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Jan. 12th, 2011

Dumbledore

And another new site

Having set up the rock salt site in early November, I've just got another one going - not a lot of content yet (almost none, in fact) but that will change. I was very surprised to see a reasonably good domain name available unregistered and had to snaffle it. Two days of hard work later and I had a new site about French wines.

Nov. 29th, 2010

Venus transit

Busy busy busy

Been up to my eyeballs building a new site... fun, but tiring. Happily, it's coincided with the Ashes so writing round-ups of the next day's papers based on their websites (published after midnight usually) has been accompanied by the gentle sound of Australian bowlers gradually doing their nuts.

Anyway, it's for people hit by the cold spell and looking to buy rock salt online.

May. 8th, 2010

Venus transit

A pact, huh? That’s pact spelled m-i-n-e-f-i-e-l-d

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

So – no definite result in the general election and a chance of some sort of coalition. We’re all supposed to put our tribal loyalties aside and work together for the common good.

I’m not very good at that.

I know it’s not what you’d call noble, but I am what I am – and that happens to be someone who grew up under Margaret Thatcher and has seen a lot of Labour local authorities and, frankly, doesn’t much fancy either of them.

There is a difference – I don’t like Labour, don’t trust Labour, and am frankly terrified of some of the policies they have lined up and ready. But I actually hate the Conservatives.

Not every individual Tory, of course – many of them are decent types. But the party itself, its ideology, the assumptions behind it. The very core of its existence.

I also don’t actually have a lot of faith that day-to-day policy decisions or individuals in cabinet make much difference. The big stuff, yes – but no junior coalition partner gets to make those decisions.

As a result, I’m looking at the choice over whether to go into alliance with one of the bigger parties from a purely partisan viewpoint. It’s not very altruistic, I know, but I’ll leave public spiritedness to others.

So this is what I sent to the party when it canvassed views, asking people to set out who they are and what they think:

Me: Parliamentary candidate in Feltham & Heston 2001, ex-chair of Hounslow party, multiple council candidate, now living in North Hertfordshire. Activist since I was at school, though drifted off to the Greens for a few years as a student in the early 1990s. Award-winning Focus designer.

I’ll keep this brief.

I don’t believe a referendum on PR is winnable. So no deal that involves PR should be accepted unless it’s a guarantee of legislation – anything less is not worth the inevitable damage that will come from a pact. At the moment, the country can see the election was unfair and will accept reform. By the time a referendum can be held – may be year or 18 months from now, they’ll have forgotten.

Whichever party we do a deal with, we will in effect have lied to voters in marginals where we’ve strongly campaigned to say only we can beat that party. We will destroy a lot of goodwill with any deal, and possibly find ourself wedded to that party for a generation.

I truly believe that our best option – for our own future – is to step back and let the Tories stay in office long enough to fail, while hoping at the same time for a Labour civil war. I understand that MPs may feel their duty to the nation trumps party advantage. I can understand that viewpoint though I’m too partisan to advocate it myself. I believe we can do more for the country in the medium and long term if we avoid short-term entanglements.

In terms of policy, sorting out the Digital Economy Act is an essential one. If we have any influence over the Tories, so is protecting the BBC from Murdoch and preventing weird religious loonies from running schools.

On a personal note, I don’t honestly believe I could remain in the party if we did a formal deal with the Conservatives. Demand and supply I could stomach – welcome even, if it involved giving the Tories enough rope to hang themselves.

Not so brief after all. Sorry.

Good luck, and don’t sell us out for a mess of pottage.

Andy Darley
Hitchin & Harpenden party

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Aug. 16th, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-08-17

