03 March 2010


Bizet's Carmen premiered at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1875 and the world's first organised indoor hockey game was played in Montreal on the same day.  Arthur Scargill announced in 1985 that the NUM national executive had voted to end the miners' strike.  And Los Angeles police were videotaped beating Rodney King during a routine traffic stop in 1991.

Born today:  Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), Robyn Hitchcock (1953), Miranda Richardson (1958) and Charlie Brooker (1971).

It is Hinamatsuri, or Girls' Day, in Japan.


  1. Arthur Scargill announced in 1985 that the NUM national executive had voted to end the miners' strike

    So 25 years since the end of the last great working class struggle in the UK. The struggle that took the combined forces of Government, Police, Army and Secret Services a year to conquer.

    Here's a poignant tribute by Jarvis and Pulp:

    Last day of the Miners Strike

  2. The struggle that took the combined forces of Government, Police, Army and Secret Services a year to conquer.

    And how could I forget- The Media, oh yes the Media, undoubtedly the Media.

    Here's the first part of Ken Loach's Which side are you on?

    Loach was so disgusted by the media spinning the Govt line he made this documentary highlighting the miner's side for The South Bank Show. However, it was withdrawn before transmission as Loach said ''for political reasons.''

  3. Good Link Wybourne, old bean. Will peruse that in full l8r..

    Ta. V.Much.. :-)

  4. Scherfig - Kim sounds like he was a proper gem. I love Calvin & Hobbes, and quite like Doonsbury too.

    Hank - nearing the end of the first one. Now I understand why I didn't find the third on the paperback racks! At the rate I'm going, it'll be out before I've finished the second.

  5. And how could I forget- The Media, oh yes the Media, undoubtedly the Media.

    Yes, it worked so well that 25 years later, most people still believe the lies - or would it be called spin now?

    Thatcher had the simple intention of breaking the unions and emasculating the working class.

    I wonder whether everyone now having to choose between eating and heating think that it was worth it.

  6. thauma - I've got a supersize paperback edition of the third one, think it was an airport special. but it's definitely the best one, so snap it up when it does come out - 1 April, btw...

  7. Here's an odd one. I was searching the Guardian site for a news piece on the Islamic Forum Europe/Tower Hamlets thing, and found a CiF piece dated today by our old chum Inayat. Couldn't see it anywhere on CiF itself, though...

  8. Ariane Sherine..WTF? Still it's worth commenting just to have all the salivating men tell me I'm jealous. Most certainly not.

    Jarvis Cocker is one of my heros. I was not here during the miner's strike and heard much about it from my friend Red Bill now sadly passed. He gave me the best briefing on UK society I have ever had.

  9. Ooh. And now the Inayat piece has disappeared completely from the site, along with the few comments made by people who'd managed to find it...

  10. Andrew Brown today, berating a type of man whose smugness makes his face shiny, like a coat of aspic
    Oh, the self-awareness.
    That Inayat piece is up, and singularly misses the point: the trouble isn't that many Muslims are joining the labour party in Tower Hamlets. If they want to fair enough (more fool them). The issue is that a subset have an agenda that they're not open about (c'mon guys, and it is men, have the balls to say what you're about), but most importantly that they're using undemocratic, borderline illegal tactics: multiple new members at the same address whose existence can't be verified, evidence of blocs of votes being 'delivered'. Private Eye has covered Tower Hamlets extensively in "Rotten Boroughs" and there is proof of procedural irregularities within the council over the appointment of senior officers and the disbursement of grants.
    Frankly, I don't care what the IFE agenda is (Islamism is no more repellent than neo-liberalism, both being crackers in my opinion), so long as they're honest about it, and abide by the rules.Mind you, the New lab entryists themselves never bothered much with honesty or abiding by rules...

  11. Alisdair - you're right, in every particular. And I noted that Andrew Brown comment too!

    But the Inayat piece still isn't visible here. Whereabouts did you find it?

  12. It's been situated in CiF belief, which in my view is an appalling editorial mistake: this isn't about Islam, but about political entryism. Muslims aren't a homogeneous bloc, but shoving the piece in there carries an implication that politically, Muslims are all the same.

  13. Thanks Alisdair, found it now. Weird place to put it, as you say. And, given the newsworthiness of the subject, it smacks a bit of 'in the basement, past the broken staircase, behind the "beware of the leopard" sign'.

  14. @Alisdair But you know they're all the same since September 11, 2001 don't you?

  15. Not having a good day. Home early from work to go to dentist and have just heard a lovely cousin of mine has died.

    He was charming, bit of a boozy black sheep (at least thats what the aged family matriarchs thought). I really liked him, he was good company and fun to be around. Now he's gone - so sad.

  16. Afternoon everyone

    Deepest condolences, Sheff. A few stiff ones in his memory sound like the order of the day for you. Hugs xx

    Will have a look at Inayat's piece if I can find it.

    MsRobinson - someone on Ariane's thread said she could make a book out of a business card, which is true. Don't know what she is complaining about, though. I used to get the "where are you from" bit all the time in France. People knew I had an accent that wasn't from "there", but often couldn't work out if I was from Alsace, Switzerland or some other francophone area, which was quite a compliment for a national of Perfidious Albion.

  17. They showed "Which Side Are You On" on More4 last summer as part of a season commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave. Very moving.

  18. Blimey. Michael Foot has died. :o(

  19. Oh, Sheff, so sorry. "good company and fun to be around" is a good epitaph, hope I get something that good.

  20. Bah. Have broken self-imposed AB ban because he's the only person covering the CP amendment passing the Lords. Will see how it goes...

