Why Holly is so tired

Friday, November 27th, 2015 03:24 pm

The Syria decision: Doubters make the best persuaders

Friday, November 27th, 2015 01:22 pm
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Donald Brind


Donald Brind on Friday – from a Labour pespective

“‘Oh gosh, yes,’ said the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when asked if the terror attacks in Paris had caused him to doubt God. They had, he said, put a ‘chink in his armour’ of faith. But he warned against a knee-jerk military response, saying: ‘Two injustices do not make justice … If we start randomly killing those who have not done wrong, that is not going to provide solutions.”

There are a significant number of doubters amongst Tory MPs about the wisdom of air strikes in Syria. Julian Lewis defence committee chairman reacted with incredulity when the Prime Minister’s put his case for military in the Commons.

“Air strikes alone will not be effective, they have to be in co-ordination with credible ground forces.” said Lewis. He disputed David Cameron’s assertion that such a credible force existed. “The suggestion there are 70,000 non-Islamist, moderate, credible ground forces, I have to say, is a revelation to me and I suspect most other MPs in this House.”

Former minister Peter Lilley challenged Cameron “to convince me that what you refer to as the Free Syrian Army actually exists rather than is a label we apply to a rag-bag group of clans and tribal forces with no coherent force.” And John Baron said: “Having just returned from the Middle East, regional powers and allies believe that in the absence of a realistic long-term strategy and proper local knowledge, we risk repeating the errors we made in Iraq, Afghanistan post-2006 and Libya.

He said key questions remain unanswered and without these answers, air strikes will only reinforce the west’s failure in the region generally at a time when already there are too many aircraft chasing too few targets.”

It’s the existence of these Tory doubters which means that Cameron – at the head of a nominally majority government – needs support from Labour MPs to get his way.

And the issue been slotted quickly into the ongoing narrative about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

One of the Corbyn’s problems, I believe, he is not a doubter. He is a conviction politician, which is central to his appeal. It is barely conceivable that he would ever vote for the kind of action being proposed.

The effect of that is that people wrestling with doubts are likely to discount what he says. They are more likely to be influenced by the shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who had rejected air strikes because of the lack of a coherent strategy from the government, now says the case made by the Prime Minister is compelling.

For what it’s worth I am personally unconvinced. I share the misgivings of the Independent’s Steve Richards who says “Labour MPs who despair of Corbyn must think very carefully whether they have heard enough from the PM to justify air strikes.”

One thing I am sure of is that the campaign of pressure on MPs being organised by Momentum , the pressure group based on the Corbyn leadership campaign will be counterproductive. It will increase not diminish the number of Labour MPs who support David Cameron.

Once again – Jeremy Corbyn needs saving from his friends.

Donald Brind

All this week’s local by-election results

Friday, November 27th, 2015 12:45 pm
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Harry Hayfield

Carnforth and Millhead (Con defence) on Lancaster
Result: Conservative 545 (55% +7%), Labour 320 (32% -3%), Green Party 52 (5% -12%), Liberal Democrat 38 (4%, no candidate in 2015), United Kingdom Indepdendence Party 37 (4%, no candidate in 2015)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 225 (23%) on a swing of 5% from Labour to Conservative

Rochford (Con defence) on Rochford
Result: Labour 332 (32% -16%), Conservative 328 (32% -20%), United Kingdom Independence Party 250 (24%), Liberal Democrat 114 (11%)
Labour GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 4 (0%) on a swing of 2% from Conservative to Labour

Salisbury, St. Edmund and Milford (Lib Dem defence) on Wiltshire
Result: Conservative 425 (36% +13%), Liberal Democrat 262 (22% -21%), Labour 232 (20% +6%), Green Party 215 (18% +10%), Independent 45 (4%, no candidate in 2013)
Conservative GAIN from Liberal Democrat with a majority of 163 (14%) on a swing of 17% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative

Selston (Selston Parish Independent defence) on Nottinghamshire
Result: Selston Parish Independent 2,054 (59% -13%), Independent 794 (23%, not a candidate in 2013), Labour 355 (10% -13%), United Kingdom Independence Party 161 (5%, no candidate in 2013)
Selston Parish Independent HOLD with a majority of 1,260 (36%) on a notional swing of 15.5% from Selston Parish Independent to Independent

Selston (Selston Parish Independent defence) on Ashfield
Result: Selston Parish Independent 1,180 (66% +21%), Independent 294 (17%, not a candidate in 2015), Labour 172 (10% -4%), United Kingdom Independence Party 77 (4%, no candidate in 2015), Conservative 52 (3%, not a candidate in 2015)
Selston Parish Independent HOLD with a majority of 886 (49%) on a notional swing of 2% from Independent to Selston Parish Independent