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

  • Roy Keane: "Clinton headed it at knee height. If you're a defender and he heads it that low you take his head off." [Just sack him, please.] #
  • Paypal adds new fees with no notice http://bit.ly/U3N8Z #paypalfail #
  • Had acupuncture for the first time today. Deeply unpleasant but stunningly effective. #
  • Unbelievable piece of Facebook stupidity, via Wendi http://bit.ly/UCNgm Do try to remember when you've friended your boss, folks. #
  • Appear to have got on an Amex junk mail list. Am looking for UK invoicing address so I can bill them for wasted time processing the letter. #
  • Right. Have printed out one of my usual invoices and am billing them for a quarter of a day, 30 days payment terms. Let's see what happens. #
  • RT @radioriel Today on Radio Riel: Great tracks from early-mid 20th century with a jazz flavour. http://bit.ly/507ZW [Enjoy - I am!] #
  • Things I wish I could do, #137: Dance the Jimmy Cagney part in Shanghai Lil: http://bit.ly/18y3vZ #
  • This is ridiculous. A dozen needles in my back and I've had 24 hours with so little pain that it's barely noticeable. How, exactly? #
  • When biologists knit: http://tinyurl.com/4qcw69 [Via @ElrikMerlin. Not sure what @white_hart will make of it...] #
  • http://twitpic.com/dm6pl – Grow-your-own Victorian whiskers project #
  • http://twitpic.com/dm8xc – Once more, with a better camera and some technical jiggery-pokery. Pic by @astrofiammante. #
  • Just found one of the screws supposedly holding my chair together lying on the floor under it. Hmmm. No wonder it's been creaking. #
  • RT @girlonetrack Atheists! We did it on the buses, now let's do it for schools: support the BHA's campaign! http://bit.ly/H0sVn #
  • “When you grow up your heart dies.” Molly Ringwald writes about working with John Hughes, the "JD Salinger for Gen X". http://bit.ly/19r1xc #
  • Two deliveries this morning: a wonderful black gothy lace-up shirt and a rear wing endplate from a 2005 F1 championship-winning Renault. #
  • Support #welovetheNHS, add a #twibbon to your avatar now! – http://twibbon.com/join/welovetheNHS #
  • Turns out my browser isn't failing – it's having the Skype add-on that killed Ajax support. Uninstalling it makes everything work OK again. #
  • RT @girlonetrack Fucking fuckity fuck. [Sometimes, the simple statements are the most eloquent.] #
  • Just putting kettle on in anticipation of guesting on @planetIRLdotcom's podcast with a mystery driver. Well, I know who it is obviously! #
  • An enjoyable 15 mins with Kohl at @planetIRLdotcom interviewing Dan Clarke (@SpeedyDanClarke) on A1GP, the IRL and other racing stuff. #
  • RT @rhianonjameson hopes everything goes well for @CaladonRae today. [Seconded] #
  • Several days now since I asked publisher for more detail on exactly which rights they wanted to buy. No reply. I think that project is dead. #
  • It appears @radioriel is playing a version of 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' recorded on a harpsichord. Ha bloody ha, says I. #
  • Have spent all day backing up databases. Boooo! #
  • I joined a thread: What's your favourite Islay whisky? http://a.tinythread.com/dsJ5nqSrUC #
  • Another day of doing database backups and bot-blocking and other under-the-hood things across 18 domains… #
  • Very bored with servers and databases now. Very bored indeed. #
  • Always nice to start the day with a phone call from a client to say their site is down… #

Aug. 9th, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-08-09

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

  • Still plugging away with story, back on track, deadline extended, buoyed by encouraging email from Freya North #blatantnamedropping #
  • Also, am busily growing Victorian whiskers like Yardley in Lagaan: http://bit.ly/1YNIIi It's awfully hard work. Energy-sapping. #
  • Feel like I'm pulling teeth. My short story heroine has just thrown a shoe at a copper & will shortly escape into building site. What larks. #
  • Draft one written. 6728 words. Will have to ask questions about rights and suchlike before sending it to publisher tomorrow, though. #
  • RT @BritsOnPole Remember Henry Surtees with a donation to Headway http://bit.ly/6qLRw #
  • Very pleased to have the writing complete but haven't heard back from editor with answers to my questions. Attempting to resume normal life. #
  • Ha. Most amused to find myself looking thrilled and attentive, leaning on one elbow, in slide #32 of this: http://bit.ly/hZII2 #
  • Been on wild goose chase to Norfolk. Got hot, sticky, grouchy, sank ankle-deep in a bog and drove home through a rainstorm. Not want. #
  • Finally the publisher has replied re story rights. Not encouraging, they seem to want everything – complete ownership. Am negotiating. #
  • RT @avaragado Bush asked Chirac to help invade Iraq "to thwart Bible's satanic agents of Apocalypse" http://bit.ly/Uxlih (via @ElrikMerlin) #
  • Can't believe John Hughes has gone, age 59. BBC video report here gets what he meant to my generation http://bit.ly/YEQCs #
  • Watching this reminds me how, when growing up, my idea of what was cool, stylish, & romantic was formed by John Hughes http://bit.ly/14b8to #
  • I still think Ally Sheedy's Breakfast Club character looked better before her makeover, though… #
  • For those of you not taking much notice of The #Ashes today – don't! England currently 97-7 in their first innings. #
  • England all out for 102… slightly dodgy decision sends Onions back to the pavilion. This is… not good. #Ashes #
  • Check this video out — Project Bueller at the NYC Halloween Parade http://bit.ly/fAagf #
  • Sends sympathy to Norwich-supporting friends. But a few more like today are needed before you're as embarrassed by your manager as I am mine #
  • RT @stephenfry This picture proves that I've got a big cock http://twitpic.com/dbgjp [Blimey!] #

