Tag: Politics (page 2 of 8)

Miscellaneous Monday

I’ve not blogged for a long time. Been very busy and not really had too much to post about that Twitter can’t take care off. Still, in times of post crisis I always resort to this kind of thing. Lot’s of bullets and lot’s of bite sized….tweets. Ahem. Anyway, on with the nonsense:

  • O2 broadband has been up and running for two weeks and so far it’s all good. Great for online gaming and I’m getting a rock solid 8-9Meg with no throttling. I’ve now left Virgin so saving quite a bit of cash each month. Take that credit crunch!
  • Speaking of which – crazy times eh! Makes me question the pension I’m in. Eats up lot’s of my salary and I’m again questioning what I’ll really get at the end of it. At the same time I know I need to do something for when I eventually get old. Or do I? Could anyone have predicted banks being nationalised, taxpayers bailing out the massive institutions and the global demise in the stock market? I guess Alistair Darlings warning at the end of August doesn’t look so negative now. Brown is also coming out smelling slightly better than he was just a few short months ago. Is this finally turning the tide for Labour? I have my doubts as ultimately they will be portrayed as the guys that got the economy into this mess. Still, interesting to note how quiet the man with the plan is. Knobber. Also nice to see shareholders moaning that they have been wronged. Ho ho ho.
  • I’m enjoying Fringe.
  • New Apple laptops. Macbooks, Macbook Pro’s and…thats it. While everyone wants a tablet I still can’t see it happening. To much of a clash with the iPhone. I don’t think we’ll see a glass touchpad either. Just doesn’t sound right but you never know. I won’t be buying whatever they release (that was bold!). Although I do want to replace my current desktop and laptop with a new laptop at some point. Time will tell.
  • Had a nasty migraine this morning. First in quite a while. Annoying.
  • Fifa 09 is superb online. Best online footie game by quite a margin. This will probably be the first year that I won’t buy Pro Evo. Only thing that sucks is people who quit games early because they are losing. I still get the win but it’s pretty unsatisfying. The club options where you and friends get to play in the same team against others is a real highlight. Highly, highly recommended.

Who wins?

What a 72 hours on the stock market. Despite the turmoil and despite the year long decline I never though HBOS would be hammered as it was since Monday morning.

HBOS Day

The chart above shows today’s activity alone. How many people made a killing on HBOS today? How many made a killing that helped to manufacture the situation. Something stinks about this really.

So it looks like a Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS. It will no doubt be dressed as a merger but it’s anything but, no? Be interesting to see what affect it has on HBOS services as I use it for some of my accounts. Which bank next? Are mergers the way forward for the next six months?

Three Strikes

The Times this morning is leading with a story that the UK Government is to propose banning UK net users who download illegal material. It looks like under the scheme the ISP will be responsible for identifying and banning users using a three strikes and your out principal. Caught once and you get a warning. Caught a second time and your temporarily banned. Caught a third time and your banned by that service provider. What the article doesn’t discuss is whether the ban would apply to all service providers or whether your banning would be passed among other ISP’s.

This is a pretty tough stance and at the moment I don’t know what to think of it. How will the ISP’s identify users? What about falsely accusing a user? Will there be a way of appealing a ban? Will we create a large number of users who won’t be able to use broadband in the UK due to bans? How much information is currently being tracked and how much is readily available to government now? Will media companies make content available at more reasonable prices i.e. at least the same as US is paying? Will the hardcore pirates always be one step ahead of ISP’s so making the system redundant apart from stopping the casual downloaders?

If this does become law and the system is reliable (big if’s at the moment for me) then there’s at least one positive. Broadband speeds will be a lot more reliable and the high end speeds will be dropped by a high percentage of users. Still can’t see this becoming law, or at least one that’s reliably enforceable any time soon.

In Rainbows

It’s out and I’m enjoying it more than i thought I would although the bare bones Videotape from iTunes was better IMHO. The 160kbps was disappointing as was the lack of cover art. Tut tut. Step in Jon Hicks and friends with alternatives to the naked cover art. Some of them are fantastic.

The 160kbps will be sorted when the discbox is shipped although delivery will be dependant on the workshy communists getting their act together.

A Farce

So the Scottish elections have come and gone and the new session of the parliament will resume looking very different. Some quick highs and low for me:

Highs

  • Bye bye Tommy Sheridan. No doubt he’ll write a book – Tommy:The Real PinBall Wizard.
  • It was also goodbye to the SSP. No real loss methinks and their implosion last year coupled with lack of impact was their undoing.
  • STV system allowed me to rank the tories at the bottom. Puerile but oh so funny.

Lows

  • Having two votes on the same day with two different voting systems was a disaster. Easy to say with hindsight but someone has to take responsibility for this.
  • Over 100,000 spoiled ballot papers. Lot’s of people mocked American elections and how Bush got it – are we any better?
  • Having Alex Salmond for First Minister Scottish National Party on the regional list vote was a great trick by the SNP and undoubtedly won them some votes but I think added to the confusion. In future only party names should be allowed in the regional list vote or we’ll end up with stunts to make sure parties come first in the list.
  • Alex Salmond…first minister? His smugness could reach unprecedented levels.
  • Independents almost wiped out. It was good to hear a voice that wasn’t tied to party lines.

So what now? To get a majority in the Scottish Parliament you need 65 seats. SNP plus the Liberals equals 63 putting the Greens in a very strong position as potential coalition partners. I always favoured the way the parliament was setup as I thought it would encourage politics that represent a wider range of viewpoints rather than one party controlling everything. But now the Greens could get a disproportionate say in the running of Scotland, especially as they polled only 0.2% of the constituency vote (although they only stood in Glasgow Kelvin so this percentage isn’t representative) and 4% of the regional vote. Is that fair? 4% of people have voted for policies that could soon be passed in parliament. I guess it depends on the deals that are done over the next few days.

Despite these failings at least interest in politics has risen, or has it? Lost amongst the voting issues was that turnout was again very low at 51.8%. Just 2.5% higher than four years ago but given the large amount of spoiled papers it can be argued that those elected have the smallest public mandate in modern times. Considering how keenly fought this election was that is disappointing.

Still…interesting and potentially very different times ahead.

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