My first website / blog – from 1998/9 – is mostly archived at https://geocities.restorativland.org/Athens/Olympus/1833/index.htm. Warning: the link to the ctheory site from the New diary page links to a site concerned with ‘toto’. I had no idea what toto was either. The ctheory<dot>com address was originally the Ctheory site concerned with Frankfurt School philosophy.
There is a page missing, called ‘deep DT’s first statement on race’ or something similar. It was an argument against racism, claiming that races do not exists since genes are so mixed. It’s a snapshot too so that the New Diary page that I claimed changes often but actually only occasionally changed often is a snapshot. I regard it as amoung the earliest blogs (weblogs) because that New Diary page changed i.e. had it’s commentary updated which is the essential element of a blog.
Geocities provided a minimal interface. I would create pages editing HTML before uploading to geocities. There were simple wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) code editors to create webpages then but they were crude and limited. CTRL-U or a similar command (press the CTRL and U keys together in your browser) allows you to see the simple HTML code.
Geocities was a very early part of the web that allowed individuals to crate websites and I think that it was for free. The geocities websites were popular. You can see some of my neighbouring websites at geocities here. Fascinating.
The geocities webpages were purchased by – I think – yahoo and shut down. It is only within the past few years that the historical archives have appeared.
I campaigned against the USUK second Bush-Iraq war that started in early 2003 using the usenet nntp messaging system. It is very similar to the original arpanet system of the earliest internet used by universities and may be an evolution of it. It was very powerful being monitored by governments and big news sites. Many of my posts can be seen in this listing (the first few pages). [13/11/22 I didn’t realise that the ‘Highway’ post was there initially. Google has censored it now, WTF are they afraid of?]
I also campaigned against the Iraq war starting 2003 in person. One of Stop The War coalitions slogans at the time was “Not in my name” and I would often be carrying a poster with that phrase. I was getting harassed by former boss of the Metropolitan Police and Tony Blair’s butler Ian Blair during this time.
I was still using usenet at the G8 protests in Scotland in July 2005. The London tube explosions of 7 July 2005 happened at the end of the G8 events in Scotland. I have produced an analysis of these explosions called the UNOFFICIAL NARRATIVE and there’s a link to the July 7 truth campaign on my blogroll. I concluded that they were dust explosions and that there were no terrrists.
I started using a blogging service provided by the Canadian host host cjb in January 2006. The url was blogs<dot>cjb<dot>net/dissident and some archives are available on the Wayback machine. cjb blog hosting was free again worked quite well except that there was a small limit to the size of posts (1kb ?) which I often hit. We’re getting closer to a conventional blog with that classic blog layout which I really like – a sidebar on the right with links to earlier posts. Results from a search on the wayback machine (some of them are quite poor with missing elements).
The very first post of 6 January 2006 is missing from the Wayback machine. It was “It’s an honour to join the dissident bloggers” mostly referring to Craig Murray’s blog.
Some posts disappeared from this blog – I suspect forcibly removed by the UK government or Metropolitan Police under Ian Blair. It’s a political blog attacking Blair’s and Cameron’s later Libservative governments and doing original investigative research into the London explosions and the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. I appear to have established that Jean Charles de Menezes was murdered. I posted elsewhere and the server was snatched by British Transport Police shortly after my posting. It appears that the posting has resurfaced and accepted by many as proving that JCdM was murdered.
I moved away from this blog to the paid host tsohosts after the pages disappeared and cjb claimed to know nothing about it and no backups. With a paid host I got the domain name onaquietday<dot>org.
I started with this current host in March 2022 because I was disappointed with the service at my previous host. They were bought by a bigger player and suffered with poorer performance and service. I am very pleased with my current host – speed, support and value are excellent.
I moved the content of my previous blog to this one when I moved so please feel free to look about. There’s a search box and categories on the right hand side.
Suppose that I should provide some blogging instruction …
to be continued
14/11/22 One from the archives
August 14, 2006 – THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Reality is negotiated
A while ago I promised “the truth is out there” series of articles to promote conspiracy theories. Here’s a start.
Everyone has their own truth and their truth will be largely dictated by their perspective and disposition. Individuals with hugely different lifestyles, experiences and motivations will have hugely different ‘truths’ or pattern of beliefs, values, attitudes, prejudices, etc.
