17 April 2010


Geoffrey Chaucer first told some of the Canterbury Tales at the court of Richard II in 1397.  The Republic of Ireland came into being at midnight in 1949.  A group of CIA funded and trained Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs to attempt to overthrow Castro's government in 1961.  The republics of Bangladesh and Sierra Leone were created in 1971 and the 335 year-old, casualty-free war between the Netherlands and the Scilly Isles came to an end in 1986.

Born today:  Karen Blixen (1885-1962), Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), William Holden (1918-1981), Jan Hammer (1948), Olivia Hussey (1951), Nick Hornby (1957), Sean Bean (1959) and Victoria Beckham (1974).

It is Women's Day in Gabon.


  1. Lou rules


    Easy. Easy.

  2. @habib, Airplane, and 4weddings. ; )

    Laughing Len (Cohen) is a righteous soul, a god who stalks the earth, GSH LC duet, I love to hear that sesh.. Aff to work..

  3. Morning all.

    Why were the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly at war?

    Today is the feast of St Stephen Harding, a key figure in the development of the Cistercian order. 'Approachable, good-looking, always cheerful in the Lord - everyone liked him'

  4. Morning everyone

    Out of interest - and because I am not looking at CiF any more in anything other than a very cursory and occasional manner and not managing to get here much, either - did Seaton ever get back to JayReilly or anyone else regarding moderation?

    I seem to remember that he said he would select one happy camper to provide evidence of CiF's crimes and that joy seemed to fall on JayReilly, who was going away for some days at the time.

    Someone else stepped in on the now, presumably, forgotten thread and there was a lot of coughing and ahems and "Just because hundreds of people below the line keep pointing out that moderation is unacceptable doesn't prove anything and you have no right to question the moderators anyway because they have each been stamped with my personal seal of approval, which will trump anything you stupid, filthy scum have to say so just feck off, I hate you all" from an increasingly shrill Seaton, with a face set to explode.

    So, just as a final check, did the reinstatement of Summerisle make everything better? Was that all it took?

    Were any other bribes or threats used to seduce or scare everyone back into mute and apologetically supine submission?

    Or was the lure and heady junkie fix of being able to type "Hi!" with as many exclamation marks as your heart could wish to people you do not know and indulge in a figurative dance of slapping high-fives and jive handshakes just too much to resist?

    Despite the sniffy, aloof claims from Seaton and Henry that CiF was decidedly not a social network, but an arena of ideas, was it the fear of losing a line-up of virtual zelebrity people the thing which allowed everyone to let Seaton off the hook, just as long as he did nothing to impede the mingling march of the lovely faux society for which people will give up any principle, as long as they are allowed to belong?

    As has now become de rigeur when signing off:

    Just askin', like. I'll get me coat...

  5. Good morning.

    And on the moderation question, I don't know, AB, as I haven't been around that much either, but somehow I doubt it.

  6. Mute and apologetically supine submission?

    Or just posting on a website with interesting and provocative articles because we like doing it?

    Isn't this all getting a tad overblown now? It's just the internets...

  7. Atomboy:

    I'm probably not the person to answer this, since I'm hardly over there myself any more and, even when I look, I rarely comment, but I don't think the modding has gotten any better.

    Several people tried to provide Seaton with examples, but his response was (as I recall), "I only asked for examples from Jay."

    And that "I'll get me coat" thing makes me want to do violence. WTF is that all about, anyway?

  8. Montana - it comes from a sketch show from the 90s called The Fast Show.

    I'll get me coat Pt 1

    I'll get me coat Pt 2

  9. Morning all. Re: football finances from yesterday, David Conn manages good stuff on the sports pages - decent explanations of how the structures work, etc. Problem is, it's difficult to ggo to source docs as a) Companies House charges you to see accounts and b) not all of them are at CoHo, given the overseas aspects.

    MUFC - basically, the Glazers borrowed the money to buy it from hedge funds, rather than a bank, using the assets of the club itself as collateral. That's not how most commercial purchase guarantees work. It's more how a mortgage works. The interest rates charged by the hedge funds are massive, and the Glazers are also taking money out in 'management fees' as well as, it would appear, loans to their children. Which is really weird. Again, why not borrow from a bank?

    So the problem is that MUFC is being treated as a financial instrument rather than a football club. Whether or not this continues to be practical given the rate hikes, well. But for the Glazers to be tempted to sell, the price offered would need not only to cover the costs incurred, but also reflect the ongoing vast quantities of cash that the Glazers are extracting, in perpetuity (they hope)... Hence the billion pound estimate.

    Liverpool - have looked at less but debts of £237 does not necessarily mean that their bottom ilne is minus 237 million - and you are only bankrupt if you aren't a 'going concern', i.e. able to function with the debt. Accountants clearly think they can - like Chelsea, able to function because debts are with Roman (although that may now have been written off by him).

    If you're rich, you can owe more. You get more credit. Don't think of this like how an individual would be treated - something that big gets all the time in the world to pay off, because the lender knows they aren't going anywhere (physically and financially).

    Difference with Portsmouth is that they don't appear to have bothered to check if they could pay their wage bills (which they knew about in advance and weren't going to change) let alone have the cash to be able to pay unexpected items. That was just a fuck-up of the kind usually referred to as a 'schoolboy error', from what I can tell.

    But check out Conn, he's good.

  10. Hi everybody on this morning of the unmarked skies. All the conspiracy lot who blame vapour trails for everything for the weather to a pimple on their bum will be thinking case proven.

    Turminder Yup the good man Leonard

    Momtana - Love the Cantebury Tales - and ME art.

  11. Atomboy,

    long time no see. CiF moderation has not changed one iota. Indeed on the McShane Poland thread last week, the Editor of CiF was casting all types of ad homs about BTL including accusing NapoleonK of supporting the BNP.

    As far as I know, no apologies were forthcoming. The same old moderation continues on Bidisha etc, with MsR being premodded for what I saw as very reasonable comments.

    So in a nutshell, nothing's changed. I for one appreciated your efforts in continuously pushing the moderation issue and pointing out the double standards modding, political modding and downright stupid modding. However I really, really would'nt bother anymore mate, it's not going to make a blind bit of difference.

    Hope you're well.

  12. On a few of Conn's threads, I've suggested that the FA impose model governing documents for a variety of ownership structures (single owner, closed co, plc) including debt ratio caps, guarantee restrictions, wage limits, mandatory charity arm and % profit payment, payout limits, etc etc. All perfectly feasible, heheh.

    While there are EU-wide 'rights' about how to run a business, UEFA / national FAs clearly run their own game without too much fuss - transfer windows, for example, would be prima facie a restriction of freedom to trade, but it's accepted as a 'voluntary restriction'.

