I have read this several times, but I still don’t understand. Aren’t all leading Conservative politicians in the UK also Tories?
By ANDREW GIMSON | Time Magazine | Monday, Apr. 16, 2012
Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are in crisis. To British eyes, the race for the Republican nomination looks like a disaster, with no consensus emerging about what a modern Republican party can offer. But U.K. Conservatives do not appear to have any solution to the ideological morass of their American cousins.
A cursory glance might lead you to another conclusion. That's because British Prime Minister David Cameron is nominally a Tory, and so is the country's other major Conservative political figure, London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Wikipedia has this to say:
Tory - Current Usage
In Britain after 1832 the Tory Party was replaced by the Conservative Party, and "Tory" has become shorthand for a member of the Conservative Party or for the party in general. Many Conservatives still call themselves "Tory" to differentiate themselves from opponents, and the term is common in the media.
Boris Johnson? All very well as London mayor (Boris or Ken – what a choice) but does anyone really seriously believe that he could become prime minister? Being tipped as a future party leader is pretty much a guarantee that it won’t happen.
The Sun really is a ridiculous newspaper. Their front page today has this nonsense about a ‘Brown Monday’:
DEFEATED Gordon Brown yesterday sparked fears of a City meltdown after trying to hijack a Tory-Lib Dem deal for a unity government.
His bid to rise from the dead by persuading the Lib Dems to prop him up raised the prospect of a stock market "Brown Monday".
World markets were expected to dump the Pound as the deadlock at Westminster continued to cause widespread political and financial chaos.
A deadline for coming to a coalition deal last night was missed - opening up the prospect of a massive wobble when the markets opened at 7am today.
Mr Brown made a desperate late bid to get the Lib Dems on side.
Despite claiming he was acting in the nation's interests, his meddling was not welcome by City experts as he threatened Nick Clegg's delicate talks with David Cameron.
City experts? Pah.. So how is the Pound? Here’s The Guardian
9.49am: Looking at Britain again, and the pound has strengthened against the dollar to a morning high of $1.4984 (from $1.48 last Friday). This has compounded (for now at least) speculation of a 'Brown Monday' on the markets as investors ditched the pound because of fears of a Hung Parliament.
12.04pm: The pound perks up after the Bank of England's decision to leave interest rates on hold. It rose 1.4% against the dollar to hit the day's high at $1.5017, but was little changed against the euro.
Appropriately enough, it was while waiting to travel in cattle class that I read this article in Newsweek about flying in a first class suite on the new Airbus A380 (A Room of One’s Own).
What really horrified me was this part:
From the moment you arrive (generally in a dedicated hall decked out like a fancy hotel), you are greeted by a personal attendant, a kind of butler/sherpa who quietly whisks you toward your aircraft, sending you sailing through exclusive check-in, passport control, and security lanes so fast you barely have time to unlace your shoes.
Such personal attention is seductive—and dangerous, as I discovered on the first leg of my journey. On my way out of New York, I was so distracted by the presence of my minder that I temporarily forgot my suitcase on the X-ray belt.
Oddly, the online edition goes no further, but if you read the print edition you will know that the journalist only realized his mistake as the plane was about to take off. That’s unlucky, you might think. Well, yes, except that Singapore Airlines allowed him to disembark and go back to pick up his bag. This delayed the takeoff by 40 minutes.
Now, if I were onboard an A380 waiting to fly long-haul, I would feel very upset if I had to wait that long because an absent-minded passenger had left something behind.
So is it just coincidence that this tale (which I think reflects badly on both the journalist and the airline) is missing from the online edition?
Time magazine has a story about Santander: The Most Boring Bank in the World. Except that it seems not to be so boring:
Santander's only stumble has been steering some of its private-banking clients into Bernard Madoff's Ponzi machine through its Geneva-based Optimal hedge funds. It moved fast to make good, offering to repay 100% of the sums invested. Santander says 94% of its Madoff victims have accepted, costing the bank $648 billion at current exchange rates. It also returned $235 million to the Madoff estate in a settlement of claw-back claims with U.S. trustee Irving Picard.
Still, for a bank that can get a bit smug about its meticulousness, the Madoff stain, albeit minor, will be hard to rub out. It's also one of the reasons why Santander's private-banking business is in the red. "We were caught in a fraud, but it was still a mistake," concedes chief financial officer Juan Antonio Alvarez.
$648bn is a really big mistake. Talking of mistakes, I wonder if possibly the figure should be $648 million. Just a thought.
It seems as if iPhone applications are the latest bright idea that newspapers and magazines have for generating revenue. It's an odd fact that people do seem willing to pay for stuff on mobile phones (and particularly on the iPhone), but not for a subscription to a website.
So I was interested to see that The Spectator has an iPhone app. They charge just 99 cents for the application, including a 7 day subscription, and you can extend the subscription for an extra 99 cents per week. Sounds like a good ide - or it would be if it wasn't such a hopelessly bad application.
Incredibly, all you get are screen images of each page, and of course they are unreadable if you display a full page. Yes, you can zoom in but then you can only see part of the page and it's incredibly awkward to read an article like that (scrolling down the first column, then down the second column).
