Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Stern Report

Unfortunately I am almost completely ignorant about climate change science. I am not so ignorant about socialist governmental techniques and it comes as no surprise to me that the Stern report seems to recommend serious state action immediately.

Tim Worstallhas some excellent posts up on the subject.

Incidentally I heard George Moonbat on the radio on Sunday saying how people should not become involved in carbon neutralising schemes because they distract from the urgent serious state action needed. His message is simple: we destroy the earth, governments will save it. Individuals are pointless and destructive, states are glorious. A clearer summary of the red/green mind would be difficult to locate.

Monday, 30 October 2006

Not so Much Angry as Drearily Unsurprised

Here's a funny article from the BBC Website: "England "retain World Cup Belief".

In other news: "Pigs 'retain flight belief'"; "Dawkins 'retains supernatural being belief'" and "Bears 'retain egesting food in a lavatorial situation belief'".

Charlie Falconer is a Winnit in the Crack of Democracy

The Devil's Kitchen has a brief post up about a man I have posted about before too: Charlie Falconer. This time he is saying that the Human Rights Act contains rights which are as British as "the BBC" (how I laughed) and "a pint of bitter" (not Boddington's then).

This fat tosser really does think Britons did not have any rights at all until his munificent government granted them to us. He really does not think there is any common law tradition, or that people in this country have ever enjoyed any freedoms, before New Labour. He really does not see how the abolition of double jeopardy, jury trial, habeus corpus and the presumption of innocence in some kinds of trial seem to be perfectly compatible with all these wonderful rights granted in the HRA. That's because he regards, like Blair, everything in English and UK law pre-1997 to be utterly irrelevant to a codification of rights that can be subverted, adapted, or reinterpreted at the will of a government or a judge.

But this is not even the real outrage here. It is that a man who has never been elected to anything in his life, ever, but is a long standing mate of the PM, goes around telling us about rights and democracy. Whatever you think of the arguments around an English Parliament it stretches the limits of hypocrisy for an unelected member of a supposedly radical government to lecture us on whether it would be good for democracy or not. Whatever you think of Britain's constitution an unelected fuckwit like Falconer should not be allowed within several million miles of it. The man is an affront to democracy, an old style feudal lord dispensing nuggets of received wisdom and truth to the ignorant masses on behalf of his own liege lord.

Fuck off, Falconer. Nobody wants you.

Apologies (again)

My post on an old article appears below; I have been trying to post it since Saturday morning, but only now is blogger working enough to allow it go up.

Last night ITV screened Mysterious Creatures, another compelling drama for grown ups (the RTD* version would have shown the central character in nightclubs, attempting to pull, with hilarious - but tragic and inevitably bisexual - consequences), but with a curious end.

The entire drama revolves around how the parents of this 30something clearly unbalanced girl try to rid themselves of her. She is sectioned, and released. The parents try to commit suicide, and only one succeeds. Then the mother goes out to Tenerife and tries again, and fails. The end shows mother and daughter shopping. And the caption flashes up "Lisa has a new flat on Merseyside. Her mother still teaches in Birmingham" (or something very similar).

But how the hell has anyone persuaded her to live somewhere else? How has this fundamental problem, which has cost her father his life, been resolved, such that her mother suddenly has the freedom she has craved? It's like a war film that goes up to 1940 and then says "By 1945, Britain had won the war." I suppose the end only serves to further justify the title, though.

This problem, though, shouldn't detract from a powerful drama which is shot in a semi-contemporary style (shaky cameras etc) and a semi-gritty "Play for Today" or Threads style, with lingering shots of people crying or staring into space. Human misery has rarely looked more detailed on British TV since about 1984.

Some fine tv on lately then.

But not Torchwood. Obviously.

*= Russell T Davies, re-creator of Doctor Who, killer of Jesus (both played by Chris Eccleston, curiously enough), "genius" behind Torchwood. Actually RTD does have a lot of genuis in him, if only for Who and his long forgotten 1991 children's drama Dark Season, which I watched as an enthralled 14 year old. Yes I know I should have been having sex, but I preferred telly.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

CofE handwringing and causing offence

I love it when lefties say that they are in favour only of being compassionate, and in social justice (see my post about Polly Toynbee below); and I also love it when they say that "Political Correctness" is a term made up by nasty right wingers desperate to discredit what is only an attempt to be polite.

