Saturday, December 31, 2005

Congrats McMenemy MBE

Not well reported but Lawrie McMenemy, Saints boss from 1974 to 1985 got an MBE for services to football and charity. It's probably got more to do with a successful season as manager of the Parliamentary Football Club than anything he did for Saints but well done anyway.

Robert Baehr - BNP tosser

Well known local BNP supporter, Robert Baehr of New Close, Haslebury Plucknett, Crewkerne was found not guilty of racially aggravavated harassment at Taunton Crown Court. I'm not going to advertise what he was cleared of saying but this is what he admitted to saying to a Mr Kamal, working in the One Stop Shop in Crewkerne.

"I don't like West Africans, half of them are criminals."

"What are you still doing in my country?"

"I hope you're not a Muslim because all Muslims are thieves and liars"

and to police later "I don't like foreigners taking people's jobs in the area"

I agree it's not harassment in the legal sense of the word, but I want to take this opportunity to exercise my free speech to Mr Baehr. He is a tosser, and a disgrace to the good name of Somerset.

UPDATE - The BNP themselves have put their own spin on the news here. It's important to remember that all the quotes above are things that Mr Baehr freely admits saying.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oh No it's Wise

So we get rid of Jason Dodd, a great servant of the club in the grounds he's too old and slow and we get in Dennis Wise, the 38-year old because Redknapp likes characters? What the hell is going on there?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Random Comment

From the Sunday Telegraph's leader today:

"As a result of the chef Jamie Oliver's recent campaign, the Government agreed to increase the amount it spends on school meals from 37p a day to 50p for primary school children and 60p for secondary school children. That's still less than half what it spends on feeding prisoners."

Yes, but prisoners don't go home for an evening meal do they?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Latest from the Christian States of America

I'd be interested to know what Lewis's opinion of this is:

"An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth."

I can understand a conflict between two divorcing parents of different faiths getting to the point that a judge has to intervene, but in this particular case the parents agree that they wish their nine-year old to be brought up as a practicing Wiccan, what can possibly be wrong with that?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why Liverpool have to be in the Champion's League

I cannot believe that anyone in the media is still discussing this. The UEFA Champions League regulations (here in pdf format) make things completely clear.

"1.03 At the request of the national association concerned, the UEFA Champions League title-holders may be entered for this competition, as an additional representative of that association, if they have not qualified for the UEFA Champions League via the top domestic league championship. If, in such a case, the title-holders come from an association entitled to enter four teams for the UEFA Champions League, the fourth-placed club in the top domestic league championship has to be entered for the UEFA Cup."
(my emphasis)

It's even happened before, Real Madrid won the Champions League and finished 5th in La Liga in 2000, they were entered into the Champions League by the Spanish FA and the team that finished 4th, Real Zaragoza, dropped into the UEFA Cup. So by the regulations and precedent, Liverpool must be in next season's Champions League and Everton must be in next season's UEFA Cup.

Then there is the vain hope that UEFA will somehow break their own rules and allow both Liverpool and Everton into the Champions League. I can't imagine UEFA doing that (I've stopped believing in Father Christmas for years). True, the original reason for no more than 4 teams per country (the 2nd group stage) has gone, but it still says in black and white.

"1.01 UEFA member associations may enter a certain number of clubs for this competition, in accordance with their position in the rankings listed in Annexe Ia, and subject to the approval of the UEFA Administration. However, no association may enter more than four clubs for the competition." (again my emphasis).

Whoever loses out on their Champions League place because of UEFA bending their own rules will be in court themselves within moments.

Can you believe everything you read

From the Independent 25th May 2005
"In another decision that signals his opposition to PR, Mr Blair formally abolishing the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), he set up with the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown as a vehicle to discuss PR... Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, expressed disappointment at the move and paid tribute to The Independent's Campaign for Democracy."

From BBC News 20th September 2001
"The Labour-Liberal Democrat joint committee on constitutional reform has been disbanded by Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy... Mr Kennedy said that the JCC had done some "extremely worthwhile" work in the past but had no current purpose."

Has Kennedy forgotten that he issued a public statement agreeing to the disbanding of the JCC nearly 4 years ago?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

With friends like these?

According to the Guardian, Tony Blair is at risk of seeing his twin aims for the G8 summit (Climate Change and Africa) fail and what does George Monbiot, writing in the same paper do?

Any sensible columnist would, seeing that Blair is spending political capital on aims that the columnist support would attempt to bolster the Prime Minister, support him, assure him that while he doesn't support the Prime Minister's policies generally, on this he's right.

No, George Monbiot doesn't do that, he demands the right to attack Blair for not doing enough.

George, would you prefer Blair not to do anything at all? Sometimes a little praise is more effective than more of the same criticism.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Eurovision Whining

I love Eurovision, it's always a joy to watch, but I really don't like the whining about "political voting" that follows it as certainly as night follows day.

Yes there's friendly voting, some countries are more fortunate in that regard than others. But to do well, songs have to travel out to get points from all over Europe. Greece got 12 points from Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the UK, all votes that no-one can call biased.

In contrast the UK entry only got 18 points, 17 of which can be classified as friendly voting, 8 from Ireland, 5 from Cyprus, 4 from Malta and only the 1 point from Turkey can be considered to be genuine.

And finally, can we knock on the head this stupid "we only lost because of Iraq" nonsense - France did worse than us, Spain only finished 1 place higher. We lost because it was a forgetable song performed in a bland manner. We also are disadvantaged by our automatic qualification for the final, since the new system was put into place, the majority of the top 10 have been filled by qualifiers from the semi-final.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

BBC Strike

It's hardly going to have the BBC quake in their boots, but tomorrow I won't be linking to or reporting on anything the BBC produces. I wouldn't cross a picket line in person, I'm not going to over the net either.

Britblog Roundup 14

Tim Worstall's BritBlog roundup is up and yours truly has a post, my one about Survival Sunday, included.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Scott Ritter talks balls

Scott Ritter in the Guardian today talking about George Galloway.

"This is a man who, back in 2002, had the courage to stand up to Blair and George Bush, calling Blair a liar and declaring that both were behaving like "wolves" towards Iraq. For speaking the truth, he was castigated, thrown out of the Labour party and smeared with false allegations of corruption"

er, no. It seems redundant to yet again state why Galloway was expelled from the Labour party, but lets go through the charges that he was found guilty of again.

· he incited Arabs to fight British troops
· he incited British troops to defy orders
· he threatened to stand against Labour
· he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston

He was not thrown out of the Labour Party for calling Bush and Blair "wolves", he was thrown out for two charges that are borderline treason and two charges of opposing Labour electorally.

Also "false allegations of corruption"? Those allegations have never been proven false, George you can sue me if you like.

Friday, May 20, 2005

More Episode III

By the way, did anyone else think "I am the Senate" sounded like "I, We, The Government"

Brown costs UNISON dear

As part of the last Budget's stamp duty changes the threshold for stamp duty was raised, but the exemption on buyers entering into a commercial land transaction in an enterprise area from the 17th of March 2005 will no longer be able to claim the disadvantaged areas relief.

That diversion into fiscal studies was because UNISON was one of those people entering into a commercial land transaction, buying the former Elizabeth Garrett Hospital for our new Head Office. Problem was that they bought the £16m property in mid-April, costing us £640,000 in stamp duty instead of the nothing they would have paid.

I bet Dave Prentis was delighted with Gordon for that.

If you had £15m quid what would you do with it?

That's the question posed by Paul Nowak on his blog. Rather boringly Amicus want it to be used to support a campaign aimed at extending collective bargaining across engineering.

I would rather use it to buy Rupert Lowe out of the Saints chairmanship.

Why I'm not gloating over James Grey

From the Guardian

"The Conservative MP James Gray last night won a footnote in the record books by managing to get himself fired as shadow Scottish secretary just six days after being appointed to the post by Michael Howard."

This is just getting embarrassing now, as anyone living in "one-party state" local council area would know, without a credible opposition, the majority party gets lazy. For the good of the Labour Party, the Tories need to get their act together.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Episode III thoughts

It was a tough decision, but I gave up the pleasures of the Eurovision semi final for the infinitely more geeky Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I'm not a movie reviewer by trade and there are lots of reviews out there so read them if you're one of the four people in the world who haven't decided whether or not to watch it. That said - a few thoughts.

Why did General Grievous look like a Vogon?
For that matter, why do all cyborgs have asthma?
How did R2-D2 lose his rocket boosters between Eps III and IV?
Why did Lucas spin out the "will Anakin turn to the dark side?" plot when we all knew he would?

and the big question
Would it be possible to make the Bush=Sith parallel any more obvious without actually turning into Michael Moore?

The Nurse and the Baroness

Andrew asks a very good question in the comments on my High Court madness post.

"why does it matter that she is a baroness? Would it be okay if a nurse evaded a fine in the same way?"

Well, I don't think that a nurse should evade a fine, even if she was one of my members, but that question did touch on why the case bothered me. The fact is that the nurse wouldn't be able to evade the fine like the baroness did. Now, I don't know the full ins and outs of how the case proceeded, but I do know that applying for a High Court judicial review doesn't come cheap. The nurse would have cursed her luck and paid up, the baroness can use her wealth and contacts to force TfL into quashing her fine.

