13 April 2010


Constantinople fell to the Fourth Crusade in 1204.  Henri IV issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598.  The first public performance of Handel's Messiah took place in Dublin in 1742.  Parliament granted freedom of religion to Roman Catholics in 1829 and Hungary became a republic in 1849.

Born today:  Catharine de Medici (1519-1589), Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Richard Trevithick (1771-1833), F.W. Woolworth (1852-1919), Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Eudora Welty (1909-2001), Howard Keel (1919-2004), Stanley Donan (1924), Edward Fox (1937), Seamus Heaney (1939), Christopher Hitchens (1949), Peter Davison (1951), Rudi Völler (1960), Garry Kasparov (1963), Carles Puyol (1978).

It is Songkran (New Year) in Thailand and Laos.


  1. From yesterday,

    Have to disagree Peter, we have not seen the emergence of "democratic, secular pluralism" because democracy has been under severe attack. Our political class now routinely ignore the public will on many issues, crucial issues. We have rule by CBI, Murdoch and the City - they dominate British policy. Usually in sharp contradiction to public will shown by polls.

    Secularism, too, has been under severe assault. Religious exemptions to law have been introduced, explosion of faith schools, and most basically the very idea of secularism is being rejected - they are embracing a model where religion is a public force and has its own laws. Again, this is at odds with majority public opinion shown by polls. Not democratic.

    Linking all these is the disintegration of our basic democratic mechanisms, the capture of party politics, the failure of the public to hold to account, etc. Now politics is open to be bought or manipulated by small, factional interests. Whether its religious sects, special interest groups, tycoons, tyrants, CEOs, whoever, it is now small organised groups and wealthy individuals that dominate policy.

    The electorate doesnt really matter anymore, elections dont really matter and parties dont really matter. Just like "regulatory capture", we have seen governmental capture - the capture of the political system by moneyed interests: corporatism.

  2. Morning all.

    Big today day. X ray on my privates. Hopefully all will turn out ok. Plus before that, I have a bank interview.

    Not too much else to do, before I move, mostly packing, and deciding what I will take. I will probably leave most of my stuff and collect it at a later date.

    Going thought eh motions, doing 'lasts', saying goodbye to people etc.

  3. In honour of Samuel Beckett's birthday.

    (tick tock, tick, tick tock, tick tock, tick, tock, tick tock, tick, tick tock, tick tock, tick, tock)
    (bird whistles outside)
    (spider scurries across floor)

    ..............Morning everyone.

  4. 'Have to disagree Peter, we have not seen the emergence of "democratic, secular pluralism" because democracy has been under severe attack. Our political class now routinely ignore the public will on many issues, crucial issues. We have rule by CBI, Murdoch and the City - they dominate British policy. Usually in sharp contradiction to public will shown by polls.'

    Have been following the to-and-fro between Peter and deano with great interest and think all three of you make great points. I'm with Peter mostly, as I think there are complexities at work which give ground for optimism as well as doubt.

    Just to take the Murdoch press, in Scotland virtually the only bits of the media that has been pursuing the great corruption scandal in the west of Scotland have been The Tines and Sunday Times. The columnist who has been most vigorous in pursuing the matter is the nationalist Joan McAlpine in the ST. BBC Scotland has kept itself at a great distance from what is by any standards a story on a huge, indeed European, scale: imagine if Boris Johnson had been found buying cocaine from gangsters in a seedy pub, or if there were demonstrable business links between London's main gangsters and Boris's regime. This has happened in Glasgow and it is - amazingly - becoming a non-story.

    John Curtice has pointed to the fact that the SNP are actually not pushing too hard on this - the reason for which is that they have plenty to hide themselves, as have the Tories, Liberals and the other parties.

    As for rule by the city, I remember Vince Cable's quip about Salmond - a man whose idea of Scotland is 'a country run by a bank'.

    What happens at Holyrood seems to be becoming a model for Westminster - here we have a govt in place for which around 20% of the electorate came out to vote for - we have a widespread and increasingly accepted level of public corruption - and a passive media (apart from, odd as it seems, the Murdoch press).

    Hell, having typed all that out I'm depressed now!

  5. Alisdair:

    Thanks for the post. In passing, I note that deano’s adaptation of the Berlin quote elevates positive above negative liberty, which your reply warns against – a concern I would share if it were true.

    But I just don’t feel any of the qualities that define your view of western societies. I just don’t. How might I? Through the functionaries that keep an eye on my tax affairs? Through the social workers who have the power take my children from me? Through the police who stop me for speeding or check my car at Calais? Through the CCTV monitors that crowd our streets and shopping malls? Through the laws that compel me to send my children to school. Through the health and safety officials or the planning department of councils that insist on sticking their noses in my business?

    But none of these things bothers me.

    So if I can’t feel the authoritarian control of which you speak, tell me how do you feel it? What has the “capture of state machinery by corporate interests and elites” done to you, and how have the effects – whatever they might be - been mediated?

    I just don’t understand the appeal of Henry Porter’s ‘Liberty Central’ blog – I told him the other day that it’s a self-serving mix of conspiracy theory and semi-Big Brother paranoia. I believe citizen’s rights are being augmented, not denuded. It’s a precious Rights Society that I worry about. One aspect I dislike intensely about the middle class is its indignant sense of grievance – you know, say, when Amelia can’t go to the school of her choice. Tough titty, I say. And equally, an aspect of the working class I detest is the loutish celebration of philistinism, one free of any sense of responsibility.


    Sectional interests have always lobbied governments in an effort to influence policy; nothing new here whatsoever. And I can’t see what you describe as the capture of the executive by corporatism. Just can't.

  6. BTW, how does one manipulate the font on this site - italics, bold, etc?

  7. Edwin,

    completely agree with you about the Glasgow city council scandal and it being swept under the floor by and large by the media.

    However, I wouldn't be symbolising Murdoch's press as a bastion of free, unbiased reporting. They are going for Glasgow City Council purely and simply due to party loyalties.

    Murdoch's News International are one of the UK's biggest corporate tax dodgers and one investigation into council corruption does not exonerate a media empire that has done as much as any institution to corrupt the UK body politic and dumb down the media.

    I totally agree with you on the appalling state of Scottish Politics.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Peter

    I believe citizen’s rights are being augmented, not denuded.

    In what possible way can you interpret 42 days' detention, the precedent of trial without jury, ID cards, the presumption of guilt inherent in instant fines, etc., as an augmentation of rights?

    Re formatting: you can use some basic html tags such as bold, italic, and href. Here's a cheat sheet. Or you can compose the comment in a Cif box and copy and paste it here!

  10. good luck Napoleon, hope everything goes well.

    Nice entrance, Your Grace - most interesting of today's birthdays for me is Catharine de Medici, the woman for whom the Salic law was a mere inconvenience to be mostly ignored...

  11. Peter

    Berlin: certainly does express strong concerns over the abuse of positive liberty in comparison to negative, though i couldnt quite make out your meaning from your wording to deano.

    "But I just don’t feel any of the qualities that define your view of western societies."