    And then Gordon came along and suggests something that the ECJ would crawl all over if it ever happened. Like the premiership's going to give away 25% of its combined balance sheet value. That would not be voluntary, it would not be popular, so it would be challenged...

    Peh. Why do I bother? etc etc whinge whinge chunter chunter.

    Anyway. more coffee

  13. Philippa

    Interesting - That neither ManU nor l'pool are trading while insolvent , are not bankrupt suggest their assets cover their debt. However - if the asset is the club itself who will buy it ? Top players are assets too - bit like slavery, part of the owners estate.

    It seems that ManU's debt is personal to the G brothers rather than the club.That clubs can be used as a financial instrument to benefit individuals seems wrong - what rights do members (fans) have ?

    Supporters clubs - they are completely separate entities are they ?

  14. Philippa

    The governing docs interest me.

    A few years back Swansea were in big trouble - guys went door to door collecting money - I was interested in how that worked and in who accounted for money.

  15. ...and the problem with the MUFC mortgage thing (sorry, this is going round in my head and I can't help it) is that while in a regular mortgage the income stream and the proffered asset are different, so if the asset (house) loses value this doesn't necessarily affect the loan repayments (salary), what MUFC have is more like a 'buy-to-let' arrangement, where the asset itself is also the income stream.

    So if the Glazers can't pay, that's because the club can't pay, that's because the club has lost value, so the danger for the club is sort of doubled - if it gets into diffficulties on the income side, that would then lay it open to be called in by the lenders.

    Or something.

    Still not properly awake...

  16. Philippa

    Begins to make sense to me - not sure it is a particularly stable business model though.

  17. ManU's debt is not personal to the Glazers because the Glazers used the club as surety - if they can't pay (which payment is linked to the success of the club) it isn't them that goes tits up, but the club. Which is not great...

    To be bankrupt and trading while insolvent is probably different - can't remember - but the main thing to convince the auditors of is 'going concern status'.

    Example - when I had my house, I had an asset worth X, a debt of Y, and income of Z. Now, even if negative equity kicked in so X > Y, bank would still behappy providing Z = due %Y. I might look 'insolvent' as my balance sheet would have a hole in it, but I would still be a 'going concern' providing my I&E (rather than P&L) had Z on it. I'd only be in trouble if I lost my job and couldn't cover due%Y.

    That's where a club would be - the P&L should be positive (assets > liabilities) but if it isn't, that is OK as long as the I&E is still sufficient to make the necessary payments. For a while, at least.

    Portsmouth failed on all counts, hence the 9 pt drop.

    And yes, bit weird to consider people as balance sheet items. But as well as being assets (by virtue of a having a sale value) they are also liabilities (by virtue of being paid stupid-money).

    Bit like having a property on the BS which is a saleable asset but which has significant running costs leading to a liability.

    Possibly too many analogies in there, but hopefully that makes some sense...

  18. ...and no, 'stable' is not the word I'd use. 'inherently risky' would be my preferred term...

  19. And that should be:
    Now, even if negative equity kicked in so X < Y, bank would still behappy providing Z = due %Y.

  20. Changing the subject entirely...

    Now as you know I am a great believer in Karma. And I can't help thinking about the way we used anti-terrorist legislation against l'il ole Iceland at the time of the financial crash to freeze their assets, and arguably contribute to bringing their financial system to its knees.

    And here we have a situation where air travel from and to the UK is affected far worse than it was following 9/11 by a volcano in Iceland...

    Just thinking out loud...

  21. BB

    Not Karma me thinks - Ice Giants on the rampage.

    But there is surely a certain irony - a sort of passive revenge or self fulfilling prohesy.

    Our local authority had millions in Icelandic bank - on gvt. advice I might add .

  22. BB - you don't want to take silk? That surprises me. You could charge a lot more money... OTOH it's a non-refundable £2,500 just to apply!

  23. Philippa

    Buzzing in my head now !

    I suppose a brilliantly inventive research scientist is an asset to a R+D company - but would not be listed in accounts as such. The results of his/her work would influence value of company.

    I off up garden to enjoy blue skies courtesy of volcano

  24. Morning all

    Beautiful morning, clear blue, peaceful skies, no sign of volcanic ash cloud here. But it must be around somewhere as virtually all of Europe's airports are closed according to the news. The eruption is showing no signs of easing off either, getting worse in fact. Silent skies and as you imply BB, all rather ironic - one little volcano and we're flying fucked!


    So glad you're out and about again.

    re last nights music discussion - Leonard is God (in my humble) and I certainly couldn't live without Mahler either.

  25. Leni - the scientist wouldn't be (there's no transfer market for 'em) but the IP s/he'd created would be.

    Footballers are simultaneously saleable assets, income generators, and ongoing liabilities (in an accounting sense, as well as in general). Difficult to think of other similar situations like that...

  26. Leni

    More than one local authority invested in Icelandic banks & have had to dip into reserves to fill the gap. People are facing losing their jobs because of this and the infamous Gershon 'efficiencies'. Gershon has advised the Tories to outsource back office functions within 18 months of being elected - in other words, the public sector will shortly belong to the private sector.

  27. sheff

    I know we're not on a busy flight path here in our part of Yorkshire, but it's great to see a clear blue sky without those trails. Reminds me of when I was a kid - aircraft were pretty rare sight round these parts.

    btw folks, you're all wrong: Hendrix is god.

  28. Lavartis - and limit the work I can do overnight? There are only so many cases requiring a leader to go round. I am not in one of the huge chambers with a dozen silks in it either, so I wouldn't get the hand-me-downs.

    Hendrix IS god, MsChin. :o)

  29. MsC
    I won't fight with you over Leonard v Hendrix - it's a tough call.

    Have been wondering about what's happening in countries like Kenya that produce a lot of the exotic pre-prepared fruit etc that we've got used to seeing in the supermarkets - and that is flown to Europe on a daily basis. It'll be very tough for those workers if things don't let up soon. I notice nobody's talking about that aspect of the situation.

  30. Sheff

    Supermarkets here are suffering sales losses - the other end of the chain is hardly considered at all. I was thinking about this yesterday. The global economy is very delicate - but we can live without baby veg for a while - the growers and packers overseas are in a different situation.


    We are facing local cuts here too. It is worrying.

    A few years back sewerage passed from LA responsibility to Welsh Water (private ) victorian sewerage collapsing - often back flows into houses. Culverts for rainwater still under LA - one meets t'other in some cases so neither will accept liability. Ongoing row - attempts to get clarification of situation failing. Several years ago the Assembly here said that sewerage 'drainage on private property (mainly homes ) would be taken over by Welsh Water . Last time village flooded I email Assembly to ask for action - still waiting.

