06 April 2010


Richard I died of an infection in 1199.  Jan van Riebeeck started a re-supply camp on the Cape of Good Hope that would become Cape Town in 1652.  Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814.  The first modern Olympics began in Athens in 1896.

Born today:  Raphael (1483-1520), Jean-Baptiste Rousseau (1671-1741), Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), André Previn (1929), Paul Daniels (1938) and Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute (1941).

It's Tartan Day.


  1. Thought I'd start the day with a letter from this months Viz:

    I was watching the news the other day when I saw a report about how Muslim extremists had tried to murder a Danish cartoonist who drew depictions of the prophet Mohammed. I thought to myself that with all the injustice in the world, how pathetic it was that people could get so angry over a cartoon. But then I remembered how MENTAL I went when they first introduced that fucking Scrappy Doo into the Scooby Doo show when I was a kid. So maybe they do have a point.

  2. I just thought I'd store this post from Bunting's thread here, if that's OK - actually, I'm amazed it's still there given the protection given to Our Maddy of the Sorrows in the past.

    5 Apr 2010, 10:56PM

    God, you people are such cowards, aren't you? "Eagleton said Swift said this! Eagleton said Dawkins doesn't know theology! Eagleton said Swift sure would have put Dawkins in his place!"

    You damned apologists really need to grow a pair. Don't tell us that Eagleton said that Ruse said that Swift's dad would have beaten up Dawkins's dad. Put your money where your mealy mouths are and GIVE US AN ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD THAT ISN'T COMPLETELY EMBARRASSING, OR SHUT YOUR STUPID NOISE.

    You can't do that, can you, Maddy? And you can go crying to Terry Eagleton and his Dun Scotus and Eriugina books all you like and you know, deep down, that he can't do it either. Don't you, Maddy? You know that there isn't a single theologian, god-botherer, priest, vicar, philosopher, guru or internet loony out there who can give a single good argument for the existence of a deity and that's IT.

    End. Of. Story.

    You know it. I know it. Eagleton knows it. Dawkins knows it. Anyone with half a fucking brain knows it, Maddy. So please, find some courage and stop pretending that your pathetic need to defend this shitty, indefensible, savage superstition is anything other than a stain on your character and a blight on what passes for your soul. Grow up. Stop apologising for foolishness, and for the fools who defend it. Stop lowering yourself.


    And... breathe.

  3. (That's not me, by the way. I really do just want to post it here in case it disappears later.)

  4. Good rant, but it's all a bit (loaves &) fish in a barell, no?

  5. Carried by angels?

    Well, that must be true..

  6. Ah, the beginning of a new tax year. Oh joy. Discover that my hard-earned in my ISA has earnt a mere 2.05%, the claimable tax on my other savings is a massive £103, and I am starting a migraine. Am beginning to wonder if I wouldn't do better to boot up my bet365 account again...

    (PS - Turminder - "shooting (loaves and) fishes in a barrel"? Am having that one...

  7. Philippa:

    Discover that my hard-earned in my ISA has earnt a mere 2.05%

    Is that denominated in GBP, EUR, or perhaps CHF? Not too bad if the latter, but i suppose we cannot be so lucky.

  8. Hi All,

    Spent my Easter weekend teaching my very religious cousin's kids about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, he he!


    If your UK tour is to include Windsor, Bath, Oxford and/or the Dorset coast let me know, I've lived in or near all at one time or another and can recommend good pubs/sights etc.

  9. Hello

    The ongoing row about expensive cancer treatments being denied to people - has anyone any figures for the profits made by pharma from over the counter medicines for coughs, colds and other everyday aches and pains ?

    Are all drug tials which pay participants funded by the pharma companies ? I lack a profit profile for fully understanding the actual costs of new drugs.

  10. Not point having a cash ISA Philippa - interest rates are going to remain subdued for sometime, because inflationary pressures remain benign.

    Gold is interesting, despite the current historically high prices. Quantitative easing is likely to put pressure on the dollar during the next six months, which may lift gold to well over $1,500 an ounce (it's currently trading at $1,125.

    Gold miners look set fair for a stonking year.

    Risky, but then risk drives return.

  11. Peter

    Risk also fuels collapse ! Dramatic collapse is triggeed by massive miscalculation - or the turning of the blind eye.

  12. Shef

    Pen sendsthanks on waddya for radio. He hopes to go home next week.

  13. gold? are you earning pin-money by sticking up spam messages for second-hand jewellery purchases on CIF? hehehehehe.

