07 April 2010


Charles University in Prague was founded in 1348.  Mount Vesuvius had a major eruption in 1906 which killed more than 100 people, destroyed a few villages and covered Naples in ash.  Josip Broz Tito was declared President for Life in 1963.

Born today:  William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Billie Holiday (1915-1959), Ravi Shankar (1920), Andrew Sachs (1930), Ian Richardson (1934-2007), Francis Ford Coppola (1939), David Frost (1939), Gordon Kay (1941), Janis Ian (1951), Jackie Chan (1954), Russell Crowe (1964), Franck Ribéry (1983).

It is the feast day of Blessed Notker.


  1. Something special, was Billie. Have a great day, all.

  2. UKIP South London parliamentary candidate in racist anti-immigration rant here

    Oh dear... I just love it when people have one too many then go supernova on the interwebs....

  3. On Libbt Broks Youth vote thread "Novo" said:
    You really want to come down my way and interview some 18 year olds. They don't do constituency work; it would interfere with their car-thieving and dealing.

    Oh dear! just another piece of right wing fuckwittery on Cif!

    Apparently if you are politically engaged you must be middle class, working class kids only do crime not poltics.


    Going read the rest of yesterdays posts on here, can't bear to go back to that thread.

  4. Bitterweed

    I saw that piece as well.

    It makes me wonder if other prospective MPs really DO think like that but pretend otherwise?

    I know quite a few people who claim to be Lefties but mumble on about 'immigrants'

  5. Christina
    Surprisingly candid. Unless it's a hacker of course. Doesn't sound like it though....

    That said I never considered UKIP to be anything other than for BNP supporters who shop at M&S.

  6. I have managed to get the idea of a heterosexual threesome onto a Bidisha thread.

    Yay me. God that woman annoys me. And they deleted the bit about me rejecting her CV in 1998..that is true.

  7. Christina

    "I know quite a few people who claim to be Lefties but mumble on about 'immigrants'"

    Depends what sort of mumbling it is I suppose. Consider my neighbour's daughter, a cleaner, with a useless weasel of a husband, two kids on a rough estate, or consider one of my mates, a warehouse worker, and forklift driver - they've both found it increasingly hard to find reasonably paid work since the mid 2000s. And well before the recession kicked in. This is in my large Midlands town, where the neither infrastructure nor services (gp surgeries, schools etc) have been ready for such a rapid increase in population. These issues ought to be discussed on the left, and certainly can be in non-racial terms; the evidence has been the government has encouraged mass migration to fill lowest possible wage jobs. Definitely a debate to be had on the Left about that. (There is a branch of the left that closes down any debate by branding people who raise such complaints as "racist" and "daily mail readers" - when they're just discussing observable facts of how low incomers have been hit badly.)

  8. "...I know quite a few people who claim to be Lefties but mumble on about 'immigrants'...."

    One of the more taxing/demanding contemporary questions for many on the left.

    Blair's unbridled passion for globalisation (whilst the French/Germans were more gradualist) with the consequential early influx of significant numbers from E Europe is causing many on the left to reconsider their positions.

    As the reality of the unbalanced structure of the UK economy becomes ever more apparent the question has the potential to become volatile.

    When the election is over and whoever wins starts the shake out of the public sector (and there are a lot in the voluntary and private sector who will be affected too) we may hear more discontent.

    Working people always did better (and could afford to be more compassionate)when they had the benefit of organised unionised conditions........that's why the globalists wanted the free flow of labour.

    The humanists/internationalist in me grieves for the miserable conditions of the worlds poor but these days I am less convinced that excessive free flows of labour do much, except contribute an army....................of potential scab labour to the UK economy.

    I'm still thinking my position through. I am of course not saying the gates at the border should be locked against all. But we do need to talk and think about the options more freely.

  9. Good to see you around again BW - I see were thinking something similar.

  10. Why does Bidisha never include her surname. It is just so strange she was writing about privelige, yet she is more priveliged than us mere mortals with two names

    The Guardian has lots of multiethnic writers. It is not as if we are not used to non Anglo Saxon names.

    My personal theory is that she believes that surnames are leftovers from the patriarchy, presumably it is her father's surname.

  11. I might add that globalist have a tendency to want to open the borders to the poor but to close the details of their book-keeping to the gaze of the public and the taxman.

