Archive for the ‘GB / UK’ Category

Terrorism adviser to Met is on wanted list

In GB / UK, TERRORISM, TUNISIA on 15/12/2008 at 11:23 AM

A man wanted by Interpol for his links to an alleged terrorist organisation has been advising Scotland Yard on countering Muslim extremism, a Times investigation has discovered. Mohamed Ali Harrath has been the subject of the Interpol red notice since 1992 because of his alleged activities in Tunisia, where he co-founded the Tunisian Islamic Front (FIT). Tunisia has accused Mr Harrath, the chief executive officer of the Islam Channel in Britain and an adviser to the Scotland Yard Muslim Contact Unit, of seeking help from Osama bin Laden. It says that the FIT wants to establish “an Islamic state by means of armed revolutionary violence”… The Times


Fears of a million layoffs a month in corporate America

In AMERICA, ECONOMY, GB / UK on 07/12/2008 at 11:48 AM

As many as a million American jobs could be lost every month by next spring as businesses struggle to raise capital in financial markets consumed by fear, according to a new analysis. November was the worst month in the US labour market since the oil crisis of 1974, as more than 500,000 US workers were laid off, according to official figures released on Friday. But Graham Turner, of consultancy GFC Economics, says the rising cost of corporate debt is now flashing a red warning signal that far worse is to come over the next few months and job losses are heading for levels last seen in the 1930s Great Depression… The Observer

Cross-party fury over MP’s arrest


The Lib Dems have called shadow immigration minister Damian Green’s arrest a “mayday warning” for democracy amid cross-party anger over the move. Mr Green was arrested by anti-terror officers, held for nine hours and had his two homes and offices searched as part of a Home Office leak inquiry. Tory leader David Cameron called the police operation “alarming” and said the government had questions to answer. But the Home Office said ministers were not informed until after the arrest. ‘Democracy in danger’… BBC

Britain is in no position to laugh at Iceland’s problems

In ECONOMY, GB / UK, ICELAND on 22/11/2008 at 4:05 PM

Is Britain simply a bigger version of Iceland? Certainly the City of London is starting to look a bit too much like Reykjavik, but with taller buildings and fewer cod. It is an exaggeration, but not that much of an exaggeration, to liken the UK to the broken, bankrupt North Atlantic island. Like Iceland, we boast a huge banking industry out of all proportion to the overall economy. Like Iceland, we have an unfunded depositor lifeboat scheme totally unequipped to grapple with failing banks. Like Iceland, our national output is dwarfed by the vast liabilities of our banks… The Times

Businesses predict 3m jobless and borrowing up to £111bn

In ECONOMY, GB / UK on 15/11/2008 at 10:55 AM

Britain is heading for a “prolonged and painful” recession which could see unemployment climb to 3 million and government borrowing soar to £111bn, according to an influential business group. The British Chambers of Commerce’s latest quarterly economic forecast, published today, predicts that the most likely outlook is for five-quarters of negative growth and sluggish recovery in 2010. “Britain is facing an extraordinary period in its economic history. Current circumstances are unique and the global credit crisis is entering a critical phase,” the BCC’s director general, David Frost, said… The Guardian

Sex and Suffrage in Britain 1860-1914

In GB / UK, SEX, WOMEN on 01/08/2008 at 1:58 PM

[…] Fawcett suspected that the “low position of women generally” under the law was sustained at least in part by those who “prosecute the street walker with the one hand, and with the other elevate to the place of chief magistrate in the town a man who is living in adultery”. Motivated by this belief, Fawcett in 1894 embarked upon a semi-public campaign to expose the “ghastly” private behaviour of Henry Cust, MP for Lancashire, who, with the support of the Conservative leadership, proposed to stand for election to Parliament at North Manchester. According to Fawcett, Cust had seduced a young woman of good Lincolnshire family, a Miss Welby. She had become “enceinte”, and he deserted her, subsequently offering marriage to another woman. “Miss Welby wrote Cust a despairing, imploring letter”, Fawcett explained, “which he spoke of, or showed to other men at the country house he was staying, with odious remarks intended to be facetious. The other men did not take these observations in the spirit they were mad: they told Cus he was a cur”. They also informed the father and family of the woman to whom Cust was engaged of his action, and after a bitter dispute “Cust was told that unless he married Miss Welby at once (whom he said he particularly disliked) the whole thing would be made public”. Powerful Conservatives refused to allow Cust to stand for Lincolnshire, “but he is thought good enough for North Manchester”, Fawcett noted acidly. She informed well-placed people in Manchester of this state of affairs because she “considered that Cust’s conduct struck at the root of everything that makes home and marriage sacred, and that to place such a man in a osition of public honour and responsibility would have a very bad effect”. She told Cust that “as a woman I have naturally the strongest feeling against men of known bad character being elected to the House of Commons”. Eventually. A. J. Balfour, the leader of the Conservatives in the House of Commons, involved himself in the controversy, chastising Fawcett for making the scandal known to influential people in Manchester. He advised her that “as the duties of a Member of Parliament are public ones, the capacity of a Candidate to perform those duties should be in most cases the sole ground of his selection… Private life – the doings of a man in his own home – ought not… to be dragged gratuitously before the public”. In response to his assertion that the matter was “of no public concern”, Fawcett asked: “Is a man who, in public life, can be suitably described by his intimates as an infernal scoundrel a fit and proper person to be brought forward by his party as a Parliamentary Candidate? I would answer this in the negative”. She felt that the private behaviour of men like Cust reflected attitudes toward women that found their way into law and contributed heavily to “the utter rottenness of the whole of public on morals”, public opinion that necessarily affected women adversely.-

