28 February 2010


Liu Bang was crowned as Emperor Gaozu of Han in 202 BC, beginning the 400 year Han Dynasty.  John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church in 1784.  The Republican Party was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854.  Forty-three people were killed when an Underground train failed to stop at Moorgate station in 1975.  Olaf Palme was assassinated in 1986.  The Nisqually Earthquake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Seattle area in 2001.

Born today:  Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974), Zero Mostel (1915-1977), Brian Jones (1942-1969), Sepp Maier (1944) and Mike Figgis (1948).

It is Kalevala Day in Finland.


  1. I don't care to experience another earthquake, either.

    (Photo is Pioneer Square in Seattle, in case you're wondering.)

  2. Morning Montana and All

    Variations of this post were deleted from David Cameron's and Gordon Brown's ethics threads and WADDYA.

    The tax question is an old one, so it cannot be that.

    Obviously, it would then seem that CiF is either scared of asking questions which have been asked by others, including the BBC, or CiF is effectively preparing to manipulate the election debate and, as a consequence, possibly its outcome.

    I shall drop a note to both Rusbridger and Seaton, for what it is worth, and I shall have to get a new party frock from the wardrobe this morning, as I am also in pre-moderation now.


    I notice that a previous comment has been deleted and there is no point in contacting the moderators, as all they do is send a stock email in reply, in order to maintain their splendid isolation.

    However, just to check why the moderators may have embarrassed themselves yet again with their mindless over-zealous displays of decimation, the points made were, from memory:

    1. Will David Cameron look at the tax system which allows the rich to avoid paying tax to the tune of £25 000 000 000 per annum and pay a rate of tax of effectively 0% per annum?

    Cameron obviously can have no problem with this because he asks the question:

    What is the right thing to do? Our problem today is that too often, too many people just don't ask that simple question. Instead they ask: "What do I feel like doing?" At the heart of the breakdown of trust in society is a breakdown of personal responsibility.

    2. Following on from this question, I asked whether David Cameron would declare the tax status of Michael Ashcroft, who bankrolls the New Tories.

    Again, if this is a problem to allow as a comment, you have to wonder what is going on if David Cameron can effectively censor this as a legitimate question when talking about how people should behave.

    Of course, if The Guardian moderators are censoring it of their own volition, the question becomes both more pertinent and more worrying.

    We would then have to ask whether we have free elections if certain questions and points cannot be raised in a public arena which are not, for example, threats to national security, but may be simply embarrassing to our political leaders.

  3. Hey all, looks like it was a wild weekend. Congrats to Thauma on the rugby, the Irish victory!

    And my own wee triumph, have secured my part time seasonal employment, and can have the job next year without having to re-interview! Start in 3 weeks. Woot!

  4. Well done Turminder! Great stuff, good luck with it.

    Quite enjoyed the rugby - despite my usual cricket / football national alignment, was pleased to see the Irish win, as they just seemed to screw up less, so that seemed fair.

    Not half as enjoyable as Chelsea v City earlier, though. F-ing brilliant...

  5. Oh, and on the call for violent revolution - I'm in, once I shake this blimmin' cold.

  6. Good news turminder!

    I see Barbara Ellen has excelled herself today...and Bru couldn't (quite) help get in a little mention of her personal prosperity.

  7. Good work, Turminder. Power to the person!

  8. Oh, and an early song, which I discovered on an advert over here...

    I do love a good uplifting chorus.

  9. Bloody Barbara Ellen is just doing phoned-in contrarianism now. At least it's not her old Bridget Jones/single mother schtick.

  10. Have just braved the Cameron article, but got this far:
    What is the right thing to do? Our problem today is that too often, too many people just don't ask that simple question.
    and kind of ground to a halt because I just can't stop thinking of Patricia Routledge as 'Kitty' asking herself "now, what would the Queen Mum do?"

    Should probably stick to the football threads...

  11. @Montana I usually get deleted on Barbarellen thread so I piggy backed on yours..let's see if my sarcasm passes the mods.

    @Peter J..Yeah but that's a bit 'at least'

  12. @PhilippaB I was at the gym watching Chelsea-City while I tried to run uphill. What a corker of a match..just to see Chelsea all over the shop.

  13. @MsR

    Well, yes. I try always to see the best in people. Excellent stiletto work of yours on Ellen, following Montana's perfect use of the 'Yes Minister' hypothetical gambit.

  14. @Peter J You are a kind and benevolent fellow.
    @Turminder: Hurrah for you sir.

  15. MsR - I'd assumed it would be the Sunday match, as they both played mid-week, so missed the first 30mins or so and got to the pub just in time for the first goal. Thought City were lucky to be level at half-time but then everything when very weird in the second half.

    Looks like the Inter game caused a lot of the problems, given Cech's absence, and, I presume the shiner that Ballack was sporting...Was just hoping that Given saved the penalty, to really kill the Chelsea spirit! heh heh heh.

    Weird team, City. Beat Chelsea after being rumbled by Stoke? Points for consistency = 0...

  16. Morning all

    Not checked the Groan yet. I shall have a look at Barbara Ellen when I have finished my second cuppa.

    Congrats to Thaum through gritted teeth. :p Edge of the seat stuff, that last 15 mins. We were out with friends who were there last night and even they agreed the Irish deserved the win, so I suppose I shouldn't be so churlish.