    Many houses here on shared water supply- upto 6 in some cases. When no. 3 is washing and showering no water reaches 4 + 5. Because supply pipes run under homes and gardens householders told they have to bear cost. I called meeting on this - every household send representative - Welsh Water supplied speakers - he neither listened nor responded to concerns. He wrote to me restating status quo.

    The privatisation of basic services stinks. All essentials should be in public ownership.

  31. sheff

    Been wondering the same thing about the impact on workers elsewhere myself. As well as fruit, it also applies to a lot of 'everyday' veg (like green beans, which always seem to come from places like Kenya).

  32. Leni

    That's a really grim example of why privatising essential public services is not a good idea. At all.

  33. Sheff - bloody good point - radio yesterday was full of people worried about the impact on imports, but the situation at the other end of the chain idn't get a mention...

    Lots of stress on 'pharamceuticals', which mates in the field say is ridiculous - long shelf-life and no urgent needs to fill, no issue...

  34. MsChin

    The reason given by Welshwater was " capital investment would not be recouped from revenues ' !!

  35. Sheff - yep. Worrying that. A few million in lost profits to Tescos vs whole communities starving puts in into perspective.

    Leni - that is appalling. Of all public utilities that should never have been privatised, water was the most pernicious. Even in the states most water supplies are owned by the counties or cities, not private companies.

  36. Not Karma me thinks - Ice Giants on the rampage.

    So not Nirvana, but Ragnarok!

    Did you know the fast show was a bit of a lift from an Australian show called Fast Forward? V funny...

  37. Wybourne

    Thanks for the good wishes. I am around sporadically here and there, but otherwise doing different things. I am flourishing, thanks, and doing spiffingly in general.

    I hope the delights of Leiden are all you could wish for and things are working out well for you and yours.


    Isn't this all getting a tad overblown now? It's just the internets...

    Yes, quite so.

    If it got to the stage, though, where it was not just the Seaton Gang who muffled and stifled debate on what, I think, AllyF called something like "The most significant and respected political debating site on the internet" but shadowy figures from the government, would that still be just a bit of a lark, as long as we could all blow air-kisses to each other?

    What about if the print edition only carried what was acceptable to the government du jour and that was something like a mutated clone of The Daily Mail and the Murdoch gutter press?

    That would just be the funny old press, surely, innit, eh?

    What if, against all the best stratagems and devices and all the unstoppable deluge of the combined opinions of the massed ranks of the Ciferati, New Labour somehow got back into power for an historical fourth term and decided that everything anyone said on CiF had to be run by their pound-shop thought-police before it could be published?

    Would that then become a matter of principle?

    The problem is, once we seem so happy to collude with a policy which clearly operates beyond and outside its own stated guidelines and once we are so glibly assured by the likes of Seaton declaring from his own pulpit: "Nah, nuffink to see here. I give my personal assurance that you are all mistaken, so feck off!" we are on a slippery slope.

    Yes, it is only the internets, so who cares?

    You know, that thing we all thought was going to bring freedom and democracy to the world because we would all be free to speak out and highlight and undermine oppression.

    As long as we never had to actually do anything to protect both it and the uses to which it might be put.

    Oh, the "get my coat" thing was something I remember children saying when I was at school, by the way, and (without wishing to reveal my stripling youthfulness) that was before The Fast Show made some kind of virtue of showing the same sketches week after week after week...

  38. Turminder, you got the first one, gold star, but the second, way off: further clue:

    "Because you're a crazy mad piss artist who wants to throw his students through the window.
    I Like ya! Don't you recognise a compliment?"

  39. Sorry, all - playing Name That Film - no googling!

  40. habib - Educating Rita?

    Green beans and baby veg out of season are not a necessary. They can be tinned or frozen if needed. The market, in fresh out of season, is really little more than an indulgence for the affluent

    The land/crops in Africa might well be better given over to the indigenous poor.

  41. deano

    With regard to the veg - on the money, as usual. Bit like the conversation we had a while ago on the John West tinned salmon which we used to regard as a real treat.

  42. "....You know, that thing we all thought was going to bring freedom and democracy to the world because we would all be free to speak out and highlight and undermine oppression..."

    I never thought that a liberal newspaper in private hands and subject to market forces was ever going to provide freedom or democracy.

    I still think that things like UT and UT2 offer more hope, albeit that in time it might require a platform akin to Linus....

    The role of Cif is better seen as a recruiting ground for an alternative voice. The dafter it gets the more it serves its role..

  43. Educating Rita! Knew I knew it crossed neurons...

  44. I demand the finest wines available to humanity!

  45. Sean Bean's birthday. Great. He is an excellent actor.

    Other than that, I will be too busy to be around today.

    Enjoy your hangovers.

  46. Morning all!!

    (philippa - *whispering, and for one day only, C'mon city!!)

  47. Yey, Deano! Turmider - withnail!

  48. Afternoon Deano

    Actually, I meant the internet in that paragraph, in answer to BeautifulBurnout saying that there was no need to worry about CiF subverting people's ability to post reasonable opinions which just happen not to comply with CiF's ideology - because it's just the silly old internet, so it doesn't matter.

    It seems funny that we are now subverting our own very recent ability to have our opinions seen and scrutinised by all and tested against our peer groups and popular opinion in order to cosy up to the establishment and become its lackeys.

    Still, as Seaton has said, if you have been deleted, you must deserve it and if you have been banned, you are not the type of person we want here anyway. (Unless we can use your un-banning to save face and fob everyone off, obviously).


  49. James - interesting post "..The end of an affair!?.."over on your blog.

    Ever thought of a 'copy and paste job' over here on to UT2 too?

    I thought it well worth a wider audience.

  50. Cheers Deano.

    I don't have any problems putting it up on UT2, except that

    a) I don't know how to, and

    b) Upon reflection, I think it's definitely an example of one of those 'more heat than light' whatsits...

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Morning everyone

    Can,t sleep anymore but what a beautiful day.Spurs
    beat Arsenal and all i now need is a lottery win and
    life will be sweet!

  53. Atomboy

    I'd echo the Duke's thoughts.
    I only look now at stuff that gets mentioned on here, like the mcshane thing last weekend, when Seaton appeared to have had one too many babychams, and had decided to go down swinging......

    So, you know, same old, same old....

  54. Atomboy

    The main trouble re posting 'reasonable' comment are the btlers and not modding. The sensible post is swamped in the mass, much of which is ill informed and arrogant and self obsessed.

    Leni, yeah Surt and Hrungir and friends are active. But so are others. metapoetic justice is sweet is it not. I'm sure most people don't know if they are coming or going. Is there dust in the air or is it a con job (those scientists) or is it magic (abracadabra snigger).

