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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

MW4HH

Michael White is a big fan of Harriet Harman.
"Harman continues to demonstrate reformist zeal for the causes of her life: discrimination and unfairness towards not just women but ethnic minorities, the disabled, sexual minorities, religious minorities, the elderly and those involved in gender reassignment. They are all addressed in the equality bill she is pushing through parliament in the face of strong opposition in the last session of the parliament."

At the risk of agreeing with Michael White, I agree with Michael White.
Such activities reinforce the loyalty of her supporters and the enmity of critics such as the Daily Mail
Exactly, and we probably need more of that in the future

ICC rankings

whether or not you really believe the rankings, it's hard to argue that the players at the top are bad.
I was thinking to myself the other day that there was a lack of England players in either list. Now we have the 3rd and 7th best bowlers in the world up there. Nice.

I always knew Cook would come good. He played far more fluently for Essex at the end of last season than he does for England, but there is a big difference between the 2nd division of the County Championship and Australia and South Africa. But great to see him get his 100.
Well done to Bell also. While he doesn't bowl, his fielding his very useful in our current XI. He just needs to score when the chips are down. I said he was lacking confidence after the Harris dismissal, and 140 is just what he needs to get that back.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Quick goals

Anthony Stokes scores after 12.4 seconds for Hibs, and apparently that's quick.
Feddy Eastwood scored on his debut after 7.7 seconds.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Alastair Cook

It shows the strength of England that Cook has been under pressure despite excellent results this year.
In 2009 Cook has got 960 runs at 45, can't argue with that.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Role of select committees

I'm sitting here watching John Bercow talking about possible parliamentary reforms.
He's goiong on about how Select Committees should have a greater role, and i would certainly agree with that. I'm not sure of the exact details, but i would really like to see them have a far greater role in actually making laws rather than the government just running rough shod over opposition and doing what they like

Thursday, 24 December 2009

US healthcare bill thingy

"US senators have passed the final Senate version of a historic healthcare reform bill."
Good news

Morne Morkel

What has Morkel done to be considered untouchable?
De Wet bowled really well in the first Test and should stay in the team. Ntini has nearly 400 wickets in 100 Tests. I personally don't like quotas and all that as i think the best should play, end of. However, i'm not South African and I wasn't there, or even close. So for political reasons, maybe Ntini should play. I don't like it, but there you go. I'm a fan of Ntini, so for me i'd drop Morkel if Steyn is fit

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Top tache

Brilliant

Shane Bond

Shame to see him have to retire from Tests. Test cricket is, of course, the highest and best form of the (any?) game so the game will miss him.
if his body had been up to it, he could have had a cracking career.
I think the way cricket, especially Test cricket, is scheduled is too harsh on the players.
He should come and open the bowling for Essex when Kaneria can't play
"Christmas is like a puppy, but worse coz you can't put christmas in a sack and drown it."
The grumpy guide to christmas, glad i'm not the only one who hates it

Gordon Strachen

Olly is top, but Strachen is a cracker:
"gordon strachan never fails to deliver.
best one from him tho was "Gordon, can we have a quick word please?" Strachan: "Velocity" [walks off]"

Olly = Legend

Ian Holloway is class, not many better than:
""To put it in gentleman's terms, if you've been out for a night and you're looking for a young lady and you pull one, you've done what you set out to do. We didn't look our best today but we've pulled. Some weeks the lady is good looking and some weeks they're not. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She may not have been the best looking lady we ended up taking home but it was still very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much and let's have coffee."
QPR boss Ian Holloway came up with the quote of the century to describe his team's lacklustre performance against Chesterfield. "

Quotes of the decade

Brilliant, love it.
I really like the sports quotes, and this one is class:
""After having studied the whole unsavoury incident on 43 occasions, including slow-motion replays, we have decided against implementing a rule that spectators should remain clothed at all times."
A statement from World Indoor Championship Bowls officials after the sport gained its first streaker in the shape of Tracy Sergeant."

Crime figues

From a bbc blog.
Interesting because it shows crime has fallen quite a bit, which is not what most news outlets seem to say

'king disaster

Honestly.
Hutton is doing exactly what puts so many people off politics by avoiding answering the bloody question.
A simple yes/no answer becomes so drawn out it's ridiculous.
The best bit is Eddie Mair swearing.
"i'm not going to answer that...i could say yes or not"

Monday, 21 December 2009

Mondeo man

The end of mondeo man-based politics?
Next Left are, not surprisingly, very criticial of mondeo man-based politics.

