Donington Park, 8 July 2013

So, further to the post below, I sold the R1, bought a Triumph Daytona 675 and, having run it in, took it for a spin around the track at Donington earlier this month. Loving it so far. My sort of bike. Enjoyed the R1, though, don’t get me wrong. A few pictures, from Pete Wileman, because it’s a new bike:

Donington Park 1

Donington Park 2

Donington Park 3

Donington Park 4

Donington Park 5

Donington Park 6

Donington Park 7

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Snetterton 300, 3 June 2013

Had my first trackday of the year at Snetterton with No Limits on Monday. Since it was a sunny day, and since I had a new helmet, I bought the obligatory picture from Pete Wileman:

Snetterton 3 June 2013

In other bike–related news, I went over to the Triumph dealer in Hemel on Saturday to have a go on a Scrambler. Nice looking bike, but what was really fun was the Daytona 675 that they also sent me out to try. And which I now want.

Anyone want to buy a nice 2006 R1?!

  • 9,000 miles;
  • Akrapovic carbon slip–on cans;
  • R&G frame, fork and engine protectors;
  • rear paddock stand bobbins;
  • Meta alarm and immobiliser;
  • Datatag;
  • tinted double–bubble screen;
  • gear indicator;
  • just MOT’d and taxed for a year;
  • new front brake pads.

£4,500 ono. Hit me up.

SOLD, to the gentleman from the Netherlands.

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Snetterton pictures

Some pictures from Sunday from http://www.peterwilemanphotography.com/:

Motorcycle at Snetterton

Motorcycle at Snetterton

Motorcycle at Snetterton

Motorcycle at Snetterton

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Snetterton

Went back to Snetterton for another track day today. Well, track morning, actually, because things got rained off after lunch. Got soaked on the way home. Tried out a new I-phone App that I bought, which uses the GPS and other functions to act as a poor-man’s data-logger and lap-timer. Seemed to work fine with the phone tucked away under the seat. Pretty cool! For the record, the lap-times it recorded were as follows:

Session 1

Didn’t time

Session 2

  • 2:38.79
  • 2:27.67
  • 2:31.21
  • 2:33.37

Session 3

  • 2:54.22
  • 2:41:66
  • 2:38.42
  • 2:28.44
  • 2:25.97

Session 4

  • 2:33.30

It was in ‘novice’ group. There was a fair bit of slower traffic to navigate.

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Donington Park, 24 July 2012

Another track day yesterday, this time at Donington. A super hot day and finally got the shot of the left knee down!

tucola at Donington on motorcycle

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Snetterton 300, 15 June 2012

Went back out on track for the first time in about three years, the last outing having been before my first kid was born. The venue was the Snetterton 300 circuit, which I thought was excellent. After a nervous first session, really enjoyed it. Plenty of knee-down action. Some great left-hand corners in particular, although unfortunately the photographer didn’t capture a left knee-down pic, so I still haven’t got one. Here are the pictures I did get:

Got the biking mojo back a bit and am keen to do some more days this year.

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Why is rent so expensive?

This story suggesting that private rent is unaffordable struck a chord. I am in the course of selling the two bedroom flat in central London where I have been for the last 10+ years in order to move somewhere more suitable to my current situation (wife and two young kids now). Moving into medium-term rented accommodation was an option that I have been considering in order to ease the chain on a new purchase. But it turns out that a reasonable family house with a sensible commute into London appears to be over £2,000 a month in rent. I can’t afford that and I am a 10 year PQE City lawyer in one of the country’s leading law firms. How the hell anyone with a remotely ‘normal’ job is going to afford it is beyond me (… and I don’t say any of this in order to blow my own trumpet, but the fact is that I am surely fortunate enough to earn considerably more than the average person, although it often doesn’t feel like it in London).

I have three options:

1. Buy somewhere via a 25 year mortgage and the capital that I have built up as a result of owning the flat for the last 10 years. The fact that this would cost me less than half what a similar property would cost in rent demonstrates how utterly shafted Generation Y have been by the property market over the last decade.

2. Move my family of four into a two bedroom maisonette.

3. Move somewhere that will require 3-4 hours a day of travel to get to work and back.

Has this country gone utterly mad?

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Alternative vote

Conservative Home has published a thorough blog post dealing with points arising out of the No2AV case.

Part of it deals why some of the more extravagant claims in favour for AV don’t stack up. I can accept some of that. AV appears to me to be an improvement on FPTP in terms of fairness and representation but I am under no illusion that it is going to usher in a new era of perfect democracy.

It’s the bits about why AV is actually a step in the wrong direction and should be resisted with which I struggle. First, the idea that the 50% threshold is arbitrary. I have already written below about what happens if 50% of the original number of voters is not achieved, because of the way in which preferences are expressed (or not expressed) as voters get further down their order of preference. But I would not accept that 50% is wholly arbitrary as an aspiration. I can entirely see the sense in a principle that, ideally, a candidate should not be returned who more people voted “against” than voted for.

