Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time for a Fair Deal on the Buses...

Mean-spirited councillors at Grantham have again decided to put off giving Deeping pensioners the same deal on the buses enjoyed in every other part of Lincolnshire.

Last April, Conservative-controlled South Kesteven Council refused to join a county-wide scheme to extend the Government's concessionary fares scheme to include buses before 9.30am.

They said they needed time to see how much it would cost.

Now the figures are in for the first six months of the scheme - and the actual cost to the council is about HALF what they actually bugetted for.

Now they have decided they need more time.

I believe it's an absolute disgrace.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The appeal for the suffering Gaza children the BBC refuses to show...

Judge for yourself. It's not about politics. It's a straight forward humanitarian appeal to help the innocent children...

The BBC says its impartiality may be compromised if it shows it.

Alternatively, you may think that the BBC's impartiality will be compromised, if it doesn't show it...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kilroy's kangaroo testicles and Spanish practices...

Robert Kilroy Silk - who faced a storm a couple of months ago when he was paid to appear on 'I'm a Celebrity' at the same time as collecting generous wages to represent us as Euro-MP for the East Midlands - is clearly finding it tough to survive the economic downturn.

He's apparently been forced to advertise his luxury Spanish villa for rent - for a cool £12,750 a fortnight.

If you want 'extras' like air-con for your stay at Permatan's Pad, that will cost you another £250.

And to squeeze every penny, you can even get a map of the local area thrown in for another four quid. What a cheek.

Wonder how much extra he charges for his sun-beds?

So why is he trying to rent out his villa, which rather ironically is said to be a former olive mill (no, honestly!).

Well, locals say Kilroy is rarely seen there. Critics of course would say he's rarely seen at the Euro-Parliament either where he reportedly misses at least half the votes, attracting derision in such publications as Private Eye.

In fact, few have seen Kilroy in the East Midlands, never mind the Euro-Parliament since the good people of Erewash in Derbyshire rejected his vain bid to become their MP in the 2005 General Election - see photo.

Which was an even bigger humiliation to his ego than becoming the first 'celeb' to be booted out of the jungle when the former MP and sacked chat-show host attempted to relaunch his TV career before Christmas...

I loved the comment from Labour's Glenis Willmott at the time. Glenis suggested that Kilroy was elected to represent the people of the East Midlands, not parade in an Australian jungle chewing kangaroo testicles!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two stories that damage politics itself...

Two big stories in today's Sunday papers have the potential to further sully the reputation of our political process in the eyes of the public.

First, revelations about generous freebies and a £1 million paycheck allegedly taken by former Tory Chancellor Ken Clarke from tobacco companies while he was also being paid as MP to represent the people of Rushcliffe.

The Mail on Sunday show Ken Clarke's close links to British American Tobacco chairman going back a quarter of a century to the time when he was a Government Minister.

It is alleged that BAT were offering him freebies as long ago as 1988. The following year, as Health Secretary, Ken Clarke resisted moves to add 'smoking kills' warnings on fag packets.

It's important to add that Ken Clarke denies he or BAT did anything 'improper'.

To many people, the very appeal of Ken Clarke has been his enduring - and rather endearing - hush-puppy image of an ordinary bloke who speaks his mind.

Years ago, I remember being impressed by the stories that at Tory Party Conferences, Mr Clarke and his wife always preferred to stay in a homely little B&B - even when he was Chancellor - rather than in the rather grand Conference hotel with the rest of his collagues.

His no-nonsense image is surely the reason ex Bullingdon-boy David Cameron brought Ken Clarke back to the Tory front-bench earlier this week after 11 years: to try to connect with 'ordinary' people.

If nothing else, today's Mail on Sunday shatters Ken Clarke's frugal image. But it is also another hammer-blow to the business of politics itself.

Today's other big political story is, if true, much more explosive and potentially even more damaging.

The Sunday Times alleges that four Labour peers were prepared to help amend laws if they received cash from business.

The Labour peers in the headlights today deny they broke any rules and a thorough investigation has already been promised by the Leader of the House of Lords Baroness Royall.