It's simply not fair that there's not an equal access to justice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How to dress your kid for tomorrow

Don't know if this means anything but.

I've been looking at the election results and noticed this:

Labour: Male candidates average 37.4%, Female candidates average 37.2%
Lib Dems: Male candidates average 22.3%, Female candidates average 23.4%
Conservatives: Male candidates average 35.7%, Female candidates average 27.8%

Read into that what you will.

What's wrong with ID cards

Genuine question here - What is wrong with having to carry around an ID card?

I can understand the practical objections, how to secure the data, how to stop forgeries, how will the government install such a project without it costing ten times the planned amount. But I don't understand what's wrong with the concept, the government has all this information about me anyway, they know where I live, my date of birth, how much I earn, my medical history, etc. There's probably even an MI5 file from the days when I was a lot more left-wing than I am now. That doesn't bother me.

Am I missing something? What's so wrong about collating all this information?

High Court madness

This annoyed me:

"A baroness has won a High Court battle against the "unfairness" of London's congestion charge appeals system"

So lets get this right, an undoubtedly intelligent woman typed in the details of the wrong car when paying her £10 London Congestion Charge. Unsurprisingly, that meant that the car she was using wasn't registered and so she got a fixed penalty notice of £40. That seems a suitable payment for mucking Transport for London around, and it would have made it very unlikely that the Baroness would make that mistake again. But she wouldn't pay up.

The fine kept growing and Transport for London's costs increased, then Baroness Walmsley took them to the High Court. She amazingly won, so that's going to increase the bureaucracy and operating costs for TfL and will probably cause the congestion charge to go up. Well done Baroness.

The Glazer business

From BBC News:

"Meanwhile Labour MP Roger Godsiff has criticised the club in Parliament, attacking United for being solely focused on making vast profits."

Err, isn't that the usual preoccupation for a plc? United not for sale? it's been for sale ever since it went on the Stock Exchange mate.

Need a good phrase

The terms "politically correct" and "political correctness" have crept into our language. As far as I can work out, it's shorthand for stuff that the speaker doesn't like but don't have a good argument against. It's as meaningless as the left using "fascist" to apply to any right-wing idea that they don't have a good argument against.

What we don't have is a term that applies to lazy and idiotic arguments like that. I would like to use the term "political stupidity" but I'm sure the fine minds of the British blogosphere can do better.

In defence of the Tories

Following on from my previous post about right-wing whingers, I do have to point out that no serious Tory politician has claimed that the election result was unfair. Even Michael Howard was on Five Live this morning saying through gritted teeth that he respected Tony Blair for being a successful politician and winning three elections in a row.


My post about Labour winning the majority of English seats in the General Election has attracted some attention. Note to readers, I'm using majority in it's real definition

1. The greater number or part; a number more than half of the total.

I think the phrase you were looking for Gareth was plurality of votes.

I'd always thought I lived in a representative democracy, every so often, we go to our polling stations or post a ballot and the 70 or 80 thousand of us living locally elect one person to be our member of parliament. I voted Labour in the certain understanding that it didn't matter, voting Labour was a waste of time in Yeovil constituency. There may have been over 5,000 of us, but our ballots might as well have been thrown in the bin. Likewise the 17,000 people who voted Tory and the nearly 2,000 who voted UKIP didn't count, most people wanted David Laws to be our member of parliament. That's the democratic system that we have.

Throughout the UK, there were 645 such contests, the 646th will be held sometime later. Out of those seats in England, Labour won a majority, more than half the seats. We won the election. The likes of Gareth and Eric wish that wasn't the case, but whining about it isn't going to change a thing.

It's like complaining your team lost a game of football despite having more shots on target. You have to have shots on target to score a goal, like you need votes in order to win seats, but the winner of the game is the team that scores the most goals. It's pointless whinging coming from Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, it's no more edifying coming from Gareth and Eric.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More right wing amnesia

Over at The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles Anoneumouse is getting quite upset about the possiblity of Tax Freedom falling as late as 11 June by 2007. While that would be usually late for a Labour Chancellor, Tax Freedom day being that late has not been seen since that arch-socialist Nigel Lawson was at 11 Downing Street. Thanks ASI for the information.

Anoneumouse, learn a bit of history because launching into half-baked rants next time.

Tories win England? Don't think so

There's a load of rubbish on the right wing of the British blogosphere being talked about the election results (it's unfair to single any particular blogger out, the virus is widespread). To add to the new definition of "law-abiding" (anybody who isn't working class committing a minor crime) comes the new definition of "majority" (any party that receives 35.7% of the English vote in an election).

First past the post is an awful way of electing a government, but it's the one we've had for centuries so it should be well understood by the whingers but they seem to miss this fact:

In a first past the post election all votes not cast for a winning candidate are effectively ignored.

Given that, the vote totals change immensely and disprove the paranoid electoral bias fantasies of the right-wing.

Out of the Tories' 8,028,386 votes only 4,368,177 were cast for a winning candidate.
Out of Labour's 7,985,165 votes 5,334,831 were cast for a winner.

So on the votes that actually mattered, Labour beat the Tories by almost one million votes by being more efficient at targetting their resources. If the election was to be won by whoever got the most votes in England then we would have fought it differently.

The next (10) big things

No sooner are we into an historic third term, and the NHS is moving forward. There's a document hidden away on the NHS Modernisation Agency site here (pdf file, 489KB) called 10 High Impact Changes for Service Improvement and Delivery and for anyone working in the NHS or interested in the health service I recommend at least flicking through it.

All these 10 changes work, have been proved to work in at least one NHS organisation, if all the NHS did the same as the best practice in each of the 10 areas then:

Change No1: Treating day surgery (rather than inpatient surgery) as the norm for elective surgery could release nearly half a million inpatient bed days each year.

Change No2: Improving patient flow across the whole NHS by improving access to key diagnostic tests could save 25 million weeks of unnecessary patient waiting time.

Change No3: Managing variation in patient discharge, thereby reducing length of stay, could release 10% of total bed days for other activity.

Change No4: Managing variation in the patient admission process could cut the 70,000 operations cancelled each year for non-clinical reasons by 40%.

Change No5: Avoiding unnecessary follow-ups for patients and providing necessary follow-ups in the right care setting could save half a million appointments in just Orthopaedics, ENT, Opthalmology and Dermatology.

Change No6: Increasing the reliability of performing therapeutic interventions through a Care Bundle approach in critical care alone could release approximately 14,000 bed days by reducing length of stay.

Change No7: Applying a systematic approach to care for people with long-term conditions could prevent a quarter of a million emergency admissions to hospital.

Change No8: Improving patient access by reducing the number of queues could reduce the number of additional FFCEs required to hit elective access targets by 165,000.

Change No9: Optimising patient flow through service bottlenecks using process templates could free up to 15-20% of current capacity to address waiting times.

Change No10: Redesigning and extending roles in line with efficient patient pathways to attract and retain an effective workforce could free up more than 1,500 WTEs of GP/consultant time, creating 80,000 extra patient interactions per week.

Apologies for the excessive management-speak, but if you can cut through the jargon there's some terrific stuff here. I'm very excited to be working in the NHS right now, I'm sure that this isn't the last time I'll be talking about this project.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Who do you think you're kidding Marshall-Andrews

I used to like Bob Marshall-Andrews, really I did. But his behaviour on election night was appalling. Blair nearly cost him his job did he? Perhaps so, but maybe Marshall-Andrews ought to look at how he got the job in the first place.

1997 wasn't the first time Bob fought Medway for Labour, his first attempt had been in 1992, he managed to get a 1.7% swing Con to Labour, much in line with the 2.0% national swing, but that still meant that he was 8,800 votes away from winning the seat, he needed a further 8.9% swing.

That's why Medway wasn't anywhere on Labour's target lists in 1997, but Marshall-Andrews actually got a 14.9% swing, giving him Medway. Does he think that was due to his superior campaigning skills, somehow learnt since 1992? Does he maybe think that John Smith or Margaret Beckett would have helped him get such a swing?

No, you're a nob Marshall-Andrews, and you're an ungrateful nob at that.

Guido hypocrite?

Getting back into the swing of blogging after the election, I notice that Guido Fawkes has proudly changed his banner to include "Voted Winner - Commentary weblog of the year - The Backbencher Political Weblog Awards 2005".

That wouldn't be the same award as mentioned here would it Guido?

Dear Backbencher,

Re: Political Weblog Awards.

Could you withdraw the undersigned from the running for your Political Commentary Awards.

In the light of unusual voting patterns and your suggestion that readers "vote early and often" seemingly being taken literally, any award seems worthless to us.

The morning after the afternoon before

We didn't lose our Premiership spot because of bad luck. True we can look to games like not beating West Brom or conceding late equalisers at home to Middlesbrough and Everton. If we'd won any of those games then we would have survived, we can blame Michael Svensson and Marian Pahars being injured, Matt Oakley being out most of the season, David Prutton being suspended for the crucial run-in. But we could also point to a dodgy winner at home to Blackburn, a deserved but fortunate penalty against Pompey and all teams have injury problems.