    T Xuss / HeyH Yeah filmic references are great for setting a context in which to read a message, especially if (like me) you have a voracious appetite and plenty of 'leisure' time. So are songs of course. You know how Lucas used Campbells work The hero with a thousand faces as base for Star Wars and how he (Campbell) has become a kinda screen writer's bible. I read it and the two much longer works Occidental / Oriental Mythology when I was in my teens.

    There is no spoon.

  55. The hero with a thousand faces as base for Star Wars

    Not as much as he used Kurosawa's 'The Hidden Fortress'

    Pen, matrix. ; )

    They're my friends. I made them...

  56. AB

    You know, I am sorry if I sounded so trite and dismissive, but sometimes I just get a bit tired of the same old moans week after week.

    You set up a really good website last year, and I contributed an article or two to it as well as I seem to recall, and I was really enthusiastic about it. It was working well for a while. Then there was a format change and it seemed to just die a death after that. I don't know why it did, but it just didn't seem to work as well any more.

    If we want to bring about change then we have to do our own thing. But constantly harping on about the Graun is not going to make a smidge's difference to the way they organise their website and mod the comments on it.

    Does that mean that we should all resign in disgust? Well that has to be a personal choice, but I guarantee the amount we will be ultimately missed by the Graun is the equivalent of the hole left behind when you take a bucket of water out of the sea.

    Some days I enjoy myself on there - some days I can't be arsed. Some days I get really annoyed. I don't think it's the government that dictates what the Graun prints or doesn't print - except to the extent that they rely on a great deal of advertising revenue from government departments and quangos.

    I do believe that cleverly-worded digs at people for still posting on there makes you sound petulant, though - which is what I took from your post this morning.

    The Graun is not going to change what they do just because a dozen people with a grievance about having their posts deleted or being banned say they have to. It is their website. They pay for it. They can do what the fuck they like with it. We can vote with our feet (or fingers) and choose not to post there if we want. But it is a choice. For the time being I am comfortable with the choice I make.

  57. Turminder - Withnail and I :o)

    "Gideon - are you sure there are two L's in "Dollar"?"
    "Aye.... and are there two G's in "Bugger off"?

  58. pen

    Yes, but the problem with this is that I tend to think that everyone has an equal right to post their filthy, idiotic nonsense, even if that means my glittering brilliance has to jostle against their leering imbecility in order to be seen.

    The problem is still that those who have the power to delete do so with no reference to the pretended moderation policy and they are being allowed to do so with impunity because people are more concerned with having the facility to chat with their virtual, imaginary friends in a place which they want to feel is more like a pub or a living-room than a public arena.

    CiF is no longer an exchange of ideas which stand or fall on their own merits, but an e-dinner-party in which Seaton checks the guest list and instructs shadowy servants to hijack anyone he doesn't like on their way to the lavatory.

    Sometimes, between mouthfuls and shrieks of affected laughter, someone will say, "Have you seen so-and-so lately? Wasn't he here just a moment ago?"

    The problem is, as long as the chat goes on and the food and drink keep coming, the patch of blood on the ceiling where the despatched have been heaped into a pile in the room above remains forever unnoticed.

    The good thing, perhaps, is that to balance those who want to belong to a place like that at any cost, there are those who no longer want to touch it with a barge-pole.

    Of course, for every poster you regard as arrogant or ill-informed or self-obsessed, there will be plenty who see you as just the same. This is what makes it work and what destroys it.

    I am glad to have been plucked from the pages and kicked out, rather than receiving a very dubious pat on the head and some kind of ersatz acclamation.

  59. James - if you want to post anything on UT2 send a copy to Montana by email or email and ask her for the route directly.

    pen glad to read that you can enjoy life a little more freely now.

    Atomboy - I took you meaning and share a lot of your angst.

    I thought your recent idea about 'moderation watch' interesting and worth thinking about. I always think it regrettable that we don't seem to have developed an archive of the moderation nonsense.

    If nothing else it would help in the task of " Educating Rita". Moderation has probably recruited more to UT than any other topic. The more we recruit and get away from that dreadful what do you want to wank about the better.

    Now that we have a visitor counter here at UT it is feasible to contemplate that one day several hundred pissed off punters might acquire a collective voice.

    One might dream of 2-500+ disaffected readers writing a simultaneous email to the editors of the Guard/Times/Telegraph/Indy to complain of the Seaton (if nowt else it might cause him to fret a little, at best to shit himself)

    Practising collectivism is always good practice - at worst the failures provide real lessons.

    I always travel in hope.

    regards all.

  60. I actually got a response from the mods as to why
    i was moderated on a Bidisha thread.No heavy attitude
    from the mod herself -in fact she was quite friendly.
    But it does seem to me that on the more contentious
    issues the mod policy is shall we say pliable.Those
    BTL are not allowed to express a view toward the ATL
    author which incorporates the personnal with the
    political-even when the author has done just that

    Hope that made sense.I,m not fully awake at the

  61. Atomboy, if you had not noticed I never say anyone should not post just that most have little really to say. They just say it at length.

    TXuss, haha. I've seen Hidden Castle and thought it boring even tho' I'm a sucker for jap stuff duh.Darth Vader is the Dark Father, Campbell ws much more the influence as he wrote books which give more info really. My book refs mostly pass over everyone's heads don't they (Snigger)?

    BB good comment, I agree with it re Cif / G in essence.

    Meant to say good old G Chaucer was robbed just up the road from me when he was clerk of works at Eltham palace (I used to live behind it, could see its copper roof green through the trees).

  62. BB - .."what do you want to wank about"..

    I am not having a sly dig at you my dear one. Now you is growed up your masturbatory practices are entirely a matter for your good self..


  63. LOL deano. :o)

    AB - fair dos. I am never at my best first thing in the morning. :p

  64. Paul - get in the garden/park with a deck-chair and catch up on your sleep in the sun! I have a feeling I might be doing that later...

    Well done for Spurs beating the Arse though. A rare moment.

  65. Actually 200+ simultaneous posts by different punters (say within one hour): "I am not happy with the nonsensical moderation policy of this newspaper" would make an interesting start.

    I'm away to do some work.

  66. Is Emily still around? I think a study of the arc of blog usage would be interesting, in that I started on Cif, cifed for about a year, discovered UT, and now rarely bother with Cif.. Is this typical? And for all of AB's valid argument, ultimately it's Seatons party and he can kick out whomsoever he wishes, it's deluded to think other wise..

    There's no justice, there's just us...

  67. Dunno about that pen, i dipped into Campbel Fraser et al, just a bit dry...

    Unlike old Geoff

    WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
    The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
    And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
    Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
    Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
    Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
    The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
    Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
    And smale fowles maken melodye,
    That slepen al the night with open ye,
    (So priketh hem nature in hir corages:
    Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
    And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,
    To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
    And specially, from every shires ende
    Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
    The holy blisful martir for to seke,
    That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.

