10 November 2009

Daily Chat 10/11/09

The Stockholm Bloodbath came to an end in 1520.  As near as I can tell, around 215 people were killed over a four-day period by Danish King Christian II's men.  René Descartes apparently had some dreams in 1619 that lead him to write Meditations on First Philosophy.  In 1969, American children were introduced to a happy world where people of all ethnicities lived in peaceful harmony with monsters and mutant birds when Sesame Street hit their tv screens.  The freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank suddenly during a storm on Lake Superior in 1975.  Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement to Save the Ogoni People were executed in Nigeria in 1995.

Born today:  Martin Luther (1483-1546), William Hogarth (1697-1764), Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931), Richard Burton (1925-1984) and Screaming Lord Sutch (1940-1999).

Turkey observes the Day of Remembrance of Ataturk today.


  1. "..and Screaming Lord Sutch (1940-1999)"

    Especially apt on a site that conclusively proves that monster raving loonies still have much to contribute to European politics.

  2. Morning all,

    just wanted to pick up on the French discussion last night.

    Hank, the Paris commune emerged in the direct aftermath of the debacle of the 1871 Franco-Prussian war. As an aside, Zola's 'la debacle' is brilliant exposition of the whole period.

    The interesting aspect of the Commune is the State and historic reaction to its destruction.

    The Bourgeiosie had clearly learned the lessons of 1789 and were horrified by what they saw in their eyes as the resurrection of 'sans cullotism'.

    Adolphe Thiers, the first PM of the new French Third Republic acted on these fears from the Govt's bas in Versailles, having had it handed back by the victorious Prussians.

    The suppression of the commune and aftermath led to between 15,000-20,000 Communard deaths.

    Now interestingly, why do you never, ever hear about this State terror? We never hear the end of the State Terror of 1789 (and rightly so), but strangely 1871 is swept under the carpet.

    Any idea why this is? Of course, the Communards of 1871 were sans culottes, poor savages!They desreved it!

    The Third Republic was born in the blood and chaos of 1871 and died in a frenzy of feasting and drinking in a Bordeaux Chateau in the midst of the blood and chaos of 1940.

  3. Also picking up on the issue of French political engagement from last night - ref Hank
    "France has been a more unsettled country for 200+ years, and one of the positive products of that has been that people understand that direct action can make a difference, that they can shape govt and policy. Britain, conversely, has been stable politically since 1688 and the governing elites make a virtue of that stability. Our political culture is far more conservative as a result."
    That makes a lot of sense to me - it's reflected, for example, in the attitude towards strikes (largely, a shrug, moving on to a cafe), and opening hours (nobody expects an owner-managed business to be open 24/7, and lengthy closures for Christmas / summer sholidays are barely commented upon, except by us incomers). There's a greater sense of respect for 'the worker', I think, but interestingly this also includes the owner-managed businesses (petit bourgeouis? been a long time since I read Marx). And while in the UK the conservative tendancy may encourage the belief that change comes 'from within' the ruling system, in France I go with Hank - there's more of a belief that collective action is itself part of the system and the rulers can go jump. Basically.

    On the issue of political debate, that BB mentioned, I think, the French people I've talked to are roughly 'as engaged' as I'm used to, although both French teachers seemed not to give a toss about party politics. The only topic on which I managed to get them to hazard an opinion is immigration / integration and all the French people I've spoken to about this are noticeably much less 'PC' when talking about it - maybe that sounds wrong. It feels like there are two approaches to talking about it in the UK, either (1) "talking about it is racist, we must be sensitive" or (2) "coming over here, taking our jobs". The French seem instead to be largely in the middle - they talk about it, openly and stridently, rejecting approach (1) but in a much more complex way than (2).

    But all of them do seem, as noted, much more engaged with a 'philosophical' debate (the gender bias of the language - heh heh - being an interesting theme).

    Interesting. Anyway, am supposed to be working. Ahem.

  4. 'The suppression of the commune and aftermath led to between 15,000-20,000 Communard deaths.
    Now interestingly, why do you never, ever hear about this State terror?'

    Another interesting question is why we never hear about the horrors that followed the American Revolution, what some American historians now call 'the American Terror'.

    Compare the Communard deaths above with this from Wiki on the American Revolution:

    'Estimates vary, but it is believed that 6824 Am Patriots were killed in action, 3000 Am. Loyalists were killed in action, another 18,500 died in captivity or of disease. An additional 24,000 British troops were killed in action or died of disease as well.
    It is estimated that 100,000 slaves and probably as many civilians died of disease, starvation or actually killed in battles.'

    It's a massive death toll.

