The Snooker World Championships from Sheffield's Crucible Theatre has this year, once more excited me and surpassed all my expectations!
BBC Sport has once again produced a great spectacle... which I have thoroughly enjoyed... with a couple of exceptions.
I've been watching televised Snooker since the early 70's. Like many of you, I'm sure, I have some wonderful memories and great affection for this tournament. For me, April has always been about the FA Cup Semi's, the Boat Race, the Grand National... and last but by no means least, the World Snooker Championship!
I remember many wonderful moments over the years... of this great staple of BBC sport. In particular, I remember moments like the time we all stayed up till the early hours to watch the amazing 1984 'Black Final', won by Dennis Taylor against Steve 'The Nugget' Davis. Another memorable moment for me was the first televised 147 maximum break by Chris Thorburn, which I watched live as it happened. The only thing better would have been, if I'd actually been there!
This 2009 World Championship, to-date, has been exceptionally good and of a very high standard by any yardstick. Already it has broken the all time record of 'centuries' scored, and we still have the Semi's and the Final to come!
Yesterday's encounter between Higgins and Selby was awesome. In the much used cliche... it's a pity there had to be a loser. What an exciting match that was. Unfortunately for me, (and here comes my first excpetion I mentioned earlier) the match was marred and my enjoyment was spoilt by Willie Thorne!
Willie Thorne's 'machine-gun' like 'motor mouth' commentary, with continual inanities... speaking through important shots, was exasperating... and not for the first time!
The BBC coverage of the Snooker World Championships... for me... has always been greatly enhanced by the great commentators, and in the past great presenters too!
I love the characters, the old timers such as my favourite, John Virgo, who can be hilariously funny, very poignant (showing great humanity at times) or just well balanced. He and the likes of Dennis Taylor (another favourite), Clive Everton, (the serious master) and Terry Griffiths, are terrific... with their balanced and intelligent... AND timely commentary. None of whom ever talk through important shots... or 'motor mouth' their way through any pauses. They just give us an informed view of what we are seeing but at the right pace. So... here's a plea to the BBC producers and all of Willie Thorne's colleagues... will someone please tell him... to SHUT THE F--- UP!!
I mentioned two exceptions. I'm afraid the other problem I have with this year's coverage is... the lack of an authoritative presenter for the show.
Ray Stubbs is just... well, banal... and the squeaky teen lookalike Rishi Persad (bless), is so unsuitable to present this programme... it's beyond words! He knows it himself. He clearly feels out of place and uncomfortable in the role he's been asked to play!
Oh for the days of the likes of David Vine (RIP)... there was a authoritative, personable and well versed presenter!
Anyhow... I suppose we have to grin and bear some things... though last night, watchng the Higgins v Selby match... I did come very close to throwing something at the television... driven to near insanity by the idiotic, bald-headed coot, Thorne!
On a more positive note, I cannot write a blog post about this year's Snooker, without mentioning the delectable Michaela Tabb!
What a delight she is. I've thoroughly enjoyed all the matches she has refeered, not just for the added 'fragrance' she brings to these matches, (even her voice is sexy), but in the way she has conducted them, with great authority and humour.. excellent!
It was no surprise therefore, when I read with great satisfaction, that she has been given the task of refeering the World Snooker Championship Final this year... the first time ever, that a woman will have done so! Well done Michaela... I can't wait to watch it!!
Today though, I'm looking forward to the Semi Finals... bald headed coots notwithstanding!
Based on the performances we've already seen from the participants during the past days we should be in for a couple of great matches from four very 'in form' players. May the best men win!
You can follow all the latest information and coverage of the World Snooker Championship at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield on the BBC SPORT > Snooker website.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Snooker World Championships from Sheffield's Crucible Theatre has this year, once more excited me and surpassed all my expectations!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Nine words (or phrases) women use... that men should not be confused by!
(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up!
(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house!
(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. 'Nothing'... actually means something... and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in 'fine'!
(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not a permission. My advice... Don't Do It!
(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing.. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing).
(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. 'That's okay' means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay dearly for your mistake.
(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you. Do not question or faint. Just say "you're welcome". (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE evil sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' as that will only bring on a 'whatever' - see below).
(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying... F--- YOU!!
(9) Don't worry about it, I'll do it!: Another dangerous statement... meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now having to do herself. Very dangerous. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' (For the woman's response... refer to # 3).
Now... click on 'SHARE' below... and send this to the every man you know... to warn them about arguments they can avoid if they remember these simple words and phrases that women use... and their terminology!
You can also send this to all the women you know (but are not in a relationship with) to give them a good laugh, because they know it's ALL true!!!
The Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg is calling on MPs of all parties to join Liberal Democrats in a vote against the Labour Government's shameful ruling on the Gurkhas.
Gordon Brown and Ministers face a Liberal Democrat led cross-party showdown in Parliament this afternoon, over the shameful Government decision that will see thousands of retired Gurkhas forcibly deported.
In a Liberal Democrat Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons, MPs will have the opportunity to vote on last week's decision to limit the number of retired Gurkhas who can stay in Britain.
Joanna Lumley and a large group of Gurkha Justice Campaigners demonstrated outside the House of Commons at lunchtime, while the Liberal Democrats continued the fight inside Parliament during PMQs.
Commenting on the Government's Gurkha ruling, Nick Clegg said:
"People who are prepared to fight and die for our country should be entitled to live here. Yet even this basic principle is broken by this out of touch and morally bankrupt Government."
During Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons at midday today, Nick Clegg, who can rightly claim to have done much of the running on the Gurkha issue in recent months, was pulling no punches when he described the PM's position as "deeply evasive" and "shameful".