Aug. 2nd, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-08-03

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

  • It's 3am and I wish it wasn't, but lumps of the story I have to write by the end of the week started appearing fully-formed in my head #
  • 5am – time to stop. Got three paragraphs down and some outline notes. Huge step forward, had to grab the moment, dog tired now! #
  • Oof. Feel bloody rough. This is not a sustainable work pattern! #
  • Have just finished skimreading & making notes on a 586-page collection of chick lit stories. Feel like my brain is melting. Must buy shoes. #
  • RT @ElrikMerlin RT @Psythor: David Cameron calls Twitterers twats. I'd rather be a twat than a Tory. http://is.gd/1Sth9 [Me too...] #
  • Press accreditation has arrived for Superleague Formula @ Donington Park this weekend, hurrah. Wasn't sure we were going to get that. Vroom! #
  • Just watching BBC footage of Henry Surtees' coffin at his funeral, with one of his racing helmets on it. Gut-wrenching. http://bit.ly/3w31a #
  • Pricelessly funny: Top Gear blog hypes Natacha Gachnang on basis of 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 record in F2. Then see comment #5… http://bit.ly/DWBz9 #
  • Approaching crunch time in the short story: 1000 of the 6000 words written, deadline tomorrow. Not good… #
  • Tired now. Choices: sleep & hope to pick up work tomoz, or drink scotch and carry on. 3086/6000 words written. Am not Hemingway, will sleep. #
  • recalls being furious as student rep to UEA Council in 90s as academics voted to take Bobby Robson off list of honorary degree nominees. #
  • Upsetting myself watching Bobby Robson videos on the BBC. The Ipswich FA Cup victory is woven into the fabric of my childhood. A great man. #
  • Swine flu: an architect writes, taking the long view: http://bit.ly/4n7AIK #
  • Sitting in the media centre at Donington Park bashing out race reports. #
  • I'm pretty sure the photographer sitting next to me is farting repeatedly. Noxiously, too. #

Jul. 26th, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-07-26

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

  • Really bad back day yesterday, couldn't get up stairs unaided at end, had to be helped up on hands & knees. Got plans to work on it however. #
  • Pete & Dave's Dodo Emporium http://bit.ly/3k91A6 [I'll take a v3.6 please] #
  • Back is much improved – just as well, since we are touring the Williams F1 factory tomorrow and interviewing Sam Michael #
  • RT @girlonetrack http://twitpic.com/b4huj – If everyone did this the world'd be a better place. #
  • Gah. Six o'clock and all's well. All set for the drive across to Oxfordshire from Herts, avoiding motorways #AAroutefinderisyourfirend #
  • Six o'clock again… am home from Williams, have had a quick snooze, and am now thinking about image editing. #
  • OK, serious question: anyone read the Sex & the City or Shopaholic novels? I've just been commissioned to write similar short story. Advice? #
  • http://twitpic.com/bfslw#

Jul. 19th, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-07-19

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

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Jul. 12th, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-07-12

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

  • Another Monday, another headache. Life is always better when you know what to expect in advance. #
  • Spitfire has been taken to a Triumph specialist – early prognosis is gloomy :o ( #
  • RT @artesea good to see BT finally pulling out of Phorm http://bit.ly/oQqv6 hopefully the death of it. #
  • Things any would-be politician should do: http://bit.ly/10hx3E [Actually works just as well as a forced refresher for existing politicians] #
  • Sooo… raining here. How's it with you? #
  • Woke up at 5.30am… dunno why. Can't get back to sleep. Oh joy. #
  • Just trying the special edition Marston's Pedigree #Marmite, issued for the #Ashes – bloody hell it's strong stuff http://bit.ly/dhKnS #
  • Is nervous at seeing Flintoff in – at least he didn't get a golden duck, which is what I expected from him. #Ashes #
  • I wonder if it would be possible for Captain Jack and Torchwood to dematerialise those drunken gobshites chanting away in Cardiff? #Ashes #
  • Oh FFS. Formula One goes crazy again. Now FOTA teams claim they've been told they're not entered for next year after all http://bit.ly/5U7Zq #
  • Splendid stuff – today's Wikipedia article of the day on the curious history of Gropecunt Lane http://bit.ly/NIC4W #
  • RT @sensorywhisper Man dies in chocolate vat http://bit.ly/9MCPT firstly ouch :( now eyeing yorkie suspiciously #
  • Love and Liberty: What Do To About the Screws http://bit.ly/xT3d1 [Analysis of NotW criminal activites] #
  • Blimey, it's like listening to Twenty20 – Swann plays a Pietersen switch-hit for a four… #Ashes #
  • Supremely frustrating afternoon in the #Ashes – Aussies playing as solid as frozen treacle and just as hard to shift. #
  • The brilliantly funny video and story of how a musician took revenge on an airline that smashed his favourite guitar http://bit.ly/BnWiX #
  • Freak cricket catch – Ed Joyce out when ball lodges in fielder's pocket: http://bit.ly/184HV4 #

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Jul. 5th, 2009

Venus transit

Twitter weekly updates for 2009-07-05

Originally published at And Then He Said.... Please leave any comments there.

  • Here we go again. Late Sunday and I'm still bloody working. Just filed the WSR report, now to Justin Wilson's brilliant victory at the Glen. #

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