In the end, we didn't go down because our team wasn't good enough either, that squad should have been good enough for mid-table. But one thing was very clear on each match I've seen, the team visibly tired in the second half, they aren't fit enough, and that's inexcusable, skill you either have or not, but fitness, the ability to run for 90 minutes is a matter of training.

We went down because the players we have didn't care enough about the club. The players will move on, it doesn't matter too much for them except as a black mark on the cv but the likes of Phillips, Higginbottom, Prutton and Ormerod will be in next season's Premiership. For us, the adherents of the religion called Southampton Football Club*, we're down in the Coca-Cola Championship.

*(As tribal as I am in my Labour affliation, I could imagine supporting another political party, but never ever could I support another football team)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Live Blogging - Survival Sunday

2:45pm - I had thought that I was nervous enough in the last hours of polling day when there was nothing else to do and it was just us all waiting for the election results to trickle in. But that's nothing to the sick-in-the-stomach feeling I have now, 15 minutes to go until Southampton kick off against Man Utd and the other three important matches start. This will be an attempt at a live blog. Hopefully I'll be able to cope with it.

Current League Table (before kick off)
17. Norwich City
18. Southampton
19. Crystal Palace
20. West Bromwich Albion.

3pm - My first memory of football is the latter stages of our promotion season of 1977/78 so I can just remember Saints being not being in the top division, but I don't remember what it's like to be there. Ormerod's in the team replacing Crouch, it would be wonderful if a bit-part player could save us this season.

3.03pm - United look a lot better than us, I wish I didn't have to watch, but I do.

3.07pm - United fans chanting "Going Down" to us. Is there a special school Man Utd fans go to to be so charmless? They are expecting us all to support them about Glazer too.

3.10pm - YESSSSSSSS. First chance of any note and Nigel Quashie scores.

17. Southampton
18. Norwich
19. Crystal Palace
20. West Bromwich Albion

3.13pm - And in the excitement, Fulham have scored against Norwich, McBride becomes my favourite American by scoring for Fulham

17. Southampton
18. Crystal Palace
19. Norwich
20. West Bromwich Albion

3.15pm - The Saints goal is proved to be an own goal by O'Shea, but I don't care. I'm not any less nervous, 25 years of supporting Saints (before then I was an Arsenal fan for 3 years) has taught be never to take anything for granted. We almost score but Wes Brown clears off the line.

3.18pm - Brett Ormerod caught offside again, that's been his problem from earlier in the season. I wonder how bad he was at that in that at Wigan... Bugger Fletcher just equalised, that's 1-1. Positions still unchanged, but that makes the margin tighter.

17. Southampton 33
18. Crystal Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. West Bromwich 32

3.21pm - Huge save by Niemi from Van Nistelrooy. We're still alive.

3.23pm - Another corner, another chance, Ormerod jumped so high, but headed over.

3.26pm - Silvestre joins Brown in the ref's book, we've got a free kick by the corner flag. Ball pings around a bit, but evantually United clear it.

3.31pm - Not much in the match, United dominant but strangely weak in front of goal. We're still surviving but one goal by Norwich, Palace or West Brom will keep them up and send us down.

3.34pm - Quashie has a header just loop over the bar. Charlton score against Palace, it's 1-0 there and Fulham go 2-0 up against Norwich.

17. Southampton 33
18. Norwich 33
19. Palace 32
20. West Brom 32

3.36pm - Still a goal by West Brom against the dreaded Pompey will send us down and it's bit nervous, the danger is that we might think a draw's enough for us and it won't be. We need to win, if we win and Norwich don't score 3 or Palace not score 4 then we'll stay up.

3.39pm - Is it just me or does O'Shea look like Peter Kay?

3.41pm - We're certainly wanting this more, but United are so much better than us. COME ON YOU SAINTS.

3.45pm - 1 minute of injury time to play. Smith just lobbed too long.

3.46pm - and that's half-time, 45 minutes from safety. COME ON YOU SAINTS.

3.57pm - on the SaintsForever message board someone's saying that he wants to cry, scream, shout and vomit all at the same time. I know exactly how he feels. If we can just get through these 45 minutes then we can put this season behind us and start next with a clean slate. All we have to do is win.

4:02pm - We're back, no chances yet.

4.06pm - Odd, according to the rules, all the 2nd halves must kick off at the same time, but according to the BBC, the Fulham v Norwich and the Saints v United game have kicked off before the other matches. This could benefit West Brom.

4:09pm - The game seems slower than the first half, I really hope we're not settling for this, West Brom are bound to win.

4.11pm - At the moment, Norwich have to score 2 to survive, Palace have to score 2 to survive, West Brom need just 1, but United just need 1 to send us down.

4.13pm - Fulham are 3-0 up now against Norwich, Norwich need 3 now to change anything. They had the benefit of having their destiny in their own hands, a win for them would trump anything we did, but now assuming they can't score 4, a win for us will ensure survival.

4.17pm - Coming up to the hour mark and we haven't had a chance on goal this half so far. We're not going to be able to ride our luck against United for another 30+ minutes, we have to score.

4.19pm - And it all goes wrong. West Brom up against Pompey and Van Nistelrooy scores for United.

17. West Brom 34
18. Norwich 33
19. Saints 32
20. Palace 32

4.21pm - Palace equalise at The Valley against Charlton, it drops us down from 17th two minutes ago, to bottom now. That doesn't matter to us too much, it's still in our hands, a win will keep us up.

17. West Brom 34
18. Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

4.23pm - Southampton til I die, Southampton til I die, I know I am, I'm sure I am, Southampton til I die.

4.26pm - Strangely I'm actually calmer now then when we were in a safety position, I don't have to worry about the other games, just this one.

4.29pm - Phillips and Delap on for Le Saux and Prutton, moving into a 4-3-3 formation.

4.30pm - Andy Johnson scores a penalty, surprise surprise and Palace are in the survival spot.

17. Palace 35
18. West Brom 34
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

So all the four teams have had some time in the coveted 17th spot.

4.34pm - Norwich 4-0 down now at Fulham, if they weren't down before they are now.

4.35pm - Calum Davenport on for Olivier Bernard, 12+ minutes left to score twice, it's a tall order but it's never over till it's over.

4.37pm - West Brom 2-0 up now, it doesn't alter things for us, we still have to win, but a win is all we need.

4.38pm - Camara hit the bar... corner to us... but nothing comes of it.

4.40pm - "It's not often that the final day of the season isn't all about United" Alan Parry trying to make it all about United.

4.42pm - Camara goes down in the box, but it was a weak penalty appeal. Palace concede at The Valley so West Brom are back in 17th.

17. West Brom 34
18. Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

Only 4+ minutes left, it's looking too late for us now.

4.45pm - Steve Bennett turns down a stronger appeal when Camara tumbles, it needs 2 Saints goals or 1 for Saints and 2 for Pompey for us to survive now.

4.48pm - Massive cheer from the crowd when it's announced that there's 4 minutes of injury time to be played.

4.49pm - MLT "Going down isn't the end of the world" I know Matt, but it feels like it.

4.51pm - Norwich now 6-0 down against Fulham, it's disappointing for me, I can't imagine being a Canaries fan right now.

4.52pm - And that's it, we're down. They are still playing at The Valley and The Hawthorns, I'll carry on till the final whistle there.

4.53pm - West Brom have finished 2-0 winners, but if Palace score a winner... but that's it, Charlton 2 Palace 2 and West Brom stay up.

17. West Brom 34
18. Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The survival equations

Now that the election nonsense is over I can break from cover and talk about something much more important - football.

First of all, I must congratulate Yeovil Town on their 3-0 win over Lincoln City, ensuring that Yeovil get the League Two title and promotion to League One next season.

Now to the team of my heart, Southampton. Three clubs get relegated from the Premiership and four teams are in danger of that fate. With one game to go, here's the table.

17th Norwich City: Won 7, Drawn 12, Lost 18, Points 33
18th Southampton: Won 6, Drawn 14, Lost 17, Points 32
19th Crystal Palace: Won 7, Drawn 11, Lost 19, Points 32
20th West Bromwich Albion: Won 5, Drawn 16, Lost 16, Points 31

Last games are on Sunday, Norwich travel to Fulham, Crystal Palace have a local derby at Charlton, West Brom host Portsmouth and Saints entertain Manchester United.

The recipes for survival are:

Win ensures survival
Draw will keep Norwich up only if none of Saints, Palace and West Brom don't win
Defeat will only be okay if Saints and Palace both lose and West Brom don't win

Win is okay as long as Norwich don't win and Palace don't win by 2 more goals than the margin Saints achieve.*
Draw is only okay if Norwich lose and neither Palace or West Brom win
Defeat means we're down.

Win is good as long as Norwich don't win and Saints either don't win or win by 2 less goals than Palace manage.*
Draw is only okay if Norwich and Saints lose and West Brom don't win.
Defeat means Palace are down.

West Brom need a miracle
Win will only be enough if Norwich, Saints and Palace don't manage to win.
Anything else will be not enough.

*The Saints/Palace situation.
If two teams end up on the same points, then Goal Difference (goals scored less goals conceded) is the first tiebreak. Saints are currently on -20 and Palace on -21, so if Saints win by 1 and Palace by 2, they will both be on -19. The second tiebreak is just to look at Goals Scored, Saints have scored 44 and Palace only 39 so it is just about possible, if Saints win 1-0 and Palace win 6-4 that will be equal as well. If that happens then Saints and Palace would have to play off for the 17th position.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Farewell Jim

In the middle of last week when I blogged on Audrey Callaghan's death, I had the sense that Jim Callaghan himself wouldn't be wanting to hang on too much without her. Still I didn't expect the end for him to come so quickly.