  68. BeautifulBurnout

    No, either going on and on about or fleetingly mentioning CiF will make no difference whatsoever. The same non-difference as commenting there or not commenting there, as you say.

    The problem is that if we either say that what they do is OK or give it a type of tacit blessing by saying it is just too boring to talk about, we are, in a way, saying that what pretends to be one thing and is entirely another in the realms of public discourse is perfectly OK.

    It would be better for CiF to properly declare that they will only publish what they choose to publish on their own whims, rather than pretend that their stated policy has any value in reality.

    As for the idea that the governemnt controls CiF, I did not say that and you know this was just to illustrate where things might lead in a hypothetical world if we are not vigilant.

    However, the consensus seems to be that we cannot be bothered to be vigilant as long as we are having fun, so I will go along with that.

    It seems, though, that everyone is happy to mention CiF in these colunms very frequently in order to point out what threads are up and who is saying what and who is going to comment where, so I am not quite sure about your point.

    Is it simply that you want to hear the good but not the bad or what you like but not what you do not like?

    It seems we have become, as internet users, like the beerbellied bloke on 60 ciggies a day who goes to the football matches and shouts at the players to tell them what they should be doing.

    One day, a player wanders up to the fan and leads him down onto the pitch and says: "OK, show us how it's done."

    We want to heckle and applaud, we want to castigate and cast out the fans for the wrong team.

    We don't want to wonder whether the match is fixed and rigged and we don't want to wonder whether our own part is contributing to the corrupted process.

  69. I hope Manchester Utd do go bust!!

    There, I said it.....

  70. Having big problems trying to post here from various browsers, along with Google playing up generally, so perhaps the internets are finally crashing..

    Anyway, will go and do something different, as the children's programme used to tell us.

    Nothing posted here today was intended as a personal slight to anyone.

    Had I wished to do so, I would have made it clear.

    Enjoy a nice day.

    PS Are all the people who complained about their flights being ruined by BA staff recently now shakling their fists at the sky?

  71. "..I hope Manchester Utd do go bust!!"

    Difficult to imagine any (sport related) thing that would give more pleasure....

  72. Just looking by, but re: CiF./ Sometimes I'm there sometimes not. It is too full of crap, especially NewLab and NewCon astro-turfing at the moment. More tellingly, and I think this is the gist of what Atomboy,BB, deano30 are saying, but in different ways, is the hypocrisy and inconsistency.
    Above the Liners are privileged and some are especially protected even when making the most outrageous,contentious or plain wrong (as in ill-informed , evidence-free or inaccurate) assertions.BTLers, get moderated for pointing this out. ATLers can extrapolate from their personal biases or experiences, but pointing out theor errors gets seen as ad hominem all too often.
    I don't thnk there is overt Govt/NewLab control (and a tragedy of the last decade has been a deliberate blurring of the boundaries between party interest and Govt business, a wilful stepping over the boundaries), more a buy-in by the paper and the bulk of its staff to the Newlab project in its totality. Therefore a horrid group-think pertains at the paper: a little light chiding from time to time, but a relegation of true stories that cast Labour in a dreadful light (the Purcell one is very conspicuous by its absence), a gloss and spin applied.
    Right-wing trolls are okay, as they serve to reinforce the paper's feeling of righteousness and give them a visible enemy to justify (to them) the paper's continued hand-in-glove relationship with NewLab. They also serve as a category into which to to malignly and derogatorily place those who point out the paper's manifest narrow partisanship (c.f. Napoleon K's appalling treatment by Seaton).
    Bollocks-spouters and whimsy-merchants are adored, to give the paper a 'human' face, so long as things are kept twee, and never veer too far from the chatterati line.
    This level of pseudo-toleration (in fact quite a cunning artifice) allows the paper to pose (and it is plain posture) as being oh, so open.
    However, what they can't take,don't like and delete daily are the posts from the genuine voices of those about whom they profess to be concerned, the posts from actual socialists, from genuinely homeless, actually working-class etc who (rightly) don't subscribe to the NewLab project, don't agree with identity politics fixations, don't like being told by arrogant faux-radical Oxbridgers what their problems are and what they want or need.
    Question their world-view, their presumptuousness and bang, you're gone.

  73. It's that double standard that rankles the most. If they were honest or up-front, it'd be far better, but they can't because in a sense too many staffers at the Guardian are in denial about themselves:
    At heart, for all their social consciousness, they're Tories, or at least quasi-Tories, which explains the ready adoption and adoration of NewLabour. If they weren't already part of the affluent middle class, they certainly think that way, wouldn't have got to Oxbridge and hence the Guardian in the first place. Obviously, they want the same for their kids..BUT..they can't actually say so. Their professional and social standing won't allow it. And so they resort to any number of smoke and mirror tactics: a love of "diversity", moral relativism, cultural sensitivity, social constructivism...basically any old shite that allows them to look 'progressive' and left-liberal while ignoring working class interests and acting as though the Left's new role is to make sure female corporate executives get leather seats in their new Lexus.
    Y'know I'd have a helluva lot more respect if they just came out: said, yup,we're bourgeois middle-classers, but we are concerned about X,Y and Z: middle-class paternalism isn't such a bad or heinous thing so long as you recognise it for what it is and its limitations. Instead there's this whole supra-structure constructed around the divisive smoke-screen of identity politics, and attempting to package their world-view as "authentic" (whatever that means), Leftist or socialist, which can never ever be questioned or challenged.

  74. Bravo Alisdair! POst your last two to Jess see if you get an ATL slot? :D

  75. Great piece Alisdair!

    Will you post the whole thing up on UT2 so it doesn't just get lost amongst our daily ramblings.

    Would be fantastic if you did get it ATL on cif - but for all the reasons you so eloquently describe it's very unlikely. Of, but it would be wonderful.

    You say they are in denial and to a certain extent I agree but you also say in relation to their privilege

    Obviously, they want the same for their kids..BUT..they can't actually say so

    So there's a way in which they do know - the denial isn't complete - which is probably the thing I despise the most about them.

  76. TXuss, come on, Campbell was an academic and it is an analytic study (and of course just one of many I have read. Education and learning can be dull duh. And one needs to be serious about the serious stuff or its just faux cool.

    Mainly I just think it's funny (snigger).

    Chaucer is of course subsumed in Campbell, would be part of the data set as well as the stories. I know my sources heehee.

    Oh regarding Atomboy's insinuations I treat people all as people and do not need to pretend a moral authority I do not have. On the ward I was called mad too, was just one of the mad, sad, lost, and lonely. And I treated all equally as people, the patients and their visitors, the nurses and the consultants. To all I tried to give as appropriate and you chide me with vanity and arrogance; look in the mirror I say.

