Reevesey's recommended reading

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Ban Spanish cucumbers and all fresh produce as a precaution

There is a sense of irony with this story because whenever Britain gets a sniff of an outbreak, whether salmonella in eggs or mad cow disease in our beef other European countries ban our produce within minutes.

So, why does Spain think there is a sense of injustice with Germany over the 15 deaths and over 1,150 cases of suspected e-coli from Spanish cucumbers?

The response from Rosa Aguilar, the Spanish agriculture minister was;
"We want Germany to provide, without any delay and distractions, the necessary information of its investigation"
What utter crap, Spain should be working hand in hand with Germany to rule the cucumbers out if they are that confident, instead of getting on a high horse with such an arrogant attitude.

This would mean then that we would know whether the cucumbers are the cause of these tragic deaths.

I feel we must ban Spanish cucumbers until it is proven they are clear and we have to seriously consider banning all other Spanish produce.

Before you jump on me for being anti-European (which I'm not) just take a step back and imagine this was British cucumbers - there would have been a shut down across Europe, absolutely no doubt about it.

It is time for some sense in Europe, and I leave the last word to George Lyon MEP;
“With reports that deaths have been caused by produce contaminated with E.Coli outside of Germany there is a real possibility that some of this contaminated produce could be reaching British shores.

“The UK Government should call an immediate halt to all produce coming from Spain until test results can identify the exact source of the outbreak.

“As a precaution, we must take this action to limit any potential risk to British consumers.

“When we have a more detailed picture of events we can reevaluate the situation, but taking this precaution now will help to reassure anxious consumers.”
Some sense from a politician.  Now we need sense from the Spanish politicians.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Scottish Labour in turmoil as Malcolm Chisholm stands down from front bench

Just eleven days after Scottish Labour announced their new front bench team, they have been plunged into turmoil as Malcolm Chisholm resigns.

Malcolm Chisholm was their education and life long learning spokesman.

Malcolm Chisholm said he reconsidered his position after failing to be appointed by his party as convener of Holyrood's health committee.

A Labour spokesman said:

"Iain Gray asked Malcolm Chisholm to use his experience and ability in the shadow cabinet and he had agreed to do so.

"He has since reconsidered and changed his mind."

Ken Macintosh has taken his place as education spokesman while Patricia Ferguson becomes the culture spokeswoman.

Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Edinburgh Northern & Leith
This is Malcolm Chisholm's fourth resignation, the first back in 1997 was over child benefit cuts, then Iraq and in 2006 over trident which was a "matter of principle".

In 2006 Malcolm Chisholm was the Communities Minister and resigned from the Scottish government after voting with the SNP over the replacement of Trident.

He was one of four Labour members who supported the SNP's motion opposing the replacement of the nuclear submarines with up-to-date models.

Is this the end of Malcolm's front bench career and was the resignation just sour grapes?

Former Conservative peer Lord Taylor jailed for expenses fraud

Another one bites the dust.

This time a peer is jailed.

Basically, Lord Taylor lived in Ealing, West London but actually claimed his main residence was in fact in Oxford.  The property in Oxford was owned by his nephew.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges - saying had been told by senior peers it was normal practice to make false expenses claims - but was convicted in January.

His legal team argued that he should not face prison because, as a peer, his crimes were less serious than those of MPs found guilty over their expenses.

They said a custodial term would "destroy him", adding that: "Every fibre of Taylor is motivated by public service."

Lord Taylor claimed travel costs between the Oxford home and Westminster, as well as subsistence for staying in London between March 2006 and October 2007, Lord Taylor submitted six claims for overnight stays in Oxford and mileage to and from the property totalling £11,277.80.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Saunders said Lord Taylor had lied to journalists investigating his expenses and lied while giving evidence to the jury on oath during his trial.
He said: "The expenses scheme in the House of Lords was based on trust.

"Peers certified that their claims were accurate. They were not required to provide proof. It was considered that people who achieved a peerage could be relied on to be honest.

"Making false claims involved a breach of a high degree of trust.

"The expenses scandal has affected the standing not just of the House of Commons but also the House of Lords."
 Mr Justice Saunders is spot on when he says the whole expenses scandal has affected the standing of the Houses of Parliament.  It will take time for the public to trust politicians in the same way as they used to.

Although we should remember that it was a small minority who committed fraud with their expenses, but they have tainted the majority.

Monday 30 May 2011

"Football is not in a crisis, only some difficulties," says Sepp Blatter

Oh dear, as usual FIFA's President Sepp Blatter cannot see the wood for the trees.

This Wednesday FIFA will select its new President, however, there is now only one candidate, that is the current controversial President, one Joseph Sepp Blatter.

His opponent and the only rival candidate - Mohamed Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) - pulled out having been suspended by Fifa's own ethics committee over allegations that financial incentives were offered to Caribbean Football Union members.

So, on Saturday there was a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) press conference in Zurich, but only one person was present, El Presidente Blatter himself - you can see it here.

From BBC Sport:
"Football is not in a crisis, only some difficulties," said the Fifa president.

President Blatter brushed off suggestions, from the British government among others, that Wednesday's presidential election - for which he is the only candidate - should be suspended.

"If governments try to intervene then something is wrong," he said.

"I think Fifa is strong enough that we can deal with our problems inside Fifa."
Blatter then went on to discuss Saturday's Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United, played at Wembley stadium as an example of the sport's strength and insisted there would be no re-run of the controversial vote for the 2022 World Cup.