    Off to browse - biab.

  17. Good work in the Ellen thread Montana and MsR.

    I cannot believe that comment of Bru's. That lady never tires of letting us all know how fabulous her life is. If only I had left for Brussells in my twenties perhaps I too could be mixing with the beautiful, well bred people. Instead of having to do my shopping with the hoi polloi at Morrisons. I was made for finer things damnit!

  18. 'Homage' doing a fine job bringing a debate on moral absolutism / relativism onto a football thread. This is puzzling some of the locals...

  19. @Princess yeah but it's fab in Brussels! I mean let's get some perspective here.

  20. I know MsR - all those beautiful well bred people. I am so envious. And of course there is the opera and the theatre. Dahling.

    Good news re the job Turminder.

  21. hello everyone. 'Tis I, sartrecastic. I haven't been around here for a long time but as I've caught the procrastination bug I thought I'd come back. And as I'd gone back to CiF I felt a great pressing need to find somewhere to whine about it. And I remembered thread refugee. Bwahaha.

    Guten tag.

  22. Just had a look for Homage..seems to have been "unpersoned"...it's like he was never there. I'm guessing there'll be a "Road to Wigan Casino" or some such appearing soon...except I get the feeling they'll be looking out for the IP...a fine innings none the less from the mysterious stranger.

    Good night the other night except I did my usual stumbling around drunk afterwards looking for my mate's house...note to self: paralytic Geordies are shit at giving directions..or I'm shit at listening..either way..something must be done.

  23. Some very odd moderation happening on the Rawnsley thread.

    How's it going, MF? joining us in Sheffield?

  24. "Comment privileges for this account have been disabled."

    Mealy-mouthed bastards.

    Breaking3 on the Rawnsley thread - "Labour voters need to suffer like the rest of us" - she's quite mad. She posted something the other day about how she regarded as David Miliband as a foreigner. Presumably because of his Jewish ancestry.

  25. Princess dear heart - you will always have us. I do hope you'll make it to the get together. will talk to MsC on Wednesday. so far I've suggested the 27th March but don't know yet whether it'll suit everyone. Also need to decide which pub to meet in.


    Welcome (back) to the UT. We do a fine line in whining here so please feel free to join in. Our musical evenings, periodic dust ups and flouncing are becoming legendary.

  26. weird - "profile not available" but comments still up...

  27. Thanks Sheff! It comforts me when I yearn for the huge flat and flashy car and beautiful, well bred friends of my possible alternative life.

    Meanwhile I am off to help my cousin clear her one bed, damp, unsafe (rickety door, lots of break ins) council flat out as it was left in a right old state by last tenent. Oh how the other half lives eh?

  28. Princess - on the whole the people I find in 'our half' are infinitely preferable in just about every possible way.

  29. Re the get together Sheff. Would love to make it. I hope by then will have a vague clue as to what ails me and some lovely pharma's to help me get better and also enjoy the odd glass of wine or beer (its been too long!)

    Keep getting deleted on the Cole thread and I don't know why. And the worst thing is that people seem to have inferred from my deleted comment that my argument was that Cheryl Cole and Ashley were gay?! It wasn't - it was that it is all bread and circuses and that half of these 'celebrity marriages' are just big money making machines just like in the old days of studio controlled hollywood - but I foolishly gave Rock Hudson as an example and now some people seem to think I meant something else entirely.

    Hank - breaking 3 is mad -as a hatter - as is etoile (or some such) who said on the Clegg thread that she lives in poverty but she doesn't care if the millionaire up the road made his money in an imoral way or not. It is no one elses business who has what and that relative poverty doesn't matter. only absolute does. She has got to be a banker pretending to be a poor, Christian lady. They are all coming out of the woodwork as polling day gets near.

    Right off to don the rubber gloves. See you all later.

  30. right, off to the pub to see if my 'evil eye' will work against Man U.

    afternoon, all

  31. Was listening to a programme about cheese on R4 earlier. Apparently any cheese made from raw milk is banned in Australia and NZ. Thats virtually all cheese worth eating.

    Try and imagine living in a country where there is not a solitary fragment of decent cheese. I am about to tuck into some wonderful cheeses, Gruyere, a little Chevre and some Bresse Bleu - all forbidden down under. Life would be intolerable.

  32. etoiles is male, i think, from the references to past porn addiction and the general approach to the role of women on certain belief threads i've seen. presumably a 'rich man in his castle' believer...

    pcc - i did think that's what you were getting at (chuckle) but your post to hornyoutreach was brill, did that get modded?

    anyway. pub. no fun when not drinking, but better not drinking there than not drinking at home, where there's so many reminders of all the things I really should be doing...

  33. Bloody etoiles! Given her avatar is the 'blessed virgin', which suggests she's a card carrying Christian somewhere on that faiths lunatic fringe, she probably goes in for the whole suffering as a route to redemption nonsense, with a little flagellation thrown in.

  34. etoiles is male? Even more bizarre.

  35. think so. God saved him from porn addiction, so a bit like the woman who tried to get abortion criminalised in Nevada because she regretted having had one, he now thinks this is the solution to everyone's problems.

    there's a simpler approach. don't do it again

    leave other people alone

    But what do I know. Right, am actually, genuinely leaving now. Where are my shoes?

