Archive for June, 2010

June 27, 2010

>Two in a day must force Fifa to act

>I am not going to spend this post pointing out the arguments for and against television replays, because three hours of football, and two ridiculous incidents, have made the case  conclusively. 

The picture below, supplied by the Telegraph, shows just how far Frank Lampard’s shot was over the line. 


Following that debacle, Carlos Tevez scored a goal for Argentina while standing at least 3 miles offside, (I exaggerate only slightly).  During the  inevitable break in play 22 players, 4 officials, 2 managers, and a full stadium saw a replay conclusively showing the goal should not stand. The referee was impotent to react, and the goal stood. 

Both England and Mexico are now out of the World Cup.

Step back a little further and a quick TV replay would have stopped Thierry Henry cheating the Irish. That incident was nearly the tipping point, but still Sepp Blatter and his childish cronies held firm. They claim it is all part of the game.

We know human beings make errors, so why not counteract them? This continuing failure to modernise discredits football.While I totally accept that Ireland, England, and Mexico would have probably still lost those games, nobody actually knows. Goals change games, end of. 

After this world cup either technology must come in, or Sepp Blatter must go.

June 24, 2010

>You Gov Poll Commends Coalition budget to the House

>A poll for the Sun by YouGov has show widespread support for the Coalition’s budget, announced by Chancellor George Osborne on Tuesday.

The poll shows that 49% blame Labour most for the cuts contained in the “tough but fair” budget. Some 18% blame both Labour and the Coalition for the cuts, meaning in total 67% in total blame Labour to some degree. Furthermore, most think that the Coalition is best for  the economy.

The poll also shows that 82% support the cut in tax credits for families earning more than £40,000 a year, and 59% back the three-year freeze in child benefit rates

There is one significant, if unsurprising anomaly though: 54% oppose the increase of VAT rate to 20%.

 The poll is published and analysed on the Yougov website, and marks a significant show of support in the new Government.

Reading list:

June 23, 2010

>Today’s England Team

>There is no way England can play as badly today as they did on Wednesday…surely. We will qualify without much drama, and build on a slow start like the great teams always do…surely.

Well here’s hoping, this is the team I would have played:

James, Johnson, Terry, Upson*, A. Cole, Lennon, Barry, Gerrard, J. Cole, Rooney, Defoe

I am though hearing Joe Cole will not play which is disappointing. My prediction: England 2 Slovenia 0

Please feel free to post your teams/prediction etc in the comments box below.

Reading list:
The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer

*I obviously think Dawson should be in ahead of Upson but as Cappello confirmed this ridiculous decision a couple of days ago there seems no point fighting it!

June 23, 2010

>The June Budget’s Orange Flavour

>So now we know 

We know that that VAT will go up to 20%, we know that the income tax threshold will be raised by £1000, and we know that most Government department budgets will be reduced by 25%. There will also be changes to the welfare and benefits system, a reduction in corporation tax, as well as a levy on banks.

As someone involved in youth politics I also noted with interest the sale of the student loans book. Labour has buried graduates under a mountain of debt, and it is critical that this sale does not lead to interest being charged on student loans.

Most of it is not that pretty, but neither is the economic mess left behind by 13 years of Labour.

What became increasingly apparent as George Osbourne’s, surprisingly well delivered, budget speech progressed, is just how much influence Liberal Democrats have in the Coalition and its economic policy. There is now a 77/23 split in spending cuts and tax rises, when the Conservatives wanted 80/20, a not inconsiderable shift. The increase in the Income Tax threshold, and the ultimate aim of it being £10,000, is down to the Liberal Democrats. While many in the party are uncomfortable about the increased VAT rate and a small Capital Gains Tax increase, we should be pleased with the distinctly orange flavour this budget had. 

As the Coalition was formed many in the Liberal Democrats expressed fears that the Liberal Democrat voice would be suppressed, that the party would lose its identity. As Mark Thompson points out in an excellent post on his Mark Reckons blog, political times have changed and compromise is essential on the Government benches. I am aware that Bob Russell MP, a man who I have had the pleasure both of meeting and eating his chocolate, is rumoured to be voting against the budget as he campaigned against some of the things in it. 
While not everything we all campaigned on can come to pass, a lot more of it can be put in place than if we were in an unstable, discredited coalition with Labour, or if we were still sitting on the opposition benches.  