    With all due respect, you do live in France dont you, and work as a (presumably rather wealthy) equities trader. In terms of the UK, our main talking point, it is run explicitly for the benefit of people rather like you - wealthy people working in finance. This isnt a dig, just saying. France and Germany, Scandinavia, these are very different places to the UK.

    "What has the “capture of state machinery by corporate interests and elites” done to you"

    Many things, some tangible, some more abstract (this wasnt addressed to me, i know, but anyway). Every time i get the train home to Brighton i seethe with anger at the price, a price directly resulting from this coprorate capture - the disastrous train privatisation. £22 for a single journey of 55 miles, an hour. 22 fucking pounds. How much does that cost you in France? I know in Spain it costs around 5 EUR. At least £10 of those £22, in my eyes, is money unjustly taken from me and fed to private interests: corporate theft. It sickens me.

    My utility bills dont bother me overly, i earn roughyly national salary so am not poor. But does it bother me that these monopolies are making literally billions a year in profits for offering dreadful service? Yes, intensely. Its not right.

    Does the creeping privatisation of the NHS bother me? Yes. I never use the NHS, im young and averagely healthy. But i dont believe in healthcare for profit. I dont believe in one of our greatest institutions being flogged for exploitation by private firms, and the venal interests of Westminster. It affects me because it makes me angry everytime it confronts me, in the paper or on tv. That is a ngeative effect i feel.

    The role of Murdoch. His effect on British media and the insidious power of his empire bothers me greatly. I grew up watching test cricket religiously, our numerous trashings by the Ozzies. Then, we finally win. Shotly after it is announced live coverage is going to sky. I dont watch it any more and think it has had a negative effect on the game - its become more mercenary, more cheap - just like football has been ruined. That makes me angry. Its not for public benefit this change was made, but private - a corporate interest.

    PFI - not much needs be said, its theft of public money, open corruption. That makes me angry, its not right, that effects me.

    The dismal regulation of most industries - that bothers me, it isnt right, it is putting corporate interests before public.

    The import of 3-4 million economic units for corporate benefit and high social cost. Thats not fair, so it bothers me.

    The bank bailout, the allowance of obscene pensions, the complete failure to extract returns and concessions, allowing this sector to continue paying itself huge money for the most ill gotten gains while slashing public services - the services offered, and staffed by, the very people who paid for the bailout. Thats not fair, it bothers me.

    "And I can’t see what you describe as the capture of the executive by corporatism."

    It becomes apparent every time the executive puts corporate interests before the public - which is extremely common. In fact i'd say its now the norm, not the exception. I think many would agree with me.

    You seem to suggest that if things dont directly effect you tangibly, put you out of pocket of obstruct your life, then you're not afffected by them. I completely disagree. Most people have beliefs on what is right and what is fair in terms of organising society and resources, and whether they directly lose out or not things which jar against those beliefs will make them angry, perceiving injustice grates very strongly in people.

  12. Napoleon, hope everything goes well.


    Catherine de Medici, I had to have a look there. Despite doing History at Uni, my history starts in 1789.

    Quite a woman right enough. To rule de facto in medieval times as a female was quite something. I see her son was Francis II who married Mary Queen of Scots, initiating another of Female History's great tragedies.....

    As for Beckett, I always take great store in his quote from "Worstword Ho":

    "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

    And despite his self deprecatory comments on the subject, he was quite the resistance fighter in France during WWII. He came close to arrest on quite a few occasions.

  13. Your Grace - came to read about that period in French history because of Tudor studies - what really impressed me (possibly in a bad way, given some of the things she did - a bit like Thatcher, some kudos for being there but jeez, woman, rein it in a bit) was that she ruled de facto over three reigns and did her best to do a fourth. Her cousin (degree?) Marie didn't do quite so well when she got her hands on the Regency, but it's interesting that the Medici clan contained powerful (within the constraints of 'acceptability') women as well as men. Read a good 'family history' a few years ago but think that must be in APs' boxroom...

  14. Philippa,

    don't have time to look into it, but I assume she was of the Florence Medici's?

    If so, she would no doubt have had the ruthlessness of purpose for which the Medici's were renowned inculcated into her. For some reason, every time I say Medici in my head, I keep thinking of Brian Sewell, the posh art critic.

    Jay, everything I wanted to say. With bells on.

  15. Yup - by that time there were a few 'parallel lines', I think, so there was a fascinating degree of fighting with each other as well as with 'outside' - but woe betide anyone who thought they could manipulate that for their own ends, they tended to band together when threatened! Think Marie's father over-reached himself going outside Italy (or the region, at least - not a country at that point) and aiming to take France and Spain into his ambit, all started falling apart a bit then...

    Have always been crap with dates, but think that the interesting thing was that the later Medici power outside the traditional lands was in the hands of the women, due to marrying into various royal / semi-royal situations. arguably (remembering the book) they kept the influence going longer than expected...

  16. What? What's happened? Whole thread has been emptied!

  17. Wasn't me!

    Blogger's going a bit Pluck these days....

  18. Thanks Duke, nice quote too, hadnt heard that before.

  19. Thread wiped after writing that unsocially long post? The bloody inhumanity!!! Scrap all that, Peter, what makes me most angry is internet forum problems.

  20. Speaking of internet problems, I've started getting personalised emails from Cameron and Osborne asking me to join the Government of Britain. Kind of them, naturally, but...

    Some bastard's flogged my email address, and I'd like to know who. Murdoch's my first guess, as it often is.

  21. Been busy at work guys, hope you are all well, good luck Nap, with the move and the Xrays.

    Peter B

    (b)Peter B(/b) but use < instead of (

    i does italics, or use a cif box to do your formating and cut and paste to here, that's easier for links...

  22. Peter - am having difficults with long posts wen try here at min my m/c lets me down (they fuck off to the ether)

    Enjoying, with pleasure, the contributions of you and those who respond....Jay a sense of shared identity (at least on some things) is a pleasure. Same to be said to Peter (but on less things)

    "....But none of these things bothers me...." Don't be soft bro P - you probably think they don't apply to you.

  23. "....considerably less things but what the hell, I'm reasonably sure that I'm not talking to Thatcher ................but not totally convinced.

  24. Stick to the L33t Deano! Hope you are well my friend!

  25. "...Jay, everything I wanted to say. With bells on..."

    almost everything - a really useful contribution to the university of the untrusted. Class young sir.

  26. Brain slippage L33t ?

    is well here turm. Glad UB2

  27. Good luck Napoleon.

    Oh, how I love me some guardian headings: "The truth committee report damns a testosterone-driven financial sector where caution was dismissed as old-fashioned" (about Iceland).

    What tickled me was, of course, the "testosterone-driven" bit, and I was already wondering whether this would really be in the article or if some sub-editor managed to mangle this in.

    Well, turns out the phrase does appear in the article, together with the word "pissing contest". The sub-editor really missed an opportunity here:

    "The truth committee report damns a financial sector engaged in a pissing contest where caution was dismissed as old-fashioned"

    That would have been cool ...

  28. elementary,

    I have it on good (well, Icelandic) authority that Eirikur Bergmann is a well respected financial journalist in his own country....