I have to say this story has horrible undertones of the disgraceful 'cash for questions' scandal involving Tory MPs some 15 years ago when a Sunday Times 'sting' exposed certain Conservative MPs who were prepared to accept cash to ask questions in Parliament.

Much has been done since then to tighten up the rules and introduce transparency at the Palace of Westminster, particularly in the Commons.

But if the allegations in the Sunday Times story prove true, then it will hopefully serve to speed up root and branch reform of our Upper Chamber to give confidence and trust in those chosen to govern us.

President Bush made President Obama possible...

President Bush's greatest legacy is that he has made Barack Obama possible.

Labour Minister Ben Bradshaw, speaking on BBC Radio Four's Any Questions.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BBC accused of denying humanitarian aid to Gaza...

The BBC stands accused of being 'complicit in denying humanitarian aid' in Gaza.

And if the BBC bosses who refuse to allow a non-political appeal for aid for Gaza, maybe this article will help them see sense and change their minds.

BBC has lost the plot over Gaza appeal...

The BBC has taken a shameful and outrageous decision for totally spurious reasons NOT to broadcast an appeal by the respected Disasters Emergency Committee to send aid to Gaza.

It is a decision that MUST be overturned without delay to help save children and show the world that at least the British people have some compassion for the suffering innocents.

UPDATE: The Times says the BBC has been isolated by ITV, C4 and C5 who have all agreed to boradcast the appeal on Monday. There's also all-party pressure from Government Ministers and the Opposition to the BBC's bizarre decision.

But so far, BBC bosses has stuck their heads in the sand and refuse to do the decent thing.

Unless the BBC acts very quickly with an immediate u-turn, far from protecting their worldwide reputation, the BBC are shooting themselves in the foot.

With both barrells.

We are a Grand-dad...

and Grandma of course...At 5.04 this morning, our gorgeous elder daughter Claire Jessica brought a little bundle of joy into the world.

The future England centre-forward signed in at Peterborough Hospital at a healthy 7lb 4oz (in old money).

New mum Claire, proud father Sam and as yet unnamed baby all seem fine and doing well...

Grand-dad and Grandma feeling very old.

But isn't life just Wonderful...!

(You may have to put up with a photo later - when i can work out how to do it).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Whad'ya think of it so far...?

And the answer is of course: 'Rubbish...'

A stink over a council refuse lorry that spewed rubbish onto Spalding Road, Deeping St James, instead of sucking it up, makes a page lead complete with picture of said offending mess, in tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph.

The lady who publicised the story gets a roasting from some ET readers for not taking matters into her own hands and clearing up the mess herself.

A bit unfair, I thought.

But at least South Kesteven District Council pitched up within an hour to clear up the rubbish caused by a malfunction in one of their vehicles...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Guess which school Prince Charles visits...?

Which of the two Stamford Schools was visited this afternoon by Prince Charles...?

Was it the all-comers state school, the Queen Eleanor - essentially a struggling secondary modern...?

Or was it the fee-paying Stamford Endowed Schools which despite being a private school is propped up by me and every other council taxpayer in Lincolnshire...?

Answers on a postage stamp please.

Footnote: Every state school in Lincolnshire - including Queen Eleanor and Deepings Comp - still has its budget top-sliced by the Tories who run Lincolnshire County Council to pay for a few children to get a private education at Stamford Endowed. No Deepings children may apply for these places, no matter how talented, despite the fact that Deepings council taxpayers pick up the bill.

Do something amazing...

Give blood this Thursday at Deepings Methodist Church, Church Street, Deeping St James from 1pm to 3.30pm and 4.30pm to 7pm.

Book now here or at 0845 7711711.

Sen. Teddy Kennedy taken ill...

Channel Four News reporting that Senator Teddy Kennedy, brother of assassinated President JFK, has been taken ill at the inaugural lunch. President Obama made a point of going over to greet Sen. Kennedy at the start of the lunch in the Capitol Building...

