Theresa May does a Paul Daniels on internet surveillance – but the devil is in the detail

Embed from Getty ImagesTheresa May has pulled off quite a trick in the last couple of weeks. She built up the impression that the government would store the entire nation’s internet browsing history (which must have had computer storage salespeople salivating heavily) and ban encryption (effectively banning WhatsApp and Snapchat).

But now she’s spun the upturned eggcups around the table and revealed that she won’t be doing that after all, so isn’t she soooo reasonable? Continue reading


Glimpsing those icy wastes at the top of the globe

Trans-Siberian railway by Pixabay Free for commercial use no attribution requiredI’m a bit addicted to travelogue programmes. I could very happily watch “Coast” 24×7. “Great Railway Journeys” has me hooked.

And, recently, there has been a splurge of excellent travelgouey shows, particularly looking at the northern parts of our blessed globe.

Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands is brilliant. Paul Murton visits a string of the Scottish islands. I’ve just watched the one where he visited Skye and the inspiration for “Skyfall” – Ian Fleming’s father’s house, Arnisdale House at Loch Hourn.

Alexander Armstrong in the Land of the Midnight Sun is a wonderful series, albeit rather brief (one programme on the whole Canada?). I particularly enjoyed his visit to the Sirius patrol – one of six pairs of Danish soldiers who patrol north-eastern Greenland on sledges for two years solid. Quite extraordinary. I was also taken by his flying visit to Little Diomede, a tiny settlement of Inupiat people which is just 2.4 miles from Russia, facing it across the Bering Strait.

Chris Tarrant does a fantastic job on Extreme Railway Journeys. He’s been all over the world but the most extreme journey must surely be his One-Way Ticket to Siberia. Siberia is as big as Europe, Canada and the USA put together. And most of it is ice, snow and the odd tree. Chris Tarrant went up to the northernmost railway station in the world, at Karskaya on the gas-rich Yamal peninsula.

Call me a nerd if you like, but I love all this stuff.