Wednesday 2 February 2011

Missing in action...

Figures on the number of computers lost and stolen were announced by the MoD rather quietly last night.

Over the year 2010 there were 12 computers lost and 9 stolen, 45 laptops lost and 76 stolen, 47 USB sticks lost and 3 stolen.

That’s a wopping 192 incidents in which potentially secret information went astray.

Don't have a cow man!

A piece of business on a controversial issue slipped through the House of Commons last night without being noticed.

It was a motion innocuously entitled European Union Document, but in fact it related to the use of genetically cloned animals for food production in Europe.

The nub of it is that the EU Commission has written a report recommending a ban or temporary suspension on cloning, the use of clones and the marketing of food from clones across Europe.

The Commission says this is needed because of “possible risks as regards food safety and the health and welfare of animals”.

Meanwhile the report says there are still issues to be sorted out in relation to the “ethical dimension, trade implications and the consumer's right to be informed about the production process”.

But last night’s motion, which passed through unopposed, saw Parliament supporting a Government call that any sort of ban would be “disproportionate”.

In other words both the Government and Parliament now officially agree that it should be all systems go on using clones in food production – reckon there may be a few MPs out there who aren’t so sure about that.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

War breaks out bewteen central and local gov

With local and central government both manoeuvring to avoid the blame for service cuts, open conflict between the two has been simmering for sometime.

The bullish Tory Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is the key player from the Government point of view and then there are several Labour council leaders setting themselves up to be the Derek Hatton of 2011.

One of them is Nottingham City Council’s Jon Collins who recently fired off a stunning attack at Pickles and Housing Minister Grant Shapps.

Collins’ outburst came after Pickles and Shapps pushed the council to publish details of all its expenditure above £500 on line – and in doing so highlighted several examples of council waste, taken from newspaper stories and FOI requests, which they said might have been avoided.

Refusing the demand, Collins said: “Grant Shapps is a fool. He’s risking his already risible reputation and fast becoming as big a buffoon as his boss Eric Pickles.

“Only such a fool would think he can attempt to discredit us with nothing more than half-witted and inaccurate headlines from the ever more partisan newspapers and selective extracts from FOI requests and expect to be taken seriously.

“He’s even more of a fool if he’s had civil servants trawling the internet to find these stories for him because that would mean he’s using public money and civil service time to help him make cheap political points – which is illegal - when he should be focussing on the housing brief that is, after all, his job.”

Don’t think Pickles is the type to take that kind of abuse lying down.