Thursday, July 26, 2007
  Who kills more people: Osama Bin Laden or the motor car?
It appears that Mr Al Qaeda is in fact something of a wannabe when it comes to killing people compared with the motor car. Around 3000 people died in 9/11 but more than 3000 people every single year die on Britain's roads. Never mind the War on Terror what about the War on Cars?

Lets face it it would be cheaper than invading lots of foreign countries and could save more British lives. The only problem is that is not such a good news story as terrorism. War correspondents would rather get shelled and bombed in far off lands than report on the slaughter on our own streets.

Still we aren't all going to get killed by the motor cars, some of us will succumb
to heart disease so perhaps it's grim reading for the car industry that the latest research is showing that exhaust fumes are driving, excuse the pun, up rates of heart disease.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
  Randomised controlled trials for social policy
Seems like a good idea to me.
Friday, July 20, 2007
  Nick Parrott's Fact of the Day
Thought I would share this from my facebook wall. Hat tip Nick.

Ealing Southall was the lowest swing against an incumbent party in any by-election since 1982. The 1982 by-election was in Beaconsfield, where the Labour candidate was Tony Blair. Funny old game...
  What a difference a day makes ....
Two third places in Sedgefield and Ealing Southall and the tory boys over at ConHome are less than happy. Could Cameron be the next Conservative catastrophe? Yes according to these comments from Tory activists.

"Slam dunk for Labour tomorrow then!"

"sadly we offer nothing more than a fresh face."

"Cameron's going to take a massive slap in the cherubic chops over Ealing Southall. Cameron visited the place FIVE times and there was talk of winning it. Lit even ran as 'David Cameron's Conservatives', so it's personal!Not good at all."

"Well "call me Dave" can't blame the "nasty wing" this time. It was their choice of candidate, their style of campaign, their staffers on the ground and even "David Cameron's Conservatives" on the ballot paper. Time to start producing results "Dave" or we might want our Party back."

"I'm afraid this can't be spun any other way than a bad night for us."

"we can be justified in saying "Cameron out". IDS lost his position after Brent East and this is, in effect, far worse."

"The Cameron leadership is a shambles. Shame on us for putting up with it for 2 years."

"it is shockingly bad to be honest."

"I voted Tory the past 4 GE's and I CANNOT STAND Cameron. Many many of my Tory friends are the same. He is a puke-making spinmaster and the country is sick of it."

"Cameron needs to go. Brown will go to the polls this fall and will return a comfortable majority."
Thursday, July 19, 2007
  Cycling friendly cities
Here is a great video from Holland on cycling friendly cities with transport polices that put people first and benefit the environment. Perhaps they should get the Brits to do their videos for them but the Dutch do wonderful city planning and the UK would benefit hugely from borrowing their ideas.

  Police investigate Tories over Ealing Southall
The sheer incompetence of the Conservative party is breath taking. They pick a candidate who isn't even a member, who has donated thousands to Labour and is not even one of the tens of thousands of people who have exactly the same amount of political experience as him (i.e. none) and actually live in the constituency.

Now they can't even run a by election campaign without getting investigated by the police
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
  Tory Blogger admits defeat
Good to see that Iain Dale doesn't think that the Tories stand a chance in Ealing Southall. Hopefully more important people like the electors of the seat are of the same opinion. No doubt we shall find out on Thursday.
Friday, July 13, 2007
  I'm off to Ealing Southall
for the weekend. While i'm gone don't play follow play follow the former lib dem leader like they do over at the CP's. It's dangerous kids.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
  Sport, dosh and governance
A fascinating article in the Times.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
  Ealing Southall candidates: the dirty dozen

  1. Nigel Bakhai, Liberal Democrat
  2. John Sydney Cartwright, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
  3. Sati Chaggar, English Democrats - 'Putting England First!'
  4. Salvinder Singh Dhillon, Respect - Peace, Justice, Equality
  5. Sarah Janet Edwards, Green Party
  6. Kuldeep Singh Grewal, Independent
  7. Tony Lit, David Cameron's Conservatives
  8. Yakub Masih, Christian Party 'Proclaiming Christ's Lordship'
  9. Jasdev Singh Rai, Independent
  10. KT Rajan, UK Independence Party
  11. Virendra Kumar Sharma, The Labour Party Candidate
  12. Gulbash Singh, Independent
Here's the full list of Ealing Southall by election candidates. By elections are never the cleanest of campaigns so in a Telly Savalas moment it seems appropriate to call the candidates the dirty dozen, it also helps there being twelve. Anyway, then it struck me Virendra Sharma - Telly Savalas separated at birth?
  World's biggest Dick (Cheney) nailed ...

in a funnier way than they tend to do in his secret prisons.Dick Cheney would make a great Bond villain. Filming could also keep him occupied for the few weeks between when he steps down as vice president and when all the people who have been kidnapped and tortured on his orders start to sue his ass off. The video apparently expires on the 26th July so catch it while you can.
  Britains railways are safest ever
One of the great things about blogs is that you can highlight stuff that the mainstream media decide to leave out of its coverage. My dad is a little bit of a train buff and takes The Railway magazine. Normally I leave it well alone but I had a look at the latest issue and it turns out that for the first time ever there have been two consecutive years 2005, 2006 with no passenger deaths on the railways. There have been 6 years in postwar Britain where there have been no deaths on board trains and half of them have been in the 21st century the other was in 2003.

