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March 31, 2006

New Blog: Mediawatchwatch

I've just discovered this blog, called mediawatchwatch. It's quite good, and I intend to follow it for a bit. Going through the archives I found this post.

Norwich vicar defends Springer
The Rev Peter Nokes of St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich has been standing up for Jerry Springer: The Opera. He told the Norwich Evening News:

"The so-called blasphemy scenes are all portrayed as a kind of dream in Springer’s mind. I don’t think they are blasphemous because they are in a dream. The writers are saying that Jerry Springer is manipulative. It is not about God. It’s about the lack of dignity in which he treats people’s problems."

He expressed his view that most mainstream church leaders and Christians in Norwich distanced themselves from the extremist anti-Springer activists.

Unlike most of the protestors, this Rev has actually seen the show - twice on DVD - and he intends to see it live in Norwich when it arrives in May. This places him at an advantage over the BNP/Christian Voice complainers, as he is in a position to understand what the show is about.

This falls coincidentally quite close to home, as I've just been up to St Peter Mancroft several times, as Oliver has said, and I also intend to go and see Jerry Springer: The Opera when it appears in Cambridge.

Our College Chaplain wrote a good discussion about the opera itself.

MSN Search

I searched for Leigh Simpson on MSN Search, and look what I found.

I'm not convinced that the search was working properly.

If you want to create a similar search which doesn't seem to work properly, go to http://www.msnsearchspoof.com/.


I've ranted before about the proliferation of image verification systems. In my case, I was ranting about the fact that Yahoo! was making me fill in a box when I sent an email. Luckily that's declined, I get a verification box about every hundred messages or so, which seems fair enough. The new problem is that bloggers everywhere are finding that the easiest way to prevent bots spamming their blogs is to turn on an image verification system for every comment.

Thankfully there's somebody who agrees this is a bad thing.
Image Verification enrages users like me who block images in their browsers to save on downloads. Since I download lots of stuff, I block images and Flash, and everytime I see an image verification, I hate right clicking it (now without a mouse) and sometimes, when I press the back button, most of what I type goes away and this murders me. Another thing is that image verifications are a complete waste of time, 100% waste!

March 29, 2006

Causality and MMR

An argument in pictures...

From NHS Blog Doctor

Flame on

Something Awful presents some of the best internet hate mail I've seen in a long time.
Cant do it? Oh, im not surprised, seeing as you are a zero-talent neanderthal who posesses the brains of a smashed eggshell dipped in acid resin. So next time you go to insult someone directly because they like a certain genre, kick yourself in your nearly nonexistant balls and masturbate your 2 1/2 penis to some more animal.

Web 2.0

What is Web 2.0? I've discussed a lot without much idea of what's going on. This site may help. It's the Web 2.0 Awards, featuring lots of great sites. All the top names are in there, including flickr, facebook, myspace, del.icio.us, youtube, and many more.

March 28, 2006


Facebook is an online community-building website similar to MySpace. Both of these websites collect personal information. For me, my most jealously-guarded secret tends to be my email address. Thanks to a little bit of care (and another email address I use to sign up to crap) I've kept my spam down to an acceptable level.

Signing up to these things always bears a risk that your email address will be passed on. That's why checking the privacy policy is important. The most important thing to check is that the policy remains valid in the event that the company is sold or collapses. I foresaw a possible situation in which the owners of facebook built up a database of several million email addresses, then sold the whole company to some spam-kings. Call me cynical if you will.

So with the news today that Facebook may be sold, I was a little worried. Luckily the privacy policy was there to save me:
If the ownership of all or substantially all of the Facebook business, or individual business units owned by Facebook, Inc., were to change, your user information may be transferred to the new owner so the service can continue operations. In any such transfer of information, your user information would remain subject to the promises made in any pre-existing Privacy Policy.

Hurrah! And what's more, convincing evidence that the dotcom millionaires can still be made.
The owners of the privately held company have turned down a $750 million offer and hope to fetch as much as $2 billion in a sale, senior industry executives familiar with the matter say.

That may sound like a huge amount of money, especially when you consider that the company was launched just two years ago by a group of sophomores at Harvard University, led by Mark Zuckerberg

... who is now unlikely to need to do very much work again.


...doesn't seem to have hit Blogger yet. As a test, this post is going out at 22:39 here in Cambridge. I'll be intrigued to see what the timestamp says.

Dr. Livingstone, I presume?