Dunfermline North (SNP defence) and Rosyth (SNP defence) on Fife
Dunfermline North
Result: Scottish National Party 1,056 (43% +12%), Labour 719 (30% -18%), Conservative 304 (13% +6%), Liberal Democrat 230 (9% -5%), Green Party 63 (3%, no candidate in 2012), United Kingdom Independence Party 58 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Scottish National Party HOLD on the second count, majority on first count of 337 (13%) on a swing of 15% from Labour to Scottish National Party

Result: Scottish National Party 1,214 (45% +9%), Labour 926 (34% -14%), Conservative 245 (9% +3%), Liberal Democrat 97 (4%, no candidate in 2012), United Kingdom Independence Party 88 (3% +1%), Independent 66 (2%, no candidate in 2012), Green Party 51 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Scottish National Party HOLD on the fifth count, majority on first count of 288 (11%) on a swing of 11.5% from Labour to Scottish National Party

Pwllheli South (Llais Gwynedd defence) on Gwynedd
Result: Underwood (Non Party Independent) 269 (45%, no candidate in 2012), Plaid Cymru 168 (28% -12%), Parry (Independent) 106 (18%, no candidate in 2012), Llais Gwynedd 49 (8% -52%)
Non Party Independent GAIN from Llais Gwynedd, majority 101 (17%), no swing calculable

Bettws (Ind defence) on Newport
Result: Cleverly (Independent) 336 (32%, not a candidate in 2012), Labour 294 (28% -16%), Jordan (Independent) 275 (26%, not a candidate in 2012), Conservative 114 (11%, no candidate in 2012), Green Party 29 (3%, no candidate in 2012), Liberal Democrat 7 (1%, no candidate in 2012)
Independent WIN with a majority of 42 (4%), no swing calculable

Compiled by Harry Hayfield

[syndicated profile] calderdale_guardian_feed

Posted by Chief Reporter

clip boardThat is: implement the Guardians cost reduction strategy see our immediate previous article: A non political Strategy to Improve CMBC Management, an irrefutable argument nearly five years in the making! Action: Cllr Tim Swift, assisted by Cllrs Stephen Baines, Janet Battye and Colin Raistrick

This article should help those dyed in the wool senior council leaders and current scrutiny panel chairs who have still not got their head around to accepting today’s modern requirements! The penny must drop; a mindset change must be made!

With this in mind here is an initial action check list

Cllr Robert Holden: Use of Resources

  • Commence to calculate the value for money [lack of] in CMBC’s back office especially the back office departments “managed” by the communities directorate namely Human Resources and Business Support & Information Technology.  The big one! These two departments alone, annual saving of up to £1,750,000?
  • The above will allow CMBC to reduce senior management, secretarial, personal assistants, salary and office costs to be reduced by a further £250,000 per year!
  • Calculate the value to CBMC of replacing the so called Central Procurement Unit [CPU purchasing advisors,] with one professional procurement department
  • Develop and implement across CMBC an effective staff absence control system to reduce staff absence to an acceptable level. See CMBC unacceptable Employee Sickness Levels a follow up Aug 2014 unchanged, little progress made since March 2012? Unacceptable then thus still unacceptable today!

Cllr Marcus Thompson: Communities

  • Prepare the ground with the Use of Resources Scrutiny, see the big one above
  • Review follow up the current situation with regard to the Victoria Hall Theatre See The Victoria Theatre Update 7th November (*)
  • Review the current situation, the progress of the external consultancy projects on going in the HR and IT departments, discuss this with the officers’ involved or wait and do this after reading the Guardian’s next article!            

(*) Is this theatre a part of CMBC’s real estate now the responsibility of the Economy and Environment directorate? [Alan Lee, Corporate Assets and Facilities Manager]

Cllr Malcolm James: Adult Health and Social Services

  • Consider centralised service procurement with Children and Young People
  • Then leave this operational directorate to get on with the job unless you know otherwise

Cllr John Ford: Children and Young People

  • Consider centralised service procurement with Adult Health and Social Services
  • Then leave this operational directorate to get on with the job unless you know otherwise

Cllr James Baker: Economy and Environment

    • Use the Highways Development Board Summary Highlight Report (Final) 9th July 2015 -22nd September 2015, as a check list, ascertain progress made and chase any progress not being made
  • Quietly use the “Final” Highway Report check list to consider the management capability or otherwise of the creator and leader of this Board, CMBC’s CEO
  • External consultants have been and still are crawling all over E & E, [30 projects and 24 external organisations] Get involved pick up the details if not with the external organisations concerned at least with your 14 Officers involved (*) or wait and do this after reading the Guardian’s next article!              

