Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sick and tired of Tory plans for wealth re-distribution

Only 48 hours in to the Conservative party conference and already we hear of proposals to take £25/week from disabled people and to force the entire working population to continue labouring for an extra year before getting a state pension. All to save the rich from paying more in taxes. Brilliant. If it wasn't such a disturbing vision of what a Tory government would do, you could almost describe it as a Blairite blueprint for another New Labour manifesto.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ouch! *!?* Ow! Bugger! **!*

Rolled my ankle playing tennis yesterday. It's now twice the size it should be, a disturbing shade of black & blue, and it won't move. Oh, and did I mention that I am in chronic pain? If you have any good jokes about how gentlemen of a certain age should refrain from competetive physical sport, just shove them up your arse.

Leverton/Williams Tennis

Jail the rich

It will be interesting to see how the new Supreme Court goes about its business. With Nick Phillips as its president (er, sorry, that should be the Rt Hon Lord Phillips of Worth Maltravers as Lord Chief Justice) we have a top judge with apparently impeccable credentials as a reforming, radical liberal. In my humble opinion he did an excellent job on the BSE inquiry. History may yet judge the establishment of the Supreme Court, and the abolition of the old Law Lords' function in the House of Lords, as one of the Labour government's more worthwhile achievements. And with the country allegedly about to fall under the thrall of a bunch of toffee-nosed Old Etonions, the stage is set for some classic State vs Legislature punch-ups. Maybe not quite in the same visceral "class war" context of Lord Denning telling the poor they should pay more to travel by tube.......but I live in hope.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Norman John Worthington

And so the official, authorised history of MI5 today finally confirms what Harold Wilson was banging on about more than 30 years ago - that the UK's domestic intelligence agency was actually spying on the country's democratically-elected Prime Minister.

And yes, there is a Cornish angle to this story, explored in my 2001 documentary, Spy Station. Personally, I think it's well worth 23 minutes of your time to watch again - just click on the link below.

Spy Station

When Boris Met Dave

Don't miss "When Boris Met Dave" on More4 next week. According to a colleague who's seen a preview, the depiction of Cameron 1987 is truly scary: "All he lacks is a cat, a nuclear weapon and a map of the world."

Friday, 2 October 2009

Political junkies

Just back from the Labour Party conference in Brighton, where some of the comrades were angry with Andrew Marr for asking Gordon Brown if he was taking prescription drugs such as painkillers. Marr asked the question live on television despite Downing Street telling him beforehand that the blog rumours were totally untrue.

Marr was looking for a cheap headline and he got it. But having said that, he was within his rights to ask the question. Anyone who wants to be a political leader must expect all kinds of questions, fair and unfair, 24/7.

And if Gordon Brown can be asked about legal drugs which he did not take, I look forward to seeing David Cameron being asked again (and again and again) about the illegal drugs which he did take. A question which I confess I did not pose when I had the chance a couple of years ago...

On The Record

On the Record from Graham Smith on Vimeo.

Classical Gas

Today's news about how Cornwall's rulers plan to keep dumping waste in a hole in the ground reminds me of how, for nearly 30 years, one of the world's most beautiful coastlines was scarred and contaminated by a chemical weapons factory. In 2001 I made a documentary about Nancekuke (later known as RAF Portreath) - if you didn't see it, or have forgotten why there was such a fuss, I've clipped it into two separate YouTube videos below.

Nancekuke documentary

What a load of rubbish

Cornwall Council says today that the United Downs landfill site at Carharrick, near Redruth, may be kept open after all - despite promising for years to close it. Everyone agrees that more recycling would help, although for Cornwall this means transporting waste huge distances. Expert scientific opinion says the "least worst" option is incineration - it works well on the Isles of Scilly, where the political dithering was resolved more than a decade ago. But what's the betting that self-styled "environmental" campaigners (a bunch of middle-class NIMBYs) will remain happy to dump on one of the poorest and least powerful communities in Cornwall?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009