So this is politeness then? To whom?

For decades, smartly dressed veterans and servicemen and women in Wood Green, north London, have proudly packed their parish church for the traditional Remembrance Sunday service.
But this year there will be no such solemn ceremony at St Michael's - because the vicar felt it was not multicultural enough.
Father Colin Coppen decided it was unfair on non-Anglicans to make them attend a church of England service.
Instead he has decreed that soldiers who fought and died for their country will only be remembered during Parish Mass.
If the borough wants to remember its fallen than it should do so outside the church, he says.

(linked to above)

It sounds more like a combination of patronising lefty bullshit and of a genuine dislike of the traditions we have built up in this country. Fine, if you don't like it; but why use your authority to impose your views on everyone? A vicar, this man should hardly need reminding, does not own his church: it belongs to the parish, of which he is only a temporary incumbent. He is saying, in effect, "As I don't like this very much, I cannot possibly be expected to hold this service, for going against my instincts would entail being untrue to myself, and this is what is important here."

Of course, the standard response to articles like this, is to claim that the people involved were misquoted, or it was all made up, or they read something in the Guardian that proves that it wasn't true. Or that if it is true, then that is fair enough, as we have to move with the times, blah blah....

Hat Tip: comments in Biased-BBC

Friday, 27 October 2006


Now this was tv for grown ups, with twists of ethical view, complications, and a genuine attempt to see into the heart of a real human being (Longford, rather than Hindley). It was a thoughtful presentation of Lord Longford's involvement with Myra Hindley, from shortly after she was imprisoned to a couple of years or so before they both died.

The bad things about it first: sometimes Longford is drawn in strokes that are really too broad. This is a problem at the start, as the director seems to grapple with the idea that Longford has personal ambition as well as spiritual beliefs; later on this dissolves into much finer portraiture (to extend the worn out metaphor). Ian Brady gets all the best lines, and there is a twenty minute stretch of the film where the eponymous character barely gets a mention and we get involved rather too deeply for my liking in Myra Hindley's personality. But then I suppose, without that, Longford's commitment to the woman makes less sense, or has less pathos.

Jim Broadbent gives a performance of depth, quite unlike the other old man for which he won an Oscar, John Bayley (Iris). His speech mirrors his soul: doubting, uncertain, but determined to press on, inventing conviction as he proceeds. Broadbent's Longford is naive, and knows it, but he sees himself as part of a wider spiritual truth, that of forgiveness; and he makes it his task to secure forgiveness for someone seen as one of the most evil people alive. We don't get very long to try and get to grips with the sense that he has wasted his life after Hindley's reversion in the 1980s - for though he insists that he does not regret anything, the pain of personal betrayal is there - because the narrative skips to 1997 and a more genuine relationship founded in mutual experience and something resembling truth between the two (in the face of death - whether this is the easy option or not I don't know).

This is one of the great subtleties of the film: Longford grapples with a sense of betrayal that he knows is self-absorbed, or self-pitying, and at the same time it is this sense of betrayal that almost pathetically opens his eyes to the real suffering Hindley had caused - which he realises he had not given enough thought to. It retrospectively justifies his actions and faith in her, but allows him to forgive on a more realistic level - ie it is a process, not an act, and is more difficult to do than to say.

On a less portentous note, that bloke who played Goering in the recent BBC2 Nuremburg documentary is at it again, playing Harold Wilson as a cross between a bluff Yorkshireman and scheming southern politician,which made me smile. I do think the bloke out of May to December would have made a better Denis Healey than Willie Whitelaw.

This shows what tv can do when it isn't written or produced by people who think adults are just teenagers with a slightly lower sex drive and shorter attention spans.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

State of the Union

Conservative Home has an interesting discussion up about how to resurrect the Tories' support in Scotland, which also carries some thought on the future of the Union. I've always been an instinctive unionist, as I think what unites the 4 countries of the UK is more than what divides it; but I think increasingly unionism cannot be sustained. The blogosphere recently has been awash with rumours that the SNP are about to take power in Scotland; Iain Dale and chums are pressing for an English Parliament; a sort of mutual misunderstanding, even loathing is developing on the streets when you talk to people about England/Scotland relations.