Farewell Jim, I'll miss you.

Could Flight claim unfair dismissal?

Turn my back for a couple of moments and all hell breaks loose. A quick recap:

Howard Flight, MP for Arundel and South Downs and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party made some indiscreet comments about the Tories public spending committments at a private meeting that was taped and leaked to the Times. He quickly resigned his position as Deputy Chairman and that would normally have been that.

Except that Michael Howard decided to limit any damage to Tory election prospects and announced that Flight would not be the Conservative candidate in the upcoming election. It seems at the moment that Flight's local Conservative Association will indeed accept Central Office's order to ditch Flight.

Question is, does Flight have a claim for unfair dismissal? Until 1996, Employment Tribunals had regarded parliamentary elections as sarcosanct, judging that it's the voters that decide, not the parties, but in that year, two male Welsh Labour Party members successfully claimed that they had been discriminated against by Labour's NEC setting up an all-woman shortlist in their constituency. The Sex Discrimination Act was altered in 2002 to make it legal to discriminate on the grounds of gender for the purpose of all-woman shortlists, but the fact that an Employment Tribunal regards some seats as being in the gift of the Labour Party remains. Arundel and South Downs must be the Tory equivalent of the Welsh Valleys, even in the Labour landslide years of 1997 and 2001, Flight still won very comfortable majorities (14,000 in 1997, 13,700 in 2001). I think it's clear that Flight, without official Conservative Party sanction would be toast as far as being re-elected MP for Arundel and South Downs is concerned.

So, based on that, I think that an Employment Tribunal would regard Michael Howard's decision as a dismissal. The question then turns to, is it fair? There are five reasons in which a person can be legally dismissed, the only two that could apply to Flight are misconduct and lack of capability. I think that Flight could be sacked for misconduct, especially if, as reported, he was told an hour before the meeting, not to go past Tory party policy in his remarks. However such dismissals are automatically unfair, if a proper procedure is not followed. A proper procedure is not announcing that you're sacking someone in a Sky News interview as Michael Howard did. I think that Howard Flight has a good case if he wants to cause trouble.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Schiavo case

I very rarely comment on US cases for the simple reason is that from a distance of 3,000+ miles I am often ignorant of the issues. But here's a few random thoughts.

Living Wills: This case might have been easier had Terri written a living will. Daniel Drezner has suggested that the outcome of this whole issue could be an increase of living wills. I don't think that such things are useful. At the moment, I wouldn't want to be be in the state that Terri is in, I would want to be let go. However, if I wrote that in a living will, in five or ten years tie I might feel completely different. I don't think you can know how you would feel unless you're in the situation, then of course it's too late.

Slippery Slopes: For once I would agree with the right-wingers on this. In the UK, it was illegal to withhold food and water from a patient in PVS until 1993, when Tony Bland's family took a case to the House of Lords for the right to refuse food and water on his behalf. Now Charlotte Wyatt is on a "do not resucitate" order over her parent's objections. I'm not saying whether that's a desirable outcome or not, because I don't know, but there is a slope here.

The Demonisation of Michael Schiavo: Watching Fox News last night, there were many comments (particularly by Pat Boone and Bill O'Reilly) to the effect of saying that Michael Schiavo wants his wife to die simply because he will benefit financially from her death. In fact Pat Boone went further and suggested that Michael had actually caused the heart attack that originally caused the PVS. I have no idea whether that's right or not, but that's as little knowledge as Pat Boone has. If the Florida police haven't come up with anything in 15 years, I would suggest that there's nothing to find. The guy's dealing with what happened to his wife, cut him some slack.

Capital Punishment: It was interesting to see Fox trying to twist the Vatican's words, in the original press release it was clear that the Vatican was saying that both Capital Punishment and the withdrawing of food and water to Terri Schiavo is morally repugnant. Somehow in Fox's hands that changed to Terri Schiavo's death is worse because she's not a criminal. Catholic teaching is simple, every life is precious, no matter what the circumstances. I personally think that's too simplistic, but if you're going to quote the Vatican as supporting your own case, then you have to take the whole wafer (so to speak).

The biggest shame in all this is that Terri loved both her parents and her husband and it would tear her apart to know that all this has happened between them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I was reading a piece by an American guy called Raffi Melkonian what I spotted this.

British Tories, for example, constantly argue that people should vote for them because they'll protect the UK's flatly Stalinist free health service


Of course the NHS is a socialist idea, I'd argue with bureaucratic, wasteful and inefficient but at least I would understand where the argument is coming from, but Stalinist?

Last time I looked we weren't presiding over purges of the wrong type of doctor or shooting patients. So what's Stalinist about the NHS?

Please get an original idea

Blood Bowl Chaos Cup 1st Round

In case any of you were wondering, the Lothlorien Griffons found it difficult to beat 2-D Decimators, even a rookie dwarven team can grind out a touchdown, but they didn't have a hope of stopping a quick elven touchdown, it ended up 3-2 to the Griffons after extra time.

Meanwhile in a very ill tempered game in which six players was sent off and two were killed, the Sneaky Gitz got a taste of their own medicine and ended up without any players on the field at all and lost 2-1 after extra time.

Both teams go onto the second round, the Griffons are in the winners bracket but the Gitz face elimination if they lose again. The draw will be made on Sunday 3rd April, after all the 1st round matches have been played.

Thatcher's Back

Shame she can't straighten out her arm now.

Hat tip Guido Fawkes

Monday, March 21, 2005


It's probably best not to post when angered but Howard's Traveller policy prompts me to write:

Howard says that the laws will be the same for everyone - they already are the same for everyone. Under the Tory plans they won't be, if you or I trepass on private land, that's a civil offence, but if the Tories have their way it'll be a criminal offence for Travellers to do it, but not for non-Travellers. Local authorities will have enhanced powers to evict Travellers from land they own, but not have any power to evict other people. Local authorities will have the ability to compulsorily purchase land belonging to Travellers easier than they can for land belonging to other people.

What's next Howard, making Travellers all wear a yellow T on their clothing? You sick fuck.

What annoys me is that the policy is completely unworkable, he knows it is, but like the Lib Dems he knows that he'll never be in a position to have to implement it. A small, very small part of me actually wants Howard to win so that he will be exposed as the shallow fraud that he is.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Proud of Beharry

Private Johnson Beharry's Victoria Cross citation.

Private Beharry carried out two individual acts of great heroism by which he saved the lives of his comrades.

Both were in direct face of the enemy, under intense fire, at great personal risk to himself (one leading to him sustaining very serious injuries).

His valour is worthy of the highest recognition.

Remember him when people ask what immigrants have ever done for Britain. He's done more already than I'm ever likely to do.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

How not to become an MP Part 1

From the Guardian today:

Can an ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan beat Jack Straw in the general election? Craig Murray launches his campaign

Erm, no he can't beat Jack Straw.

He apparently knows nothing at all about Blackburn.

After a frozen plod through the snow, I come to a mini-cab firm, and a very chirpy driver called Ajit. He explains that the Blackburn Rovers v Burnley FA Cup 5th round replay has just finished, the biggest event in Blackburn for a long time. The hotels will be full with supporters. He's right; I end up sleeping in the Preston Novotel.

and later...

This is one of Blackburn's most striking features. It has an astonishing number of ex-pubs. Some have been converted to other uses, but many more are derelict. I wonder why there were so many and what factors caused this cull. Something else I have yet to learn.

I don't know Blackburn, I've never stepped foot in the town, but I think the clue might be earlier in the article.

Blackburn's Muslim community is primarily Gujarati

So he has noticed that there's Muslims in town then? It seems to make sense that if the Muslim population of a town increases then average alcohol consumption might well go down a bit.

Telegraph doesn't tell the whole truth

From the Telegraph today:

If the threshold [of basic rate stamp duty] had been increased with house price inflation since Labour came to power, it would be £143,000.

Yeah, and if the threshold of £30,000 in 1979 had been increased in line with house prices then it would have been £92,000 by 1979 (calculations based on Nationwide figures), instead the Tories only increased it to £60,000. And they pretty much got rid of MIRAS too, by the time the Tories got kicked out it was only available for mortgages under £30,000. Didn't see you lot moaning then.

That's the trouble you see, the Tories are just so much better at stealth taxing.

Link changes

Out go 4glengate, Free Democrats and Thought at the Meridian for inactivity. In come Shot by both sides for being funny, Non Trivial Solutions for being clever and Katherine's Adventures! for calling me clever.

Budget Feedback

Loved this guy on BBC Have Your Say

As usual, the Southeast will continue to support the other regions without any relief or consideration. I'm a first time buyer and my stamp duty bill is £9300. On a planet with 6 billion people, why is the government so intent encouraging population growth and, furthermore, why do I have to pay for it?
Greg, London, UK

I venture to suggest that a first-timer buyer buying a place for £310,000 isn't exactly who Gordon Brown was thinking of.

