The CNN article is here...
Friday, September 24, 2010
The CNN article is here...
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Got the initial tweet / email / sms from our Operations Director as soon as the news came through - this was about a week ago. Due to work and personal commitments, I was unable to go - other volunteers could and two teams of two departed for Islamabad, Pakistan. More details on the MapAction website. However, the situation has deteriorated with almost 1/3 of the country now affected and some 20M people in trouble. The mind boggles at these numbers.
A second call went out to see if there were more volunteers available and this time round, I had to say yes. Looks like a strong possibility that I will be going out in about a week as the operations director juggles the resources in-country on who goes where.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
With a hung parliament, the LibDems could only do one thing and that was to join in a coalition with the party with the largest number of seats and in this case, it was the Tories - thereby given them a solid majority in the House of Commons and getting the LibDems into power. Which is a good thing, the LibDems haven't been in power since the 30s (I think) so it was about fecking time. They've gotten some concessions on electoral reform and Nick Clegg is Deputy PM amongst other deals. Could the LibDems have gotten the same deal if Labour won with the most votes but not the gain the majority? Unlikely and Labour only offered t as a last desperate measure when Gordon Brown was gasping for air. Besides, it was Labour who put the kibosh on any electoral reform during their 13 years in power lest we forget the Jenkins commission. Poor Tony Blair, he and Paddy Ashdown discussed a coalition but both were probably shocked when Labour swept ahead with a massive majority in 1997. With such a lead in the House of Commons, did Labour need to even think about a coalition with the LibDems? Nope and let's kick the LibDems into the long grass. The LibDems haven't forgotten and been slowly building up their strength.
Those who were complaining about LibDems 'selling out' to the Tories - what were you expecting? If you wanted to keep the Tories out - then you all should have VOTED LABOUR on the night or pushed for some sort of electoral reform in the last 13 years. With only a 65% electoral turnout this time round, bar the deeply embarrassing scenes of disenfranchised voters on the night, it wasn't a such a big deal to a third of the voting public bow was it? They couldn't be arsed to turn out. That's how much this election means to them. The LibDems could not have enacted any meaningful change from outside. They had to get into power. The electorate called their bluff - 'will you, the LibDems, put your money where your mouth is?' - the answer is, hell yes.
What were the alternatives available to the LibDems apart from jumping into bed with the Cons? Let's look at them:
- If the conservatives got a majority in the house of commons?
- Sit it out as a minority opposition alongside the others?
- Go into a coalition with Labour?
Finally, the vicious back lash from some of the Labour big beasts (David Blunkett and Ed Balls) in their opposition to a) a coalition and b) the LibDems position over electoral reform made a join-up almost impossible.
No, I am sure that this coalition will go from strength to strength. Having LibDems in the Tory government will reign back some of the more nuttier right wing policies that they have. The country needs to fix the economy, which is the priority for any party and to ensure that we don't spiral down the way of Greece. The backing from the Bank of England is welcome too. The LibDems managed to get a concession on electoral change, they have five in the cabinet in government with another 15 ministers. That is almost 40% of their elected MPs now on the levers of power. ID cards are now dropped, the first £10,000 is now not taxed and there is a firm commitment to education and smaller classes. Would have liked to see Vincent Cable as Chancellor but I think the city would have panicked big time. Business secretary is the same position as Lord Mandelson (I think) so it should carry some weight and I expect some slick manoeuvring from St. Vincent over the short term.
True, the LibDems dropped their opposition to Trident, the Tories are going ahead with their proposed £6B cuts, most likely in the public sector as well as dropping the LibDems pro-European ideas.
What about local elections? Am sure LibDems and Conservatives will be fighting tooth and nail at the local level as the parties still have differences on many areas but nationally, the electorate wanted a hung parliament and forcing parties to work together and this is what we got.
The LibDems are now in government, they have responsibility now and while there are still some reactionary right-wing Tories in and out of the cabinet, I trust the two leaders to do the right (and tough) thing as the elected government and to lead their parties.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Does this not scare you? It sure scares the hell out of me...
However, others said the stock volatility could have been exacerbated by electronic trading issues rather than worries about Greece.'Machines took over'
"This is an electronic market where bids can be cancelled at the flick of a button, and everyone cancelled at the same time," said Joe Saluzzi, of Themis Trading in New Jersey.
"We should be down big today, but not 1,000 points. This is an equity market structure issue, there's no major problem going on."
Computer trading is thought to have cranked up the losses, as programmes designed to sell stocks at a specified level came into action when the market started falling.
"I think the machines just took over," said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group.
"There's not a lot of human interaction. We've known that automated trading can run away from you, and I think that's what we saw happen today."