23 February 2010



Muhammad delivered his Farewell Sermon in 632.  Emile Zola was imprisoned for writing "J'accuse" in 1898 and an avalanche devastated the village of Galtür in Austria in 1999, killing 31 people.

Born today:  Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759), W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963), Victor Fleming (1889-1949), Peter Fonda (1940), Bernard Cornwell, John Sandford and Johnny Winter (1944), Allan Boesak (1945), Howard Jones (1955), David Sylvian (1958).

It is Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia.



  1. Ahem. Nobody even noticed our groovy new "Search the Untrusted" function yesterday.

  2. 'Nobody even noticed our groovy new "Search the Untrusted" function yesterday.'

    Is that why you have a peeps today?

  3. What a lovely full head of hair that man has. Ok it's a probably a wig but why are so many British men bald at a young age these days.

    Zola once wrote in a letter to a friend when he was being pilloried,"Must I stay silent?" I am sure we all feel like that.

  4. Oh god, Search the Untrusted, just think of the rowing this will cause montana!

    I think you'll find that on 12.4.2009 at 13.12 you in fact said... followed by your later admission of 17.6.2009 that... and finally your inhuman remark of 3.9.2009 that I am "middle class".

    Its going to end in tears i tells you.

    Very good Monbiot piece up today.

  5. Yep,read Monbiot. Don't always agree but today very good.

  6. Noticed it Montana, just haven't used it, yet, though it's nice to know it's there.Have to agree with you about a definite deterioration with CiF: poorer ATL pieces, sometimes tantamount to trolling, some plainly spun from Labour central office (eg on the Rawnsley book and Brown's temper tantrums: the issue is Brown's temper- Rawnsley doesn't say he is a bully, but that he is prone to tantrums, and he certainly has had a clique of bullies doing his work: Balls, Nick Brown,Charlie Whelan, Damian McBride etc. The helpline stuff is a sideshow, started by a chancer of a chief exec of an iffy charity, but played up by labour to distract from the content of the Rawnsley book). Other pieces are incredibly solipsistic, from the callow chatterati who've done the Oxbridge degree and nothing else,save wonkery.I'm not going to damn those with such degrees (ahem) but when those folk have fuck all else to their name they are wholly unsuited to be preaching from on high to us. If they'd got to college after seemingly insurmountable social problems, or if they've done something else worthwhile (not simply careerist-politician sinecures), aye, they can join the queue, as it were, along with everyone else, but it's the preferential treatment given to the shallow 'uns with connections and little else to mark them out that grates.Add in the mix incredibly partisan,identity politics drum-bangers, with a zealotry that blinds them to seeing that the prism through which they see the world prevents them appreciating the wider picture, leading some to pursue perceived slights relating to their cause, or manically argue around petty matters (often suggesting OTT draconian 'solutions') while failing to appreciate suffering or injustice beyond their narrow field, nor the injustices their 'remedies' may create.Factor in irrational moderation, stupid, unthinking tribalism to parties increasingly run by the self-serving, who put their own interests above those of the nation and the 'little people',add a soupcon of abhorrent behaviour by (Andrew) Brown, and other ATL-ers, with no apologies, ever.
    How do I capture the rottenness in CiF at the moment? maybe it's worsened with the election build-up, maybe it's the recession, and people falling for the old,old elites trick of being at each others' throats instead of looking for the real causes.Maybe it's me,getting sick of the whole bread'n'circuses aspect of CiF, with ATL trolling while the thoughtful pieces get no comments or a deluge from the witless. Maybe ,maybe,maybe.
    Anyhow, going to leave off it for a few days, but will look in here.

  7. I second much of that Alisdair. Or in a nutshell too much shit for brains.

  8. Good rant Alisdair. The ATL trolling for feed has always been there but am sure it's got a god deal worse. Several people commented on the Khaled Diab thread that a reflective and thoughtful piece such as that one was, attracts much less attention than yet more shite on I/P.

    But - dread thought - perhaps that's the way it is. Perhaps that's what most Cifters want, a chance to hiss and spit.

  9. Alisdair, i don't think it's you.

  10. I did Montana!

    Is it to keep Bitey occupied for hours?

  11. Good rant AC! Anyone else hear about the National Bullying Helpline on R4 yest? She got £400,000 or summat from ex employer for issues over breach of confidentiality! You couldn't make it up...

  12. Good Morning all,

    Well, me and the good Duchess are on the move again. Funnily enough, back to the Netherlands!