    Strange how an 'open door policy' often goes hand in hand with a passion for privacy (read secrecy). Something which I always found odd.

    Fairer taxes would mean we could all be more compassionate to the circumstances of the worlds really poor folk.

    As well as talking about immigration we also need to talk about.......wealth.......inherited and unearned wealth..........and privacy .......etc etc.

  12. Bitterweed, annetan42:

    Groan! and thanks for the warnings.


    Your comment about rejecting the CV as being "a bit thin" was still up well into the night.

  13. Hi Deano, yeh, been very busy with my band for a few weeks. Gigs North South & West !

    Napoleon K.
    I think it's more to do with the fact the sometimes woefully tin-eared critic worshipped Madonna during her formative years, and still idolises her now to the point of embarassment.

    Wierdly enough she's come accross ok on a couple of TV and Radio shows I've encountered (Late Review and her World Service gig).

    It's almost like there are two of her. One for the balanced, informed cultural stuff she broadcasts, and a wingeing, immature spoilt bastard daughter of 80s radical feminism on CiF.

    I know which one I'd rather meet.

  14. @Bitterweed. Yes I agree but frankly you can't run your argument by continually claiming men are the enemy

    She brings out the immature but smarty kid at the back of class in me.

  15. Odd too how the globalists have an alleged passion for a meritocracy but a tendency to defend the right to privacy, and inherited wealth......... and all the little privileged ........... step-ups in life

    I never saw the dynastic tendency of the wealthy as being any other than what it is - another excuse/smoke screen for selfish greed.

    Natural to want to set your kids on the road to life but to want to feather-bed them so they never have to face the consequences of their own actions/inactions is an altogether different matter. (That denies them the pleasure of finding their own strengths/weaknesses in life)

    I'm in favour of an inheritance tax that would result in no soul inheriting more than (say 2 to three times) annual average earnings....

  16. Ms Robinson
    Indeed. I wonder why she bothers at all. She can talk a good play/novel/film/record. So why waste time with all the stampy-feet pointy-finger "look what the nasty men do" bullshit ?

  17. Bitterweed: Bidisha once described a scene of Harry Potter and the bad school boy hurling destructive spells at each other in the bathroom and found the scene full of "obvious homoerotic undertones" (or was it overtones?), bewailing the fact those undertones (or overtones) didn't make it into the movie ...

    I think there are books/films she is not the right person to talk of them. (Which, of course, is more or less true for everyone, you wouldn't want to read my verbose misunderstandings and misinterpretations of a genius like, who's a renowned genius I cannot stand, ah right - Brecht.)

  18. Ha. There's a piece just been put up on churchy stuff, about which I couldn't really care less, but by goodness the writer rips into Andrew "smug,conceited" Brown, albeit politely:
    "Andrew Brown has misread an important statement..."
    "Brown complains that the groups represented by the 30 initial signatories are mostly ones "you have never heard of". Well, whose fault might that be?"
    "alarmist stereotyping"
    "Brown offers no evidence to back up his suggestion"
    "Brown's characterisation of the goals of the declaration is also confused."
    "Brown also wrongly reads..."
    Funny how such trenchant criticism BTL gets erased.

  19. @ BW re bidisha (whose surname is always deletd when BTL-ers mention it: for the record it is Bandyopadhyay). Aye, when she is in the physical presence of anyone even half-clued up (and that's about as much as you can say about her co-reviewers on TV and radio) she reins in her conspiracy/obsession/blinkered shtick, which would indicate to me that it's all for show, her USP: everything is either appallingly homophobic or dismally patriarchal oppression, or it's sublimated homo-erotica or sapphic story-telling.
    Nothing in her world can be as it is, and all has to be viewed through her very special goggles,unless that is someone is physically there to point out that,she's gone way beyond the realms of reasoned criticism into the wilderness of her projected preoccupations.

  20. @MsRobinson

    See my input on the Bidisha thread has been sucked
    into your deletion.Agree with you about that thread
    bringing out the immaturity in people.Sometimes the
    whole Cif experience can be a bit like a form of regression therapy.Sadly StoryBud has been zapped
    as well.Good posts from Clunie and Rednorth have
    survived though !

  21. Bitters! o/

    Am living in happy ignorance of all things Cif at the moment - have been busy all weekend and haven't logged on anywhere until now.

