As the great man's guest must produce his good stories or songs at the evening banquet, as the platform orator exhibits his telling facts at mid-day, so the journalist lies under the stern obligation of extemporizing his lucid views, leading ideas, and nutshell truths for the breakfast table.
Cardinal J. H. Newman, Preface to The Idea of a University, 1852

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas poster from Down Under

This poster is set to ruffle some feathers in New Zealand!

The hard-hitting climate change advert.

I did see this on TV once, but there was a fuss about it being too frightening and that it'd be banned. I don't know what happened in the end, but it's pretty powerful, isn't it?

You could argue that the add is trying put the onus on us, the consumers, to act, rather than the government making hard decisions. But I think this add prepares the ground for the hard decisions.

PS, I know this is old news. Sorry, this Blog's never going to be up-to-the-minute!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Posting from my mobile via email

It is possible but is it worth bothering?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kit Kats, Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance

Does Nestlé's annoucement that Kit Kat is going fairtrade mean I can start eating Kit Kats again? Boycotting Nestle has been second-nature for decades (because of their appalling record promoting formula milk to mothers in poor communities - see

The thing is, it sounds like they are going for the real thing: proper Fairtrade certified fairtrade, not the fairtrade-lite that is the fashionable Rainforest Alliance certification. So it sort of makes Nestle an ally in the RFA-Fairtrade debate.

I don't know, I can't help being suspicious and it's not convinced the Boycott Nestle people. I'll stick to fairbreaks or chocolate from the co-op where possible.

Added later - some people think it brings fairtrade into disrepute.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Britain leads the world...

... in tax havens (or rather, Crown Dependencies do).From Tax Research UK.
Which means Crown Dependencies lead the world in helping the rich stay rich at the expense of the poor. Christian Aid says tax dodging denies the poorer countries of the world £160 Billion.

Cycling and the car culture

See this excellent blog post about cycling and the car culture by Martin Porter, a barrister from London. Says it all. Read the whole post, but here's a taster:
The main tenets of this car culture can be summarised as follows:

1. The inevitable attrition is a price well worth paying (by unknown others) in return for individual autonomy and convenience (often now described as necessary to the way in which we live our lives).

2. Every physically competent adult has a right to drive, removable only as a punishment for serious or repeated criminal offending and, even then, only temporarily.

3. Conduct which might be regarded as dangerous in any other walk of life is, in a motorist, merely careless and that which would otherwise be careless is excusable. This tenet is coloured by a sense of ‘There but for the grace of God, go I’ in the mind of the individual scrutinising the conduct in question.

4. Road safety efforts should be focussed upon segregating the vulnerable road user from motorised traffic (at the expense of ensuring the safe sharing of road space) and upon encouraging, or even mandating, personal protection to ameliorate the consequences of the collisions which are accepted as inevitable.

5. A myopic view of the fundamental laws of physics which permits motorists to argue that their responsibilities and actions in controlling 1,000+ kgs at up to 70mph should be judged in a similar manner to those controlling less than 100kgs at up to about 20mph. It is not necessary to be an apologist for red light jumping or pavement riding cyclists to point out that the risks they pose are many orders of magnitude less than the risks to pedestrians and cyclists from poorly controlled motor vehicles