. It makes you appreciate the fact that Everton don't get cherry picked all that often now. So who do we blame, we it's so disappointing to have Mikel force the move through but let's face it the club accepted the bid and allowed Arsenal to speak to him. The chance of Champions League footy was just too much of a draw for a player of his age and of his quality. Even so Evertonians are pretty gutted to lose him. You can be pragmatic and point to his advancing years or his ups and downs in form but at the end of the day it just shouldn't have ended like that. Watching the minutes tick and away waiting for the news to come through was pretty miserable and if I blame anyone I blame Wenger...the pompous, stubborn fool sat there all summer insisting he didn't need to buy and then when his team got utterly found out he came panic buying. Every schoolkid in the country knew Arsenal lacked steel and experience, it's been like that for years and yet he takes his team into the season woefully short of both and it Everton who'll suffer. Anyway we now have Denis and Royston to muse over. They might turn out to be world beaters but whatever happens we'll miss our Mikel.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Karl Marx was right?

Interesting piece on the BBC about people re-evaluating Marx's theories on Capitalism

As a side-effect of the financial crisis, more and more people are starting to think Karl Marx was right. The great 19th Century German philosopher, economist and revolutionary believed that capitalism was radically unstable.

It had a built-in tendency to produce ever larger booms and busts, and over the longer term it was bound to destroy itself.

Marx welcomed capitalism's self-destruction. He was confident that a popular revolution would occur and bring a communist system into being that would be more productive and far more humane.

Marx was wrong about communism. Where he was prophetically right was in his grasp of the revolution of capitalism. It's not just capitalism's endemic instability that he understood, though in this regard he was far more perceptive than most economists in his day and ours.
Karl Marx Marx co-authored The Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels

More profoundly, Marx understood how capitalism destroys its own social base - the middle-class way of life. The Marxist terminology of bourgeois and proletarian has an archaic ring.

Our new stone edging

This took some effort but we have dug down about 8 inches and got them in nice and deep

Our new flowerbed

Spent the day gardening after yesterday?s food and drink festival fun. To show for our efforts this year we have a lovely new flower bed where the yukka used to be and some impressive new stone edging.