There's a good deal of support on the Labour backbenches for the plight of the Gurkhas and the Lib Dems are hoping to flush that out into solid votes later when they use their opposition debate to put pressure on ministers.
How is it that the Gurkhas, who have paid a debt in blood and have fought and died for this country, are not allowed to settle in the UK. It makes one livid, especially when one considers the way this government seems to bend over backwards at times, to allow terror suspects and people who are violently opposed to our way of life... to enter this country and live and work in the UK. There are no words base enough to describe what Brown and this morally defunct government is doing to these people!
The British people, I am sure, believe the government should be less restrictive in dealing with the Gurkha settlement claims... and that's putting it mildly. In my opinion, any and ALL Gurkhas who have served in the British Armed Forces... should have the automatic right to reside in the UK... and yes... their immediate families too... however many that is!
Breaking News Update
The Lib Dem motion on Gurkha residence rights was passed by 267 votes to 246 in the House of Commons! Read more... BBC NEWS | Politics | Brown defeated over Gurkha rules
Who are the Gurkhas?
You can find out more about Gurkhas here:
The Gurkhas @ Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia
BBC NEWS | UK | Who are the Gurkhas?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Gibraltar Government yesterday issued a statement reiterating that it has offered Spain an agreement providing for exchange of information, transparency and co-operation in tax matters in the fight against money laundering and regulation of the financial system.
The Government statement reiterated that the offer to share tax information with Spain "is not new".
A spokesperson for the Chief Minister's Office at No 6 added that it was also not "difficult to reach such an agreement at this time", a statement in response to comments made earlier last week by Spanish PSOE MP, Salvador de la Encina. The Government spokesperson added that Sr de la Encina's comments were "erroneous".
Last week, Salvador de la Encina, a PSOE MP for Cadiz had declared that "it is not Spain but the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and other international bodies", who describe Gibraltar as a 'fiscal paradise' and includes it in its 'grey list'.
The OECD 'grey list' is a list of countries, 'jurisdictions that have committed to internationally agreed tax standards' but that have not yet substantially implemented these agreements.
Speaking to the Campo press, Sr de la Encina was responding to Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana’s recent appearance before the Foro de Cadiz, stating that Spain would be delighted if Gibraltar were to be removed from such a list.
Mr Caruana said that "if from now on there is a willingness to operate with total transparency toward the Spanish Treasury in financial and fiscal matters, and Gibraltar is able to be removed from the list, that would be extremely positive".
"Spain would be delighted with that, but Gibraltar has to convince these international organisations."
Mr Caruana reiterated his offer to Spain of "total (fiscal) transparency", through an agreement for the exchange of tax information, during a conference he gave at the Foro de Cadiz this week, in an attempt to encourage Madrid to cease to consider Gibraltar a tax haven.
However Sr de la Encina declared that the Gibraltar Government should back these statements by implementing effective measures aimed at achieving greater transparency to be removed from the grey list and cease to be considered a tax haven.
The Gibraltar Government statement yesterday added that Sr de la Encina "appears not to be aware" that this was offered by Gibraltar in the run-up to the July 2008 Ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Forum in London. The offer was also included and agreed to, in the Joint Communiqué of that meeting issued by the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Spain, and Gibraltar's Chief Minister. Accordingly, the Governmnt statement added, neither the UK, nor Spain or Gibraltar "considers it difficult at this time".
The Government also said that Sr de la Encina’s statement, commenting on who is responsible for securing the removal of Gibraltar from the list of tax haven, was "also erroneous".
"Contrary to his statement, Gibraltar has not asked Spain to remove Gibraltar from any international list.
Gibraltar has offered Spain an agreement so that Spain is able to stop considering Gibraltar to be a tax haven under Spain’s own national legislation, which stipulates a clear and specific criteria for the removal of countries and territories from its own list of tax havens."
The Gibraltar Government statement concluded:
"No one in Gibraltar or elsewhere will understand any reluctance on the part of anyone in Spain to enter into an agreement of this type which delivers what Spain has criticised and demanded of Gibraltar over so many years."
As I've said before... it's a mystery to me too... but... no doubt they (Spanish politicians) will continue... ad nauseaum... to bang on about it for ever!
The question is... why does Spain continue to avoid the issue and continues to refuse to enter into a tax transparency agreement with Gibraltar?
One answer might be because it would obviously immediately take away a favourite stick of theirs. A cosh that many of their politicians, such as 'Blanca Luz'... or indeed many of their ill informed citizens... jumped up 'n'er do wells' such as 'Don Quixote de Marichalar' for instance, constantly enjoy bashing Gibraltar with at every and any opportunity!
Of course... then there's another possibility... one more Machiavellian reason why they do not want to enter into a tax transparent agreement with Gibraltar. Could it be... that they worry about what might show up... from their own inner circles? Could it be... that they don't want to kill their very own goose that's laying so many golden eggs for so many of them??
As you probably heard or read somewhere over the last week, BBC Panorama's undercover nurse, Margaret Haywood, lost her livelihood when she was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for breaching patient confidentiality.
In a follow up post last week I expressed concern and hoped that the BBC would not let Ms Haywood 'hang out to dry'.
I was therefore pleased to read today, a couple of follow up posts from the BBC, showing how they are supporting Ms Haywood.
I was also delighted to see A Gibo's Tale get a mention in despatches, on the BBC's own Panorama Blog, describing my blogs about Ms Haywood as "one blogger who has expressed indignation at the NMC's decision"... and I did too! They should have said I was bloody livid... not just indignant. That would have been more accurate! But... thanks for the mention Auntie Beeb... I am quite chuffed!