    The persecution and killing of Loyalists went on after the 'peace', and c. 100,000 Loyalists fled to Canada or back to Britain, Flora MacDonald among them - most Scots were Loyalists, indeed Loyalists were called the 'Scotch Faction' and Jefferson had to be persuaded to take a derogatory reference to us Scots out of the DOI.

    All of this has been buried.

  5. Edwin,

    A lot of history gets buried, particularly that of war: history is written by the winners.

  6. Interesting, Edwin, I never knew that.

  7. Damn lack of tone of voice, I didn't mean my last comment to sound dismissive.....

  8. Hmm, I don't whether I want to see "Bright Star" or not (it opens on December 24th here, so I still have a lot of time to switch my opinion back and forth).

    After I read an American review, I was desperate to see it. After Peter Bradshaw praising that movie while dissing "The Piano", I really felt pretty sure that this movie was my kind of film. Then I saw clips from the film in the guardian's "reel review", and my enthusiasm dropped.

    But now Tanya Gold writes she doesn't like it, so it can't be that bad, can it?

  9. Good work on the Rantzen thread, BB. Plus, after seeing her work on this thread and many re: gay issues, I think I am developing a severe case of heroine worship for Clunie. She's awesome...

    On the Sun / Brown ongoing arse-bollocks, the nation's favourite red-top's website has as it's front page link - the phonecall, "listen to audio here".

    Now, who else is wondering if the mother came up with the idea of recording GB herself? The Sun really is unbelievable...

  10. Morning all

    Pip - agreed about Clunie. I have a lot of time for her.

    Re the Sun - Steve Bell has got it about right with the banner on the cartoon "Lose a son and get a year's free subscription". The paper that supports our boys my arse.

  11. The Russians seem to need a different magnitude of maths to deal with their quarrels:

    "....The civil war had taken an estimated 15,000,000 of them, including at least 1,000,000 soldiers of the Russian Red Army and more than 500,000 White soldiers who died in battle. Semyonov alone killed 100,000 men, women and children in the regions where he held authority.[29] 50,000 Russian Communists were killed by the counter-revolutionary Whites, and 250,000 civilians were killed by the Cheka.[30][31] An estimated 100,000 Jews were killed in Ukraine, mostly by the White Army.[32] Punitive organs of the "All Great Don Host" sentenced 25,000 people to death between May 1918 to January 1919.[33] Kolchak's Government shot 25,000 people in Ekaterinburg province alone....." [Wiki]

  12. Edwin,

    you make a great point on the 'American terror'. Again, accepted History is that the America did revolution 'right' whilst the French 'wrong'.

    What's conveniently forgotten is the US bloodbath which rivalled the French revolution and the fact the majority of the 'Fathers of the American Constitution' were slave owners.

    The French Revolution on the other hand abolished slavery in Febraury 1794 after long, sustained slave rebellions in Saint Domingue and Haiti.

    Slavery was then reimplemented by that great hero Napoleon in 1800.

    Phillipa, curiously despite their involvement in direct political action since 1789, women were only given the vote in France in 1945.

    Chauvinism was a stronger force than egalite?

  13. That guy on Radio 4 was right this morning - the Sun is attempting to smear Brown using the tears of a bereaved mother.

    I'm always taken aback when a pack of completely unprincipled shits in the media round on politicians for being less than perfect. And people buy it. What a frikken country.

    Right, I'll get back to reading your posts about French revolution; I know less than nowt about this.. much more interesting stuff guys!

  14. "Phillipa, curiously despite their involvement in direct political action since 1789, women were only given the vote in France in 1945."

    Yea I was amazed to read just that recently Duke.

  15. Hehehe - my colleague has just used the word 'feasible'.

  16. women were only given the vote in France in 1945

    What's even stranger about that is that France had one of the earliest women's movements.

  17. BB - this whole Sun vendetta against Gordon Brown is making me uneasy. I do not like the man's politics but this is just nasty personal stuff. I hope it backfires on them and he becomes more popular! Doubt it though. God I hate that paper it really is our fox news.

    Oh and ladies of the UT we need words! I read last nights thread and found shocking utterances to the fact that Bryan Ferry is a love god. From more than one of you. Bryan Ferry??!!

    The man is awful. Slimy, greasey, just yuck. I never knew people found him attractive but just stop it.

    Did anyone see the episode of the Mighty Boosh with Bryan Ferry running about like a gazelle in the jungle? Hilarious.

    Now Robert Redford - there WAS a beautiful man. Just divine (before the freaky face lift though now he just looks weird) - in The Way We Were he was just heaven. Ooh off to google images of Robert Redford.