Or not, actually. It's Ken, again.
The mayor of London criticised Robert Tuttle while bemoaning the US embassy's insistence that its diplomatic staff should not pay the congestion charge because they view it as a tax. Embassies are exempt from all local tax under the 1961 Vienna convention.

Mr Livingstone told ITV's London Today: "It would actually be quite nice if the American ambassador in Britain could pay the charge that everybody else is paying and not actually try and skive out of it like some chiselling little crook."

But as the article later points out,
Another 55 embassies are also refusing to pay.

So why do the Americans get singled out for special treatment?
His comments brought a fresh rebuke from opponents on the London assembly. The Conservative leader, Bob Neill, said: "This is the latest in a long line of offensive, offhand, irrational remarks. Despite his own personal opinions Livingstone needs to show respect for the office he holds. He is damaging the reputation of the mayoralty of London by his increasingly strange behaviour. He's an embarrassment.

Couldn't agree more.


... this makes quite a lot of sense.
Wherever people live in fear, with no prospect of advance, we should be on their side; in solidarity with them, whether in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea; and where countries, and there are many in the Middle East today, are in the process of democratic development, we should extend a helping hand. This requires, across the board an active foreign policy of engagement not isolation.

This chap works for Microsoft. He works on the networking team.

This picture may give a sense of how complicated Vista is going to be:

Every single little square is a new feature for the networking stack. And people think making this stuff is easy?

March 27, 2006

Top 10

I've often thought that the idea of a "Top 10 Chart" is somewhat poorly-thought out. Inevitably it will start to drive itself along; a book which hits the number one spot may sell twice as many copies and stay there for twice as long. Thus less popular books won't make it into the chart and won't get the same recognition.

I don't know whether the idea is good or bad; there's lots of different points to make.

As a consumer, how do I cope with a bookshop? I may well ask friends what books they like. I might look at a chart. Both of these systems are very similar, except that the chart will use a bigger group of people, not all of whom will be my friends. Thus charts are useful to consumers in informing their choice of which book to buy.

Charts stifle innovation. A popular book will stop others reaching the chart and a wider readership. Not only this but charts will be driven towards a mean population, and the sort of books or music that a mean population would enjoy. Driving everything towards a lowest common denominator with the aim of increasing sales cannot be good for the world of literature as a whole.

As a consumer, I'm not entirely likely to always enjoy books which others do. Perhaps there's a point of view that charts can never entirely work as people's opinions differ too much.

On balance, I think that charts are here to stay, but I'm not convinced they're a good thing. The biggest blow to their credibility, in my opinion, came when The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown hit the top of the charts and seemed to stay there forever. I'll never get back the hours of my life I wasted reading it, but perhaps I won't make the same mistake again.

Good news sources

OK, now I've given up on lots of conventional news sources (not entirely true), how do I get my news?

Web 2.0 isn't something which means very much to me, although perhaps others have a clearer idea of what it means. I think that much of the definition comes down to the idea of "community" projects. Wikipedia is a community project, and is often lauded as being a pretty good encyclopaedia. You see, in the olden days you'd pay for Britannica online or something, but now you just look on Wikipedia, which is free after all.

Flickr is also free. It's community-driven, letting you add tags to your photos and stream them via. RSS. Digg, Memeorandum and del.icio.us are all sites which track popular blogs and news stories. In this way the community gets to choose what is popular.

One day blogs might take over from newspapers. I'll wait and see.

A load of C.R.A.P.

A corner of this page discusses the current proliferation of Digital Rights Management techniques:
ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind suggests that CRAP or Content, Restriction, Annulment, and Protection, is a catchier phrase than DRM - Digital Rights Management. Why does he think this technology is crap? Once you've bought music or other content to play on one device, it won't play on any other device because of the proprietary layer of CRAP.

March 25, 2006

Swearing on the Television

Breaking my BBC posting rule already, here is a link from Bad Science showing the worst swear words in existence. Unfortunately for me, the bird was right; the first in the list is a word I've been known to use from time to time, and she was possibly right to discourage this.

Rather like the word in this post, I think.

Windows Vista - when will we get it?