Aha, you think, I'll turn my iPhone on its side. Well, yes you can, but now you get a "cover flow" type thing showing all the pages. Gee, thanks.
It's as if the person who designed this had never used an iPhone. At this point I gave up and decided I had wasted my money.
The Guardian is planning to release an iPhone app, and one has to assume that they'll do a better job than The Spectator.
Today's SCMP has a big story on the front page of the City section informing us that Cable TV would like to provide a free-to-air television channel. They say that it's unfair that TVB has a Pay TV service and free-to-air terrestrial channels, but no-one else is allowed to do both. Which seems like a fair point.
Indeed, it was a point that Cable TV's very own spokesman put forward in a letter in Tuesday's edition of the SCMP - though you wouldn't know this from reading the story in today's paper.
If anyone at the SCMP actually read the letters before they publish them, they would presumably have had the wit to put the story in Tuesday's paper and not make themselves look like idiots by running it 24 hours later.
Here in Hong Kong we have had the hilarious Edison Chen saga, in which we have had to face up to the horrible reality that pop stars have sex with each other. No, really they do - and apparently some of them take drugs. This is obviously just too shocking for many in Hong Kong, and poor old Gillian Chung had to quit showbusiness for a year because of the hostile public reaction after the naughty photos of her and Mr Chen appeared in inboxes everywhere, and is only now making a very tentative comeback.
In the UK, meanwhile, tabloid headlines are dominated by Jade Goody, who discovered that "bad" behaviour (on Big Brother) actually makes you more famous and more wealthy. Her career (if you can call it that) has certainly had its ups and downs, but since she announced that she has terminal cancer the media has become totally obsessed with her.
For the last week or two (at least) the tabloids have been writing about her final days or hours, and OK! magazine has even published a tribute issue. Which is ever so slightly premature, what with her still being alive and all that.
The justification for all this is that the money she is earning will go to her two children, but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that having found fame from living her life on TV, she regards it as normal to end her life in the media spotlight, and newspapers are only happy to go along with the story, utterly banal as it all is. Even the serious papers can join in by condemning their downmarket rivals.
What's worse? In Hong Kong way, management companies create celebrities, pre-packaged with a wholesome image that often bears no relation to the truth. In the UK, reality shows such as Big Brother make ordinary people famous, and the more ghastly they are and the worse their behaviour the more money they can earn. No need to hide way after a scandal, just milk it for all it's worth.
This week's Economist suggests that the Kindle might be the saviour of newspapers
THINGS are suddenly hotting up in the rather obscure field of electronic books and their associated reading devices, the best known of which is Amazon’s Kindle. A new, sleeker version of the Kindle was unveiled on February 9th. Just days earlier, Google said it was making 1.5m free e-books available in a format suitable for smart-phones, such as Apple’s iPhone and handsets powered by Google’s Android software. Amazon said it was working to make e-books available on smart-phones as well as the Kindle. Plastic Logic, the maker of a forthcoming e-reader device, said it had struck distribution deals with several magazines and newspapers.
The iPhone, meanwhile, has quietly become the most widely used e-book reader: more people have downloaded e-book software (such as Stanza, eReader and Classics) for iPhones than have bought Kindles. Might e-books be approaching the moment of take-off, akin to Apple’s launch of the iTunes store in 2003, which created a new market for legal music downloads?
It's an interesting idea, and I'd happily pay US$10 per month for my daily fix of The Guardian, but there are a few problems to overcome first. For starters, there's the price of the Kindle ($359) and the fact that it's only available in the United States (and I figure that Hong Kong is unlikely to be high on their priority list).
However, there is speculation that Amazon will start to offer support for the iPhone (and presumably the iPod Touch as well), so maybe there's some hope. Or maybe Apple will create an iBooks or iNews application similar to iTunes (using USB synchronization), and some people think they will launch a tablet computer, for which that would be an obvious application.
I've been reading newspapers on mobile devices for more that ten years, starting with the Handspring Visor, using Avantgo to download various newspapers (including The Guardian). By current standards it was very primitive, but at the time I was very impressed to be able to sit on the MTR reading the same day's Guardian (well, parts of it). The biggest limitations were that the website had to create a special cut-down version (to fit the smaller screen) and Avantgo set a maximum number of kb (though you could pay to increase this).
Next came Mobipocket. The SCMP adopted it because of their stupid paywall, but its best feature was that anyone could write a script to extract content from any newspaper (or any website). One kind person wrote a script to extract the whole of The Guardian each day. Which was fine until the website was re-designed and the script would pick up nothing. Then came Mobipocket Creator, which was supposed to make it easy for anyone to do the extract themselves from any website - and it worked (up to a point), but it also had many frustrating features, and rather than fix them they abandoned the product. Gee, thanks, guys.
These days, both Mobipocket and Avantgo take the easy option and use RSS feeds. Which is all very well, but it isn't the same as reading a newspaper. So I am currently using Sunrise XP and Plucker, which works reasonably well for The Guardian (though I had to create a simple HTML file to serve as a contents page), but it can't handle sites which split articles over multiple pages (yes, that means you, The Times of London).
So I'm certainly on the lookout for something better, whether from Amazon or Apple or anyone else.