Tuesday, May 29, 2007

US Quarantine 'Super TB' victim


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has isolated a man who may have exposed fellow passengers on two transatlantic flights to a strain of tuberculosis that is extremely hard to treat, officials said on Tuesday.

It was the first time the federal government has issued such an isolation order since at least 1963, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said authorities were trying to notify passengers who traveled aboard Air France 385 from Atlanta to Paris on May 13 and back to the United States from Prague on Czech Air Flight 0104 on May 24.

They may have been exposed to the patient, who has a strain of tuberculosis that resists virtually all antibiotics called extensive drug-resistant TB, or XDR TB for short.

"This is an unusual TB organism, one that's very, very difficult to treat. And we want to make sure that we have done everything we possibly can to identify people who could be at risk," Gerberding said at a news conference.

Authorities did not identify the man, but said he voluntarily entered a medical isolation facility in New York City.

"The passengers most likely to be at risk would be the passengers would were seated in seats immediately close to the patient," Gerberding said.

"And consistent with the World Health Organization guidelines, CDC is recommending that those passengers be notified by their health officials in their responsible country or state, and that such persons then have a test for tuberculosis to determine whether or not they were in fact exposed."

Some years ago I was on a flight from Singapore to Australia. As the plane landed in Sydney, we were informed a child had been 'ill' during the flight and there was concern it was SARS and that they might want to quarantine all passengers and crew.

Thankfully, they didn't detain us.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

UK Citizens should get priority


The Industry Minister Margaret Hodge has said UK families should be given priority over immigrants when it comes to receiving council housing.

Well DUH!

Just goes to show what a sorry state of affairs this country is in when this is put out as something we 'should be doing' - it should never have been any other way.

Essentially, until we have homes for everyone born in this country we shouldn't entertain giving foreign citizens anything.

We're a soft touch and it MUST STOP!

The report goes on to say -

Nancy Kelley, head of international and UK policy at the Refugee Council, told the paper: "The way to counter some of the views put forward by far-right parties is not to follow their lead."

She also pointed out that people who are confirmed as refugees in the UK are entitled to council housing but on the "same basis as a UK national, on the basis of need".

Firstly Nancy, some of these right wing parties actually have a point. Its left wing idiots like you who are trying to stifle legitimate views held by a significant number of the population.

As for the "same basis as a UK national" - UK nationals MUST always have priority over everyone else.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A great [Legal] alternative to Cannabis

I've always enjoyed a smoke. Find it a good way to wind down and far less harmful than alcohol.

Last year, there was quite a drought in the UK so rarely smoked any after that.

Instead, I found a legal alternative. Been smoking it on and off for a few months now.

I know many people who just don't believe in the legal options, they feel it is unlikely to have an effect. On the whole, this is true.

This stuff bucks that trend, Its called Spice and can be bought online or in local 'headshops' in the UK.

The regular version is less potent than Spice Gold but still produces a powerful relaxed, stoned feeling.

It doesn't mimic the taste of cannabis (resin or green) but it is rather pleasant (perhaps a little sweet for my liking).

Only downside I've found is that you still feel quite stoned the following morning and need plenty of water to get rid of a very dry mouth!

[NB: This is not an advert, just worthy of a mention - other suppliers are available - i have no affiliation with the link]

Gordon Brown is a cunt

Firstly, no posts about the language in this post. Go read some wishy-washy PC claptrap blog if you don't like it.


Gordon Brown has rejected calls to block a controversial move by MPs to get out of freedom of information laws.

MPs pushed the plan closer to becoming law earlier in what critics called a "shameful day for Parliament".

The MPs say they want to protect private letters from constituents - but critics say the move would also allow them to keep their expenses secret.

Mr Brown, who takes over as Labour leader and prime minister next month, has pledged more "open" politics.

A spokesman for the chancellor said he had also promised not to dictate to MPs.

"Gordon has also spoken about the sovereignty of Parliament. If MPs have voted this measure through then that is a matter for them", his spokesman said.

So this is how its going to be with the unelected Brown?

I wasn't sure what to make of him, he's been so quiet in public in the last decade its been difficult to identify him against the background noise of New Labour/Blair(ism). Now its becoming clear what he's like - weak & arrogant.

For starters Brown, you are also an MP and are entitled to express an opinion on this. By implication you obviously support this move meaning that you believe in one rule for MP's and another for everyone else.

People can talk about his raids on pension funds and all the rest of his poor judgements but he'll be remembered most for what he does between now and the next election. He better buck his ideas up or the loss he will suffer at the next General Election could be unprecedented.

And where is this moron? Nowhere to be seen? Funny how this spineless toad disapears when the going gets tough.

Brown; Go fuck yourself.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wolfowitz to resign from World Bank

I've heard reports this evening that Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank is negotiating his resignation with the board.

This corrupt neo-con scumbag abused his position to obtain a payrise for his girlfriend.

This is the bank which is supposed to help developing nations. He should be strung up.

More on the scandal on Wikipedia

Monday, May 14, 2007

Catalogue of Errors!

The Dun Cow Inn, Sedgefield is familiar to many of us. In 2003, Tony Blair took George Bush to 'his local' for lunch.