  18. Here's an interesting fact:

    'Women's suffrage was granted by the Corsican Republic of 1755 whose Constitution stipulated a national representative assembly elected by all inhabitants over the age of 25, both women (if unmarried or widowed) and men. Women's suffrage was ended when France annexed the island in 1769'.

  19. This bit about Corsica sounds a little weird. I mean, Corsica is the island where a woman saying a word per day is considered far too talkative, but they had the vote?

    And what's bad about the fact I got my education about other countries from Asterix showing?

  20. PCC - all I can say is that we're never going to fight over men. Shocked by your poor taste.

    scherfig - that's extraordinary. Although am I right in thinking that single or widowed women in ancient Greece were allowed to vote? Probably not.

  21. Ladies - feast your eyes (and any UT gents who may like a young Ms Streisand may take a gander) http://www.topfoto.co.uk/gallery/loveisintheair/ppages/ppage60.htm

    Dont think link is going to work! But put it in google and look at it ten times a day whilst repeating 'Bryan Ferry is not a love God.' Should work.

  22. Duchess Wybourne say the most delectable specimen she has ever seen is Gerard Butler in 'Dear Frankie'.

    She doesn't fancy him in owt else but he does it for her in that movie apparently.

  23. pcc: I think you were being abhorrently heterosexist in your parentheses! Why shouldn't the gents want to take a look at young Robert Redford?

  24. OK - I was ignoring the Bryan Ferry thing in the hope that you were all just drunk, and now regretting it. I wish you all well in your recovery.

    Corsica - you'll notice that it was unmarried or widowed women only - so while they seem to have got over the idea of a woman being the preoprty of her father, clearly the husband was still assumed to speak for the family.

    Widowhood, of course, may not have brought voting rights in Britain, but did bring a greater level of economic freedom (the History of Private Life on R4 has been excellent, and would recomment this episode in particular) as widows could own property outright, and carry on a trade (usually their late husband's trade) - a few women actually made it into guilds / worshipful companies on this basis.

    The French suffrage thing very interesting - perhaps (and this is a 'typing out loud' musing) this is connected to the idea of 'activity outside the system' as I mentioned before (whereas UK women sought a vote to be 'within the system') whereby voting isn't the be-all and end-all of civic engagement? Just a thought, views welcome...

  25. pcc - its the haircut.

    It has something to do with the image that gets fixed in the brain at or near the time of the puberty of the beholder.

  26. ooh Gerard Butler is gorgeous and I have not seen that so I will order it from Amazon if the Duchess says he is fine in it.

    Elementary - you are right and I am sorry. I have been heterosexist indeed. In fact I cannot understand how anyone would not wish to gaze upon a young mr. Redford! i have to say that I think the stars of a bygone era were generally so much more attractive. I watched Miss Sadie Thompson the other day with Rita Hayworth - she was gorgeous. Whereas I tend to think a lot of todays 'raving beauties' like Ms. Jolie are a bit freakish.

    On a more serious note what do people think of the allegations that the Americans have 'made' the IEA lie about oil reserves? Could that be why the sudden push for nuclear? Seems a bit too late though if things are as bad as the Guardian are making out.

  27. pcc - you're wrong! Get over it! :o)

  28. PhilippaB - glad to see I am not the only one. Deano- the haircut is the worst bit! All floppy and greasy. Shudders to self.

  29. Philippa, I assume that the logic was more like 'one vote per household' - women (just like men) were not disenfranchised simply because they were single. And I hope you're not suggesting that there were no smart women around who were quite capable of telling their feckless hubbies exactly who to vote for? :0)

  30. I will say one thing BB - he can sing. Love his version of Jealous Guy - he should be heard and not seen though - like the opposite of children. But that is it I will say no more of Mr. Ferry.

  31. Princess (I always keep thinking of Dirty Den sepaking to Sharon when I say that!)

    Dear Frankie is a lovely little film, just on the right side of schmaltzy. It's set in an unnamed West of Scotland Town (which looks suspiciously like Greenock) but the cinematography is such that it is almost otherworldly.

    It's about a young Mum with her deaf son, running away from an abusive partner. Enter Gerard to save the day and hearts.....

  32. He may be able to sing, but am I the only one who finds "love is the drug" creepy?

  33. The peak oil crisis has been an open secret for years. It'll be very interesting to see where this goes. Probably not in a good way.

  34. Fair enough Hank, im sure Swifty will be back at some point. Good shout on The Outsider too, fantastic book. Apparently it was voted "favourite book" by more males than any other book a couple of years ago.

    I havent even looked at CiF today, not sure i can handle the burning stupidity it churns out ATL and BTL on a daily basis. I am having to do some actual work this week which has really taken the jam out of my doughnut...

