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Remember all those fearmongering liberals running around saying that so-called terror laws would be used outside their intended purpose? How wrong they were, eh?
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INCOMING business secretary Peter Mandelson warned yesterday that the EU could be hit by a surge of “economic nationalism” after European governments enacted a series of unilateral moves to shore up their financial systems at the expense of other member states. (link)

And today:
The British government has announced a part-nationalisation of the country's eight main banks with a bailout worth up to £50bn. (link)

I can see Mr. Mandelson is getting on just fine with his new coworkers.
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German ratification of Lisbon treaty also on hold. The UK case was ruled against, leaving the way clear for ratification, and I've still not stumbled across an update on the Czech situation (although I haven't gone looking for it either).
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  • Independant review of drug classification in the UK says, "leave cannabis as a Class C drug"
  • The Labour party (the incumbents), having recently had a fairly dramatic loss in support in both polls and local elections, ignore the review and reclassify it as Class B.
  • The Tory party (the opposition with the best chance of being the incumbents at some point in the future) say that it shouldn't have been declassified, or reclassified from B to C in the first place.
  • And the Lib Dems, who will never have any power worth talking about, say something or other in support of either the Class C ranking, or possibly complete decriminalisation. It doesn't really matter, as noone votes for them anyway.

And, you know, amid all this speculation about the possible but unproven side-effects of THC, both alcohol and nicotine remain freely available, non-criminalised drugs despite the mountains of proof that they cause personal health problems, social problems, and financial burdens for already beleaguered health services.1

Just as well I live in a more enlightened country... oh, wait. Never mind.

[1] Not saying I necessarily support the criminalisation of drink and smokes. Just that the continued hypocrisy annoys me no end.
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What happens if you print your bank details in a national newspaper? Also, I am amused to note that last year's much-publicised loss of UK citizen data happened while said data was en route to The National Audit Office. As [livejournal.com profile] jwz said not too long ago, "The universe tends towards maximum irony. Don't push it."
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Youtube ahead: hecklers sing in harmony to interrupt Jack Straw. Really, though, they got a round of applause, laughter, and the hecklee (?) immediately riffed on their performance. So how successful a heckle was it, really?

(I probably got this on Metafilter; I've been accumulating browser tabs on and off all day)
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another Irish musician with a knighthood, although Mr. Hewson's lack of UK citizenship means he's not actually going get the "Sir".
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Seems to be a wide spectrum of stuff going on in the latest on those secret CIA prisons/flights. From the linked article, I have learned the following:
  • Condi's going on the offensive over the whole thing to basically tell us You-Ro-Peons to stop asking awkward questions.
  • An unnamed offical in a quote to the WaPo said, effectively, "we're all in this together, so shut up".
  • Scott McLellan, who I can't imagine anybody believes these days ("no seriously, Scott, what colour is the sky? don't give me this "blue" crap") , says that the US is the world leader in human rights (ha!) and blah blah blah. In essence, a resounding "no, there are no secret flights/jails".
  • Our own minister for the appropriate department says that Condi expects "allies to trust that America does not allow rights abuses". Note, he's not saying that he actually believes Condi on this one, which is extraordinarily spineful for a sitting Irish politician being asked awkward questions about the US
  • And (I already knew this, but I'm putting it in for completeness) the main instigator of this fuss from the EU side of things is, well, the UK. You know, "special relationship between our countries" and all that.
I'm sure Condi's actual statement (due before her visit to the EU on Monday, apparently) will shed light on all of these diverse views.
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Tonight on Newsnight:
"and finally this evening, the worst-kept secret in the cabinet is revealed: The Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, is on holidays... in Barbados. Downing Street's press office asked the press not to report this until Mr. Blair revealed it himself by placing a wreath at the Cenotaph in [wherever]."
and so on.

And then, the picture cuts to a weather schematic for Barbados, and the news anchor says, with some relish,
"and the weather in Barbados: [pause] rain. [pause] All week."
Cue guffawing waider.
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Mo Mowlam was about the most charasmatic and downright human politician the current UK government produced, and I think will be remembered long after Tony Blair and his like are lost to the past. The Guardian has some choice quotes from Mowlam, but the one I recall best is a story about some insensitive or perhaps simply unthinking person (reporter? fellow politician?) calling her out on the fact that she was wearing, horror of horrors, a wig. Mowlam responded to the effect that she'd just undergone chemotherapy and was suffering the resultant hair-loss, and the questioner shriveled up with the embarassment he or she'd intended to cause. Wonderful.
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It's odd the way phrases get attached to events. The July 7th bombings in London somewhere along the line picked up the phrase "race against time", used in a variety of contexts, some sensationalist and a bit bothersome (the sort of Media Scaring You Into Compliance angle). I've just skimmed through an Observer article on the guy who was shot on the Tube, and the phrase crops up twice.
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The BBC's coverage of the British Airways staff strike is causing more than a few odd juxtapositions. This morning, the top story was "Cypriot plane crashes killing 121", while off to the side was "Thousands still stuck at Heathrow" (referring, obviously, to the strike rather than the Cypriot crash). Just now in the RSS feed I read, "thousands expected a VJ-day ceremonies" immediately followed by the same "thousands stuck at Heathrow" headline.
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I am satisfied that HMG's position is that there is not, and has not been, a state of war between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Iraq... (link)
I've only skimmed this (it's late, I'm sleepy) but what's far more interesting than that statement is the precedents used in determining various bits of the judgment. The judgement cites cases back in the 1600s, and also makes the rather interesting point that technically, the UK hasn't been at war since 1939 (that being the last time the Government made a formal declaration of war).
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Jeremy Clarkson tells us that the number one best-selling "car" in the world is the Ford F150, of which 107 are sold per hour on average, exclusively in North America. It has, he points out, the same engine as the Ford GT, meaning that it'll beat a Porsche Boxter from a standing start (0-60MPH in 5.something). Which is all well and good, I suppose.

He then goes on to compare it unfavourably to the previous worst vehicle he ever drove, a Russian-made Jeep in Saigon.
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Most British swear-words have a history longer than that of the United States itself...
The BBC's h2g2 discusses swearing.
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London Bomber visited Pakistan... or did he? This is, I guess, a sort of counterargument to your recent post regarding the taking of pictures at immigration points. Or, I dunno, a bad example, or something.
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If the UK Gov't introduces legislation to criminalise "incitement to terrorism", can Tony Blair be prosecuted under it for the Iraq fiasco?


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