What You Should Know About Politics…But Don’t: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime
Politics for Dummies
Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think

June 22, 2010

>Full website launched


I have now launched a full website for my multimedia design work, where you can easily  view parts of my portfolio and get in touch with ideas for future projects. The work includes videos, soundtracks and social media-using new technology to produce high quality work, and a high quality message for a company or campaign.
The address is so please check it out. If you feel that the services could help your company or campaign feel free to get in touch via the form on the website or email

June 22, 2010

>This is Big Brother, please do not swear


Rejoice, summer is here. This is not due to the sun/rain combo weather we have been having, or the fact that I my flip flops and summer dresses are ready to go for a  holiday this weekend. No, simply I have heard the Paul Oakenfold scored Big Brother theme tune. Whatever you think of the programme, that piece of music will forever be synonymous with this time of year.

Anyway, 14 volunteers have gone into a house in Elstree tonight to be prodded, pushed and perused by the shows producers and the general public one last time. I don’t mind the original principle of Big Brother; a live TV experiment that become a cult hit, and then a worldwide phenomenon. Tonight though the journey from where the programme has come from to where it has ended up , just over a decade later, became painfully clear.  In Big Brother 1, which I am JUST old enough to remember, there were people. Normal people. People who were prepared to cheat to win. People who were just decent guys from Liverpool in red shorts.

Tonight we had a ridiculous combination of failed divas, failed supermodels, eccentric priests and lesbian cliches. Yet none of them were interesting. They may turn out to be, and no doubt I will keep watching as that is the genius of the programme, but nobody’s story really gripped me. More than ever they just seemed like bad stereotypes, mixed together to create a cocktail of bitching and backstabbing.

Had I been involved in Big Brother, I would have cancelled it after the previous series and gone out after a decade with a bang. They have tried to spice it up this year by having a spooky fairground theme and, finally, an official mole (the 14th housemate selected) but it may not be enough to leave this cultural phenomenon with its reputation anywhere near in tact.

June 22, 2010

>Review: Capital FM Summertime Ball


On Sunday Wembley stadium played host to a lot of 13 year old girls, their parents, and some of the biggest pop starts in the world.

Despite being one of the oldest people there not chaperoning a child, I thoroughly enjoyed the Capital FM Summertime Ball. You don’t normally get t0 see such a collection of artists, and although I certainly didn’t think a lot of everyone (yeah you Justin Bieber), there were some great performances.
The best thing about events such as this is you tend to enjoy people you were unsure about. So yesterday I particularly enjoyed Kesha and Pixie Lott, who in the case of the former was a bit of an unknown, and in the case of the latter was excellent and engaging. Scouting for Girls were also great, as they bounded through their ‘greatest hits’ and a song “that depending on how old you are is either by a band called Journey or from a tv show called Glee”.

You also tend to get some nice surprises. I had been particularly looking forward to Dizzee Rascal and he didn’t disappoint. Coming on with ‘Dirtee Disco’ and following up with ‘Holiday’ he had 70,000 in the palm of his hand. Then he started ‘Dirtee Cash’. When he  got to the chorus suddenly a voice appeared from the wings, and there stood the rather lovely Florence (and the Machine) Welch in full flow.Check out the video to see just how good they were. By the time he had blazed through ‘Bonkers’ my performance of the afternoon was sealed.

For team X-Factor Cheryl Cole, Alexandra Burke and JLs all put in sterling performances-with the ladies sporting some rather fabulous stage attire. I can’t go without mentioning Justin Bieber. I am clearly too old to have been struck down by Bieber fever, but the shrieks that occurred every time his name was mentioned were frankly ridiculous.  Please go away and do your homework Justin.

Rihanna was the headliner and she looked and sounded amazing. Far from being cynical about pop, I always enjoy big glammed up performances and Rihanna was an engaging performer with one hell of a voice. A great end to a very good afternoon.