  36. Atomboy - astonishing that your post was deleted.

    Turminder - thank you, and congratulations on the job!

    Barricaders - like Philippa, will be with you when I've the horrible cold she's given me.

    Have just read the Ellen article in the print edition. Must have a dekko at the comments.

  37. Try and imagine living in a country where there is not a solitary fragment of decent cheese.

    Some of us don't have to imagine, Sheff.

    And I'm pretty sure Etoiles is male. My own opinion is that he's one of those men who (oh, I'll put this politely instead of wording it the way I want to) has a crush on Mary. A really unhealthy crush on Mary, if you know what I mean.

    And, so weird that you should turn up today, sartrecastic! My hand to the non-existent deity's -- I was just thinking about you last night and wondering how you were. Welcome back!

  38. Etoiles is barking to the point where you think it has to be a troll. Yes, a Catholic fundie.

    27th March is a poss. 6N is over by then (sorry, Sheff, I know I was supposed to e-mail you with the off weekends, but I've been using them to recover...). If I don't have to work, that is.

    The lovely couple who have looked after the dog in the past have, unsolicited, volunteered to do so again any time, so if it suits them, that should be good! (I'd've thought last time would have put them off.)

  39. Oh, crap yes. Congratulations on the job, Turminder!

  40. Well done Turminder.
    Just skimmed the B-Ellen thingy. What exactly is she for?

    Cif seems to be attracting more and more of the lunatic fringe.

    The first Jackdaws returned to village this morning after wintering elsewhere. Spring has arrived !!

  41. Thanx for the kind words pals.

    If you have a cold, take 1000 mg of Vit C, and drink at least 3 ltr of water every day, 2 ltr before noon.. Curry is good as well..

  42. In pursuit of info on autoimmune liver problems came across the following- Half an hour sfter eating pork roughly 50% of red blood cells burst - spilling contents - become 'ghost cells' - leaving consumer feeling exhausted.

    Will have to do more research - this may be the lunatic fringe again

    Anybody heard of this?

  43. Hi All

    Way to go on the job turminder.

    Montana--Good pic of Pioneer Square. Did you know there are 2 or 3 good blues bars there?

    Good game of football in the Carling, off to watch the 2nd half.

  44. Leni - no, it sounds highly improbable!

    Bit of Sarah for a Sunday afternoon.

  45. Leni:

    If anyone figures out what BE is for, they should get some sort of a prize. And the pork thing sounds really suspect to me.


    Yeah. I don't remember the names of any of them, but I remember that there was 1 in particular that had pretty long lines to get in pretty much every weekend. Seattle really is a great music city in so many ways. There used to be this guy with waist-length grey dreadlocks who played the saxophone who would busk in various places downtown. Loved to sit on a sunny day listening to him (and sipping a latte...)

  46. Congrats Turminder! Great news, pal! :o)

    Mine's a vodka and diet, ta...

  47. Leni - if half your blood cells exploded after eating pork, then all the other cells in your body would suddenly get half the oxygen supply they need to function. That is not good. There is a reason that blood donor centres only take about 10 percent of your blood capacity; taking half would not make you feel tired, but make you unconscious and very likely dead.

    I would have thought that in several thousand years of eating pork, people would have noticed such a drastic result and stopped doing it.

  48. Well, Montana, you have finally outed yourself as a lattè-sipping liberal.

    Here's one for interns.

  49. Very bloody middle-class commentary. They can't even pronounce his name properly.

  50. Everbody - on exploding cells.
    My thought exactly, The claim is just that - eating pork is very bad for you! Religious nuts I think pushing biblical claims for pork being unclean.

    if we believed all food claims - from various sectors - we would never eat anything.

    I see we have yet another thread on Gordon the axe murderer. Hey Ho - more serios political deabte - this time from the Obs.

  51. Glad you got back okay, monkeyfish.At about half-two in the morning, after I'd had a bit of an ear-bashing (the continuation and escalation of that phone-call I got from the missus which you, Chekhov and that lass from Hexham way caught the gist of...)I did belatedly think (sometimes the penny's slow to drop) that your arrangements were kinda haphazard, and I should have helped out:sorry.

  52. Glad you lot enjoyed yourselves and sorry to hear of ear-bashings!

  53. Actually the Guevara doco is getting better. Recommend, yes.

  54. Well, I bought the IoS today. Can't say that I feel any better informed but at least I don't feel grubby.

    @Philippa - the evil eye was never going to be enough to thwart the Evil Empire. Needs more work. You're right about the footie blog though, don't think the moral relativism argument was getting through.

  55. Would you like; ice, lemon or orange with that BB?

    Is it just me...

    28 Feb 2010, 3:55PM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

    Mwah, ha,ha,ha,ha!

  56. Alisdair

    No worries. My arrangements generally are haphazard...had an interesting stroll anyway.

    Dunno if I can make the Sheffield thing yet..is the date definite?

  57. Hmm.

    Ending of Ché piece describes how people go to his shrine and view him as a holy figure. This completely at odds with his atheism.

  58. turminderxuss

    No, it's not just you.