  35. Stresaind... now that's some kind of older woman !!


  36. I hope that Stoaty gets to rejoin us soon too.

    Yea Camus and Outsider rank high in my list of favourites as well.

    The iplyer of last nights 'Nature' on the BBC has those fabulous Grebes doing the courtship walk on water on the Lakes of Oregon - its approx 35 minutes into the film. It's an amazing piece of wildlife film - I could rather fancy being a grebe it looks fun..

  37. 13th Duke - I will look it up. I am a sucker for a romantic story - and a well shot one too!

    Thauma - I have read stuff about Peak Oil before but never knew whether or not it was overblown and that really MAM and the like were right and there was plenty of oil. Only joking re MAM but you get the gist. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think they are making some sort of official report tomorrow so it ill be interesting to see if they keep up the lie or tell at least some of the truth.

    Btw - I liked your idea on the Sir Alan thread of giving every adult about twelve months off paid for a lifetime.

  38. scherf - but unmarried women at that time would probably have lived with their parents, non? so a 'parental' family unit would have more than one vote, if there were daughters, whereas a 'spousal' unit would not? Anyway.

    I'm in the odd position at the minute of having to talk my Dad through his electoral options for next year. He's always voted Labour, and is suffering severely from a sort of existential crisis (which is, practically, rather pointless, as he's in Tory-land anyway) in that respect. So, what does a fervent left-winger with an ecumenical approach do this time?

    am not having a good day. no 'fence, Hank, but right now I hate ESC 3.29 with a passion bordering on violent impulses...

    Ah me.

  39. The Brown thing really annoys me as well as I have to defend the bugger.

    Sorry to keep harping on about Scottish politics but the Brown affair reminds me of the despicable whispering campaign against Margo MacDonald when she told the SNP leadership she had Parkinsons - the news was very quickly leaked along with wee hints that perhaps the illness might be affecting her judgement blah blah.

    Politics is such shit as are our newspapers; yes Brown is ill, yes he always was an oddball, but most politicians are either weird or corrupt (and most of the rest are both) and none of that has any bearing on why he should be held to account.

  40. The Corsican thing is a bit complicated, Philippa, but at least it was a step in the right direction, and fairly revolutionary in its day. Their 'constitution' was one of the very first national constitutions and sprang directly from the Enlightenment thought of Jean Jacques Rousseau. So it was a brave effort anyway.

  41. The BBC Life film on Birds from last night is repeated on BBC 4 tonight at 8.00 for those with an interest in wildlife films of exceptional quality.

    If your not mad keen I can still recommend you set your alarm for 8.33ish bitand watch the grebes dance on the water. It's only on for a couple of minutes or so but it is pure delight.

  42. I'd also give a geeky plug for the slow motion film of red knot eating horseshoe crab eggs, because I have a tenuous professional link to that work.........

  43. deano - one of my favourite ever TV clips -
    "I think it will give you pleasure..."

  44. Yea - I watched that Dott, thats one long migration those red knot's make..it was fascinating.

  45. I shall be watching Deano. Philippa that clip was so funny.

  46. PB - :-)

    Sorry you can't get the BBC or the iplayer where you are. Watching a couple of minutes or so of those Park's Grebes dancing and courting together can set you up smiling for a week...

  47. deano - I know! I'm a sucker for nature films (particularly small mammals, and birds - what a girly girl) but fortunately have found the french 'schools' programming to be rather wonderful on this front, with the added bonus that the commentary is 'dumbed down' for the kids, so muggins here can kind of understand what's going on.

    seeing their 'c'est pas sorcerie' team having their hats eaten by llamas in Peru was a particular highlight.

  48. For UK readers with the iplayer installed:

    Who wouldn't want to be a Park's Grebe

    fast forward the player to 34.25.

    You won't be bored by watching it several times. It is magic.

  49. but fortunately as I am unemployed (apart from said wretched ESC job) I can go to the park and watch ducks dabble, or the botanic gardens and watch frogs on lily-pads and little turtles pottering around. i particularly like it that there are birds here (although I was lucky where I lived in London that there was quite a lot of green space and wildlife) as I do love watching little sparrows trying to work out how to pick up food that's really too big for them.

    actually, in my garden back in Ladywell, I put up some 'forest art' (a frame made of sticks, woven with 'found things' including a wodge of sheep's wool that my dad sent me) and one of the most relaxing things was watching the birds sit on it and tease out the wool to make their nests. one took so much that when it turned to fly away, it looked like a big fluffy snowball with wings. simply adorable.

  50. PB - try to get your folks to video it for you to see at Xmas. Alternatively look out for the DVD. You really would enjoy it.