Reality is negotiated between different actors. New Labour seem to have incorporated this processs of negotiation into its policy-making and this was explicitly stated in the early New Labour period. This probably applies only to New Labour policies that are not not negotiable e.g. rabid Neo-Conservatism / Neo-Liberalism and Crypto-Fascism. New Labour know fully well that certain outcomes are favourable to themselves, their interests and purposes and they engage using lies and deception. We know that they lie – they have been caught out endless times.
The difference with Blair, Reid & Co is that they’re shameless and so don’t care – or perhaps don’t need to care – when they are caught out lying since they have never been held to account for their actions. This is deliberate – they actively evade accountability and responsibility for their actions.
My approach to reality is that there is one ‘real’ reality that is perceived and interpreted differently by different actors. When things happen, those things really happened but then the process of negotiation starts.
New Labour do not share this approach. They believe that reality can be negotiated, remoulded, renegotiated, reinterpreted or even censored long after the event. Their approach is remarkably similar to Orwell’s concept of ‘doublethink’ and betrays their shallowness and absence of any real values. For Blair, since reality is infinitely renegotiable, lying and deception is just a part of achieving what He wants.
“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. … To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.” Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Much of this derives from narcissist Blair. Blair has certainty in the total absence of any supporting evidence – even when there is plenty of evidence supporting contrary positions. How is this possible? Does it mean that He has special insight denied the rest of us common mortals? Does it mean that He can ‘feel’ the truth? Does He have powers denied to us mere mortals? Or perhaps He’s simply a sad, pathetic nutjob?
Although much of this derives with Blair, the Labour party cannot escape its responsibilities and blame.
more on conspiracy theories, Blair, New Labour and Fascism soon
14/11/22 Another one from the archives. John Reid is saying that suspected terrorists should be killed and Keir Starmer’s current Labour Party has been saying the same recently. So here’s the reality: if John Reid or Keir Starmer want somebody killed … they assign the status of (call them) a suspected terrorist and kill them. [15/11/22 Actually and as in the case of the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, they murder them and then lie profusely including calling them a suspected terrorist to justify the murder. ]
September 29, 2006 – Evil Fascist John Reid is just plain wrong
Blair’s speech “The first rule of politics: there are no rules.”
Of course there are rules – they’re called laws. What Blair means is that they have ruled as though there were no laws.
Reid must stand for PM to protect himself and the Blairites from the cells.
Evil Fascist John Reid’s speech
“It cannot be right that the rights of an individual suspected terrorist be placed above the rights, life and limb of the British people.It’s wrong. Full stop. No ifs. No buts. It’s just plain wrong.” Even if that suspected terrorist is a suspected terrorist only for his legitimate political activities that should be protected in a tolerant society? But what about the suspected terrorists you have already killed or shot evil Dr. Reid? They were innocent. Do you undertand what is meant by innocent evil Dr. Reid? That’s one of our values but obviously not one of New Labour’s values.
It’s just plain wrong that evil Dr. Reid put right-wing death squads on the streets of London. to be continued
16 November 2022. Let’s crack on with this. So far we’ve established that I am an experienced blogger. Today I’ll deal with the practicalities of setting up a blog and hopefully tomorrow we’ll discuss this blog post that I did recently. So the rest of this blog post is technical at a below novice blogger level about how to blog. Please avoid if not interested.
What you need to blog
Firstly, you need some sort of computer. You’re reading this so you’ve got access to something.
I have difficulties using a smartphone for blogging but know that some of you are wizards on them. If it’s all you’ve got it will do and you’ll improve with practice.
A tablet will work fairly well. My preference is a laptop or desktop puter running debian Linux. Shared puters are available at libraries, schools and universities, expect that you can find something.
Secondly, you need blog hosting. This is where your blog is kept and served to the internet. While you are able to do this yourself by installing a webserver, I would not recommend it because it will be slow with extremely limited bandwidth and very complex to set up and administer.
Speed, Support, Security
Hosting is free, cheap or more expensive. I would and do go for cheap but there are other considerations. You want a fast host because you lose viewers if your site is slow to load. You want a host with good support because you’re likely to need it. Free 24 hour support is the one to go for. You want a host that has some concern for and regular security practices including backups. More expensive is simply more expensive without any advantages over cheap and good.
I much prefer Linux based hosting because that’s what I’m familiar with. You will eventually need to execute commands on the server host so it helps if you’re familiar with the host system.