    I called myself RemovedByAModerator because I knew there was something fishy about The Guardian's moderation and Ashcroft's tax affairs, so I expected posts to get deleted quickly and to be put in pre-mod and I did not want a name I liked.

    It all happened as predicted.

    These are some links from other newspapers, so it makes you wonder why The Guardian is so jittery.

    On the Cameron ethics bollarks thread, Rednorth took up the baton and just said something like: "Could we look into the Ashcroft tax situation?" and this was deleted, along with others.

    It would seem that the CiF moderators have shone up their stormtrooper boots and are planning to ruthlessly crush debate and dissent as the election gets into swing.

    I have emailed Rusbridger etc and some politicians just to stir things up.

    Looks like there are many more shitdribbles out there than just little Purnell.


    Ashcroft has unleashed hell in the marginals


    Tory Lord Ashcroft's plan to buy election revealed


    'Ashcroft money' casts long shadow over rivals


    Now top Tories admit they are frustrated about not knowing Lord Ashcroft's tax status

  59. Mr Fish

    No, nothings definite about the Sheffield bash, except that it will happen - in the next month or so.

  60. A brilliant bit of Latin music.

    Qué bandolera eres tù?
    Qué racotera en el amor?

    (Dunno how to do upside-down question marks.)

    Translates something like:

    What a bandit you are
    A racketeer of love


  61. Thauma

    You need a Spanish key board for upside downs.

    Che has become a symbol for many things - this yearning that people have for change - which never comes. Sad.

  62. ¿Como estas? On my computer/keyboard/whatever, Alt + 0191 gives you an upside down question mark.

  63. Yeah, so I was too lazy to look up the ascii code.... ;-)

    Thanks for it though!

  64. º¡ª¡ 0191?


    Shift + Alt on the mac?

  65. Leni - yes, the documentary touched on that yearning. He's probably only as popular in many minds (mine included) precisely because he died young.

  66. Just been on the phone to France after hearing the news and checking out Le Monde website. 29 people dead in Vendee my "home" department. Luckily friends there and in Charente Maritime are safe and not swimming through their living rooms...

    Vid here...

  67. Shit, BB - can't see your vid link, but have looked at BBC web site. Hope all your friends are OK.

  68. @BB - that must be the storm that we caught the edges of here on the south coast earlier today. It was nasty enough, and we missed the worst of it, clearly.

  69. @atomboy - why would the Cif mods be looking to silence debate on Ashcroft ahead of the election?

  70. That's horrible, BB. My son made the comment earlier (hearing about the quake in Chile) that the Earth seems to be going crazy right now.

  71. Hank

    Are you banned?

    We will have to organise a bile free and very polite revolution.

  72. Mother Earth is having a bit of a strop at the moment for sure.

    Hank - I can't possibly imagine why they would want to silence a debate about capitalist bastards bleeding us dry just before the elections... oh wait...

  73. Leni - I think it was the post kindly reproduced by Montana on yesterday's thread which did the trick. Funny thing is a later post is still extant on the Rawnsley thread, so the mods either agree that Rawnsley's a smug Blairite chancer who's lost all credibility or their modding policy is a little inconsistent.

    Must be the first one, obviously.

  74. BB - serious question though implied in my post to Atomboy. Clearly the GMG is looking to stick the knife into Brown this week.

    Is that purely for commercial reasons? We all know that they're desperately short of cash, and Rawnsley's shite has generated all sorts of headlines, with the possible circulation boost which comes in their wake. So that's one theory.

    The other is that the GMG has a Blairite core, and that all the poison which typified the Blair-Brown marriage of convenience has spread throughout the Westminster Village and on to King's Cross.

    Is the campaign against Brown a personal one then, as Rawnsley's book would suggest?

    Is the animosity so entrenched that they would be prepared to destroy Brown right before an election, knowing that it might well lead to a Tory victory?

    Or do they think, as I do to some extent, that Brown and Darling represent a return of sorts to Old Labour, a brand with which neither the Graun or the Observer were ever comfortable?

    And that, in the circs, they would prefer a Tory government, especially if they are gullible enough to buy into Cameron's rebranding?

  75. Hank

    Interesting points. There seems to be some kind of rehabilitation of Blair going on this weekend, talking about how terribly depressed he was when he saw the photos from Abu Ghraib, how he wanted to give up there and then, how, according to Cherie, Brown was rattling the keys to No 10 over his head etc etc.

    Perhaps there is a Brownian shift to the Left again, especially as Darling is tightening the screws, and it doesn't suit the Graun one little bit.

    I haven't read much of the Rawnsley stuff because it all seems to be tittle-tattle, but it would fit that pattern, if there is actually a pattern.

    I can't imagine that they would really cut off their own noses to spite their faces, though, unless there is something in it for them. If Polly needed a nosepeg to vote Labour the last time, god knows what she would need if the message is "Vote Tory". Ugh.

  76. Hank,

    Or do they think, as I do to some extent, that Brown and Darling represent a return of sorts to Old Labour, a brand with which neither the Graun or the Observer were ever comfortable?

    Hmm, can't say I agree with you there: there's fuck-all evidence that they aren't continuing the Blairite line.

    But yes, it's very interesting that GMG is doing such a hatchet-job on Brown just now. It is indeed as if they wanted the Tories to win. Have the Tories promised to put all their public job adverts through the Graun, perchance?