Kennedy recently returned to public life after fighting brain cancer and promised to be there at Obama's inauguration...

He kept his promise.


UPDATE 2: New York Times says Sen. Kennedy collapsed with 'fatigue' but is now feeling well although expected to stay in hospital overnight.

It's official. It's President Obama...

Great day for America. Great day for the world.

UPDATE: Here's a transcript of President Barack Obama's rather sombre, but inspirational inaugural address in which he said America was ready to lead again, and offered the hand of friendship to potential foes, but made it clear that the US under Obama would not be a push-over.

Change we can believe in.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ken Clarke is back...Bring 'em on!

ITN just announced that former Tory Chancellor Ken Clarke has done a deal with David Cameron and will become Shadow Business Secretary tomorrow - replacing fellow East Midlands MP Alan Duncan.

ITN says the pro-European MP Ken Clarke has taken a 'vow of silence' on his pro-European views to keep the anti-Euro Tories in their box.

We'll see...

Meanwhile, can't wait to see Cameron bring back the other 'big beasts' of yesteryear like John Redwood, Norman Tebbitt and Michael Howard.

Bring 'em on!

Boris bills taxpayers £2k for Tory Conference...

Independent on Sunday

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Israelis kill more children before declaring ceasefire...

Israeli rockets hit ANOTHER school today, killing more innocent children. Is anyone surprised that the Israelis have declared a 'ceasefire' tonight, just two days before Barack Obama takes over as President of the USA...?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Glenis to lead Labour in Europe...

Congratulations to our East Midlands Euro-MP Glenis Willmott who has today been chosen as Labour’s new leader in Europe.

Glenis becomes the second woman to become Labour's Leader in the European Parliament - the first being the legendary Barbara Castle.

And like Barbara Castle before her, Glenis is a real fighter for the interests of people, both here in the UK and across Europe.

Since becoming our MEP only two years ago, Glenis has proved to be a real people's champion. (CORRECTION - it's actually three years since Glenis became MEP).

She works her socks off to toughen safeguards for consumers, from combatting over-charging by mobile phone companies to increasing protection when people are booking holidays and ending hidden airfare costs.

She campaigns to protect young people through the introduction of a missing children helpline, a child trafficking advice line and improvement to internet safeguards.

She is currently fighting for free fruit and veg to be offered to all primary school children, and has highlighted legislation to make toys safer as well as new strategies to fight obesity sooner and cut teenage smoking rates.

She also raises awareness of cervical cancer and screening and has championed a national cervical cancer vaccination programme launched last September.

And among many other campaigns, she has fought to save jobs for disabled people in the East Midlands, promoted active ageing and independent living for older people and worked to ban the import of products causing harm to animals.

Born into a mining family, Glenis began her career in medical science in Mansfield before working for Mansfield MP Alan Meale and later becoming one of the few women to hold a top trade union position as senior officer, looking after GMB members in Lincolnshire.

She became Labour’s Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands in February 2006 following the sudden death of Phillip Whitehead.

Sensible words on the war in Gaza...

Sir Jeremy Greenstock Former UK Ambassador To The United Nations, writing in Daily Mirror on the current war in Gaza:

The tragedy of the situation in Gaza is that this terrible outbreak of violence was never necessary in the first place.

Last summer, Hamas initiated and accepted the terms of a six-month ceasefire between them and Israel.

Israel agreed to open up the border crossings if rockets ceased to land on Israeli towns. The rockets stopped for five months but the crossings did not open. Gaza became a prison for its inhabitants, one without food or medicine.

On November 4, Israel sent tanks in to prevent the use of smuggling tunnels, killing Palestinians.

The ceasefire nevertheless continued, but was not renewed by Hamas in December - they saw no chance of the crossings being opened. An arrangement would have been possible at that point - if only the Israelis were prepared to allow much-needed food, fuel and medicine into Gaza.

But talks which could have led to that were shattered by Israel's air campaign.

For two years I have been with an organisation which is trying to encourage Hamas to see their rejection of the Israeli occupation as a political rather than a military campaign.