    Sorry to rave about something you can't see. It is an exceptional episode from an exceptional series.

  51. By the way anybody who watches the Grebe dance and recognises the music they dance to - please post details it's driving me nuts trying to recall...

    Dog walking calls.

  52. Yep, I'd also recommend the penguins and the flamingo chicks for the cuteness factor: I actually have no eardrums left this morning as my flat mate was squealing loudly and repeatedly at how cute the flamingo chick lost in the mud was!

  53. Just been watchung a really good documentary that was on the beeb called The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall. Really brilliantly done, and very well balanced.

  54. That Pelican was a bit gruesome Dott!!

  55. Not watching Top Gear on Dave BB ??

  56. Gruesome and fascinating Deano, I love that the Beeb show it all!

  57. Bitterweed

    Boys and their noisy, shiny toys? Nah.

    I don't believe in cars. Well, I believe they exist - I'm not actually that delusional - but I don't believe in spending lots of money on something that is shinier and faster than the old one just to keep putting money in the coffers of the overseas car industry.

  58. It's not all overseas, BB - plenty of jobs here in the car industry. (I know, I have one.)

  59. ... "Plenty" being a relative term!

  60. BB, yes I kind of imagined that, I was kidding ! My other half = the same. Thinks Clarkson's a nob. She's right.

  61. ...the show's till quite fun though, e.g when they blow the shit out of caravans ;-)

  62. Ah, soz thaum. I know you're right. But I still think it is all part of the same crisis we are in.

    "Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and mechanical products, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be nationalised, and the State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism."

    Said that nice Mr Marx.

  63. *whispers*

    I agree with you - I wouldn't buy a new car myself!

  64. I love Top Gear and I can't even drive. The Mercedes S-Class country cottage is up there with the manakin bird in my favourite ever TV clips - watching James May sliding gently out of view as they corner. Yeah, Clarkson's the kind of bloke I really wouldn't want to get stuck talking to at a party, but even I can't help laughing at "you look like a gay terrorist, you look like a gay cowboy" on the trip they did through Namibia.

    It's a guilty pleasure, like hiding the chocolate biscuits from my flatmate and then waiting for her to go out, heh heh.

  65. Your grace - nice one on the 'Sun' thread:
    "Fuck right off with your disingenuous 'voice of the people' bullshit and Fuck right off with your poison."
    Just in case...

  66. Yes, I thought that was rather splendid too !

    Nice one 13thD !

  67. Nice Steve Bell cartoon today.
    Strap line on the Sun:

    "Lose a son and win a years' Subscription !"

  68. Phillipa/Bitterweed,

    cheers. The Sun and Mail in particular are the diseased pus filled boils on the bumhole of our body politic.

    On the one hand the Sun 'supports our boys', whilst on the other it's making money from exploiting the death of 'one of our boys'. It's a despicable act in every way imaginable.

    Of course, the entire political class vie like desperate schoolboys for the teachers attention whilst dealing with Murdoch. And as far as Im concerned as soon as you meet with Murdoch (as Blair did in 1995) you lose all moral authority to lead the country.

    I know it's been mentioned before, but read Seamus Milne's 'The enemy within' if you want a real idea of the corrosive effect the press has on our democracy. Truly shameful.

  69. Indeed
    Was looking for my copy of The Enemy Within a few days ago.

  70. Some complete twat on the cartoon thread saying the Sun supports our boys and the Guardian supports the Taliban.

    Stupid fukker.

  71. Speaking of 'the enemy within' I came across this last week and have it pre-ordered:

    The miners campaign tapes

    I think it would be of particular interest to our Yorkshire and Notts friends on the board.

  72. BB

    I think yours was the appropriate response to that one and have recommended it accordingly.........

  73. Thanks for that link Duke.

    I wonder if the Guardian / Observer will do an offer on that ??

    NB Stella Rimmington's involvement in discrediting the union was pivotal in her career development. This has been played down or even airsbrushed out of coverage of her in current affairs recently...

  74. Thanks, Dot. Frankly, I couldn't think of anything else to say.

  75. Cheers for that Duke - have put in an order too.

  76. Very occasionally you have to fight inanity with inanity BB!

  77. OK, I was dumb enough to follow a link on the Sady Doyle thread, and am now seriously considering changing my name.


  78. PB and/or anyone else not in the UK. Check and see if the following BBC video link plays.

    I'm not sure if it's available on the unrestricted BBC main site or is in someway connected to the restricted iplayer facility??

    Grebes at Dance

    Anybody with a netbook - can you get it to play?