Apparently, Microsoft are going to re-write 60% of all the Vista code over the next few months. This is an interesting story. Mostly because it's complete rubbish. Here's a thorough debunking of the idea.
I have NO idea where that 60% thingy came from, as best as I can figure, the site that published the article pulled that information totally out of their hat. In addition, if you think about it, it's a nonsensical comment. According to the wikipedia, Windows contains 40 million lines of code (I have no idea if that's accurate or not). But assuming that it is, and assuming that Vista had the same amount of code that XP had, that means that Microsoft would be re-writing 24 MILLION lines of code. In two months (Vista's only slipped for 2 months according to this press release). Now Microsoft programmers are good, but they aren't THAT good. Anyone who's ever worked on a project that involves more than a thousand or so lines of code understands how utterly laughable that is.

(My emphasis)

It's quite amusing really, how some journalists have got it so wrong (you're seeing now how I've moved on from the BBC!). It's especially amusing because most of the Microsoft bloggers are quite cross about this story and demanding the resignations of the journalist and editors. That's unlikely, but it's interesting how small the Internet is at times, that an article can appear and then be criticised within minutes.

March 22, 2006

Human Rights Acts

The Human Rights Acts used to be hot conversation. Every vaguely right-wing newspaper would rant about how they'd open the door to all sorts of nonsense. Developing stories, such as the tale of prisoners demanding pornography as their "human right," didn't help matters.

In the end, although I can't find a reference, I don't think that the case ever went to trial (note the link above is dated Winter 2003). Instead I seem to remember the prison governer losing his nerve and providing some porn anyway. That didn't stop the acts being pilloried for the crime.

Refreshingly, reading about another court case has turned up some different viewpoints on the act. These are only citations, so don't bring detailed information, but it's often obvious what's going on.

The Strasbourg institutions have not been at all ready to find an interference with the right to manifest religious belief in practice or observance where a person has voluntarily accepted an employment or role which does not accommodate that practice or observance and there are other means open to the person to practise or observe his or her religion without undue hardship or inconvenience. Thus in X v Denmark (1976) 5 DR 157 a clergyman was held to have accepted the discipline of his church when he took employment, and his right to leave the church guaranteed his freedom of religion. His claim under article 9 failed.

Thus we can guess he was told to obey the church authorities or leave, which seems reasonable.

In Kjeldsen, Busk Madsen and Pedersen v Denmark (1976) 1 EHRR 711, paras 54 and 57, parents' philosophical and religious objections to sex education in state schools was rejected on the ground that they could send their children to state schools or educate them at home.

I.e. take your kids away from the school if you don't like what's being taught.

The applicant's article 9 claim in Ahmad, above, paras 13, 14 and 15, failed because he had accepted a contract which did not provide for him to absent himself from his teaching duties to attend prayers, he had not brought his religious requirements to the employer's notice when seeking employment and he was at all times free to seek other employment which would accommodate his religious observance.

Having agreed to work for someone, you can't suddenly demand big changes in your working patterns for religious reasons.

Karaduman v Turkey (1993) 74 DR 93 is a strong case. The applicant was denied a certificate of graduation because a photograph of her without a headscarf was required and she was unwilling for religious reasons to be photographed without a headscarf. The Commission found (p 109) no interference with her article 9 right because (p 108) "by choosing to pursue her higher education in a secular university a student submits to those university rules, which may make the freedom of students to manifest their religion subject to restrictions as to place and manner intended to ensure harmonious coexistence between students of different beliefs".

Originally these were taken from this report. There's some more examples below. The big point is that for all these attempts to abuse the Human Rights Acts, common sense has stood firm. And I think that's quite nice.

In rejecting the applicant's claim in Konttinen v Finland (1996) 87-A DR 68 the Commission pointed out, in para 1, page 75, that he had not been pressured to change his religious views or prevented from manifesting his religion or belief; having found that his working hours conflicted with his religious convictions, he was free to relinquish his post. An application by a child punished for refusing to attend a National Day parade in contravention of her beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness, to which her parents were also party, was similarly unsuccessful in Valsamis v Greece (1996) 24 EHRR 294. It was held (para 38) that article 9 did not confer a right to exemption from disciplinary rules which applied generally and in a neutral manner and that there had been no interference with the child's right to freedom to manifest her religion or belief. In Stedman v United Kingdom (1997) 23 EHRR CD 168 it was fatal to the applicant's article 9 claim that she was free to resign rather than work on Sundays. The applicant in Kalaç, above, paras 28-29, failed because he had, in choosing a military career, accepted of his own accord a system of military discipline that by its nature implied the possibility of special limitations on certain rights and freedoms, and he had been able to fulfil the ordinary obligations of Muslim belief. In Jewish Liturgical Association Cha'are Shalom Ve Tsedek v France (2000) 9 BHRC 27, para 81, the applicants' challenge to the regulation of ritual slaughter in France, which did not satisfy their exacting religious standards, was rejected because they could easily obtain supplies of meat, slaughtered in accordance with those standards, from Belgium.

