I'm awake, honest. I've had enough coffee to get me going again anyway. Doing some tidying up to my LJ, renaming tags, etc. This seems like a good enough reason to rename one of them, plus 2008 has ended so it's time to start a new 'life' tag for this year.

Appears I've posted less about what's been going on in my life this year than any other calender year that I've had the LJ. I guess being happy gives me less to write about, right? Completely skint, but there y'go, can't have everything.

I don't do new years resolutions, and, well, predictions are a bit of a mugs game, but, well, might as well.

UK: politics will dominate, likely election, bit of history explaining why )

Obama's honeymoon, potential pitfalls, hope he holds it together )

Europe, Referenda, Libertas and elections )

Meh, 7pm. Time to go pick the Shrub up from her Dad's.
I always like reading Mr Steel--I don't always agree with him (y'know, trot and all) but he is damn funny. In an article about Obama's triangulation exercise:
when Obama meets Gordon Brown next week it's going to make Brown feel even worse. Maybe Obama will advise him "Gordon, you need to come up with a snappy three-word slogan that sums up your demeanour, the way I did with 'Yes we can'." And as a result the Labour Party's slogan for the next election will be "Where am I?"
Sounds about right for the moment. Or in the aftermath, regarding their MPs--"where'd they go?"...
Scarily, I agree with every damned word:
The Government has been saying, in a catchy, misleading piece of spin: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” This is a demagogue's trick. We do have something to fear - the total loss of privacy to an intrusive state with authoritarian tendencies.

This is not a United Kingdom that I recognise and Parliament should not accept it.
Why is it scary? Because it's bloody John Major, he who was Prime Minister when I was 18, he who I campaigned against in '92 and '97, he who resigned and put himself up for re election when I was at Glastonbury (and Jarvis mentioned it on stage to a massive cheer). It shows how far this Govt has gone from it's early promise that a liberal socialist like me can end up agreeing with a former Tory Prime Minister on a key plank of Govt legislation. Lest we forget, this is a man who was chairing a Cabinet meeting when the IRA mortar bombed his home & office, a man whose party and friends had nearly been destroyed by terrorists when they blew up Brighton. When he says this is an unnecessary step too far? For fucks sake Gordon, wake up and smell the coffee.

Jennie has more:
The debate before the house is not referring to the total period a person can be kept inside before they have to be released. This is, in fact, about whether or not we should have 42 days of imprisonment for people before they are even told what they are supposed to have done wrong.
42 days detention for being an alleged terrorist. Note the definition of terrorism includes a lot of animal rights activism and similar these days as well.

Gah!
So, El Gordo has chickened out and is 'treating people as fools', almost certainly as a result of this News of the World poll. He's attempted to defend the decision but I concur with the Observer, this has sparked a Crisis for Brown as election ruled out. All of this leads me to this YouTube vid by Will/[livejournal.com profile] whoukmy friend Mr Pack[1]:
Scary analysis of it from the perspective of the Tories:
A poll to be published by Sunday's News of the World puts the Tories ahead by 6% in marginal seats, with the party overall at 44% against Labour's 38%.

Translated into a general election, it would mean a hung Parliament with Labour holding 306 seats and the Tories 246.
They'd win 6% more votes, but 60 less seats according to the analysis. Can we have STV now PLZKTHX. Oh wait, that sort of forward thinking is beyond the Stupid Party isn't it.

The real question I guess is has this damaged Brown more for the obvious reasons, or has he hurt the Cameron Project by forcing Davy to tack to the right and go for a core votes strategy?
Crossposted on my journal and to [livejournal.com profile] ukpolitics here

[1] Message from Mark: Will's work, but I put it all down to the management, so amended accordingly
You have one week before the deadline to sign this petition on the 10 Downing Street website:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream.
Just, y'know, a reminder via [livejournal.com profile] bloggerheads
Hmm... Remember this?:
Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: "We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.

"We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away."
Maybe there's something in it:
Torrential rain hits Dorset towns
after all?
some areas received more than two months' rain in just 24 hours
Bloody pagans. Do y'all like the way the media and the Govt is commenting loads on this set of (southern) flooding, but when Yorkshire got swamped a few weeks back it was barely commented on and that nice Mr Brown went partying?