  79. I can get it to play on my netbook, deano. It's lovely!

  80. Philippa - er, think I'll try that one later, when I get home!

  81. Cheers BB - good to know that if my next machine is a netbook I will still be able to get gems like that.

    Hope you were able to play a full screen version by clicking on the button on the right hand side of the player that comes up on the link.

    I don't suppose you can name the tune the Grebes are dancing to can you? It's driving me nuts I've been going around humming it all day...

  82. it tells me, in a hopeful tone, to 'try again later'. but as not iplayer, it may work at some point - thank you!

    thauma - that would definitely be a good idea...

  83. Anotherr unexpected day at home for me. First thing this morning, I was told that my job is going to be eliminated.

  84. Sorry to hear that Montana - I expect you could well do without that. I'm sure all of the UT will be sending best wishes.

  85. Shit, Montana, I am really sorry. That sucks.

  86. I didn't think this could happen until April at the earliest, but apparently the Area Education Agency psychologist convinced my student's parents yesterday that he doesn't need a para. They'll have a meeting within a few days to revise his education plan and then my job will be effectively over.

  87. Oh Montana sorry. I was outraged when I was told in 2004 that I was being made redundant - turned out to be great thing actually but I struck lucky, so good luck dear.

    With the wit, resilience and humour you display here. am pretty damn sure this event will be a springboard.


  88. "With the wit, resilience and humour you display here. am pretty damn sure this event will be a springboard."


  89. Best wishes Montana. I was made reduntant in 08, it feels pretty shit I know, but surprisingly I ended up in a job that actually ticked some pretty important boxes for me, whereas before I was just coasting much of the time. You're smart. You'll be ok. Take stock, & it easy.

  90. Shit - Montana, I'm so sorry. Good vibes in your direction
    (and hugs)

  91. Hello Montana,

    I can only agree with what everyone has above has said, especially Edwin.

    With very best wishes.

  92. Montana - I always try to be partisan at difficult times like these. Forgive me for not stepping forward earlier.

    What's the bastard's name?- I'll make a doll with said tossers name on it and stick pins (large pins) in it. You have my very best wishes and admiration for "your wit resilience and humour" too.

    Sadly a reference or testimonial from a Yorkshire tramp is not likely to be much good in the mid west - if it was it would have been in the post tonight.


  93. Montana

    Many commiserations...and...SNAP. Only got a few months before the axe falls myself...not too worried, I bloody hate work. Anyway, all the cushy, well paid jobs seem to go to paranoid, fantasist opera goers so that's me out...don't even speak Italian or Latin or whatever they're going on about.

    Edwin Moore

    Just looked at Frank Fisher's blog. Saw your glumcouncillor link...brilliant..coffee all the keyboard etc...the look on their faces.


    That site kinda goes a long way to explain political disengagement. Who'd drag themselves out to a polling station to choose between the accounts manager from Kwikfit with a special interest in sustainable park furniture and a tofu munching RE teacher who wants all all to recycle our own piss. Who the fuck are these people and why don't they ever look real, or sentient even? And why do their lives revolve around potholes and damaged bin liners?

  94. Heheheh - that glum councillor link is funny as f00k.

  95. So sorry to hear about your job Montana, what a fuckker of a break!. I echo what others have said - all luck - chin up dear heart and I really hope this turns out to be an opportunity for something really good to happen, you deserve it.

  96. Montana
    Echoing sheff's & others kind words here.

  97. One of the Edinburgh pair on glum councillors is Nigel Griffiths MP, the man who tried to stop the News of the World publicising his antics - awful man.

    Hachette are closing Chambers in Edinburgh and the NUJ has been bloody good in fighting the case - the thing is when people lose their jobs, their experience and relationships go with them and things are never the same again.

    Have been trying to think of some useful advice Montana - and Monkeyfish sorry to hear about you also - it's a cliche to say a crisis is also an opportunity (as the Chinese are supposed to say) but it's nonetheless true.

    I got a good payoff but took bad advice to take any job to keep busy. I went to an agency and got the choice of abbatoir work (not good for a veggie) or being a postie, and fucking hell being a postie was a nightmare and a very ill-paid one. The week I chucked it I got two contracts and that was me up and running, well sort of stumbling on tax credits!

    The main advice I would give to you two guys is to take it easy and conserve energy, or rather to focus the energy on stuff you're good at, or even on stuff you think you might be good at. Surprising how good you can be at things you never thought to try.

  98. Yeah MF, seconded. Is it the acme of stupidity to ask if there's anything out there you fancy, apart from socialite ?

  99. Er..I'm thinking socialite, duvet critic or bullfighter. I'm not too worried. Something always turns up unfortunately.