  29. Pete my adaptation of 'Berlin' also included an elevation of conscience from quite to loud.

    Therein is an element of my definition of the left.


  30. Now fuck off dear Dott don't you be slagging off my Viking heroes.

    Oh Lovely a 'convicted' Scot peado has left a lg bit of his £m estate to the Scotish Girl Guides.


  31. PeterJ - as ever a delight to see you here again.

  32. Dot, I don't think the article was bad, not at all. I have no problems with his sentence about "a kind of a testosterone-driven pissing contest", but I thought it, well, funny that "testosterone-driven" made it to the privileged position in the subheading (which usually aren't written by the authors themselves, but by some mythical otherworldly beings working in the guardian's mines).

    Elevating the "pissing contest" to the subheadings would have been funnier, hardly more silly and inappropriate, and wouldn't have that pseudo-feminist "male hormones caused the crash" vibe.

  33. the Scot peado ..was radio news....

  34. Don't you tell me to f*ck off you dastardly old curmudgeon, all I was doing was providing information: since I happen to be sharing an office with an Icelandic lady as I type!

  35. the notion of "testost driv' is something that older guys with falling 't' have summat to say about

    I'm going to have to get another machine. The topic is well worth an enquiry.....

  36. Dott take your choice...\0/ or xx.

    truth b known - i likes u. 'spite ur gender reticince

  37. 'However, I wouldn't be symbolising Murdoch's press as a bastion of free, unbiased reporting.'

    Oh god no apologies didn't mean that your Grace! Bloody Observer and Guardian won't cover any of it for some reason apart from those useless pieces by Mckenna.

    Good luck Nap

  38. elementary:

    I thought it, well, funny that "testosterone-driven" made it to the privileged position in the subheading (which usually aren't written by the authors themselves, but by some mythical otherworldly beings working in the guardian's mines).

    Hence why:

    wouldn't have that pseudo-feminist "male hormones caused the crash" vibe.

    Explains the t word being elevated, no?


    I like you too, you think I go around calling everyone a dastardly old curmudgeon? ;-)

  39. "....Therein is an element of my definition of the left....

    4me a very important element.......

    this fucking machine is over my tits now i'm not jumping ship i'm going to have to get another............it may take some time but I will be back.

    P at the end, the economics story turns on whether you think the poor are deserving or undeserving.

    I think the former our kid.

  40. D - I know you don't I can read. x

  41. That's why I love those guardian subheadings: Designed to piss off certain commenters and stroke the ego of certain others - and giving a totally wrong impression of the article in question.

    They are the salt turning perfectly decent meals into something making you contort your face in disgust.

  42. Elementary

    I'm glad you understood what I was on about, and put it so much more eloquently!

  43. elementary is` in my view a class act....... contributes when has summat to say.

    be back later this m/c is failing......................................................................................................................

  44. @ Peter. Porter raises many salient issues, but then goes way OTT: he's right to warn of the potential misuse of much New labour legislation and mechanisms, and the paucity of effective safeguards but not to say that East Germany is here. The capture of state machinery by corporate interests is very evident in the public sector, by the way, and the examples I've professionally encountered in the education, health and social care spheres: the public ethos gets corroded, eaten away at, with few or no tangible benefits. Things start with little nuanced signifiers, but soon go system wide: FTs defining what their 'core business' is, leaving whacking great swathes of unmet need, unmet because it's not profitable (no low hanging fruit, less opportunity to cherry pick);the McKinsey-fication of the NHS, and a failure to recognise that being business-like is not the same as aping the worst excesses of, or surrendering to, big corporate business; the farce of PFI, with corporate consortia leaching money from services in maintenance, rental and service charges; the outsourcing of welfare disability assessments , to non-clinical corporate ATOS, leaving the paradox of clinicians having to deal with real problematic presentations before them, and then finding that according to ATOS, there's nothing amiss; then there's the annexation of public spaces by business (new enclosures)[edit: tried to put hyperlink in, but kept getting error messages].
    Oh, god, I could go on, but can't tarry long...
    Putting it bluntly, I personally have little problem with higher levels of tax so long as it ensures higher quality and levels of service provision. Failing that, the next best (but to me, much less agreeable) position would be minimal levels of taxation, and bare-bones safety-net services only, leaving individuals with enough money to seek their own provision (and a guaranteed citizen income to shore up the most dispossessed).

    [will continue:problems posting here, with Blogger not accepting the full post]

  45. What we've seen over the last decades has been an unholy dismal hybrid, with continued high levels of taxation, little service provision, with much of it farmed out to corporates who've taken the piss, frankly, with a 'race to the bottom' in public service provision when outsourced.
    Now, to a degree you can't technically blame companies for this as their first and overriding duty is to their shareholders (the difficulties in achieving genuine accountability to shareholders is a major concern, but for another day...) but we've had a generation of politicians either naively bewitched (and then fleeced) by corporate interests or possibly co-opted (corrupted?) by them. Private 'partners' are never willing to bear any downside risk. The reason is simple: a government would never let a public service fail, and so all PPP/PFIs suffer from severe cases of moral hazard.

    Add in too much rake-off retained by the centre which isn't providing services. Put basically, take money from the people and provide quality services good. Don't take any money from people, don't provide much by way of services, far less good, but at least relatively honest (and some-not I- would say empowering). Take money from people, get ripped off by business resulting in fewer and worse services, refuse responsibility when things fail, bad and bad again...It's the dishonesty, saying you can have your cake and eat it, ignoring the real lived experience at grass roots, and the appalling promulgation of private sector management and its ways always being best, the curious revolving doors in Whitehall and Parliament between policy-makers and the interests who directly benefit from those policies.

    While the private sector is very good at many things, the one thing it consistently falls down on is any notion of universal provision.
    If, as a society we decide that some services should be open to and equally accessible by each and every member of our society, then the private isn't capable of delivering to all of those folk, be they the mail recipient in deepest Cornwall or in the Outer Hebrides, the patient with chronic and complex enduring needs, or the rural area missing broadband.
    The choice is simple: either we collectively ensure we all get served, or it's dog eat dog. I prefer the former, with the state ensuring a minimum universal service of more than basic, indeed of good quality, paid for from taxation.
    What I don't want to see is false marketisation, paying subsidies at outrageous rates to privateers, who still then try and cherry-pick and dodge universal obligations, while simultaneously buggering up the state's genuinely universal provision.

  46. Okay, Alisdair, if those stating I'm being eloquent don't have multiple linguistic orgasms reading your posts, their tastes in writing leave much to be desired.

    Great points which can't be stated too often.

  47. Great article by Monbiot today:

    The laws of most nations protect property fiercely, the individual capriciously, and society scarcely at all. A single murder is prosecuted; mass murder is the legitimate business of states. Only when these acts are given names – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of aggression – do we begin to understand their moral significance.

  48. Yep Monbiots piece was excellent i thought.

  49. And now Dawkins is up - this could be interesting...

  50. Dawkins seems to make a pretty convincing argument! Let's have a dekko at the comments....

  51. Pretty hard case to answer from Dawkins, nicely done. Of course it wont happen, but i'd really like to see people's attempts to argue why its right that it shouldnt happen. Could be entertaining flapping.

