Isn't it funny?

Those who supported Mr Obama in his campaign for the White House a few years ago were using the power of the internet for progressive politics!

The Qaddafi regime was overthrown by the use of modern communications that overrode official propaganda.

Mobile phone videos are destroying the credibility of Syrian State TV propaganda.

The internet is working to create political change, for the better, in every part of the world apart from Scotland where the undemocratic nature of the internet is in play according to Bashar al-Assad Scots Labour leader, Iain Grey:

Pro-independence bloggers the so-called “cybernats” go online in an attempt to trash the reputations of those whom they think do not support the SNP’s cause. Gray warned Labour candidates that cybernats and bloggers would question their sexuality and drag their families into the “vitriol”.
I say to the candidates. Don’t kid yourself. You will be attacked. You will be smeared. You will be lied about. You will be threatened,” Gray said. The cybernats and the bedsit bloggers will call you traitor, quisling, lapdog and worse. They will question your appearance, your integrity and your sexuality. They will drag your family and your faith into the lies and the vitriol. It will be worse if you are a woman.
This is the poison some have brought into our politics and it is vile.

I sympathise with Mr Grey, the Labour Party has a divine right to govern Scotland! Using any new technology to dispute that right is like feeding Satan!

It shouldn't be allowed.


Tax advice for the Silk Committee.

I know that the membership has just been announced, and that it hasn't even met yet, but I would like to offer one word of premature advice to the Silk Committee – Don't do what the press assumes that you are going to do, do not look at tax raising powers for the National Assembly!

Raising is an ambiguous word.

To raise taxes suggests to most of us that the level of taxation will go up, in the sense that VAT has risen from 15% to 20%, and that raising the price of a pint of beer means charging £3 a pint rather than £2.50 a pint etc

In the political world raising taxes means collecting money for the purpose of running government. So in an oxymoronic way a government that cuts taxes by 90% would still be a government that "raises" taxes.

Any public consultation on the Assembly having the ability to raise taxes will be met with howls of protestation, because none of us want our taxes raised in the colloquial sense of them being made higher!

To avoid complication and to have honest consultation the Commission must look at tax setting or tax levying powers for the Assembly, not tax raising powers!

And those of us who belive that the Assembly should have some direct responsibility for its own financial situation should avoid the trap of using the term tax raising.

Normally pedantry is petty, in this case pedantry is important.


Social Housing e-petition to the Assembly

Royston Jones ( Jac o' the North) has posted the following petition to the Assembly:

We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to address the flawed system for allocating social housing in Wales.

At present, a person who has never visited Wales can qualify for social housing ahead of someone born and bred in Wales. This is due to the points system giving preference to the homeless, those in unfit accommodation, those recently released from institutions, etc.

At first glance, commendable; but when applied on a UK basis we see an endless stream of people with ‘problems’ from outside Wales denying Welsh people social housing and, too often, blighting Welsh communities.

To remedy this problem we call on the Welsh Government to introduce a period of five-years’ residency in Wales before anyone qualifies for social housing, exempting only political refugees and others escaping persecution.

Those wishing to sign the petition can do so by clicking here

The bum side of antique telly programmes

I have just watched an old edition of Antiques Road Show on BBC sign zone.

As is usual in all of these antique programmes it contained the obligatory I bought this in a boot sale for next to nothing item that turns out to be valued at £1000. When this happens it is always seen as fantastic, brilliant, wonderful – which it must be for the purchaser.

But why do these programmes never spare a thought for the poor bugger watching at home who sold that five thousand pound vase for 10p in the boot sale?

When I was younger I use to sell in the occasional car boot sale, every time that Flog It, Real Deal and similar programmes are on the telly, I live in dread that one of the things that I sold as brick-a-brack for a couple of bob might turn up on the programme as a valuable antique. If it did I'd feel gutted, sick, disconsolate.

Show some sympathy telly people!


Why RT is wrong on cancer and millionaire's paracetamol

If I happened to be the winner of yesterday's £85 million Euro Millions Lottery Jackpot, and I decided to use my windfall in order to move into a mansion in a leafy English shire, I would still be able to get free prescriptions on the English NHS. So if Andrew RT Davies objects to free prescriptions being given to Welsh millionaires, of whom there are few, why do his friends in Westminster continue to provide free prescriptions to millionaires in England (of whom there are many)?

Free prescriptions (regardless of income) are available to English millionaires who are aged 60 or over, and those who suffer from some long term illnesses such as epilepsy or diabetes, and those who are pregnant or have been pregnant during the past 12 months.

Cancer is an emotive subject; it is probably the disease that frightens many of us most. When Andrew states that patients are being deprived of cancer drugs because millionaires are getting free paracetamol in Wales, he makes an emotive point. An emotive point that is frankly immoral. To gain enough money to give just one patient a course of Avistin, his fabled Welsh millionaire would have to give up one hundred and fifty thousand courses of free prescription paracetamol. The cost of the 24 cancer drugs that Andrew RT wants to provided on the NHS in Wales would cost as much as 1380 Trillion boxes of paracetamol. Andrew's millionaire mate must have one hell of a headache!

If the drugs that Andrew RT Davies was complaining about cured cancer, I would have sympathy for his argument, but they don't. The drugs extend life for between 3 and 5 months, months that will be lived suffering from cancer rather than living with cancer, at a cost estimated by the Scottish Government in 2006 of between £24k and £93k per patient for the drugs alone (the prolonged palliative care will add to the cost).

If my doctor tells me tomorrow that I am going to die before next Christmas I can see no justification in spending £93K+ in keeping me alive until next Easter.

To expect hundreds of ill people in Wales to fork out £7.50 a script for drugs that will make them better, in order to finance my terminal illness for an extra two months of a drug comatosed life would be selfishly sick.