The fact might well be that the UK is finished. The Empire, which it built, is long gone, and with it the raison d'etre of the Kingdom. England is developing its own new nationalism (though at the moment it seems limited to football), partly in reaction to Scots and Welsh devolution, and it could simply be that all 4 parts of the UK would be better off given their own decision on the Union.

Despite being a Unionist, I just can't feel too sorry about it. I think it's time that the ancient kingdom of England was brought back to life, in a new cosmopolitan, multicultural way that still nodded all the way back to the Anglo Saxons who shaped this brilliant language of ours, to recapture the continuity of culture that I can't help thinking with our obession with Empire and global influence and sucking up to the uninterested USA we have lost. Yes, it might become a way of refusing to recognise our responsibility for empire and its consequences, but there are plenty of people around to challenge that. For every Lawrence James there are several Johann Haris. Or is he a Scot?

England of course would then have to re-negotiate membership of the EU and its contribution would decrease if it stayed - I can't really say its influence would decline, as the UK has very little influence in the things that matter (namely CAP). We could establish the new kingdom as a liberal constitutional monarchy with a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, something that would nod to the English tradition of seeing liberties as automatic (an idea with a lot going for it, despite the fact that this rarely worked in practice - it took French govts a while to really cotton on to Liberte etc too), not as benefits handed down or taken away by the state. We would need to replace the House of Lords of course - well it could then be fully elected, and stuff the whinging MPs who worry about their primacy, they would just have to negotiate with the Second Chamber, as happens in other countries with two elected chambers. It would force England, through lack of ownership of power, both to reclaim coal and nuclear power, and be at the forefront of renewable technologies.

We could make something that people, even lefties, actually like, are vaguely pleased with, and are happy to stand up for its beliefs.

And XTC would be the national band; as you can probably guess this semi-nostalgic political wishful thinking is inspired by my latest listening of Mummer.


Last night BBC2 showed the first episode of Torchwood for us barbarians who haven't got digital yet (I didn't hang around to see if they showed the second as well). For a start, it justifies the Onion headline of years ago: "High-Definition Tv Promises Sharper Crap".

It was awful. I mean it was really poor. Firstly, John Barrowman cannot act. When he thinks he is being sardonic or subdued, really he is just monotoning his lines. His character, lacking depth, any explanation of its continued existence, or interest, is as dull as Blackburn Rovers on a rainy Wednesday.

Secondly the premise is stupid, boring and not at all postmodern or ironic. An organisation of 4 people "beyond the united nations" working from a Cardiff shed and doing its thang in coincidentally many of the same places Doctor Who recently has? Get me an imagination transplant, and fast.

Thirdly I found it really difficult to believe this simple minded crap was written, directed and acted for grown ups. Sure, some people said "bastard" and even "fuck", but swearing does not an adult programme make (unless it is done with conviction, and an overarching sense that this is how adults behave in the programme itself). It had all the moral and ethical complexity of an episode of Neighbours. Russell T Davies, as is his wont, shoehorned in his little philosophy that everyone is naturally bisexual in a completely irrelevant sequence where one of the Torchwood twats pulls a girl - and her boyfriend! How I laughed at the grown up attitude to sexuality and the hymn to the wonderful power of lust. But what was the plot? Where was the narrative drive? What kind of a character is this policewoman? Everyone seemed just shadows in a Cardiff alleyway.

On the other hand, it is wholly natural that this was made for grown ups in a world where "adult" means porn, and where a Cheltenham shopping arcade has to put a little robot out saying "Be Careful. This floor is wet" all day long.

I really like RTDs Doctor Who, with a few reservations mainly to do with tone, but this piss-poor offshoot should be consigned to the toilet. Bring back K9 & Company.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Those Damn Auditors At It Again

The EU's auditors have caused trouble yet again by refusing to sign off the EUs accounts in their totality. My eyes were drawn to this defence of the EU's spending habits by "The European Commissioner for Administration, Audit and Anti-fraud, Siim Kallas" in the article on the BBC website, linked to above:

"You lost your wallet and you get it back with some money inside, but you still consider it a catastrophe. This is our main debate with the Court of Auditors."

