Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The nation's high court agreed to decide the reach of its landmark ruling last year that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteed an individual right to own guns and use them for lawful purposes like self-defense in the home.
Gun rights cases have been among the most divisive social, political and legal issues to reach the Supreme Court.
Last year's ruling prohibited the federal government from imposing certain restrictions, but it left unclear whether the right also applied to state and local gun control laws.
The Supreme Court said in a brief order that it would decide that question in a dispute over a strict gun control law in Chicago.
It immediately became one of the most important issues to be decided during the court's new term that begins next week. Gun rights cases have been among the most divisive social, political and legal issues to reach the Supreme Court.
The justices are expected to hear arguments in the gun rights battle early next year, with a decision likely by late June.
We ought to be very wary of those who ruthlessly exploit manipulative techniques to rouse feelings of grievance and anger. Just watch another master of these techniques in action.
- Procedural Impropriety
- Breach of a European Convention [ECHR] right
There are a number of labels used - such as "improper purpose"; "irrelevant considerations" "fettered discretion"; "the rule against bias"; "right to a fair hearing"; "legitimate expectations" - which law students will be familiar with - and the succesful ones know the circumstances which can give rise to complaints associated with those labels.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
The doctrine of parliamentary supremacy was summarised by Dicey in three points:
- Parliament can make law concerning anything. - this is in contrast to the position in many countries where the acts of the legislature can be struck down for conflicting with the Constitution (as can happen in the USA after the Supreme Court claimed the power in Marbury v Madison)
- No Parliament can bind a future parliament (that is, it cannot pass a law that cannot be changed or reversed by a future Parliament) - put another way, no incoming Parliament is bound by previous parliaments. Again this contrasts with other countries where certain rules are 'entrenched' - meaning the rule can either never be repealed (as with the French Constitution Art 89 "The republican form of government shall not be the object of any amendment") or requires special procedures to amend ( such as Art 5 of the US Constitution requiring 2/3rd of all States or 2/3rd of both House of Congress to propose an amendment - and ratification of the amendment by3/4th of all state legislatures)
- A valid Act of Parliament cannot be questioned by the court. Parliament is the supreme lawmaker.
Parliamentary sovereignty prevents judicial review of primary legislation passed by Parliament. However, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the notion of parliamentary supremacy was modified under the influence of five principal sources: The devolution of power to regional assemblies in Scotland (Scottish Parliament), Wales (Welsh Assembly) and Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Assembly). All three assemblies can pass primary legislation within the areas that have been devolved to them. As the system remains devolved and not federal, the powers of these assemblies stems from the UK Parliament and can be suspended.
The UK's membership of the European Economic Community, later the European Union, from 1973. The EU represents, as the European Court of Justice ruled in 1963 in the case Van Gend en Loos, a "new legal order of international law for the benefit of which the [Member] States have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields". The UK became part of that legal order - though the fact that UK membership of the EU has been brought about through Acts of Parliament - principally the European Communities Act 1972 - raises the possibility that Parliament could, as a matter of UK law, pass further legislation unilaterally withdrawing the UK from the Union, or selectively barring the application of European law within the UK.Following the case of Thoburn v Sunderland City Council certain statutes are protected as Constitutional Statutes. The case involved amendments to the Weights and Measures Act 1985 by the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (Metrication) (Amendment) Order 1994 pursuant to Directive 80/181/EEC. This stated that Imperial measurements could be displayed so long as the metric measurements were displayed in larger type beside them. Thoburn was convicted for only using Imperial measurements. In his defence he argued that allowing even limited use of Imperial measurements was in contravention of the relevant directive and therefore in contravention of Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. This would have invoked the doctrine of implied repeal which is essential to the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty. In his judgment, Lord Justice Laws held that certain statutes of constitutional importance including Magna Carta and the European Communities Act 1972 could not be repealed by implied repeal. As such, this has slightly limited Parliament's sovereignty.
The enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 which incorporates part of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law. The Act gives UK courts the power to issue a declaration of incompatibility where they believe that the terms of an Act of Parliament are in contravention of the rights guaranteed by the Act. The effect of the declaration is not to annul the Act but send a signal to Parliament which may then choose to amend the offending provision. As with the UK's membership of the European Union, the principle of parliamentary supremacy means that Parliament can at any time vote to repeal the Act and indeed the UK's ratification of the Convention itself.
