A post just for Mr Hartley

A quick one for tonight, I’m tired, haven’t stopped all day having moved the entire house around in terms of living areas but I did suddenly remember this post that somehow got onto the subject of energy saving light bulbs in the comments thread and David Hartley’s problem with locating energy efficient spotlights.

So this is a quick bit of public information for anyone such as myself who have tried hunting down energy efficient spotlight bulbs, in my case the GU10 fitting but others are available too.

Dave, there’s a place just up the road from me in Willenhall in Somerford Place next door to the snooker hall. It’s a little trade counter electrical shop and they sell them. £4.45 each plus VAT, a bit pricier but should pay back in terms of saved electricity and longevity. They’re called City Electrical Factors Ltd btw, if you know how, just Google them on Google Maps and it’ll show you where they are.

Closing the blog down…

Well, regular visitors might have got that impression of late due to the distinct lack of activity. It’s true with all the myriad of other things I’ve had to do lately that I’ve let the blog slide a bit. For some strange reason I’ve been particularly busy this last fortnight or so, someone would think there’s a General Election on or something but there you go, the demands on me from the wider world have dragged me away from the blog.

That said, I’ll try to get a quick post in now and cover a few things I haven’t got round to, some of which I really meant to write about over six months ago, such is life, other distractions always get in the way.

The case of the amazing disappearing blogs

I’ve had a rather stressful week which has meant I’ve hardly got round to reading anything remotely blog related until Friday morning but as I was going out I didn’t have any time to comment so I’ll simply be making up the numbers so to speak in putting my two-pennies-worth on the whole.

It’s good to see that despite there being many different, often opposing views from bloggers that make up online discourse that most have rallied round to support Tim over at Bloggerheads on this one.

Sadly two of my daily (excepting this week of course) reads, Tim and Bob’s are off the air because of the action of this Mr Usmanov geezer.

On the matter itself I can only really think of three perspectives.

It is sad to see that in 21st Century Britain, that it’s money that talks. The ability to pay for the services of a top lawyers firm speaks more and holds more sway than what should be the essence of democracy, that of free speech.

The second is that when Gordon Brown became Premier, it was quite clear that work on constitutional issues would become an issue that is worked on. He has already muted the idea of a British Bill of Rights and ironically, such an example as this exposes the weaknesses in our current arrangement. Perhaps, just perhaps this having happened now, highlighting the inequities of our present law regarding free speech that it may stir up enough support to bring about some real change.

Finally and this is probably the most ironic part of the whole affair. Mr Usmanov has sought to use his vast wealth to gag someone through legal means in an attempt to prevent the expression of views questioning his past. In thus doing he has not only failed because he doesn’t understand the medium nor the culture of those who partake in blogging, he’s confirmed that yes, he is indeed a complete and utter arsehole of the highest order and pretty much has shot himself in the foot by his actions. The muppet, and it’s obviously not only me who thinks that way. (List via Chicken Yoghurt)

Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh
, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street

Notes and clarifications

I’ve been away for the last fortnight on holiday. Although not guaranteed, it was highly likely that we would be out of net connectivity at least for part or the whole time. This in the end turned out to be the whole fortnight so although I haven’t had oodles of time to pen thoughtful pieces for publication, I did have the odd half hour here or there to sit down with the knackered old laptop and write a few articles.

These articles have now been published in roughly the chronological order that they were written in and as noted in each article, I have changed the timestamp to reflect when it was written. As the pieces are not of a particularly time related importance I’m sure no one will have a problem with that and I’m being completely honest about the fact and not in anyway trying to alter timestamps to pretend that I’ve got a scoop ten minutes before Sky or the Beeb as I’m sure no political blogger would ever stoop so low as to do that.

Some of the articles relate to things I’d meant to write about before I left but didn’t get round to and given that I’ve had no net access and will probably be too lazy when I get back, there won’t be any hyperlinks to various references like usual. This has been very interesting given that I would normally be quite fastidious about references but for these articles from the last two weeks.

A week is a long time in politics

Couldn’t resist using that title as time seems to have slipped by so fast that a week has passed (almost) since I last posted something.

There is of course a very good excuse for my dereliction of duty where my blog is concerned, I’ve been horribly busy so I thought it best to do a bit of a round-up of things.

Last Friday I did a radio show o Wolverhampton Community Radio. It was the first in a series run by Matthew Revell who also appears to be very busy as he hasn’t blogged in nearly a week either but I can understand with all the radio show thing. Matthew’s a Tory but he doesn’t seem that bad apart from a strange propensity to get digs in about the BBC whenever he can. I have no idea why but we’ll see if anything drops into Friday night’s show. (Only kidding to Matthew).

The show went well apart from a few hiccups and lost bits and bobs but hey, it was the first ever show so you’re always going to expect a few of those. Turned out quite well humoured and certainly none of the yar-boo discourse that one gets at PMQ’s. Personally I like quite in-depth discussion but we managed to get round a fair number of issues in the hour we had and apart from having to get rather cosy with Paul Uppal due to there only being one microphone working at the start I quite enjoyed it.

On to why I haven’t been blogging ala Saturday onwards. Well, it’s the weather. I think it’s fair to say that this Summer, whatever one might call it has been abysmal. I am trying to remember a period of three days going by without it raining but simply can’t for the last few months and not even contemplating that any break in the rain has been sunny.

This has posed a real problem for me as I’ve had a number of jobs/projects lined up for this year of which only one has been completed (painting the door to the passageway). Renovating the windows hasn’t been completed, digging that big hole in the back garden hasn’t been completed, painting the house hasn’t been completed or any of the other stuff that requires a good few days of sunshine for things to dry out.