"If you see the final match of the Champions League you must applaud," he said.

"We are not in a crisis. We are only in some difficulties and these will be solved inside our family."
I am really sorry but this guy is on another planet, he also thinks that Wednesday's Presidential election should proceed despite the fact that he is now the only candidate, and is covered in controversy himself.
As well as Governments around the world getting involved, now the sponsors are wading in on the accusations and arguments that are surrounding FIFA, earlier today, two of Fifa's largest sponsors - Coca-Cola and Adidas - expressed concern at the widely publicised in-fighting.

"The current allegations being raised are distressing and bad for the sport," said a Coca-Cola spokesperson.

"We have every expectation that Fifa will resolve this situation in an expedient and thorough manner."

An Adidas spokesman said: "The negative tenor of the public debate around Fifa at the moment is neither good for football nor for Fifa and its partners."
FIFAs Vice President, Jack Warner is now mired in controversy himself.

This constant stream of rows, accusations of fraud, corruption and controversy divert away from what FIFA should be representing, grassroots football.

One line of their mission statement did make me laugh - Our core values of authenticity, unity, performance and integrity are at the very heart of who we are.

If Sepp Blatter believed any of the words above then he would suspend the Presidential election immediately, resign, ensure the Executive Committee also resigned to clear all of the allegations and then run new elections for President and Executive Committee - where no-one accused of any corruption or wrong doing should re-stand.

To read an alternative view, read G's spot - FIFA’s mafia family goes to war.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

A day out in Portobello on the beach

Caron Lindsay will be proud as well as slightly annoyed, sitting there going, told you so.

I am on three days annual leave starting today, but true to form, I started by going into the office for 90 minutes to finish some bits off that needed to be done and I have answered a few emails during the day.

Once I had finished I walked back to Princes Street via a few shops and then decided to catch the first bus that came to the nearest bus stop and see where that took me.

So, a 26 bus was first so I hopped on and read the Metro and decided to jump off at Portobello, somewhere I have never been to in my 3 years in Edinburgh (yes, 3 years on Tuesday next week).

To the right of the post in the water, in the centre of the picture is a blob in the water, that is in fact a man swimming in the freezing water.

Portobello is a beach resort located three miles to the east of the city centre of Edinburgh, along the coast of the Firth of Forth.

The area was originally known as Figgate Muir, an expanse of moorland through which the Figgate Burn flowed from Duddingston Loch to the sea, with a broad sandy beach on the Firth of Forth.

The name Figgate was thought to come from the Saxon term for "cow's ditch", and the land was used as pasture by the monks of Holyrood Abbey. In 1296 William Wallace mustered forces on the moor in a campaign that led to the Battle of Dunbar, and in 1650 the moor was the supposed scene of a secret meeting between Oliver Cromwell and Scottish leaders.

A report from 1661 describes a race in which twelve browster-wives ran from the Burn (recorded as the Thicket Burn) to the top of Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh.

Monday 23 May 2011

Edinburgh Capitals aim for Elite League ice hockey with new sponsor

Despite a torrid season and many promises from the Edinburgh Capitals (Edinburgh's ice hockey team, based at Murrayfield), none of which were forthcoming, there is hope for next season and currently it does look as if the Caps will be playing in the Elite league once again.

However, as I said, last seasons promises were not forthcoming so I am not holding my breath this time.

As usual news from the club has been quiet.

In fact, just two news stories of any substance.

The first being the welcome return of Keith Butland, who will once again head up PR and Communications.  I really hope this includes the website, although I've offered to Scott Neil that a friend of mine is happy to re-design the website at no cost, I never got a reply.  Perhaps I will contact Keith.

The second story, announced yesterday was that the Edinburgh Capitals have agreed terms for a brand new sponsorship deal with Crest SportsGroup.

From the Caps website:

The Crest SportsGroup LLP is a consulting and investment firm operating in the professional sports industry, focusing on the business side of professional sports.

Kai Isaksen, Crest SportsGroup, said, "Crest SportsGroup see great potential for ice hockey in Edinburgh in general, and Edinburgh Capitals in particular, and we are happy to get involved. In addition to financial value, we bring a large network of contacts and extensive experience, and we aim to use this to help Capitals develop further as a club."

Craig Henderson, Crest SportsGroup UK Senior Partner, commented, "We are impressed by what Mr. Neil has built over these years, and look forward to working with him to develop the Capitals brand even further. We hope to use our involvement to develop new methodology and concepts for sponsorship in ice hockey.

"We are confident the problems experienced by the Capitals last season are now sorted and we look forward to a good season for the Capitals in the Elite League. By signing up for a sponsorship agreement this early, we hope to contribute to bringing back the enthusiasm surrounding the club, from sponsors and fans. This is the time to stand up for the club we support, and we hope many will join us in making firm commitments to the club."

Edinburgh Capitals General Manager, Scott Neil, said, "I am delighted to have secured sponsorship and professional assitance and advice from Crest SportsGroup and view this relationship as a vital mechanism in developing the club in order to compete long term. We have already discussed many interesting avenues that may take time to deliver but certainly have exciting potential for the team to become a top competitor in the Elite League."

This does sound great news, but nowhere does it say whether this is the clubs main sponsor for next season, or whether this is just a secondary sponsor.

When will the club start sending out season ticket requests?

I do with that Scott Neil would learn to use the media and website better for communication, rumours wouldn't happen as much if he did.
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