Thoughts on the world

Well, in the last few weeks I’ve been so busy that I have not had much time to study my PRINCE2 CBT.

I do like the CBT however. I’ve not been able to study the 7 PRINCE2 themes and completed the questions at the end of each topic. So far so good. Its nice to know that my understanding is up to speed, partly because I am already familiar with a lot of the concepts which I use at work.

PRINCE2 usually gives the impression that it is heavyweight methodology but I think that is mainly a result of misconceptions. I’ve come across peole who blindly follow everything it says in the manual and then wonder why their project seems bogged down with paperwork and documentation.

One thing I really like about PRINCE2 is that it is principles-based and one of these principles is that you need to tailor the method to suit the needs of your project. That means it can be used in an agile way if that’s what required.

I’ve not yet booked my exam but I plan to do so soon. In the meantime I will continue to study.

PRINCE2 eLearning

Well I finally decided that the best thing to do to get my PRINCE2 qualification is to buy a PRINCE2 eLearning course. I looked at a number of courses from QA, ILX and Knowledge Train and chose the latter. This one seems to be the best in terms of simplicity and cost. In addition I can take my PRINCE2 exam any week I choose within one year.

Installing the course was simply a matter of paying online and then downloading to my computer. You then need to download a viewer and ensure that you hvae Java enabled. Once that’s done I was easily able to activate the course. On first glance, the course seems well structured and the narrator’s voice is clear.

I’ve already done te introduction part and the Business Case, although I must say the exercise to write a PRINCE2 Business Case was a bit tricky!

I hope to complete the learning over the next 2-3 weeks and then do my exam!

Murdochs are guilty

It’s been an incredible 2 weeks. Not only have the top two policemen in the Metropolitan police resigned, but the chief Executive of News International, Rebecca Brooks has also resigned.

The scandal of phone hacking, illegal payments to police and cozy chats between Murdoch and politicians has rocked the British establishment. Yesterday Rupert Murdoch and his son, James Murdoch claimed not to know anything about such matters. They are lying.

In my opinion, both of the Murdochs are guilty. At best, they are guilty of gross corporate governance in that they refused to initiate any actions which got to the heart of the matter. In this case, they are guilty of gross negligence. At worst, they are guilty of a massive cover-up in that they knew what was going on, and perhaps encouraged it, but did nothing to stop it. Why? Because news stories about celebrity tittle-tattle, about which celebrity is shagging who, sells papers.

When it boils down to it, Rupert Murdoch has bullied and smooched his way into the heart of the British establishment and has made politicians quiver in fear of the wrath of his gutter press newspapers. He has proven to be the bulldog of the neo-Liberal assault in Britain and elsewhere. The sacking of printers and journalists prior to his Wapping enterprise, the systematic smearing of single parents, assylum seekers, gays and lesbians, trade unionists and socialists have all been included in this assault.

Well, finally, I am glad to report that this empire, like all empires is coming to its end, and in my opinion, not before time.

Let the Murdochs go to prison for their misdemeanours, and let old fashioned investigative journalism – the kind that exposes the evasion of tax by the rich and powerful, like Murdoch,  flourish.


Well, I’ve investigated some more about investing in a PRINCE2 CBT course, or spending time sitting in a classroom listening to a tutor explain the ins and outs of PRINCE2. I must say, the latter option is most appealing because it sounds like less work to me. If I buy a PRINCE2 eLearning course, then I have to motivate myself to study each day.

The downside is that by the time I get home after a busy day in the office, dealing with all the stuff I need to deal with (e.g. hopeless managers, people covering their own backsides) I usually feel absolutely shattered. On such days, all I want to is slump down in front of the TV with a beer in my hand, or site outside in a nice pub by the river.

I think I know which option sounds best. However, I’ve a mortgage to pay!

I think I’ll have another beer and decide next week …..

PRINCE2 Training

My current contract is coming to an end soon, and my agency is suggesting strongly that I get the PRINCE2 qualification.

I know lots of people already have this qualification and I am torn between between doing a PRINCE2 online eLearning course, or whether to do a classroom-based PRINCE2 training course.

If I do a classroom  course, then I have 2 choices: either wait until my contract comes to an end, or take time off to attend a course. If I do the latter, I will be seriously out of pocket, which is something I really do not want to do.

The problem with studying online, is that summer is upon us, and the thought of spending my evenings after work studying PRINCE2, is not really appealing. Difficult decision to make, but decision time is approaching.

Why was Bin Laden killed?

Not many people will shed a tear at the death of Osama Bin Laden, except for die-hard supporters of Al-Queda.

Despite all the gory deails which are emerging of the US Special Forces operation to kill him, one question remains unanswered: Why was he killed?

We have heard the White House spokespersons giving conflicting reports of the events leading to his death. At first we were told that he was involved in a firefight. Then we were told that he used his wife as a human shield. We also were told that he pulled a gun. Finally it emerged today that he was unarmed.

Even if he was armed, with all of the sophisticated military training and planning to cater for all eventualities, there must have been more than one way in temporarily incapacitate the man before taking him alive out of his compound in a helicopter. Use of gas, stun guns, or electric guns would have been sufficient to incapacitate him.

The latest version of events from the White House was that he was unarmed. So, in this case, why was he killed?