  77. Ah BB, you're at it too with a "Brownian shift to the left". What shift to the left??? Haven't noticed it myself. Nor on Eyebrows' part.

    The crap about poor Tony feeling a bit sad that the Iraq war went so badly is just that: so much bullshit. It's not like anyone hadn't warned him. I knew it, you lot knew it: what sort of surprise can it have been?

    To me, he is still the real villain of the piece.

  78. BB

    Just some random thoughts really. I don't know what's driving the Rawnsley agenda, or why the likes of Jenni Russell have been dragged in to parrot the party line.

    I agree that there would be an element of cutting off their noses, especially as so much of the Graun's advertising revenue comes from public sector appointments.

    And I really don't know why the mods are so edgy when Ashcroft's tax status comes up, unless they're conscious of the GMG's own dubious tax arrangements.

    What I do know is that there are certain aspects of the Rawnsley Affair which are so sordid that I will not buy the Observer again. Linking to an ad for his book on his blog, and then adding a ps that signed copies are available for £17 turned my stomach.

    I know they gave Julie Myerson space to sell out her son for money but at least they had the taste then not to give us the hyperlink for the book itself.

  79. Hank and others

    Not really sure on this one, so your guesses are as good as mine.

    At first, it seemed that they were just wiping out every second or third post on the Cameron thread because...well, to show they could and to show how hard they are.

    It has remained consistent, though: mention Ashcroft and you are deleted, unless you bury it in text about something else and their little piggy eyes fail to truffle it out.

    You would think that they would delight in it unless it put them in jeopardy, but Rusbridger does not seem to have gone bleating to the Twitterati to help him out with a super-injunction.

    I have often thought the moderators are just bored, lazy and malicious, like a collection of rat-faced hoodies indulging in a bit of idle kicking but they seem to have some kind of plan in mind.

    Unless they have misinterpreted their instructions.

    Rusbridger: I've got a flipping headache and the fucking drugs don't work any more and I don't want to hear any more Richard Ashcroft.

    Moderators: OK. No more Ashcroft. What's this button do?

  80. Hank - they've got to be supporting some Labour coup that we don't know about yet. Can't see them supporting the Tories unless they really have promised to prop up the paper.

    I reckon (although I haven't read a great deal of it) that Rawnsley's account is accurate in that Brown probably does have a really bad temper. That's never been a secret. Whether it amounts to 'bullying' is another matter, and another part of the daft NL agenda.

  81. thauma - I'm not wholly convinced by any part of my thesis above, I'm sketching out some thoughts, that's all.

    All I would say, and it's very subjective, is that there's a real drive to tackle tax avoidance by the rich at the moment. It might be too little too late, but I don't think it would have happened under Blair, and it will certainly be cancelled immediately should the other lot get in.

    When all the big parties have so much in common, it's the nuances we have to look at.

  82. Atomboy - that is seriously weird, especially as the Graun itself has questioned Ashcroft's status.

    Dear me, the only answer that makes sense is that he's bought them off.

  83. Hank - there's also a big drive to tackle the not-so-rich: see IR35. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

  84. thauma - whether Brown is a bully or not isn't an issue for me. Who cares? Thatcher was, so was Churchill, so what?

    The issue, as far as Rawnsley and the GMG is concerned, is - why are they running it now? What's their agenda? Why are they making such a big deal of it? What are they seeking to achieve?

    I really don't know. But I can't believe that there isn't a concerted editorial line, an agenda.

    My bro's out of the country atm, which is a shame. Would have liked to hear his take on it.

  85. they've got to be supporting some Labour coup that we don't know about yet.

    I realise I don't get the full picture sitting over here in Cowpat Junction, but this is exactly what I've been suspecting through all of this. It's the only thing that makes sense to me.

  86. There has, as Hank said, been some stuff lately about increasing the mopping up of the spillages of the loot which the rich have stolen and other papers seem to be happy to put the knife into Ashcroft.

    Maybe the Guardian has something it wants to break soon in terms of a story, but it seems pretty unlikely.

    Do they even have investigative reporters now?

    I thought it was just a collection of empty-headed idle chatterers on the media take.

  87. Sorry thauma, not my area at all, but IR35's been dragging on for year, hasn't it? I've certainly got a friend who works as an IT consultant who regularly bends my ear about it.

    She tends to shut up when I suggest that she might like to be PAYE instead.

  88. Hm, Atomboy, your post has just made me suspect that the GMG has something to *hide* in the Ashcroft accounting débacle.

  89. Well, Hank, I do PAYE too. But it seems the rules have changed recently about who is exempt from IR35, and it's all about sticking it to the lowly contractor. The big businesses who refuse to hire anyone with benefits, pension, etc., get the break, but those of us who exist on three-month contracts are suddenly full-time employees without all those benefits. Oh, and they can fire us whenever they like for any reason, i.e. they don't like our sex, skin colour, or whatever.

  90. Yeh, the possibility of Ashcroft and the Guardian being mired in similar types of tax avoidance is an interesting one, AB and thauma. Not one that's occurred to me before.

    It's certainly got more credibility than the possibility of a GMG-sponsored coup two months before an election. It would be suicidal.

    Unless of course they're confident of a hung parliament and another election within 12 months.

