Archive for May, 2011

Apprentice Episode 1: “If my team loses i’ll blame the project manager, if i’m the project manager – i’ll blame someone else”

So, there it goes the first episode of the apprentice 2011 the fairly standard here’s some money and a market, make me a profit task. As usual the candidates look like a proper mixed bag with a fair few er…. personalities, here’s a quick round up of my first impressions (warning if you haven’t seen it – look away now).


Edna: wow – is she going to rub someone up the wrong way quickly,  someone really early on said something she didn’t like and she looked like she was about to blow, not to mention the fact she was blatantly making up excuses for things all the way through the episode (she’s my ‘to hate’ candidate so far this year.

Melody: Another errr… strong personality but seems to have some effectiveness along with it there might be a bit of potential here, and after all her plan won!

Jim Eastwood & Gavin Winstanley: both seem like pretty straight guys, and basically competent – actually found myself more or less liking both of these two by the end.

Ellie: There’s definite comedy value here, with the not knowing how to spell vegetable, and the brilliant comment along the lines of “I wouldn’t eat it, but who knows I haven’t been in London that long” or whatever it was, recon she might bethe Baggs of this series, on value alone.

Edward: What an idiot, managed to be both a bad project manager, a useless accountant, and basically a tit – so no surprises for me when he got fired – especially when he took a couple of the more benign members of the team into the boardroom. What a muppet.

As for the others (including Felicity, who I’m backing) er, didn’t see much of you. Any chance you could sort of do something (or at least near a camera), then we might have an idea of who’ll win.

Quote of the week has to be “I’m the youngest, I’m also the shortest” – best way to attempt not to get fired ever, shame it didn’t work.

On This Whole Referendum Thing #yes2av #no2av

Ballot Box

Ballot Box

I’ve always made it my policy not to tell people which way I’m going to vote on something (or which way I’ve voted for that matter) as I’m a big fan of not allowing myself to influence other people’s political decisions. I’m going to attempt to examine some of the arguments for tomorrow’s referendum without obviously supporting either camp – I will probably fail as will doubtless become apparent.

Incidentally if you didn’t know there is a referendum tomorrow this probably isn’t the post for you.

So I’ll examine what appear to be the main points being made by both sides based these websites (yes/no) – my basic premise in this analysis is that change is basically a good thing unless there are convincing arguements against it. So here we go….

No to AV

  • AV is Costly
    • Apparently AV will cost £250 million, and involve expensive machinery and campaigns. I guess I can see the machinery argument, although it’s totally possible to count votes under AV using piles of ballot papers (I’ve done it) it might become complicated on a constituency scale. As for voter education, “Rank your candidates in order of preference” – there you go, I’ve done it (if anyone wants to pay me £100 million or whatever for this I’m more than happy for you to do this!)
  • AV is Complex and Unfair
    • Complex? Really? it works in Student Union elections at Bath – and given the number of sports monkeys involved, this probably means rowers can understand it (I’m being deliberately provocative here, but the basics can be explained on a side of A4 so it really isn’t that hard).
    • Unfair? Well that depends on your analogy, if you compare it with a running race then yes it could be construed as unfair as the first person who crosses the line isn’t necessarily the one who gets the gold medal – but it isn’t a race at the end of the day it’s about representation – if the majority of people have been represented in the result (this isn’t always the case under First Past the Post) then it is fair. AV isn’t perfect but it means more votes count towards the end result.
  • AV is a Politicians Fix
    • Well, errr…. so basically this is the “Nick Clegg is a nasty man” point, fundamentally I don’t believe Coalitions are bad things, or Liberal Democrats for that matter and as such I believe this point is just trying to say “Don’t like the coalition and what they’re doing, don’t vote yes”, frankly I think this argument is missing the point, this is a referendum on the future not the present so really this is an attempt to mislead people on what they’re voting on. It’s not a vote of confidence in the coalition, it’s a referendum on the voting system.