  52. Back from the hospital, it was an ultrasound, not an x ray. There is nothing conclusive found, the ultrasound images will be emailed to my doctor for further analysis. I still think it is a sports injury (no euphemism, seriously), but I haven't actually seen a doctor face to face yet. Still a bit sore though, so no strenuous exercise for me.

    Also had a 'joyous' experience with the Kafkaesque NHS beauracracy. I had phoned my doctor on Friday, she had booked me in the radiology department for today, when I turned up they had no record of me. Cue them wasting half an hour making various phone calls following the paper trail and form filling. etc. The staff were sullen, surly and clearly incompetent and inefficient.

    Which reminds me of all this fuss over NHS computer systems, bureaucracy and administration etc, that is in the political goings on righy now. Could not everybody just set up yahoo email accounts and communicate like the rest of us? Of course I would never be in favour of privatising the NHS, but if the bureaucracy was private then it would be much quicker.

  53. Tomper on waddya

    Bru: I'd also like to say a word in favour of the mods. Any of them who survive the ritual Friday and Saturday nights on here deserve double pay.

    Tomper: Two bananas? Are you mad?

  54. Napoleon - how irritating not to have a result yet. Hope it comes in soon!

  55. Yeah good luck for the results Napoleon, sure all will be fine.

  56. Napoleon,

    18 months ago I fell off my push bike and ended up in the local major hospital (all fine now, no lasting damage, no sympathy required). When I went to give my details in casualty my name and DOB brought up an address I lived at until I was 6! (well over 20 years ago) I nearly didn't recognise it!


    Tomper: Two bananas? Are you mad?


  57. "...The choice is simple: either we collectively ensure we all get served, or it's dog eat dog. I prefer the former, with the state ensuring a minimum universal service ...."!

    I have no basis for disagreement.

  58. and good luck to Napoleon too!

  59. There's no need to worry everyone. I can't see it being anything other than a strain or sprain.

    Talking about the election threads on cif. Going into overdrive. I have decided to take up a holy vow.- On every politics thread, I will shoe in saying 'ELECTORAL REFORM NOW' in bold, whenever I comment.

    Alisdair Cameron said
    "If, as a society we decide that some services should be open to and equally accessible by each and every member of our society, then the private isn't capable of delivering to all of those folk, be they the mail recipient in deepest Cornwall or in the Outer Hebrides, the patient with chronic and complex enduring needs, or the rural area missing broadband."

    Yes, I am familiar with this. There are some services that must be public.The fairest way and against geographical discrimination (I had a hell of a hard time buying a laptop online, most only deliver to 'mainland UK'. We get a lot paid for our public services. Even the Guardian gets flown in by aircraft (George Monbiot would disapprove) The coast guard helicopter is often used as a flying ambulance. Often even the RAF will provide a military transport for seriously ill patients too fragile for helicopter transport. Our postal service is excellent as well. I can post a first class letter to my dad in England and expect it to arrive next day.

  60. Bitey

    So who I ask is stalking who?

    Is this a trick question?

  61. So who I ask is stalking who?
    You are ...you asre, with respect, are a disruption of our syntax.

    I, having advised me friends to ignore you - will now do so.

  62. Get back to jerking over BiBu bitey, you sad sack of pus. Still great that you keep coming back as a legitimate valve for our bile. I curse you to never achive sexual fulfilment, and when you ache and sob in the night, remember you brought this on your self...

  63. Did anyone do that 'How much is your vote worth' and have a factor higher than one. Apparently my vote is worth 1.1 of a vote, the constituency I live in has the smallest population of all constituencies in the UK, I believe.

    So, it will be better to vote with a postal vote here than when I mover to Glasgow. Of course it is still a wasted vote because I intend to vote Liberal on principle, and they won't win here, but that is beside the point.

  64. P..........my day has been a delight ...it started at 9.50 with a routine dentist appoint...........my middle class NHS, female, dentist ........................liked me enough to press her wonderful breasts my way................what on earth would I have to complain about?

  65. Nap - voting with your principles sound sense to me.

  66. fingers crossed the results are as you think, Napoleon - and well done for being the only UT-er who seems to have any electoral power at all...

  67. Dont be so cynical, Pip, we have a joint vote of 0.048 if you recall, almost a 20th of a vote - democracy in action!!

  68. Ah, my 'how to choose an MP' idea has been pre-empted by something about puddings. So, if you have a spare five minutes and fancy a chuckle (i hope), have posted this on me blog...

  69. Hey speak for yourself Philippa, I have 0.8 of a vote!

  70. Jay - so all we need to do is find another dozen or so like-minded souls, all registered at the same address, and...

    yeah, can't see anything going wrong with that...

    Dot - peh.

  71. Napoleon,

    I'll echo everyone else and hope your results are good. You're in Angus Macneil's seat, the SNP MP who launched the Cash for Peerages scandal by reporting them to the Met?

    Was he not the victim of a subsequent smear campaign by the Labour loving Glasgow media or was it true? Can't remember.

    I've just checked the UT medical dictionary as we seem to have an outbreak again. It appears the UT site suffers from:

    BTH online warts

    A wart found lurking just underneath the UT mainframe. The Wart feeds and thrives on a fetid mixture of misogyny, nihilism and downright sociopathy. Outbreak of the Wart can happen at anytime. There is no known cure for the Wart other than to ignore it, although zapping its posts has been known to alleviate irritation.

  72. Well, I was going to make a point, but now Nap K's just gone and buggered it up.

    I've read yesterday and today's thread with interest and enjoyment. I agree with a lot of what was said, and I was going to make a point about the voting thing adding the icing on the cake to most of it.

    (Until the above number from Napoleon), nobody here had a vote that amounted to a hill of beans, and to me, this is almost too much.

    How can we even be talking about democracy?

    I know I'm simplifying, but to me, at it's very core, democracy should equal one person-one vote.
    If, for all intents and purposes, this is not the case, we've got major problems.

    It ties many of the aforementioned issues together.
    For example, corporate influence doesn't have to be that great/pervasive, if it can focus that influence/pressure on just a few 'marginal' constituencies.

    True representation/accountability goes out of the window if you have 'ultra-safe' seats.

    And, more generally, when you have a system that effectively excludes the voices of the vast majority of the population, it creates the vicious circle of apathy, voter disenchantment, which in turns leads to the perpetuation/escalation of most of the problems that others have already mentioned, which creates more apathy, etc, ad infinitum.....

  73. Does anyone want to nip on to WADDYA and suggest Etoiles write a riposte to Monbiot and Dawkins articles today?

    Looking at his BTL contributions on the subject, it would be a proper hoot.

  74. James - bang on - thus, PR, pleeease, please, PR...

  75. Except it didn't, at the last moment!

  76. And on Jay's train point....

    For years, even as a kid, I understood that 'British Rail' was seen as the example of what happens when stuff's nationalised, and how privatisation was the way forward.