The potential for a diplomatic solution has never been explored. It is too convenient for Jerusalem and Washington to label Hamas a terror organisation and shoot from a distance.

Hamas is a grievance-based political organisation with Islamic credentials, which is committed to freeing Palestine from the Israeli occupation. They are capable, in time, of accepting a two-state solution.

Hamas won the fair and open election in Palestine in 2006.

They won because the people thought Fatah, the party of the rejected government, had failed them. Fatah had not achieved a Palestinian state, despite renouncing violence and recognising Israel. This is crucial to understanding Hamas - they won't recognise Israel until sure of the world's commitment to a just solution to the Palestine issue.

Hamas are not the creatures of Iran but they will accept money and arms from Tehran in the absence of any other source of support.

Adversaries of al-Qaeda, they are in no way interested in setting up a "Taliban-style" government.

Hamas are wrong to target Israeli civilians but no solution is possible unless they are involved.

The only way for Israel to achieve security is to get to political grips with its enemy.

It is way past the time for the shooting to stop and the talking to start.

The potential for a diplomatic solution has never been explored.

It is too convenient to label Hamas a terror organisation and shoot from a distance.

Monday, January 12, 2009

'Wolfie' comes home to DSJ...

Deeping St James darts star Martin 'Wolfie' Adams was beaten in the semi-finals of World Darts Championships over the weekend. But he tells the Peterborough Evening Telegraph he'll be back for another try at regaining his World Darts title next year...

Hopefully by then, the local papers will have learned that Wolfie lives in Deeping St James - not Market Deeping as they wrongly insist!

UPDATE: Wolfie was knocked out in the semi-finals, not the finals, as I originally posted a few minutes ago...

Quote of the Day...

‘Being at Bush’s press conference today would be a bit like having tickets for Tim Henman, knowing that Andy Murray is coming on next…’

Rory Bremner, interviewed on Channel Four News, commenting on President George W. Bush’s final White House press conference.

The impressionist went on to say that if you lived in Gaza, or were clinging to a log in New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina), you probably wouldn't appreciate the funny side of President Bush.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sick Tory dressed up as Missing Madeleine McCann...

Matthew Lewis, seen here posing with David Cameron, was chair of a Conservative Party activists organisation.

He told friends on the Facebook website he would be dressing up for a fancy dress party as missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann and that his costume would include:

pink pyjamas, a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood.
Amazingly, none of his fellow Conservative activists stopped his nonsense and he went ahead with his plan.

After the party, he told another Conservative activist on Facebook that:

there was a brief moment when I thought I might have gone too far with elements of the costume but it was OK.
.Sick or what?

If you don't want to know how Wolfie did, look away now...

Another nailbiter - but Wolfie held his nerve again at the Lakeside to win through to the last four. Coverage later tonight on BBC2 or if you can't wait, see how he did it at the BBC website.

Wolfie on the oche tonight...

Deepings darts ace Martin 'Wolfie' Adams steps up to the oche again tonight to throw for a place in the semi-finals of the BDO World Darts Championship.

As today's local papers reflect, England darts captain Wolfie needs to up his game to beat sixth-seed Gary Robson after his edge-of-the-seat (or should I say seat-of-the-pants) first and second round performances.

Unfortunately, winning the World Championship two years ago, none of our locals papers seem to know where Wolfie lives.

The Stamford Mercury,Bourne Local,and Peterborough Evening Telegraph all again inaccurately report today that Martin is from Market Deeping.

As I pointed out earlier this week, he actually lives round the corner, right here in Deeping St James...

Meanwhile, Wolfie's view of this year's tournament is regularly updated on the Daily Mail's exclusive Wolfie blog. There's also a cracking picture of 'Howling Wolfie'.

Lincoln surgeon loses 16 family members killed by Israelis...

Israel's war on the children in Gaza strikes home: A Lincoln surgeon loses 16 members of his family - including seven children and five women - who were killed by an Israeli artillery strike as they sheltered in a UN school.

