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Back from an unplanned break

As regular fans will have noticed, sjhoward.co.uk has been inaccessible for a couple of days. My hosting company decided that I was placing too much load on their servers thanks to the ever-increasing number of hits the site receives.

However, I’m now back. The site isn’t quite its usual self – the most noticeable effect being that the boxes on the right hand side are temporarily static – as I’ve taken measures to try and reduce server load by reducing PHP processing. Frankly, many of the edits I’ve made to the site recently have consisted of some pretty sloppy coding, and I’ll have to tighten that up a bit in order to keep things running.

I guess in the medium term, I’m going to have to start looking for a new host, and I’m open to suggestions.

Expect the site to be a bit buggy for a little while, at least until everything gets back online. At some point, a glut of back-dated Diary posts will probably appear, though you can check out the relevant content right now via my Twitter feed.

In the meantime, why not check out who called me the ‘Stephen Fry of independent blogging’? Now that’s a complement.

This post was filed under: Site Updates.

Diary for 21st March 2008

The usual suspects’ criticisms of David Cameron for minor cycling errors are mean-spirited, hypocritical, and – frankly – rather puerile. «

This post was filed under: Diary Style Notes.

Holding a Mirror to political leanings

Daily MirrorIn today’s complex world, it can become difficult to know who’s supporting who, which way the political wind is blowing, and who to believe when it comes to news reportage. Take The Daily Mirror, for example.

It is often asked why The Mirror performs so relatively poorly compared to it’s long-time rival, The Sun, which is the most popular and far-and-away the most politically powerful paper in the UK. There’s not a person in Westminster who is unaware of what ‘The Sun Says’ on any given issue, yet The Mirror is largely ignored.

Before every general election, the politically complex Sun is fought over by Labour and the Conservatives, desperate to secure the support of Rupert Murdoch and hence the paper, thus receiving a huge boost to the electoral campaign. The Mirror is always left behind.

So, in these difficult times, it can be hard to follow quite who The Mirror is supporting at any one time.

Take today’s paper, for example. The front page story? A relatively extensive report on minor traffic violations by David Cameron on a bike. Frankly, not a dissimilar level of reportage to that when Tony Blair became the first serving Prime Minister to be interviewed by police, that time in relation to very serious charges.

And on the inside pages? Gordon Brown expresses his love for the ‘misunderstood’ Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, U2, and Leona Lewis: He’s really “down with the kids”. It’s Cool Britannia Mark II, and even less believable than the first time round.

I’m well aware that newspapers have always had political allegiances, but this particular juxtaposition struck me as so utterly ridiculous as to be worthy of comment.

» Image Credit: The Daily Mirror‘s front page, 21st March 2008.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Politics.

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