Bus Hopping in London

In BUS, EUROPE, GB / UK on 01/06/2008 at 2:07 PM

My beloved Miss Welby, today I had a nice “bus-hopping” Saturday. In order to exploit my bus pass, I was randomly getting on the first bus… passing by. The 266 took me to Hammersmith. There the 220 took me to Putney and Wandsworth, where I had never been before, then the 28 took me to Notting Hill Gate and there the 31 took me to Camden. There I had breakfast and found out that there is a waterbus on Regent Canal, which I didn’t know about. However I opted to walk 4 km along the canal to the Zoo and Little Venice, where I had a pint and walked again down to Paddington towards Kensington Gardens, where I got on the 148 to Shepherd’s Bush. I cannot imagine naming a place, and an underground station, “campo del cespuglio del pastore”. Never mind, I got on the 207 all the way up to Uxbridge. I was not impressed by Uxbridge, but I had another pint, therefore on my way back I needed the toilet badly. The bus driver apologised for being his first trip when he took the wrong way towards Greenford. I don’t see how can you take the wrong way on that route, as all you have to do is going straight on Uxbridge road, but perhaps he had a pint… One hour later I jumped off the bus in Acton and rushed to Morrison’s toilets.

Miles Kington, 1941-2008

In AUTOMOTIVE, GB / UK on 31/01/2008 at 3:00 PM

When the Romans came to Britain
And tried to get around
They saw there was no network
Of transport to be found.

And when they asked the Britons
Just how they got to roam,
The Britons said: “We don’t, mate!
We’d rather stay at home!”

Because the ancient Britons
Just never went away
And didn’t like to travel
Or go on holiday,

(Or if they really wanted
To go from A to B,
They found it was much quicker
To travel there by sea.)

“All right, you ‘orrible savages,”
The Romans promptly said,
“We’ll build some proper roadways
To get from A to Z!”

And that was how the Romans,
Who knew a thing or two,
Brought in a traffic policy
To benefit me and you.

They built a motorway system
As good as the very best
With a fast lane for their soldiers
And a slow lane for the rest.

They built roads straight and narrow
They built roads everywhere
(Except to Wales and Scotland,
‘Cos who wants to go there?)

But then one day the Romans
Buggered off back home
‘Cos all their men were needed
To defend the city of Rome,

And left the roads behind them
Which they had carefully built,
To go to rack and ruin,
And turn to mud and silt.

‘Cos the Angles and the Saxons
Were all uncivilised brutes
Who couldn’t give a raspberry
For Roman roads and routes.

And King Arthur (if ‘e existed)
Was just as bad as they,
For he spent all his time on battles
And none on the royal highway.

Then came the Middle Ages,
When Gothic art was king,
With Durham and with Canterbury,
And Windsor and everything.

Yes, they could build their castles,
Their abbeys and such stuff,
But the roads that joined the cities
Were rough as rough as rough.

They made their towers from granite,
They made their roads from mud.
Their buildings were immortal,
Their roads a load of crud.

And now, millennia later,
It’s all got far, far worse.
With the M’s all full of gridlock,
And the lanes full of 4-by-4s.

And they make congestion charges
And bypasses by the score
And all that seems to ‘appen
Is it gets much worse than before.

But I have been to Italy
And seen their autostrada,
Sweeping up from Sicily
To Como and to Garda,

Yes, the secret of building lovely roads,
The modern Romans know,
To go with their Ferraris
And their Alfa Romeo,

So what I say is, go to Rome
And ask them to come back,
To get our roadways working again
And give our lot the sack!