  100. Oh...I did have one other idea. There's a website I've heard about called DID or CIS or something where you can send in your thoughts on this or that and people discuss what you've said. I'm sure they'd be keen to hear from someone out of work and struggling to get by...they're bound to be interested. It's a very easy-going liberal kinda place I heard..you know, they're not elitist or snobby or anything..so I might give that a go.

    (I've heard some places only give you a chance if you've been to Oxford or you know someone who works there or that kinda thing. But this place isn't like that. It's easy going and liberal like I say and they're really into equality and stuff)

  101. MF- Go lucky, comrade Fish - lets hope it's not the debtors prision that turns up. I could well see you as a duvet fighter or a bull critic as a much better option.

    Not working is a total delight for me but I have the good fortune of a modest pension and no financial responsibilities for another. Best of wishes to you also.

  102. We all ought to encourage the Wildhack to come forth with an ATL idea/piece and then lobby for it.

    She could obviously do a sound quality piece on the way the UK welfare system is going as it apes the USA.

  103. You too monkeyfish - fucking hell, what a day! You should be writing scripts for The Thick of It and similar shows - you'd be bloody brilliant at it!

  104. This comment has been removed by the author.

  105. monkeyfish as well? ouch. good vibes also to you...

    Think you mean CSI - they might even send you to Miami.

  106. I second the call for MF to write comedy scripts. You'd be brilliant at it.

  107. Monkeyfish

    Sorry to hear your news - all the best, mate.

  108. Really sorry to hear it, Montana and Monkeyfish. Or if you're serious, MF, congratulations. You could do it, you know. Why don't you give us a little taster on UT2?

  109. Grim news, best of luck to both of you guys. I do think there's a lot of value in what Edwin has said about crisis meaning opportunity. Might not seem like it at the moment, but I hope this will lead to better times for both of you.

  110. Just read your post on the John Allen Mohammed thread, BB. While I agree that there are a few too many bloodthirsty sadists who've trolled up for the night, I thought it was a bloody awful article and argument from Moffatt.

    I've got no problem with capital punishment in cases like this.

  111. The article was kind of hand-wringy, but I am obviously opposed to the death penalty.

    What I can't be doing with is the baying for blood. As someone else pointed out - it might have been greenlake - if people are saying "well, it's sad but ultimately there is nothing else we can do with a guy like this, for the sake of us all" then in would be a tad harder to make an argument against them. But when they are frothing at the mouth with utter delight at someone being killed, it just makes a complete mockery of any moral position they might feasibly have.

    Inbreds and rednecks.

  112. Montana

    hermionegingold c/o deano30

    10 Nov 2009, 8:07PM

    "i am unable to post a comment at 'the other place'
    please pass on my best wishes to montana. she is far too talented to be out of
    work for long i'm sure. it's happened to me a couple of times. not pleasant.

    so often the good guys & gals are let go yet the crap remains. why is that?"

  113. "so often the good guys & gals are let go yet the crap remains. why is that?"

    Cos they're well bred and attractive?

  114. Ah, MF, sad to hear about your impending job loss also. Seriously, you should give comedic yet acerbic writing a try - you are a natural.

    And to Montana - losing my job was actually what led to me finding a job that paid me to move back to the UK, so you never know what's around the corner. (It was a shit job for quite a bit less money than I'd been making, but when you factor in the moving costs and all, it was well worth it.)

    And to everyone else: if you haven't already, go and read Montana's piece on UT2 (link at top right of this page) about unemployment and welfare in the US. It's not pretty.

    I don't know what Montana's situation is, and I hope this isn't the case, but many states have the rule of "employment at will", which means that they can lay you off with no notice and no compensation. Two weeks' pay is pretty standard, if you get anything. And the unemployment people count that against you, so you won't receive any assistance for those two weeks.

    Very much hope that the Iowa educational system is nobler than that.

  115. "Cos they're well-bred and attractive?"

    Heheh, if you ask nicely, there might be job opportunities in the diplomatic sector in Brussels. It's about time you got with the programme and started trading on your contacts, mate.

  116. Hey, BB, Buddhism aside, can't you imagine any scenario in which you'd support the death penalty?

  117. Hank - to be honest, no I can't. I have thought about this many times. I have thought about it in terms of somebody doing truly horrible things to my son before killing him. And I still cannot bring myself to believe that I would want them dead for it.

    But even prior to being a buddhist, I was like that too.

    I guess I will never really know unless something truly appalling does happen to someone close to me.

  118. Am with BB on the death penalty. There was a piece in Sunday's Observer (I think) by the solicitor representing a Texas death row inmate. The victim's mother ended up appealing on the perp's behalf because she'd met him and realised that he was just very mentally ill.

