Who messed up the Software ???


A lot of water under that bridge

The media world is all of a twitter over the appointment of Royal Mails’ Adam Crozier to the arch poison chalice known as the long-vacant chief executive role at ITV plc and just as commentators are taking in the news and ageing television anchors/presenters are tweaking CV’s and dusting off the audition tapes, [Ed: They call them video files Julian !] headshot photographs, possibly taken a few years back when nature was kinder, is the jolly suggestion that Allan Leighton, the former chairman of Royal Mail, might have had a hand in the process.

Whilst ex-ASDA supremo Archie Norman, chairman of ITV, maintains in public the search for the CEO was both global in outlook and thorough in process, he did have to contend with an oddball board including an outed banker; it all seems strange to some that Crozier was appointed at the Royal Mail by Leighton, while Leighton himself previously worked for Norman at Asda.

Thomson Reuters Foundation launches free information service for disaster-struck Haitians

Thomson Reuters Foundation launches free information service for disaster-struck Haitians

* Thomson Reuters Foundation puts in place first-of-its-kind Emergency Information Service (EIS) in Haiti

* EIS provides practical, reliable information to earthquake survivors, using local languages French and Creole

* The service is free and global. People can register via a simple text message. Families and friends around the world can also register loved ones' numbers on their behalf

* Survivors will receive critical news and information direct to their mobile phones

PORT AU PRINCE, Jan 17  - Thomson Reuters Foundation on Sunday launched a first-of-its kind, free disaster-information service for the people of Haiti.

The service allows survivors of Haiti's earthquake to receive critical information by text message directly to their phones, free of charge.

To register, survivors simply text their location to the SMS shortcode 4636. By return, up-to-date, reliable, actionable information will be sent to them wherever they are in Haiti, helping them to reach shelter, aid and loved ones. The service will cost them nothing.

.Haiti – The Gift of Hindsight and a Plea to The White House


Haiti – The Gift of Hindsight and a Plea to The White House

Its too late to put this all in place for the damned of Haiti (because that is what they are), deprived of the basic essentials of life, water, food, shelter and medical assistance.

Yes money is being raised all over the world and teams of reporters around the clock show us the aircraft landing and taking off. They also show us pictures of neatly stacked sacks of flour and rice. Hey hold on a minute…neatly stacked sacks of flour and rice? Precisely my reaction.

Wozzaaaaaa..... Organic ready meals indeed...

Wozzaaaaaa..... Organic ready meals indeed...

Anthony Worroll Thompson, the rotund chef and more off than on telly star, was somewhile back in the 1970's a chef at Brinkleys Restaurant in Hollywood Road. just off the Fulham Road, Chelsea London SW10.  

With the owners of Jakes opposite, and my own wine bar in the Fulham Road (Brays !)..we amassed a pile of luncheon vouchers, every so often we'd have a mega blow out lunch at some unsuspecting watering hole and pay for the lot in piles and piles of luncheon vouchers. 

Golden Globes Ricky Gervais Hosting ...


As a bit of light relief  from politics and the hellhole of Haiti, Ricky Gervais openede the annual Hollywood bunfight the Golden Globes last night.....



Haiti disaster donations TOP £2 MILLION after 36 hours and reach £12 MILLION by Sunday 17th .

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in the UK announced on Friday 15th 2010 that online donations to the Haiti earthquake appeal hit £2 million in 36 hours and reached £12 MILLION by Sunday 17th January.

The initial sums were raised before the first radio and television appeals by the DEC and mark an unprecedented response to DEC online fundraising.

The DEC appeal was made public with a message on Twitter that has spread through social networks and been helped by high-profile endorsements including from Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Queen has also given privately to the DEC appeal. 

Prime Mentalist? Fact is stranger than fiction....

The excellent blogsite Dizzy Thinks has come up with further evidence on the state of Gordon Browns mental and medical state, perhaps it is now time for Cameron to take the gloves off and demand on behlf of us all that Gordon Brown produces the results of an A1 insurance pre-qualification medical examination? The type prospective public companies and footballers must undergo before being confirmed in any appointment.

From Dizzy Thinks  http://dizzythinks.net  (Sunday, January 17, 2010)

Hello and hello again - Brown's short term memory issues

That Gordon Brown is a social misanthrope who comes across as a bit weird sometimes is not exactly new news, but today's serialisation of Peter Watt's book in the Mail on Sunday has a decent tale of how bad it can get. The following is a recollection of what took place just after the "Curry House Plot" (my emphasis added).

Just how bad is it in the UK?

Just don't mention the War!

As matters stand the UK is in big trouble, a deadbeat serially useless Government, hanging on by its fingertips until the next general election is declared, it has to be before June 2010 at the latest but I still think an early snap date of March 25th is on the cards!

We are fighting a war in Afghanistan no one wants, with brave almost super human troops that are ill equipped and driven to the limits of human endurance.