  77. Alisdair agree with Sheff.

    A great post that should be saved on UT2. It can also (once saved) be used to demonstrate (yet again) that of which you speak so eloquently.

    You should think about:

    i) Save it to UT2, (let it be read and digested here);

    ii) nominate a later date/thread on which you intend to post it on Cif;

    iii) encourage UT's to comment on it /recommend it as they see fit:

    iv) time how long it lasts on Cif (add the shameful details to a footnote in the archive on UT2)

    The idea of 'meritocracy' and unfettered inheritance/privilege always seemed to sit uneasy to me. And, as you say, they know it.

    And you are so right about the deafening silence (discomfort) on the matter.

  78. Superb posts, alisdair, and yes they must go up as an article on th UT2 please.

  79. @Alisdair

    Bloody good piece-methinks you hit the nail on the
    head there.Better chance of winning the lottery
    than having it published ATL mind.But Sheff is right
    you should post it on UT2.

    Maybe at same stage you could submit an ATL piece
    on the curtailment of freedom of speech.Something
    that isn,t too 'personal' as it were.

    Occurred to me this morning that someone at Guardian
    Towers may be officially or unofficially monitoring
    us here on UT.How easy it is to get paranoid in this
    hi-tech age!Where,s me nurse i,m hyper-ventilating!!

  80. Just cos you're paranoid, don't mean you're wrong Paul ;)

    Hi Kiz!

  81. Paul - I don't think that there is much doubt but that UT is read by some at the Guard.

    Sophisticated players always like to know what the 'other' side is thinking/up to.

  82. paul

    we've had visitors from the graun before - I think Jessica has been over here in the past. so I guess there are those who will lurk to see what's going on from time to time.

    btw - paranoia doesn't mean they're not actually out to get you!!

  83. deano - what's the old adage - 'keep your friends close but your enemies closer' or some such thing.

  84. That's a grand approximation/précis which will do for me Sheff!

    Break over - back to work.

  85. @ sheffpixie: I can't claim credit for that line. That sentence and the preceding one I had clipped to Evernote (highly recommended) from someone else on CiF (didn't clip the name: might even have been Atomboy,perhaps monkeyfish, PeterGuillam;someone like that). It was meant to come out as a quote, but Blogger doesn't seem to like blockquote, in fact seems to have a few problems in general with html tags.
    I'm not knocking bourgeois or middle-class concern per se, as it's better than blithe indifference or worse, absolute contempt for inequalities in living standards etc, but it's the dissimulation, the stance-striking, the Nth London (haven't touched on their geographical ignorance yet) chatterati self-deception and refusal to accept that they may not know best, may be misplaced with their assumptions and willingness to take offence/take up metaphorical arms on behalf of folk for whom they may well feel concern but who they'd not willingly mix socially, and of whom their knowledge is at best sketchy, at worst completely at variance with the reality.
    It's this failure of honesty, of knowing both their privilege and their limitations,plus the shallowness of their 'insight' that shuts the dorr on others.

  86. We know what a desired outcome is:

    It is to see Alisdair's piece posted on the UT2 and then the Guard and heavily commented on and everytime it is ..................deleted/moderated................to see it copied and reposted by........ 'A N Other' together with the added comment..........."I can see nothing wrong with the following post by Alisdair which justified its deletion ....."

    You might think this a childish way of saying 'up your arse Seaton' but it appeals to my collectivist sensibilities.

  87. Little piece here in graun weekend by a woman who used to hit her husband. Never seen one of those in graun before.

  88. Alisdair - the piece is no less interesting, or worthwhile, for your addition/acknowledgement.

    I would rather you attempted to set the agenda than leave it completely to them.

  89. So we could all end up in some Guardian Gulag
    being re-programmed by the 'Thought Police?

    Jeez me imaginations gone into over-drive!

  90. Alisdair,

    bang on the money. When I posted on CiF, I hardly ever got modded. I'm not controversial enough and never bothered posting on threads in which I knew I would be modded for my opinion as it just wasn't worth the bother posting in the first place.

    The absolute kernel of truth in your post is the double standards and the absolute insistence that their modding policy is cast iron and fair across the board. Which we know to be a nonsense. The post I got modded for was utterly inconsequential but was a classic example of the political modding at work (which doesn't happen apparently).

    Anyway, I thought Atomboy as MonsieurLeBoulanger was great, consistently highlighting the modding double standards. CiF really should be renamed:

    Comment is Free, except when we say it's not. But it is. Really.

  91. pen

    Interesting that you think I am somehow seeking to attack you or accuse you of something.

    Of course, this is a persistent problem with online message boards, where people imagine they are being challenged or attacked personally, when it is simply a comment they have made or an opinion they have declared which is being turned over and examined.

    You said that much of the general mass of comment is ill-informed, arrogant and self-obsessed. Of course it is, because those frailties are human and it is large-as-life people who post.

    I simply said that I was happy to take the rough with the smooth and quite content with what I thought were rubbish comments squeezing for space with others which might or might not be better.

    I then said that people might think your comments were rubbish - as well as mine or anyone else's, by implication - because we are all entitled to an opinion and viewpoint and these will not necessarily happily mesh and coincide with our own or those we happen to like.

    You then tried to imply that I had accused you of suggesting that people who, in your words, had little to say should not be allowed to post, which was not the case.

    You then said that I chide you with vanity and arrogance and suggest that I look in the mirror, which I am quite happy to do.

    The difficulty, as you frequently tell us, is that you know that the whole process of online debate or simple interaction is a game at which you are cleverly playing us. The question is that those who are less astute may not so clearly see the rules.

    This is frequently the problem on CiF, it would seem, where people whose ideas are challenged become affronted and perhaps keep pressing the Report Abuse panic button in the hope that having a post which questions their position or beliefs deleted will somehow win the argument by default.

    This now seems to be CiF policy.

    If you ensure that all comments which do not toe the line can never be seen, the idiots will be brainwashed and the battle will be won.

    The only problem is when people subscribe to this idiocy, rather than signalling it with flashing neon signs.


    Thanks for the nod, but Boulanger is not me and is still there. I was Jongleur. This is not spiteful nitpicking, just clarification. Along with the fact that I do not like his/her cutesy little avatar.

  92. turminder - don't - that reminds me of my Cambridge English days!!

  93. Duke

    As Alisdair and others have said it is the double-
    standards that grate most.Almost 'do as we say and
    not as we do'.In some ways CIF is a form of 'noblesse
    oblige' for the elite at Guardian Towers.Going through
    the motions of doing the right thing for the proles
    but without any real conviction.

