Cameron and the EU bill: very clever or very stupid?

So the EU has presented the UK with an additional bill of £1.7 billion, and David Cameron is kicking off and saying we’re not going to pay.

My first reaction was ultra-cynical. The Conservatives are faced with the threat of another by-election against UKIP in a couple of weeks. Perhaps the whole thing had been orchestrated in cahoots with the EU as an elaborate charade. Here’s how it works in Cameron’s favour: the EU pretends to be owed £1.7bn, Cameron makes a big stand and refuses to pay, the EU backs down from its fictitious demand and Cameron struts around like he’s proved he can defeat them. Wobbly Eurosceptic voters decide he’s the real anti-EU statesman and stick with the Tories instead of haemorrhaging to UKIP.

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Lean production and British military doctrine

Earlier this year, I read The Machine That Changed The World, by Womack, Jones and Roos. It’s the ground-breaking book which introduced the Western world to lean production, the industrial management philosophy which was pioneered by Toyota, and is now well on the way to replacing the previous paradigm, Fordist mass production, in all kinds of businesses and organisations around the world. For an academic tract about factory management, it was a surprisingly gripping read, and got me thinking about the parallels between lean and my experience in the British Army.

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Comment paranoia

I’ve recently stopped using my previous anti-comment-spam plugins (Captcha and Akismet), which were still letting way too many spam comments reach me, and replaced them with WP-Spamshield, which seems good… almost too good. It’s apparently stopped over 5,000 spam comments already. But it blocks them from even reaching my spam comment folder, which saves me the trouble of clearing it, but does mean that I don’t know whether it’s had any false positives.

So, if you’re a real person, and you’ve posted a comment recently, which hasn’t yet been approved and posted, then it’s probably been wrongly blocked. Please let me know and I’ll try to sort it out.