Somewhere in Hitchhikers Guide Peter Jones says: "for Arthur, surprise is no longer adequate, and he is forced to resort to astonishment."

Still, at least the EU are admitting that they are stealing our wallets, illegally removing money and then handing us back somewhat less money than we had before.

Hat-Tip: Biased BBC.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Polly only put the kettle on for people who would benefit

I picked this up today from Tim Worstall. It is a quote from Polly Toynbee:

But it isn't as simple as that. Faced with patients clinging to any last straw, the big questions remain. What is a life worth? How good a quality of life should be saved, at what price, for how long? Nice has a rule of thumb using QALYs, or quality-adjusted life years. A year of life in a reasonable condition is worth £20,000-£25,000. Anything over £30,000 needs to be an exceptional case: that's not personal circumstance but a rare condition with absolutely no other treatment. Nice has to consider what better treatments could be bought for how many others for the cost of holding off death for a few more painful months? Never easy, it will always depend on how much cash there is in the pot. And politicians need to ask if an NHS pound really buys more wellbeing than other services?

Never let it be said that the left are lacking in compassion. As Polly makes clear, people who have paid taxes (presumably for a stake in services) but who are dying should just damn well die. They are gone, finished, and money spent enabling them to extend their lives is a waste.
Never let it be said either that a solely taxpayer funded system leads to utilitarian rationing and the state handout of life and death. Tim asks: Is Polly really ready to go to one of those people with multiple myeloma, look them in the face and say, no, you must die in the name of equality? The answer, of course, is "yes" or "no, but then I don't have to. A doctor can do that". Their lives are meaningless and they are a waste of money. Well done Polly, you've just exposed the bankrupt ethics of the secular left: Come on all you dying people, what are you waiting for? Fuck off and die before you cost us any more money.

Monday, 23 October 2006


I've just realised that I haven't posted for nearly a week. There is no reason for that, except that time flies when you're not having fun.

Despite the shade of triumphalism I expressed over the defeat of the GPA by the Advertising Standards Agency, I noticed yesterday that the Liberal Democrats are calling for Ruth Kelly to resign for bringing her religious beliefs to her job. I would be interested to hear if they think that gay people who bring their beliefs about human sexuality to their political jobs should also resign. I would also like them to affirm that they would be opposed to Muslims in government, since they think Catholics are beyond the pale.

We are steadily, and deliberately, narrowing the public sphere, excluding different views and ways of life. The public sphere will, eventually, be completely homogenous, with all alternative views held only in secret. Some people, like Richard Dawkins, are pretty open about this; others, like gay rights groups, hide behind an exclusionary concept of "diversity". As a consequence of such principles, as has happened in some parts of the USA, Catholic adoption agencies, unable to take gay couples, will close, when the new equality laws are passed. Hence whole swathes of the public sphere will be destroyed and this is fine, because the alternative views are all based on "hate", pure and simple. This word has become so debased and cynically manipulated as to be almost meaningless now. But it's good for one kind of diversity, pretty awful for another.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Gay Police Association, BBC Wrong

Make the most of it, it's only a setback for those who wish to use the law, along with outright deliberate lies (the use of Gay History, in which children are taught that historical persons are gay despite the fact that we know there is no evidence whatsoever for the claim), to ensure complete "discipline" in the publicly expressed views of human sexuality.

Curiously, (or not), the BBCs account (linked to above) is somewhat anaemic. The BBC merely quotes the GPAs defence of itself without challenging it:

The GPA said the majority of the 250 calls relating to homophobic incidents its helpline received in the year up to March 2006 were "weighted against Christianity" while 25 referred to Islam.

As both His Grace and the account on Yahoo (www.yahoo.co.uk) news make clear, but the BBC does not, some of the helpline calls that were included in their "74%" rise in homophobic incidents were "general inquiries, requests for help, and allegations of discrimination in the workplace."