The increasing use of referendums. Although the result of a referendum is in no way binding on Parliament unless it has previously agreed that this will be case, in practice there will be considerable pressure on Parliament from the electorate to take the result into account.
However, Parliament may withdraw from the most of the commitments it has made or repeal any of the constraints it has imposed on its ability to legislate. Thus, Parliament theoretically remains almost entirely sovereign. The qualifier "almost" is provided because in 1921, after a century of dispute, Parliament passed the Church of Scotland Act 1921 which finally agreed that it does not have sovereignty over the Church of Scotland, the established church in Scotland.
There is a concept in political science of 'legal' and 'political' sovereignty. It can be argued that legal sovereignty has not been lost, because Parliament still retains all its theoretical powers. There are no legal limits on Parliament's sovereignty. However, as it is highly unlikely that the UK would repeal the European Communities Act and leave the EU, and it is unlikely the devolved legislature would be abolished, there are significant political limits on the sovereignty of Parliament. Nevertheless, it remains the case that the UK Parliament could do so without seeking the mutual consent of the EU or the devolved legislatures, as it did with the abolition of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1972, and that if it did, these repeals would be legally and politically binding.
This stands in contrast to the Acts of Parliament which have been used to grant independence from the UK to former dominions and colonies in the British Empire. Following the Balfour Declaration, the Statute of Westminster 1931 established a status of legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the British Empire and the United Kingdom, and provided that Acts passed by the UK Parliament would not apply in the dominions without a dominion's express consent. It is difficult to see how the UK could later resile from that position. By way of further example, the UK Parliament passed the Canada Act 1982 which stated that the UK Parliament would no longer be able to amend the Canadian constitution. If the UK parliament were to repeal or amend the Canada Act 1982, it would be unenforceable as Canada is no longer subject to UK sovereignty.
The full article is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_supremacy#Recent_developments
Monday, 28 September 2009
Sunday, 27 September 2009
The data show that 158 Representatives and Senators are registered with Twitter (as of August 2009) and issued a total of approximately 1,187 “tweets” during the data collection periods in July and August 2009. With approximately 29% of House Members and 31% of Senators registered with Twitter, Members sent an average of 85 tweets per day collectively. House Republicans sent the most tweets (54%), followed by House Democrats (27%), Senate Republicans (10%), and Senate Democrats (9%). The data also suggest that more tweets were sent on Thursday than any other day of the week.
Members’ use of Twitter can be divided into six categories: position taking, press or web links, district or state activities, official congressional action, personal, and replies. The data suggest that the most frequent type of tweets were press and web link tweets, which comprised 43% of insession and 46% of recess tweets. This is followed by official congressional action tweets during session (33%) and position-taking tweets during recess (14%).
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Friday, 25 September 2009
They might be trailing the Conservative Party in the opinion polls but when it comes to using Twitter, the Liberal Democrats and Labour are kings of the House of Commons.
Research has revealed that nearly 67% of all tweeting MPs belong to Labour ahead of 18% for the Liberal Democrats, with the Tories relegated into third place with just 12%. When you factor in the proportion of MPs that each party boasts, it is clear that the Lib Dems are leading the way when it comes to embracing the popular social media site. And yet overall, just 51 of our 645 MPs are classed as regular Twitter users – among them Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families; Ben Bradshaw, Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, former Tory party leadership contestant Peter Lilley and John Prescott. The figures have been released following a joint research project by the University of Plymouth and Bournemouth University into how politicians are engaging with their constituents using Social Networking Sites and modern media. Together, the institutions have identified three main indicators of the parliamentary tweeter:
Gender – women MPs are more likely to tweet. While they compose just 19.4% of the Commons they make up 29.4% of tweeters.
Party – Labour has 54.2% of all MPs, and provides 66.7% of tweeting MPs. The Liberal Democrats have only 9.8% of all MPs, but provide 17.6% of all tweeting MPs. The Conservatives have 29.8% of all MPs, but provide only 11.8% of tweeting MPs.
Portfolio – 43.1% of tweeting MPs are either Government Ministers or Official Opposition spokespersons.
MPs tend to use Twitter as a means of promoting their activities in their constituency or when they are in Westminster, and again, the research has identified several trends:
On average 27% of MPs tweet as part of an impression management strategy. MPs promote their activities, such as giving speeches, speaking in parliament, holding positions or launching a policy document to help build a positive impression of them both as a professional and as an individual.