The best way to select a blog host is to read reviews and compare and contrast. Make sure it provides everything that you need. Shared hosting is fine. I recommend my current host (and they’ve got a very good offer on atm) – it’s for you to find out who that is ;) Free is probably slow and limited in some ways e.g. no domain name, I suppose acceptable if you just wanted to try at first.
Many web hosts attract new bloggers with a free domain name offer. It’s worth spending some time choosing a name. Onaquietday is not ideal because it clashes with Arundhati Roy’s statement that it pays tribute to — ‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ You get stuck with a name so give it some thought and decide what extension you want.
Watch out for extras that are sold with webhosting e.g. SSL certificates. You often don’t need those extras and they can be confusing. Try asking the host before signing up: Do I need that? What does it do? and do your own online research.
Hosting will cost a few $/E/£s a month, year or some other period. You will need to buy a domain name if it’s not included – up to $/E/£20 or so and up to $/E/£20 every 2 years to renew (keep) the domain name. I always used to get charged every 2 years to renew, looks like some hosts are charging every year.
Don’t worry about different currencies – just pay and it will get converted. You will need a credit or debit card and expect that a prepaid debit card will work. If not try elsewhere.
Blogging platforms are often a CMS – Content Management System – tweaked to be a blogging platform and this is a further consideration when selecting a blogging host. The most popular and the platform I use is WordPress. Other blogging platforms are available e.g. Joomla, Drupal or Ghost. It’s probably worth searching for a simple blogging platform and see what’s out there.
How to Create a Blog With Joomla
WordPress comes with a default theme – the theme being an interface between WordPress and the creator and between WordPress and how it appears to users. I updated from the default theme to the free (no cost) OceanWP theme because I needed better performance on mobile devices especially phones. I particularly needed reactive text (text that wraps to the screen size as it is resized).
Use a ‘staging website’ before making any changes.The staging website is a copy of your blog that is not publicly accessible. Test changes on it until you learn how to apply those changes to achieve what you want. You then need to apply those changes without any mistakes to the live blog or restore the staging website to the live blog if it’s all there with only the changes you want. You then need to delete the staging website and reload the cache.
Worpress uses plugins to alter it’s fuctionality. I use Akismet – an anti-spam comments filter, a lazy-load plugin that prevents loading of images until the user approaches them, a few extras for the OceanWP theme that I use, Yoast SEO which I tend to ignore and a 2-factor authentication plugin for extra security. I don’t use a caching plugin because I think that caching is already incorporated into the host server. It all seems to work well.
Posts are categorised and possibly tagged to help people search through posts. It essentially just groups similar posts together.
It’s worth watching a few vids and maybe read a few articles to learn how your blogging platform works. Search when you run into a problem – it’s very likely that many people have had that exact problem before. Your blogging platform will take some learning but just publish and get it out there, you’ll improve with experience.
Copyrighted and other content
This is a rough guide, not to be relied on as an authoritative statement of law.
You own the copyright on your own original work. Content on the web is usually owned by the publishing organisation and you’re only permitted to quote short, selected excerpts while providing a clear link to the original source. There is an exception for derived works but it needs to be more than trivial changes.
Content published under Creative Commons licences needs to be copied exactly, clearly attributed with details of the creative commons licence used. You are able to alter CC content to produce derived works, check the details for yourself.
Content published as press releases can be used as you like without attribution although I often do. I suggest that you respect any embargo requested.
As a less experienced blogger I used to quote newspaper articles at length. I got pulled up on it once by the Independent newspaper. As a rule of thumb I quote 3 paragraphs of a newspaper article. I sometimes quote more, especially two sections from different parts of a long article. The source are unlikely to be that concerned – you’re sending traffic to them through a clear link after all and news gets stale. I try to avoid linking to content that is restricted in some way e.g. a paywall or registration needed.
I never used to be concerned about images and just used them. There are many copyrighted images on this blog used without attribution. Image search engines often have an option to search for images under a creative commons licence so I do try to find them.
In the final analysis I am a not-for-profit blogger so that I am not profiteering through using others’ content and don’t have any money. You won’t get sued if you don’t have any money or other assets.
I think that it’s fair to accuse Labour politicians Sadiq Khan and Keith Starmer of supporting the right wing press in unfounded allegations. What Khan and Starmer are also doing is attempting to benefit politically from Just Stop Oil’s actions which have forced the debate.