Today, BBC Panorama asks "What's next for the undercover nurse?"
Panorama explain that Ms Haywood, 58, is currently reviewing her appeal options with the support of her legal team and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), who also last week set up a Petition in Support of Margaret Haywood. So far, as I write, 25,827 people have signed the petition!
The BBC add that "without her licence to practice, she has lost her position as a trainer of other nurses and carers".
This is the real worry for me and why I said I hope the BBC don't let her 'hang out to dry'.
Which is why I was particularly pleased to read that BBC Panorama report that she is being supported by the BBC and is working as a consultant to Panorama and to the rest of BBC News and Current Affairs on health issues, until her future becomes clearer. That's great to hear!
Ms Haywood said she knew the risk she was taking in deciding to film undercover for the July 2005 programme, but feels the decision to prevent her from working as a nurse after a career of more than 20 years was unduly harsh.
Ms Haywood admitted to the charge that she breached confidentiality, but argued that it was justified by an overreaching public interest.
"I didn't sort of take the decision lightly I did look into it, I did give it an awful lot of thought and I knew that my position would be compromised by doing it - but I think the public needed to be aware of what was going on on the ward."
Quite right Margaret... the public do need to be aware... and you did absolutely right in bringing this to the public's attention... and thousands of us are supporting your action!
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the RCN also agrees and said the union feels the punishment was "harsh and disproportionate and beyond the level of sanction" they expected.
You can support Margaret Haywood
RCN Petition in Support of Margaret Haywood > Support for whistleblowing nurse struck off by NMC @ GoPetitions
If you would like to support Margaret Haywood on Facebook, there are a number of Groups now set up. You can find them posted at this Facebook Group whose aim is to Reinstate Margaret Haywood.
If you want to let the NMC know how you feel you can do so by emailing this article to them - Just click on the 'SHARE' button below to email them - Copy these email addresses as they are (including the comma) and paste it into the email address window of the 'SHARE' email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org - You might like to add, as I did, that you think their decision is "appalling and shameful"!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I am delighted to read a BBC New report tonight, saying that the government decision to limit the number of Gurkha veterans allowed to settle in the UK last week will now face a parliamentary challenge from the Liberal Democrats.
The BBC reports the Lib Dems have secured a debate on the issue in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Gurkha Justice Campaigners claim fewer than 100 of the Nepalese soldiers will benefit from the Home Office's offer of UK residency to Gurkhas who meet certain conditions.
The government insisted that changes to residency rules would allow an extra 4,300 former Gurkhas to settle.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg held talks with actress Joanna Lumley, who has spoken out on behalf of 36,000 Gurkhas denied residency because they served in the British Army before 1997.
Ms Lumley, whose father served in a Gurkha regiment, will join other campaigners for a demonstration outside Parliament when the debate is held.
Mr Clegg said the debate meant that a minister would have to "come and explain the government's insulting decision to turn their back on these brave soldiers".
"This is our best chance to force Gordon Brown to back down, even at this late stage," he said.
"People who are prepared to fight and die for this country should be entitled to live here.
"Yet even this basic principle is broken by a government desperate to cover its back and wriggle out of its commitments."
On Friday, immigration Minister Phil Woolas denied the government had "betrayed" the Gurkhas, claiming the new rules would improve their situation.
Read the full BBC News report
Gibraltar... or Fraggle Rock the home of tea swilling crumpet eating money laundering pirate monkeys since the cavepeople
Did you know that Gibraltar was a large rock inhabited by cavepeople until 1704... since when it has been "lorded over by the British"?
Did you know that it is universally accepted that Gibraltar must never fall to the Spanish "because the monkeys WILL leave"?
Apparently, Oscar Wilde once said... "lets not pretend that Gibraltar is anything more than a rock"... and no he didn't invent the term 'Fraggle Rock' for it... and having said that, neither do I have any idea who did!
How well do you know Gibraltar's history? I bet you didn't know that in the 1700s Gibraltar was captured by evil fascist money laundering pirates who spoke Gibberish and were sent by the evil General Franco... or that the day was saved by James Bond who used his secret agent British skills to trick the pirates into jumping off the top of the rock like lemmings!
Are you aware that since 1704, when the British took over Gibraltar, Gibraltarians have been British and drink tea and eat crumpets with the rest of them? Well that is a fact. As is the fact that it was agreed it would be British forever under the Treaty of Utrecht and the Spanish have been trying to break that ever since. That IS mostly definitely... a fact!
Now... this may be true too. The people of Gibraltar are possibly the most confused people in existence, or who have ever existed.
A typical family group can be seen in this picture above.
They all speak Gibberish - in fact, they invented the language. They scorn the Slops, otherwise erroneously named (but not in my view) the Spanish, and the Giris, i.e. anyone else not from Gibraltar.
Fraggle Rock (as it should be more properly known) and it´s hangers on also expect everything for nothing, having been cocooned from birth from the outside world, and spoilt rotten by their mothers. Whatever you do when visiting Fraggle Rock, for God's sake don't try to chat up any Fraggle women. Fraggle men will immediately try to kill you, as they view all women in Fraggle Rock as a rare commodity available to only them.... and I have to say, what's wrong with that?
All these gems and many other morsels of great import... can be found in Gibraltar - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia... a spoof website of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,. Perhaps it has to be said, whilst Wikipedia is a great and very informative site, sometimes it does take itself a little too seriously. Then again... perhaps as it should be.