21% of MPs’ tweets are used as promotion of self whereby the MP seeks to present a ‘hinterland’ which shows them as human beings. This tends to include details of their personal life, personal interests, such as sport and music and the use of humour.
14% of MPs’ tweets support their constituency service role where they explain what they are doing in the constituency, highlight local issues and mention local constituents.
Only 11% of MPs’ tweets are partisan in nature. So this means that MPs are far more likely to raise their own profile rather than that of their party!
Dr Darren Lilleker, of Bournemouth University, said: “So far the number of tweeting MPs is fairly small, but Twitter may be a more effective means of enhancing an MPs representative role than weblogs or social networking sites. Because Twitter is quick to update, MPs can use it to regularly explain what they are doing on behalf of constituents. “In a time of public scepticism towards politicians, Twitter may be more effective than other non face-to-face communication channels, but only if MPs’ tweets are seen as worth receiving. “With MPs finding audiences hard to reach, Twitter may well be used more widely in order to speak directly to the public. However, Twitter cannot be simply a tool for broadcasting. MPs need to talk to others in the ‘Twittersphere’ and respond to questions if they are to gain a loyal, trusting audience” One very new trend is that of MPs using Twitter to provide the public with a ‘ring-side seat’ at major occasions. For example, when the new Speaker was elected on 22 June, a number of MPs sent updates from the Chamber during the speeches and voting – with Sandra Gidley, Lib Dem MP for Romsey, Hampshire, tweeting over 100 times. The number of tweets made during June – the month selected for the purpose of the research – ranged from just one to 827 (Labour’s Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy), while the number of followers ranged from 63 to the 4,441 reading the updates of Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East. And the research has also revealed that tweeting is not necessarily a one-way street. The number of other tweeters that MPs follow ranges from zero to over 1,000, with a median of 133. Twenty two MPs follow less than 50 others tweeters, while 23 reciprocated by following at least 100, and in some cases entering into ‘public conversations’ with followers.
Dr Nigel Jackson, of the University of Plymouth, added: “There are clear differences in usage between those who barely use Twitter and the enthusiasts for whom this has quickly become a regular communication channel. Within what has now become for these pioneers a parliamentary community, Twitter has become a ‘virtual social club’ where they tease one another, gossip and occasionally score political points. “There is evidence that it is not just among sitting MPs that Twitter is becoming popular, with an increasing number of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) also adopting the technology. This development may add significantly to citizen involvement at the next general election campaign, where voters quickly and easily question the candidates. Twitter may help break down barriers between elected and elector.”
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Some of the cornerstones of the British constitution can be accessed here.
For scholars the records are important primary documents for their research. Once they were available to a priviliged few - but now increasing numbers of these records are available to many more people. Some have been digitised - To access these press here. The Archives at Westminster is usually open to the public all year round, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm (apart from public holidays).
To find out more about the Parliamentary Archives go to http://www.parliament.uk/publications/archives.cfm
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Nye Bevan was the visioniary Labour MP and cabinet minister responsible for establishing the NHS. He is one of my personal heroes. (My A-Level project was a study of his life and achievements). My grandmother - also born a Bevan appears on the same page in the records of births, deaths and marriages - as they were born a few days apart (although in different parts of Wales.
Despite the reverence I have towards this great man - I loved this video. Thanks Marielle for forwarding it to me.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Documents produced by the standing committees of the House are useful resources. During each Session of a Congress, every standing committee produces a “Journal and History of Legislation” or a “Calendar of Business” and at least once each Congress a “Survey of Activities”.
These documents provide some or all of the following information: a list of the legislation acted on by the committee, a list of legislation referred to the committee, an official Membership list, votes cast in committee, a statistical profile of activities, a history of the committee, its jurisdiction, oversight plan, a list of printed publications and a variety of other information.
Committees also prepare reports to file with the House. These reports accompany legislation referred to the committee and marked up by it. These reports often contain an explanation or summary of the legislation, background, an explanation as to the need for the legislation, committee votes, a list of earmarks, a Ramseyer (a detailed description of how the legislation will change current law), and minority views. House Rules require many of these things to be included in any report accompanying a bill.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Floyd M. Riddick, Parliamentarian of the Senate from 1964 to 1974, compiled the first version of Riddick’s Senate Procedure in 1981 while serving as its Parliamentarian Emeritus. The current 1992 edition was revised and edited by Alan S. Frumin, Parliamentarian of the Senate for seven years following Floyd Riddick. Topics are presented in chapters arranged alphabetically by subject matter ranging from ‘Adjournment’ to ‘Washington’s Farewell Address’. This format provides an easy to use reference when questions related to the Senate arise.