I am likely to revise this article but I want to get it out. It’s about the historical and continuing malign and corrosive influence of the Australian-American press baron Rupert Murdoch on UK politics. The article starts by looking at Murdoch’s influence over Tony Blair’s government before looking at how he still wields influence over Boris Johnson’s current government (and needs expanding there). I’m only searching the web so you can do this for yourselves.
Former Sun deputy editor Neil Wallis was in charge during the 1997 election campaign when then-Sun editor Stuart Higgins was on holiday.
The paper made shockwaves when it published a “Sun backs Blair” front page after declaring “it was the Sun wot won it” for the Conservatives in the previous election.
He said he asked for a first-person piece from Blair on his party’s “cut and dried position” on Europe but it was “a piece of PR flim-flam that actually said nothing”.
“I said ‘I’m not running this Alistair [Campbell, Blair’s spin doctor] because it’s just saying nothing’. But I said ‘for this to be coherent, for this to have an impact, this needs to say you will not go into the Euro without a referendum’.
“And I duly got the piece under Tony Blair’s name committing them to a referendum on the Euro if it was ever considered that they would go into it.”
Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage directly linked this Sun column with the eventual vote to leave the European Union 19 years later.
He told the documentary: “The price of Rupert Murdoch’s support for Tony Blair was that Blair promised he would not take us into the European currency without first having a referendum, and if Rupert Murdoch had not done that we would have joined the Euro in 1999 and I doubt Brexit would have happened.
“So I think when we look at the long history of Britain’s relationship with the European project that led ultimately to the Brexit vote, I think that was a decisive intervention from Rupert Murdoch.”
So much falls into place with the revelation that Tony Blair became godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s two young daughters and attended their baptism on the banks of the river Jordan last year. True, it isn’t yet clear whether Blair had agreed to become a godparent while he was prime minister [see footnote], and the ceremony did take place after he had left office, but the important point is that the relationship underlines Murdoch’s deep entrenchment in British political life.
Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, who let slip the information in an interview with Vogue, described Blair as one of Rupert’s closest friends. Blair’s account of the relationship in his memoirs is somewhat different, portraying Murdoch as the big bad beast, who won his grudging respect. That is clearly disingenuous. As other memoirs and diaries from the Blair period are published, we see how close Murdoch was to the prime minister and the centre of power when really important decisions, such as the Iraq invasion, were being made.
Blair and Murdoch didn’t have to be bosom buddies for the relationship to be counter to the interests of a healthy national life and politics. As Lance Price, the former Blair spin doctor, has said, Murdoch was one of four people in Britain whose reaction was considered when any important decision was made during the Blair years.
Rupert Murdoch launched an “over-crude” campaign to force Tony Blair to speed up Britain’s entry into the Iraq war, according to the final volume of [total cnut] Alastair Campbell’s diaries.
Mr Blair’s former communications director accuses the media mogul of being part of a drive by American Republicans to drag Britain into the controversial war a week before the House of Commons even voted to approve the intervention in 2003.
The claim is explosive because it appears to contradict Mr Murdoch’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. The News Corp chief told Lord Justice Leveson in April: “I’ve never asked a prime minister for anything.”
It is the second time that claim has been contested. Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, told the inquiry this week that Mr Murdoch threatened to withdraw the support of his newspapers for his Government unless it took a tougher stance on Europe. …
Liverpool MP Andy Burnham has suggested that Tony Blair did not order a full enquiry into the Hillsborough disaster because he did not want to offend Rupert Murdoch.
Mr Burnham, a Labour leader hopeful said he was told not to pursue his demand for an official investigation when serving under Mr Blair.
As a result a “major injustice” was allowed to remain in place for more than a decade, he said.
Mr Burnham was the driving force behind Gordon Brown’s decision to set up the Hillsborough Independent Panel into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans. … The Sun caused lasting outrage after publishing a report following the 1989 tragedy accusing “drunken” Liverpool fans of attacking rescue workers. …
Former Prime Minister Tony has always adamantly denied allegations he had an affair with Wendi, who was married to the News UK magnate from 1999 to 2013. However, the new BBC show spoke about Wendi’s affection towards him, including an unearthed diary entry in which she spoke about his ‘good body and legs’ before adding: ‘And what else and what else and what else…’.
