30 March 2010

Will comment on Chancellors' debate later in the week

Unfortunately I had to miss the Channel 4 debate between the candidates for Chancellor of the Exchequer at the next election because I was attending a seminar in London. A real shame as it looked like an absolute classic. Sources close to me tell me that Osborne came across as a complete duffer, but then virtually everyone I know would say that anyway, as they hate the bastard. So I'll watch it for myself, give him a fair crack of the whip (or should that be Norman Lamont? ha ha!) and let you know what I thought. I

26 March 2010

The Times is charging for access from June... great

So The Times is going to be charging £1 per day for access to its site from June.

Great. I couldn't be happier. It's a crappy Murdoch paper anyway. The Sun with more syllables.

I'm actually very comfortable with the notion of charging for online content. Journalism is not a free resource (if it's done properly), so by all means put high-quality stuff behind paywalls. (Not the BBC though - we already pay for that.)

I'm happy to subscribe to the FT and I'd also be v happy to pay for The Guardian (a paysite would solve their financial problems IMHO), and maybe even the Telegraph. It's right-wing but it's high quality in the main.

F*** The Times though. It's BINO (Broadsheet In Name Only). And the Beano might even be a better read.

24 March 2010

Belated congrats to Mr Obama and friends

Very busy these last few days, so once again very little action on the blog front... I'm planning to do some more in-depth posts over the Easter break as we head into what will be a bruising election campaign. And before then I will probably follow up tomorrow morning with some thoughts on what was a solid Budget, and a reasonable election-fighting platform, from Alistair Darling.

But I can't let the passing of the health care bill in the US go without comment. After a first year of being rather ineffectual, Barack Obama in one fell swoop becomes the most successful reforming President since Lyndon Johnson over 40 years ago. Although the bill is a very compromised piece of work, it is a damn sight better than nothing, and will probably be a turning point in his fortunes. This will be a week long remembered in US politics. Congratulations to all who made it possible.

12 March 2010

I'm back in the fight...

Hello kids,

After being just too busy with work to write home about, it looks like I may be able to post some column inches again over the next few weeks... and with the election now imminent, that's very good news.

I thought I'd start, though, by drawing your attention to the fact that Simon Singh wrote his last column for the Guardian today. The libel action brought against him by the British Association of Chiropractors almost 2 years ago has left him with not enough spare time to continue writing a column.

These laws need changing, and fast. See (and sign) the Libel Reform Campaign's petition site for the details on this. Of the major parties, only the Lib Dems have really cottoned on to this so far, though.

For now, the best solution is probably mass blog attacks on the perpetrators of these libel actions. For example, if (say) a million bloggers all published strongly worded pieces alleging that organisations such as the BAC were a gang of cheap conmen, it would be extremely difficult for any legal system to process libel actions against every single blogger. Without turning everyone into the country into a lawyer... which is maybe the idea.

In the end, the lawyer state could be every bit as destructive of free speech as the police state.

Good luck in your future career Simon and I hope we see you back in print real soon.

01 March 2010

Infrequent service during February

February was a tough month, kids. All sorts of stuff going on and very little of it blog-related... I should be able to do better in March. And then April is election month, so expect probably a hundred or so posts on the minutiae of what is shaping up to be an exciting struggle. Jeez, Labour only 2 points down on the Tories in the latest YouGov poll... 35% Lab, 37% Con: not only would that almost certainly leave Labour as the largest party, it might even be enough to get them an overall majority.

It's gonna be interesting, for sure.