Also this guy has doesn't seem to understand when he's getting a good deal.

So income tax allowances only go up by inflation again - another disguised income tax increase.
Colin Shepherd, Farnham Surrey

You what? How on earth can that be a disguised tax rise?

Gave me a shock today

"What the hell has Gordon done?"

Audrey Callaghan

I can't quite remember James Callaghan as Prime Minister though I understand he is a remarkably decent man. One thing that's in common with everything written about him is the mutual love and devotion in his marriage to Audrey.

On Tuesday, after 67 years of married life, Audrey sadly died. My thoughts go out to Jim, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Blogging the budget

First some pre-budget comments on quotes ripped off the BBC

For the Lib Dems David Laws said: "The chancellor will no doubt tell us today how wonderfully the economy is doing," he said.

"But a lot of that is built on an increase in personal and consumer debt over the last few years - that makes the economy quite vulnerable potentially if interest rates ever do have to go up in a significant way."

Lucky that Labour are in charge then. Low interest rates don't happen by magic.

Mr Letwin's claim that Mr Brown was planning a 40% tax on profits from house sales has been dismissed by Treasury officials.

Make that Letwin's cynical lie. I suppose the Daily Mail will be trumpeting the fact that there's no CGT on normal house price sales (note to readers, there is CGT on second house sales above a certain amount) would have happened if it wasn't for them causing a stink about it.

...shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin branding stamp duty a "classic Labour stealth tax".
So classicly Labour that it's been around since 1765, those dastardly socialists bringing in something over 150 years before being a government.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Most stupid criminal ever?

Watching Crimewatch and watching the CCTV footage of an idiot who pulled off his balaclava while still in shot of the security cameras I was reminded of the most stupid criminal right here in Yeovil about 2 years ago.

An idiot who wanted money for drugs went around the corner to his local chicken take-away (that he used to use regularly and where the staff knew him by name) with a fake gun and robbed the takings, Unluckily for the crim, all he got hold of was the £30 float and the £2.50 takings that the takeaway had taken since it opened, 15 minutes before. Having hold of his ill-gotten gains, the idiot then went around the corner to the hostel he was living in while the owners of the takeaway phoned up the police to tell them who had robbed them.

When the cops turned up at the hostel 5 minutes later, the crim was still counting his money.

Fiend vs Fawkes

There's a little bit of a spat going on between two estimable bloggers who I have a lot of time for, Guido Fawkes and the Honorable Fiend over this post where Fiend calls Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor a f****r.

The reason why Fiend calls the Cardinal that is because the Cardinal is alleged to have protected known paedophiles when he was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. I have no idea if O'Connor acted naively (his words) or not but if he acted in order to protect the good name of the Catholic Church rather than protecting children from predatory priests then I have a better name for him than f****r.

That's "The Accused".

on Religious Hatred

Mr Natural over at British Spin has posted a great piece disagreeing with Nick Cohen's opposition to the proposed law against religious hatred. Money quote

I agree with Nick that any restriction on freedom of speech is especially troubling and should be examined with the most sceptical of eyes. aftrer all, if you hold that all speech should be free, this is merely society falling down a slippery slope. however, it seems to me that the extension of a protection currently enjoyed by Jews and Sikhs to Muslims is neither a hypocritical pandering, nor merely a piece of political demagoguery. It would not work as the former, and whether you agree with it's proposals, there is a legitimate case for the law on social grounds.

Good stuff and he's going straight into my links.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I can still be political

In the mid-1980s, one of Thatcher's anti-union wheezes was to order ballots of trade union members every 10 years to see if they wanted the union to continue to spend money on political activities.

This wasn't really designed to stop unions being political, every single vote resulted in a clear majority to retain the current arrangements, but it does waste the union's money and district their attention for a couple of months.

So UNISON have just had their 2005 ballot, won it by over 5 to 1 but it's wasted something in the region of £500,000 for no reason.

Please Blair, can we repeal this stupid law sometime before 2015?

Even more A&E

Again from BBC News:

Martin Shalley, A&E consultant at Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital, says staff face daily battle to meet the target for patients to be seen, treated and discharged within the four hour limit.

Mr Shalley talks a lot of sense.

"We have nurse practitioners to help to see the walk-in patients. Nurses also see some patients with minor illness."

Absolutely sensible, there's no need for doctors to have to see every patient, an experienced nurse is completely able to assess and treat a patient.

However, Mr Shalley said that there were some occasions where patients needed to stay in A&E for longer, and there was just no way the four hour target could be met in those cases.

"Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. If a patient does need to stay in A&E for longer than four hours, they do. It's fine.

"It may be that there are no beds in the intensive care unit. Or they need a lot tests, or a patient may need to be resuscitated. It can all take time."

That's true as well, particularly here in the middle of the night, if a patient needs certain blood tests then the sample needs to be taken 25 miles to Taunton, the travel time cuts into the 4 hour wait. (It's one of the reasons why we miss our targets) That's why we're looking at redeveloping our diagnostic test procedures in order to be able to do blood tests more efficiently.

Mr Shalley said: "We do all believe in targets. They have improved emergency care.

"But 98% is just a little bit too high a target."

If 98% is too high for a hospital (and Mr Shalley's own hospital makes the targets so it can't be unreasonable) then the hospital has to look at the reasons why, it may not be in A&E, it may be a bottleneck elsewhere in the system.

Update on A&E Targets

Argh. Natasha Kaplinsky just said on BBC Breakfast that 40% of A&E Patients have been discharged early. Not even the BMA are saying that, the BMA say that in 40% of A&E departments someone has been discharged early.

If each of the 200 A&E Departments treated 50,000 patients per year (YDH is one of the smaller ones at 36,000 attendances, Victoria Hospital Blackpool was said this morning to be one of the biggest at 80,000 attendances) then that means the NHS in England has treated 10 million patients. So Natasha's just claimed that 4 million patients have been discharged early.

If we assume that early discharges are randomly spread throughout the NHS, if all A&E departments are exactly the same size and 60% of departments didn't have one then mathematics can give us the answer for how many early discharges there were. That's 102 early discharges, 102 early discharges in 10 million = 99.99898% chance of an individual patient not being discharged early. Chance of a department seeing 50,000 patients without having an early discharge, 99.99898% ^ 50,000 = 60.05%

Granted the early discharges are unlikely to be random, I can imagine a department hovering at 97.9% a couple of days before the end of the quarter and the word coming down that the department have to have no breaches in the last couple of days or else, then maybe 2 or 3 people might be discharged early. So a gut feeling would to double the calculated figure to something like 200 patients.

That's an awful lot less than 4 million.

The Candidate goes missing

The Candidate Speaks (an interesting, if erratically updated blog from a unnamed Tory PPC) has disappeared. So I'm moving it out of my links. If she returns, I'll put it back on.

Accident & Emergency Targets

At first glance the BMA report seems to be being spun by the BBC. I suspect that the report says that 40% of A&E doctors know of a case in their hospital where someone has been discharged inappropriately which is a different thing than saying 40% of A&Es discharge inappropriately.

However I can't comment usefully until the BMA actually publish this report on their website.

UPDATE: It's there now, although unfortunately the full report is only available to BMA members. The main points:

There are 200 A&E Departments in England, the BMA had replies back from 163. Because they talk about Departments, I suspect they sent the questionaire to either the Clinical Director of A&E (if the hospital has one) or the BMA rep for that hospital.

52% of the departments surveyed said that people had been admitted to an inappropriate ward. That doesn't surprise me, it's not dangerous for the patient, but a bed is a bed, and when a suitable bed becomes available then the patient is moved later.

40% said patients had been discharged before they were adequately assessed or stabilised. That's more dangerous, but lets get this in proportion, there are 200 A&Es, around 50,000 attendances each per year, that's 10 million A&E attendances. 80 of those departments have discharged someone early sometime in that year, so that can't be any more than 200 out of the 10 million treated. That's not too bad.

27% reported that care of the seriously ill or injured was compromised because of the pressure to the meet the 4-hour target. This is undefendable, but I would point out that the reason the target is 98% rather than 100% is that there are very valid medical reasons why you wouldn't want to discharge or admit in less than 4 hours. The classic example being someone that's completely drunk, there's nothing wrong with them so they shouldn't be admitted, you shouldn't discharge because they are incapable and it's possible that the drunken stupor could be hiding something more serious, so you let them breach the 4 hour target and just keep an eye on them.

I've just heard Vincent Cable (Lib Dem, Treasury) criticise the Government for setting targets for political reasons. Of course it's political, that's what governments are there for. These targets are not easy, they require extra resources which are going into A&E departments, but both the Tories and Lib Dems are in effect saying that they want to turn the clock back to the old days when waiting 8 hours with a broken wrist was nothing unusual.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Blood Bowl Chaos Cup

Away from the league now, it's onto the Cup and both DM Andy teams have drawn non-league opposition.

Sunday 20th March 11:00am Sneaky Gitz v Don't Hurt Us

The Sneaky Gitz were active last year as a Division 1 team and acquited themselves well for a Goblin team before being disbanded due to me being unable to commit to fulfilling two teams fixtures. They were renowned and disliked for using various underhand tactics in order to level up the disadvantage of being Goblins.