The BBC is also wrong to say "25" calls referred to Islam. The figure they meant to use was "25%", which is also quoted by His Grace and by Yahoo.

Still, I am glad to see the BBC is continuing to pass on a libel against Christians, when that libel has been nicely discredited.

The watchdog said there was an implication, without evidence, that Christians were the main cause of homophobic incidents.

In fact it was a lot more than this: it was that the GPA had arrived at the 74% figure itself without being able to substantiate it with evidence. The BBC account does not question the GPAs statistical measurements, which the ASA did.

On the off chance that the BBC does a stealth edit of the article, I'm going to save it along with the timestamp: 0120.

The Yahoo article ends with the GPA saying that they wanted to be "challenging". Nice one, guys. Challenging still, just about, works both ways. But it won't do for long.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006


Natalie Solent has a post up about the educational theory known as constructivism:

Re-naming it every ten years hasn't made it work. Read Joanne Jacobs linking to Ken DeRosa linking in turn to an article in Educational Psychologist magazine called Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work by Paul Kirschner, John Sweller and Richard Clark.
These three links all have worthwhile stuff to read in them, so I'm telling you to read all three. OK, I'm also admitting that I have only skim-read the paper itself - but I've always said that "Do as I say not as I do" has a lot more going for it as a teaching strategy than it is given credit for.
Anyway. It's been called discovery learning, experiential learning, problem-based learning, inquiry learning and now (heaven help us) "constructivist instructional techniques".

I can tell Natalie that it has been called that for at least the last decade, since I trained as a primary teacher in England 6 years ago and it was well established then. It is high time a thoughtful criticism was made of it, and the article certainly gives some.

If you read the links you notice that a common thread in the discussions about it is constructivism's denial of the concept of reality, which is handed down to it from postmodern philosophy. This I found odd, because if they were challenged about their theories or methods, my tutors always replied in ways that indicated definite belief in some things being true, and valid, always and everywhere, and other things not (ie "shut up") - the true things were mainly theories, ethics, and so on (such as a certain view of multiculturalism, equal opportunities, politics). The things that were not really existing things were facts, you know, the little nuggets of information that teachers are commonly supposed to pass on to pupils (or "learners" as they have been renamed in all government material).

The reason there is no such thing as reality, we are told, is because we all "construct" our own reality. Leaving aside the clear contradiction in someone saying this to a group of people, and the group, by and large, understanding the person rather than all thinking they heard something completely different, like "the sky is a nice shade of pink this morning", I found it a sinister attempt to discredit learning, communication, culture and knowledge: you assume reality is imagination, then you set about moulding that imagination. All else is irrelevant or nonexistent.

As one of the arguments in one of Natalie's links shows, constructivists often turn to an absolutist view of reality and of knowledge as soon as they are challenged, which makes them hypocrites as well as underminers of education.

By way of a final whinge about it, I remember very few, if any, taught sessions on the PGCE which actually followed the constructivist ideal. Most were good old fashioned "chalk and talk" sessions, in which we made copious notes and then afterwards went and learnt the notes. We were rigorously assessed, our learning was not "scaffolded", some of our tutors were very harsh, and we all worked damn hard, often doing a day at school and then four or five hours work in the evening, which might be preparing an assignment, doing the reading, or just preparing more lessons.

And do you know, it worked....myself and some of my colleagues passed out with all A Grades...

Sunday, 15 October 2006

BA's Religious Discrimination

His Grace (linked to above) has an excellent post on the hypocrisy of British Airways and the rather funny way their policy on religious garb or ornamentation reduces to: if you have a huge ornament or item of clothing, you can wear it openly. If you have small one, you must conceal it or not wear it.

I think they should take his Grace up on his suggestion that the suspended Christian lady wear a huge crucifix that could not possibly be covered up.

Unfortunately for me I am terrified of flying so I won't be boycotting BA, but it is tempting to deliberately fly using another airline just to register the extent of my annoyance with them. However, my terror would be such that any pleasure I would gain from it would be swiftly countered.

Sion Simon's Arrogance and Stupidity

I know I'm well behind the times on this story, and that Mr Simon (for all his anti-Tory hate, a former Daily Torygraph comment writer) has since apologised, but the breathtaking presumption of the man has been making me fume silently all week.

