The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

"No favours but slightly quicker"

Blunkett claims he cannot remember asking for quicker processing of his girlfriend's nanny's visa application. If he is a man of integrity it is odd that such a transparent abuse of power should have slipped his memory.

I am aware that many will see it as a very minor transgression, especially as he explicitly called for "no favours". This is naive. We only have to put ourselves in the shoes of the career civil servant on whose desk the fast-tracked application arrived, to see how ridiculous it is to think that the "no favours" part of Blunkett's request should be followed.

Power doesn't work like this. Blunkett understands power, but he would have us believe that he doesn't. He pretends that he himself believed that his department would deal completely disinterestedly with the visa application despite the fact that he had shown an interest in the outcome by specifically associating himself with it.

There are shades of the Hinduja affair here. Let us hope that unlike Mandelson, Blunkett's resignation really does mark the end of his political career - though we have learned to regard political resignation as a matter of tactical retreat.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Mr Blair is determined

On this morning’s radio news I heard that Mr Blair was “determined” to build a consensus on global warming. That’s a very Blair-like thing to be. Others would be “hopeful” of building a consensus, but Mr Blair is “determined”.

A Google search on “Mr Blair is determined” reveals the extent of his previous resolutions: keeping Alistair Campbell, building a “New Labour” Britain (whatever that means), persuading Mr Bush to seek a new UN Security Council resolution (great idea that), confronting Mr Bush in private on the issue, acting as a “bridge” between the US and the EU (to be walked over by both sides), preventing Ken Livingstone from becoming the official labour candidate for London mayor, refusing to hold a referendum on the EU constitution, etc.

Were Mr Blair’s achievements not in inverse proportion to the intensity of his public aspirations, what a Prime Minister he might be!

Great balls of fire!

Junk science alert.

In a groundbreaking study on fertility, a team of researchers discovers that men who balance hot laptop computers on their laps have warmer balls.

More research needed...

More details of the research findings here

Even without turning the laptop on, the scrotal temperature rose by 2.1 degrees Centigrade when the young men sat with their thighs together to balance the computer on their lap.

When they switched it on the temperature rose -- by 2.8 degrees C on the right side and 2.6 degrees C on the left.

Publishable research certainly seems to have changed since I was at university.

Friday, December 03, 2004


A shopping centre in Llanelli is to install spy cameras in their Christmas grotto to allay parent fears of over-friendly Santas. Children will also be encouraged to sit beside Santa rather than on his knee as tradition dictates.

"It's a sad sign of the times," St Elli manager Gilmour Jones was quoted as
saying by the Guardian on Friday.
"But I'm afraid that it was either this or not having Santa's grotto at all."

And once Santa's grotto has been secured as a pervert-free zone,
anti-paedophile cameras should surely be set up in all classrooms, scout huts and vestries. They could prove a particularly worthwhile investment for the Catholic Church.