Tuesday, 28 September 2004


It's nice when the government actually does something good, and it deserves some credit for doing so. It's a shame that for every good thing they seem to do a bad thing of course. Take yesterdays announcement that they are selling-off BBC Technology, for example. Sure, sell the infrastructure of the public broadcaster (which we all own, of course) to some private company. That makes sense.

Anyway, back to the positive. The government has made Transport Direct, a web site that will plan out journeys for you. Simply type in your from/to details, and it will suggest a route that combines all forms of public transport, as necessary. You can even tell it to include journeys by car if you like, so it can replace things like the AA route planner (no more annoying pop-ups!). The front page also has a handy real-time list of traffic jams if you want to drive. Top stuff. No doubt they will sell it off at way below cost if it gets too good or popular though.

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

But he's *not* sweet! Can't you see that? Hello?

Stories like this make me wonder just how some people think. A reporter was kidnapped by the Taliban and held against her will. Upon returning to the UK she decides to join Islam.

This is all fair enough - I wouldn't want to question anyone's reason for joining any particular religion. However, some of the stuff she says in this article is bizarre. For example, that crazy one-handed Muslim cleric rang her up to 'congratulate her' for becoming a Muslim, but ended the call by saying "...there is just one thing I want you to remember. Tomorrow, if you have an accident and die, you will go straight to hellfire". She then calls him 'quite sweet'. She went on to take her final vows despite being scared to death in the meantime.

Are these the actions of a sane woman? Far be it from me to judge, but Yvonne Ridley, you are wrong in the head. If there was one thing that would put me off joining a religion, it would be that crazy one-handed loony phoning me up and telling me I'd go to hell unless I converted quickly. It's hardly a positive encouraging tactic. She also uses the fact that men are no longer interested in her as some sort of bonus. Sure, whatever. You didn't have to go out with men before you became a Muslim, you crazy fool! Sheesh.

Tuesday, 14 September 2004


Both the government and the opposition are making worrying noises about getting more private finance into the NHS. There is also talk of having to prove who you are before you are treated. The logical conclusion of this is some sort of health insurance (even if the state pays - at the start at least).

It is an indication of a cilivilsed society to have healthcare free at the point of treatment, without having to fill in means-testing forms or questionnaires. People often cite America as some sort of model, but there are plenty of things wrong with it. Stories like this show how free healthcare</a> is a good, necessary thing. Sure, the NHS might be underfunded to an extent, but nobody suffers due to inability to pay. All we need to get over now is the unwillingness of the British public to pay more reasonable taxes, then our healthcare system can be the envy of the world once more, without the immoral aspects arising from shareholders making money from the sick.

Tuesday, 7 September 2004

The Public Whip

I found a link to The Public Whip on Slashdot today. It's a really good site. Try this link to see how your MP (or any MP) stands when it comes to how close their votes align to everyone else. The main page contains links to lots of interesting tools and statistics. You can see how your MP voted and where they rebelled against the party line. There is also a 'dream MP' section, where you can enter how you would have voted in parliament had you been there yourself, then see which real MP most closely matches your views. It's really good - and quite revealing.