BBC again

I like ranting about the BBC because they're an easy target. They state lots of opinions, and they never fight back. But in response to another good example of bias I've seen, I'd like to clarify some points.

Firstly, I do believe that the BBC contains an institutional bias on various major issues, including the Israel-Palestine conflict and the War in Iraq. I accept that the BBC contains lots of different departments and that separate news teams may not interact much. There is, however, systematic evidence of bias from a wide array of sources. I'd also argue that there is almost certainly a guiding hand, an "editor-in-chief," at work on BBC News and for BBC Online and it's their job to make sure that everybody toes the party line.

So what is today's example? It's a typical off-the-cuff remark on the website, later edited to tone down the bias. The wording was:

Hamas has largely been respecting a ceasefire, despite frequent Israeli army provocations, for more than a year, and it is unlikely to go back on the offensive now.

The key phrase, you see, is "frequent Israeli army provocations." It sounds as if the Israelis are deliberately provoking the Palestinians. It's like the school playground again, you call someone names all breaktime and they hit you in the queue for lessons. Myself, I think it unlikely the Israelis are deliberately shooting at Palestinians with the aim of creating more suicide bombers.

This sentence, to me, is symptomatic of a central bias in the BBC, which can be faintly discerned in many news reports.

The original link is here, and the author describes how the article was subsequently edited. The edit in itself is a tacit admission that the article was wrong.

My problem with the BBC is that people throughout the world watch it. A proportion of Americans will read the BBC online before they turn to CNN. The BBC is responsible for forming opinions of people everywhere. That's why I wish they'd stop dancing around the terrorists, (or "insurgents" as they seem to be called) and roundly condemn terrorism of all sorts. Perhaps they could broadcast the evils of fundamentalist Islamism, and help form more liberal opinions. Tony Blair has always understood that the main terrorist battle is for understanding, as pointed out here at Harry's Place.

I've had enough of commenting about them now. I don't want to turn into a bitter person, and I'd rather this Blog moved away from criticism of a target which seems to offer itself up regularly to the slaughter.

So I promise I'll shut up (unless something really good comes up).

Red Ken Again

Ken Livingstone has embarassed himself again.
Ken Livingstone attacked David and Simon Reuben for their role in an ongoing dispute about the Stratford City development in east London.

He suggested the brothers "go back (to their own country) and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs".

He's starting to sound friendlier and friendlier every day. Just looking down the sidebar on the BBC page shows the previous headlines:
There's some great quotes in all this lot. I've built up a bit of a timeline with some of the more exciting ones, starting with the original insult:
The mayor asked the reporter if he was a German war criminal, then told him he was like a concentration camp guard.

And then when asked to apologise:
And he [Ken] said he would not be apologising to the Evening Standard journalist Oliver Finegold, as it would be an insincere apology.

"I believe what I said was right. I said it to many journalists. No one has ever complained before," said Mr Livingstone.

Hmm. That's not the best way to make people like you. The result?
A disciplinary hearing found he had brought his office into disrepute and suspended him from office for four weeks.


The chairman of the panel, David Laverick, said it had decided on a ban because Mr Livingstone had failed to realise the seriousness of his outburst.

He said: "The case tribunal accepts that this is not a situation when it would be appropriate to disqualify the mayor.

"The case tribunal is, however, concerned that the mayor does seem to have failed, from the outset of this case, to have appreciated that his conduct was unacceptable, was a breach of the code (the GLA code of conduct) and did damage to the reputation of his office."

Mr Laverick went on to say that the complaint should never have reached the board but did so because of Mr Livingstone's failure to apologise.

But finally he got away with it.
The mayor of London's four-week suspension has been frozen by a High Court judge, pending an appeal.

Now let's have a think. You emerge from all of this mess, having cost the government over £50,000 and yourself £80,000. What's the best thing to do? I know, let's insult some more Jewish people!

It's no longer a joke. The sooner he goes the better.

Soapy Stupidity

And where better to start than with a title like that?