Strangely the Gitz may have prefered to come up with a harder matchup than the fellow Goblins of Don't Hurt Us. The usual tactic of knifing the opposition's best player won't work in a team of no stars like DHU. However class should tell and I fancy the Gitz to sneak a win by the odd touchdown in five.

Sunday 20th March 2:30pm Lothlorien Griffons v 2-D Decimators

On paper, the Griffons look to be one of the strongest teams outside the Premiership and should have no difficulties against the new Dwarven team. The contrast between elvish pass and run versus dwarven bash and carry is iconic Blood Bowl and it should be a fascinating match. My prediction, one touchdown should win the day and I expect the Griffons to score that one.


Just another thought on the post below:

From Sky News today

People suffering from Alzheimer's disease will stage a protest this week over plans to cut back on crucial medication.

They are planning to march on Parliament to demand that the NHS scrap proposals to drop drugs it says are too expensive.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance saying that four drugs, known as cholinesterase inhibitors, are not cost-effective.

No, no, no, not cost-effective does not mean too expensive and it's lazy and dishonest reporting to make that mistake.

The drugs are not too expensive, the NHS happily prescribes drugs that are 20 times as expensive. They don't work well enough for the cost to be worth it.

I may be Labour but...

As the banner shows, I think that Labour are the safest hands for the NHS, but sometimes I do have to criticise.

One of the best things that the Labour government have done is leave things that are better done by experts alone, appoint them, give them parameters and let them handle things. The independence of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee being the most well known, but Labour have also set up the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

NICE are charged with evaluating treatments and deciding if they are cost-effective. After all, we don't expect politicians to know drugs work and what doesn't.

Trouble is what happens when NICE make a judgement that's not popular? Simple the government bullies them into changing their mind.

From today's Observer

Ministers reprieve Alzheimer's treatment

Controversial plans to withdraw drugs for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia from the NHS are to be blocked by government ministers amid growing political and public anger.

Ministers acknowledged yesterday that there was widespread 'bafflement' at guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) which said the drugs were not cost-effective and should not be freely available to patients on the NHS.

I am particularly struck by the arrogance of this comment.

Revealing that his department will submit a report this week extolling the benefits of the drugs, he [Stephen Ladyman] added: 'It may well be that once they have looked at the extra evidence, they will come to a different decision.'

If the DoH are going to make the decisions now, what's the point in having NICE.

Disappointed in Iain Dale

I've been a regular commenter on Iain Dale's blog for a few months now, indeed it was his blog that got me into blogging in the first place which I will always be grateful to him for. But he has disappointed me by removing the comments facility from his blog.

A few weeks ago, there was a spate of commenters badgering him on various issues, he threatened to withdraw the comments facility if the level of personal abuse continued. That seemed to work, the level of debate improved.

Today, the only activity on the site seemed to be myself and a tory supporter having an interesting and polite discussion on the NHS. In that I made a comment on the end of one of my posts along the lines of "Iain, do you want an NHS based on clinical need or ability to pay" It's a tough question to answer and was meant to be, but he is someone who hopes to be elected a Tory MP so I think it's fair enough, given that the inevitable result of the Tory plans are to make poorer people wait longer.

Though, instead of answering me, he shut off his comments claiming abuse that just didn't happen.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Electoral System biased?

I've seen a few comments in the right-wing side of the blogosphere complaining that the UK political system is biased in favour of the Labour Party.

It's certainly not deliberately biased in favour of the Labour Party, even though Labour were more efficient than the Tories in the mid 90s round of redistricting, the effect of that was not large, and in any case the political parties are not able to gerrymander seats in the way that US parties can. So it's not biased delibrately.

However the FPTP electoral system we have here, combined with a two and a half party system does lead to the potential of odd effects happening. But it doesn't mean that the system in itself is biased to one side or the other.

Say there were 3 major parties with roughly equal support, We'll call them Party A, Party B and Party C. Parties A and B both dislike Party C far more than they dislike each other and they agree to only stand 1 candidate against Party C in each constituency. The effect is just a stronger version of the effect of Labour ignoring a couple of hundred constituencies every election for the Lib Dems to have a free run at.

Back to the example, this did happen in 1931, and the Party C (Labour) got only 52 seats despite getting 30.6% of the vote whereas the National Coalition got 554 seats. Even the National Liberals (part of the Coalition, later merged with the Tories) got 37 seats with less than 4% of the vote. (Source David Boothroyd)

The effect was against Labour then, as it was when Labour outpolled the Tories 48.8% to 44.3% and still won less seats in 1951, but it was against the Tories in Feb 1974. when they won more votes but less seats than Labour.

But it's the same system, the system can't be biased if it favours different parties at different times. It's just that FPTP is unstable in multiparty situations.

Who does Gaddafi Jr want to buy

According to the New York Times Saadi el-Qaddafi, the sometime Perugia player and son of the Colonel is hoping to purchase the controlling share of a well-known British soccer team for $300 million.

So who could he mean?

Manchester United is out, with a market capitalisation at the moment of $1.4bn then $300m wouldn't be enough. On the other hand Southampton would be too cheap, a market cap of less than $17m. Even Spurs are too cheap at $60m, Newcastle are at $100m. He did say British, but no Scottish club could be in the frame, Celtic's market cap is less than $30m, Rangers are privately owned, but wouldn't be 10 times the worth of Celtic.

Liverpool aren't publically traded either, but David Morgan had enough money in the summer with $140m and I can't see Newcastle being worth more than Liverpool. Saadi would need more than $300m to prise Roman out of Chelsea.

So I reckon, he has to be talking about Arsenal.

D&D Players "detached from reality"

according to the Israeli Defence Forces

From Ynetnews via Ace of Spades and Natalie Solent

Ynet has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.

“They're detached from reality and suscepitble to influence,” the army says.

Fans of the popular roleplaying game had spoken of rumors of this strange policy by the IDF, but now the army has confirmed that it has a negative image of teens who play the game and labels them as problematic in regard to their draft status.

That's up to the IDF, but I seem to remember most of TSR in the early days being ex US Army.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Eric Pickles Lies

Eric Pickles, the Tories shadow for Local Government and the Regions has a good old rant in today's Guardian. He has some good points, but in his haste, accuses the Prime Minister of things he simply didn't do.

Mr Blair has added an extra layer of regional government and subverted true local democracy.

Err, no Mr Pickles.

The Government Offices (regional executives) were set up in 1994 (example here)
The Regional Assemblies were set up in 1996 (example here)

Who was the Prime Minister then Mr.Pickles?

Did the US nuke Sudan

From BBC News

The Sudanese government had a nasty shock this week, when it read on a US Congress website that the Americans had conducted nuclear tests in the country.
A House of Representatives committee report mentioned tests conducted in Sudan between 1962 and 1970.

It turned out to be a typing error (the website should have refered to Sedan, Nevada) but don't you think if the US had conducted tests in Sudan, the Sudanese would have noticed at the time?

What the Tories won't tell you.

From BBC News today:

Good progress has been made on improving cancer care in England, the National Audit Office says.

That's the target to reduce cancer death rates for under 75s from the 1997 figure of 141 deaths per 100,000 population per year by 20% to 113 by 2010.

The latest 2003 figures show that the rate is down to 122. As the NAO say, there's more to do, but we're well on the way.

UPDATE: Iain Dale is exercised about John Reid's comment that "If the Conservatives get in there won't just be cancelled operations - there'll be cancelled lives." But the Cancer data shows the proof. Even if death rates had remained static under the Tories (highly generous as the trend was going up before 1997) then that's 19 deaths less per 100,000 people per year from cancer. By my reckoning that over 10,000 people who didn't die in 2003 that would have if the Tories were still in charge of the NHS.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Prescription Charges rise

on 1st April, prescription charges will go up by 10p to £6.50. It's gone up 10p every year since 1998 so it's not really news, but I think this is the first year that the Tories have decided to go on the attack about it.

From BBC News today:
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley criticised the announcement.

He said: "From the government that brought you the promise of free healthcare and accused the Conservatives of wanting to introduce charges, comes this announcement of higher NHS charges."

That's from a party that when they were in government last increased prescriptions on average by 20.4% every year for 18 years. If they'd carried on at that rate it would be nearly £25 by now.

Some history for Mr Lansley (source Royal Pharmaceutical Society)
Labour 1945-51: Prescriptions free
Tories 1951-64: Prescription fee introduced, 2 shillings (10p) by 1964
Labour 1964-70: Fee rose from 2 shillings (10p) to 2/6 (12½p)[Average rise 3.7%]
Tories 1970-74: Fee rose from 2/6 (12½p) to 20p [Average rise 12.4%]
Labour 1974-79: Fee stayed at 20p [Average rise 0.0%]
Tories 1979-97: Fee rose from 20p to £5.65 [Average rise 20.4%]
Labour 1997- : Fee rose from £5.65 to £6.50 in 2005 [Average rise 1.8%]

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Jousting's Back

That's right, the first jousting tournaments for 530 years are going to happen this summer.

Makes me want to start playing Pendragon again.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The (young) Saints go marching on

The Saints U-18 team carried on their campaign in the FA Youth Cup by defeating West Ham United U-18 by 4 goals to 1.

This sets up a two-legged semi final against either Derby or Wolves who play their quarter-final on Friday week.