But
Fabians are not going to be very in favour of Mondeo man though, are they?
As a born and bred Essex boy, i know plenty of 'mondeo men'. very often these people feel left behind by politicians, and they tend to be somewhere between the two parties, and if we can bring these on side, i have no problem with that. I think the Fabians are far too quick to write them off as a progressive force.
it'd be lovely to have a wider electoral coalition, but we should remember 1984 and how focusing on our core vote lost us a popular mandate to rule

Nick Clegg's 2 years

over all, a very decent and thoughtful assessment.
I think the problem in part based on Clegg's attempt at personality politics. His take is to be angry but vacious, using some very strong soundbites but little substance. This is not helped by trying to take ground from the main parties by trying to claim to be the 'true' voice of both, rather than staking his parties' own place in the political centre

Capital flight

Capital flight is a very important issue for us on the left who have been known to advocate higher taxes, for whatever reason.
Since the introduction of the banker' bonus tax, bankers' representatives have been screaming blue murder and threatening to flee to every corner of the globe. So this is a live issue.
it is vital that any tax-rising lefties acknowledge this.
Now, i don't believe it's as big a threat as it's made out to be, partly because of the levels of infrastructure e.g. education which fundamentally underpin the ability of these people to make such amounts of money. There's a reason they do business here rather than Monaco.
Will Hutton, who may know even more than me about economics, has some level of agreement with me:
"No success story requires the estimated £850bn bailout. Bank lending is five times British GDP. If it carries on growing without substantial increases in the banks' capital base the next bailout would overwhelm the British economy and the British state. It is vital that banks build up their capital base, which has been declining proportionally for 30 years.This, along with very cheap money, is the chief reason for their very high margins – and extraordinary bonuses. The City is a national asset only if it is self-sustaining. Unless and until it operates with a great deal more capital to underwrite its lending it is a national liability."

ODI Slogging, bats, and England's tail

I'm at home watching the India vs Sri Lanka ODI, and some of the shoots are amazing. Length balls from Sharma are getting dispatched to all parts. This bloke is neither slow nor rubbish. The hitting is awsome from the likes of Dilshan.
I have to wonder if the bats and conditions are too far in favour of batsmen. I mean, what is one to do when you see Sharma getting hit around like that bowling 88mph. I worry that if huge bats and other conditions are weighed too heavily in one side's favour, it will be bad for the game.

I have to say that the pitch for the 1st South Africa vs England test seemed to be a proper wicket.
it swung a bit, spun and went up and down on the last few days. the early session always brought a wicket, and it made for a very good game. Swann's innings brought England right back into it after the bowled and batted poorly.
It seems to me that with South Africa 40-4 England were right in the game, but the stand between AB DE Villiars and Hashim Amla (learnt everything he knows at Essex) turned the game away from England, whose first innings displays put them in a poor position.
De Wet bowled very well and made things happen, which, added to the De Villiars/Amla stand showed that South Africa are the better team. Better because they are able to make things happen.

For the next Test I would be VERY tempted to bring Sidebottom in for Bell. I realise the fielding will be poorer, but the bowling will have more spice and variety. Bell's first innings leave showed a real lack of confidence, second innings poor confidence and poor technique. Given Bell's current record (average of about 20 in last 5 Tests), Sidebottom's inclusion might not even weaken the batting.

Larry Elliot on the economic decade

Larry Elliot is always good value.
His summary of the decade in economics
is a good one, but one that probably would have looked very different if written two years ago. Until that point we had only the threat of the debt bubble bursting.
His summary, that "governments may have to face up to a stark choice. They can carry on borrowing more, thereby accepting that public sector deficits will spiral. Or they can respond to the pressure from the financial markets and start borrowing less. The latter seems the likeliest, but it would all but guarantee a double-dip recession during 2010."
is a real lesson in real and applied economic policy. The private sector loads up with debt, the government has to bail it out. Then the financial markets gets funny about the government having all this debt, so they have to cut. the richer and powerful prosper, the poor and powerless suffer. Same old. But a very interesting lesson in 'realpolitik'

Alistair Darling denies benefit rise pre-election 'con'‏

It's dangerously easy to be an opposition politician.
Previously, Osborne was attacking the tax rises, today the spending cuts. Despite him calling for both these things.
Both are viable options at the best of times, but the problems at the moment mean both are pretty much inevitable. Osborne is a very smart political operator, of that there is no doubt. But does he know the first thing about economics?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Who needs Maynor Figueroa when you have Gary Roberts?

Can't argue with a ping from 50 yards

Sledging

1) Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga (pictured above) was not the most popular figure on the international circuit, and was perhaps most unpopular with the Australians (perhaps because he did rather well against them). One occasion, the great spinner Shane Warne was trying to lure the comfortable figure of Ranatunga down the pitch and was being frustrated by Ranatunga's unwillingness to be tempted. Wicketkeeper Ian Healy piped up: "Put a Mars Bar on a good length. That should do it."

2) South African Daryll Cullinan (pictured above) became famous as an easy wicket for Warne and as he once came to the crease, Warne taunted him by saying he'd been waiting two years to have another crack at him. Cullinan retorted, "Looks like you spent it eating."

3) Fast bowling great Fred Truman (pictured above) would have a go at his own team-mates, never mind the other team, if he thought they'd done him wrong. After an outside edge flew through the legs of a slip fielder, the guilty party? Raman Subba Row ? trotted up to apologise: "Sorry Fred, I should have kept my legs together." Truman responded, "So should your mother."