  14. I put all my pretend money into gold about five years ago.

    Theoretically, I'm doing pretty well now....

  15. OK Philippa, let's place an imaginary position in gold.

    I'll buy 2000 shares in a company called Petropavlosk. They are currently trading at 1270p a share. They've had a fantastic run these past two months and I wouldn't choose today to buy them. But for the sake of argument, imagine that I have.

    We'll revisit the stock from time to time to see how the investment is progressing.

    Let's see if I can beat your 2.5% return by, say, 200% before the end of the year - that would require the shares to reach 1365p.

  16. I think this might turn out like when I got dragged into playing championship manager, or something ridiculous.

    I could take the same approach, and pick stock based on niceness of name or logo-cuteness?

    Thing is - unless you have a significant amount to investm, the brokerage fees do rather tend to eat up any gain made, surely?

    Right, am lying down with flannel on forehead and listening to Sherlock Holmes. Damn France - can buy 47 homeopathic remedies but there's no equivalent of migraleve...


    Exclusive report.

    Since the death of Politics and its replacement with a neo-liberal Corporatocracy in 1979, it has become an unwritten tradition for spin doctors on both sides to write a joint Victory speech in the event of either the leader of the ‘’Six’’ party or the ‘’Half a dozen’’ party coming to power on the back of a pathetic non-mandate based on ingrained and widespread apathy.

    The source of the leak is unclear, however after one of our undercover reporters entered Westminster offering, beads, baubles and trinkets, she was inundated with "cabs for hire" willing to reveal the speech. It is now published here in it's entirety:

    "I have just accepted the CBI’s kind offer to form a new administration and government for the country. As I stand here before 10 Downing Street I know all too well the huge responsibility that is upon me and the great trust that the non-doms and Donors have placed in me

    I know well what the country couldn’t be arsed voting for today. It is a mandate for concentrating wealth and I say to the Elites of this country, both low tax paying and non-tax paying Elites — we ran for office as your puppet on a string, we will govern as Sooty with your hand up our arse.

    And I would just like to remember some words of St. Ashcroft of Belize which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment.

    ‘Where there is corrupt banking, may we slash public services.'

    'Where there is error, may we continue.'

    'Where there is doubt, may we bring tax cuts.'

    'And where there is despair, errmmmm.....'

    And to all the British people—howsoever they voted—may I say this- Now that the Election is over, GO FUCK YOURSELF whilst we strive to serve and strengthen the Elite of which we're so proud to be a part. Thank You"

  18. Genius Wybourne Old Bean! As our representatives have lead by example I hope people everywhere will follow them in pocketing expenses, fraud, corruption and nepotism. It's great to be back at work, spending council tax money blogging away...

  19. Philippa

    "I think this might turn out like when I got dragged into playing championship manager, or something ridiculous".

    Oi, you leave Champo out of this!!

  20. It's funny because it's true...

  21. Yr Grace - you've excelled yourself and as Phillipa says - it's so horribly true!

    Thanks for the heads up re pen, Leni - glad it got there.

    Turminder - I can read the UT at work but can't post - it can be frustrating.

    Have skivved off early - first day back after the hols is always grim. Thank god for flexi time.

  22. Good work, Duke, Mandy would be proud.

  23. Thanks all,

    Sheff, glad to hear the move went well and hope that you settle in quickly.

    On the subject of contemporary political discourse as we head towards the General Election.

    As I was reading the Sally Bercow CiF piece, I increasingly became aware of the hideous, lonely nature of my own existence, forced to live in a barren godless eternity as I hurtle hopelessly towards the immense Nietzschean Void bound by the bleak straighjacket of a black absurd cosmos of my own making. I looked deep into the void and the void has consumed my very soul.

    Was anyone else getting this?

  24. I was too taken aback by her brevity, and the thought, 'I bet she got paid for this.' followed by 'how many drugs did she have to take before marrying Bercow seemed a good idea?' That clip of him being a rude git with the bbc interviewer... Which in my private fugue goes;

    Bercow: 'Do you want to go?!?'

    Me: 'Aye pal, Ootside now.'

  25. Blimey. Think perhaps she sent in the used envelope* she used for her first jottings by mistake?

    *Cath Kidson new stationery range, natch.

  26. "Her Majesty has kindly agreed to the dissolution of Parliament..."