When is a tax a tax?

Nick Clegg, writing in the Guardian, is obviously stung by the claim that the Lib Dems want to bring in a tax on dogs.

"Apparently, the newspaper went on, a vote for me would usher in all sorts of additional evils such as - wait for it - a "tax on pets". Apart from the relatively minor fact that it is not Lib Dem policy to tax pets, but simply to introduce a dog registration scheme as demanded by countless pet owners since dog licensing was abandoned in 1987, I was left nonplussed."

Okay, it's not a tax, but everyone with a dog will be forced to pay it, it sounds like a tax to me.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Agreeing with the Adam Smith Institute

Something odd must be happening, I find myself in agreement with the Adam Smith Institute on the subject of the flat tax.

It would be simpler to collect, harder to avoid and it'll end these endless slanging matches between parties on arcane tax plans that no-one seems to understand. Example, the council tax v local income tax arguments.

New Banner

Thanks to Guido Fawkes for the chance to put my heart on my sleeve

DM Andy. Proud of the NHS. Proud of Labour

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Remember this

From the Telegraph today:

"The sooner the Human Rights Act is repealed, the sooner British justice will be able to re-establish its contact with common sense."

That'll be the same Human Rights Act those hunters want to abolish the hunt ban right?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Even more MMR proof

From BBC News

Scientists say they have strong evidence that the MMR vaccination is not linked to a rise in autism.

Researchers looked at the incidence of autism in a Japanese city before and after the withdrawal of the measles, mumps and rubella jab in 1993.

New Scientist reports autism rates kept rising after MMR was withdrawn.

Michael Rutter of the Institute of Psychiatry, who worked on the study, said it "rubbished" the link between MMR and a general rise in autism.

It may rubbish it, but I doubt it'll change anyone's mind on the subject.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Globalizers

Long-term readers (if I have any) will remember me making a wager with Guido Fawkes over David Blunkett. I lost and consequently Guido won £50 off me.

I haven't paid it over yet, his unwillingness to have me send him money directly (I assume because I don't think he's really called Guido Fawkes) coupled with my very infrequent trips to the Smoke meant that things were complicated.

I really don't like owing anyone money, so when Guido emailed me today to give me a cause to donate it to, I was delighted. He wanted me to donate it to the Globalization Institute, who they I wondered.

Well, Milton Friedman on the front page doesn't look too promising, but it's not his fault that Thatcher thought he was wonderful. The aims of the Institute look very good, I approve of free trade, as long as it's not lopsided with us bullying developing nations into accepting our goods and services while hiding behind protective tariffs ourselves.

I was just marvelling at finding a "right-wing" economics think-tank that I agree with when I saw a name that rang a bell, Alex Singleton. The Institute describe him as "Britain's most prolific critic of 'fair trade' schemes." That's right, he was on the BBC a couple of weeks back sprouting a load of nonsense that I couldn't follow about the evils of fairtrade, something about it distorting the market.

There's not a rational argument against fair trade schemes, but there is an irrational one.

Let's demolish the often cited rational one first, which is the one I think Alex was getting at on the tv. That it's dangerous, socialist thinking which distorts the market. Let's use Alex's own words to disabuse that thinking.

One of the most unhelpful theories taught in basic economics courses is the notion of perfect competition, which has been captured by anti-capitalists to attack capitalism. They argue that brands are anti-market because they prevent perfect competition, a state where products are identical and where companies can only make 'normal' profits, whatever they are.

However, there is no such thing really as perfect competition, nor would it be desirable. In markets, different firms compete not only on price, but also on image and quality. In the car industry, the cars from Peugeot, Ford and Rover compete, but the products are not homogeneous. Consumers are made better off by this lack of sameness: manufacturers add new features and better designs in an attempt to lure custom, leading to ever improving products. In short, the perfect competition model is wrong because it oversimplifies how the market works. Ludwig von Mises, founder of the neo-Austrian school, would no doubt describe the model as "two hypothetical curves."

Add to this the fact that brands help consumers make choices about which products to buy. I know that if I buy cakes from Tesco, they will be of a high quality. I may end up spending more than buying from Mrs Globbin's shop, but I am paying for the peace of mind. When I see a can of Dr Pepper for sale, I know it is a product I enjoy and can trust.

I can't see the difference between that perfectly good explanation and the fairtrade issue. When people buy coffee, or chocolate or even footballs they buy for a number of reasons, price being only one, you're also buying an image. to paraphrase Alex's words, I may end up spending more than buying from Mrs Globbin's shop, but I am paying for the peace of mind. When I see a jar of Fairtrade coffee for sale, I know it is a product I trust and know I'm not giving my hard-earned money to big business.

That leaves only the irrational one, which is that fairtrade is dangerous hippy lefty nonsense.

Rant over, it's Guido's money after all, so £50 will be in the post tomorrow.

Monday, February 28, 2005


I wonder why the Tories don't want the BBC to show the drama set around the Miner's strike. (see Guardian report here)

Ahh, it couldn't be because it reminds us that the Tories, far from being the lovers of liberty they claim, actually stopped people crossing county boundaries?

They would do the same to us given the chance again, that's why, no matter what, I can never be a Tory, they see freedom as only something they deserve.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

End of the first division season

Season 03 of the YeovilGames Blood Bowl league is now over.

The Furburgers slipped quietly out of the division, losing 3-0 to the Midnight Howlers. The scale of the Howlers victory combined with the Maelstrom Crew surprisingly losing 2-0 to the Pyrple Panzies mean that it's the Howlers who end up with the first division title.

The Griffons and Horrors played out a 2-2 draw in the day's highest scoring game, while Tomb King Titans laboured to a 1-0 victory over second-division bound Eeep Itzasnake.

Getting relegated from the Premiership are Da Skullrippaz and Rottingham Deathspurs, two hard hitting sides. Coming up from Division 2 are Orczillaz and the Row Men.

Final Table
1. Midnight Howlers (Human) 57
2. Maelstrom Crew (Chaos) 52
3. Pyrple Panzies (Human) 43
4. Tomb King Titans (Khermi) 42
5. Lothlorien Griffons (High Elf) 38
6. Harlem Horrors (Dark Elf) 37
7. Furburgers (Skaven) 29
8. Eeep Itzasnake (Snotling) 7

Being Lazy

Apologies for the posting being a bit light this week.

I really have to address the Tory proposals for the NHS published last week. It just feels too much like work right now. Suffice to say, they are ill-thought out. Actually I'll quickly dive into it now.

Merging Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) together and abolishing SHAs (Strategic Health Authorities). While there is a case for the PCT move (I'll explain why in the next week), this will end up centralising the NHS even more than in it was in 1997, I'm not sure that squares with the Tories' stated aim of moving decisions as close to the grassroots as possible.

Abolishing targets, but actually not abolishing targets. This is a con-job, they say in one breath that central targets are disorting the performance of the NHS, but on in the next breath propose that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will set the targets instead.

Last but not least for now. Give the private sector the right of supply to the NHS. That's right, even if Yeovil Hospital had spare capacity, they would be forced by law to outsource some of it's clinical activity to private companies. What's that all about?

Harlem Horrors Preview

The final first division matches of the season are to be played this afternoon.

Maelstrom Crew have confirmed promotion to the Premiership and Midnight Howlers look set to join them. At the bottom, Eeep Itzasnake are condemned to the drop so the focus turns to the scramble to avoid that last relegation spot.

7th place - Furburgers (29 points)
The bookies favourite for relegation, the only Skaven team in the league will have their work cut out playing the premiership-bound Howlers. However the other teams will write off the Furburgers chances at their peril, the Skavens are fast and with the Howlers having very little to play for, there could be a surprise in store.

6th place - Harlem Horrors (32 points)
If the Furburgers do get a win, the loser of the Horrors game with the Griffons would be odds-on to go down. The Dark Elves will be reliant on their two Witch Elf Blitzers in order to take command of the match against their good aligned cousins.

5th place - Lothlorien Griffons (32 points)
Ahead of the Horrors only on touchdown difference (13-11 compared to 10-9), the Griffons know they have to win. Thethin, their on-loan player from Premiership champs Anlec Citadels will be crucial in providing steel to the somewhat weak Griffons front line.

4th place - Tomb King Titans (33 points)
While mathematically in the relegation dogfight, the Titans are closing their season by hosting Eeep Itzasnake, it would be the shock of the season for the Titans not to win that match comfortably.

3rd place - Pyrple Panzies (33 points)
The Panzies would have expected to be safe at this stage of the season, but they do face the champions-elect Maelstrom Crew and in the event of a Furburger win and a Horrors-Griffons draw, then a defeat to the Crew would send the Panzies down to Division 2.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Shameless self-promotion

If Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes can do it, I can do it too. Of course, Iain might only mean that I'm interesting on his blog.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

English is from the US?

No sooner had I taken the NRO off my list of links, then this piece of sheer stupidity from Denis Boyles brings me right back to the conservative journal.

Europeans hate the way Americans talk. They think we're loud and uncouth and they don't like our jokes, except for Michael Moore. Plus, they resent the fact that they’ve had to learn our language because if they didn’t we wouldn’t buy their stupid metric widgets or visit their overpriced ruins.