  21. ...and Michael Foot as well. Ho hum...all part of lifes rich shit I suppose. Think I might find someone on cif to rant at.

    Strict instructions from dentist not to drink anything for an hour at least - but will have a very large one at exactly 36 minutes to 4.

  22. Less than half an hour to go then, hon. xx

  23. Sheff - so sorry to hear about your cousin. A charming, boozy black sheep sounds wonderful to me. I'll raise a glass to him tonight.

  24. Scherf & Sheff sorry to read of the loss of those you regarded as worth knowing. I know the loss of my best mate last year had a deep influence on me, leading to the inevitable question of for whom the bell tolls next.

    Life passeth much faster than we would wish. My best wishes are with you both.

    Alisdair/PeterJ - I'm sure I've seen a programme on the issues in Tower Hamlets in the last few days. Cant recall if it was Ch4 or BBC?

    Very much an issue of entry-ism and manipulation
    but then as AC says"...Mind you, the New lab entryists themselves never bothered much with honesty or abiding by rules.. "..Too true.

    But then the art of entry-ism always struck me as something pioneered by the State's secret services. The NUM was widely regarded as riddled with plants, especially during the dispute 84/85. The loss of which had such a shit influence on contemporary life.

    Some folk fondly think that the miners were the most powerful of our unions, but others, myself included, always thought that a mistake. The more powerful union in the UK was always the electricians and their key workers (employed directly at the power stations) were always subject to close monitoring and manipulation....by Govt forces. After all these guys didn't have to blokade the power staions they simply had to take the fuses home with them...

    The Electricians Union in the post war period was always subject to reds under the bed commie control scare stories. I think that a lot of us who were active in the 1970/80's thought that its notorious leader, Frank Chapple, was more an agent of the state than a Trade Union General Secretary...

    Our activist Muslim citizens thus have lots of home grown examples to model themselves on....Role Models Galore. A veritable gallery of bastards.

  25. PhilB - "good company and fun to be around" is a good epitaph, hope I get something that good. (Nice ring to it - I thought so too.)

    I'm sure you will get something as fine, in fact if you leave the party before me I will guarantee it. I will write it myself and it will be sure to include words like delightful.....charming.....witty......heady.. had I had a spare unattached son I would have expected him to... etc.

    But best not to go before I cure my procrastination.

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  27. viz Michael Foot:

    "3.41pm: Alastair Campbell is on Sky now.

    [Foot] was able to have an argument without ever making it personal.

    Campbell says Foot would have liked to have been remembered as a writer, as someone who was passionate about politics and as someone who believed in big causes"

    Says all that needs to be said about tosser Campbell

    The Michael foot that I admired would have preferred to have been remembered as someone who was passionate about Social Justice and Socialism .....and to have been profoundly saddened at his own error of judgement in recommending Blair

  28. bless you, deano - for the epitaph and for putting Campbell right.

    he can't even bring himself to say the word, can he? s..s..socialism...

  29. Scherf and Shef- sorry for your losses.

    And now we have the loss of Michael Foot...

    Memories were mixed a sincere and committed socialist but sadly unable to deal with the TV age I think.

    Niel Kinnock, who betrayed everything Michael stood for, has been singing his praises on R4 - sick making frankly!

  30. Nana Mouskouri worked for the EU? When did that happen?

  31. @Philippa - she was an MEP in the 90s; I remember her campaigning for the return of the Elgin Marbles. She was a Unicef ambassador too, I think.

  32. It's a bad week for bad news. Saw a friend down the pub tonight who had to put down his beloved cat this morning and then found out a good mate of his has terminal cancer.

    Have solemnly raised a glass to Kim, Sheff's cousin, the cat the mate.

    Will the circle be unbroken. (Vaguely religious but in a rather pagan sort of way.)

  33. Always makes me think of the Two Ronnies and Nana Mascara. Tried to find a clip on youtube and couldn't.

  34. Bugger. Can't seem to post anything without errors today. Never mind.

  35. BB - not sure what you're on about, but here's a hucking filarious Ronnie Barker transcript that also doesn't seem to be available in vid form on the nets.

  36. genius C&H strip there, thauma...

    weirdly, i currently seem to be advising someone how to set up a collective knowledge resource in independent porn.

    i clearly need to get a real fuckin' job.

    england have just equalised. so that's nice. also i bought a twix on the way back from the pu, so there's that to look forward to.

  37. Small pleasures, Philippa, that's what it's all about.

    Am away off upstairs for the night - evening all, and may no further troubles befall anyone.

  38. thauma

    just back from the theatre (Enemy of the people). Lots of things I liked about the production but in the end I think they failed to capture the awful claustrophobia of small town politcs. Could have done with a bit more gravitas and a bit less shouting and running about.

    Am now in bed with a large Havana club - best cuban rum...

    Have solemnly raised a glass to Kim, Sheff's cousin, the cat the mate.

    ...and am raising my glass to all the above and anyone else who's having a shite time.

  39. A couple of quotes from Michael Foot that a friend just sent me:

    "We are here to provide for those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and more crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain and good purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top are deprived of their initiative, I would answer, 'to hell with them'. The top are greedy and mean and they will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do."

    "American capitalism is arrogant, self-confident, merciless, and convinced of its capacity to dictate the destinies of the world. I have a deadly fear that we shall awake to find ourselves in chains to American capitalism, which is the most evil force in the world today".

  40. Sheff and thaum

    Sorry to hear your news.

    Brilliant quotes from Michael Foot. As I have been saying for some time, we are all American now.

    PS Thanks for explaining the Havana Club. I thought we might all have to start sharing our bedroom activities for a minute there.