    I was over at the weekend and yesterday sounding out my old job which had become available again and got it. It's a transfer with the same company I am working for here so it's not too much inter-work upheaval.

    My wife hadn't really settled in Glasgow and where she was working was extremely tough around a few hospitals on the front line. I must admit I haven't settled as well as I had first hoped since we came back so a move back was always on the cards. We've given it three years here so it's not a spur of the moment decision.

    We move the the middle of March to the lovely town of Leiden.

    Medve, kent u Leiden? Ook, Ik heb Nederlandse lessen nodig zo Ik zal houden vragend u!

    However, we appear to be moving to the Netherlands just as that scumbag Geert Wilders is seriously on the rise. With the Dutch government collapsing, it looks like he will make major gains and could possible get a cabinet seat. The horror, the horror.....

  13. At least you can take your ££ from under the soap your Dukeiness... ; )

    Good luck.

  14. Emile Zola was imprisoned for writing "J'accuse" in 1898

    It can't be underestimated how heroic an act, Zola's J'accuse was. He wrote it with the express intention of provoking the authorities to arrest him so he could present his evidence exonerating Dreyfus.

    With the Government under pressure from the military, Zola was convicted despite his evidence showing it was Esterhazy and not Dreyfus who had been spying for the Germans. However, he was later exonerated as was Dreyfus

    J'accuse and the subsequent trial massively swung French public opinion from deep anti-semitism to support for Dreyfus, although the affair would taint the French Military up to and including the 1940 collapse and Vichy collaboration.

    It's also rumoured (but never proven) that Zola's death from toxic poisoning from his coal fire was an assassination by anti-Dreyfusards.

  15. cheers turminder.

    As for pounds. When I changed pounds to euros on Saturday, I got about 1.04 euros to the pound. It's virtually parity now.

    Well done for your article by the way, I enjoyed reading it and it reminded me of a few pubs near the shipyards where I spent my impressionable youth.

  16. Your Grice,

    I am game, on condition that wij tutoyeren, and with the proviso that my Dutch is old-fashioned and not compatible with the new offical spelling of 1997 i believe.

    Some info-nuggets about Leiden:

    On a personal note my favourite Dutch cheese is (Oude) Leidse not to be confused with komeinen kaas.

    After the city had resisted the siege by the Spanish in 1573-1574, William of Orange offered a choice of rewards for the citizens: Tax-free status in perpetuity, or a university. A plebiscite chose the university.

    more later ...

  17. Great post from Atomboy's new alter-ego (I assume it's Atomboy, the syntax looks familiar) regarding Austin Mitchell on WADDYA.

    Medve. Chose a University over tax breaks? Who the hell are these Leidenist Commies? Am I moving to goddam pinko central? Choosing the communitarian option over saving a couple of florins? Bloody Bolshevists.

    Sorry, I've just been reading the Gregor Gall column and the posts beneath have had an adverse effect on me.

  18. Ooh, good luck with the move, your grace. Remember to keep your voting rights...

  19. Your Grice,

    Chose a University over tax breaks? Who the hell are these Leidenist Commies? Am I moving to goddam pinko central? Choosing the communitarian option over saving a couple of florins? Bloody Bolshevists.

    This choice was made in 1574. I fear the result might be different today.

  20. Have just listened to Saturday play, 'Murder in Samarkand' (David Hare, feat. Dr Who). Very good. Troubling, too...

  21. Good luck with that move Duke ! Leiden always sounds pretty good. My Mum's best mate lives there.

    (BTW Anyone here know Zutphen or Deventer ? I stayed in Lochem in '93 when I was on tour. It was a very hot May and June and got to know the area a bit. Some good cycle routes. And some very good bars I seem to remember.)

  22. The very thought of moving gives me the vapours, so more wishes of good luck from here!

  23. You're just going for the weed Your Grace. I know you upper crust types.

  24. I'm not surprised Her Grace found Glesga hard work - especially with that front line job of hers. I don't know anything about Leiden but would welcome bulletins. Good luck with the move!

    Am now in Canterbury in a tiny, ancient and rather decrepit hotel bang up against the cathedral - views from here are stunning.

    They do a sung evensong most nights of the week - and although I'm an unbeliever its such a beautiful liturgy (espec. when sung in a soaringly gorgeous building). Will tootle along tonight.

