Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Yes, I voted for myself

Time is running out to submit votes for the Top Ten Political Blogs of 2008-09.

Blogs have to be part of the Blog Directory at Total Politics.

You need to send your votes to and the closing date is this Friday. To help you out, my top ten are:

1. Didactophobia
2. Frank Chalk
3. Man in a Shed
4. Conservative Home
5. Iain Dale's Diary
6. Archbishop Cranmer
7. Guido Fawkes
8. Dizzy Thinks
9. Nadine Dorries
10. Scottish Tory Boy

There we are. At least two who are Scottish (although the Total Politics index thinks I am English); two teachers, one woman, one gay: don't say I am not inclusive. No socialists, though. That would be a step too far.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Glorious Twelfth

Didactofeline has noticed that it is the start of the Mouse Season. She actually cheated and killed her first mouse of the year a couple of days ago. It was at precisely this time last year that she went on a killing spree, so it must be something to do with the hunting season.

Jimmy's makes an horrendous blunder

Didactodaddy suffered a stroke recently. This is his third stroke: luckily, it took place in the city centre of Leeds and he was rushed very quickly to Leeds General Infirmary, which probably saved his life.

However, since this stroke, his health has definitely deteriorated. His vascular dementia has become worse and on occasion he has disappeared and been rescued by police. Which brings us to this story.

He was recently admitted to St James's Hospital in Leeds, having been picked up by police (literally) after suffering a fall. He was given a CAT scan and was to be kept in for observation. Didactophobe was not able to get there due to work commitments, but Mrs Didactophobe went along to the hospital just in time to see him discharging himself. Yes, a man with dementia; in hospital with a head injury; who has not yet received the results of his CAT scan, was being allowed to discharge himself.

Mrs Didactophobe (who is a qualified nurse) pointed out to the member of staff discharging him that he had not even been asked to sign any forms. This led to a scene worthy of Carry on Nurse, in which staff hunted around for the correct forms, but could not find any.

Didactodaddy then set off from the hospital, with Mrs Didactophobe trailing behind him. He can be belligerent (he has dementia, after all) and Mrs Didactophobe was unable to stop him. He refused to get into her car and wandered off. Many areas around Jimmy's are not exactly the most salubrious parts of Leeds, and she became terrified for her safety. She eventually had to leave him when he wandered into a working men's club and borrowed money for drink. She had to return to her hotel for her own safety.

Didactodaddy did not return home the following morning. By that time Didactophobe was in Leeds, having driven through the night. He reported his father missing to the police and drove round Leeds searching for him. Didactophobe phoned Jimmy's to enquire as to why they had allowed a man with dementia to discharge himself. To say the answers were unsatisfactory would be an understatement.

Thankfully, Didactodaddy has now turned up. It looks as though he spent the night in the graveyard opposite St James's (an extremely scary place in broad daylight, let alone at night) and, fortuitously, has not appeared to come to any harm. I am not in favour of the compensation culture, but if anything had happened to him, the shit would have hit the fan big-time in that hospital.

Scargill is (partly) right for once

Arthur Scargill (I didn't know he was still alive - did you?) is getting some coverage, with his support for clean-coal technology. Although there are obviously some technical problems with it, if these can be ironed out then using Britain's vast coal reserves would make a great deal of sense. The coal industry was destroyed to the chagrin of the political Left by the boneheaded attitudes of union leaders who used their power to try and bully governments into submission. It worked with Ted Heath: we all know what happened with Maggie. We have since gone through 20 years or so in which the Left have, rightly, said very little about the coal industry, because they recognised the environmental harm from burning fossil fuels. Now things have perhaps gone full circle and coal, provided that the technology works, can be presented as a 'green' fuel and, moreover, a fuel which Britain has abundant supplies of.

Anything that reduces our dependence on unstable regimes makes our country's energy supply more secure: anything that reduces our dependence on carbon-rich fuel imported across thousands of miles is good news for the environment.

I think he is wrong to oppose nuclear power, however. It avoids the carbon emissions of other types of power supply, and it can be delivered relatively quickly. It is clear that we have to act fast, otherwise within a few years Britain is going to have a major energy crisis. It is not an either/or situation: we need clean coal and nuclear and renewables. We must massively reduce, and eliminate where possible, our dependence on brutal and unstable regimes in Asia and the Middle East. The less we rely on their fuel, the less influence that bad guys such as Putin and Ahmadinejad will have, which is a good thing.

This is one reason why a windfall tax on energy companies would be unbelievably stupid. The fact is, we rely on these companies to invest in the future energy supplies of this country. If they are not allowed to make profits, they will have neither money nor any incentive to make such investment.

Inflatable church

I love the idea of the blow-up church which has been introduced in Italy. Italian churches struggle to attract worshippers at the height of summer while people flock to the beaches, so the inflatable church will follow them to the beach. I'm all for making worship more accessible to people, so completely support this idea.

For some reason, blow-up mosque doesn't have quite the same ring to it...