The case of the amazing disappearing blogs

I’ve had a rather stressful week which has meant I’ve hardly got round to reading anything remotely blog related until Friday morning but as I was going out I didn’t have any time to comment so I’ll simply be making up the numbers so to speak in putting my two-pennies-worth on the whole.

It’s good to see that despite there being many different, often opposing views from bloggers that make up online discourse that most have rallied round to support Tim over at Bloggerheads on this one.

Sadly two of my daily (excepting this week of course) reads, Tim and Bob’s are off the air because of the action of this Mr Usmanov geezer.

On the matter itself I can only really think of three perspectives.

It is sad to see that in 21st Century Britain, that it’s money that talks. The ability to pay for the services of a top lawyers firm speaks more and holds more sway than what should be the essence of democracy, that of free speech.

The second is that when Gordon Brown became Premier, it was quite clear that work on constitutional issues would become an issue that is worked on. He has already muted the idea of a British Bill of Rights and ironically, such an example as this exposes the weaknesses in our current arrangement. Perhaps, just perhaps this having happened now, highlighting the inequities of our present law regarding free speech that it may stir up enough support to bring about some real change.

Finally and this is probably the most ironic part of the whole affair. Mr Usmanov has sought to use his vast wealth to gag someone through legal means in an attempt to prevent the expression of views questioning his past. In thus doing he has not only failed because he doesn’t understand the medium nor the culture of those who partake in blogging, he’s confirmed that yes, he is indeed a complete and utter arsehole of the highest order and pretty much has shot himself in the foot by his actions. The muppet, and it’s obviously not only me who thinks that way. (List via Chicken Yoghurt)

Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh
, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street

A session on the environment and corporate responsibility with Hilary Benn

Just got back from the first session of the 2007 Co-operative Party Annual Conference. Got 20 minutes or so to get back and find some supplies in the process so I’ll keep things brief.

The conference opened with a discussion Chaired by Gareth Thomas MP (He always seems to chair everything at conference) with a panel of Hilary Benn, a representative of businesses called Patricia and a guy from the Coop Group and someone from Friends of The Earth (yes I have an appalling memory for names I know).

There were a few key issues brought up in the discussion of which I’ll touch on.

The need to involve businesses particularly on the Research and Development side in driving forward greener technologies. An importance not to rush towards seemingly ‘green’ policies without thinking them through in particular relation to the marking of flowers flown in from Kenya that despite them being transported by air, would actually be more efficent than growing them in greenhouses in Holland. (The guy from Friends of the Earth mentioned that one, I do recall Hilary Benn saying something about it in February). That although there is good intention to label such flowers as having been transported by air, that it has led to consumers stopping buying such flowers and that not just the issue of the environment is important but the effect that it is having on Kenyan farmers.

The guy from the Co-op Group pointed to the big ambitions that it had set itself over ten years ago when such ‘green’ issues were not prevalent in the mainstream political discourse but even then the group took the decision not to invest in fossil fuel companies and I think what’s most important to note is that although that was the thinking of the Co-op Group a decade ago, the realities of future economic development and potential for long-term sustainable companies mean that the issues it was addressing then are now the issues that all businesses need to think about.

All in all things are going quite nicely. Met up with some familiar faces, got into an interesting conversation on home-made solar water heating systems and learned there’s a Black Country and Birmingham Inventors Society, might just have a look at that. Back in a Bit.

Away for a few days

Been a bit quiet on the blog front lately – with good reason. The ongoing development of the latest Littler Penguin is making Mrs Penguin very sick. Being the loving caring kindof guy I am, I’ve been taking up a lot of the responsibility for many of the things that Mrs Penguin usually attends to not to mention the rather considerable number of DIY jobs required before the arrival of Littler Penguin.

This unfortunately has meant that I’ve had to let a few things slide, the blog being one of them but for the next couple of days I’ve been let out. I’m off to the Annual Co-operative Party Conference in London so excluding time taken up by debates and socialising, I hope to get back up to date on a number of different issues and have a little bash at blogging a bit about conference.

The Co-operative Party doesn’t get a great deal of attention in the national media but it remains the fourth largest political party in Britain. This year is particularly important as it marks the 90th Anniversary of the founding of the Co-operative Party. I enjoy the Co-operative Party Conference, it tends to be more policy orientated and I’ll try to cover a few of the debates on the blog if I can, you never know they may have net access in the conference hall.

On a personal note it feels strange to be leaving Mrs Penguin alone for a few days. I don’t go away much but I’m actually looking forward to a slight change of scenery – if exchanging living in the second largest urban area in the country for the largest can be truly considered a change of scenery.

On a side note, she won’t be lonely, looks like we’ve got another mouse in the house. Mrs Penguin mentioned that she thought she heard something the other day but it wasn’t until yesterday when I noticed a distinctly nibbled packet of Ginger Nuts on my desk that I believed her. Anyway, last night I spotted the little bugger so definitely a mouse, thankfully not a rat but unlike the last one, this one’s cheaky. He’s going for everything and is so noisy he actually woke me up at 4.00am rustling about. Must devise a method of catching him.

That bit of news I mentioned yesterday

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a bit of news that if it was confirmed would make me very happy.

Well today it’s been pretty much confirmed. Mrs Penguin did a second pregnancy test and it was positive like the one yesterday. On top of that she’s feeling sick and has no appetite for chocolate that probably is more of a reliable indicator than any test from the chemist.

Strangely I feel quite relaxed about it. First time around I worried quite a bit, mainly about making sure we got all the various bits of paraphernalia that go with having children. We’ve got all that now and apart from doing some rather major, not to mention expensive work on the house to accommodate a larger family, things seem rather sanguine.

We’ve even sorted out the names already so there’s hardly anything to think about. I just hope the next nine months go by quite quickly really.

Got one

It’s taken a while, been truly frustrating that such a simple bit of kit isn’t readily available from the likes of B&Q or Homebase but while on holiday in Germany I picked up one of these.


It’s a rainwater diverter that simply fits into the down pipe and diverts rainwater via a hose to wherever you want it. When I’d first been perusing the guttering/piping section in the local DIY store I’d completely missed them but after having another good look they were staring me in the face all along and 16 EUR later I’m finally the proud owner of one.

It is interesting to compare the easy availability not to mention difference in price of such environmentally friendly bit of kit in Germany compared to the UK. I had a commitment to a certain project of which I’ll do a proper write up another time but finding the various elements has not necessarily been easy. I would hazard a guess that German society is simply more geared towards a market of consumers who do undertake such projects to save energy and resources.

In some ways that is a sad indication of how far we have to go in the UK to changing our living habits to conserve the environment around us. However is this a case of the market not responding to demand or the demand not being there in the first place? In my case the demand was there but the market supply wasn’t. I was lucky enough to just happen to be in Germany and have the ability to pick up the specific item that I wanted but that’s not an option for everyone.

Lets just hope now that the rainwater diverter fits. I haven’t measured the pipe yet but it looks about right and I’m sure I can fiddle it if I have to.