Riddick’s Manual can be found on the Government Printing Office’s website at:
Friday, 18 September 2009
“This brochure is intended to provide a basic outline of the numerous steps of our federal lawmaking process from the source of an idea for a legislative proposal through its publication as a statute. The legislative process is a matter about which every person should be well informed in order to understand and appreciate the work of Congress. It is hoped that this guide will enable readers to gain a greater understanding of the federal legislative process and its role as one of the foundations of our representative system. One of the most practical safeguards of the American democratic way of life is this legislative process with its emphasis on the protection of the minority, allowing ample opportunity to all sides to be heard and make their views known. The fact that a proposal cannot become a law without consideration and approval by both Houses of Congress is an outstanding virtue of our bicameral legislative system. The open and full discussion provided under the Constitution often results in the notable improvement of a bill by amendment before it becomes law or in the eventual defeat of an inadvisable proposal.
Link to the Table of Contents for “How Our Laws Are Made”:
Thursday, 17 September 2009
The Senate Manual, prepared during the second session of each Congress by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, contains the standing rules, orders, laws, and resolutions affecting the Senate, as well as copies of historical U.S. documents, such as Jefferson’s Manual, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution of the United States, et cetera. and selected statistical information on the Senate and other Government entities.
It is issued each Congress as Senate Document 1. The Senate Manual, 110th Congress edition, is available on the Government Printing Office’s website at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/smanual/browse.html
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
CRS Report: 98-3096
Updated December 8, 2006
Analyst in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
The precedents established by the House and its presiding officers since the mid-1930s are in the process of being published. To date, 16 volumes have been released. The first nine are entitled Deschler's Precedents of the United States House of Representatives; the seven latest volumes are called Deschler-Brown Precedents, in recognition of the contributions made to the House by Mr. Brown and his predecessor, Lewis Deschler. Additional volumes in this series will be published as they are completed. This collection includes an exhaustive compilation of procedural rulings and interpretations, accompanied by summaries of the events producing them. They often also include relevant excerpts from the Congressional Record and its predecessors. Precedents from earlier periods are found in the 11-volume set of Hinds' and Cannon's Precedents of the House of Representatives, published in part in 1907 and in part in 1936. Both collections of precedents are organized topically, beginning with the first meeting of the House at the beginning of a new Congress and continuing through the various stages of the legislative process.
For most purposes, the most effective research strategy likely is to begin with an examination of House Practice, followed by the House Rules and Manual, and then Deschler's and Deschler-Brown Precedents. Several other published sources of information also can prove useful:
• The rules adopted by the House's committees are compiled and published for each Congress in Rules Adopted by the Committees of the House of Representatives, a committee print of the House Rules Committee.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
CRS Report: 98-4374
Updated June 4, 2007
Christopher M. Davis
Analyst in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
In the House of Representatives, the term "calendar" has two related meanings. This fact sheet, one of series of fact sheets on legislative process, explains calendars and their use in the House of Representatives
First, "calendar" refers to several lists of measures and motions that are (or soon will become) eligible for consideration on the House floor. When a House committee reports a measure, it is placed on one of these calendars. If a measure is not on one of the calendars, either it is awaiting action by one or more House committees to which it was referred, or it is being held "at the Speaker's table" in anticipation that the House may agree to consider it, perhaps by unanimous consent, without first referring it to committee.
Second, "calendar" also refers to the document that contains these lists and other information about the status of legislation. The full title of this document is Calendars of the United States House of Representatives and History of Legislation. The calendar is printed daily and distributed within the House. The most recent daily issue of the calendar is available online at
The front cover of the calendar gives
The remainder of the calendar presents:
• A list of any motions to discharge committees that have received the required signatures of 218 Members and that are awaiting action by the House.
• A list of measures that one House committee has reported and that the Speaker has referred to one or more other committees for a limited period of time.
• A list of bills in conference, with the dates on which each house agreed to go to conference and the names of the House and Senate conferees.