Surely America must be seen to practice what is preaches. In a democratic country, people suspected of crimes, however heinous, must be taken to trial and face the evidence against them. Surely the US government had a welter of evidence to support the allegation that Bin Laden ordered the 9/11 attacks in America? So why was he not brought to trial, but instead executed without a trial?

I’m afraid that the answer is very simple. The American government did not want to allow Bin Laden to give evidence in court of the ways in which the CIA funded Jihadis (and his own organization) fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. To allow Osama Bin Laden to do this would have exposed the hypocracy that governs US foreign policy. Much better to execute him than allow him to expose the lies that we have been fed for years that the tormented never fed the tormentor.

That is after all is just one of many lies that our own democratic governments peddle to help ensure their own long term strategic interests are best served.

Blog directories

I came across this blog site today where you can submit a blog. There are lots of categories to submit your blog to, so I am submitting mine here in the hope that more people can read and comment on my blog.

Royal Wedding - What a Waste of Money!

Thank goodness the Royal Wedding is over. Fortunately I wasn’t in the UK at the time, so I wasn’t bombarded with the blanket TV coverage of the event. When I turned on Sky TV news in my hotel room however, it was showing 24 hours not just on the day but was also repeated the next day too!.

What struck me was the inane commentary of the event. It was only a wedding of two extremely privileged people, whereas people in the UK are having to put up with cutbacks, job losses and pay cuts. What was the cost of the wedding? Some estimate it will cost the UK economy up to £5 billion in lost output because the day was given as a holiday. Just the cost of policing the wedding itself was about £20 million. Other estimates put the total actual cost as £200 million.

What could such money be used for? Well, for a start, £200 million could pay the wages of 8,000 nurses for one year. Or, it could pay to build 2 new hospitals. I’m  sure that you can think of better ways to spend such vast sums rather than spending it on such privileged, lazy scroungers such as the royals.

Accused police officer “lied” under oath

Simon Harwood, the police officer who pushed and struck Ian Tomlinson just before his death at the G20 protests in London on 1st April 2009, was accused of lying under oath at the inquest into his death. Video of the events leading up to his death clearly show Mr Tomlinson was walking away from the police with his hands in his pockets when he was pushed with such force from behind by PC Harwood that he fell to the floor and later died.

Pc Harwood when cross examined later accepted that Mr Tomlinson posed no threat.

This is not the first time that police officers have assaulted protesters on demonstrations. At the same protest Sgt Delroy Smellie used his baton to hit Nicola Fisher on the legs, moments after he hit her across the face with his gauntlet. Sgt Smellie was acquitted by the judge at his trial last year. In his defence, Sgt Smellie said in his defence that he thought Ms Fisher had weapons in her hands.

Anybody who has seen the video of this event would find this defence unbelievable. Yet, the judiciary seem willing to believe police officers and excuse violent attacks by police on peaceful demonstrators.

In the case of PC Harwood, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided last year not to charge him with assault because of their belief that for technical reasons a conviction would not be possible. These reasons were because a post mortem examination had found that Mr Tomlinson had died of “natural causes”. The pathologist in the case, Freddy Patel, was later removed from a register of pathologists who can be used in criminal investigations by the National Police Improvement Agency. Mr Patel had falsified his CV and had failed in a number of investigations, and had acted dishonestly, according to the General Medical Council. Yet Mr Patel was requested by police to conduct the post mortem into the death of Mr Tomlinson.

So, we are left in a situation where a violent assault by a police officer is never even brought to court because an incompetent pathologist has given a “false” post mortem. As was the case with Sgt Smellie, even when a police officer is charged with assault, judges more often than not, side with the police.

At the end of the current inquest into the death of Mr Tomlinson, I hope that the CPS re-considers their decision not to charge PC Harwood, and instead pursue charges of manslaughter. It seems, that police officers are able to act with impunity and with no accountability. This is a travesty in a democracy.

Police criminalise UK Uncut protesters

Following the recent massive protest against the government’s cuts, protesters in the UK Uncut movement have accused police of criminalising their members. The Metropolitan police arrested and charged 138 members of the fast-growing protest group after protesters occupied the Fortnum and Mason shop in central London.

This protest was the latest in a series organized by the new protest group, which campaigns against tax evasion by big businesses. The group argues that the total amount of tax evaded in the UK each year by the rich and big business will be more than the total cuts in public expenditure announced by the government.

The group argued that the decision to arrest all protesters at Fortnum and Mason is an attempt by the police to crush the movement. All of the leadership of the movement were arrested.

All of the groups protests so far have involved occupying shops such as Top Shop, managed by Sir Philip Green, who is accused of evading tax when he transferred a £1.2 billion dividend into his wife’s bank account. All the protests have been peaceful and non-violent.

It is a worrying sign when non-violent and peaceful protesters are arrested and threatened by the police in this way. One cannot but make th connection with the way Middle Eastern governments routinely try to stifle protests in a heavy-handed way. In a democracy however, we would expect more from the police, and some protesters will draw the conclusion that the police are acting in a way to preserve the privilege of the rich to evade tax.

The UK Uncut leaders arrested have had their mobile phones confiscated by police and expect to face charges soon.