Yes to AV

  • It makes MP’s work harder
    • So MP’s have to appeal to more than 50% of the electorate – I guess this has pro’s and con’s, it’ll temper some of the harder right/left elements in the middle of the road parties (strong lines on immigration, or nationalisation or whatever), but in turn it also has the potential to decrease the differential between the main parties with them all competing for the middle ground (and it’s already bad enough). I guess this depends on your views, personally I think there needs to be more difference between the main parties than tie colour, but I also don’t find myself agreeing with the more extreme policies of any of the major parties.
  • It gives the Voter a bigger say
    • Well this essentially has to be good doesn’t it (you could argue that sometimes the voter doesn’t know what’s good for them – but if so you don’t really believe in democracy, otherwise I find this a hard point to argue against). If you don’t get your favorite, there’s a good chance you’ll get your second choice – this seems a good idea. If I can’t get a Yorkie from the vending machine, I’d rather have a twix than a bloody topic.
  • It tackles the ‘Jobs for life’ Culture
    • Well, I guess safe seats can be blamed for a lot of voter apathy – after all why vote if you know candidate X will get in anyway. There’s not an easy argument against this, as the power rests with the electorate anyway, if they want to remove an MP they can by putting them as last choice, if not they can vote for them again (although I guess this is also true with FPTP, but it’s a lot easier to make this happen with AV).

So in summary, as I said at the beginning I’ll decide based on who makes the best arguments (it’s not impossible to work out who I think that is from the above) – but I’ll definitely be voting having made my decision, and whatever you think – I urge you to vote too.

For the record (as a preemptive attack on any provocative comments from either side of the debate):

Politically I describe myself as a ‘liberal conservative who knows his own mind and doesn’t totally align with any specific parties ideology. I think broadly the coalition is doing a reasonable job (although I don’t agree with all their policies, for example I love libraries and believe they have an important place in the modern world) and I think it’s really important to give the public a say directly on major issues such as this. This was also a quick post, so isn’t super-thorough either in writing or research, I don’t think I’ve quoted any facts, but if I have and they’re inaccurate I apologise.

It’s Back… (The Apprentice 2011) #bbcapprentice

So anyone who knows me well will know I’m a bit of a fan of The Apprentice (ok… a borderline obsessive) – I’ve been watching the program since towards the end of the first series. I’ve been pretty much been hooked by the bizarre entertainment offered by a load of people who are supposedly business professionals proving that actually they mostly haven’t a bloody clue since the very beginning. The new series starts on May 10th on BBC1 at 9pm, and will give me something to do on Wednesday nights for a couple of months! The candidates for this series were announced today – and look like the usual mixed bunch of people with more confidence than discernible talent.

Since the 3rd series I and a few of my friends have ‘backed a candidate’ each based on their photo (and nothing else) – as there’s only 4 of us and we’ve picked ours I thought I’d open the rest up to blog reading types! There’s no prize or anything, but it makes the program more fun as we get a bit competitive (I backed Stella last year who went on to win – and am hoping to repeat my feat this year).

The candidates list as follows:

The Candidates

  • Leon Doyle
  • Alex Britez Cabral
  • Melody Hossaini
  • Felicity Jackson (taken by me!)
  • Edna Agbarha
  • Susan Ma (taken by @robjstyles)
  • Ellie Reed (taken by @RobFarrington)
  • Helen Louise Milligan (@AdamJTaylor)
  • Natasha Scribbins
  • Vincent Disneur
  • Jim Eastwood (taken by @WibbLarque)
  • Edward Hunter
  • Gavin Winstanley (taken by @Kate_Harrington)
  • Tom Pellereau (taken by @MissWimsett)
  • Glenn Ward (taken by @D_C_W)
  • Zoe Beresford (@thewelshbrummie)

Have a look at the candidates and make your choice on The Spy.

If you fancy backing one of the others (beware this exposes you to ridicule if your candidate does something particularly stupid during the show) stick a comment below with your choice and twitter ID!

As ever I’ll be tweeting/blogging along to the series (I’ll try not to get too carried away this year… but no promises!)

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Mark Farrington

Mark Farrington
Broadcast Engineer working in UK Commercial Radio, former Student Radio person (and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Student Radio Association) - I also play with bits and pieces of web stuff, cycle, take photos, cook food and enjoy a good pint of real ale.