    Bald men fighting over a comb though really. Who would benefit from a coup other than the plotters themselves?

    It's not as though there's a significant bloc of politicos who are prepared to challenge the neo-lib corporatist consensus.

  91. Sounds shit, thauma, and I sympathise. As I said, it's not an area of the tax code I'm particularly familiar with, although I do know that there have been a few court cases dealing with extreme abuse of the rules.

    There will always be chancers who bend the rules to breaking point and in doing so try HMRC's patience too far, and spoil things for those who are trying to live within the existing code.

    One of the things that always makes me laugh when I read the trade mags is the eternal whinge from accountants and tax advisers about the tax code being too complex.

    The tax code could be very simple. It started off very simple. It became complex over time because unscrupulous tax advisers identified loopholes to be exploited, so the Revenue amended the code to close those loopholes, and then the tax advisers found some new loopholes in the amendments, and on and on it went.

    I'm not going to apologise for HMRC's change in policy. There was almost certainly a good reason for that change. And the fault will almost certainly lie with greedy individuals looking to spit on the social contract.

  92. GMG is losing money hand over fist. The relaunch of the Observer coincides with the serialisation of Rawnsley's book. This will presumably boost sales short term, with the hope that they will gain readers who will stick (without much thought for the disgusted long-term loyal readers who will bail out). I don't think that Brownite/Blairite politics or whatever is at all important to the Guardian/Observer. Their 'moral compass' has been totally fucked for a long time now, they just want to sell newspapers in a tough market. It will be interesting to see if their sales get a bump with the Rawnsley stuff and the new image, and how their sales figures look three/six months down the line.
    I have long held the view that Cif is just a sop to bien pensant left-thinking folk, (and the odd hard-core radical), most of whom have been banned or have given up, and that participation in this sham shouldn't be encouraged. Cif is basically a playground now for right-wing nutters. I think that it should be boycotted by all sensible socialists because otherwise our dialogue lends it a legitimacy that it does not deserve. If the nutters and racists want to post a hundred times a day, then let them. If you don't waste your time trying to gainsay them with logic and reason that they don't accept, recognise, or address then they they'll get fed up and disappear. And that's the future of Cif anyway - seriously decreased traffic, no reason, no intelligent discussion, no real issues. The future is not a boot stamping on a human face, it's endless threads about tea and biscuits and Lady Gaga and wannabe comedians and serial bores posting one-liner unfunny bullshit on a Charlie Brooker or a WDYWTTA thread. That is the future of Cif, folks - bru, gegenbeispiel, kizbot, hermionegingold and the likes posting trivialities in work-time out of boredom, and being embraced by jess and bella as some sort of community. Cif is dead, and good riddance. (Well, it's dead for me anyway, no offence to those of you who still waste your time on it.)

    btw, the Guardian's political stance come the next election, won't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. It's the Sun and the Mail and the Mirror that will make a difference.

  93. Night Nurse & bed for me now ... just going to watch Tommy Bowe's try at 3.30 again first....

  94. "But I can't believe that there isn't a concerted editorial line, an agenda."

    I think you may be right but then again, I'm not sure that it's a coherent agenda or one rooted in rationality. I think a lot of them are quite genuinely thick...in fact, I'm sure they are...fuckin pig-shit, window-lickin, tail-chasin thick.

    I know it's tempting to think that as paid-up media savvy, middle-class Oxbridge types it might be tempting to think they must have something about them but I just don't believe that any more...plain stupidity is the answer.

  95. Hmmm... in for an interesting few weeks in the run-up to the election.

    I am hoping for a hung parliament for a while at least. I think it would do all the bastards good for none of them to be in a position of overall power for a few months. It would certainly send a message that we are not buying into the tweedledum vs tweedledee "choice" that is being foisted on us at the moment.

  96. I think a lot of them are quite genuinely thick...in fact, I'm sure they are...fuckin pig-shit, window-lickin, tail-chasin thick.

    Blimey, fish, you're right again. But then it's not rocket science.

  97. Thaum - hope you feel better soon x

  98. "Blimey, fish, you're right again. But then it's not rocket science."

    No it isn't. It's probably more like fixing a puncture on a push bike but those cunts take a certain arrogant pride in their cack-handed impracticality and inability to manage even that...thinking it's all of a one with their high-minded, cerebral status...they've bought into the notion that their public school education, bourgeois upbringing and connections were just fortunate happen-stance...they'd have made it anyway...they know this...they 'know' they're intelligent..a cut above...it fuels their self-righteous sense of entitlement..gives them a right to lecture the rest of us...what they don't realise is ACTUALLY....THEY'RE FUCKIN STUPID. Someone ought to tell them.

  99. scherfig

    Agree with your points about CiF and have made much the same comments both here and there.

    You tend to have the air-kissers and name-droppers in their little gated WADDYA community and outside, the grunting, howling monsters in the undergrowth.

    The funniest thing lately was JessicaReed telling people to play nicely with someone called something like CordeliaM. When I suggested that there should be no preferential treatment, she said that this person was a "respected member" of CiF. Yeah, OK.

    I think you are right that it will just slowly gurgle down the pan and the bits which are left will coalesce and rot and stink.

    The only reason for going now is to just point and laugh, really.