(*) Is the recent sudden unexpected departure of the Highways Network Manager, Carolyn Walton the result of the temporary appointment of one of these “specialised consultants”? Does this in reality demonstrate there is little Human Resource expertise in CMBC despite a ridiculously high number of HR personnel, one for every 26 full time employees? The lack of HR capability will be a problem for the use of resources scrutiny panel in reducing absenteeism in CMBC!      


Our previous article [A non political Strategy to Improve CMBC Management] created a big interest within the CMBC Members Fraternity resulting in a good number of supportive responses e.g. I suggest your comments are pretty reflective of the truth

We received one query, Where did the [our suggested] 40% back office saving come from A good question, easily answered

We produced an inter firm comparison between CMBC and a more complex German owned Yorkshire based engineering company both similar service companies except CMBC has an advantage being restricted to a small geographic area. In this we compared two back office departments see The comparison of CMBC to another Organisation May 2015

CMBC Engin. Co.
CMBC Turnover / Engin. Co. Sales £166M £188M
Full Time Employees 2642 1037
HR Back Office FT Employees 100    8
No of employees per HR employee  26 130
IT Back Office FT Employees  90 (*)  18

(*) This CMBC IT figure does not include “management change” employees the Engineering Company has no such employees

From our business experience we said we feel a 40% target to reduce CMBC’s back office over 2/3 years is achievable but who knows? No one! [There is no CMBC “accounting / budgeting / activity costing” data available to make this calculation]

We now know what needs to be done and how to do it!

Therefore this issue will not go away, just watch this space.   

After thought

The Chancellor’s recent autumn statement clearly states intent to hand more power and tax raising authority to Local Government! In CMBC and no doubt elsewhere this is a frightening thought! It is a fact CMBC councillors those who are supposedly in charge are already out of their depth.

With a flexible Chancellor experience may dictate a U turn, or our ineffective council leadership may change their spots [we hear: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but whilst difficult, this is not true.] Alternatively change the current council leadership!    

[syndicated profile] improbable_research_feed

Posted by Marc Abrahams

Spread the word, please! Today, Friday, November 27, the Science Friday radio program will broadcast its specially edited highlights from the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. It’s SciFri’s 24th annual broadcast (SciFri began this day-after-Thanksgiving tradition in 1992, the Ig Nobel ceremony’s second year).

Listen to it on a public radio station, if you’re near one, or on the Internet. (Science Friday is broadcast as two separate, hour-long programs. The Ig Nobel broadcast comprises the entire SECOND HOUR of Science Friday)

This photo shows a moment at the ceremony: Justin Schmidt and Michael Smith, co-winners of the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physiology and entomology, finish their acceptance speech at the urging of eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo (who is assisted by many of the former Miss Sweetie Poos, who were on hand for a reunion at this, the 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Alexey Eliseev took the photo:


BONUS: Download your own copies of IgBill, the printed program for the 2014 ceremony, and the 2014 ceremony poster.

BONUS: From SciFri archives, here’s last year (2014)’s Ig Nobel broadcast.

BONUS: Subscribe to the magazine — the Annals of Improbable Research, and you will receive the special Ig Nobel issue, as well as five other improbable issues!

[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Danny Soz

KATIE-HOPKINS-largeThere was wild cheering in the House of Commons yesterday as Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced plans to launch a series of RAF strikes on controversial media personality, Katie Hopkins.
[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Neil Tollfree

facebook-privacy-notice-largeEveryone is waking up today to a completely different world today, after a woman posted a motivational slogan on Facebook last night.
[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Davywavy

alex-salmond-largeSNP Foreign Affairs spokesman Alex Salmond missed the debate on Syria yesterday as he was too busy gazing adoringly at a picture of himself, reports indicate this morning.

My must-reads this week November 27, 2015

Friday, November 27th, 2015 09:30 am
[syndicated profile] stephentall_links_feed

Posted by Stephen Tall

You can read all the articles that have caught my attention this week here: https://delicious.com/stephentall Below are a selection…

Friday's Unscientific Poll: Pie (sweet)

Friday, November 27th, 2015 10:11 am
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
Poll #17125 Pie (sweet)
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27

Pecan or pumpkin?

View Answers

14 (66.7%)

7 (33.3%)

Whipped cream?

View Answers

The stuff from the can is fine
10 (37.0%)

Freshly made please
15 (55.6%)

Change "whipped" to "ice" and I'll think about it
10 (37.0%)

No thank you
2 (7.4%)


View Answers

I reject the false binary imposed upon me by the first question.
12 (44.4%)

I have eaten too much pie
2 (7.4%)

I would like some pie
20 (74.1%)

11 (40.7%)

Trans Elected Officials report released

Friday, November 27th, 2015 09:30 am
[syndicated profile] complicity_blog_feed

Posted by Zoe O'Connell

Trans* Candidates and Elected Officials Around the World

Panel for Trans* Candidates and Elected Officials Around the World discussion

Earlier this month, a number of trans and other activists met in the Houses of Parliament in London to discuss the release of a new and (to the best of my knowledge) unique report. It collects together a list of trans politicians who has stood for or been elected to public office, and it well worth a read. You can download the full report, in PDF form, from the LGBTQ Representation and Rights Initiative who are based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I know from having covered this in the past on this blog that it can be terribly hard to get information on this topic, and made more difficult by the need to verify details to an extent not needed in other walks of life. When the authors of Standing Out compiled an earlier report, one party in the UK either “outed” or erroneously listed one of their own candidates as trans, which led to threats of legal action against the authors of the report.