From Yahoo! News, (does anybody else still giggle at that random exclamation mark?) the following:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older women who say talk shows and soap operas are their favorite TV programs tend to score more poorly on tests of memory, attention and other cognitive skills, researchers reported Monday.

Though perhaps it's worth pointing out that this doesn't imply a causal relationship.

It's been a week

But I'm back. Time to post a load of rubbish to make up for the backlog.

March 15, 2006

Tom Cruise vs. South Park

Tom Cruise's objections to an episode of South Park have resulted in it being pulled. Luckily it's already hit the internet.

Labour Friends of Iraq

I'd heard of the Labour Friends of Iraq, reading posts to other blogs. I'd never bothered to click on the links, however, and so have missed out on gems like this. The article discusses a coming Stop the War Coalition demonstration, and points out that the SWC might be more properly titled:
Stop the attempt to move to a fuller democracy.

March 10, 2006

Oh dear

The BBC have shown themselves up again.

The time has come to strip the BBC of its status as a public service broadcaster, according to the independent think-tank Civitas. A programme broadcast on 5 October 2005 called 'Little Kinsey' manifested such a distortion of its source material that we can no longer depend upon the integrity of the BBC's factual programmes.

Read the full report.

March 09, 2006


Today I was musing about the recent TV series, "Lost," which was produced in America and shown on Channel 4. I was slightly irked by the adverts on Lost, which were always placed in silly places. Each episode would start with a summary of previous ones, and the broadcaster would often follow this up with adverts, even though the programme had only started two minutes before, and the opening credits hadn't yet appeared.

The amusing thing is that Lost is an American drama. It's designed for adverts. When watching it, you could pick up where the adverts were meant to go. Routinely the tension would build up, then it would all fade to black, before fading back in at more or less the same point.

This also reminded me of watching Star Trek on the BBC. It came as a shock to realise that episodes were an hour long on Sky, instead of the usual 45 minutes. But all the telltale signs were there, each little moment of building music, before the plot stopped and went somewhere else.

I think this is quite a good feature of your average TV programme. You get bite-sized chunks of action, with the tension building up repeatedly. It also unwinds rather naturally. I'm not endorsing adverts at all, but am saying that perhaps programmes designed for adverts are a little easier on the mind to watch. Everything falls in bite-sized chunks.

I might even go so far as to point out the recent success of American drama over here, and suggest a correlation.

March 08, 2006


With the growing controversy in America, I thought I ought to say something. But Dr. Crippen seems able to say it much better than I ever could:

We can all surely agree to try to reduce the abortion rate. And the best way to do that is to improve education about sex and contraception and to make such education a compulsory part of the school curriculum from an early age. The evidence from Holland, where the abortion rate is lower than in the UK and far lower than in the USA, supports this approach. For an explanation of why the demand for abortion is so high in the USA look no further than here in Blount County, Tenmessee.

It seems that in the USA many of the vehement "pro-lifers" are also vehemently against the provision of sex education and contraception for the young. Strange.

How a car seat can ruin your day

Well it can't really. Not at all. (Unless you've installed it incorrectly of course).

Driving a car is probably the single most dangerous thing that any of us do in life. Riding in a car bears a similar risk. Seatbelts have been found to greatly reduce the risk and severity of injuries in road accidents. Children don't really fit into adult seats, and thus should be provided with appropriate child seats or booster cushions.

And so you'd thought people might welcome new legislation demanding that children are provided with adequate safety restraints in cars. But no, not the Torygraph. I thought this article was perfect for a good fisking.

Sometime soon - possibly as early as September - the risk of being stopped for driving a car full of children will increase very greatly. This will be after New Labour has rubber-stamped European directive 2003/20/EC, requiring that most children up to the age of 10 (and shorter children of 11) must be strapped into special child seats or made to sit on booster cushions.

Good, seems perfectly reasonable to me. I sat on a booster cushion for much of my young life. It was especially useful in that it made me high enough to be able to see out of the window. Nowadays it finds new use as a kneeling cushion.

We have all become so used to Tony Blair's restrictions on our liberties that this latest impertinence has attracted barely any comment in the British press (apart from a couple of sound observations from my colleague Alice Thomson, who knows a thing or two about the difficulties of persuading young children to belt up).

Hmm, could it be that most of the vocal commentators have realised that this legislation is a good thing? That would certainly explain the silence. And, Alice Thomson, perhaps you'd bear in mind that it's difficult to persuade young children to do many things. The fact that belting up might save their lives doesn't appear to enter into the argument here.