    Was her actual reaction to the news:
    a) "thenk fack for thet - you yiseless shar"
    b) "Pheeleep! Pheeleep! What number is William Hill on the speed-dial?"
    c) "Who are you again?"
    d) All of the above...

  27. William Hague - "we aim to make this the most family friendly country in Europe"

    Anyone got any idea what the hell that means?

  28. Anyone got any idea what the hell that means?

    No good asking me Phillipa, I gave up listening a long time ago. My heart sinks into the abyss His Grace so eloquently descibes above everytime I think about the wall to wall twattery we will have to endure over the next six weeks.

  29. Philippa

    It's obvious - when pater familias is out walking with his lady wife and children the politicos will waive graciously from their limo - and good children will be able to paddle in the moat.

    Meaningless twaddle is the order of the day for the next 4 weeks.

  30. As much as I hate to say it (especially after my identity politics speech last night), it certainly sounds like one of them dog-whistle whatsits!!

  31. Sheff,

    spare a thought for me. The Dutch general election takes place on the 9th June, another month of twattery after the UK election. With added Geert Wilders.

    Having said that, there is genuine choice in the Dutch elections and with the voting system, your vote does have a say. The likes of D66 a radical democratic party in favour a mixed economy etc have more chance of representation than any equivalent in the UK.

    On a much more positive note, the postman who delivered our mail this morning was wearing clogs. Which made my day. And a builders van parked across the road had the partners names of Freek Lubbman and Hammy Fietje emblazoned across the side.

    But the greatest name I have ever heard in the Netherlands is a Socialist MP who goes by the name Tiny Kox

  32. (My dog whistle translator is currently flashing up religion, paedophiles, 'traditional' marriage, and something about immigration)

    And then it said something about us all being fucked, and now it's laughing like a baddie in a scooby-doo cartoon!!

  33. Your Grice:

    Spare a thought for me. The Hungarian general election (first round) is next Sunday, with the nazis expected to gain up to one third of the seats and the party that spawned them an absolute majority. I shall have to flee.

  34. Your Grace
    the postman who delivered our mail this morning was wearing clogs.....Freek Lubbman and Hammy Fietje

    You're not living in a windmill with gnomes are you?

    Two g. elections on the trot - now thats what I call beyond the call of duty. My god - you're going to need some stamina - have a feeling wilders and his henchpeople could knock the BNP into a cocked hat.

  35. We are all in the shit medve but it does sound as though you are in it deeper than the rest of us. My heartfelt sympathies. sheffield is a welcoming town if you do need to flee.

  36. Thanks Sheff, and i have a permanent leave to remain dating back from the 1970s, so no need to claim asylum. Off to collect my younger son.

  37. medve,

    as sheff said, Wilders will knock the BNP's efforts into a cocked hat but the Hungarian Nazis progress sound like being on a completely different plane altogether.

    Als nazis winnen, kom terug aan Nederland!

  38. Blimey. The news from elsewhere just put Griffin's piggy-eyed spittle-flecked failure to do anything other than look like an arse into perspective.

    Maybe ol' Blighty ain't quite that bad after all...

  39. Ye gods I cant bear it. Weeks of canvassing by two morally bankrupt entities. Its enough to drive me back to the drink...hard!

    Duke brilliant post, just brilliant and Sheff I shall think of your new term twattery whenever I need a cheer.

    Re Montana and sons possible visit - of course have a spare bed here (as long as you don't mind a house in dire need of about 20k spending on it Montana - it needs a good few licks of paint) and over enthusiastic Labradors. Although can probably offload the princess for a couple of nights!

    My mum went and had her separated shoulder checked today. I was quite concerned as it looked bad. It was very bruised and swollen but as she saw a fair few nurses and a couple of docs at emergency the night she went in and then at the fracture clinic I tried not to worry.

    They told her not to use a sling after the first couple days as that is the treatment for a separated shoulder. Anyway she went today and saw a consultant who demanded why she wasnt wearing her sling.

    Turns out not only is it separated but she has a badly broken collarbone! Not only that (as the first doctor did say the bone looked weird so we thought there may be a minor fracture that would show up when the swelling went down) but the consultant was going by the very first x-ray. THe one where she was told it was most likely not broken. He said it was a big break as clear as day. This has given me some concern over the level of knowledge amongst some young doctors I have to say. And I hate saying anything bad about the NHS as I know so many who work in it and it is bloody hard work for, in most cases, low pay.

