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  • True bicameralism, landmarks, and speed cameras

    True bicameralism, landmarks, and speed cameras

    Filed on Wednesday, 7th March 2007.
    Filed on Wednesday, 7th March 2007 under Politics, Site Updates, Technology.

    A true landmark vote in the Commons tonight gave a result that surprised many – including Iain Dale, Dizzy, and (errr) me. A vote in favour of a 100% elected House of Lords. Of course, quite how (if?) that’ll work remains to be seen, and it’s not quite what I would’ve gone for, but it’s probably a positive move. Are we on the brink of true bicameralism?

    An interesting, but much more parochial landmark also passed tonight – over 100,000 spam comments caught by Akismet on this blog alone. Again, I’m not quite sure what that means for the future of humanity, but it’s interesting. On the one hand, it shows that spam is well and truly alive – but the fact that the filter caught it shows that their tactics aren’t quite so strong any more. It’s an interesting dichotomy – an increase in spam being used to mark its decline.

    I’ve uploaded more stuff over on the Work pages for the first time in a while. I think it’s worth highlighting this piece, about the public health effect of speed cameras, which I think from previous posts that some of my readers might find interesting. It’s hardly crucial seminal research, but I think some people might find it an interesting read.

    So there you go – three utterly different topics in one barely coherent post. It’s a while since I’ve done that.

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    » Access this online at http://sjhoward.co.uk/archive/2007/03/07/true-bicameralism-landmarks-and-speed-cameras


    The BBC’s Cash for Honours injunction has been lifted – no doubt there will be more on the One O’Clock news and The World at One. Tune in now!



    How to get into medical school

    How to get into medical school

    Filed on Tuesday, 6th March 2007.
    Filed on Tuesday, 6th March 2007 under Video.

    [ Please visit sjhoward.co.uk to view the video which appeared here ]

    Visit sjhoward.co.uk to see the video which appears here.

    It’s actually not that far from being true… And why isn’t Victoria Wood on TV so much any more? It’s a crime.

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    » Access this online at http://sjhoward.co.uk/archive/2007/03/06/how-to-get-into-medical-school


    The trouble with Attorneys General

    The trouble with Attorneys General

    Filed on Monday, 5th March 2007.
    Filed on Monday, 5th March 2007 under Politics.

    Attorney GeneralThe Attorney General is a government appointee. He attends Cabinet Meetings, and is a very political figure. Indeed, Lord Goldsmith is a Labour peer.

    Simultaneously, the Attorney General has supervisory powers over prosecution. He is the chief legal advisor of the Crown. He (largely) calls the legal shots in this country.

    Now, his two worlds have spectacularly collided, and this staunch Labour supporter is being asked to preside over the case of corruption within the Labour Party. If that’s not a major conflict of interest, I’m not sure what is. Yet he refuses to step aside and ‘butt out’ of this affair, despite the fact that any fool can see that him being involved is not in the interests of true Justice being done.

    The Government continues to use the slightly meaningless defence that “it’s always been that way” – well, yes, but never have we seen corruption to the heart of the governing Party quite like we have at the moment. It’s a new situation, and as new situations arise our uncodified Constitution is able to adapt – this is, and always has been, its great strength. Its great weakness is the virtually unchecked power handed to the Government of the day, and perhaps this is something that needs to be reformed in the world of corrupt politics.

    Lord Goldsmith will be the last Attorney General of his kind. This situation has destroyed the credibility of the office. I’m not sure why, but that just feels like a significant blow in the downfall of the Labour Party: A 730 year old office falls apart because of the corruption of one small group of people.

    I’m not sure whether to be depressed at the erosion, or to celebrate the wonderful versatility that this country’s unique constitution provides. It’s probably not for me to judge. But it seems worthy of a mention.

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    » Access this online at http://sjhoward.co.uk/archive/2007/03/05/the-trouble-with-attorneys-general


    Margaret Thatcher not dead yet

    Margaret Thatcher not dead yet

    Filed on Monday, 5th March 2007.
    Filed on Monday, 5th March 2007 under Blogging.

    One of the big political bloggers – Recess Monkey – finds his credibility in his boots this morning, after having to issue a correction about Margaret Thatcher’s death. Primarily because she’s alive.

    Of course, much of what political bloggers (including me) post turns out in the wash to be fairly inaccurate, but prematurely reporting the death of one of the most important Prime Ministers of the last century pushes credibility a little bit far.

    But hey, Recess Monkey‘s a good read, and (if nothing else) there are links pointing to his site as a result of this. New links means new readers, so it might all turn out well. We can only hope.

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    » Access this online at http://sjhoward.co.uk/archive/2007/03/05/margaret-thatcher-not-dead-yet


    This site is now running on WordPress 2.1.2. If you’re on 2.1.1, the upgrade is very strongly advised.



    Cash for honours injunction

    Cash for honours injunction

    Filed on Friday, 2nd March 2007.
    Filed on Friday, 2nd March 2007 under News and Comment, Politics.

    The Attorney General has obtained an injunction against the BBC, preventing it from broadcasting an item about the Cash for Honours inquiry. Obviously, this isn’t something I’m ‘in’ on. But with a little summation, it’s not difficult to work out what’s going on.

    Iain Dale reveals this much:

    So this now leads the BBC Ten O’Clock News but Nick Robinson can’t say what the injunction is all about. Let me help. I understand it is to do with an email that incriminates someone in a fairly drastic way. I do not know what the terms of the injunction are, but isn’t this an injunction which the Labour Party should have asked for rather than Her Majesty’s Government?

    I am aware of the identity of the individual who is the subject of the email, but I think if I name them I’ll probably be banged up at Heathrow on my return! And, dear reader, you wouldn’t want that, would you?!

    A quick look at Guido’s labelling, and the picture the BBC originally put up with it’s report, and I’d imagine we know fairly well where we are.

    It’s starting to get exciting.

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    » Access this online at http://sjhoward.co.uk/archive/2007/03/02/cash-for-honours-injunction


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