    (I caught a few minutes of Die Hard 2 on the telly yesterday, and even they made a joke about British Rail).

    It always seemed to be 'you can have nationalised/heavily subsidised stuff (like, ahem, BR), or you can have shiny, privatised stuff, which, of course, will mean competitive prices, better services, etc. No brainer, innit!!'

    Anyway, we got pretty much the same standard of service (often worse), but for three times the cost.

    Then, in my little part of the North East, a few years ago, a train operator emerged offering reasonably cheap services to/from London, about 5 times a day, which were pretty reliable and comfortable, making London a more accessible and affordable destination for the first time in years.

    So, I thinks to myself, maybe the system does work from time to time, maybe, there is a slither of truth in this....

    Couple of years later, said train company is 'taken over' by a larger, national firm, ticket prices double (at best), services are dropped, the nice shiny, spacious trains are off-loaded somewhere (perhaps more deserving), and shitty, dirty, cramped ones brought in instead.

    So even when the system does 'work', in my opinion it's rigged to revert to a mean soon after, that, for the most part, is a fucking disgrace and offensive to the majority of the population that had been promised something that has not been delivered.....

  77. Tories' manifesto launch at Battersea power station: Exclusive pictures!

    Ready for liftoff!

    Phase Two!

  78. James,

    it was estimated at the 2005 election that 19 million eligible voters cast ineffective votes due to FPTP.

    The system is the fundamental question, not who will gain power in 2010. Whoever gains power will not have a mandate. Pure and simple. The victorious administration will have a minority percentage based on the lowest turnout in UK electoral history.

    Despite this, the liberal bourgeois notion of 'following the democratic rules' means a party will govern and take the country in its own direction despite the country giving the party no mandate through not voting or voting against the administration.

    In bourgeois liberal democracy the key concern is not Democracy but whether the 'election rules' have been followed.

    If the rules create a non-democratic mandate, so be it. The whole concept of democratic legitimacy (or non-legitimacy) in this case will not be addressed as the 'rules are seen to have been done' and created a new administration.

    This chimes with our post-political landscape where one management team fight it out with another management team to forward the progress of big business, donors and non-doms.

    Jay said on a thread the other day "If Democracy actually changed anything, they would get rid of it."

    The liberal bourgeois democracy we have at the moment will not change anything, and this is the fundamental point. If you believe in Democracy and representational politics, bourgeois democracy must be challenged.

    It's no surprise that none of the UK media have addressed this fundamental issue. The fourth estate is as much part of the bourgeois institution and for them the "carnival" of the election is fundamental- personality, image, sheen, travelling around the country listening to technocrats mouth empty platitudes. Toynbee's complete joke of article today is an absolute case in point.

    Call the 2010 election what you will, but don't call it 'Democratic'.

  79. And finally, on the pope/Dawkins thing...

    A few months back, I wrote on CiF about how I thought a case against the pope could be brought.

    (I was hoping someone like Beautiful Burnout might add some meat to the bones of my argument, but I'm guessing she didn't see it).

    Anyway, in a nutshell, I think that, if the Catholic Church is, anywhere that abuse has occurred, registered as a charitable organisation, the head of that organisation can be prosecuted for certain things (like kiddy-fiddling/perverting the course of justice, etc), as, I believe, someone usually has to have ultimate/criminal responsibility in these organisations.

    At the very least, I figured that there's a definite case of negligence here, that would/should be made.....

    (over to you to tell me I'm talking shite BB....

    -I'm also working on cases against Tony Blair and George Bush, if you're interested....)

  80. "Call the 2010 election what you will, but don't call it 'Democratic'."

    I have just started writing a piece on this topic which i will hopefully get published at the place i got my last bit published. Slow work but plenty of material.

    On the trains, the apologists for privatisation often point to 0.023% increase in punctuality as the only saving grace, proof the system works. Firstly they changed the definitions of punctuality after privatisation and secondly just imagine what BR could have done with a 4 fold increase in subsidy! Indefensible theft and corruption all in plain sight.

  81. Jay,

    where are you going to publish it?

  82. 13thDukeofWybourne
    Angus Mcneil is my local MP and yes he did launch the cash for peerages which is good. Yet that does not make the SNP a clear chance for re-election. There is a lot of disillusionment and anger with the SNP, I'm not quite sure why, but it is a combination of factors.

    The Labour party may well win back this constituency. I know, shocks and gasps. It will be a close run election, plus there is the mad Chrsitian fundamentalist party standing, which will not win but take votes off of LAbour and the SNP. Wahtever happens I am voting Liberal.

  83. Afternoon everyone

    Napoleon - Good luck and fingers crossed for your tests being clear. Can you let us have your .1 of a vote? We could share it out amongst those who have virtually zilch.

    Good conversation on here today - which I've been reading instead of working...

    Peter B - you certainly gets things going and although I don't agree with many of your views it's good to have you round.

    Enjoyed the Dawkins and Monbiot pieces on cif. Of course Ratzinger won't be arrested but as someone said on one of the threads all this being raised has the virtue of upping the ante a bit and is beginning to have the effect of making people think about 'consequences'.

    Clive Stafford Smith on R4 championing Robin Hood at the moment. Apparently, the way RH was sold in America was by portraying him as taking back taxes from the taxman and returning them to the people, rather than robbing the rich to give to the poor.

  84. 13th Duke,

    I agree entirely. I was saying the other day that the word 'mandate' should automatically be prohibited after this election.

    It seems we're in one of those catch-22 whatsits that everyone goes on about.

    We can't achieve PR/voting reform, unless we elect someone who advocates/supports it, and we can't elect someone who advocates/supports it until we have it!?

    It's beyond a joke!!

    The more I think about it, the more I get angry, and the more angry I get, the more I realise how fucking helpless and powerless we are to do anything about it.

    Democracy, is indeed, a crock of shit!!

  85. Your Grace, Damian Thompson is doing an excellent job on the Telegraph blogs of documenting His Holiness' admirable and energetic work, before and since his elevation to the Holy See, in banging Vatican heads together to get rid of this 'filth' (his word), and in ensuring allegations are dealt with quickly, rigorously and with the greatest degree of openness compatible with the requirements of justice, such as the presumption of innocence.

    Much as I love the Graun I would no more read it for a true account of Catholic Christianity than I would read the Riyadh Times for a balanced and unprejudiced view of Judaism.

    James, the head of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ, and though my NT knowledge is a little hazy, I seem to remember his having been prosecuted already.

  86. Lavartis,

    haha- but, technically, he escaped, innit!!

    So we can add fugitiveness(?) to the list!!!

  87. James,

    Yes, Jesus was last seen pursuing a one-armed man at various locations around the near east...

  88. Now have another scenario forming in my mind - the second coming is interrupted by a contingent from the Met turning up with a warrant from the Italian Police...Jesus is unfortunately injured 'attacking' a member of the TSG with a sardine and a ciabatta roll...

  89. Ooh, teresa may taking a kicking on PM.

    how the tories thought they'd get away with taxing 'drinks used by bingers' while reducing tax on 'normal drinkers'...cider apparently is never drunk on a binge.

    hands up whose formative experiences of getting blotto involved K/diamond white/scrumpy/other apple-based evil?