But it was a series of emails, allegedly from Wendi about Blair, that effectively caused their divorce. ‘She made a bad mistake,’ journalist Ken Auletta explained. ‘She was sending emails on Newscorp email, so it’s easy for one of Murdoch’s minions, or lawyers, to extract those emails and see what they said – and they did. …
dizzy: At Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall’s wedding in March 2016 Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel were invited – three prominent members of the current UK government. David Cameron and George Osborne – anti-Brexiteers – were not invited. Tony Blair was not invited – he’s been dropped by Murdoch after not having an affair with Wendi Deng.
That I am not and have never been a Labour Party member.
I am not a member of and have never attended a meeting of the Momentum organisation.
I am a Socialist with a big, capital S.
I have a history of active opposition to the Labour Party while it was hijacked and perverted by Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ regime.
I am not in any sense concerned at being regarded as a ‘Conspiracy Theorist’. It has been established that there was a Hillsborough conspiracy. Blair & Co conspired to promote imaginary and non-existent weapons of mass destruction to attack Iraq despite the absence of any evidence. It was so abundantly clear at the time that this was a totally fabricated nonsense. Blair & Co published two fabricated dossiers.
ed: It appears that ‘the Establishment’ is totally prepared to protect Tony Blair despite his traitorous behaviour. I consider that to be unacceptable to myself and to the UK population and electorate.
ed: ed: It’s not as if it wasn’t expressed at the time, is it?
A few articles on the continuing Blairite attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party by Labour Party MPs. They do seem in an awful rush to depose Corbyn … almost as though a clock is ticking. Craig Murray has excellent analyses yet again.
No rational person could blame Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit. So why are the Blairites moving against Corbyn now, with such precipitate haste?
The answer is the Chilcot Report. It is only a fortnight away, and though its form will be concealed by thick layers of establishment whitewash, the basic contours of Blair’s lies will still be visible beneath. …
David Cameron gets heckled every day of his life. The media never bother to report the names of the hecklers or the gist of what they say.
Yet a single heckler shouts at Jeremy Corbyn at Gay Pride, and not only is that front page news in the Guardian, it is on BBC, ITN and Sky News.
What makes a single individual heckling a politician newsworthy? There are dozens such examples every single day that are not newsworthy.
The answer is simple. Normally the hecklers are promoting an anti-establishment view, so it does not get reported. Whereas this heckler was promoting the number one priority of the establishment and mainstream media, to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. So this heckler, uniquely, is front page news and his words are repeated at great length in the Guardian and throughout the broadcast media.
The priority now of the political “elite” is to ensure voters never again get the chance to make a choice the political class do not want. Jeremy Corbyn is the thing the political class want least.
Do you remember when 184 Labour MPs refused to vote against the Tory benefit cuts that ruined lives and caused suicides? They did so on the grounds that their focus groups showed the public wanted benefit cuts, and so it would be wrong to oppose the Tory Welfare Reform and Work Bill.
Well, I can promise you that the 172 Labour MPs who voted to no-confidence Corbyn are exactly the same people who would not oppose welfare cuts. The net effect of the Corbyn year has been that 12 Labour MPs have decided that they have a purpose in politics which is not just personal gain. The vast majority would vote to push the unemployed off a cliff if they thought it would get them career advancement. Or adapt the John Mann anti-immigrant agenda.
Make no mistake. If Corbyn is deposed, the people of England and Wales will be back to having a choice between two colours of Tory. Labour will go full on anti welfare, anti immigrant and pro-nuclear weapon. Because Jon Cruddas will tell them that is what will get them elected.
Former Number 10 communications chief claims a ‘sect has taken control’ of the Labour Party.
Lord Alan Sugar and Alastair Campbell are two of the best-known names backing an online campaign to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. The former Number 10 communications chief and the ex-Labour peer are urging hundreds of thousands of their followers on social media site Twitter to sign a ‘Saving Labour’ petition.
dizzy: LOL that’s classic isn’t it? Blair’s master of lies and the UK’s version of Donald Trump accuse the left of hijacking the Labour party!
Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Corbynistas have my support.