I have posted on satire before. What has never occurred to me, in years of reading and occasionally writing it, is that members of the government of a country could be satirists. That is, that people with all the power, lampoon people without power (and references to Cameron's Etonian schooling does not count as power, not when you are actually making the rules we all have to live by). I've always thought that when a government or ruling party attacks other people with vicious, aggressive statements that are meant to impute that the targets are devoid of humanity, it was just propaganda, or agit-prop, even.

Mr Simon's impassioned defence of his pathetic satire on Radio 5 Live on Thursday, when, to be fair, he was given a right going over by Jane Garvey, was appalling. The man leapt to his target like a starving lion, accusing Cameron of everything under the sun, and then, bizarrely, saying that if he thought Cameron was offended, he would take it off the YouTube website it was posted on.

Hang on.

You expressive virulent hatred of a man, and his ideas, and policies, and then say "of course, if he were to be offended, I would take it down".

(Of course, he did take it down, but only after the entire world called him a total nobhead).

This might be because of our cultural anxieties over offence, of course (wouldn't want to be associated with something normally the province of Tory bigots, eh?), but it just seems downright weird to me.

Anyway the Tories have lapped all this up, so I guess all we can hope for is that more stupid NewLabour MPs decide to give personal kickings to the Lib Dems. Now that might be worth watching. Come on, Mr Simon, let's see your impression of Ming Campbell.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006


...really are comically rubbish. Gary Neville scores, his first for England, - an own goal, passing back to Paul Robinson who misses it completely and watches it go into the net.

Hooray for England.


So Danny Wallace, the noted naturalist and biochemist, was on horizon last night trying to persuade us that the arguments of nutters like Peter Singer (who has called for infanticide) are essentially right. Well I hope he is prepared to pay more tax, because clearly if chimps are people, with the same powers of reason, then we will need to build more prisons to cope with the rates of chimp crime. As clearly they are able to reason through their actions and to take responsibility for them. Yes, I know the chimp population of the UK is as near to 0 as makes no odds, but there must be a case for increased chimp immigration, which can only benefit the economy, given all the amazing skills they have.

Given Danny's figure of 99.4% for shared DNA between humans and chimps (which is slightly different, incidentally, from the figures given if you googlewhack the subject), I wonder if his being 60% the same as a banana will lead to his calling for the integration of bananas into human society; we could make a start by putting a banana into Danny's place on the crap Radio 4 comedy show he hosts (Genius, or something). It would be wittier, more intelligent, and would have the additional benefit of smoothing the process of giving bananas the rights they are due. It might even make Danny think that, since he is a quarter identical to a dandelion, he should go and stand in a field, swaying occasionally, until being eaten by a cow.

Sunday, 8 October 2006

Possessed by the Devil

I don't mean it literally, or even metaphorically. I just find that his atheism aside, I agree with everything the Devil (of Kitchen fame, linked above) says. I particularly enjoy his well crafted and sharp swearing, especially when addressed at self righteous lefties as in the above post. While I don't intend to become a swearblog, I love the term "fuckwit", which I first read in Viz and which is the only word to describe a certain kind of person who simply cannot relate to the real world. Terry Fuckwitt is the progenitor of the type of course: in the latest strip, upon his frank admission that he really has no idea what is going on in the world, a Radio 4 producer gives Terry a job as a contributor to Thought for the Day. Well, it made me laugh.

I look forward to the Devil resuscitating the terms "dickhead", "knobwipe", "knobcheese", "dangleberry" and "that's him fuckin' telt".

Crap Irony in Torygraph Ad

In today's Sunday Torygraph there is a full page advert for something called www.unlimited-spurt.org, which is a supposedly pro-flying pressure group. Clearly of course the ad and the website are put up and paid for by Friends of the Earth or some such group; the sheer hatred and contempt both show for ordinary people, linking them, with no attempt to make a proper, causation based argument, to the deaths of people in Africa, is breathtaking, but I suppose, no longer suprising. "Working-class Britons kill Africans" is the subtext, and it makes a good deal of sense, since the likes of George Moonbat and others have been arguing for ages that the great unwashed should not be flying around the world, while they have enjoyed their trips around the world a lot, thank you very much.