  25. Don't forget the hip flask, Sheff.

  26. Sheff - Soul Music just did one of my favourite hymns, rather an interesting series. Have fun at evensong.

  27. Afternoon untrusties!

    Jay said:

    "Oh god, Search the Untrusted, just think of the rowing this will cause montana! "

    I see Dot already got there before me on the Bitey front. As soon as he is home from behind the Great Firewall of China, we can expect to see a veritable panoply of shite dredged up from our most drunken and/or bad tempered moments and posted onto CiF no doubt.

    Oh the joy! :o)

    Alasdair - I go through phases where I find little to say on CiF at all and feel like throwing in the towel for good. It usually coincides with one of their "theme weeks" - I am finding the current "civics" theme tedious in the extreme.

    Still, Sunny has put up a BNP thread just for me to get ranting on, so I shall take a look at that now.

    Will have some work to do later when it arrives so will be popping in and out.

    Hugs to all. x

  28. Oh, and if anyone needs a laugh / to start planning the revolution, check out 'Generation gap' on R4 now:
    "Viscount De L'Isle and his daughter discuss changing attitudes towards the aristocracy"

  29. BB

    Do you think we could set the UT to copy the phrase "Really Bitey, do you not have better things to do with your time?" instead of the highlighted text any time a page older than 2-3 days is copied?

  30. @ BB. That civics theme, is crap isn't it. Either platitudes or folk peddling a very narrow agenda (eg the religionists like tariq ramadan pushing theior creed as some kind of solution:hint,tariq, that only works in a one religion state or a theocracy, and even then sectarianism blows things apart. Civic =/= religious and to me ought to = secular.n.b. secular does not mean atheistic, simply that religion be kept out of government,public bodies etc.
    The bullying columns are equally depressing (made my views clear above): The guardian's now spinning like hell.Going to keep a low profile for a while.

  31. And now 'Law in Action' is doing superinjunctions. Someone from Carter Ruck is on at the moment. Apparently calling black white...

  32. Alisdair,

    yeah CiF BTL is on top reactionary form today with the BA strike, BNP, Yarls wood and a new torture thread.


    Cheers all for your good wishes. I'll still be on here mind.

  33. Can't.Be.Fucking.Bothered.
    His grace has nailed it.

  34. Heheheheh

    I don't blame you.

    I am in a bit of a feisty mood so I shall give the BNPers a bit of a run for a while.

    Phillipa - Carter *uck on the radio explaining the human rights of the extraordinarily wealthy and privileged? Nor sure I can stomach that.

  35. Wybourne, old chap, let the young bucks fight, we'll just sit on the veranda having tea. Cucumber sandwich?

  36. Hello everyone

    All the congratulations and sympathies and commiserations and apologies and oh, get fuckeds I have missed by not having been here properly.

    I intend to keep up and then feel embarrassed not to have said the right thing at the right time and know it will look stupid to say something after everyone else has moved on.

    Anyway, Wybourne, yes, well, spotted and thanks.

    Good luck in Leiden and I hope it all works out well for you.

    thaumaturge - can we get over whatever you are going to do to me which has put me in a perpetual state beyond fear? I guess you have the power to make things happen from a distance. Or at least round corners.

    Anyway, more of the usual clocking-in exercise, I'm afraid.

    I will try to keep up more in future.

  37. thaumaturge - can we get over whatever you are going to do to me which has put me in a perpetual state beyond fear? I guess you have the power to make things happen from a distance. Or at least round corners.

    No. The suspense is part of my evil plan.

  38. Hey atomboy

    Don't worry about non-sequential posting. I often do that in here myself because these people just don't have the decency to wait for me to turn up before they start talking about interesting things, and then I have to catch up with it all.

    Selfish gits they are. Pah! :o)

  39. BeautifulBurnout

    Yes, I am quite happy to do that in terms of general discussion. It is on a more personal level I seem to be maladroit.

    I find myself more inept and incapable dealing with people, whether real or in this imaginary world.

    Atomgirl keeps telling me I am autistic. I think she may be right.



  40. BB - have just ventured back to the Sunny thread, and just love your first comment. I'm waiting for the gits' manifesto, but the bit I'll be looking at is the economic policy - too easy to call their racist policies out as racist - much more interesting, I think, to demonstrate that they're just plain idiots. They may think they stand a chance (and get support) in 'rolling back' immigration policy, but if they try 'rolling back' globalisation and international trade, they're going to find out they're fighting the big boys.

    I doubt this will ever come up, however.

  41. Philippa - problem is, it is always centred on the fact that they are racist numpties and never enough attention to their dingbattery in every other blooming area.