An accident and emergency surgeon at Lincoln County Hospital, Hisham Al-Shwaikh knows it is pointless trying to get to his homeland to treat the injured. Israel is refusing to allow doctors in.



Just another day of carnage in the war of the children.

World outrage as almost one Israeli a day dies in Gaza conflict...

* The Times produces photographic evidence that the Israelis have been causing horrific injuries by raining white phosporous shells on civilians in Gaza - in breach of international laws, HEREand HERE...

* The United Nations suspends humanitarian operations in Gaza after two of their aid workers were killed in an Israeli rocket attack...

* The New York Times reports that the normally conservative International Red Cross issues a scathing condemnation of Israel for failing its obligations under international law to care for the wounded in a war-zone. Here's how the main ABC network in the United States reports the story, hopefully waking up the American public to the horror resulting in pressure on Condi Rice and George W. Bush to push Israel to make peace, rather than continue to give them the nod to bomb Gaza. (Israel has still not agreed to a ceasefire, but I expect they want at least another day of bombarding Gaza and in the face of mounting condemnation will agree to a ceasefire round late tomorrow or Saturday).

* The Canadian Government has the balls to blame Israel for the deaths of 40 - including many children - when they shelled a school being used by Gaza families trying to shelter from the Israeli attacks.

* UN figures reveal that 257 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli acrtion in the past fortnight and more than 1,000 children injured. Newsnight reports that 750 people have died in Gaza since Israel launched its offensive compared to just 11 Israelis.

Just another day of carnage in the war of the children in Gaza.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Claims that UFO mangled giant wind turbine in Lincs marshes...?

Claims that a UFO mangled the giant blade of a Lincolnshire wind turbine are running on BBC, Sky and ITN after one of my county councillor colleagues claims he saw mysterious bright lights in the sky.

Robert Palmer is Conservative councillor for Louth Marshes division in the north of the county where he is a poultry farmer. He's also a member of Lincolnshire Police Authority and an East Lindsey district councillor.

Now he is calling for the windfarm to be closed down in case someone is chopped in half by a falling turbine blade.

What caused the damage to the massive turbine blade is a mystery and even the owners say they can't rule out UFOs.

I've heard they get up some some strange nocturnal activities in the Louth Marshes and I've no doubt Robert will be ribbed relentlessly by his colleagues over his claims to have seen mysterious bright lights late at night...

But as an ex-Army Regimental Sergeant Major who served numerous tours of Northern Ireland, I'm sure he'll take it in good heart.

UPDATE: Robert describes what he saw in an interview for Sky television which you can see at The Sun's website

Wolfie wins again...

Deepings darts ace Martin Wolfie Adams won a place through to the last eight of the World Championship on Wednesday night - but there was only a few seconds of coverage of the match on BBC2's broadcast from the Lakeside.

So I guess it couldn't have been such an entertaining and exciting match as his shaky opener on Monday!

UPDATE: Perhaps the reason Wolfie's win didn't feature big in tonight's coverage was a later match which saw reigning world champion Mark Webster sensationally knocked out by John 'Boy' Walton. It was Webster who took the crown last year from Wolfie...

So it's goodnight Mark Webster. And goodnight John Boy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Can young Cloughie return football glory to the East Midlands...?

The legendary Brian Clough would have been so proud to see his son Nigel installed as manager of Derby County tonight - the club Cloughie took to the top, over a quarter of a century ago.

News was confirmed that Nigel will take over the club as fans arrived at the Pride Park stadium in Derby to see the Rams take on Manchester United in a Carling Cup first-leg tie. Given the way Derby have been playing for far too long, few would have put money on a home win tonight against the most famous club in the world.

Even though the young Cloughie watched the match from the stands (he doesn't take over until tomorrow) his mere presence surely played a part in Derby's inspirational performance to beat Man U - despite being up against world class players like Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

East Midlands clubs such as Derby, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City have been in the doldrums in recent years compared to Cloughie senior's day. Nigel, of course, learned his craft from the maestro of course. And as a young manager, he's taken non-league Burton Albion to the brink of a return to the Football League. So there's excitement that he might just repeat history...

