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Friday, April 15, 2005


Watching BBC's question time last night (Thurs 14th Ap) a member of the audience mentioned the recent Birmingham Vote Case. He was incidentally an Asian gentleman for those who say this vote fraud is all because immigrants don't live up to our high standards.

The response from Mr Dimbleby was to say "I don't want to discuss this, we have a question about it later - but I don't think we will have time to get round to it."

A few years back I was in the audience for a question time (I didn't get to speak) so I know how questions are arranged. We all get handed a list of things they want us to ask about & while we are all perfectly free to put questions the BBC haven't chosen they are unlikely to, & in this case didn't, choose them. Indeed it went a little further. There were 2 subjects on which nobody in the audience obliged. It was the week Jamie Bulger's killers were released & the popular press were expressing their synthetic shock & horror - I think it quite impressive that the audience ignored this but Mr Dimbleby, very much in the manner of a schoolmaster complaining about late homework, allowed us another chance. The other one was about Charles' having said that wanted to be "Defender of Faiths" & how would this affect his role as head of the Church of England - somebody must have finally twigged that this could not credibly be put forward as being of the remotest interest to us Glaswegians.

The point being that the BBC deliberately set the agenda here & so they must have quite deliberately decided to keep any discussion of the Birmingham Vote Fraud scandal & it's role in the election, a matter which can hardly be underestimated by anybody that believes in democracy, out of the discussion.

Incidentally the Question Time programme came from Birmingham.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Not a story sufficiently important to get serious reporting here but this may turn out to be one of the major world events this decade. China & India are not formally allying but they are clearly going to work together & together they are very powerful. Both countries are growing at about 10% & both economies are already in 2nd & 4th place in the world's economies.
China and India have agreed to establish a “strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity” between them, according to a joint statement signed by premiers of the two countries in New Delhi Monday.

The statement, signed by visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said that the two premiers agreed that China-India relations have now acquired a “global and strategic character.”

Wen is paying an official visit to India from April 9 to 12 at Singh’s invitation, the last leg of his four south Asian nation tour which has also taken him to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“The leaders of the two countries have, therefore, agreed to establish a China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity,” the statement said.

As two large developing countries, China and India were both aware of each other’s important role in the process of promoting the establishment of a new international political and economic order, it said.

The statement noted that the two sides are supportive of democratization of international relations and multilateralism, stand for the establishment of a new international political and economic order that is fair, rational, equal and mutually beneficial, and promote North-South Dialogue and South-South Cooperation.

They agreed in the statement that reform of the United Nations should be comprehensive and multi-faceted and should put emphasis on an increase in the representation of developing countries.

In full.The US may still be able to bully arabs & the Europeans condemn them for bullying when it isn't to support ex-Nazi Germany but the "world's policeman" just lost half his beat.

Monday, April 11, 2005


I ran across this through the Jerry Pournelle site.
A very large number of successful women without children in their 40s regret it. At which time it is to late.
Listen to a successful woman discuss her failure to bear a child, and the grief comes in layers of bitterness and regret. This was supposed to be the easy part, right? Not like getting into Harvard. Not like making partner. The baby was to be Mother Nature's gift. Anyone can do it; high school dropouts stroll through the mall with their babies in a Snugli. What can be so hard, especially for a Mistress of the Universe, with modern medical science devoted to resetting the biological clock? "I remember sitting in the clinic waiting room," recalls a woman who ran the infertility marathon, "and a woman-she was in her mid-40s and had tried everything to get pregnant told me that one of the doctors had glanced at her chart and said, 'What are you doing here? You are wasting your time.' It was so cruel. She was holding out for that one last glimpse of hope. How horrible was it to shoot that hope down?"

The manner was cold, but the message was clear and devastating. "Those women who are at the top of their game could have had it all, children and career, if they wanted it," suggests Pamela Madsen, executive director of the American Infertility Associatio n (A.I.A.). "The problem was, nobody told them the truth about their bodies."

Basically a woman should get pregnant by not much past 25 or the odds of it happening drop fast & the combined odds of it happening without a miscarriage drop faster.


We have a society where people under 25 just don't have the financial resources (ain't paid off the mortgage) so having children is financially very difficult. No wonder we are suffering from a population decline, particularly among the educated. I am not generally in favour of a dependency culture but there is clearly a very good argument for society arranging it for people to be able to have children.

I suspect, though the article doesn't say so, that children born of older parents are not only more likely to miscarry but also to be handicapped. I remember once reading that the haemophilliac mutation that ran through Europe's royal families & played a major part in discrediting Tsardom, can be traced to Queen Victoria's father who fathered her in his forties (then fairly elderly)(Britain's royals were in danger of dying out so he was told to stop enjoying himself, get married & start fathering). This proves that us guys are not immune to this problem too.

And just to make things worse the law has just been changed so that donors for artificial insemination can no longer keep anonymity since the child has a right to know (& at some stage so may the CSA). As a consequence there are fewer donors. As a consequence they are seeking older donors. The child's right to be free of haemophilia is not a consideration.

The Law of Unintended Consequences is that there are always unintended consequences. It is one that all politicians with good intentions would do well to consider for anything they do.

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