Gibraltar - Uncyclopedia is hilariously funny and well worth a visit... and I congratulate whoever has created or contributed to this very funny satirical compendium of useless and totally untrue... well actually nearly totally untrue bits and pieces of information about Gibraltar. I much enjoyed the visit!
Wikipedia - The REAL free encyclopedia
A more truer (well pretty much) version and possibly more accurate information page on Gibraltar can be found at Gibraltar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I take my hat off to... Carl Froch who produced one of the great comebacks to retain his WBC super-middleweight crown
Today I take my hat off to Carl Froch, who last night produced one of the great comebacks in boxing history to retain his WBC super-middleweight crown against Jermain Taylor in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Carl, who is from Nottingham and is known in boxing circles as 'The Cobra', was well behind on two scorecards going into the 12th round but produced a grandstand finish to stop Taylor with seconds remaining.
Carl had been well outclassed for much of the fight and he went down for the first time in his career in the third. But an exhausted Taylor was unable to withstand his furious late rally.
"What I did in the 12th, that was unbelievable, Carl said.
"I showed a little composure. I got up and knocked him out in round 12. What more do you want?"Not a lot more Carl... other than winning the fight in such a brave manner... not much more could one want for... amazing!
That is why we love sport
Robin Chipperfield of BBC Radio Nottingham, where Carl is from, said:
"It is easy to get over-excited and caught up in the hype of the most recent sporting event you have seen, but I think Carl Froch's 12th-round stoppage of Jermain Taylor is the most dramatic and unbelievable ending I have witnessed."I couldn't agree more! I heard the fight on BBC Radio 5 Live last night... and the commentary itself was memorable and very exciting. I felt I was there. Well done to BBC Radio Nottingham. I am trying to find a clip of it to post here... including the name of the commentator... which I missed last night. I believe it was the BBC 5 Live Boxing correspondent Mike Costello... but I can't be sure. I've asked Radio Nottingham if they would confirm this... but alas no reply! Whoever it was... I bet his throat is the worse for wear today!
Videos of the fight have now become available on YouTube. Here's one of the last round... showing what an amazing comeback it was! Bear in mind Froch was knocked down in 3rd round. He was losing on 2 scorecards 102-106 and winning on one 106-102 and yet he manages to comes back to win with a KO victory with 14 seconds left in the fight! Watch this:
Full marks to the Referee... who was very quick to stop the fight, before Taylor was badly hurt!
At the time of posting, I couldn't find any video of the fight so I posted this tribute video to Carl Froch instead, posted on YouTube last December:
Nice music too by Kings Of Leon... 'Use Somebody'.
Froch v Calzaghe title fight?
The World Boxing Council super-middleweight title, once the property of Joe Calzaghe, stays around the waist of Froch 'The Cobra' from Nottingham. It remains to be seen, if Calzaghe will come out of retirement to create a huge spectacle in a fight between these two great British boxers.
Today I am wishing everyone running for Charities in the London Marathon all the very best... especially over 650 people running for The Children's Trust.
The Children's Trust is the official charity for the Flora London Marathon 2009.
If you are watching on TV at home, look out for the 'yellow submarine' runners, who were interviewed on the BBC during the Saturday Breakfast sports reports. The Children's Trust runners can’t be missed... their running vests are bright green and have the Children's Trust butterfly logo on them.
There will be a BBC interview with one of the children, Alby, and his family, between 8.30am and 12pm. You will be able to text the BBC with messages of support which will be 'displayed' during the live coverage.
Many celebrities are running for The Children's Trust and helped recruit over 650 runners – the Trust's biggest team ever!
Everyone taking part in the marathon for The Children’s Trust are also helping to celebrate the Trust's 25th anniversary.
To find out more please ring The Children’s Trust’s marathon team on 01737 365018 or check out the The Children's Trust London Marathon 2009 website.
Good luck to everyone running – The Children's Trust are very proud to have over 650 people running for them – and look forward to seeing all runners at the post Marathon party!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Following my post last night telling Gordon Brown... For God's sake go... I thought I would give him a little 'moody' encouragement...
In just a little over 24 hours, the petition has reached 6,916 (as I write). Come Monday morning... when people start emailing it around offices, this figure will soon spiral into the tens of thousands!
If you haven't yet voted on the Downing Street online petition asking Brown to resign... here's your chance to ask him to go... NOW!
The Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard angrily phoned a London Radio station to round on a DJ who said he was "scum" for splitting up with the mother of his two children!
Lampard said the LBC 97.3 DJ James O'Brien was an "idiot" for upsetting his family on the first anniversary of his mother's death.
He also rejected suggestions that he'd treated his former partner badly since they split.... and I take my hat off to him for having the courage to stand up for himself in the face of this type of unacceptable intrusion by broadcasters into a footballer's private life!
I'm no Chelsea supporter... but I've long been an admirer of Frank Lampard... an exceptional footballer, a great role model and example to all... of a consumate professional.
Like Ballack, his playing colleague at Chelsea, I can't believe Lampard missed the shortlist for the Professional Footballers' Association's player of the year award.
Lampard has played a key role in Chelsea's recent run of only one defeat in their last 13 matches.
He set up both goals as Chelsea beat Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final, and put in an inspirational performance in last week's dramatic 4-4 draw with Liverpool that saw Chelsea progress to the Champions League semi-finals.
Ballack, who plays alongside Lampard and Michael Essien in Chelsea's midfield, remains adamant the England international should have made the final six.
"It is easy to play with Frank because he is such a good player," Ballack explained.
"He knows what myself and Michael have to do and whether we should be in an offensive or defensive position.