To commemorate the occasion, a plaque was installed on the building.

Alas, things didn't go quite to plan!

A plaque outside the pub now commemorates the visit but, unfortunately, the organisation responsible for it didn't do their homework, as it contains no fewer than three glaring errors.

Not only have they got the wrong date, they have also misspelled the Prime Minister's middle name and, incredibly, the name of the pub.

You couldn't make it up!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blair, still spinning!

I was quite surprised to read this story on Iain Dale's Diary.

A quick Google search found proof of the allegation.

I saw a lot of the coverage of Blair's resignation speech with a lot of knowledgeable commentators, nobody else highlighted this at the time - why not? Most of the reporters and pundits simply referred to them as constituents.

Interesting to see Blair is still spinning in the dying days of his Premiership.

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised but you'd have thought he'd have learnt the lesson by now.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A good day to bury 'bad' news

It would appear that the inevitable is happening -

  • The government have announced that the cost of ID cards is starting to creep up, as widely predicted by many individuals and institutions such as the LSE
  • The Government are using todays big story (Blair's resignation) to put out bad news in the cynical belief that no-one will notice.
The Liberal Democrats and Tories haven't missed this but the media has.

There is bound to be more of this stuff out there so keep your eyes peeled!

Blairs Speech - Offensive before it starts

I'm watching the Sky News coverage from Trimdon Labour Club.

They've been playing two songs -

Things can only get better by D:Ream

Lifted by the Lighthouse Family

Ok, so now he's going hopefully things will get better, but as this song is associated with the start of his reign, I don't really appreciate them playing this given his legacy is a huge number of innocent people being killed.

Mr Blair, you at no point during your time as PM have 'Lifted' me or anyone I can think of.

Enough of the spin, just bow out and fuck off!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blair to announce his next move


Tony Blair will "make an announcement" on his future as Labour leader on Thursday, Downing Street has confirmed.

Mr Blair will tell Cabinet colleagues of his intentions on Thursday morning, before making his plans public in a speech in his Sedgefield constituency.

Party sources have told me that he will walk on water, feed the 5,000 and turn water in to wine.

At some point he will also tell us that he's finally going.

Ok Blair, begone. Don't let the door hit you on the arse as you leave.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Patricia Hewitt, Liar?

On the BBC's FOIA blog, Martin Rosenbaum reports:

It's a year since the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt told a rowdy and dissatisfied audience at the Royal College of Nursing conference that she would work a night shift with a nurse who heckled her, and that it wouldn't be the first one.

When a neonatal nurse from South Tyneside challenged Hewitt about the level of staffing on night shifts, offering 'If you would like to come and work a night shift, Patricia, please contact me afterwards', the Health Secretary promptly replied 'Of course I'll do that, and it won't be the first one either.'

It then transpired that any 'night shift' she had worked so far lasted a maximum of 90 minutes. So has she worked any night shifts since then? The Department of Health has now told the BBC in reply to an FOI request that 'the Secretary of State has not worked any night shifts since the Royal College of Nursing Conference last year'.

Interesting. I'm sure the Nurses would be interested to read this.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Fuck the SNP

So the SNP are claiming a victory in Scotland.


These tedious idiots and those who voted for them are the most inane cretins the UK has produced in recent years.

We've have been one nation for 300 years. We are geographically, a tiny nation. This kind of pathetic nationalism is totally unnecessary and utterly pointless.

Do grow up.

Personally, I think we should abolish the assemblies in Scotland and Wales. You are all British, your Parliament is in Westminster.

Deal with it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A tactical vote

Today is 'Super Thursday". Local elections are happening throughout the UK.

Today I had a choice of the big three and nothing else.

I don't feel that any party truly represents me at present but needed to register another vote against Labour.

Alas, this is a 'Labour heartland' (although they no longer control the council). The Tories will never get elected for any seat here. As a result, I had to vote Liberal Democrat.

I don't disapprove of what the Lib Dems have to say, on the whole. But don't buy everything they're offering.

Nonetheless, my right has been exercised, I look forward to the results.

For more on the elections, please take a look at 18 Doughty Street & Iain Dale's Diary

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blears humiliates herself, again

Hazel Blears has once again made a fool of herself on this evenings Newsnight.

When asked by Paxman whether people want a general election or not, she said she didn't think they did despite the poll which was part of a story before the interview -

73% of those asked favour an election after the new leader takes over the role.

More results here. (PDF)

Her response to whether or not Blair was still an asset was priceless. Not quite the same as the memorable Michael Howard interview (which is here if you want to see it again).

If you missed Blears vs Paxman tonight, it will be repeated online here until tomorrow evening.

Response to Iain Dale from Geraldine Smith

This weekend, Tory blogger Iain Dale posted an article concerning Geraldine Smith, Labour MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.

For the purposes of balance I wrote to Geraldine to ask for her response, I have received the following email which I publish in full.

In response to a blog making defamatory allegations about me that has appeared on an Internet site. I wish to state that the versions of events described in this article are factually incorrect in virtually every aspect.