• A calendar for each month of the year, showing the days on which the House was in session, and indicating the total number of days to date on which the House has met. Calendars published during the second session of a Congress include corresponding information for the first session.
• A chart that depicts the legislative history and current status of major bills, including appropriations bills, considered during the current session. For calendars published during the second session of a Congress, a comparable chart shows the legislative history and current status of major bills during the first session. Calendars that are printed on Monday of each week, or on the first day that the House was in session during the week, contain three additional features: (1) information on bills through conference — that is, measures on which conference committees have completed action; (2) an alphabetical index of the short titles of pending bills; and (3) and a subject index of the House and Senate measures that are listed in the section of the calendar on the history of bills and resolutions.
Monday, 14 September 2009
2. House Calendars
5. How Our Laws Are Made
7. Legislative Committee Documents and House Reports
1. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
A User's Guide to the Congressional Record
CRS Report: 98-2653
Updated May 6, 2008
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
It consists of four main sections:
The Daily Digest is the key to use of the daily Record. It is the last section in each edition of the daily Record and serves as an index. By reading the Digest first, a reader can locate the times of meetings of both houses; measures reported, considered, or signed into law; and information on the previous and current days' committee activities and schedules. At the beginning of each month, a resume of congressional activity is published. It contains cumulative, statistical information on the congressional session.
Senators and Representatives may have remarks and other extraneous material, not necessarily pertaining to legislation, printed in the Record without ever speaking or reading the text on the floor. In the House, Members may also revise their remarks by asking permission of the residing officer to "revise and extend" (i.e., expand their statements). However, these remarks as well as any other undelivered speeches and insertions are distinguishable by a different type style. The Extensions of Remarks portion of the Record, located after the House and Senate proceedings, but before the Daily Digest, contains the bulk of House undelivered remarks and other insertions, such as constituent tributes. On the back page of each daily Record is found a list of the Members who have remarks in the "Extensions" section.
The initial pages of the House and Senate proceedings contain an opening prayer and designations of the presiding officers. Then, typically, the House will turn to "one minute" speeches and the Senate to "morning business," during which Members have the opportunity to speak on current events or other matters. Debate on bills and resolutions usually follows. Unanimous consent agreements, if any, are printed in the Senate proceedings; they guide when or how a measure will be considered. Rollcall or voice votes on amendments, passage, or tabling of measures are shown in the Record. For a rollcall vote, a list is printed indicating how Members voted. Information on the status of amendments adopted or rejected is easily obtained in the Daily Digest.
In the Senate, a bullet symbol (●) precedes and distinguishes undelivered remarks. Inserted
Senate statements unrelated to pending business are usually printed near the end of Senate proceedings under the heading "Additional Statements." In the House proceedings, any portion of a statement not spoken is printed in different type style. In the Senate, with unanimous consent, undelivered remarks are printed as if spoken.
The Senate and House portions of the Record list measures reported out of their committees, and thus, ready for floor consideration. Also, in Senate proceedings, is report and vote
Found in the last portion of the Senate proceedings are the announcements of the time and business for the next meeting as well as a list of any executive nominations. The last pages of the House proceedings usually include the granting of special orders and permission to submit Extensions of Remarks, the announcement of the costs of Record insertions exceeding two pages, statements on the time and agenda of the next House session, and the list of House measures introduced.
At the back of the Record, following the Extensions of Remarks, when space permits, are published the names and office numbers of each Member, committee rosters, officers of the House and Senate, and judges on the federal courts. The "Laws and Rules for Publishing the Congressional Record" are also often found on the back pages of the Record.
Indices to the Record are published periodically during a session of Congress and can also be found online with the full text of the Record at http://www.congress.gov/.
Friday, 11 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Gary Robertshaw wrote the following - your comments would be appreciated both here and by Gary directly. His website is
Population growth - the other side of the coin
Reading through the various reports on climate change and environmental damage it can sometimes seem as though the problems we face are insurmountable. That, despite the hard work of environmental campaigners and those concerned with fair trade and green issues, we are merely forestalling inevitable environmental collapse.
As the overdue realisation dawns on governments around the world, particularly those with most to lose because of dense populations perilously exposed to sea level rises, there is a clamour for ‘quick fix’ solutions. Everything from geo-engineering to devices in space designed to block out sunlight.
Whilst well-intentioned, these efforts overlook a far more fundamental problem. This problem can be expressed in a simple, single statement: There are too many people on the Earth, consuming too many resources.
