politics

New Labour wealth redistribution at its finest

Tax, never a dull moment where that's concerned right? Actually something has caught many UK tax-payers attention in recent time, and quite rightly so - the abolishment of the 10p tax rate.

It's far too complicated to go into, but the deal is that when you earn up to X amount in the UK, some of your pay will be taxed such that 10% goes to the Government rather than for your personal pleasure. Above that value to a point, any surplus money gets 22% taken by the exchequer. For no earthly reason Gordon Brown et al. have decided it's a good idea to reduce the 22% to 20%...and pay for it by eliminating the 10% rate. This might all sound like inane complicated numbers, but really this is a properly unfair move that even an idiot can see hurts the poorest in society.

Reporting on drugs impairs mental performance

Researching the mental effects of chemicals on humans is notoriously difficult and complicated, not least because of the immense amount of ways that a certain person may react to any given substance, the huge number of external factors that may be involved in a psychological outcome, and the difficulty in quantifiably measuring many mental effects. Add to this the sometimes extreme politicisation and bias of results that comes when researching controversial topics like the use of illegal drugs and one can see that researching the mental effects of banned-but-fun substances is especially troublesome.

This trouble is often seen in mass-media reports of such experiments. Often, presumably in order to make the "news" exciting and dramatic for their readers the "shock horror - you will die if you even look at illegal drugs" conclusions are heightened to the max, and any opposing conclusions, grey areas and other interpretations of the same data are ignored. Not only does this undermine any sensible attempt at presenting results with potentially important public health conclusions to the public at large, but research suggests that it could be this very style of reporting that causes some of the mental problems it shouts about so loudly.

Introducing...the iRack!

Given that, oooh, eleven sixteenths of this pointless site is about nerdy geek-things, and the other eighteen twentieths consists of rambling rants about the evils of the Bush cabal, you will be unsurprised to hear that the Poorhouse quite liked the below video.

Combining the razzamatazz of Apple launching its nine-millionth nigh-on-identical iPod upgrade and the upper limits of American mispronunciation satire, check out the fabulous premiere of the iRack.


No evidence to suggest extension of imprisonment without trial is useful...but we still want it

Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary in the UK, has recently been giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee investigating the latest raft of arguably rash and dictator-esque counter-terrorism proposals. One in particular the Government likes to harp on about forever is allowing detention without trial for a good long period of time. 90 days is one favourite figure of theirs.

Yep, they claim that it is fine, in a civilised democracy, to allow people to be locked up for 3 months without any charges being brought against them, any appearance in court or the other checks and balances against abuse that the legal system should maintain. It's nothing new mind, a couple of years ago the 90 days suggestion led to Blair's first ever defeat in the House of Commons.

Boris the Mayor, and foul-mouthed George

Londoners, you're blessed.

It looks pretty like you're about to witness a Ken vs Boris battle to be mayor of your sweet little town. Certainly Boris Johnson is standing to be the Conservative candidate. So did about another 50 people (now narrowed down to a shortlist of 4) but today the Telegraph has published parts of Boris' job application form and, looking at it, the Poorhouse feels it is somewhat unbeatable.

The cannabis cabinet, and yet another pointless law review

Well, the Poorhouse had hoped that Britain's new, if rather unelected, Prime Minister Gordon Brown would be a least a sizeable improvement over the previous one. It seems on matters of drug policy this isn't going to be true.

The Poorhouse almost couldn't be bothered to read about the latest shenanigans regarding cannabis classification but in the end capitulated to find that Brown is ordering a(nother) "consultation" as to whether cannabis should be reclassified from its current class C to the more punitive class B. How pointless.

Cheerleaders are baaaad

Regular readers of this web-monstrosity will be aware that the Poorhouse is a little sceptical as to the reasoning and benefit behind the increasingly ridiculous drug laws in the UK. To summarise for anyone not from around here, in common with much of the rest of the world, a fairly arbitrary set of substances that people like to use recreationally are banned. If you possess them you get to face jailtime. If you possess other, often more harmful, recreational mind-benders such as alcohol you're just fine.

Belated 2007 election results and the rest...

Well it's a week late coming, but the Poorhouse finally managed to look up the election results for the recent UK local elections. To be fair, hardly any of the rest of the country seemed that interested either. Luckily the Poorhouse did remember to vote, but really only because of the magic of Internet voting and repeated self-created electronic reminders rather than general electoral excitement and promotion of the democratic process by the parties involved. Would a leaflet or two - or even a handshake - be too much to ask?

In good news, New Labour got a slight kicking, losing 505 councillors and 9 councils - although some were predicting a greater loss than that for them. In bad news, the Tories did rather better than last time gaining 911 new councillors and 39 councils.

The easiest mistake to make

With many UK local elections looming it seems even the BBC can't tell the difference between the big political parties any more. Credit to Iain Dale for spotting it.

Go and vote anyway if you haven't already done so by following the Poorhouse's example of doing it via t'intermernet. Yes there is every chance the electronic vote will have got lost, changed, coerced and so on by the time it has been counted but at least it's less environmentally damaging than throwing away the paper ballots you don't want to count.

The picture to the right (and by "right" the Poorhouse means directionally rather than politically of course) may be ever so slightly funny, but it's not nearly as hilarious as the classic Sky News George Bush truthtelling.

Dancing Bush x 2

No, not everyone's reasonably-favourite Flash timewaster Dancing Bush Game, but our Great Leader having an awesome time at the Malaria Awareness day yesterday. He may be a ridiculous president, but his combination semi-doggy style and professional chimp expression dance is a thing of wonder.


OK then, Flash game it is. Make him strut his stuff cartoon-stylee below.

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