Hello Earth to Denis, who do you think invented English? Clue, it's something to do with the name. And last I saw, England was in Europe.

Costing the Lib Dems

Just got involved into a Tory v Lib Dem conflict over on Iain Dale's site. Iain's claiming that the average couple would be £634/year worse off, some fellow called James disputed that, saying that the couple would have to earn a total of £50k. Now, me and my flatmate don't earn anything like that, but I think that we'll be around £600/year worse off. So something's got to give.

Here's my calculations.

If £37,000 p.a equals £1,000 local income tax and £10,000 p.a. equals £114 local income tax then (as long as there's one rate) that means that the local income tax allowance is set at £6,526 and the tax rate at 3.28%.

Income Tax as a total brings in £127 billion. Source
(the piechart on page 12). Income Tax allowance is set at £4,745 and if we say that there are 35 million income tax payers then the average income tax payer earns £21,239, paying £3,629 income tax.

If we use the same average figure for local income tax payers then the local income tax will only bring in £16.9 billion. which is much less than the £24 billion that council tax currently raises.

The only figure I've had to guess at is the number of taxpayers, but that doesn't change the net receipts as much as you would think, more taxpayers would use more allowances and bring the total take down slightly, 40 million taxpayers would bring in £16.6 billion, 30 million would pay £17.2 billion.

If there's anything anyone can add that I've missed, please help me out here.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Link changes

I'm changing around my links.

Coming in are:
Mo's Musings from England it's good to hear an American perspective on the UK.
Europhobia a primarily EU/Kilroy/UKIP centred blog that's interested me for a while.
And to balance out the political balance a bit (I've realised that I am far more likely to link to people I disagree with then people I like) Matt T and Thought at the Meridian

I'm also moving a few out. Andrew Sullivan, Dan Drezner, the NRO Corner and the Volokh Conspiracy are all excellent blogs that deserve support, but they are American and as I've settled into blogging, bear no relation to anything I want to talk about.


I said that I'm not opposed to hunting, which may come as a surprise to any blog readers who don't know me. What I've realised is that I'm opposed to hunters, the people who think they rule me.

The ban on hunting is clearly unjust, anyone can see that, it's not supported on animal welfare grounds, it's certainly illiberal. However I can't stop myself being pleased that it's banned. It's even better than your team scoring an injury time goal, in an offside position, with a handball and with the referee not noticing the foul on the goalkeeper. The fact that it's unjust just makes it feel all the sweeter to me.

Dennis Skinner supposedly said something like "This makes up for the miners." No it doesn't Dennis, The ruling class have done us down for nearly 1,000 years, this is one victory against a millennium of hurt and the more they don't like it, the more I'll enjoy it.


I don't do poetry, but here's one that caught my eye by Ian McMillan


Farewell to the scarlet coats thundering through woods,
Farewell to the sharp stink of fear,
Farewell to the fox hunt, and I'm saying GOOD; and I'm raising my voice in a cheer,
Farewell to tradition, if that's what it is, though it's feeling quite feudal from here,
Farewell to the blood from a fox hound's sharp kiss and I'm raising my voice in a cheer,
Farewell to the mornings where mist cools your face and England of Cricket, warm beer
and folks in big flat caps who all know their place,
and I'm raising my voice in a cheer.

You're chasing the past, chaps, not chasing a fox; you're chasing a country that's gone,
They've altered the windows and changed all the locks; you're riding a land that's moved on,
and I didn't see the hunters at the head of the crowd when they closed down the factories and mines;
I didn't hear the hunting horn blaring out loud, at the head of the picket lines.
Democracy spoken, the pack's caught you up and let down the tires on your sport,
So please don't be whining like a whipped hunting pup, cos it's farewell to you and your sort.

Farewell to the stirrup cup,
Farewell the thrill of tearing a fox like a shredder shreds bills, and look, there's a fox
and he's standing quite still,
no, he's raising two fingers from the top of that hill,
Farewell to the scarlet coats thundering through woods,
Farewell to the sharp stink of fear,
Farewell to the fox hunt and I'm saying GOOD; and I'm raising my voice in a cheer

Michael Howard on Breakfast Time

I'm not convinced by Howard's performance today.

Started off by saying that "the Poll Tax was a mistake" ouch, The Candidate won't be happy.

Stumbled a bit around the "Why wouldn't a Local Income Tax be even fairer?" question by saying that pensioners wanted a fair deal but didn't want the burden to fall on "their children" under Local Income Tax. In contrast Howard said that the pensioner council tax rebate would be funded by the general taxpayer.

He ended well though, the usual spin about Tory Councils costing less and Labour stealth taxes that doesn't actually stand up to scrutiny bt I suspect will go across well with the public.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


News of the World Article 20th Feb
EXCLUSIVE: Posh to have her baby on Feb 25th

ANXIOUS Victoria Beckham is flying her own medical team over to Spain—even though they WON'T be allowed to deliver her third baby.

Posh will give birth by caesarean section at a private hospital in Madrid on Friday.

BBC News Report
20th Feb
Victoria and David Beckham are celebrating the birth of their third son, who they have named Cruz.

The couple said they were "delighted" after a caesarean section delivery in Madrid at 1040 local time (0940 GMT) on Sunday. The baby weighed 7lb (3.2kg).

Should Kate Hoey lose the whip?

From the Sunday Telegraph today

There was further defiance from Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxhall, who described her party colleagues as "bigoted and prejudiced" when she addressed the Duke of Beaufort's hunt in Gloucestershire to which the Prince of Wales belongs.

"The law is unenforceable. It cannot last long. We will prevail and this law will have to be overturned," she declared to resounding cheers from supporters. I feel a deep sadness that my Government has allowed this ban to go through, but I have confidence in my country and the people of my country that an unjust law cannot last very long. Today is the beginning of the end of a ban on hunting."

So we have a Labour MP, criticising other Labour MPs at a public meeting and encouraging those present to vote for a Tory majority with a hefty majority at the next election (as that's the only way there could be a pro-hunting majority in the House of Commons). There are truly honourable Labour MPs who have been pro-hunting, people like Robin Cook and Tony Wright, they don't denigrate their colleagues.

I think it's time that Kate Hoey is thrown out of the Labour Party, if she wants to travel the country campaigning for the Tories to win the next General Election, let her join them.

Maelstrom Crew vs Furburgers

The Skaven Furburgers managed to accrue five league points from a creditable 2-2 draw with Maelstrom Crew so the Griffons are not out of the relegation dogfight yet. The equation for survival is simple for the High Elf team, victory over the Harlem Horrors will ensure first division football at the Glade next season. Anything else will mean that the elves will have to rely on other results going their way.

Meanwhile there is a potential controversy over the Howlers-Panzies matchup. The fixture list initially had the match to be played today, but as that was inconvienient for the Howlers, it was moved to Saturday 19th. This time it was the Panzies that cancelled the match. Due to the League Commissioner's insistance that the final games are played at the same time on Sunday 27th, the two coaches will have to resolve the impasse, if not one or both teams may be penalised by the League.

Countryside Alliance News part 2

Lewis points out in the comments below that maybe the CA press release was correct at the time. However as time goes on, that seems less and less likely to me.

Countryside Alliance Press Release 19th Feb (still the same one)
There are no reports of anyone having been arrested in relation to offences committed under the Hunting Act.

BBC News Report 19th Feb
However, the first arrests under the new legislation were made. Four people were arrested by police in Wiltshire for illegal hunting of hares with dogs under Section 1 of the new Act.

It could be suggested that it's unfair to criticise the Countryside Alliance for not updating their press releases early enough. However they do have a full-time PR staff, several regional directors and this is one of the most important weekends in the CA campaign. Having a clearly incorrect statement on their website either makes them look stupid, or just unwilling to admit that one of the main planks of their campaign, that the legislation is unworkable and unenforcable, is turning out to be incorrect.

Tony Banks will be missed

It's a shame that Tony Banks is standing down at the upcoming election, I just noticed this in Hansard.

Hansard 1994/95 Column 1310

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater): I try to understand the views of people who are really involved with the countryside--I do not mean those who simply think they are--and I accept that they perhaps have different standards and experiences. They live much closer to the life and death cycle.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West): They should see Stratford.

Mr. King: The debate would not be complete without a crack from the hon. Gentleman.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Countryside Alliance News

I'm not sure if the Countyside Alliance's Press Office are just inefficient or if there's something more sinister at work.

Countryside Alliance Press Release 19th Feb
There are no reports of anyone having been arrested in relation to offences committed under the Hunting Act.

BBC News Report 19th Feb

Four men have been arrested by police in Wiltshire in what are believed to be the first arrests under the new hunting legislation.

vs Eeip Itzasnake

Difficult start but once one of Eeip's Pumpwagons had careered off the pitch and another broken down the Griffons took control of the game. A riot at the beginning of the second half reduced the time available but the Griffons ended up with a comfortable 3-0 victory. Griffons gained 5 bonus points to add to the six points for a win, Eeip just got a solitary bonus point.

The Griffons win has sealed Eeip's relegation to the second division and gone a long way towards securing Griffon's safety. The pressure now moves to the Furburgers, in seventh place but with a game in hand. If they lose to the Maelstrom Crew, they will be favourites for the drop.