However, I suspect many readers here will have useful bits of information on the topic of trans politicians that have not made it into the report – if you do, please do drop them a line via their web site.

Whilst the media might like to portray trans people as terribly interesting and worthy of several column inches in the battle to sell papers and advertising, my drive has always been to try to make being trans in politics a little more normal and emphasise that there have been and remain quite a number of us active at many levels of government. In that vein, and in the hope it encourages more people to openly stand, I will leave you with a quote from one of the report’s authors, Andrew Reynolds:

There is no evidence that, once selected, LGB and trans people are systematically less likely to win an election.

(Not-So) Random Thoughts About Sex

Friday, November 27th, 2015 07:49 am
[syndicated profile] sexual_intelligence_feed

Posted by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Each of these thoughts deserves a post of its own, but after a day of special foods, special company, and hours of Masterpiece Theatre (about Henry VIII), a few words about each feels just right.

* Real sex doesn’t feel like porn looks.

It’s usually less intense, less gravity-defying, less taboo-breaking, and more about the people trying to connect. Therefore real sex often has a lot of kissing, hugging, and, well, non-“sex” in it.

And because it isn’t scripted or edited, real sex often has moments of frustration, awkwardness, disappointment, clumsiness, and misunderstanding. It’s best to laugh together at these moments—another thing you don’t see in porn.

* Couples, never say “We’re fighting about something silly.”

If you’re really fighting, it’s never silly–you just don’t know what the serious thing is. Of course, it’s almost never about the thing you’re fighting about (socks on the floor, hair in the drain, forgotten birthday card, dent in the car, oral sex).

More likely subjects include power, feeling disrespected, power, loneliness, power, fear of getting old, power, self-doubt, power, shame, and, um, power.

* I understand trying to conceive, and I understand trying to not conceive.

I don’t understand “we’re not trying to make it happen, but we’re not trying to prevent it.” This is how you approach the single most profound decision of your entire life?

* When someone says “of course you think that, you’re a man,” that’s a big insult.

And the more you respect the man you say that to, the bigger the insult.

Sometimes a man has such-and-such an opinion because he’s a fool, not because he’s a man. And sometimes a man has such-and-such an opinion because he thought about it carefully, not because he’s a man. If you don’t want to be told you think “just like a woman,” don’t tell someone else he thinks “just like a man.”

And if you don’t mind, you still shouldn’t disrespect someone (of any gender) in this way.

* Of course teens get wrong ideas about sex from looking at porn.

So exactly what are parents doing to help kids deal with these ideas, and with their uncomfortable or upsetting experiences of looking at porn?

Haven’t we learned that “just say no” doesn’t work? And then parents blame porn for influencing their kids. That’s like blaming the rain for soaking your kids when you can’t be bothered to look out the window, hand them an umbrella, or teach them how to use it.

* A therapist came to me for a consultation, about a 15-year-old patient who says he masturbates as much as 9 times a day.

He asked if I thought the kid might be a sex addict. I asked what the kid means by “masturbate.” He didn’t know, which may help to explain the “9 times a day.” I asked if the patient uses lube, gets sore, or uses his hand (some guys masturbate by lying face down and rocking on the bed or floor). He didn’t know. I asked if he ejaculates when he ‘masturbates’.

“OK, OK,” said the therapist sheepishly. “I need to ask way more questions before I can diagnose this kid or the situation.”


* Let’s change the sexual expression “penetration” to either “insertion” or “envelopment.”

If you enjoy it, isn’t that a more accurate description?

* Is watching porn a form of infidelity?

If two people agree that it is, it is. If two people agree that it isn’t, it isn’t.

If two people disagree about this, why don’t they handle it the same way they handle all their other agreements? If two people disagree about whether or not 10 minutes is “late” or “mostly on time,” they may get frustrated—but they rarely end the relationship over it.

When couples ask me to adjudicate this I rarely take sides, preferring to help them talk it through. But sometimes I look at a patient and silently wonder—do you actually believe that if you walked in on your husband having sex with another woman, you’d feel “yes, this is just the same wound as him looking at porn”?

* If a male Muslim suicide bomber goes to heaven and gets 72 (presumably female) virgins…

What does a female Muslim suicide bomber get?

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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