Vote early, vote often. (With apologies for sticking this on the front page.) Using your skill and judgement, predict the winning party in the UK general election, size of the majority, and the number of seats won by the Lib Dems. Closest to the actual result gets a gift subscription to Private Eye, the fortnightly antidote to British politics and media, or the equivalent value in that international currency: Amazon vouchers. (And if you've emailed me already, there's no need to post a prediction.)
"He doesn't say please, he doesn't say thank you." Yeah, it's Survivor, British-style. A natural leader with survival experience emerges, gets his tribe organised, and is promptly voted out in the quietest of revolutions. My American girlfriend, who'd watched Colby marshal his people through the Outback season, is visibly gobsmacked. ("I really couldn't do psychology in this country.") Different levels of power distance at work?
"Britain to install early warning bases in Oregon." These will be sited on US air bases in areas of protected wilderness, but will be leased out to the UK and solely answerable to HM Govt, with no state or Congressional accountability. If you protest outside, you'll be prosecuted on trumped-up charges. Oh, and they'll be tapping your phones and emails as well. (more inside...)
"States' Rights" hit the UK? First abolishing tuition fees, now providing long-term care for the elderly: the Scottish Executive is making life, um, "interesting" for its progenitor in Westminster. The downside of an unwritten constitution?
"The rules of this game were set by the people, underwritten by the people, financed or not." Yet another opportunity for the British Observer to put the US newspapers to shame, with an closely-argued, even-handed reflection on the fun in Florida. "The system, full of inefficiencies and coagulations, may stink, but it is also a system which belongs to the voters who now complain so shrilly about it."
NHS to ban Ritalin for under-fives? See, I agree with this, but it's politically divisive. The commission on clinical excellence has made a couple of controversial decisions to restrict the prescription of expensive new drugs: Allegra for flu, beta-interferon for MS, and now Ritalin. When there's such demand for the latest and greatest drugs, fuelled by the marketing budgets of the pharmaceutical companies, how do we balance the hopes and wishes of patients against the economic restrictions and clinical scepticism of the authorities?
email@example.com? The Times is reporting that Miss Clinton is planning to follow in her father's footsteps. Though probably not too closely... I'd imagine that it'll be easier for her to fit into the college environment once she doesn't have the Secret Service in tow, but I'm still intrigued how she'll get on here...
UK more crime-ridden than US? CBS News has come up with a report describing the UK as a "battleground" for crime, replete with pictures of downtown Friday night battles after the pubs close. You're more likely to be robbed, assaulted, or have your car stolen in Britain than the US, according to recent figures. Then again, according to the DOJ, you're less likely to be raped, murdered or shot. Comparing apples and oranges?
Bye bye online privacy The RIP Bill goes through the Lords this week. Watch as the UK's ISPs and e-commerce ventures up sticks to the US and Ireland. John Naughton has been providing a commentary on its passage (he's well-briefed by the good people at STAND) and how it's such an insidious piece of work.