I play a little bit behind him but I don't have to tell him what to do. He always does the right thing, depending on where myself and Essien are.
Frank is one of the best players in the world for sure and I don't think there are many players in the Premier League like him."
I couldn't agree more... and I take my hat off to him... Good on yer Frankie!
You can hear Lampard's phone call to LBC here:
Friday, April 24, 2009
It has been said before and now you and I can say it... and tell Gordon Brown... for God's sake GO!
He never gave us the chance to elect him... and I know he'll have to go sooner or later. In any case, he does have to 'go to the country' (no I don't mean to hide in Southwold again) and call an election sometime between now and May 5th next year.
Frankly, this Government is in such a state (no pun intended) and the country in such a crisis that I really don't think there's any time to waste. So... it really would be best if Brown resigned sooner rather than later... and NOW would be good to my mind!
Many others agree with my train of thought and now someone has set up a Downing Street online petition asking the Prime Minister to resign... so here's our chance to ask him to go!
Not that he'll pay any attention I know... don't think I am kidding myself for one moment. He and his Government NEVER listen to anyone!
I'm also aware that these petitions never really achieve very much... as Guido also agrees, he never links to Downing Street online petitions "because they never achieve anything". But he added:
"However dozens of people have emailed about this petition. Guido has spoken to Civil Service types who confirm that under the rules of the petition service this petition is valid and permissable (sic) since it is non-partisan."
This petition has already attracted hundreds of petitioners in support, including yours truly (and am waiting for the 'Black Marias' to arrive any moment now). As I write, the petition has already reached 3,102!
Guido asks... Will a Million Voters Tell Gordon to Go? He thinks "this could be big, really big"... and I think so too... and if at the end of the day the petition manages to attract some headlines and make a point... then at least Brown will hear it... and hopefully get the point!
Over two million people watched Dan Hannan on YouTube crush Gordon in a speech when he said he was "pathologically incapable". I wasn't sure then... I am now!
Here's what Hannan said to Gordon at the time... see whether you too agree with him now:
If half of the people that watched Daniel Hannan on YouTube can be bothered to tell Gordon to go, it will be a huge symbolic protest against the unelected Prime Minister.
If you too now want Gordon to go... tell him so via his own website: Click here and vote!
The UK Border Agency has this morning announced new criteria which it will use to consider applications from former members of the Brigade of Gurkhas to settle in the United Kingdom.
In September 2008, the High Court ruled that immigration rules denying Gurkhas who retired before 1997 - about 36,000 - an automatic right to stay in the UK were unlawful. As a consequence, the Home Office were made to review their criteria.
Following the announcement from the Home Office's Border Agency this morning, Gurkha Justice Campaigners have reacted with anger to the new rules on the eligibility of Gurkha veterans to live in the UK.
The Home Office announcement this morning said that new rules would allow about 4,300 more to settle, but the Gurkha Justice Campaign said it would be just 100.
Actress Joanna Lumley, a campaigner for the Gurkhas, said the announcement made her "ashamed of our administration". Other members of Gurkha Justice called the announcement a betrayal".
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas denied he had betrayed the Gurkhas:
This improves the situation.
It has never been the case that all Gurkhas pre-1997 were to be allowed to stay in the country. With their dependents you could be looking at 100,000 people.
It's simply not true that we have betrayed the Gurkhas. When people read the guidelines they will see the sense of them."
However, Peter Carroll, from the Gurkha Justice Campaign, said the fight to allow the Gurkhas to stay in this country would continue with renewed vigour, and added:
"The one group of people that has never let this country down has been let down today in a manner which is truly appalling."
David Enwright, a solicitor representing the Gurkhas, said:
"This government, Mr Woolas, should hang their head in shame so low that their forehead should touch their boots.
This is a disgrace and a betrayal of our armed forces and our veterans."
I wholeheartedly agree. The treatment these loyal and dignified Gurkhas are receiving from this government is shameful!
To my mind... ALL Gurkhas that have served in the British Army... should, as an automatic right be allowed to live in the United Kingdom if they wish to do so, in the same way as other people from the Commonwealth who serve in the British Armed Forces are allowed to do!
When one considers the hundreds of thousands of highly dubious people that the Home Office allows to remain in the UK, for one idiotic reason or other, it makes one's blood boil to see how the Gurkhas, a hugely more deserving people by anyone's yardstick, are having ridiculous and restrictive obstacles continually placed in their way.
This is another nail in this Government's coffin! They continue to cause the country embarassment and their petty decisions shame us all... worst of all, they are out of step with the wishes of the country at large! The vast majority of people in the UK would have absolutely no problem in accepting ALL Gurkhas who have served, and their families if necessary, to live and work in the UK... without restriction!
You can support the Gurkha Justice Campaign here.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Sheeesh! Is nothing sacred anymore?
On BBC1 just now... in between the ending of Traffic Cops and the 10 o'clock news, the duty presenter said:
"Now... on BBC2... a couple of reasons to join Graham Norton... Katie Price!"
Funny maybe... I do have a sense of humour... and I don't mind a bit of... well ok, maybe even a lot of political incorrectness... I do enough of it myself... but.... come on... do we want it from presenters on the BBC? Where's all the decorum gone at 'Auntie Beeb'? Oh... which reminds me... wasn't it the BBC who censored Carol Thatcher for remarking about 'golliwogs'!!
In any case... I'm afraid... Jordan just doesn't do it for me. I like my 'couple of things' to come with another thing... a brain up top! Oh... and as I understand it... they're false anyway aren't they? What do I know about such things!
Read more about Jordan (Katie Price) @ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish? Now... there's a question!