    She should have been using her sling for the last seven days and has had a broken collarbone being made worse by the weight of her arm dragging on it.

  40. Just looking by, as can't be arsed with CiF and the partisanly-blinkered guff (ATL and BTL, pro-Tory and pro-New labour) that's engulfing it and will only get worse over the next few weeks. Only Geoffrey Wheatcroft's piece resonated with me, and even then not that much. Great last line here though:
    Can anyone honestly pretend that the choice between Brown and Cameron means as much as between Attlee and Churchill 60 years ago, or Callaghan and Thatcher 30 years ago?

    A riposte sometimes found on these pages goes roughly: "Yes, all right, the Labour government presided over a spurious economic miracle that was really no more than an explosion of household debt combined with criminal recklessness in the financial sector, it has created the most intrusive surveillance state in Europe, and it took us into a needless, illegal and disastrous war – but, hey, the Tories might be even worse." All I shall say is that this is not the most inspiring slogan to get us to the polling station – though nor, it must be said, is the alternative slogan: "Even if the Tories are pretty dodgy, anything to get rid of the present lot."

    Embattled New Labour supporters will tell us that, along with Iraq, "the Blair Rich Project", and former cabinet ministers soliciting work more like whores than taxi-drivers, there are such real achievements as Sure Start to the government's credit. So there are, and it would be gracious if the Tories could acknowledge the fact. Still, that comparative balance sheet is a little reminiscent of Gibbon: "Among so many crimes and misfortunes occasioned by the passions of the Roman princes, there is some pleasure in discovering a single action which may be ascribed to their virtue."

    By the way, how is it I received my ballot card for the General Election last week, if officially it wasn't a given that it'd be on May the 6th until today?

    By the way, if Montana is coming to the UK and fancies a stop-off in the Nth-East (of England) she's more than welcome to stay at ours,diaries permitting

  41. Er, 2 by the ways there.Maybe I need a road planner.

  42. Your Grice:

    Zeer attent, hartelijk dank.


    I fear we are in deep do-do Europe-wide.

  43. FFS Alisdair,

    I've just spent the last two hours writing a piece, and then you've gone and said it better than me in three paragraphs.


  44. What this country needs is a good war, none of this namby pamby, remote drones against terror stuff. Trenches, tanks, tactical mini nukes.. Just who should we fight; the US, China or the French?

  45. turminderxuss:

    What this country needs is a good war, none of this namby pamby, remote drones against terror stuff. Trenches, tanks, tactical mini nukes.. Just who should we fight; the US, China or the French?

    Why not keep it at home and have a jolly good civil war, perhaps between the Scots, the English, and the Welsh?

  46. Milosevic did very well indeed doing just that. He died contentedly in retirement at the seaside.

  47. Hello everyone.
    'how is it I received my ballot card for the General Election last week, if officially it wasn't a given that it'd be on May the 6th until today?'

    I suspect because the 'terminus ad quem' date, the latest possible, was known, that being a matter of law: and don't forget that though the card is useful as a reminder of where your polling station is, you don't actually need it in order to vote.

    Very good post on the whole though. Like most of you I am sceptical of the possibility of real, significant change after the GE. But beyond that, I'm not as witty as you guys, so I won't try to be...

  48. James, those aren't my words, but Geoffrey Wheatcroft's in today's G.

  49. Alisdair, yes well, they're still better than mine though.


    (although I get extra points for swearing more in my rant, I reckon!!)

  50. Evening all

    OMG. A month of wall-to-wall electioneering shite. Arrrrrgh.

    Haven't even looked at CiF yet.

    The most family friendly country in Europe, eh? Well half the population will have to have a frontal lobotomy, and the government will have to start doing things like investing in community facilities for kids etc.

    No chance from the Tories.

  51. Great acceptance speech, your grace, btw.

  52. Hi all.


    Seems like it's 'women ATLers now posting BTL' night on CiF - both Bidisha & Jennifer Abel have done so.

    I know the whole of CiF has been asking for writers to descend BTL and respond to our collective wailings, but it feels weird when it happens.

  53. @MsChin

    Bidisha,s BTL post appeared directly after mine which was then promptly moderated.Have e-mailed mods to ask why.

    However if you managed to read my post would be
    interested in your honest opinion as to why it may
    have been moderated.Genuinely didn,t think i,d
    breached any rules but you may have seen why.


  54. (Wow, that seems to be one of them 'be careful what you wish for' jobbies):

    Hi this is James Dixon, again...Yes, the real James Dixon, I'm gracing you with my actual presence BTL...

