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Rugby League World Issue 402

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Member Since 19 Apr 2004
Online Last Active Today, 08:20 PM

#2997291 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by ckn on Today, 01:43 PM

We got a referendum on changing the voting system in this Parliament. That would have seemed unthinkable a decade earlier. It was flawed, it was rejected, but it happened. * We have a Coalition government. That would also have been unthinkable a decade earlier. It is also flawed, and likely to be rejected next year. The times are a' changing. The 'main' parties are winning fewer votes than ever, and the pressure for electoral reform at Westminster is only going to go in one direction, particularly if UKIP do well in terms of votes next year but win few seats and put Labour in power on a minority vote. The system has to change, it will change. I think that change will happen whatever Scotland decides, so I don't see breaking up the UK as worthwhile collateral damage.


* It's also worth remembering that the current leader of the Labour Party supported changing the voting system in that referendum.

We've seen firm promises from the party leaders about the extra powers for Scotland, then their MPs go on Twitter playing pantomime roles of "oh, no we won't".  We have the three main parties who make policy via focus groups made up from within the confines of the nicer parts of Greater London.  We have a Tory party lurching to the right to combat UKIP rather than treating them like the Scottish Tories do and laugh at them for being so ridiculous.  We have a Labour Party who have a promise to out-Tory the Tories on cutting benefits, not benefits fraud mind you, benefits.  We have a Lib Dem party that creates wonderful manifestos then abandons them with the first sniff at a ministerial pay packet.  We have Labour MPs in the north who couldn't care less about their constituencies because they think they have a job for life, at least the Tory constituencies can occasionally turf out those who really take the proverbial (e.g. that nice Mr Tim Yeo in my constituency).  I could go on...

#2997245 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by ckn on Today, 12:35 PM

Thinking of it all, the main reason why I'd vote Yes, if I had a vote, is what I've seen from the Scottish Parliament versus the Westminster rabble.  In Scotland, the Tories still get policies implemented despite being the 4th party and with a majority SNP in power, this is because the politicians there haven't descended into the bitter childishness of Westminster attitudes where the attitude to a vote depends on which side you're on.  It's not uncommon in Holyrood for the SNP and Labour to go toe-to-toe fighting over a new piece of legislation then come out with a compromise that gets a consensus vote, even though the SNP could just pretend they're in Westminster and batter through their own agenda with no thought or care for the others.  There's definitely a sense of barter in Scottish politics, the Tories agree to support certain things in return for some of their policies getting implemented and so on.  The SNP understand that they're in a majority now but that'll be seriously unlikely next time round so they're making it very plain to all that they're willing to play nicely with others if they get in a minority government.


I would hope that being the primary legislative power in a new Scotland wouldn't change that but only time will tell.  At least they'd be starting from a good position rather than the adversarial mess of Westminster.

#2997216 Rotherham

Posted by ckn on Today, 12:16 PM

And no back again. She was awarded six hundred and eighty thousand pounds because she could afford the very best lawyers.  £680k? The price of ineptitude, incompetence and irresponsibility.  The woman has absolutely no conscience.

An independent court with professional judges decided that the very public and prejudiced nature of her sacking along with the deliberate campaign of disinformation against her was worthy of this level of award because she became unemployable.  Also, how do you know she was inept, incompetent and irresponsible?  Because Balls and the media said so.  She was convicted by media without a fair chance to defend herself.  A proper 21st century witchhunt.


I'm fairly convinced that a properly convened disciplinary process would have dismissed her anyway, and for no monetary award at all, but that nice Mr Balls decided that he wanted to break the law by illegally dismissing her.  Every penny of that £680,000 should have come out of Balls' pay as it was his incompetence that caused it.

#2997202 A strip torn off the RFU

Posted by ckn on Today, 12:05 PM

The two really bloody annoying things about this are:


- The arrogance that the VC is an English symbol.  It's not.  Just because you're called the RFU does not mean you can assume it all relates to you.

- Then there's the cheapening of the VC by equating people being paid for providing sporting entertainment with those who have served their country in the most heroic circumstances.


On this one I'm certainly not sitting on the fence:  The entire RFU Committee who approved this can join the ranks of Inverdale in being given the Medal of Conspicuous Assclown Behaviour.

#2996667 Whisky

Posted by ckn on Yesterday, 01:34 PM

I am contemplating getting a bottle of Finlaggan Cask Strength as I can pick this up from Amazon for £37 delivered which seems good value for an Islay Whisky at 58% strength.


I've read the various reviews and speculations about where this originates but the general consensus seems to be that it is quite drinkable. Has anyone on here tried this and would you recommend it?

If you like Lagavulin, you'll like that one.  A bit less developed than Lagavulin but with a more meaty hit and longer aftertaste.


Edit:  tastes a bit under-aged for my liking, could have been doing with a few more years maturing.

