May Day

Today is May Day and also election day in London. Recent polls have shown alarmingly high support for Boris Johnson (or Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to use his full name — yes, really!). Much as I enjoy Johnson’s antics on Have I Got News For You, I ask how someone who could barely be … Continued

Privacy

Els despairs about some high-profile privacy and data protection gaffs in 2007 and asks can we still get some privacy in 2008?. Her use of the word “get” rather than “retain” is very telling — it’s not just a matter of retaining our current level of privacy, but of trying to claw back what we’ve … Continued

It’ll be in the Last Place You Look

Oops! The HMG (trading as Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) has misplaced the personal data of about 40% of the UK’s population, including 15 million children. There is “no evidence that it has fallen into the wrong hands”, but there is no evidence that it has not. This is the same government that plans for … Continued

USD/EUR Exchange Rate Graph

The chart above shows the fall of the US dollar against the Euro over the last eight years, with some key events in American politics and economics noted, which may or may not be seen as causes or effects of the falling dollar. Larger version – PNG Larger version – Gimp XCF Source: European Central … Continued

Belgium

A story that seems to have had surprisingly little coverage in the British media is the fact that for almost half a year, Belgium has had no official government. Since the elections of 10 June, no government has been able to form a working majority, despite a lot of effort from the Belgian royal family … Continued

The World in 2050?

Large PNG image Scalable SVG image I drew this map and wrote the skeleton of this article in November, but have only recently gotten around to finishing it… Empires The US is occasionally referred to as “the only remaining global superpower”. By 2050, I believe that it will still be a superpower, but that others … Continued

The End of an Era

Tony Blair is to step down as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, and it looks like he’ll soon be taking a job as Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds. He’ll also apparently moonlight as a Middle East peace envoy — in other news, outgoing Deputy PM John Prescott will be taking up a … Continued

Political Map of the UK

(Requires Javascript.) See below for an explanation on how these placements were calculated. UK-WideCountry-Specific (New) Labour Conservative Liberal Democrats Greens Respect Coalition UK Independence Party (UKIP) British National Party (BNP) Scottish National Party (SNP) Plaid Cymru Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Sinn Fein Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP) Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Alliance The Axes … Continued

BoJo on MySpace

The BBC on Politicians with MySpace pages: In the UK, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has registered on MySpace — and has an unofficial fan club page, “Proud to be a Minger”, with 161 members. Meanwhile, the Boris Johnson Appreciation Society, which recognises the shadow higher education minister as “the vital free agent of … Continued

The United (Welfare) States of America

Red E. Kilowatt wrote: The endless flood of new people who are living at or below the poverty level make overwhelming demands on local public services. […] We might as well put up a big neon sign at the border that says, “Come one, come all. You already have one. It says: Give me your … Continued