By strange coincidence, in Brian Clough's last game as Derby manager in 1973, his side beat Man U - by the same scoreline as tonight.

I understand that Derby County are due to play Forest at the end of January - the second East Mids club that Cloughie took to European glory.

That day is likely to be even more emotional for the new Derby manager, as the A52 road which links the two clubs has been officially named 'Brian Clough Way'.

Our local world champ Wolfie goes for tops...

Deepings darts star Martin Wolfie Adams is back on stage tonight in the next round of his attempt to win back his World Darts Champion title.

He got off to a shaky start on Monday night in an edge of the seat early rounds battle that literally went right down to the wire when he kept missing the doubles.

Wolfie is the oldest player on the world darts circuit and as world champion a couple of years ago, has been around long enough for our local media at least to know where he lives.

But the Peterborough Evening Telegraph the
Stamford Mercury and even the Bourne Local - all insist he's from Market Deeping!

He's not. And whether they haven't checked their facts, or think it's ok to describe DSJ as part of MD, its sloppy journalism.

The truth is that Martin lives right here in the village of Deeping St James, which as residents will tell you, is not part of the town of Market Deeping. Fortunately, we've moved on from the days of 'territorial' punch-ups on the border between rival teenagers from the two parishes.

But local papers should be well aware that while the town of MD is our friendly neighbour, DSJ is a community proud of its own identity. And we have a bigger population than MD to boot!

Here endeth the whinge (for now).

Tonight's BBC2 coverage starts after Newsnight at 11.20.

Good Luck Wolfie.

If you missed Monday night's thriller, you can see highlights HERE, and the post-match interview where a relieved Wolfie praises his opponent HERE
both courtesy of BBC2.

George Dubya makes his dad look less bad...

Quote of the Day:

...George W. Bush has done his father a great service by making him look like a greater President than he probably was.
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, commenting on today's historic power lunch at the White House, the first such gathering of all living Presidents of the United States for a generation. It was the idea of President-Elect Barack Obama, hosted by Dubya and also attended by President George Bush senior, President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter.

Four white men. One black man. No women.

Israel's smug response after bombing THREE schools...

Yesterday, I asked how many more innocents would have to die in the Gaza conflict that has become the war of the children.

Today, Israeli forces provide the answer: many more. In the face of growing world condemnation, Israel attempted to justify bombing not one, but THREE Gaza schools in one day.

In the most horrific carnage, more than 30 people died when they attacked a UNITED NATIONS school.

The school was being used by Gazans trying to shelter from the rockets and shells raining in from land, sea and air onto one of the most densely populated patches on earth.

Many of the victims were children, as you might expect in the shelling of a school.

The Israelis claimed mortars were fired from the school and that totally justified their actions. The UN say they have no evidence that mortars were fired from the school.

I thought the Israeli PM's spokesman Mark Regey make an astonishing admission when questioned by the media.

He said Israeli forces were not to know that there might be 'civilians' inside the school.


But worse was to come from Israeli Internal Security Minister Meir Shitreet.

His smiled smugly throughout his Newsnight interview with Mark Urban.

When the horror of the school attack was put to him, the apparently uncaring Mr Shitreet responded with two words:

'So what?'

Is that totally sickening or what?

Paxo's one word weather forecast...


- Jeremy Paxman, BBC2 Newsnight presenter, didn't need a map or more than one word to summarise some of the coldest weather to sweep Britain in a decade.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Peterborough Station - where inflation runs at a staggering 59%

Why have greedy rail bosses more than doubled parking charges at Peterborough Station in just two years?

Rail users were stung badly enough yesterday with New Year rail fare increases way above inflation - my National Express Peterborough-Kings Cross return ticket cost a whopping £87 - an extra £7 on the pre-Christmas fare.

Without any notice, arrogant National Express also hiked parking charges with more eye-watering increases.

As the Peterborough Evening Telegraph points out, yesterday's shock 20-per-cent rise in parking fees means that in just two years, they have imposed rises of a staggering 118 per cent.