    [puts up hand]

    [feels a bit sick at the memory]

  90. PeterJ -

    Haha - As far as cross-overs go, I think that's a winner....

  91. [*hand up]

    4 litre bottle of white-lightening, no less.

    (shared between about 12 of us though)

  92. Sheff,

    that retelling of Robin Hood for the teabaggers is a classic. It reminds me of Disney's 'Anastasia' where Russia was a nation of contented, full, happy peasants playing their balalaikas under the benign rule of the Tsar before the Bolsheviks came and destroyed everything.

    As for Jesus. I like Jesus as a historical figure, chucking out the moneylenders, subversion against an Empire, preaching love to fellow man etc which begs the question.

    Would Jesus want to be associated with any of the nutters, perverts, reactionaries and lunatics who dare to profess his name today?

    The incongruity of what he was supposed to have preached in relation to the actions of established religion since time immemorial in his name has always been immense.

  93. Philippa and James

    Strongbow. I'll say no more.

  94. James

    Democracy, is indeed, a crock of shit!!

    Rouseau was interesting on democracy:

    ...there is no government so liable to civil war and internecine strife as is democracy or popular government, for there is none which has so powerful and constant a tendency to change to another form or which demands so much vigilance and courage to maintain it unchanged...the citizen must be armed with strength and fidelity, and repeat from the bottom of his heart every day of his life the words a virtuous Palatine once spoke in the diet of Poland:

    'Better freedom with danger than peace with slavery'

    Seems we handed our arms of strength, vigilance and fidelity to our representatives who laughed heartily and broke them over their knees.

  95. Good God, does UKIP have anyone on the roster who doesn't sound like the devilish cad in an Agatha Christie adaptation?

    Am tempted to use the word oleagenous but am not sure how it's spelt. Penguin has gone on strike after hearing the Tory manifesto launch so he's no use...

  96. Your Grace

    I don't think Jesus would last five minutes in today's world - least of all with many of the people who profess in his name. There are honourable exceptions - I know some of them.

    He'd be banged up, or worse, in short order.

  97. It's getting worse. Am actually feeling queasy.

    Haven't been physically affected like this by sound since standing next to the speakers at Curve at the Academy. Boy, was that a mistake...

  98. Sheffpixie - have you been reading Kipling?

    'When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:"Stick to the Devil you know."'

  99. BTW - Dot

    I sent off for a Dawkins fish which arrived today and is now proudly displayed on my fridge.

  100. ah, blessed relief - they've moved to vox pops in the black country. a sound of home...

  101. Sheff

    Yeah, I remember that bit too.

    I had a look in the book store this weekend for Jean-Jacques, but they didn't have him.

    (I did find that useful work vs Useless toil thing from the UT2 though, so it wasn't a completely wasted trip).

    I definitely think we've sort of sleepwalked into a fucking nightmare, and one which Rousseau, and others, so accurately predicted.

    Again though, WTF can we do about it?

    (that's not a defeatist, rhetorical question, I'm genuinely considering my options....)

  102. Philippa - damn close, it's oleaginous... And just the word for that UKIP bloke. All ding dong and etchings.

  103. an accent in which everything's just so bloody matter-of-fact. brilliant...

  104. thank you peterj!

    not sure rousseau's any sort of road-map for rescue - only ever read the social contract and a few other extracts, but the 'enact what everyone agrees' plan did seem to have a rather large hole in it if (ha!) everyone didn't agree...

    a referenda-based polity might be a step forward but it would get clogged up horribly, and no doubt the 'for and against' campaigns would quickly polarise (and watch the money...think of PACs in the US, etc)

  105. James

    I definitely think we've sort of sleepwalked into a fucking nightmare

    You're right we have - or at least the nightmare is looming on the horizon. Seems if you make a prison just comfortable enough for enough people they'll happily sell themselves down the river.

  106. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz he awoke with a start, ...............the question ringing in his ears........dad/granddad what did you really think of your lass.................."after 30 years it was like rattling around in a sentence looking for a full stop........a decade after we parted we agreed on a , " zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    I loved her with an ache I will tell you about one day.

  107. Phillipa
    not sure rousseau's any sort of road-map for rescue

    You're right - but he did say some interesting things and pointed out some governance problems - many of which we're now facing. Does anyone have a road map for rescue? Is such a thing possible anymore? At least in the short to medium term.

  108. Lavartis

    The only Kipling I've read recently are Mowgli stories to my grandchildren, which I think I enjoyed more than they did - not quite enough zap pow for them.

    But on the sentiment expressed in that poem all I can say is - plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

  109. Sheff - I know.... one thing I do think rousseau maybe had right was a more local approach - am not suggesting 'city states' or anything so sci-fi, but maybe a central 'floor and ceiling' set and then specific decisions taken at a regional level. if the decisions were made and the work was done in the regions, and 'westminster' (or edinburgh / cardiff / etc) was simply the civil service hub monitoring and supporting, there'd be more 'ownership' of politics, I think.

    i was talking about my constituency yesterday - it's ultra-safe labour, but made up of six council wards, 10 lab, 6 green, 2 socialist. having that 'team' representing me is more reflective than a single MP. I'd like to see a more council-based system, where the MP is effectively delegated by the constituents to take their view to parliament for the central stuff.

    obviously, the idea of weekly meetings to go through the upcoming westminster calendar and decisions needed to be taken locally would be a pain, but could also be beneficial...

    ooh, am planning now...meetings carried live on radio/tv/puter for those not able to attend, electronic voting, rerun votes if not passed by 50% of eligible voters, that kind of thing...

    ah well.

  110. I really like me kids........and I know one day in the future.... theym ........will track me here and read me .......that's what the above idle comment was about.

    so its a xx+. for them

    and a stern ?

    what took you so fucking long!

  111. Philippa/Sheff

    Rousseau (as far as I remember too) didn't really provide much in the way of a map/remedy that could be 'workable', writing as he did, so long ago.

    However, I do think that he was 'dead-on' with so many of his predictions/observations, many of which seem to have become more prescient over time.

    Again, the first step is admitting you have a problem....etc,

    And, I would argue, we have one hell of a problem...

  112. James

    Re catch 22 on PR, spot on, the only people that can implement PR must, by default, have been handed a de facto dictatorship by FPTP - they arent likely to give it up. Just to think a handful of labour parasites passed the golden opportunity of permanent reform to PR for their own petty advantage for a few years. Thats what makes me laugh when politicians assure people that every MP they know is in politics sincerely to improve the country - its demonstrable nonsense.

    Duke - if i get it finished and they accept it i'll send you the link.

    If Peter's about, as above i definitely agree he's good to have about despite our regular disagreements, makes for interesting debate.

  113. James interesting thoughts.

    I usually struggle with the diff 'tween admitting and recognising.