2002/03 season

I was enjoying a quiz about Man U losing, and it asked who beat Man U in the 02/03 League Cup.
Of course, the most important fact is where Southend finished, 17th in Football League Third Division. That league table makes interesting reading: in 13th were Hull City, now in the Prem. Top were Rushden and Diamonds, and others above us were Oxford and Cambridge and those three are all in the Conference. So there we go

Friday, 11 December 2009

Arsenal v Pama

Worth it for the goal

Liverpool vs Arsenal

Really great old commentary. It's so old that Steve Bould has a full head of hair.
.
I just don't understand how they could even walk in those shorts

Liverpoolski

Very enjoyable

Invictus

This must be a piss-take

Goal-scoring keepers

Here's a few things about keepers who are useful at the other endI'm all about the attacking football, and if a keeper can score, even better.
Love it

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Technology in sport

"For the Spin, sport is richer for the mistakes of the umpires and
referees, so long as they are trying their best to give the right
decision. What would the losers moan about, or the pundits talk
about, or the fans rail against, if not the mistakes of the
officials? But this is an argument that looks as though it has
already been lost, the irony being that, so far, technology has not
actually quietened the rumpus.

No, now this system is here, one thing is clear. The ICC must take the
power of referral out of the players' hands and put it into those of
the umpires. That, perversely, was one of the many things that Allen
Stanford managed to get right that the game's governors have got
wrong. If the aim is to aid the umpire, they should have control over
the process, calling on it as and when they need it. It should be a
stick to prop them up, not a rod to beat their backs. Otherwise, as
Benson has shown, you are only making the job harder."

I'd go along with that. We need technology to get rid of the shockers, but otherwise no

Owais Shah

I want some of what Shah's on.
I appreciate his self confidence, but he's mad. He's very inconsistent, a terrible fielder and crap runner.
Sorry mate, but you're mental

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Pre-Budget report 09/12/09

Not too much he could have done really.
I'd prefer that the tax rises came in sooner, ideally straight away. I realise the problems inherent in this, but i do think that a balance between economic growth and deficit reduction should be sought.
I'd prefer more economic management, and less political mudslinging on both sides. Osborne is a joke.
The deficit is a problem, but it's only the managing the debt it that's a real problem.
The better off are going to pay more, that's good. I'd rather a 50p on £100k right now and taking everyone on or under NMW out of tax and a re-balancing in the middle, but that may be a bit too much.
The tax on bankers is good, and very clever. And Peston's analysis is positive, that the money could be spent instead, that'd be good.
I don't entirely buy the capital flight thing. Angela Knight is there to stick up for bankers, and she's going on about how they'll all bugger off. For a start, go where? Also, London is the main financial capital for it's quality, not it's tax levels. We need to focus on that, and invest to grow our way forward

Monday, 7 December 2009

Banks criticise plans for windfall tax on bonuses

1) they would, wouldn't they?
2) who runs Britain? When the miners took on the government, many backed the government. When the bankers do the same, the rich are coming out in support of the bankers and their bonuses. This portrays a sad indictment of the state of power and equality in Britain.
The lefty rant is somewhat confused by Who supports the bankers over the government. What I mean is that many who supported the government over the miners now support the bankers over the government, which sucks.
There will be some good people who support the government against the bankers, though

Friday, 4 December 2009

World Cup Draw

Ace, good draw for us.
USA are a decent team and can't be under-rated.
Slovenia is a lovely country with the nicest people, so i hope they go through.
Algeria get in instead of Egypt so they can fuck off.

I'm sure USA will finish 2nd, but i'd love it, LOVE it, if Slovenia finished above them and went through.

There are some tough groups out there, Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea means one big team goes out from there.

France, will play hosts South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay.
Tough group, from which South Africa will get rightly dispatched

UKIP = funny

Brilliant. Must admit i'm a fan of UKIP. Anyone who splits the Tory vote has at least done 1 good thing in their lives. Rarely more

Zero to hero

Just about the worst miss you'll ever see, followed by an amazing goal.
He was linked with us for a while, but nothing came of it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Quote of the day

Has to be:
"I like being married. The last thing I want is to be "rewarded" for it by the bloody Tories.
It makes the whole thing feel slightly unclean"
from this very good article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/03/is-feminism-destroying-the-family

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Are people stupid?

Can't do the whole post as i'm at work, but this is interesting:
"it was always called "a penny on tax" because a shockingly high number of voters appeared to think it meant they'd pay 1p more tax, not 1% more."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2009/11/a_taxing_subjec.html

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

New job

So here I am in the civil service at the Department for Transport. Or kind of at least.
In some ways i'm very wary, they are replacing someone who's been here for years and knows everything with a temp who has never worked in government, the civil service, or transport before.
Cost cutting.
So far i'm pretty annoyed that we're not allowed to view Hotmail or other sites deemed 'inappropriate' for work. I'd rather that we were allowed to take personal responsibility for our actions, but they are all very wary of being seen to take the piss with taxpayers money.
Still, at least the blog works. for now