War of the children as Israel kills more...

Israel killed at least 14 more children in Gaza yesterday.

Three children and their mother died after a tank shell destroyed their house in the eastern part of Gaza City.

Two more children were killed in artillery salvos from the Israel's Navy.

Among the other deaths yesterday were seven members of the same family killed when Israeli forces attacked a Palestinian refugee camp.

No surprise then that Unicef confirmed yesterday that children in Gaza are bearing the brunt of the conflict.

Gaza's hospitals are said to be overwhelmed with hundreds of casualties.

Meanwhile, the Geneva based International Committee of the Red Cross warned last night that people in Gaza are dying because Israeli shelling is preventing ambulances reaching the wounded.

The Red Cross said two Gaza hospitals had run out of fuel for their generators, and 45 wells across Gaza were out of action after they were hit in Israeli air-strikes - threatening water supplies to a third of the population.

Aid agencies warned that hospitals had been damaged and that Gaza desperately needs food to feed its people - and body bags to bury its dead.

Reuters reports the Palestinian Red Crescent saying amid the fighting, a pregnant woman had to be taken to hospital on a donkey cart but didn't make it in time. The baby was still born and the woman suffered a ruptured uterus.

But perhaps the most depressing news of the day was that the United States blocked a call at the United Nations for a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to chuck rockets into Israel. But the casualty figures still highlight Israel's horrifically disproportiate response.

Accurate casualty figures are difficult in any war, but in this one, Israel has managed to prevent the world's media from witnessing what they are doing in Gaza.

The number of Israelis to die since they excalated the conflict has yet to reach double figures - ie, under ten, including three of their soldiers reported killed last night.

But it is clear that more than 500 Palestinians have died since Israel escalated the conflict, including many children and other civilians - as well as some Hamas fighters.

It is the innocents who are paying the biggest price.

How many more babies and children will have to be killed or maimed for life before this carnage is stopped...?

Gaza is fast becoming the war of the children.

What's wrong with the youth of today...

The rather bizarre British tradition of Morris Dancing is apparently dying on its feet.

Chief Bagman (I kid you not) of the Morris Ring which represents 200 troupes of mainly male dancers warns that today's youngsters find it too embarrassing to dress up in white stockings and funny hats and prance around public car parks with jingly bells strapped to their legs and waving hankies and sticks at each other...

Can anyone really be surprised...

And I wonder what will find to replace Morris Dancing...Any suggestions?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Quote of the Day: who's the man who walks behind the horse...?

"You're like the man who walks behind the horse with a bucket..."

Jeremy Paxman to Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, suggesting that after getting egg on his face following his holiday ride on a Russian oligarch's big boat, his boss David Cameron was not letting him make economic speeches any more.

Paxo noted (on tonight's Newsnight) that since the Osborne's disastrous own goal after his holiday yacht trip, Cameron had made nine economic speeches against wee Georgie's just one!

FATAL UPDATE: Was car shunted into path of train...?

A woman died this morning when her car collided with a train at South Drove Level Crossing in West Road South Drove, near Spalding just before nine this morning.

It is not believed there are any other casualties on the train. The road - and the Peterborough-Spalding line has been closed.

UPDATE: The Peterborough Evening Telegraph reports that the car may have been 'shunted' into the path of the train by a Transit van. It is not known whether this morning's icy conditions were a factor.

UPDATE 2: The BBC quote police at the scene saying that it appears the woman, believed to be 30, was frantically trying to get her car off the tracks when it was split in two by the train. Parts of the car were pushed a quarter of a mile down the track.

UPDATE 3: Sky now has a map of the exact location - and a harrowing photo of the car. The question the investigation will no doubt concentrate on is how long elapsed between the barriers lowering and the arrival of the train. It is reported to have been 'very, very quick'.

UPDATE 4: Tuesday's Independent newspaper says the young woman who died was a school teacher - and the train that hit her car was running two minutes early.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Quote of the Day...