  114. Deano,

    I think recognising is, for example, realising that x,y or z is (potentially) a bit off, and admitting is closer to saying that x,y or z is so off that it creates serious impediments to a, b or c.

    or something

  115. There is a faint chance we may get some form of PR if there is a hung parliament and Labour hangs on to the government, as they'll need the LDs on side. But it'll probably be the crappest form of PR possible.

  116. nah, think spin - would you ever hear a pol 'admitting' anything (in policy terms - they fess up to shagging around rather easier)?

    no, they would 'recognise' - "We recognise that despite mammoth spending, there are still issues remaining with the NHS, and we welcome this opportunity to continue our work..."

    sounds more 'oh, we meant to do that'.

    'admit' is more - fuck, that wasn't supposed to happen...

  117. James a delightful and meaningful distinction.

    I'm off for a jar.

    Best W!

  118. james - CIFBelief has an article up on the legal limits on prosecuting the popey.

    also an article by bea campbell, which I am now going to read, wine in hand - this could involve laundry...

  119. Of course PB I love you too.

    My life and loves would be incomplete without the thoughts of well tutored non conformists.

    Plainly young lass methinks you class.

  120. Article by Bea OBE? Can't see one...

  121. Philippa,


    It's an interesting POV, but it doesn't strike me as being definitive.

    What time does BB usually come out to play?

  122. Phillipa,

    Haven't been physically affected like this by sound since standing next to the speakers at Curve at the Academy. Boy, was that a mistake...

    Bloody hell, Curve. That brings back memories. Along with Miki Berenyi of Lush, Toni Halliday was my major indie chick crush. 80's afficianados please note. I said Toni Halliday, NOT Tony Hadley.

    I remember seeing them at Glasgow Barrowlands and they were phenomenally loud. Not as loud as My Bloody Valentine were when I saw them in 1990. I had to be peeled off the ceiling at the end through the sheer force of noise.

    Jay, that would be great, let me know if it does get published.

  123. Blimey - Prem Sikka's turned up on the 'brave dave' thread, basically calling the man a cretin. that's rather fun...

    is it me, or is the sub
    "The Conservatives have risked fighting this election on an idea: that the state is the obstacle not the originator of good society"
    not simply what the GOP has been saying for a couple of hundred years? and, indeed, the Tories? How is this a 'risk'? most people hate 'the state' - thinking this means only the taxman and elf'n'safety, forgetting all that 'treating the sick, putting out fires' stuff...

    risk-free, i'd say - and this 'pro-marriage' thing (ref Bea C OBE) is just dumb. There's two 'marriage / parenting' pledges - the tax break (where the lawyers clearly kaiboshed making this an outright plea to the trads to come back from UKIP by insisting that CPs are included) and the right to ask for flexi-time if you have kids under 18 (current limit - 16) which May made such a hash of defendinf on PM.

    there's fuck-all about sorting out the economy - but there's now a 'debate' about 'marriage' (and the 'flexitime' thing is just something to make people go hmm, seems reasonable while making no bloody difference to anything) and 'risk' when this is what the tories have always said...

    cheap politics. trough really is empty...

  124. your grace - Lush was actually my first proper gig, at Cheltenham town hall (after a moratorium on 'rock' after some unfortunate incidents involving an EMF gig, some spray cans, and the statues in the main hall).

    supported by spitfire, whose drummer went on to join elastica. jus' in case that ever comes up in a pub quiz.

    MBV now give out branded earplugs when they play, btw. safest thing, think.

    can't wait for ATP - will be posting reviews on blog - line-up here if interested (or have any recommends, am thinking BSS, Wooden Shjips, Eitzel, Pavement, the Fall - natch - and Faust at present...)

  125. Here I am!

    Although no use to man nor beast as I have a splitting headache.

    I see my Number One Fan is back. Joy!

    Some cracking posts today - too brain-dead to say much of interest myself.

    Re prosecuting the pope - haven't looked at it yet. Will pootle on over there and see if I can add anything sensible.

  126. James - given your comment on my 'books' piece, take it you are enjoying the 'tweet R&J' thread as much as I am...

  127. Hey BB!!

    Philippa, I only noticed that after I made my comment on your blog. Haven't dared read it just in case it pisses all over my 'argument'....

  128. Good posts by Deano and Alisdair! Keep them coming!

    Nap - sorry your experience was so bad but tbh half the problems come from running an 'internal market'. people spend so much time form filling to proove things have been done they don't have time to do them! My daughter is a nurse in cardiology and she could tell some stories (but she wants to keep working!).

    On the other hand I have nothing but praise for the care I am getting from my local hospital.

    As for private bureacracy being more efficient. When I have time I will tell you the sad story of my struggle to change my British Gas pre payment electricity meter to a quarterly one! It took them 8 months and I have been with them for gas all my adult life and on direct debit since it was invented!

    It nearly put me in a mental hospital! All large organisations run by managers/consultants with MBA's suffer from the same problems, their underlings are encouraged to tick all the right boxes so they get to think everything's fine when its really going pear shaped.

    Try to catch up later going to see Michael Moore's latest at my local Arts Centre.

  129. am having fun - waiting to see how long my first post lasts before being blitzed (it's a book, really...)

  130. Twitter is not the only way to introduce Shakespeare to teh l33t generation.

    Here's another.

  131. I've read it now.
    It is quite amusing.

    (For the record though, this isn't what I had in mind with the abandoning Shakespeare thing....)

  132. Just looked at Dawkins' piece. Seems he would want the pope charged with aiding and abetting/accessory after the fact. Difficult one. In theory it would be possible, but quite difficult to prove, I would imagine.

    Re l33t Shakespeare, just bought a DVD of MacBeth for the lads which appears to be set in gangland with drug dealers and such like, albeit that the original language is used. Haven't watched it yet, but it has been described as "Shakespeare meets Tarantino", which I thought might be more compelling for a 14 yr old teenage boy that the classical version! :o)

  133. Nap - hope everytin' is ship shape an' shine! x

  134. Evening all.

    See you've been busy while I've been sidetracked elsewhere - I'm never going to catch up at this rate, I haven't even read thro' the quantum stuff yet!

  135. Phillipa,

    those crazy EMF fans eh? ATP looks good, although it depends on what kind of mood his Mark E of Smithness is in if the Fall will be any good. Plus there's a good chance that he'll sack the drummer or guitarist halfway through. 3/4 of Salford have been in The Fall at some stage or other.

    ATP are also involved in the second Bowlie weekender curated by the mighty, sublime, wonderful, fantastic, never to be matched Belle & Sebastian in December. Going to see if we can make it over or wait for B&S to come to Amsterdam.

  136. Evening all

    Bloody good posts today ladies and gents.I intend
    to 'lurk' and enjoy properly later.Cheers everyone!

  137. Over to CiF for a gander in my case, James.

    Hi Paul.

  138. Evening Paul!!

    Evening MsChin - I was only watching the football for a few minutes, but came back, and everyone's disappeared...

  139. Me here - just.

    My netbook has been playing silly buggers over the past week or two and craps out when the charger is plugged in. But you need to be able to charge it. Argh. Off to the shop with it, no doubt.