Labour members and supporters want a Socialist leader pursuing a Socialist, anti-austerity agenda opposing Neo-Liberalism. Many Labour MPs apparently do not. [29/6/16 It appears that those who oppose Corbyn are Neo-Conservatives.]
background: Labour MPs have overwhelmingly voted that they have no confidence in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The vote has no constitutional legitimacy. Jeremy Corbyn has huge support from Labour party members having been elected by an overwhelming majority and having attracted many new members to the Labour party.
ed: I wonder if it’s related to the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry on 6 July, 2016.
A selection of recent UK and international news articles
Home Secretary waited until terror suspect was abroad before stripping citizenship | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism … [Home Secretary Theresa May] denied that it has a policy of waiting until individuals are out of the UK before removing their citizenship. But research by the Bureau has also found that of the 18 individuals we have identified who have lost their UK nationality removed since 2006, at least 15 were known to be abroad when orders to remove their citizenship were issued. Of those individuals, two – Mohammed Sakr and Bilal al-Berjawi – were killed in US drone strikes in Somalia. Another, Mahdi Hashi, was rendered to the United States where he’s currently awaiting trial on terror charges in a high-security jail. Speaking in the parliamentary debate, Diane Abbott pointed out that debate around citizenship-stripping often failed to presume the innocence of individuals who had not faced criminal charges. ‘We are talking about terror suspects. Nowadays in Parliament, saying that someone is suspected of terrorist activity is enough for the political class to assume that that person does not deserve due process,’ she said. …
If the government gets its way, from May this year your family’s patient-identifiable data will be uploaded from your GP surgery to a single, centralised database for the very first time. This ‘care-data’ database will include your NHS number, date of birth, postcode, ethnicity and gender. Your medical diagnoses, including cancer and mental health, your referrals to specialists, your prescriptions, your body mass index, details of your vaccinations and screening tests and your smoking and alcohol habits will be on there too.
The scheme, led by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, is being hailed as a revolution in the use of information to improve our healthcare and to advance medical research – admirable aims indeed. But once it goes live, organisations including drug and insurance firms will be able to apply to purchase ‘pseudonymised’ details about patients. And ‘backdoors’ to the database will allow bodies like the police to enjoy direct access to your medical records as well.
These floods are washing away the founding logic of David Cameron’s government | Jonathan Freedland | Comment is free | The Guardian… But that is the least of the damage that Cameron’s words have inflicted on himself. For this government was built, the coalition formed, on a single, simple premise: that austerity was unavoidable, that there was no alternative. There could be no more spending, an assertion endorsed by the outgoing Labour government in what must rank as one of the most ill-judged jokes of modern times: “There’s no money left,” said Liam Byrne in a note left for his successor at the Treasury. But now, less than four years on, it turns out that this is no longer true. The PM has told us that, should the need be urgent enough, there is money after all. Limitless supplies of it in fact; enough to defeat nature’s wrath. To quote Cameron in full, “Money is no object in this relief effort. Whatever money is needed for it will be spent.” This rather undermines the austerity message, for it shows what was always true – that the national belt is not tightened universally and for ever but can be loosened when the government wants to loosen it. The last demonstration of that truth came nearly two years ago, when George Osborne cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p. That destroyed at a stroke the claim that we were all in it together, but it also illuminated a more obvious fact: that, despite all the “no alternative” talk, the government had not lost its power of discretion. Even in the age of austerity, it still got to decide what to spend money on and what not to spend it on. …
Your bills help British Gas to £600m profit – Business News – Business – The Independent Centrica is set to announce on Thursday that its British Gas household supply arm made a profit of nearly £600m last year, helped by a 10.4 per cent hike in gas prices in November and an 8.4 per cent rise in electricity prices. Politicians and campaigners said the bumper profits provided further evidence that showed the Big Six were overcharging customers in an uncompetitive market.
17/2/14 edit: That would be Alex Salmon “accused of overheating production of Scottish farmed salmond to meet Japan’s insatiable demand for sushi in return for China’s loan of two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo.”
Bottom trawling: how to empty the seas in just 150 years | Environment | The Observer“For every hour spent fishing today, in boats bristling with the latest fish-finding electronics, fishers land a mere 6% of what they did 120 years ago. Put another way, fishers today have to work 17 times harder to get the same catch as people did in the 19th century.” And the reason for this startling state of affairs is straightforward: we have caught so much fish in our own waters over the past 150 years, there is little left for us today. Some species hover at the edge of extinction. Our seas, and the floor below them, have been stripped of their riches.