    It,s like Cif is a Roman Amphitheatre with the BTL
    proles providing the entertainment for the ATL
    lot.Visualise Polly and co chomping on a nice big
    lamb chops and then chucking the remains for BTL to
    fight over.And maybe they have an ATL Sweepstake
    as well.Categories for who BTL will get banned or moderated,who will explode,who,s the biggest arselicker,who has the best avatar etc etc.

    Apologies for going on here but there are times
    when you feel that ATL doesn,t really have that
    much respect for BTL.They are simply going through
    the motions.Throwing a toy at the proles whilst they
    get on-or so they think-with the grown up stuff.

  94. Atomboy

    Interesting points. Someone else made a point I agree with re CIF in general, it doesnt change anything but i do think it encourages people to get more involved in politics, join groups, petitions, marches - it involves them in politics. There is the flipside of whether they use CIF as a replacement for other action, but i think on balance it probably encourages political action, however mildly.

    It also skewers a long running tradition of arrogant halfwits above the line lecturing with impunity and assuming the reader hangs on their every word. So to me it has benefit.

    Re Seaton i think it was MozP who he offered the modding explanation to, then MozP copied and pasted my example from somewhere else. I was away but Seaton did reply to say, in short, JR is the "polemicists polemicist" so I'd need to see the whole context rather than take him at face value.

    I did give the post in its entirety so not sure what else was needed, my treacherous character obviously made the issue pointless to discuss. But sadly wasnt here to plug away on the point.

    Had an interesting exchange recently with mods. I'll put in new post as this is rambling....

  95. Goddam these French names, of course you were Jongleur, not Boulanger!!

    Paul, "noblesse oblige" is spot on.

  96. JayReilly

    Just to make this point while I have time and not to interrupt your flow, I do remember Seaton and the "polemicists' polemicist" comment.

    I had not thought that by attacking the man and not his points - and thereby pulling Seaton's favourite trick of not adhering to his own comment guidelines - Seaton had imagined that this closed the question of moderation.

    He is quite a little shitdribble.

    Anyway, I will read whatever else you say, but thanks for clarifying my first and main point:

    Seaton did not address the moderation issue.

  97. Paul

    I think you are right, other than the idea that those above the line could give a shit what we say or even bother to read it.

    Both they and the editorial staff are in it for the money and would just as happily sell fruit and vegetables if the pay was better.

    We, not they, are the ones who care and give a damn, both about the quality and reputation of The Guardian and the debate to which it puts its name.

    Sorry to hog things today. I will go back into the woodwork now.

  98. One other observation about CiF:

    The more I think about it, and the more I compare them, the more the Guardian seems to be following the FOX news approach.

    While they may claim to be 'fair and balanced', and make an attempt to appear so, they use several techniques to ensure they're not.

    a) When they do offer 'both sides of the story', the one they 'agree' with is often written by a big fish, while the one they disagree with, is often written by either someone who struggles to string a sentence together, or someone who has 'previous', so that they'll be slated because of that instead, meaning that their 'point of view' gets lost in the ensuing shit-storm.
    (FOX news do this by having the weakest, most pathetic 'liberal' voices present for what passes for a debate, and having them heavily outnumbered from the beginning).

    b) following on from that, when they do offer the alternative position, they use the inconsistent moderation 'policy' to skew the debate, coming out in force for the former, and leaving the latter to be ripped apart.
    (The t'internetz equivalent of FOX news cutting mics, and editing interviews etc..)

    c)If someone does manage to pull them on something (when the mods are all off humping legs or whatever) they send out the big guns, and start throwing shit around. So we have NapK as a BNP supporter, JayReilly as a polemicist whitout substance, LordS as a misogynist or whatever that was.
    (This is, of course, the 'well you're a goddam terrorist/traitor/communist' tactic on FOX news..)

    d) And then, finally, when people complain, they throw out the 'numbers'. Well, we're the most read site, most unique users, 99.9% of people love us, so clearly you're the problem, not us....

    And, like Alisdair said, having a strong editorial/ideological position wouldn't be a huge problem, if they weren't always pretending to be something they're not.

    It's like the really posh kid who goes to Eton, then does a gap year, grows some dreds, and then has the fucking cheek to go on and on about inequality, injustice and socialism when they eventually go off to their fathers college at Oxbridge.....

  99. Paul,

    I agree entirely.

    Like I said on my blog just after I 'flounced', part of the reason I got so pissed off was precisely because the Guardian used to be something pretty good, before the current crop of numpties got their hands on it.....

  100. Anyway... yes had another silly deletion, unsurprisingly on a fem thread. I rarely get modded outside of fem threads (comparatively anyway), so either my views on other topics are sane and non offensive except this one area, or modding is particularly delicate on this one area (or both possibly).

    If it was just fem stuff i wouldnt mind too much, its not the end of the world, but the same mentality of special protection is extended to some notable others - MacShane, Toynbee etc, who discuss wider politics.

    The response i finally got from the mods was from BellaM - i had no idea she was a mod. She is quite often writing on threads BTL so would never have guessed she was a mod too. I dont think it was her that deleted the comment, she was just on inbox duty, is the impression i got. But there were theories that modding was outsourced - clearly nonsense i suppose, Bella is in-house. So thats that cleared up.

    Anyway, the offending comment was a response to this:

    "Do you define all Muslims by the extremists who kill in the name of Allah? 
Do you define all those on the left wing by the Bader meinhoff gang? 
Do you define all those on the right wing by Timothy McVeigh?
    If not, why do you allow yourselves to be so intellectually lazy when it comes to feminism?"

    To which i replied with the usual careful and deliberate choice of words i have to use on such threads:

    "Very poor.

    Are the Allah avengers the leading lights of Islam, invited on to write in British broadsheets, lucrative publishing deals, slots on TV, radio shows, etc? No. 
Same goes for Bader and McVeigh. Do not pretend the bigots in the midst are lunatic "extremists" detached from real feminism. Its simply not true.

    They are the driving force of feminism in the public realm. They are its public face. Bindel is an extremist, yet Harman (another extremist, weird eh?) invited her to do the Poppy Project leading to government legislation. We wont be inviting Bin Laden to research our Trident replacement I shouldn't think.

    They are mainstream, thats the reality. There's no point calling people "intellectually lazy" when your own position is based on a demonstrable falsehood."

    The reason given was:

    "I imagine it was removed because it appeared to suggest that feminists like Julie Bindel and Harriet Harman are bigots in the midst."

    Considering the infamous article of Bindel's they published, to censor even the *implication* that she's a bigot is mindblowing.

    But obviously it still goes without saying that modding is entirely consistent, fair and reasonable.

  101. Shit, sorry, above post to Atomboy...

    (not having a good day today, numpties indeed)

  102. What also annoys is just how defensive they are on the issue. Every sane poster knows and agrees there can never be perfect modding, mods are human, people will mod with bias - its impossible to avoid. Thats why people suggest changes to the systems and processes to try to minimise it, like including the name of the mod, letting you see your own deleted comments by clicking on the deletion, including the reason on the message, etc etc.