  140. BB,

    While you're here (I know you hate doing the legal advice thing, but, while we're on the subject of prosecuting high-profile figures)

    Tony Blair's fair game, isn't he, now that he's a civilian and that...?

  141. Hello Paul - thanks for the apology - much appreciated and entirely accepted.

  142. Duke - choon for you.

    Philippa - everyone should have the right to ask for flexitime. That sort of politicking makes me very angry. Grrr.

  143. James

    The problem is that the ICC still doesn't have the framework for prosecuting people for acts of agression. Although it was agreed in principle at the time of its inception, they decided that for that particular war crime they would not have jurisdiction until the ICC members worked out the terms of reference for it - and needless to say it has never been done.

    So unless we can pin something else on him, it is going to be difficult.

    Now, having said that, the law changes every day, and who knows whether, at some stage in the future, they might ratify that aspect of it and make it retroactive...

  144. Hey Paul

    Stop yer lurking and join in! :p

  145. Mournful song for anyone wanting a bit of mournfulness.

  146. Hah.


    Why have they changed the name of the SciFi channel to "SyFy"?

  147. Hey thaum - haven't spoken to you for days!

    Not ignoring you I promise. x

    (And that goes for everyone else I have been neglecting too xx)

  148. BB, I didn't pursue the links, but someone on Monbiot's thread who had the aura of a little legal knowledge posited that Blair was prosecutable under terrorism laws.

    But as I said, I didn't follow the links and probably wouldn't have understood them from a legal standpoint anyway.

  149. Hi BB - grácias! Haven't been around too much ... too many pleasurable distractions lately. ;-)

  150. BB,

    Cheers for the response.

    I know the 'International Law' route's quite tricky, but I was thinking more about domestically.

    I just read a book called 'the prosecution of George W Bush for murder', which, while not being a brilliant read, put quite a good case for trying him under existing US law.

    Essentially, I guess, what I'm asking is, outside of crimes against humanity etc (which I think shouldn't be ruled out), can TB be tried for ordinary murder, fraud or conspiracy in a UK court, or are any 'crimes' committed by a head of state necessarily protected from prosecution?

    (I only did A-level law, and spent much of the lecture time asleep, so I'm not exactly an expert, so feel free to either ignore me, or tell me I'm talking bollocks....)

  151. BB- SyFy. I noticed that. Eejits indeed. 'Dave' is pretty silly too - I mean, WTF is that supposed to imply? Then again I was confused for a long time about ITV1 and ITV3 because ITV always was channel 3 back in the pre-digital day...

  152. Lavartis - as far as I'm concerned, there's only BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. And many a test pattern.

    NN all, am off to bed with the girl who kicked the hornet's nest.

  153. Either there is a UFO buzzing my house or the foster-lad has got the bloody sub-woofer turned up again. The windows are vibrating. And I am too tired and lazy to go upstairs and tell him, cos no amount of shouting will make him hear me...

  154. Terrorism laws, eh? Interesting...

    But then wouldn't any nation engaging in any form of armed conflict be guilty on that basis?

  155. I'm following thauma's example, off to bed with a book.

    Early start again - sometimes flexi can be a flippin' burden, 'cos you owe them the time!

    Night all.

  156. But then wouldn't any nation engaging in any form of armed conflict be guilty on that basis?

    Outside clearly defined rules of self-defence, and maybe a few exceptions for 'international peace and security'(when backed up by a strong international consensus), I think that would be a very good thing.

  157. grrrr. all radio "unavailable at this time".

    peh. law and order in french it is, then...

  158. *Spoiler alert*

    It's the third person the detectives speak to what did it!!

  159. james - really not concerned with who did it. at present am aiming to understand one entire conversation without needing a dictionary.

    thank god for 'VO' on the most recent imports.

    (NCIS Las Vegas good though - if your lead actors are LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell, the script will not be difficult....)

  160. night thaum & chin

    in my view this UT place can sometimes be such fun and so educative and thought provoking

    today has been one of those days

    thank you Ut's

    glad to see you here again Paul.

  161. James - I agree entirely, being essentially a pacifist myself.

    I would like to think that in 100 years time people look on the wars of the 20th and early 21st century with the same disgust with which they regard black slavery in the 18th century, as being a complete aberration.

  162. dart for my sweetheart

    nine, I know, I'm not your favourite man...

  163. Philippa - Luckily, I've got 'cable' so I can usually watch in the mother tongue, via the reverse 'SAP' button, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

    BB- It's a nice thought, although, 10 years in, and this century's already looking like it might just be the one where 'war' becomes normalised..

  164. BB I still adore you ....but fact is sadly only some folk in the 20/21st see slavery as an aberration.

    You are sometimes too generous.

    In the real world there are some to this day who think the proposition entirely reasonable and quite natural. When you scratch and question (cross examine) most of those on the 'right' with Blair etc you find that is`what they are voting for.

  165. James

    Your use of the word 'subsidy' (above circa 14??) in the context of BR........reminds that I always thought there was a subliminal shift in the post war consensus about the public good....which started with the development of a dislike/discomfort/hatred for the word.

    It was then moved from subsidy to income tax, and in that you have a short history of post war politics.

  166. PB - I do love you young miss but that music and image is not suitable when there are grown us in the room........!


  167. grrrrrr, still not working, want to listen to the vote now show.

    ah well. you'll have to put up with me linkies...

  168. Deano

    I think I agree.

    We've somehow gone from it being accepted, even encouraged, to it being questionable, to the point where now it's (in some circles) considered some sort of theft.

    Perhaps 'tracking the word and its uses' would provide an interesting and useful way to map the post-war drift in politics and society....

    Alisdair - night!!

  169. Ahhhhh. I am nothing if not full of hope. Or deluded. Or something. :p

  170. It's a matter for you younger people to chew on.

    As is the whole notion of efficiency (essentially a ratio ((inputs and outputs))concept, easily manipulated by accountants who can play with the 'time' axis)

    Subsidy at it's most evil only ever meant support.

  171. and another one just because ash are special

  172. Someone using the moniker IgnatiusReilly has appeared on the boards, how bloody dare they!

  173. jay - i'm still waiting for 'Philby' to show up, as that name (my usual monicker) was taken when I signed up.

    Not so much as a funny on the sports pages. peh.

  174. And on that note, it is up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire for me.

    Night night all x

  175. Night BB,

    Night everyone else.

    Just realised that I haven't eaten a meal since Sunday, so should probably go and do so.

    ate amanha

  176. I'm glad you feel my pain, Philippa, i feel genuinely violated. I think i shall have to go to bed to recover. Night all.

  177. Have managed to read most of the discussions on
    todays thread.So much to both agree and disagree
    with.Excellent!Tip hat to all participants!

    And to go to totally the other extreme the 11o.clock
    news has announced Katie Price may be pregnant.Could
    weep with what sometimes counts for NEWS in this country.And what,s the betting this birth will be
    live-on dvd of course!

    Right work beckons-Nite all!

  178. James me nether, but I have taken wine.

  179. Paul hope the shift not too grim brother.

  180. Paul - CallMeDave's been getting around a bit, hasn't he? Heavens....