In other words, our impact on the environment can be broadly expressed as follows:
Number of people x Per capita resource consumption
Stabilisation of the global population and a reduction in per capita resource consumption will, in combination, do more to mitigate environmental damage than anything else. The Pareto principle of directing most effort into that which produces the greatest result has never been more important, whilst political prevaricating and drawn-out discussions on relatively minor issues serve only as a distraction.
An effective solution must address both population growth and resource consumption together. There is little point in trying to reduce per capita resource consumption with a surging population as the total impact on the environment will continue to rise.
Politically, however, that is what is happening. Governments regard the subject of population stabilisation as almost taboo. A no-go area not up for debate. Almost immediately, there are accusations of totalitarianism and coercion in reducing family sizes.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be like that. Empowerment and better education of women in developing countries is known to have a downward impact on birth rates. The Obama administration’s progress in encouraging family planning in the US and more broadly within the UN will have a positive longer-term impact. There is so much that can be done and without recourse to totalitarian policies.
However, the size of the problem should not be underestimated. For example, China’s population is still growing now despite the policy of one child per couple having been in place for many years. There is an inherent time lag involved. On top of that there are likely to be greater food shortages and displacement of large populations as climate change impacts upon agriculture in low lying areas, coupled with desertification of areas where deforestation has taken place. This will inevitably compound the problems of migration.
Environmental organisations need to avoid focusing almost explicitly on reducing per capita resource consumption whilst neglecting the other side of the equation; population growth. Global environmental strategies can only be truly effective when addressing both sides of the coin.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Full Committee Hearing:
Outlook for Iraq and U.S. Policy
U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Chairman
The Honorable Christopher R. Hill,
American Ambassador to Iraq
Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
The President will be addressing a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday. Sadly it is in the evening - which is not good news for those of us the wrong side of a five hour time difference. The House assembles at 8pm EDT (1am in England).
A CBS piece from the weekend is available below
Monday, 7 September 2009
Richard Wolffe was born in Birmingham, England and graduated with a first from Oxford University. He has worked as a journalist (Deputy Bureau Chief & US diplomatic correspondent, Washington DC) for the Financial Times before moving to Newsweek where he became their Chief White House correspondent. Currently he is a Senior Strategist for Public Strategies Inc. is a political analyst for MSNBC.
This short video shows Richard Wolffe talking about the book
Saturday, 5 September 2009
As a principal feature of the event there will be a display of Enigma and other cipher machines from private and museum collections throughout Europe and elsewhere – some rare and unusual variants will be on public display. The early 20th century through the cold war years will be represented.
Many well known experts, specialists and collectors from the cipher-machine world have expressed their intent to be there with their machines on display.
There will be a number of guest speakers giving talks, which will be taking place over the two days of the event.
In addition all of the regular, fascinating exhibits at Bletchley Park will be open to visitors. These include the rebuilds of Colossus and the Bombe, Jack Darrah’s unique collection of Churchillian memorabilia and Block B museum. Guided tours are available to visitors.
A timetable and further details are available at http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/resources/file.rhtm/589814/visitor+itinery.pdf
Friday, 4 September 2009
In 1691 a fire began when, so it was said, a careless maid allowed some candles to remain lighted. After several hours it had "consumed the greatest part of the Stone Gallery on both sides, that towards the privy garden and that towards the Thames". New buildings were designed by Sir Chritopher Wren, which included a garden and lodgings for Queen Mary. Simon Thurley writes that "the fire had in fact removed the largest residential parts of the surviving Tudor Palace and brought a greater sense of order to the remaining buildings."
Another "careless maid" was blamed for the much greater fire of 2nd January 1698. Her mistake was to leave linen drying, unattended, by an open fire. "Such was the fury and violence of this dreadful and dismal conflagration, that its flames reduced to ashes all that stood in its way from the Privy Stairs to the Banqueting House and from the Privy Gardens to Scotland Yard."
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Marvin Gaye (real name - Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr.) was born in Washington in April 1939. He grew up in the city, and returned there after service in the Air Force. He began singing around the city, but in the late 1950s relocated to Chicago. While on tour he met in Detroit Berry Gordy Jr., who signed him to the Motown label in 1961.
His life ended tragically - shot by his own father - with a gun that Marvin had given to him as a present. A heated argument broke out between his parents, and Marvin tried to intervene.