Idea for this post from [livejournal.com profile] hennel @ [livejournal.com profile] topicalcomedy
OK then; I've got so behind posting stuff that hald the links I stored are done already. Meh, have some of the best/more recent while I keep sorting things out.

Softpedia reports that Windows Vista is essentially spyware and Microsoft will be able to track a big chunk of what you do; yes, they're unlikely to pick on individuals, but the EULA gives them carte blanche to give everything away.

Cthuugle--the H. P. Lovecraft search engine. Do Werewolves Roam The Woods Of England? Probably not, but some interesting stuff, even if the guy writing it is a bit, shall we say, touched? How about instead a bunch of 3-D Starmaps? So very very cool.

Reading this Register article on Conservapedia I discover the wonder that is RationalWiki, a slightly satirical riposte to the loons and their delusions. Conservapedia has managed to clean up all the blatant vandalism that it got hit with soon after it launched. Now the edits are much more subtle.

On the subject of wikis, anyone fancy a game of Wikington Crescent? Very very silly way to kill time, but you never know. [livejournal.com profile] sunflowerkits recently attended a Gothic Bellydance workshop and has videos of some of the teachers dancing; it is actually very impressive, and I'm not just saying that because they're also quite hot.

On to a bit of politics. My old friend [livejournal.com profile] paulatpingu compares Gordon Brown's position to that of Londo Mollari. Yes, that Londo Mollari, the one with the silly hair and the tentacle penis. Scarily, he's actually got a point, although as I commented there it's not going to happen any time soon.

Silliness. Turn the subjects from any feed (including your public LJ posts) and burn them into Lol!cats. Results can vary between the impressive, the funny and the downright stupid. And of course there's an online macro generator, which even works from LJ userpics. Yes, I've ued it, and it's actually not a bad overall tool for quick-and-dirty actual design work.

Lastly? How about a survivors guide to Doctor Who fandom? So very true, especially the Rose-fen; I only really started follwing the online fans since Torchwood started, and seriously, they scare me. Especially the Jack/anto shippers. SRSLY, they're warped. Not interested? Ok, how about an economic argument against the smoking ban combined with an assertion that passive smoking isn't actually dangerous. Ok, that last comes from the Torygraph, and is thus a little sus, but not hugely, the science he researches is real, and I remain of the opinion that car exhaust fumes do more damage than someone else's smoke ever will.

Not bad that, cleaned 16 links out of the folder. You really don't want to know how many there are in total. Trust me on this. Oh, look at that, I've managed to do that silly Doctor Who quote meme without even trying. Bargain.
OK then, I've taken a screenshot of the final state of play in our predictions poll and compared it to El Gordo's new team
What we got right )
What we got wrong )
What we couldn't decide )

So, overall, 11 correct predictions, 5 wrong, 2 undecideds.  Given that this has been described as "Night of the long knives II" by some, and is definitely the biggest reshuffle in my memory, that's not at all bad.

So, tell me LJ brain trust, what do we want to decide next?
Which reminds me, [livejournal.com profile] mapp? Don't suppose by any chane you could update the icon for me?
Righty ho--I said I was going to do this, but, y'know, life got in the way. So, of the current Cabinet, Blair and Prescott are retiring, and Reid says he doesn't want another cabinet job. Leaving a huge list of other people, of varying degrees of talent. Some of them I have a grudging respsct for, some I think are crap, some inspire intense loathing on site and a few, well, I'd not even heard of them--if I've not heard of a Cabinet level minister, let's hear it for Nonentities R Us, right? Following on from Paul Linford's list of a real "government of all the talents?", I give you a poll[1].

Remember you can not tick a box for someone if you've never actually heard of them or have no real opinion, and this is a question of who's likely to be there, not who we want in/out. For example, I suspect Blears has secured herself a plum job, despite the visceral hatred many of us have for her, and I'm guessing Ruth Kelly will survive despite obvious unsuitability for her various recent roles--I really hope Brown moves her to a job without a clear conflict of interest though:
Gordon Brown's Cabinet- who'll be in it? )

I'll pimp this poll about a bit, let's see how good LJ is at predicting El Gordo's actions...

[1] If you don't have a livejournal account but blog elsewhere, you can log in to LJ using any OpenID, including your technorati or typekey profile or your wordpress.com account and still vote in polls &c--not a bad little trick
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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