Alba restaurant, St Ives

Dinner tonight at the very cool and clean Alba restaurant on the harbour in St Ives. Friendly service and thoughtful local food on the upside, slightly overpriced and portions on the small side, however. Probably one of the best places to eat in the town, but you pay for the reputation – and the fantastic view.

Tre, Pol and Pen

Sitting in a cafe in St Ives, reading this week’s The Cornishman, I was struck by a court case recently heard in Truro. A driver from St Ives was fined and banned from driving for speeding. He was called Joseph Wygleneacz, and his lawyer was Dieter Kehler.

Ten years ago

Ten years ago, a spunky young newsletter called Need To Know was reporting the launch of Mac OS 8, the Unixy future of the Mac (BeOS, not Steve Jobs), a new program called Alexa that allowed you to annotate websites, and Netscape shares dropped 18%. Wish I’d bought Apple shares around that time.

More honoured in the breach…

And another thing!

A few commenters on that same thread are going on about how this is much worse than cash for questions (back in the mid 90s), but the key thing to remember, and which is often forgotten, is that the cash for questions row was about MPs making a personal financial gain, whereas the allegations in cash for honours were about contributions to party funds.

A convenient link

Political debate and trust has sunk to such a low level in this country that several mouth-breathing contributors on Nick Robinson’s Newslog are saying things like “isn’t it convenient that the announcement of no charges in the cash-for-honours affair came as the polls closed in the two by-elections”, or “is it just coincidence that …”.

To these people I say: yes, you stupid bloody morons, it is a coincidence. Labour WON the by-elections, remember?

I also get the strong feeling that for many contributors nothing, short of God descending from heaven and personally exonerating Tony Blair, would have convinced them of his innocence. No charges? The CPS are Labour stooges. PM not arrested – obviously he’s had a word with the police. I would say people with that level of understanding shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but since they assume that the PM has god-like omnipotence to bend the nation to his will, I’m guessing they don’t bother.

At the table, or eating the crumbs?

An interesting article in today’s FT (here for those with subscriptions), which should be posted to every UKIP member in the country. In summary, it says that the EU is becoming an important rule-maker for the rest of the world, because of the size and influence of the EU’s single marketplace.

The EU’s emergence as a global rulemaker has been driven by a number of factors, but none more important than the sheer size and regulatory sophistication of the Union’s home market. The rapid expansion of the economic bloc to 27 nations with a total of more than 480m largely affluent consumers has turned the Union into the world’s biggest and most lucrative import market. At the same time, the drive to create a borderless pan-European market for goods, services, capital and labour has triggered a hugely ambitious programme of regulatory and legislative convergence among national regimes. […]

As Henrik Selin and Stacy VanDeveer, two US-based academics, point out in a recent paper that examines the global impact of three recent EU laws on chemicals, electronic waste and hazardous substances: “The EU is increasingly replacing the United States as the de facto setter of global product standards and the centre of much global regulatory standard setting is shifting from Washington DC to Brussels.”

If you want a notable example, Arnold Schwarzenegger is currently pursuing negotations on California joining the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, while Japan has copied a batch of EU environmental laws wholesale.

So the choice is, be in the EU and at the table while these rules are being drafted, or leave the EU and have to obey the rules anyway.

Impressions from the Tour

The caravan has come through now, and there’s a big crowd waiting for the riders. It’s odd to see UKIP stronghold Tunbridge Wells with gendarmes roaring through the streets (the French police are in control of the race route). There’ll be a few people sulking in their houses today.

The locals, including the MP, are really milking the tourism angle. The compere has just been exhorting people to spend money in the town, and saying how much better Tunbridge Wells is than Brighton. Yeah, ok.

One other odd thing: both CGT and Force Ouvrière, big trade unions, one of them aligned with the communists, have big advertising presence in the caravan publicitaire.