  100. In fact..in future my sole contribution to CIF will be.."shut up you thick twat"..if I'm really angry I might replace the 'shut up' with 'fuck off' and if it's Toynbee...the 'twat' might find it's subjected to a tactical substitution and will be disappointed to spot 'cunt' going through a warm-up routine on the touchline.

  101. ACTUALLY....THEY'RE FUCKIN STUPID. Someone ought to tell them.

    What's the point? They wouldn't believe it.

    david watts

  102. yeah, you're right atomboy. My point really is that contributing to Cif somehow legitimises it, and I don't think that one should. A personal point of view of course, and I don't think that people who continue to 'engage' are necessarily wrong, just misguided :0). The only aceptable comment on Cif should be 'fuck off, you fascist/racist/misogynist/misandrist selfish deluded cunt.' I'm not quite sure how one should react to the intelligentsia who pontificate ATL. I would be inclined to ignore them on the basis that 90% of them are wankers.

  103. scherfig

    Well, you cannot say fairer (or more truthfully) than that.

    I have just tried to use an account under which I did not think I had been banned, but it would seem so.

    I found another one and put an Ashcroft comment under Jackie Ashley's little contrived singalong to Baboushka or whatever it is, so that should be gone soon and another ban.

    If I can be bothered to go back, it might require proxy IP servers and that bollards, so it hardly seems worth it. Life is too short.

    Anyway, the fuckers occupy a mental space which is like having their delusions trapped in amber, so let them get on with it.

    As Monkeyfish says (and Atomgirl winces every time I use it) they are as thick as pig-shit.

  104. @scherf - your post at 9pm above could have been written by me. Or monkeyfish. Or anyone who's been banned for exposing the hypocrisy of Cif and the time-wasting tea-drinkers who prop the place up.

    I got banned again today. I don't doubt that, in the warped version of the mods, that I deserved it.

    Comment is free as long as it doesn't question the editorial line of the GMG, or the agenda of its star writers.

    Comment remains free for despicable trolls who trot out anti-Semitic bullshit, like Breaking3 does, because they attract traffic to the site.

    Funny old game, innit, when right wing racists are welcome on a liberal site, but left wing posters get banned for exposing hypocrisy?

    Freedom of speech is a moral absolute.

    It's not to be fucked with just because it's inconvenient to the Guardian for those comments to be expressed.

  105. Nothing new there, hank. I decided to stop posting on Cif about 6 months ago for the reasons I've given. I asked for my archive to be deleted (strangely enough, that wasn't easy). I wasn't banned (although I was in pre-mod a few times) but I just don't think I can contribute anything to the fucking circus that is Cif now. People bitch about the 'unfairness' and futility of Cif all the time. I put my money where my mouth was. Other people can do what they think is best. Let the right-wing trolls have the place, if people didn't 'engage' with them, they wouldn't even bother to turn up.

  106. Oh, btw, AllyF has got his 'C' back. So it's unlikely we'll see him around here again.


    Good old Ally, bless him. He'll be round at Kiz and Bru's for tea and a heated discussion about Jaffa Cakes tomorrow.

  107. sherfig and Hank

    there is a lot to be said for not contributing to Cif - the right wingers would tail off without any opposition. Cif would start to founder.

    Difficult to understand Cif in any way other than a money spinning enterprise set up to attract advertising.

    I am still reluctant to let the racists and others horrors go unchallenged but Cif has become an exercise in futility.

  108. scherfig

    I asked for my archive to be deleted (strangely enough, that wasn't easy).

    I would be interested in any tips on that one.

    I did try it when I asked to be banned under about half a dozen names but the process became confusing and I got bored.

    I got the usual "You agreed to grant us a non-exclusive perpetual right..." and I seem to remember it was at the time that Auld Plucky was allowing you to access even deleted posts, so I thought I would leave it and copy anything I wanted to keep. Obviously, that didn't last.

    It may be that I have annoyed them lately by making references to Atomboy under different names, but that would not cover why they deleted Rednorth and others.

    Anyway, either off to bed or just drift off where I am and wake up with a pain in the neck.

    Night all.

  109. I'd contribute to this discussion -- but all I could do is agree with you all.

  110. @scherfig - yeh, fair enough, you did and I didn't. I bitch about the unfairness and futility of Cif and still go back there, time and again, because I think I have things to say.

    And because I like a row.

    You like a row too, obviously.

    But you don't really have much to say.

    You're the guy with the rock-solid ethical code, apart from the occasional wobble, but I honestly don't know what you think about anything.

    Other than that you think that bru and kiz are empty headed narcissists, of course. But we all think that.

  111. Atomboy

    The AB on Dawkins' blog thread raised the issue - among all the fury - of ownership of posts. The granting of 'exclusive perpetual' right thingy is probably open to question. They demand this so they can choose which to delete and which to retain or in some cases edit.

    The question arises of why they wish to retain them against the wishes of the original author. i suppose it gives them greater web presence but otherwise I see no advantage.

    They refer to posting 'privilege' - the balance of advantage lies with them - certainly financially. This needs some thought.

  112. Leni - re "privileges", check my post above...

    "Comment privileges for this account have been disabled."

    Apparently it's a privilege to be allowed to post on Cif. I always assumed that free speech was a "right" as opposed to a "privilege".