If every time the IRA killed a British soldier, 100 Catholics were killed on the Falls Road, people would think it was outrageous.
Martin Linton MP, commenting on BBC TV on news that 400 Palestinians were killed in hostilities in the past week, compared to just four Israelis who died during the same period.

Meanwhile, Palestinian civilians continue to suffer most in what is now all-out war. After a week of Israeli air-strikes, some 50 Palestinians were reported killed today in the first day of the Israeli ground offensive, including five people apparently bombed in an Israeli attack on a market area in Gaza's shopping precinct.

UPDATE: from the American newswire Associated Press

Questions about Israeli utube propaganda strike...

The chilling utube video I just posted HERE is one you may have seen on television a few days ago. It was released by the Israeli propaganda machine which claimed it showed 'rockets being loaded onto a Hamas truck' .

The Israelis vapourised the truck - and all those around it - with one of their ‘precision’ missiles.

But guess what?

Now the BBC website is reporting on new evidence that suggests the ‘rockets’ may have been nothing more than oxygen tanks, and that this one Israeli attack may have killed eight Palestinian civilians.

A Gaza trucker has now apparently produced the charred oxygen tanks which he says he and his family were moving after his neighbour’s had been bombed by the Israelis.

The Israelis exploited their apparent propaganda coup by putting the video of their handiwork on u-tube, attracting more than a quarter of a million hits so far.

Let me be clear: I don’t know whether the Israelis destroyed Hamas rockets or innocent oxygen tanks.

And I don’t expect the Israelis will be impressed with the alternative view of their air-strike…

But I do wonder how many of the world’s media which lapped up the Israeli video will now revisit the the interests of balance, you understand.

The truth is that few broadcasters will want to admit that they may have been sucked in by the Israeli propaganda machine. It's on the BBC website, but not sure if even the BBC have actually broadcast an update in view of the new claims from Gaza.

So don’t hold your breath…

Apologies for posting my comments separate from the video - for some reason, the ability to post comments with the video has been removed.

I can't think why, can you?

Is this Israeli utube attack on rockets or, er, oxygen tubes

Saturday, January 03, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Israeli ground troops attack Gaza

After killing 400 Palestinians in the past week - and suffering just four Israeli deaths in the same period of hostilities - in the past few minutes, Israel has confirmed that its ground forces has crossed the border into the Gaza strip...defying calls from around the world for a cease-fire.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Lincoln Theatre reluctant to admit the truth about Jade Goody

Bosses at Lincoln Theatre Royal reacted angrily to the Sunday People story that ex-Big Brother star Jade Goody was too ill to return as the Wicked Witch in their Snow White panto...

Oh yes she is coming back, they confidently told the Lincolnshire Echo rubbishing The People - despite reports that panto-fans felt short-changed.

No doubt with an eye on ticket sales, following the People's story at the weekend, Theatre manager Chris Moreno was quick to assure the Echo earlier this week:

Of course she'll be back. It's total rubbish and all they have done is made up nonsense. No-one has spoken to us at all. The People has just made this up.
Strong words.

And in an update as late as this morning, the Echo reported the less than forthcoming Mr Moreno as saying:

I don't appreciate being constantly intruded on like this.
The truth is that Jade, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the summer, is in the Royal Marsden Hospital for an operation to unblock a kidney.

Finally and rather belatedly, Mr Moreno admitted later today that oh no, she's not coming back.

But tonight, the Theatre Royal is still touting this sales poster advertising Jade's starring role. And the ticket sales hype still says 'Jade WILL appear...'

To use your words Mr Moreno: That's nonsense. And you know it's nonsense.

Neither Big Brother nor Gobby Jade are my cuppa - and I would rather watch grass grow than see her on stage (even if she does appear to have more than just health problems).

But I do hope 27-year-old Jade makes a full recovery soon.

And I hope the Theatre Royal stops playing silly games.

Lincs feels the chill as jobs under threat

Up to 400 jobs could be lost in the South Lincs food industry as an Icelandic owned company feels the chill of the economic downturn...