Actually, the threshold ought to be 50% plus 1 vote, to remove a potential unfairness that the second preferences of voters who preferred a candidate who was still in the running going into the final count (i.e. the count after which a candidate will be returned), but does not win, could, if taken into account, have swayed the result in favour of a candidate other than the one who did win. With a threshold of less than an absolute majority, fairness might be said to require a post-final round count, to see whether the second preferences of all the candidates who did not win would have changed the result if added together. This issue is avoided at 50% plus one vote and there is no need to go any further to 65%, or whatever.

Second, the idea that it is not fair that one person’s 6th preference “counts for the same” as another person’s 1st preference. I disagree. As I understand it, the idea behind AV is to enable voters for whom a popular candidate would not have been their ideal choice nevertheless to participate in the selection of which popular candidate will be returned to represent them. With that in mind, it would be giving greater weight to 1st preference votes that would actually be unfair. This would be to favour for no good reason the preferences of the “mainstream” – whose views are middle-of-the-road enough to lead them to support in the first place a popular candidate who has gathered enough votes to remain in the running – when it comes to selecting which candidate should go forward to represent the constituency as a whole.

So what AV seeks to achieve is to allow non-mainstream voters better participation in the process of selecting a mainstream candidate to represent them, while also freeing them to express their absolute preferences to start with, rather than engaging in tactical voting. You can argue about whether that aim is more democratic, or desirable, but I disagree with Conservative Home’s suggestion that only in a “benighted worldview can that possibly be described as ‘fair’”, on the oversimplistic (and incorrect) basis that it involves things that are intrinsically of different values being counted as being worth the same.

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Don’t believe the hype

There has been some excitement in the news and on blogs recently about so-called “hyper injunctions”.

These are a development of a type of court order requiring the injuncted information to be kept secret – colloquially, the “gagging order”.

The so-called “super-injunction” adds the gloss that details about the existence of the injunction itself cannot be revealed either. The idea behind this is to deal with cases where merely reporting that an injunction had been obtained to stop people talking about something that Mr X had done would result in the damage that Mr X was arguing he had a legitimate interest in preventing being caused.

The so-called “hyper-injunction” adds the further specific gloss that the injuncted information cannot even be revealed to an MP.

Cue lots of hyperbole about secret courts and the Magna Carta.

But is the idea of a hyper-injunction really all that objectionable in an appropriate case? It seems to me that if there is a legitimate reason for a temporary gagging injunction to be imposed, it is undesirable if the person principally subject to the gag can just lobby an MP to stand up and mention it in Parliament, thereby getting around the injunction with impunity (due to the doctrine of Parliamentary privilege, which means that anything can be discussed in Parliament and the fact that proceedings in Parliament can be freely reported*). This is presumably what the court had in mind in imposing the additional specific restriction on talking to MPs.

Rather, the real concern would be gagging orders – whether super or hyper or whatever – being imposed for too long a time period or being imposed in inappropriate cases or for inappropriate reasons.

*Edit 23/05/11: The law on this is not as clear as I had thought when I first drafted this. While reporting proceedings in Parliament would be a defence to a defamation claim, Lord Neuberger’s report on super injunctions states that it is not clear that reporting such proceedings is a defence to an action for contempt of court – (see paragraph 6.33). Nevertheless, when John Hemming MP today named in Parliament the footballer who is said to have obtained an injunction relating to his affair with Imogen Thomas, which restrained him from being named, a number of English newspapers appear to have taken Mr Hemming MP’s remarks as their cue immediately to publish his name and photograph on their websites.

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Ticket touts

I heard Lord Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic organising committee, on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning. He was talking about how there is going to be a crackdown on people seeking to resell 2012 Olympic tickets, which he described as a criminal offence.

I wondered what made it a criminal offence.

The answer appears to be section 31 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. The key provision is as follows:

(1)A person commits an offence if he sells an Olympic ticket—

(a) in a public place or in the course of a business, and

(b) otherwise than in accordance with a written authorisation issued by the London Organising Committee.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a) “Olympic ticket” means anything which is or purports to be a ticket for one or more London Olympic events,

(b) a reference to selling a ticket includes a reference to—

(i) offering to sell a ticket,

(ii) exposing a ticket for sale,

(iii) advertising that a ticket is available for purchase, and

(iv) giving, or offering to give, a ticket to a person who pays or agrees to pay for some other goods or services, and

(c) a person shall (without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1)(a)) be treated as acting in the course of a business if he does anything as a result of which he makes a profit or aims to make a profit”.

The maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine.

The legislation is based on section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which made it a criminal offence for an unauthorised person to resell tickets for designated football matches (i.e. Football League; Premier League; European (UEFA); and international matches played at major grounds).

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