  22. Maybe I'm just a girl who fought the good fight when advertising was like Madmen but actually enjoyed making my way. Maybe unlike the Guardian Fems I believe that unlike uneducated, poor, women who work cleaning toilets and never get the benefit of Bidisha's stridency, I don't believe life is that hard if you can work the system in most organisations and have a brain. And no, I never slept with anyone and wasn't conventionally good looking. Those Guardian Fems annoy me.

  23. I am being pre-modded now. For having fun. Poor Bidisha needs protection. I shall go for the Guardian on my blog now.

  24. Ms R

    Sorry you are premodded for a bit of fun. Were Bidi worth her salt she would have joined in.

  25. Pre-modded ? I am so not surprised. I Biddy's threads have the highest offense / sensitivity rate out of all those moderated.

    And that is saying something.

  26. Hi thauma
    My blog-rate is far lower than before full stop... too much real life creeping in - did over three hours clearing the garden after work last night.

  27. Batten down the hatches folks, another "feminism" article on Cif....

    ...actually, now I think about it, in other breaking news, the day has a y in it.....

  28. Nice feminist article, with this paragraph using the "we" so rightly trashed by MsR on her blog, this paragraph about how feminist views are like totally embraced by young women and how being a feminist means so much hard work thinking outside the mainstream.

    The comments should be good popcorn entertainment :-)

  29. Is it me, or is The Guardian really starting to resemble some horny six-former who's got their eye on the hippy, feminist girl who's on the Student Committee, and is always reading a Benhabib book?

  30. James,

    My first impulse was to laugh and say "it's not just you"

    My second was to (jokingly) tell you off for assuming that a big national newspaper would automatically be the "boy" and not the feminist girl herself

    My third was to realise you hadn't specified gender and that I had made that assumption.

    Now I'm all tied in self flagellating liberal pinko knots, and it's all your fault! ;-)

  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  32. Where are my comments going?

  33. Is this thing working?

  34. MsRobinson,

    I look forward to the Graun bashing on your blog. Another example of the pathetic modding on CiF- an independent minded, witty, incisive female blogger challenging their preset feminist assumptions. You were never going to last long before being premodded at best.

    As has been discussed here previously, all CiF really want is disparate right wing nut jobs posting to cement their world view. "Enemies from within" such as yourself who skewer their agenda shall not be tolerated and will be dispatched forthwith.

    You could maybe entitle your blog entry:

    "An attempted laugh with feminists (or how I was Bidisha-ed into submission)"

  35. Dotterel - Hahaha. My apologies!!

  36. I also see rednorth's excellent posts skewering Bidisha's self obsessed, middle ,feminist posturing have been zapped also.

    I believe rednorth's a woman as well writing very much from the working class perspective.In the last Bidisha column, the editor of CiF made positive reference to her bolshiness and controversial columns. But they cannot stomach left wing and alternative feminist critiques of this 'bolshiness'.

  37. Evening all

    I don't even bother with bidi's threads much, tbh, because she just annoys me, in a "professional victim" kinda way. Can't be doing with it.

    LOL at James though!

    And hi to Bitterweed - long time no see x

  38. Re Immigration - yes it is a big issue and one that needs to be dealt with properly. I have read the UKIP rant yet, although I did read what sounds like it was probably a similar one from some UKIP bloke in East Anglia a while ago - I think it was East Anglia.

  39. For anybody who is interested.
    Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, the gay couple who have been imprisoned in Malawi for being themselves will not face trial until 18 May. That will make it almost six months imprisonment for being gay and they face thirteen and half more years if found guilty.

    Letters of protest to:
    Dr Jane Ansah
    Attorney General
    Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
    Private Bag 333
    Lilongwe 3

  40. Interesting thread on why young women don't want to call themselves feminists.

    I don't like calling myself a feminist any more because of the associations with the likes of Dworkin and Bindel. I don't want people thinking I am a female supremacist nutcase, frankly, although I have always promoted equality and will politely but firmly stomp on sexist behaviour when I see it.

  41. BB

    But this is the thing, isn't it.

    The 'female supremacist nutcases' (good phrase, btw), seem to only make people distance themselves, then they use the fact that people are distancing themselves as some sort of proof of a re-emergence of female/feminist oppression, or something...

  42. James - so a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, in other words?

    Could be.