We have a a selection of British Government ministers with little or no experience of commercial life and a public service broadcaster which thinks it is completing with allcomers for the best on screen talent, when in reality many people would willingly throw their lot in with the publicly funded (through a mandatory licence fee) BBC for very little money.

The fact being that commercial TV is short of cash, the BBC is constantly bidding against jtself for talent, at home on rival services, this just pushes up the cost for no valid reason.  

Things are little better in the USA. We all had great hopes for President Obama, but the system seems to be wearing him down. He needs a wake ip call and good people he can rely on. He's not there yet!

But I started with how bad will it get for the UK? Let me put it this way an iceberg is directly in the way of our state of the art ship.

You could say  There  Is  Trouble  Ahead   Nothing  Is  Complete ,the memonic is simply TITANIC!" Man the life boats, Politicans and spin doctors first, sharks respect them so won't be copming anywhere near the rest of us bobbing up and down in the freezing water!  Oh did I say a rapid thaw and flash flooding is on ther way? No, I thought not! 
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Hoon & Hewitt call for Secret Ballot on Brown Leadership

Common House?

Hoon & Hewitt call for Secret Ballot on Gordon Browns' Leadership

So where do we go from here? I tweeted on Tuesday 5th January 2010 that 2 ministers would mount a leadership challenge within two weeks. Number 10 “spooks” who routinely monitor my tweets and the Brays Duckhouse Blog would be looking for evidence to put together with their other investigations.

Elsewhere the equally closely monitored and excellent Guido Fawkes ( www.order-order.com ) mused that a ministerial resignation was in the air.

Earlier today, Prime Ministers Questions had just finished when the Hoon/Hewitt e-mail to Labourt MP’s was released, within minutes Andrew Neal live on the Daily Politics had it and a very uncomfortable Nick Robinson who had earlier rubbished all such talk and posturing as mere cyber tittle tattle.  Oh Dear Nick!

Sky News carried it and the “Ugly Sisters” Hewitt and Becket were soon doing pieces to camera whilst “Baron Hardup” Hoon was holding forth elsewhere.

The letter is reproduced in full elsewhere in this blog, calling for a secret PLP members ballot.

I have to say it won’t happen the way they desire, as there are party rules for votes and the time isn’t there. But what this all may do is bring forward the date of the election and March 25th is in my view still looking very much stronger.

However Jack Straw in a TV interview let slip that it's sixteen weeks away and that would take us to early May. Jack has been around the block a few times and could just be putting up a false trail...

Baron Hardup “Hoon” has however given the Tories an amazing leg up and if March 25th is the date for the General Election, the Tories can expect an 8-10 percent gain on today’s events alone.

It could however easily play into Gordon Browns hands; as an early snap election date would enable the longer term campaign finances to be concentrated into an all or bust dynamic election campaign.

Clearly the Tories will have booked media, poster sites and other merchandising with a run up to a June date. Calling it at the last minute for March 25th will certainly wrongfoot the anti-Broon camp and leave the Tories with just a half strength election campaign.

As to the future, Broon will now soldier on, possibly calling an early Election basically to get it all over and done with.

I am reliably informed there is nothing to be gained by linking or crediting “Happy Days -The Fonz” American actor Henry Winkler (who just happened to slip into No.10 at the same time, with something bigger) he was simply supporting Mrs Brown, but might have given our Gordon a few make-up tips as clearly the slapstick Gordon is currently enjoying can ruin anyone’s make-up and stress can seriously damage mental health. That question is still awaiting a full medical answer, whcih should be fully addreessed before the Election - but it won't... 

You decide! 24 hours is a lifetime in politics…

LONDON (Reuters) - Two former cabinet ministers have called for a secret ballot to decide if Prime Minister Gordon Brown should lead the Labour Party into an election by June, British media reported on Wednesday.

Below is the text of an email sent by Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt to members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), as published on the Sky News website.

House of Commons
London SW1

Dear Colleague,

As we move towards a General Election it remains the case that the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply divided over the question of the leadership. Many colleagues have expressed their frustration at the way in which this question is affecting our political performance.

We have therefore come to the conclusion that the only way to resolve this issue would be to allow every member to express their view in a secret ballot.

This could be done quickly and with minimum disruption to the work of MPs and the Government. Whatever the outcome the whole of the party could then go forward, knowing that this matter had been sorted out once and for all.

Strong supporters of the Prime Minister should have no difficulty in backing this approach. There is a risk otherwise that the persistent background briefing and grumbling could continue up to and possibly through the election campaign, affecting our ability to concentrate all of our energies on getting our real message across.

Equally those who want change, should they lose such a vote, would be expected by the majority of the PLP to devote all of their efforts to winning the election. The implications of such a vote would be clear - everyone would be bound to support the result.

This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest. The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited. It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target.

In what will inevitably be a difficult and demanding election campaign, we must have a determined and united parliamentary party. It is our job to lead the fight against our political opponents. We can only do that if we resolve these distractions. We hope that you will support this proposal.