    Many of you have requested Me to come below the line, and I have...........

    ......to offer you some semi-coherent ramblings about apostrophes and cutting and pasting.....

    You're welcome

  55. I am so tired I think I am going to give it a miss. Just posted on Waddya.

    Have a good night all x

  56. Paul

    The post where you said she was um, privileged, or some such?

    No idea why that was deleted other than maybe something like 'the tuscany effect', where suggesting that the author may have been um, more privileged than yer average bod is deemed intolerable.

  57. And Paul, StoryBud is equally bewildered as to the rationale for "innocuous comments" being arbitrarily deleted. Welcome to CiF where moderation policy is fluid & dynamic, not fixed, ever changing (in the always already postmodern sense).

  58. Aye Medve, civil war, or Class war, North v south, black v white? This is how boring the election is, fantasy war is more fun!

    Pub. ; )

  59. turminderxuss:

    I think we understand each other. I will join you virtually at my local. Cheers!

  60. @MsChin

    Thanks for that.In laymans terms what we,re talking
    about is censorship.Am beginning to think Duke,s got
    a point.Why bother posting at all if it,s going to
    get moderated on a whim rather than a clear breach
    of the rules.

  61. Paul,


    It doesn't matter how pertinent, insightful or well-crafted your response is, if it doesn't toe the particular editorial line on that particular subject, it's always a potential gonner!!

  62. And as for 'the most family friendly country in Europ' crap, only a bloke from Rotherham would say that.

  63. I see Jennifer A is going head to head with jennifera, and JenJen has now leapt in. In fact, there's lots of Jennifers.

  64. That's me 'over & out' for the night. Like sheff, I'm suffering from the first day after the bank hol syndrome. Bye!

  65. The great Wybourne - the Lionel Messi of UT and CiF. Outstanding.

  66. StoryBud is rocking on that Bidisha thread.
    can't say I can get sooo worked up about the Today programme, though Bidisha's astounding blinkeredness does rankle. Humphrys is a self-satisfied arse who peddles his prejudices in place of facts and takes umbrage when folk with proof and facts meekly point out his mistaken thinking. Naughtie is too soft and compromised by his palliness with most of the interviewees (it's all a bit like a parlour game to them). Evan Davis was tolerable, but has both a narrow range and is a little to celeb-y now, and knows he's a celeb, so trots out his mannerisms all the time.Montague is again passable, but rather anodyne and often sounds plain uninterested which is a big failing. The format's also too set in its ways so that ministers and shadow ministers alike know how to 'game' the programme.

  67. Too right, Alisdair, "Today" should get a few women in to do the job. I've never met one yet who was self-satisfied about her arse. Knew a few who had been soft and compromised, though.

    I miss "Today" being good, but it's still streets ahead of the Daily Mailness of Radio Five. "Woman's Hour" is going from strength to strength, though.

  68. Don't let bidisha catch you talking like that habib...arses are a patriarchal construct, and only by shaking off these male-imposed shackles will womankind (or the rather smaller subset of on-message,Oxbridge chatterati wymmin [3rd wave only: no 1st, 2nd or 4th wave splitters and no new wave; that's Debbie harry out and all]) be free. They won't be able to walk mind, being arse-free, and that...

  69. Ah ho, Habib. Kurria nu 'Today' dai dai. ; )

    NN All

  70. @Alisdair-the Bidisha thread has descended into farce!
    But then can anything she writes be taken seriously
    when you are likely to get zapped if you challenge

  71. Absolutely, Alisdair - women's arse size, or rather the importance of it, is entirely a male construct and should be ignored henceforth by them. Besides, I like big butts and I cannot lie...

    Aye, let the talented people of radio 4 take over "Today", Turminder. They just happen to be women, at the moment.

  72. Right, after the 'book-snobbery' theme on Waddya, have posted something on my blog, as I had to get that off my chest...here, if anyone wants a whinge...or to show off. Whichever.

    Anyway - sounds like the iddlebid thread is a doozy, will nip over...

  73. Has everybody genuinely been working since 11.47?

    Because I don't believe that for a minute.

    heh heh

  74. Or, comments are just disappearing into the ether, that would also explain things...

  75. or alternatively that post 'a' disappears, until you try posting post 'b', at which point 'a' appears and 'b' disappears.


  76. ah. or that there is in fact nobody else here.

    ahem. as you were.