So this is something of a golden age of rail safety. Lets compare to other forms of transportation. Train travel is 23 times safer than car travel and 849 times safer than motorcycles. As you can see from national statistics road deaths have been reducing over the last 40 years but roads are still the killing fields of modern Britain with thousands dead every year. Can someone please explain to me why people are so attached to their expensive, polluting and slow cars ....
Monday, July 09, 2007
  Dutch bikes

This is an excellent video about Dutch bike culture. It's filmed from an American perspective but that doesn't mean that we don't have to learn exactly the same lessons because we suffer the same problems. The Dutch and also the Danes lead the way on creating healthy, happy and green societies so if your interested in improving your own society take a peek.
  Tony Lit: a tory dream turns to a nightmare...
First a little local difficulty cropped up today but nothing to worry about long term. Clearly they thought after not getting their man selected that he was so weak he had no hope as an independent candidate so they buggered off in a huff to the Tories and I suspect never to be heard from again. Pickled politics is even counting it as a rather big blessing and i'm looking forward to the Tories repeating their recent calls for immediate by elections. We could even combine the parliamentary and locals.

The defection of a bunch of non-entities shouldn't overshadow the extremely dubious choice of Tony Lit as a "Cameron Conservative" by election candidate. Considering that the last Asian "Dave" promoted to the shadow cabinet turned out to be homophobe and terrorist sympathiser you would of thought "Dave" would have the gumption to select someone as a candidate who's ink on the membership forms was dry.But no, not our "Dave".

As Kevin Maguire points out the guy drives a roller and is a former model. His dad is also worth a cool £75,000,000. No doubt "Dave" would have thought he was the right kind of chap if his dad has that much money. I disagree however. The Tories should not be selecting candidates based on the colour of their skin or indeed the size of former independent candidate daddies wallet but on the content of their character. Tony Lit is the blankest canvass since the great paint shortage of 1645. If they could get a mannequin to talk they would have put it on the ballot paper as possibly the only candidate that could be more vacuous. This is dangerous for the Tories. What kind of man are they trying to put in parliament? Who knows he only met them a week ago.

No doubt he has the nice house outside the constituency and the flash car and fancies strutting his stuff in the only palace (of Westminster) that you can be a part of without having carnal knowledge of someone in the royal family but a seat in parliament is really not about another trophy it's about public service.

In the unlikely event that Tory Lit is returned as the member for Ealing Southall he'd have a shock after the first surgery when he finds out they expect him to do it more than once.

Even a local Tory blogger is calling Lit a "high risk" so if and when it all blows up in "Dave's" face it's his appalling judgement which is at fault and no one else's.
Friday, July 06, 2007
  Charlie Kennedy nabbed by the boys in blue
The Guardian is reporting that the former Lib dem leader has been spoken to about smoking on a train. Never mind the sheer inconsiderateness towards other passengers, we all know that most of the problems that the British Transport Police have to deal with regarding anti social behaviour come down to alcohol an area in which Kennedy is an acknowledged expert. So Parburypolitica asks just how sober was he?
Thursday, July 05, 2007
  Letter to Gordon Dear Gordon,...
The Gruniad has done a good PDF of the your new government but I would add an amendment to it.

We need a Minster of State for Active Travel and Fitness, it could be a joint appointment between the Department of Health and the Department of Transport in the same way that the Minister of State for Trade is between the Foreign Office and B.E.R.R.

Active Travel is shorthand for cycling and walking but basically covers anything that gets us out of motorcars and benefits our health and the environment. The job would basically be providing more and better opportunities for cycling and walking, promoting healthy lifestyles and tackling the car culture through urban design.

This is a job that would solve problems with both departments. At the moment the DOT is set up in a very anti green way and this needs to change. At the moment you have a Secretary of State, two Ministers of State one for roads and road safety and the other for aviation and shipping and a parliamentary undersecretary for railways.

I would change it like this. Split the aviation and shipping brief and give aviation to roads and shipping to railways this would create a vacancy in the DOT which could be filled with a Minster of State for Active Travel and Fitness. This would be also good for the Department of Health.