Yours fraternally,

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt
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Combatting Medical shortages in Africa by mobile phone! #stockout

Having been so depressed over the events of the last year and still unable to complete an entertaining and upbeat review of 2009; this twitter link caught my eye and on the back of the #UKsnow spat and ritual waving of handbags with @benmarsh, this seems to be a very sensible and worthwhile use of the mapping process.

Perhaps Ben Marsh and his posse of developers can get involved and really make a worldwide difference?  Simply the door has been opened and with a bit of hyper software development; the cyber anoracs will more than redeem themselves (well in my eyes anyway) and justly change this sorry battered world we live in where countless millions havea daily struggle to survive and still in 2010 have no access to clean potable water!

The piece by Oxfams Duncan Green, taking out the politics, really says it all and having read it you will understand the only downside is the main shortage of drugs seems to be in the Capital of Uganda, Kampala where I spent a blissful couple of years back in the mid 1960's - before Amin came to power and butchered many of my friends, I left behind in that once ideallic country. 

The Ugandan Asians (imported four generations earlier, by the British colonial rulers to build the East African Railway) obviously were still resident and basically running the country whilst not to their credit, remitting countless millions of hard currency back to the wider family in India, the (Indian) Bank of Baroda had a huge branch right next to the newly created Bank of Uganda. No contest!

The tweet:

@CharlieBeckett on Twitter

Do you think this stuff works?: Using mobile phones to combat medicine shortages in Africa by Oxfam's Duncan Green  


Using mobile phones to combat medicine shortages in Africa [ January 4th, 2010 ]

Most of the coverage (and hype) around mobile phones and development is based on their potential to improve access to markets for small farmers, especially those in remote areas. But mobiles, which are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in most poor countries (like a kind of technological Coca Cola), have some real possibilities for those campaigning on access to essential services such as healthcare, according to an article by Ken Banks.

The “Stop Stock-Outs” campaign is based around a little-known, but devastating, problem. Medicine stock-outs — where local clinics and pharmacies run out of high-demand, crucial medicines — are a potentially lethal problem in a number of African countries, yet governments insist they don’t occur. The team behind the project set out to find a solution and asked themselves, ”What could be more powerful than a map which contradicts these government claims?”

Last year, activists in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia started surveying clinics in their respective countries, checking stock levels of essential medicines. These included first-line antimalarials, zinc tablets, penicillin, first-line anti-retrovirals (ARVs) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and diarrhoea medication. Each of these medicines is widely used in the four countries.

After visiting clinics and pharmacies, activists reported their results using their mobile phones through structured, coded text messages (SMS) – “x,y,z” – where the first number represented their country code (Kenya, Malawi, Uganda or Zambia), the second their district or city, and the third the medicine which they found to be out of stock.

The messages were then visually displayed on an online map, showing specific reports by location and building up “hot spots” of activity. In the case of the “Stop Stock-Outs” campaign, the bigger the hotspot the greater the number of stock-outs, and the greater the problem in that area.Within the first week alone, the team collected reports of 250 stock-outs of essential medicines in their four target countries.

Because incoming data automatically populates the map, it represents an almost real-time picture of stock-outs.

After a successful launch and a week piloting the service, the “stock-out SMS number” has been distributed to medicine users throughout each country so that anyone with a mobile phone can send in a stock-out report. However, unlike reports from official, known data collectors, these messages will firstly be checked by staff at Health Action International before being posted up on the map. Then the government can’t deny it’s happening and the public pressure can really start.

Julian Bray comments:

So concludes Duncan Greens article but I really think he is missing the point here. If overseas aid and other forms of arms length support, was tied in to positive results as proven by this form of mapping, not just drugs but all aspects where financial aid is supposed to be applied, not only would it demonstrate value for money in the distribution of resources but could also be applied to say confidential reporting of the location of Taliban hostiles, potential aircraft bomb threats, lax airport security, domestic violence, crap social services, battered and abused children and so on. 

Keying in results to the provision of resources will effectively revitalise the black art of financial Overseas Aid support and support services generally. Just imagine if Duncan and Ben had got togther and created a whistleblowing mapping application for the Banksters? Gordon Brown instead of looking like a candidate for Gods waiting room, would still have an extra £170 billion in the kitty and at least a possible chance of winning the upcoming General Election... but that apart a worldwide collaboration applied to a variety of pressing matters could well ensure IMPORTANT LIFE THREATENING issues are fully reported and publicly outed before they reach a critical stage or corrupt managers, ministers, banksters and so on, are able to errect smokescreens, hide duckhouses, or brief against the subject under review.

All that remains is to wish you and your family, a very Happy New Year and at least something very positive has finally been revealed during the lacklustre 2009! I no longer feel the need to write the annual review this to my mind is far more important Ben Marsh and Co the ball is very much in your court... get tapping on your Amstrads, no time to lose! Even a hashtag #stockout on twitter. The possibilities are endless..
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