Logo-ing it out!

Well, after the Bosworth Conservative Future bloggers got themselve into a bit of a pickle by putting out a Tory logo creator that went awfully wrong, some examples of it here, and then quickly pulling it, the Go Fourth bunch have decided to allow us to keep up having some fun for a while longer with their own logo generator.

Go on, give it a go, you know you want to.

Bus wars

When the so called atheist bus took the streets a few months ago many people felt that the word ‘probably’ was redundant.

In their website the campaigners explained that the Committee of Advertising Practice advised the campaign that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code”.

Now, this would be fine if wasn’t because the new ‘Christian’ buses that are popping out all  over London these days seem to not be following the same prerequisite. In fact some of these ‘Christian’ buses are calling atheists fools and claims in others cannot actually been proven.

And so I ask myself, why does the Advertisement Standards Agency have such a double standard in this case?


Over the past few years there have been a number of initiatives on institutional transparency – FOI legislation, expenses reporting – that together with greater administrative decentralisation have helped increase accountability in the political system.

Having said this, sleaze is making a comeback which means that we need to up our game once more to continue to enforce honesty in our political system. And with the arrival of web 2.0 we are better equipped than ever to do so.

This week I have come across a fantastic initiative from Sunlight Labs, an American organisation for the advancement of institutional transparency. It’s called LittleSis, an online application that combines facebook-like functionality with Wikipedia-like user editing.

Using LittleSis, any user can edit information in the site and profile those in power. The site focuses on 3 main factors about an individual:  Relationships (which includes Business/Government positions, other memberships, education and donation/grant recipients), Interlocks (people in common organisations), Giving (who they’ve donated to, as well as other individuals that have given to the same recipients) and the basic personal information.

The intiative has a number of challenges ahead of itself obviously, principally anyone could spread a false rumour about a public figure or organisation, but certainly it has a lot of potential to bring public accountablity to the forefront of British politics once and for all.

Web 2.0 has given us greater interaction between our politicians and the people, now applications like LittleSis could provide for a second key requirement for regenerating political life, transparency and accountability.

Hat-tip: Wikinomics

‘What you won’t hear from me this week is the sort of easy cheap lines beating up on the market system, bashing financiers, tt might get you some easy headlines, but it is not going to pay a single mortgage, it’s not going to save a single job’ – David Cameron, 28 September 2008

‘The Government seems to have done absolutely nothing about it and yet the bonus season and the results season is now upon us’ – David Cameron, 9 September 2008

Clear isn’t it?


Got to love the internet…want to create your own bus slogan, ‘atheist style’?

Then click here and have some fun! Absolutely brilliant…


A couple of months ago I blogged about the Guernica painting by Picasso, a symbol of civilian suffering during armed conflicts. Well, now you don’t need me to tell you about it anymore because the Grauniad is reporting that the painting will be coming to London soon!

After this past month’s conflict in Gaza I believe the Guernica’s symbolism becomes even more relevant today and I would recommend everyone reading Forgesian Thinking to go see it, it certainly is an experience not to be missed.

Details are not out yet as to when and where it will be exhibited but I shall keep you all posted as soon as I find out.

The Daley spin

Sometimes I just don’t know if Iain Dale simply loves spinning or he writes the most outrageous posts just to fill in his blog more than once everyday…

Either way have a look at his post yesterday:

‘Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington’ – President Obama, 21 January 2009 

Can you imagine Gordon Brown saying anything similar? No, thought not.

Err, Mr Dale, Obama was talking about freezing Top White House salaries that range from $400,000 for the president to $172,200 for senior aides such as the chief of staff and press secretary, something Brown has already done in the UK. On the other hand he is preparing a fiscal stimulus of between $775bn and $1000bn. So he is spending public money to jump-start the economy, again, as Gordon Brown has done in the UK. Even Angela Merkel in Germany has gone for further public spending.

It seems to me the only ones left behind on fiscal stimulus are the Tories. So if you are going to spin anything at any cost Mr Dale, at least don’t be so blantantly simplistic in your argumentation.

Not did they just run against each other for the Tory leadership in 2005 and disagree on Europe, VAT cuts and their approach to the economic crisis, Cameron’s new found pal, Kenneth ‘big beast’ Clarke, was also responsible for the firing of the current Tory leader in 1993 from his post as special advisor to the Chancellor.

Oh well, desperate times call for desperate measures I guess…

If your own shadow Chancellor cannot take on the government in the middle of a daunting economic crisis I guess bringing into your team the leading critic of your economic policy strategy who fifteen years ago thought you weren’t up to the job just so your party can get a sit on the grown-ups table is sensible enough.

Did anyone really think that Osborne could ever survive a direct confrontation with Brown and Mandelson or even Vince Cable? Afraid not, that’s what Clarke is there for, even if he disagrees with most of what his leader’s actually saying. Such is life…


As the expansion is given the green light by the DfT I cannot but amaze myself at the colourful coalition of people opposing it: John McDonnell, Boris Johnson, Emma Thompson, Zac Goldsmith…. So I thought that Forgesian Thinking should also add its two pence to the debate. So here we go…

I am supportive on the expansion on three accounts:

– If London is to continue to be a true global ‘meeting point’, Heathrow needs to remain one of the top three world airports. It is essential. If you fly into Amsterdam you are not going to then take a train to London, you’ll do your business there, plus they already speak very good English.

– Building a completely new airport somewhere else, another BBI (Brilliant Boris’ idea), would be very costly, you don’t need just the runway but also a terminal plus other servicing builidings and infrastructure. It also involves creating noise pollution in a completely different new area (I know this point is no consolation to Heathrow residents though).

– From a logistics point of view, it is more efficient to have on hub rather than several of them dispersed, plus less road pollution will be created. This is also true for passengers travelling from and to the airport.

The real issue about climate change is not about stopping Heathrow’s expansion. Heathrow’s flights are generally long distance flights, meaning you either fly or you simply can’t get to your destination. If climate change campaigners would like to make a real difference they should be focusing all their efforts on low-fare airlines and airports. Encouraging high-speed rail so short flights to Europe can be replaced by train journeys.

Heathrow is not an environmental issue but a local residents’ one. That is a fair fight. The spat today between Geoff Hoon and Emma Thompson best illustrates the not very convincing climate change argument.

As Hoon accused her of opposing the expansion while flying around the world as an actress, Thompson replied:

“Get a grip Geoff. This is not a campaign against flying – we’re trying to stop the expansion of Heathrow in the face of climate change.

“It sounds like the transport secretary has completely missed the point. Again.”

I don’t even know what that means. Flying produces climate change, one stops flying,  climate change is reduced, as simple as that. That is the problem with the climate change-base anti-expansion campaign, it’s trying to achieve the squaring of the circle. And Cameron’s Tory leadership is once more at its populist best encouraging the nonsense.