Saturday, June 21, 2008

A weekend miscellany

1. Habeus Corpus? Pah! Let witnesses stay anonymous. I mean why would anyone think the defence has a right to examine evidence against their clients? Sod it - why have courts at all, why not just give the police the power to lock up wrong 'uns without all this damnable red tape. Trust them, they're in charge.

2. A new website has been set up in favour of a congestion charge for Cambridge. Unclog Cambridge has an uphill struggle ahead of it but I wish it the best of British. Report in the local paper here. (pic from CEN "Pimp my tuk tuk")

3. Whilst the RMT have launched a slick and clean new website, it lacks the rather comprehensive features of Total Politics. At first look Total Politics, brain child of Tory blogger Iain Dale, appears to be rather good. It has a comprehensive blog directory, regular magazine, lots of political databases and is broader than simply a Tory mouthpiece - although still a bit respectabilist for my taste.

4. Jane Ennis, on the Green Left list, has raised concern over this article in the Independent which appears to advocate profiteering out of food price rises. For example;

"However, rising food costs don't have to be a one-way ticket to poverty. For investors with some savings to spare, there are now an increasing number of commodity funds, which are positioned to benefit from the increase in the price of grains and soft commodities such as sugar, cocoa and coffee. "We're all going to be suffering from the higher food costs, so investing in agriculture is a nice way to get a little back," says Matthew Sena, the co-manager of Castlestone Management's Aliquot Agriculture fund."
Thank goodness the immiseration of the poorest and mass starvation in the developing world has an upside!

5. Hanley Grange has been accused of being designed in a "Soviet style". But it's not all good news.

6. RE: the Greens standing against David Davis. There appears to be a willingness to stand locally but the official meeting is on Monday which will take the final decision - so watch this space.

Late edition! One of my Euro MPs has been arrested! Surprise, surprise it was one of the UKIP mob. Surprise, surprise it was another grubby little affair over money.


Jack Ray said...

not sure I buy the case for congestion charging ... Cambridge is pretty awkward for drivers anyway, always seems to have a healthy majority of cyclists.

Seems to me like the principle of it is the government should financially punish people for driving, rather than reward them for not. Very NuLabour...

Jim Jay said...

Lots of bikes, yes, lots of cars too unfortunately - partricularly at peak times, although I hesitate to limit that as a rush "hour".

Anyway, the congestion charge comes with a massive programme of investment in the transport infrastructure which has to be completed before the charge is introduced.

Check out the link and see what you think.

Jack Ray said...

well, I can see how you could make the scheme work quite well, and I can see how you could introduce various things that make it fairer.

But there's a lot of problems I have with the scheme in more general ways. First-off it rests almost entirely on the principle that the best way to stop people getting in their cars is financial punishment, so essentially the premise is get all the poor people off the road, while the rich are free to continue polluting all they like and get clearer roads to do it on. Which means the flip-side, lets attack working class living standards (either through further regressive taxation, or through reducing their choice in terms of transport) to change behaviour, rather than actually expanding the resources to which we have access.

Oh, and while we're at it, turn something else that was previously free into a commodity, so eventually we can franchise it and sell it off...

Anonymous said...

has some points about why a charge is not necessarily regressive.

Furthermore, the up-front package of improvements includes massive investment in buses - which will disproportionately benefit the poor (which is a good thing!).