This question was just asked by a Google user, who arrived on my blog after putting that question in as his/her search term on Google. The Google user was directed to a post I made a little while back asking "Can Gibraltarians ever envisage a Spanish Gibraltar?".
I'm afraid I don't think the google user will have been able to find the answer to his/her question on that post... which is a shame... as it is a good question.
That blog post largely deals with an interview given by Peter Montegriffo, in which he talked about aspects of Gibraltar's sovereignty, saying the time was "not right for us to address the sovereignty issue". I then raised the question on whether Gibraltarians could ever "envisage a Spanish Gibraltar" and went on to explore the future and the possibility of "a Gibraltarian Gibraltar"... possibly in the form of a micro-State within the European Union.
So, whilst an interesting subject for further exploration, I doubt whether this google user today, found an answer to his question on "why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish?".
Actually... as a quick aside... I am often much amused by the queries people use, on Google and other search engines... and how they arrive on my blog! One user recently, was directed to one of my monthly blog archive pages, (where posts from the whole month are listed) following a google query for "pollution in my twat"!!! This one really made me roll around laughing! Clever google... saw that I had a couple of blog posts on that archive page... one a rant about pollution in the Bay of Gibraltar... and another post ranting on about my "Twat of the Week" (who happened to be the infamous twat and wanker banker Fred Goodwin that week)... so google thought it appropriate to direct this unfortunate user to my page!! ha ha I'm pretty sure this user did not find an answer to what sounds to me a rather strange and worrying condition... and I do hope she (I can only assume that was a female user) has now found suitable and appropriate medical advice!
Another Google search just this morning... this time from Saudi Arabia arrived on a post on 'Nuclear submarine collision in Gibraltar... what if?' by searching for "gibraltar nuclear weapons store"!! Now that's a bit worrying!
I could go on... but anyhow... apologies for my digressing... I shall get back to trying to answer this question today!
So... why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish? Well, the answer, as an uninformed reader might imagine... is... for many reasons... and I'm not sure where to start??
The first thing that comes to my head is to ask... well, why should a Gibraltarian want to be Spanish?
In the same way... why would a Frenchman not want to be English? After all... these two countries are geographically next to each other and have shared many parallels through history. Or... why would a Scotsman not want to be English... they've been neighbours and have shared a nationality (British... through the Act of Union) for hundreds of years haven't they? Why might an Australian not want to be a Kiwi New Zealander? Again... they're just across the pacific from each other. The obvious answer to all these questions is... because they ARE French... or because he IS a Scot.... or an Aussie! Quite simple really!
A Gibraltarian would not want to be Spanish... because he IS a British Gibraltarian... and because that is what we have been for even longer than the USA has existed... Gibraltar has been British for over 300 years.... since 1704... so the real question should be... why should a Gibraltarin want to be Spanish? The question should just not arise. Quite simply, the answer being why should he?
I cannot answer for each and every Gibraltarians naturally... and this is just my humble view... but I have a feeling I am in a very large majority... and the vast majority of Gibraltarians would agree with me.
But... let's explore what to my mind is more to the point... why do Gibraltarians choose to remain British? You see, unlike most other British people around the world and through history, most have never been given the choice... but Gibraltarians have... two times in fact... since 1967, Gibraltarians have had the option put to us... to democractially choose whether we wish to remain under British sovereignty... or come under Spanish sovereignty! We are getting a bit fed up with having to answer the question actually!
In successive Referenda (Referendums if you like) on the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Gibraltarians have voted democraticlly and emphatically to remain British:
1967 - Gibraltar's first sovereignty referendum was held on 10 September 1967, in which Gibraltarian voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty, or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government. Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly by 12,138 (99.19% of the electorate) to 44 to remain under British sovereignty.
- 2002 - The Government of Gibraltar called a referendum on 7 November 2002 to establish the popular support for a proposal to share sovereignty of the territory with Spain. The result was a massive rejection of the concept. The actual voting was as follows: 18176 voted representing 87.9% of the electorate. There were 89 papers spoilt of which 72 were blank. Of the 18,087 valid ballots 187 voted YES, and 17,900 voted NO.
- 2006 - Futhermore, a referendum on the proposed new constitution of Gibraltar was held on 30 November 2006. After being accepted by 60.24% of voters, the new constitution came into effect on the 2nd of January 2007. Turnout was low at 60.4%. It has been speculated that the relatively low margin with which the constitution passed was a response to the unpopularity of the Cordoba Accords (a tripartite agreement on co-operation between the Governments of the UK, Spain and Gibraltar) among some segments of the electorate (who were unhappy about any agreement with Spain), and a confusion between these two issues .
As to more specific reasons why... well, these are quite complex. Other than what I have already explained and I suppose each Gibraltarian has his or her own view and very passionate ones they are too... for myself, it's about values!
I strongly value the long established British values of freedom, democracy, justice, freedom of speech, human rights and the embracing of mixed cultures, creeds and religions within our society.
Spain... has a long way to go on all those values... before one could even begin to compare the two cultures and traditions. Granted, Spain has come a long way since Franco's day... and especially since its integration with the European Union... but their democracy is still in its infancy... and they still have a long way to go... before they fully catch up!
Having said that, I have no problem with Spain and the Spanish people... though I do resent the constant bullying by Spanish politicians and Spain's belligerent politics, at times, towards Gibraltar.
But... as far as Spain and its people are concerned... I have always been a lover of it's wealth of culture, gastronomy, the way of and quality of life and the warmth of the people. Throughout my life, I have loved all these aspects of Spain and what it can provide and I am very well aware of these hugely positive things about Spain... NONE of which make me want to BE Spanish! I am very happy and content being what I am... a very proud Briish Gibraltarian!