Best performance: Dizzee Rascal
Worst performance: Justin Bieber
Surprise of the afternoon: Florence appearing with Dizzee, Will.I.Am jumping on stage with Usher
Best dressed: Alexandra Burke, Cheryl Cole
June 22, 2010

>Should have know better…

>This one always gets me, every time-Harriet Harman’s women in politics doctrines. Today she has decided that 50% of the Cabinet should be women. Great idea, I think at least 50% of the Cabinet should be women too, if there are enough capable women with the right experience to fulfill those roles. I also think society and political institutions should provide every opportunity for this to happen, but I don’t believe doctrine works, and makes men resentful of the talented women who rightly take places in Parliament (and business, the media and the rest…)

What is going to inspire women to get involved in politics more-seeing Lynne Featherstone and Sarah Teather’s hard fought fight to become ministers, or the patronsing parachuting in of women advocated in doctrines like this?
When you try and put this argument forward, particularly as a women, you are treated like a heathen. I’ll go back to and watch the Labour party being all progressive with their leadership battle between 3 white middle aged men now…

June 22, 2010

>First PMQs back


Prime Minister’s Questions wasn’t that inspiring today, so this won’t be a long post. The general feeling is that the new MPs, of which there are many, are far better behave than their predecessors.

Generally I thought the Prime Minister did well. He rightly trumped areas on which the Coalition agree and are making progress, and was honest about the areas on which the Liberal Democrats maintain their different opinion, for example the Human Rights Act and marriage tax allowance. It was also pleasing to see the Prime Minister and his deputy not hidden behind reams of notes and smug smiles. No sign of Ed Balls either, a marked improvement. I was delighted that proposals on an elected House of Lords and the Pupil Premium, key Liberal Democrat pledges, appeared so prominently. Let us hope that this is a sign that we are really getting our voice heard in Government.
Harriet Harman, now thankfully speaking from the opposition benches, put in a fairly weak performance after receiving praise for her contribution to the Queens speech debate. A very corney ‘on this, Nick agrees with me’ may have made the troops feel better, but didt little to boost her credibility. Her questions were not particularly probing either. It is obvious her only intention is to show perceived rifts within the Government. It will be interesting to see whether she remains Deputy Leader after the the Leadership election as I think Nick Clegg may have quite a good time against her during Deputy Prime Ministers Questions.

So a win for the Government today, and another test just about passed. Let us hope the end of ya-boo politics remains as well.

June 22, 2010

>Laws, Alexander, and trial by Telegraph


First of all I must apologise to all my followers on twitter (@charlotteahenry) for all my slightly hysterical tweets over the past 24 hours or so. The truth is I was so utterly disappointed by the demise of David Laws I couldn’t stop myself!

I consider Davis Laws an excellent, exceptionally intelligent, hard working MP and minister. Sadly, he clearly was so uncomfortable in his own skin that he broke some rules to cover himself. Let’s never forget that Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper cynically and deliberately made the same arrangement, with only financial gain in mind. They kept their front bench jobs.

Ironically, by making the arrangement he did, David Laws claimed less money than he could have and saved the tax payer money. I have said that David Laws resigned to maintain his integrity and have been mocked, mainly by Labour members/tweeters. He is without doubt a man of integrity as the motivation for this arrangement was not financial gain or greed but was a matter of personal privacy. For Labour members, the Telegraph, and assorted Coalition bashers question David Law’s integrity they is so very misguided. If he didn’t feel able to come out, that is his own personal choice and a stark reminder that even in these supposedly enlightened times coming out as a gay person is incredibly difficult and scary.

As for tonights Danny Alexander debacle I don’t know what to say…I havn’t had a chance to look into the intricacies so I won’t comment  in too much depth, but the case against Danny Alexander  at the moment seems to be very weak. It simply illustrates that this ring wing newspaper is determined to impose its agenda on the Coalition government to punish Cameron for working and compromising with the Liberal Democrats.
Personally, I was never massively exercised by the expenses scandal in the first place. Yes I thought many of the actions of MPs were entirely unacceptable, that the system needed serious reform, and I am pleased that a Government involving Liberal Democrats has firmly said they put these reforms into place. However, I don’t find politicians talking about themselves all that interesting. These stories are again different, not because they involved Lib Dems (although that is a novelty in the expenses scandal,) but because they have clearly been gleefully sat on, like time bombs primed to be let off to cause most damage. Our media should absolutely hold politicians to account, but they do no set the agenda. By behaving like this the Telegraph simply discredits itself and other newspapers. Next time there is an important story, nobody will be interested.

This ‘trial by Telegraph’ needs to end so that the Coalition can fix the expenses system, fix the economy  and be held to account, not ransom, by the media.

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