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Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 12 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Go figure (Guardian)

Some of the particularly interesting bits:

2
Number of times Peter Mandelson resigned from government amid allegations of sleaze before reappearing as European commissioner in August

£150,000
Mandelson’s annual salary (not including $1,900 a month housing allowance)

For me, this is one of the worst aspects of Blair’s government. People are forced to resign if they get caught (unless your initials are TB – well, AB actually – how did he ever become ‘TB’?), but you don’t have to resign for long. Disgraced ministers should not be rehired if you want a “whiter-than-white” government. But Blair doesn’t want that… He wants a government that will, to all intents and purposes, let him do what he wants unchallenged. It’s very wrong, and bad for the country.

2
Number of racist jokes Tory MP Ann Winterton has told at after-dinner speeches

2
Number of times Winterton has been sacked from prominent positions in the Tory party as a result of her fondness for racist jokes

…but then the Tories aren’t much better. But at least they don’t seem to have done it quite as often in recent years.

17,124
Maximum number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the war began (Source: iraqbodycount.org)

100,000
Minimum number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the war began (Source: Lancet report)

Which ever figure is right, it’s far too high. There was no need for an immediate invasion, and even if a case had been made for regime change (which would have been illegal anyway, but let’s just suppose) then time could have been taken to plan an acute strike to kill of Saddam and a minimal number of his aides. There was no need to go and destroy much of a beautiful country, leaving children as orphans and families as homeless.

100,000
Deaths this year due to the conflict in Darfur

106,000
Deaths this year from active smoking in the UK

700
Deaths from passive smoking in the UK

When faced with figures like these, even my opposition to a public smoking ban begins to waver. But I stand firm. I agree that there is a case for banning smoking in many public places, but I don’t see why the government should deny people the liberty of going out and having a smoke now and again. However much I dislike it, and however much harm it is doing to themselves. It should only be banned in places where it causes significant harm to others (such as poorly ventilated restaurants).

21.4
Grams of fat in a McDonald’s chicken Caesar salad with dressing and croutons

7.7
Grams of fat in a standard McDonald’s hamburger

It’s popularly known, but worth mentioning again in the light of the recent campaigns attempting to portray McDonalds as a healthy option.

95p
Price of a 500ml bottle of Dasani, Coca-Cola’s new drink that was withdrawn from sale after it was revealed to come from a tap in Sidcup, Kent

0.03p
Price of 500ml of tap water

One of my favourite stories of the past year. Finally, a major triumph over corporate cynicism. Though I suppose it wasn’t, really, because it wasn’t withdrawn until it was found to be carcinogenic. But I can dream, and bask in happiness.

11
Number of times John Peel, who died in October, was voted Melody Maker’s DJ of the Year

I always liked John Peel. Certainly one of my favourite radio presenters, though I admit that I know him more for his Radio 4 work that his Radio 1 work. He was one of the few presenters who seemed interested in his listeners, and a genuinely caring man. A sad loss.

This 142nd post was filed under: News and Comment.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th December 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th November 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th October 2017)

To speculate or not to speculate? (published 1st September 2006)

Becoming a police state (published 27th May 2007)

Greer walks out of ‘bullying’ Big Brother (published 12th January 2005)

Happy birthday, John Snow: you’ve never been so relevant (published 15th March 2015)


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