If you are interested in exploring these further, the best thing I would suggest you do is to have a look at this Gibraltar Documentary Film. This film was a project produced by Garrett Wesley Gibbons, an American student at Brigham Young University. It is a very good documentary, primarily describing what a Gibraltarin (also known as a 'Llanito') is all about... and why we value our Britishness.
I hope this blog post has gone some way towards answering the question of why Gibraltarians don't want to be Spanish. I suspect there are many questions unanswered though... and if you have any... by all means ask away using the 'Comments' system below.
If you are Gibraltarian... and want to say why YOU don't want to be Spanish... then please feel free to comment below.
All comments, as always, will be very welcome. (Please note... abusive or racist anti-Gibraltarian nonsense will be deleted!)
British offshore financial centres including Gibraltar could benefit from the global economic downturn by seeking new business while meeting tight standards on tax transparency, according to a preliminary report published by the UK Treasury yesterday.
The opportunities could even include management of the toxic assets that led to meltdown in the banking sector, the report suggests.
But in targeting new areas, British jurisdictions must ensure that they comply with international regulatory standards, it added.
Brian Reyes, writing in today's Gibraltar Chronicle says the report was immediately damned as "deeply disappointing” by British unions". They said the review failed to address the negative impact of offshore jurisdictions on the world’s economy.
The Treasury's progress report by Michael Foot, a former director of the Bank of England, sets out the challenges and long-term opportunities for Britain’s overseas territories.
Mr Foot was asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, to conduct a deep review at a time when the global financial crisis has put offshore jurisdictions under close international scrutiny.
"Meeting regulatory standards is not only important for the integrity of the financial system, but also for attracting financial services business from centres which are unable to do so", the report said. It added:
"Recent developments, particularly in the run up to the G20 London Summit, have moved tax issues up the political agenda.
The renewed focus on tax transparency and tax avoidance will have implications for the financial centres covered by the Review.
The growing focus on tax avoidance and the emergence of national initiatives such as the US Stop Tax Haven Abuse Bill will continue to shape international opinion in the short to medium term.
Each centre will need to take this into account in balancing the real or perceived competitive advantages of current tax regimes with the need to generate sufficient revenue to support its domestic economy."
But the UK’s Trades Union Congress said Mr Foot should have adopted a tougher approach to the review.
"The PM and Chancellor have made it clear that they want to ‘outlaw’ tax havens and the evasion and avoidance they promote", said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber in a statement.
"But this progress report suggests that this leisurely review is more focused on helping tax havens through their current financial difficulty than addressing the serious threat they pose to the global economy.
The Treasury needs to get a grip of this review and decide whether it is flowing with or against the grain of world opinion which has turned so decisively against tax havens since the G20."
Much of Mr Foot’s interim report focuses on the need to explore ways in which financial centres can ride out global economic strife and perhaps even grow from it.
He said the challenges for Britain’s offshore centres would be particularly acute in the event of a significant and protracted downturn in business in the financial sector. That is a key point because many of these financial centres have been very successful in attracting business and, as a result, are heavily reliant on this sector for revenue and employment.
"In relative terms, that reliance is much higher than in the UK, in some cases over five times higher", the report said.
"Added to that, the policy tools the financial centres have at their disposal to deal with economic volatility are generally more limited than those available to a sovereign state."
But Mr Foot was also clear about the opportunities that lay ahead.
"Even in a downturn, new opportunities may arise to offset retraction in certain areas of financial services business. Managing toxic assets from the banking sector may be an example of one such area", the report said.
"In other areas of business such as property and casualty insurance, underlying profitability remains strong.
But, because of global events, the business environment for the foreseeable future is likely to be more difficult than the financial centres have been used to."
Earlier this month, following a letter from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the UK offshore and Overseas territory jurisdictions including Gibraltar, "warning them to meet international transparency standards", the Gibraltar Government said:
Gibraltar is well advanced in the process of signing up tax information exchange agreements and fully expects to be in the category of countries that have fully implemented the internationally agreed standard, by the time that the OECD issues its next progress report in November 2009."
Further to the HM Treasury report published yesterday, Mr Foot is welcoming feedback from "interested parties". His interim report, which includes details of the consultation, can be viewed and downloaded here: British Offshore Financial Centres Report - HM Treasury.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I've pinched that headline and well known quotation from the byline a friend of mine uses on forum posts... as I think it's particularly apt with this story today! (Thanks Joe R )
A cartoon about Professor Stephen Hawking which appeared in yesterday's regional newspaper, the Metro, has once again prompted the 'politically correct brigade' to come out in force this morning!
As I'm sure you are aware, Professor Hawking has motor neurone disease. He uses a wheelchair and speaks using a voice synthesiser. On Monday, Professor Hawking was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge with chest problems.
The cartoon, in the Metro yesterday shows two people discussing Professor Hawking. The caption says:
"I wonder if they've tried switching him off and switching him on again".Perhaps unsurprisingly, the cartoon has caused offence in some quarters. The Motor Neurone Disease Association say the cartoon is "distasteful and it's appalling that the cartoon seems to mock disability".
But did you chuckle when you read the joke?
This morning on Nicky Campbell's phone-in on BBC Radio Five Live's Breakfast programme callers were asked about Britain's attitudes to disability - "are we prejudiced"?
Many callers held the view that Britain is prejudiced against disability and I would not disagree.