    Maybe we should start a new Egalitarian party - equality of treatment and opportunities for all, irrespective of social class, sex, sexuality, race, background...

  43. Re the feminist thing. The problem I have with the arguments against, is the assumption that because some women in the rich western countries have made strides towards more equal chances in life and laws have been passed to support that, we no longer need intelligent feminist criticism.

    Millions of other women around the world living in much less favourable circumstances do call themselves feminists but on their own terms, which tend not to be of the balls breaking, man hating/fearing variety that a handful of the most vocal western feminists have been.

    So yes, I will call myself a feminist and I get sick of seeing it only ever framed in terms of western women - if only in solidarity with women like these and all the others like them.

  44. BB

    Maybe we should start a new Egalitarian party

    Wasn't that what the Labour party once was?

  45. The Conservatives quietly dropping their opposition to keeping innocent people´s dna for up to six years is further indication of the British State´s descent into Biopolitics and Biopower.

    Biopolitics and Biopower coined by Michel Foucault in 1979 as:

    "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations."

    Regulation, Health and Safety, ID cards, DNA profiling, anti terror laws, powers of the police increased, diminution of Democracy, muzzled media.......

    Additionally, as the political consensus rules over growing inequalities, concentrates wealth and actively obstructs any attempts at Political reform, the question and the challenge for the Left is, 'Is Liberal Democracy working?' and if not, what are the alternatives?

    Instead of questioning the very fabric of Liberal Democracy, the media; also proponents of the status quo, hype up the 2010 election as Democracy in action. Jay alluded to this in today´s WADDYA. The sheer vacuity of the coverage reflects the false ‘choice’ the UK electorate has at this election.

    The 2010 General Election is not Democracy, the mainstream parties are not Democratic and the power status quo they uphold is rapidly diminishing the freedoms of the people as alluded to in ´Biopolitics and Biopower´.

    Sorry if I´m sounding a bit GIYUS here, but I may look into it for a UT2 article. Once all my furniture has been shipped over.....

  46. Sheff - what the Labour Party once was, yes. But New Labour seems to have put paid to that to a certain extent, don't you think?

    Your Grace - you talk about the mainstream parties, but certainly the LibDems have a better handle on it than the other two. They would roll back a lot of the oppressive data-base-driven measures that have snuck their way in in recent years.

  47. BB

    Yes, sort of an SFP.

    But, in my opinion, it's a bit more nefarious than that.
    If I was really cynical, I'd perhaps point out that they have a vested interest in perpetuating the situation. I mean, effectively, they'd be out of a job if they didn't, right!?


    (following on from the above)

    This is another thing that annoys me.

    It's more than the fact that they're Western Feminists, it's that they're 'professional', or 'academic' feminists, a position that seems increasingly less relevant to most 'real-world' feminist positions, anywhere outside of that narrow field.

    Whether this is fighting 'representation' on a radio programme, or exposing cheating celebrities as misogynists, it's becoming farcically self-interested, often at the cost of 'fighting the good fight' where it really matters.

    In my opinion of course....

  48. BB and 13th Duke,

    I worked out a few of my 'issues' on my own blog yesterday, and sort of came to the conclusion that not voting for the big two would be at least a start....

  49. The trouble with an 'Egalitarian Party' is that it
    would soon become a pressure cooker with people
    joshing for status.Hierachies were always a fact
    of life in marxist societies with the upper orders
    embracing the same 'Do as we say but not as we do'
    mentality so common amongst the elites in so-called
    democracies.Utopia is a nice idea in principle but
    sadly the human condition will almost always make it
    impossible to achieve in practice.

    As i,ve said before i would like to see a new Social Democratic party take root on the Left.Really depresses me that i see no sign of that happening
    in the foreseeable future.However i do see things
    turning nasty in this country and probably all over
    the world.And that may be the catalyst that brings
    about some real changes.Problem is though a lot of
    innocent people are going to get hurt in the process.
    Sad but true!

  50. BB

    The Labour party lost it years ago I agree. For all the Lib Dems say now - if they did get into power they'd be just as constrained by the global corporate/financial complex that actually seems to run things - so would just tinker round the edges which is all any of them ever seem able to do. A sop dished out here and another there...trying to keep us all off their backs.

    Your Grace

    Foucault could be very prescient. Is that quote from The Birth of the Clinic?