  113. My dear Hank

    You have a lot to learn. The rich have rights - including the right to grant privileges to the poor - the deserving poor that it. You are simply the wrong sort.

  114. re: privilege - when we log in the 'terms and conditions' that nobody bothers reading ddo almost certainly lead to us giving up our rights to our own words / selling our souls / putting our children up chimneys or something like that. They may not charge us in money but there's ay summat to pay...

  115. Hank,if you really don't know what I think about anything, then you haven't been listening. Although I do recall you once telling me to 'wind my neck in' and giving me your mobile number and telling me to phone you to 'discuss things'. I suppose I must have said something concrete which you disagreed with. Which, hopefully, makes me a bit more substantial than an airhead. Not that I actually give a flying fuck what you think, of course :0)

    Atomboy, I sent Cif an E-mail stating that I no longer wished to contribute to Cif (and giving my reasons, which were a series of particularly offensive ATL offerings), and asking that they delete my profile, archive, and all personal information that they held on me, and notify me when they had done so. I eventually got an E-mnail back asking me if I really wanted to proceed with this etc etc. My reply was that if I didn't want to do it, I wouldn't have fucking asked. The whole thing took nearly 2 months but my 2 years worth of wonderful comments are no longer easibly accessible to Bitey or any other twisted fucker. No great loss, to be honest. Although, seriously, my view was that I didn't just want to stop posting - I wanted to physically disassociate my online persona from Cif. It was a protest against what Cif had become.

  116. Phillipa

    Too true - but this way Cif wins twice. Free content plus advertising.

    It is now more about image than free speech - or children up chimnies. Cif would probably be able to find someone willing to defend the chimney squeezing of children.

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. Ah, fuck it, scherf - I like you, I think we're similar in a lot of ways - charming, good-looking, sophisticated babe-magnets etc. Let's not fall out, eh?

    Particularly not when Leni and Annetan are looking to enjoy their festive day...

  119. Nice one, Hank. I am no longer a mainstay of this site. I am self-righteous (with a large measure of self-deprecation), and that should piss people off, especially when they're far enough up their own arses not to see the irony (I'm not talking about you here). I am an argumentative fucker, but only when necessary. I don't bear grudges at all, but I have a photographic memory (any reference to past events is likely to be value-neutral). I'll admit to perhaps taking offence too easily, but t'internet is a very unnuanced medium - we all make mistakes. And I'm not going to fall out with you (again).

    In fact, I think I'll call you.

  120. Does anyone remember the woman who was going to be one of the leaders of Laurie Penny's 'hero generation'?

    Yes, this one:

    "Tamsin Omond, 25, who was in training to be an Anglican priest before she became a climate activist, has said: "I didn't feel like there was any energy for change in the church – I knew I could do so much more. When I left university, I felt that it was my calling to be a priest, but I was also terrified of climate change. I wanted to get Christians to realise that their faith was relevant to climate change, but the response was very complacent. It was so frustrating." Omond left the priesthood and went on to found the activist group Climate Rush."

    Well, it seems that she has moved on in her quest for heroism...

  121. Peterj

    How very patronising - Tamsin not you.

    I have been thinking about the need for some new thinking in politics - Tamsin hasn't found it. Have to say her ego will take her somewhere - quite where is unclear.

    Several constituencies will be decided by independents splitting the vote. Could be a close run thing.

    Just seen a report from UN which says that last year 6000 Afghan children travel alone to Europe - not quite alone , accompanied by traffickers. On one journey only 15 out 50 Afghanis survived journey. Britain is busy sending these kids back.

  122. Just a general word of advice for all UT-ers - never post your mobile number on here. It only leads to nuisance calls from drunken Irishmen.

    Nite scherfig (-;

  123. Tamsin sounds like she's a bit overly fond of herself.

  124. Tamsin Omond - her grandpapa's a baronet and she got kicked out of Plane Stupid for being a twat (how difficult must that be?). If her trust fund runs out, and she doesn't get elected as an MP, she might have to get a job. Bummer!

  125. Nite, Hank. :0) Why are you telling these dreadful lies?

    (my number is 54545433448890-0--652) Call me.

  126. Well I've been put on pre-mod for mentioning the Times allegations and the cosy relationship the media tend to have with those in power.

    I sent the following email to the mods:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I note that I have been placed on pre-moderated status on Cif.

    Could you please specify the reasons for this decision?

    Was it entirely based on a reference to allegations of money laundering by Lord Ashcroft which surfaced in the Times and are referred to at great length in Lord Ashcrofts biography, available to view at lordashcroft.com?

    While Lord Ashcroft is a powerful figure, I am unaware of any super injunction covering Lord Ashcrofts business dealings. If I have fallen foul of one, and it is not allowed to mention Lord Ashcroft being on the DEA watchlist, along with every organisation and individual he is connected with (even though he states this in his autobiography) I apologise, but I feel changing my account to a pre-moderated status without explanation was perhaps an over reaction.

    If these events are the result of a fear of litigation or intimidation on the part of Lord Ashcroft towards the Guardian, in a similar turn of events to those experienced by Times journalists, then I promise not to make critical comments regarding Lord Ashcroft that I could not support in a court of law.

    Yours sincerely

    Ben Rubery

    No reply as yet.