It is, needless to say, no problem for the environmentalists to jet around the world to their conferences, or, like Al Gore, to show rubbish films. After all, there's only a few of them, isn't there, and they're going for all the right reasons, compared to the millions of ignorant peasants who just want to go somewhere nice on holiday.

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Stop the War march

Why is Radio 5 Live reporting that the Stop the War coalition has held a demo to protest against Jack Straw's comments on the veils? What on earth does that have to do with the war? It couldn't be that the coalition is a front organisation, could it? If the reason is solidarity with religious sensitivities, then I expect them to take up the case of Fiona Bruce, whose wearing of a cross while reading the news has caused plenty of controversy within the BBC and led to instructions that it shouldn't happen again. There do seem to be people who are professionally offended at the moment. Perhaps we should just, shock horror, not report their taking offence, and hence ignore it completely.

Friday, 6 October 2006


As a pathetic and out of place teenager, one of my musical heroes - in an age of SL2, Altern8, Chemical Brothers, etc (basically, between 1992-1996); one of my total heroes was the magnificent, late, Ian Dury, whose Blockheads hits I am listening to right now (sex and drugs and rock and roll...sex...and drugs...... ).

This is what we find....that Gilad Atzmon, of Norman Geras and Oliver Kamm posts passim, revolting anti-everything to do with Jews and Israel (see Normblogs passim to about 1971).....is a Blockhead.

I cannot explain how sad I feel to realise that such a shit is hanging onto my heroes. What next? David Irving to join the Jam? Nick Griffin to take up rhythm guitar in XTC? Anjem Choudary to join New Order as lead vocalist? I've gotta stop this post before it gets out of hand.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Glenn McGrath...

...should keep his bloody mouth shut. But he cannot resist shooting his gob off, whether it's predicting a 5-0 greenwash, threatening to rip Sarwan's throat off, or calling Monty Panesar "ridiculous" and "soft" as he has done today. Monty's crime is to prepare himself for Australia by seeing a psychologist. The man, McGrath, is a great bowler. No-one would doubt that. But he will be one of those players remembered around the world with respect, rather than affection or love, such is his belief that the world really wants to hear his ignorance. England fans saluted Steve Waugh on his retirement and Shane Warne last year. But who, apart from Australia fans, will really be sorry when Glenn McGrath retires? A great player, but not a great ambassador for the game.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006


Great post on taxation by the Devil linked to above. I am not sure I entirely agree about the whole flat tax thing, but one benefit of the scheme he outlines would be the raising of the tax threshhold to £9000 and the taking of 4.5million low earners out of taxation. Our high tax economy is affecting the poorest most, and such a measure is at least a decade overdue. If they do nothing else, the Conservatives must find a way to take more low income people out of tax altogether. It would both cut taxes and contribute to "social justice", and have the Guardian in a bit of a spin, especially if the top rate were raised by a % or two. It does surprise me that a party which prides itself on its working class origins and commitments has done so little to help its people - bar, of course, making them apply for tax credits with tortuous forms, that make the whole process more akin to begging than an entitlement. Meanwhile George Osborne, who does not look or sound much like a chancellor, but more like a smart sixth former, is promising not to cut taxes but little else. Of course he needs to appeal outside of core Tory voters; but he needs to hold onto something the Tories believe in too. He did say "I want lower taxes", but in a way that reminded me of George Bush Snr saying "Read my lips, no new taxes". Still, it's early doors, as football managers say, and Osborne might come up with something interesting before 2009.

Monday, 2 October 2006

Odd sentence from the BBC

Like Natalie Solent, from whom this is copied, I thought this was odd, at best, and downright sinister at worst:

"The question everyone is asking is has Denmark learned its lesson?"
Someone should ask Thomas Buch-Anderson of the BBC exactly which lesson he had in mind. (Via Ed Thomas at Biased BBC.)

I wonder what Thomas Buch-Anderson really means with that sentence. It would be great to hear an explanation, but despite this being picked up by a few bloggers, I've yet to hear a good reason for it. I would also love to know who the "everyone" are.