In fact, the new law will cause quite a lot of inconvenience and expense to a great many people. What about grandparents, uncles and aunts who occasionally help out by picking up their grandchildren, nephews and nieces from school? From this autumn, they will all have to fit special seats for the under-10s, or risk an on-the-spot fine of £30, increased to £500 if they dare to make a fuss about it in court.

I think you'll find it adds very little inconvenience and expense. I'm sure the grandparents, uncles and aunts will be very welcome to borrow the parents' car seat. Let's also try and remember that fitting a car seat isn't rocket science, and they do tend to fit a wide range of cars. It honestly won't take you more than five minutes.

And what about the utter humiliation of short 11-year-olds (under "135cm", whatever that may mean), who will be required to sit on baby-seats, while their younger and taller siblings are allowed to use adult safety belts?

Maybe they should be given counselling sessions at the government's expense. If this is really the best objection this guy can come up with, then I'm proud the legislation has been passed.

At this point the article devolves into a mindless rant, filled with anecdotal discussion which bears no real relevance to anything. Finally the last paragraph dawns.

There are few more cheering sights to be seen anywhere than an estate car, overloaded with children on their way to a treat. You will notice that it is
always the children lying on their tummies in the luggage compartment, waving or sticking their tongues out at the driver behind, who are the happiest. Let's all try to enjoy life, instead of merely struggling to prolong it.

Yes, and it'll be the children lying on their tummies in the luggage compartment who will fly through the front window of the car and into the road if the car gets involved in a crash. But I'm sure this can't really cause injury... maybe when you've finished picking the glass out of the corpse he'll look fit to bury.

I am now wholly convinced that the best possible start will be to pull out of the European Union.

Well bully for you. I hope you treat everything in life with such a knee-jerk reaction. But I forgot, this is the Telegraph, you're probably hard-wired to say that.

March 02, 2006


I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but it's good enough to discuss again.

Some websites, such as those operated by newspapers or scientific journals (among many others), are perfectly happy to give you lots of information for free. Annoyingly though, they want you to sign up first, providing them an email address and personal information.

I'd really like to know why they do this. After all, surely anyone with any common sense will click the "Do not contact me with marketing information" checkbox? Not only this, but they've suddenly catapulted themselves from providing a simple online service to collecting personal information, all of which must be stored in a way compliant with the vagaries of the Data Protection Acts.

So what we have is a company collecting data for no real purpose at all. Not only this, but I often have to faff around subscribing to a service just to read one webpage.

Luckily there's a solution, which I'll plug heavily.

http://www.bugmenot.com/ is a website which provides a database of valid username/password combinations for free services which demand sign-up.

So now we can easily circumvent the compulsory sign-up systems. So why do we need them anymore? It's about time that content providers stopped treating us like dirt. Perhaps when Web 2.0 style things really get going, we won't need them anymore. Already I reach for Wikipedia before Google.

Apologies to anyone...

...who reads this in a feed aggregator. I've just republished the previous two posts about twenty times trying to get the paragraph spacing right.

I think we're there now.

Weapons to Iraq

From Nick Cohen writing in the Evening Standard (via Norm):

What percentage of Saddam Hussein’s weapons came from Britain and America? I ask
because on the rare occasions the BBC mentions Saddam’s genocidal crimes it
always says he was ‘armed by the West.’I bet you can’t guess the answer.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a mere 0.46
per cent of conventional weapons bought between 1973 and 2002 came from America
and 0.17 per cent came from Britain. The overwhelming majority came from France
and the Soviet Union, while West Germany gave Saddam the plant to make the
poisons he used to gas the Kurds.I bring this up because of the reports that
German spies tipped off the Pentagon about Saddam’s war plans. They may well
have known, as the Germans were in up to their necks in Iraq.

It's intriguing how more and more of the SWC's arguments seem to be getting unravelled. They say, "we armed him," when in fact we didn't. They say, "Iraqis didn't want Saddam removed," when in fact they did.

March 01, 2006


Here on the BBC website:

Chelsea and Southampton legend Peter Osgood has died at the age of 59.
Osgood collapsed while attending a family funeral service on Wednesday at
Slough crematorium.

It's been said that at least you get to be centre of attention at your own funeral. That's a bit less effective if somebody goes and causes a scene.