So without hesitation I’ve been taking advantage of the almost uninterrupted sun since Saturday (yes, it did rain a little early Sunday morning) but apart from that I’ve actually managed to at least start on a few things with the hope it stays dry or at least dryer for a while so I can complete them. I have no illusions that all the jobs I’d planned will be completed this year because they won’t, save for a very late ‘Summer’ extending into October but you never know.

I’m going to go off on a few little tangents so bear with me.

David Cameron. I’m not going to say anything about the problems he’s been having lately, there’s enough coverage of that and I don’t have anything insightful to add to the discourse but what has happened to tabloid headline writers these days? Come on, “It never rains but it pours for Cameron” was just begging to be pulled out but nope, didn’t spot it anywhere. (happy to be proven wrong).

Does anyone know where I can get a downpipe diverter? There’s plenty online but I’d like to have a look at one first. For information, these are connectors that can be fitted to a downpipe that can divert rainfall away to a separate source. I’ve also noticed that most seem to divert to a pipe about the same diameter as a hosepipe and I wanted one a bit more substantial but might have to compromise if I can’t find one.

I’ve been working on a lot of techie relating things as well in the evenings when I’m not in the garden. I mentioned before that the old Laptop PIII, 128Mb RAM was struggling with Windows and I wanted to put Linux on it. More specifically Xubuntu which is a stripped down version of Ubuntu running the X desktop for lets say, more senior citizen computers. I could never get it to boot with the disc which annoyed me considerably. However on a whim I installed DSL (Damn Small Linux) which I’ve known about for ages but never seemed to get round to experimenting with. It is great for older machines. After I’d installed the system, as opposed to running it from a LiveCD it was faster than the other two, considerably better spec computers in the house. A bit fiddly at times to get things working but on the whole a nice distribution in particular the ability to put it on a USB memory stick and with newer machines being able to boot from USB, giving you the possibility of carrying around your whole operating system on a keyring.

I did however feel like having one last go at Xubuntu and for some strange reason, since I stripped Windows XP off the machine it booted fine and installed with no problems at all so the little lappy now has Xubuntu on, which keeps Mrs Penguin happy as it’s easier to use than DSL.

I think that pretty much brings things up-to-date. Obviously the Summer recess period has struck, politics in general has shifted to downtime and I’ll probably be doing likewise so unless something really interesting pops up between now and September I’ll probably be doing a few more personal/light-hearted postings.

A bit of reflection

Last week I broke this story. It was nice that within the space of two an a half hours it was the breaking news on the BBC Newsnight programme, gave me a little bit of warm self contented feeling inside.

It is however curious when one considers the interaction between the mainstream media and those of us in the blogging world. I can’t claim to have read every paper or followed every broadcast but as far as I can tell, the only mainstream media organisation that actually attributed the story to me was the New Statesman.

I’ll admit to not being regular reader of that publication but fair enough to them that their online edition posted a link, for which my referral states have been going quite mad for the last 48 hours or so. Easily outranking any other referrer including Google searches which almost always dominates (usually with some strange search terms I might add) but it’s been nice to have been acknowledged so a hat tip goes out to the New Statesman tonight.

Site update

Just to let you know as the whole Deputy Leadership is over, that’s led to the removal of the polls and the lovely little picture of Gordon and Jon in the left-hand sidebar. Things are looking blank, me thinks I should come up with something to occupy this space. Perhaps a poll about my favourite politician David Cameron would go down well? Ah, I can see the potental options already.

We should not risk sending Prince Harry to Iraq

I know I’m probably going to prick up the ears of some of my regular readers with the title of this post but please bear with me.

Here’s how the argument is going at the moment at least as far as one can judge from the mainstream media. He should go because he’s one of the lads, he shouldn’t be treated specially just because he’s a prince or he shouldn’t go because he’d be a target for insurgents and if they are aware he is there, blowing his head off might be a bit of a big prize for some groups. Equally this has been dismissed today by the army as being irrelevant because they won’t know where he is, and that is where I have a problem.

I fully accept the argument that he should be treated much as any other soldier. My own personal beliefs are that just because he’s a prince he is nothing special, no different from anyone else, no more important than the son or daughter of any other parent who might be sent off to fight in a foreign land. If you join the army it’s a distinct possibility that one day you’ll be sent somewhere dangerous and may well be killed. If you can’t accept that then you shouldn’t join up.

However, much as that may be my view that he is intrinsically nothing special, I fully accept that he’d be a nice little target for insurgents out to make a ‘big’ kill simply because of who he is. I accept that if he were to go then his whereabouts would not be readily available but this in part exacerbates the problem.

Here’s the scenario. Insurgents will be aware that Prince Harry will be knocking about somewhere in Iraq. There’s no way the army are going to put him somewhere he might actually get popped off, after all, they don’t want a dead prince on their hands (very bad PR and a major bottom-kicking from them up on high) so he’ll be holed up somewhere pretty cushy (from a security perspective), save for a few nice photo sessions of him walking around with the lads on patrol to keep the punters back home happy.

However his presence there may and I say may because it’s not guaranteed but a fair bet, that this will make British troops as a whole a more plush target, just on the off-chance that one of them might be a prince. Obviously we cannot say for sure, only an increase in body bags returning home would give us a definite answer to the question but if it means that we do not increase the risks of more of our lads coming home in body bags for what amounts to a nice bit of PR for the prince, the royal family and the army then I’m quite happy with that.