But, in my opinion, this cartoon has nothing to do with prejudice... or disability!! It's just a joke... and I would hazard a guess that Professor Hawking would be the first one to laugh at it!
Professor Hawking is held in great affection, not just in Britain but across the world. He is greatly admired for much more than just for his huge revealing contributions in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, or for writing his bestseller A Brief History of Time.
Professor Hawking has always reached our hearts through his indomitable spirit... his humanity... AND his ability at self-deprecation about his condition!
Professor Hawking has played himself on a Red Dwarf anniversary special. He played a hologram of himself on the episode 'Descent' of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He appeared in a skit on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and appeared on the Discovery Channel special Alien Planet. He has also played himself in several episodes of The Simpsons, Futurama and on episodes of Family Guy!
Frankly, those people taking offence about a silly and quite funny cartoon... should really chill out... and take a leaf out of Professor Hawking's own book... and get themselves a sense of humour in the same way as Professor Hawking has always shown.... with his ability at self-deprecation and great sense of humour!
Professor Hawking latest condition
Readers I am sure will be pleased to hear, as I was, that the latest news on Professor Hawking is that he is "comfortable" but still in hospital.
Cambridge University, his employers for the last 30 years, said Professor Hawking has undergone some tests on Monday at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge and that the 67-year-old was now "comfortable".
I am sure everyone will join me in wishing Professor Hawking well... and a quick recovery... back to his normal self. I hope someone keeps a clipping of that cartoon for him... as he's bound to be amused!
Read more about Stephen Hawking and about Self-deprecation @ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I received a message today in my Facebook Inbox... warning me... and asking me to "tell all my friends... and all my contacts" not to add someone.... well an email address actually!
The message read:
"Tell all your contacts not 2 accept email@example.com ... he will pirate your computer and if one of your contacts accepts, he also hack in2 yours! Make fast it is moving..."This is the second such message I've received over the last couple of days. The message has also been posted on the 'Facebook Wall' by at least one of my contacts too.
I receive many of these warning in my email inbox every week... asking me to forward them urgently to all my contacts.
Which is all very nice... that some people want to make the effort to warn others about these dangerous people... hackers and / or viruses etc. On the other hand, you might think some people have nothing better to do?
But... there are all sorts of possible dangers lurking round every corner on the net... so perhaps it is worth warning or checking these out?
The reality is that nearly ALL these warning emails are hoaxes.... and if people trouble to check with sites like Hoax-Slayer (see more on Hoax-Slayer below) they will probably find that email warning has already been debunked as a hoax!
Notwithstanding that... ask yourselves some questions when you next receive this type of warning email.
The first thing that occurs to me about this warning today (on Facebook), apart from going to Hoax-Slayer to check it out... was... how do we know the person whose email address this belongs to... is really a hacker? Has anyone verified this? For all we know... this warning may have been a malicious attempt by someone to mess up this person's email and probably get this person into a lot of hot water!
Nevertheless... many users on Facebook, over the last couple of days... have been forwarding this warning along quite merrily! I wonder if they've given this possibility any thought!??
The second thing that goes through my mind is.... do we really still need to be told NOT to add people we 'don't know from Adam'? Are there really still people out there who accept 'Add' requests from people they don't know??
To my mind... anyone who is stupid enough to add people they have never had any contact with before... probably deserve everything they get... a sharp lesson in what not to do again on the internet!
Maybe I'm being a little too harsh... but honestly!!
Anyhow... for 'newbies' to the internet and social networking sites or instant messaging systems.... be warned... the best advice is... NEVER add people you don't know!
If you ever receive an 'Add Request' from someone you don't know... and I constantly receive many (at times from people I've never ever heard of before), just take a moment to ask them why they want you to add them... ask them to explain themselves. Nine times out of ten... they probably have a good and totally legitimate reason for asking.... but... be very wary of the reply... and think carefully before you DO add them... as you never know what you're going to get! If in any doubt... DO NOT ADD them... quite simple really!
Oh and it really does help if one keeps one's wits about us a little.... as we stumble around the net! Another problem with the warning I received on Facebook today is... that it rather puts the cart before the horse.... in this case possibly a 'Trojan'!
The message warned not to add a person with the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. The trouble is... on Facebook anyway... users cannot see other users' email addresses... until you have added each other! By which time... if the other user IS a hacker... or intent on doing you some damage or disfavour in any way... by the time you go and check if his email address matches the one you WERE warned about... it really is too late!
My point being that this message which is doing the rounds on Facebook right now... like many... is a bit silly... a very pointless and at the end of the day... totally ineffective exercise.... that has only served in giving me the opportunity... to rant on!!
Well... then again, if I manage to warn at least one person with this post, about these sorts of dangers lurking on the net... then I suppose (hope) the exercise will not have been entirely worthless!
Check @ Hoax-Slayer
One final little tip. I mentioned Hoax-Slayer earlier. Well, whenever you receive a warning email like this... before you do anything... it may well often be worth your while to pay Hoax-Slayer a little visit!
Hoax-Slayer is dedicated to debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues.
Hoax-Slayer allows Internet users to check the veracity of common email hoaxes and aims to counteract criminal activity by publishing information about common types of Internet scams.
Hoax-Slayer also includes anti-spam tips, computer and email security information, articles about true email forwards, and much more. New articles are added to the Hoax-Slayer website every week. I would recommend you bookmark this link. It could save you and your Facebook or other contacts... a lot of trouble and anxiety in the future!
This particular warning message for email@example.com is not in their database... I checked... at least it's not there yet! But... in any case, it's probably rubbish anyway if you ask me... but it has gone far and wide across the internet already!