Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Taxman in sense of humour shock

There's a great letter from the Inland Revenue to a digruntled taxpayer reproduced on the Taxpayer's Alliance blog. This has probably been doing the rounds for months but it's the first time I've come across it. A sample:
[Y]our frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted. However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies" is at best a little ill-advised.
Read the whole thing.

Nosemonkey gets wrong end of stick

Nosemonkey at Europhobia has a post up slagging off "Our Island History", the classic English history for children recently reissued by Civitas. Apparently Civitas are
trying to promote Our Island Story as a proper history book, providing copies to as many primary schools as they can.
He goes on to quote a section from the book which demonstrates quite clearly that the book is no such thing. Which is the point rather. Our Island History is a "heavily fictionalised" account of English History. It includes chapters on King Arthur and the fairies bringing the stones to Stonehenge for heaven's sake. That's the whole point - to make it accessible to children so that they get interested in how we got to where we are today. Children don't actually care about its "doggedly whiggish, teleological approach to history" or whether the story of the princes in the tower may or may not be true. They want good stories.

And it works too. My eldest loves it - it's helped her to develop a good sense of chronology. Especially since Daddy put her right on his date of birth not being around the time of the Roman conquest.

Monday, November 28, 2005


This looks interesting - peer to peer banking. Instead of lending your money to a bank who lend it out to someone else while creaming off all but a miserable pittance in terms of interest, here is an organisation - Zopa - which allows you to lend pretty much directly to punters. They take a small commission to cover the costs of credit ratings for borrowers and administrative costs, but you should apparently get a much better rate of interest.

I might even give it a whirl.

H/T Jackie Danicki

We're doomed

Conservative Home has the lowdown on "Dave" Cameron's big policy idea.
Mr Cameron's programme would involve school leavers in a few months of community service. It would enable young people to mix with people from different backgrounds "and to learn about the realities of life in different communities".
Heaven help us.

CEP wants readers

While my readership is counted in tens, rather than hundreds or thousands, the Campaign for an English Parliament wants some help getting upto a hundred thousand hits a month. While it seems a bit rough for us minnows to be helping out the big boys, the cause is a good one.

So bugger off and go and read the CEP blog.

Or how about this?

Brown to Make Statistics Office Independent

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said the National Statistics office will become independent of government control, a move aimed at bolstering the credibility of Britain's economic data.

The statistics office will be run by an independent board of governors, Brown said, and will have a similar degree of autonomy as the Bank of England. An announcement early next year will detail when the change takes effect and how the office will be funded.

This is important for a number of reasons - it representing the theft of a Conservative policy and it being the right thing to do being just two. It's also worth pointing out that it will probably never happen- the announcement of an announcement has all the hallmarks of an exercise in spin.

European Evidence Warrant

Vis-a-vis the previous post, I would expect the aggregator to cover stories like the European Evidence Warrant which, when it comes into force, will allow the state to enter our homes to collect, on behalf of foreign powers, evidence relating to offences which are not crimes in this country.

Is that the sort of country that Liberal Democrats (and other supporters of the EU) seek to live in?

(H/T EU Referendum)

Blog aggregators

I've been following the birth (and likely death, too) of Pajamas Media or OSM, the blog portal put together by US megabloggers like Instapundit and Roger Simon. The need for such a service in the US is unclear to me, but it did strike me that there may be a market for something like it in the UK.

Here the mainstream media are obsessed with celebrity, sex, and trivia (and preferably all three at the same time). Is there not a need then for an aggregator of all the serious stories and analysis out there - both MSM and blog-based? I can't be the only one scouring my daily newspaper for the day's important story - there's rarely more than a couple on any given day.

Just an idea.

Must do some blogging

I've been incredibly busy with work and small children. I've also been thoroughly uninspired. Hence the lack of posts.

Must do better.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thought for the day

"[T]he police are competent to give advice on operational matters but are not competent to judge where the balance between security and liberty should lie."
Shuggy points out an important point that is being missed by vast swathes of the public and the MSM.