    So many academics like carving out little niches for themselves to shine in - which has the effect of causing them to disappear further up their own fundaments every time they publish a new pontification.

  51. Sheff,

    it's from "The History of Sexuality".

    It makes interesting reading in the context of contemporary power politics and the neo-liberal consensus.


    I wonder if the Lib-Dems policy in terms of the creeping surveillance state etc is based on the fact they have no chance of coming to power?

    Clegg has clearly moved the party rightwards since becoming leader, calling for a "smaller state", lower taxes, lighter regulations for business etc. The 'sainted' Vince Cable was also chief economist for Shell for two years, and whilst he identified the crisis, I doubt as Chancellor he would move the economy from the present consensus.

    Clegg had the perfect opportunity to offer something different to the electorate but has consistently failed to do so, pretty much offering the same gruel as dished up by the gruesome twosome.

    Right, off to watch the UEFA Champions League Association Football fixture between Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

    Fijn avond allemaal

  52. Your Grace

    Isn't The History of Sexuality in two or three volumes in the Penguin version? I've got the one that focuses on the classical Greek period - will have to dig it out and have a re-read.

  53. Your Grace - Cable, for all that, is relatively on the left compared to either Darling or that little toady Osborne.

    I am not entirely sure, having listened to Clegg this morning, that he has moved substantially to the right. With policies like scrapping the Trident replacement, raising the tax threshold for the low paid, etc., it strikes me that he, too, still still has more in common with old Labour than New Labour does.

  54. Has Pluck infested the UT? I can't see my last post...

  55. Just popping in for a quickie (so to speak).

    BW - spent yesterday gardening also, and am starting to feel it!

    BB/Sheff - it's rather embarrassing to identify as a feminist these days, what with the BiBuBiBu brigade and all. I'm all for the egalitarian party, except I don't know who they are now.

    Duke - you dare to quote Foucault, that post-structuralist, on this blog? You are a brave man.

    Otherwise I agree with you, and Jay's post was a good 'un.


    It's more than the fact that they're Western Feminists, it's that they're 'professional', or 'academic' feminists, a position that seems increasingly less relevant to most 'real-world' feminist positions, anywhere outside of that narrow field.


  56. Oh, and a bit of Lady Day. Gor bless the woman.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Fascinating programme tonight on BBC4 on this woman Jocelyn Bell Burnell (pioneer on pulsar stars.)

    Amazing (modest) Quaker Woman Scientist

    The repeat will be well worth a watch on iplayer if you missed it.....arguable that she was unjustly overlooked for a noble prize.

  59. Great picture of Billie Montana.

    Blogger seems to be playing tricks on all today.

  60. The picture here sums up my feelings at the moment.
    And of all the papers, the Guardian's gone the most overboard with so many separate blogs and articles on every damn cough or sneeze from anyone even remotely tied to any candidate of any party. Don't they know that the nature of news is lots of lulls and mundane blah, then sudden peaks. They simply can't sustain coverage or interest over all of the weeks to come, and how on earth can they ratchet things up when something actually newsworthy does happen?

  61. I'm bored already. Although, as Gordon said, the election date was the worst kept secret in recent years, so we have been in phoney-election time for a good while now.

    Nice vid, thaum!

    And deano, I hadn't heard of that woman before - sounds really interesting.

  62. BB - I think the lady had what one might describe as a quiet modest intelligence. Really a quite exceptional woman working in an unusual and exotic area.

    Night all.

  63. Martina Navratilova has been diagnosed with breast
    cancer.Thankfully it has been caught early so the
    prognosis is good.

    The Bidisha,s Bindel,s and Campbell,s of this world could learn a thing or two from Martina.Because
    unlike them she inspires and has the respect of both
    sexes with what she has achieved in her life.And if
    young women are looking for positive role models then
    this lady should certainly be one of them.Let,s hope
    she makes a speedy recovery.

  64. Bloody Hell. Have clearly missed s very interesting day - somehow ended up on yesterday's thread, cheerfully wittering away to myself and wondering where everyone had gone.

    Anyway. Well done those who managed to find new blogpost without any assistance from the numpty writer...

    And hear hear on Martina - am thinking positive thoughts...

  65. You do make me larf, pipster!!

    (I once bumped into Martina at an airport. Literally. She was very nice about it though)!!