    She didn't forgive him for what he'd done, but realised that a mental institution would be better than killing the bloke.

    To me, the strongest argument against the death penalty, though, is the margin of error. People have even been known to freely (and, of course, otherwise) confess to killings they haven't committed.

    Anyway, bedtime for me. 'Night all.

  119. I don't think the death penalty works much as a deterrent, comparative murder rates in states in the US prove that, but I think where there is no doubt about guilt nor the possibility of rehabilitation, capital punishment is justified.

  120. I didn't see that article, thauma, but I don't see why we should house psychotics in mental institutions if, again, there is no prospect of them being cured or rehabilitated.

  121. Hmm...the death penalty. In principle I'm opposed to it for all the reasons we are already acquainted with - the imperfections of the judicial process, the lack of any evidence that demonstrates its actually a deterrent, the brutalising social effects of state killing (just read some of the comments on the thread - these people call themselves christians)

    But I will acknowledge cases as terrible as the Muhammed one give me pause for thought - why keep a remorseless bastard like that alive?

    If though, as BB suggestedin her post, he is a paranoid schizophrenic then presumably he's so mentally ill as to not be responsible for his actions, in which case the death penalty is certainly not appropriate and he should be in a secure hospital probably for the rest of his life.

  122. In a secure hospital for the rest of his life, still posing a threat to fellow patients and staff though, sheff.

    Why isn't the death penalty appropriate for those with severe mental problems? Pretty much every successful criminal could be shown to have severe mental problems of one type or another. Their lack of empathy is part of their psychosis and key to their capacity to do things which the rest of us would not be able to stomach or contemplate.

    Why else would Tony Soprano have spent so much time on Dr Melfi's couch? (-;

  123. I see the difficuties Hank but if a person is that mentally ill they are not responsible for their actions, so cannot be held culpable. And culpability is required for punishment. Is it then legitimate for them to be killed by the state, basically because it is inconvenient, and possibly risky to hospitalise them securely for the rest of their lives?

  124. Fair point, sheff. I was just hoping to develop a policy which might prevent another banking crisis (-;

  125. Another banking crisis Hank? Do you know something I haven't heard about yet?

  126. Nope. Not convinced. Killing is bad, m'kay?

  127. Other than my own banking crisis, sheff? Nope. Incidentally, I'd extend the death penalty to cowboy gas fitters.

    And American educational psychologists who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  128. If anyone is still up over there -- thank you all for the kind words and good wishes. I must say that I'm not feeling too resilient at the moment -- feeling like I'm already shattered. Haven't stopped crying yet.

    I will not receive any severance pay, as we 'classified' staff are kept at 37 hrs/week so that we're considered part-time under the law. That gets them out of paying for health insurance, severance, etc. and they don't have to put as much into the state pension plan. For two weeks after my last day, I'll be on call-back -- meaning that, if another position comes open they have to offer it to me before they can hire someone who isn't a district employee. That's it.

    Then I'm at the mercy of the wonderful unemployment system that I just got done telling you about. It's an irony I could live without.

  129. Sorry to read about the boiler Hank.

    I guess that for me the issue of crime and punishment turns on whether you would prefer to have a guilty guy go free than to have an innocent man imprisoned.

    When it comes to the guy on the end of the rope you can't turn the clock back if you later find a mistake was made. I'm always uneasy at the idea of the perfect police force and the inevitably wise jury.

    And as for the judge who never fell asleep in the trial....

    Night all.

  130. "Sorry to read about the boiler Hank..."

    Small potatoes in the scheme of things, deano, but thanks anyway.

    Night montana, Good Night and Good Luck

    xx (one kiss for you and one for MF, he'll only moan otherwise!)

  131. It's a tough call dear Montana.

    I thought it sounded vile when I read your description of your system on UT2. I thought that on the balance of probabilities at least one of my friends here on UT would possibly have employment problems in the next year or two.

    One always hopes that if such things have to happen that they will hapen to those best placed to ride the problem out.

    From what you said about your circumstances I sensed that might not be you. Only to have limited rights for two weeks after termination is shit when you have such a weak and insecure position to start with.

    You really do have my deepest sympathy along with that of all your many friends here.

    You can be sure that we will all be rooting for you.

  132. Montana, that sounds really dire. I hope that you will be able to find something else asap. Hugz - J xx (both for you, none for MF)

  133. Montana and MF - just read your bad news and just wanted to say I am so sorry.

    Montana I am sorry that you are feeling so shellshocked and shattered at the news.

    I just feel so angry that all the bad things seem to happen to all the really good people. I echo what the others have said - especially Edwin Moore - he is so right re your strength.

    I hope really good things come along for you both.