#2996626 RU Law Trials - RFU Trials

Posted by ckn on Yesterday, 12:44 PM

Some new footage of the forthcoming changes to union laws, this one sponsored by the RFU.  Apparently it's to allow an increase in subtleties and nuances in the scrum


#2996585 Uninteresting Trivial Facts

Posted by ckn on Yesterday, 11:55 AM

I'm sitting on the balcony of my room overlooking the Naples Bay and Mount Vesuvius with a nice refreshing glass of wine while finally feeling in the right frame of mind to write some of my book.

#2995645 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by ckn on 15 September 2014 - 12:18 AM

Know a Scotsman?  Send him this and invite him to consider the consequences of a Yes vote.

#2993265 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by ckn on 11 September 2014 - 06:09 PM

One thing that annoyed me today... The RBS have said they'd move their legal HQ to London.  What if we don't want them down here?  They can stay up in Scotland with their shoddy banking practices that were one of the worst offenders in the recent banking scandals.  Let Scotland deal with them and bail them out if they go bang.


Can you imagine the papers if the RBS needed bailing out again from the BoE if Scotland did get independence?

#2992544 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by ckn on 10 September 2014 - 06:43 PM

Best comment I heard today on the news from someone on the streets:  "If we're better together, why isn't it better now?"

#2992480 The new European Commission

Posted by ckn on 10 September 2014 - 04:56 PM

It's only an issue for those with an agenda of their own and those who deliberately misunderstand how a modern system works.


A proper democratic system has three principle structures:  The legislature, the executive and the judiciary.  Each should have as much separation from the other as is possible to ensure the checks and balances are not corrupted.  The US is a good example of a system set up in such a way.  As is the EU.  Compare that to the constitutional ratbag system we have where we have an unelected upper house of the legislature as well as the executive being formed entirely of the legislature, the judiciary is at least a bit further away after the last Labour government removed the Lord Chancellor as a political appointee and member of the executive, it's still too much power in the hands of people without any real check or balance to hinder them from being utter Tories.


The current UK government has treated the entire EU Commission concept with contempt, they've named a relative nobody to the Commission most likely hoping that Juncker would give him a very junior role allowing them to rail at being put on the fringes.  Instead, Juncker gives the UK's Commissioner a real challenge, managing the financial services sector of the EU government.  If next year, the EU brings in any punitive taxes against the financial sector then Juncker will point at the UK Commissioner and say "it was one of your own people in charge!".  Quite clever thinking by Juncker really, outflanking Cameron yet again.  In fact, I think that it's harder to find any politician, except Gove, who hasn't outflanked Cameron this year.

#2990757 "And RU just keeps getting more and more popular"

Posted by ckn on 08 September 2014 - 12:54 PM

With the season underway now I've been invited to more than a few training sessions and briefings on the summer's antics.  I sat through one where London Referees' Society gave updates on their exchanges with India and other developing countries with an aim to improve officiating there.  This was matched by RFU funding for a number of other such jaunts around the world.  Then there's the IRB level where most of the world cup money goes into developing nations, all amateur nations at next year's RUWC will be fully funded to go professional for at least three months plus given access to top level coaching resources funded by the IRB.


RU might not be a world beater but it's not for lack of investment or effort.  I compare that with RL where the south of England and into Scotland are considered too far for development efforts.


As an aside, it does give me a wry smile occasionally seeing union paying an amateur nation to professionalise...

#2990751 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by ckn on 08 September 2014 - 12:46 PM

No, apparently they might have to postpone next year's UK general election to enable the independence legislation to be drafted and implemented.

I'll tell you what... the Scots can have the Queen and the rest of the royal family in return for us letting Scotland use the pound.  That's a fair trade...

#2990748 The NHS, an American's view

Posted by ckn on 08 September 2014 - 12:43 PM

I never mentioned foreigners. We have plenty of home grown wasters.

This excuse is often used by the HMRC and other massive institutions. I bet they would find a way to recoup it if it was their money going down the pan.

Without wanting to drag this off on a tangent, again, it's not exactly a secret that laws are written in such a wooly way to allow planned loopholes for political interests.  All the government would need to do is to pass a law that says they'll match the US policy of "you earn it here, you pay full tax on it here" and you instantly devastate the "tax planning" industry.  A small but very influential section of the country would go from paying under 20% tax to paying around 40-45% tax and they'd have nowhere really to go as most other countries have even stricter tax laws than us.


It says a lot that many US companies are moving their HQs to London rather than off-shore tax exiles because the UK taxation system is even cheaper.


I'm not saying tax everyone back to late 1970s levels but just match our peers in the G7 then we'll have more than enough money to fund a proper NHS.

#2990542 The NHS, an American's view

Posted by ckn on 08 September 2014 - 08:53 AM

 ... we're still paying for sponging immigrants.

Go to the south coast of Spain and ask the Spanish what they think of the sponging British immigrants, who are by and large retired people with the extra health issues of retired people, doing nothing but depleting Spanish tax revenues via medical care.


It's all swings and roundabouts.  Foreign countries provide British ex-pats probably just as much healthcare as we provide immigrants.  Plus most immigrants who come here want to work, with the taxes that come from working, while most of our emigrants are retired old people who just hoard their money in British accounts to avoid the higher taxation in their new homes.