At the moment the NHS is a national illness service ie when we have something wrong with us it tries to fix it. The best way to improve our health though would be a change in lifestyle so this appointment would help rebalance the Department of Health from being to closely aligned with producer and indeed supplier interests to a situation where it takes into account the nationals wellness as well as illness.

We have an appalling car culture in this country, major lifestyle challenges that put the NHS at long term risk and an environment record that needs improvement. The vexing thing is that we know how to solve these challenges but what is needed is iron political will to see them through.
  I want on of those!
Here is an interesting quote from an interesting article in the Independent

Almost 200 years after their invention in northern England, railways (if they are well run) are still the pleasantest and safest way to travel. In 27 years, the French Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) system has carried more than a billion passengers. There has not been one serious injury.

We may have been the first but we haven't been the best for decades. So Tom now you have ditched the blog you have plenty of time left for effecting a national high speed rail network. Crack on.
  Brothers in arms and oil and big wads of cash

This picture amused me. Hat tip Harry's Place
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
  Ealing Southall - The NEC really does know best!
This may not be the conventional view at the moment but it is non the less right. Knowing why the NEC did what they did I can see the wisdom of their decision and while it may be a painful decision for some to accept at the moment it really is in the wannabe candidates long term best interests even if it may not feel like that this morning.

As this blog is a public forum there is a limit to what I can say on here. If you want to know why Jasbir Anand was not put on the shortlist go for a google though I cannot vouch for the truth of what you may find there . As for Sonika it was not the right time or place for her though above all her character remains unblemished by this minor set back and i'm sure that we will see her in the House of Commons in short order, just not in Ealing Southall.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
  Ealing Southall by election shortlist
Well well the benevolent leadership which is the NEC has in its infinite wisdom got a shortlist of Jo Sidhu and Virendra Sharma for the members in Ealing Southall to choose from as opposed to five names for Sedgefield. Now I am certainly not going to give the opposition the kind of blog ammunition that they have been giving us recently save to say there will be more than a few bruised egos at not being included on the shortlist tonight some of whom actually have a valid point.
  Tories appoint pro terrorist homophobe lawyer to top team
I noted before the reluctance of "Dave" to appoint anyone to the shadow cabinet that we have ever heard of but the reasons why he wants to keep the names of his top teams quiet are becoming apparent. It turns out Sayeeda Warsi who he is sending to the lords to cover the shadow communities brief is a homophobe who thinks that terrorists are "freedom fighters". On the plus side she is a lawyer, because more lawyers in politics is just what the country wants. Way to go "Dave".

She even makes Michael Howard look like the voice of reason which is an achievement and a half.
"Mr. Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative party, disagreed with comments made in a BBC programme on 20/07/2005 by Ms. Sayeeda Warsi, vice-chairman of the party, stating that new anti-terror laws following the 7/7 attacks in London should not stop support for "(the) freedom fight" in Kashmir. She had further stated that "It would concern me if … the definition of terrorism was to cover maybe (the) legitimate freedom fight in Kashmir.""
  All aboard?
I'm very glad to see that the high speed railway system in Europe is getting its act together and competing with short haul air travel. will mean that you will be able to buy tickets for high speed international trains a lot easier in the future. Previously passengers had to rely on the excellent Seat 61 for such things even though you would have thought train companies would be interested in making the purchase of tickets as easy as possible.

High speed rail is quicker city centre to city centre and a whole lot greener than air transport. Great Britain is only a small island so I think there should be an alternative to internal flights in the UK. I think simply banning domestic flights is not the right step at the moment but we should want to get the transport system to provide the great alternatives which are cheaper, greener and more convenient.

Britain has only one high speed rail line known as high speed one which is the english side of the channel tunnel to London route. Presently there is talk of high speed two replacing the west coast main line from London to Glasgow in a few decades time. This is all to the good but really we should be aiming for double figures at least not just 2 lines.

It is of course easy to call for expenditure, look at the fib dems for one, but it is important to say where the money should come from. I think we should slap on a £50 per flight High Speed Train Levy on all domestic flights and there should be an escalator of inflation + 5% applied annually. This would be a hypothicated tax that would be used only to finance high speed rail rather than general expenditure. We should also use the tax system to ensure that flights are always the most expensive means of travel as along as they are the most environmentally damaging.

We also need to approach this on a European level with expansion of the high speed rail networks across the continent and a transnational HSTL on short haul European flights.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Apparently the Tories are having a reshuffle.

Who are these people ? At the moment the most famous Tories are "Dave",Boris and Maggie. Only one of which is in the shadow cabinet. Considering that these people want to lead the nation they should do us the courtesy of telling us who on earth they are!

Anyway Brown's start as PM, even if terrorist events mean it could have been better, is making them look like a bunch of amateurs out of their depth. So it all seems a bit like the Tories are reshuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic. I wonder what the proportion of the population is who are not members of political parties who can identify 6 or more members of the shadow cabinet? Answers on a postcard.

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