    Aside from "Support our troops - bring them home", which is something I have been saying since 2002, but something they have suddenly just latched on to recently. As has white supremacist David Duke on his website too, strangely enough...


  42. BB: A thought occurred to me about the Yarl's Wood scandalous treatment of children. I bet the employed concentration camp guards have not been vetted whether they are suitable adults to be in contact with children as is now a requirement for adults on school trips and the like. Is that the CRB you mentioned earlier?

  43. Oooh - that's a point, Medve. I wonder if they have been CRB vetted?

    In fairness, some of the guards in detention centres are fine people. But there is no doubt that some of them are racist assholes. I used to visit detainees close to here quite regularly in the 90s as part of a Welfare Group, just to give them some contact with the outside world, and got to know some of the guards quite well over the years, but like I say, some were just utterly vile specimens of (in)humanity.

  44. BB: thanks, it's my twisted mind. I don't approve of this CRB stuff, if that's what it is, because i consider it a knee-jerk reaction and not even targeted in the right area. Most abuse of children occurs within a family setting, or in institutions. I suspect that casual abuse by accompanying adults on school trips is extremely rare.

  45. BB - how do the racist bastards get a job at the detention centres? Do the UKBA (or whoever runs them) not do any screening or evaluation? I mean, I realise that people will lie at a job interview, but surely there are ways to suss most people out.

  46. Birds of a feather Thauma...

    "I'm not a racist, but.."

    "When can you start?"

  47. Ah Turminder, that is too depressing a concept to contemplate. Fuck. Now you've made me contemplate it.

  48. They are employed by security companies like Serco or Group4, Thaum. Our immigration detention estate is run as a private business.

    The UKBA won't even release the figures of how much it spends on detention every year for "commercially sensitive" reasons, ffs. Although they do say that on average, it costs £130 pppn. Shit, I've stayed in one of the poshest hotels in Gent for that!

  49. ...and, even, more depressingly, I think there's something in it. :-(

  50. BB, you are just adding to my depression and cynicism. Yeah, the detainees in Yarl's Wood are clearly getting posh-hotel-in-Ghent treatment. And no doubt the fucking private companies are just doing it for the good of the nation and not making any profit whatsoever, and of course have the welfare of the human race first in their minds.

    Fucking bastards.

  51. Spot on with the "fucking bastards" bit, Thaum.

  52. Can we start a new political party, called 'The Left'?

    What would be good policies? Would it be electable?

  53. "Would it be electable?"

    Based on an average day reading the comments on Cif, I'd say "no", turminder.

  54. Do you know, the rugby thread I'm reading today has a fuck of a lot more faith in human nature than anything on Cif. A lot of misplaced optimism (self included), but I'd rather have that than the totally cynical view of mankind that government seems to have.

    I mean, I'm basically a cynic, but they've gone overboard. There has to be some room for a better nature to prosper.

  55. Hello All
    The left- what's that? I remember my grandad mentioned it several times .Some old fashioned concept or other about a just society and support for the weaker elements in society I believe.

  56. Thauma

    I have long since lost youthful optimism , passed through cynicism and arrived where? Despair. impotent rage or what? Not sure but it does involve anger.

  57. Leni - yes, indeed.

    Me, I'm going off to bed to dream of Irish victory against the historic oppressors this weekend. ;-) So some (not completely unfounded) vision of youthful optimism remains to me.

  58. Thauma

    All the best for the weekend - oppressors must be vanquished.

  59. The Left - didn't we used to have a party that was a bit like that? Called "Lay-burr" or something?

    I seem to remember it from my dim and distant past...

  60. OK me dears - up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.

    Night night x

  61. MAM on the Pisani HIV thread:

    "But why is no modelling done on the TB-equivalent? What might be called Test and Isolate. We don't need to give retrovirals although it would be nice. It is enough to prevent new infections. Cuba used to isolate HIV positive people in special hospitals as we used to do with TB cases."

    Does that sound to anyone else like chucking people into camps with no treatment and leaving them to die? Hmmm. Commenter of the year.

  62. Has anyone visited the Freedland thread on the overburdening of the PM? I couls hardly be bothered to comment beyond a bit of a snipe.

    So many things wrong the system, the types politics now attracts, the role of the press, expectations etc. picking around the edges will solve nothing - whatever we say we will still be left with the same none choice within a corrupt system which has sold out the people come the next election.

    Rant over - don't feel any better.

  63. Just been out to give last feed to feral cats - a mild night. wols calling to each other across the village. Spring is coming.