The central allegation is that on Thursday 26 April I attempted to travel from London to Morecambe on an out of date ticket and then tried to use my position as a Member of Parliament to browbeat the train manager into accepting it. This is totally untrue, on the day in question I presented the train manager with a valid in date ticket for the journey. The train manager inspected it, stamped it and returned it to me without question.

There was however an incident involving a member of my staff who was sitting across the aisle in an adjacent seat. Whilst waiting for the train manager to approach him, he noticed that the return portion of his ticket had been stamped. On closer inspection he found that it was for travel from Morecambe-London, which had been his outward journey. The outward portion of his ticket was unstamped and was for travel between London & Morecambe i.e. the journey he was making. The ticket was well in date in fact it had over 3 weeks before it was due to expire. It was obvious to him that an error had been made when the tickets were issued and the outward and return journeys were the wrong way round. My member of staff duly presented both portions of his ticket to the train manager and informed him of what had happened. He demonstrated that the date stamp on the Morecambe-London portion clearly showed that he had travelled to London on Monday 23 April (the first day that the ticket was valid from) and that he was now using the other portion to return home. To his surprise and annoyance the train manager informed that because the return part of the ticket had been used the unused ticket was invalid. He then sought to get my member of staff to purchase another ticket. My member of staff told him quite bluntly that he was being unreasonable and that he had no intention of purchasing another ticket and that he would take the matter with Virgin when he got home.

The train manager then left the carriage and I asked my member of staff what the problem was. For although I had overheard the latter part of their conversation I was not clear on how it had started. He filled me in on what had transpired and I agreed with him that the train manager’s refusal to accept his unused ticket was unreasonable.

The train manager returned shortly after armed with sizeable rulebook and a pad of invalid travel notices. He then approached my staff member and proceeded to point to a rule to justify his actions. My member of staff replied to him that whether or not a rule existed it should be applied with commonsense. He also said that no references to the restricted use of open tickets were made either on the tickets or at the point of purchase.

It was at this point that I felt that it was appropriate to intervene and I asked the train manager if I could have a word with him. I introduced myself as Geraldine Smith and told him that I was the Member of Parliament for Morecambe & Lunesdale. I imparted this information not to intimidate him in any way but simply because it was relevant to the issue. I explained that the person whose ticket he was refusing to accept was a member of my staff and that I had purchased the tickets for him using my Parliamentary charge card on Euston station on my way home from Parliament the previous week. I told him that I had asked for a 1st class open return ticket from Morecambe to London with a start date of Monday 23 April and that the ticket clerk had clearly issued them wrongly. I also informed that the whole point of purchasing open tickets at the exorbitant price that the train operators charged for them was the flexibility they afforded to people with uncertain travel arrangements. I put it to him that the all fuss was about a simple error and that it was wrong to penalise a passenger because of it. I suggested that the matter could be amicably resolved by him accepting the in date unused fully paid ticket that had been presented to him. I told him that to do otherwise would simply waste the time of Virgin and myself sorting it out at a later date.

I put these points to the train manager in a plain straightforward fashion. He for his part listened courteously and attentively to what I had to say. In fact he was courteous and polite throughout the whole thing but unfortunately he was determinedly unhelpful in equal measure.

Having listened to what I had to say the train manager asked me for my name and address. I replied Geraldine Smith House of Commons London on the basis that any payments due to be made or any refund on unused tickets would have to go through the House of Commons procedures. He responded by stating that he could not accept the House of Commons as my address and that he required my home address. I realised at point that it was intention to issue me with an invalid travel notice (even though I had already presented him with a valid ticket that he had accepted) and not to my member of staff whose ticket he had rejected. I came to the conclusion that any further dialogue with the train manager was futile and informed him accordingly. I also informed him that I would be contacting a senior manager at Virgin trains headquarters as soon as I was able to do so. He told me that he was not satisfied with my refusal to give him my home address and that he would be taking some unspecified further action.

I then made calls to my offices in Morecambe & London to obtain the telephone number of Virgin trains chief executive’s office. I subsequently spoke to his secretary who informed me he was unavailable and she put me through to the franchise director. I attempted to explain to him what had transpired with the train manager but due to frequent loss of signal and generally poor reception this became virtually impossible. As the train was approaching Warrington we agreed to defer our discussion until I had left the train at Preston.

A short time later the train manager reappeared and presented me with an invalid travel notice. I assisted him by supplying him with the postcode for the House of Commons, which had now apparently become an acceptable address but declined his invitation for me to sign it because I felt that it would be inappropriate for me to so.

After a short and amicable discussion with the franchise director about the issue when I arrived at Preston he agreed that the invalid travel notice be withdrawn and intimated that an apology would be forthcoming. However I yet to receive the written confirmation that he promised to send me.

The foregoing accurately reflects what actually happened during my journey home on Thursday 26 April 2007. At no stage did I threaten, bully badger or belittle the train manager. Neither at any stage claim or expect any privilege to be afforded to me because I am a Member of Parliament.

Finally I fervently believe in the right of free speech within the limits that the law allows. However I draw the line at the publication of slanderous lies from undisclosed but obviously politically motivated sources, without any real attempt to establish the veracity of the statements being made.

Geraldine Smith
Member of Parliament