    People havent just shouted "fire these mods and get unbiased ones in NOW!" - people have tried to think of reasonable, plausible changes that could be made to improve it. But its met with a wall of silence. Theres a serious state of denial - there's nothing wrong with modding so we dont need to discuss it.

    People dont have many complaints about CIF but this one never dies. People dont complain for the sake of it. And as you point out, the ciffers arent paid to care about this stuff, or think of improvements, anything, they do it because they care about the site and want to see open, robust debate.

  103. JamesDixon,

    that's a great post. I hadn't thought about it like that but now you mention it.

    I would also add the failure to put news up for CiF discussion when said news contradicts some pet ideologies or politics. I can think of the Purcell affair in Glasgow which is a truly jaw dropping case and Gita Saghal's resignation from Amnesty over Moazzam Begg's involvement.

    The Purcell affair highlights all that is truly corrupt at the heart of New Labour so no go for CiF there and of course Begg is a bit of an ATL poster boy.

    Of course, the Graun as a private media organisation is free to print or not print what it wants but it is the projection of the liberal shtick where free speech and discussion is 'encouraged' that shows the hypocrisy at the heart of CiF and the Graun. And what gets many posters so exercised.


    the Waddya discussion a few weeks back after LordS was banned and I and lots of others queried strongly the modding was the classic CiF defence. Our modding procedures are absolutely sound. There is no inconsistency and all posts are judged on their own merit not on who the post is arguing with ATL. The absolute refusal to admit anything was wrong. Nothing is wrong.

    And you been modded for that above is a classic.

  104. @James Dixon-

    good post!

    tip hat to you sir.

  105. This comment has been removed by the author.

  106. What I remember them saying duke is that they think the modding policy is sound but that mistakes are made at tmes.. human error etc.. Now while that may just be another 'excuse'... it's not the same as saying 'there is no inconsistency... full stop'... is it?

  107. Cheers,

    My old flat mate and I used to play 'the FOX news challenge', when we were deciding who'd make the tea or some such.

    The first person to grab the remote, or utter 'for fucks sake', 'what the fuck...', or physically flinch, baulk or shudder lost and got assigned said task.

    (It can be adapted as a drinking game, if that's your bag....)

    Unfortunately, the truth is, I've increasingly found myself doing very similar things while reading CiF of late....

  108. If you claim a policy (on moderation) is 'sound', but subject to human error in application you are inviting your reader to believe that the policy itself is without bias or inconsistency....

  109. Kizbot,

    The 'human error' in modding you refer to still happens on a regular basis and is the number one beef BTLers have with CiF, yet nothing is done because the procedures are 'sound'.

    If procedures are sound, why has this 'human error' not been minimised? It's a cop out excuse which covers any number of modding sins. It conveniently deflects any discussion on modding on their part and allows them to avoid having to explain political moddings, double standard moddings etc etc.

    If they genuinely were concerned in what BTLers want, they would agree to a review of this area that BTLers feel needs addressed urgently but they don't feel concerned and they won't review modding procedures.

    So yes, as you say it is an excuse and for all intents and purposes 'there is no inconsistency in modding'.

  110. Your Grace

    With the greatest respect as I curtsey to you, you can never truly minimise human error without endless hours of training and retraining.

    I imagine the mods are given what is effectively a tick-box form, and a checklist for what to look out for if someone reports abuse. They won't be trained to understand the nuances of political debate in each area. They will be asked to look out for sweariness, personal attack and anything that is dissing the writer. In particular, if someone reports a post they will likely as not delete it to save argument.

    Now, on some of the threads, I can imagine that the prissy, sensitive bods will stomp about the place and dictate what they will and won't put up with on their threads - given his recent admissions, Andrew Brown springs to mind, but I am sure there are many others like him. They will be reading the btl comments themselves and probably reporting abuse themselves too. And the poor little underpaid, underchallenged mods will kowtow because it is more than their job is worth to argue with them.

    In other threads - the McShame one about the Polish air disaster springs to mind - the mods will be less inclined to interfere, so someone like Matt turns up, a tad squiffy, on his Saturday night and puts in his two pen'orth rather than reporting posts anonymously.

    If truth be told, I would rather have Matt flexing his muscles so I can argue the toss with him than some anonymous twat arranging for posts to be zapped just because they don't like them without saying why.

    But that's just me...

  111. BB,

    So therefore the published modding procedures should be changed to reflect that some ATLers are sensitive, that some threads are less likely to be modded than others etc etc.

    The nub of the matter is, is that CiF’s published modding procedures are set in stone. And when you set something in stone, you better make sure that the same consistency is shown across all threads otherwise you are open to accusations of rank hypocrisy. Clearly moderation isn't consistent and you can only hide behind 'human error' for so long.

    This would matter not a jot if CiF was to put its hands up and admit it has an agenda, but it doesn't, it continuously styles itself as a forum for free and frank debate.

    It's easily the best newspaper site for discussion and I do miss not posting at times, but censoring posts (especially from the left when it challenges their received wisdom), whilst claiming to be a bastion of free speech based on sound, published modding principles (when it's clearly not the case) is downright hypocrisy. And this is the issue I have with it.

  112. Your Grace

    True dat. And, if it is any consolation, you are definitely missed.

    I don't really know what the sensible answer is, other than instead of appearing so magnanimous in their policies, while ultimately not obeying them themselves when the mood takes them, they fess up and just say "posts may be moderated". Full stop.

  113. BB,

    where did it all go wrong? Sat in on a saturday night arguing about the Graun's mod policy! My 18 year old self would be appalled.

    My better half starts her first nightshift in the local 'ziekenehuis'. It's a hell of a lot different in A&E here on a saturday night than it was in Glasgow.

  114. Your grace we keep banging on about Purcell and nothing happens! That the Guardian cannot be trusted is not just house paranoia - after the Great Debate the UK polling report site pointed out that the Guardian's 'polling' was as trustworthy as that of the bloody Daily Mail.

    Obviously they are desperate for Labour to win; for several reasons I am equally keen for Labour to win but I don't see why this means we should ignore criminality. It's only a couple of months since the Labour leader of one of Britain's biggest cities was buying cocaine in a seedy pub and this isn't newsworthy?

    The blessed Kevin Mckenna had a good sneer at John Mason MP for asking questions about the affair - I'm as likely to vote SNP as I am to snog Alex Salmond but Mason is doing the right thing - and Mckenna and the Guardia

  115. LOL

    Bloody hell, Your Grace, sod the 18 yr old self - my 30 year old self would be appalled!

    It's me birfday tomorrow and I am feeling particularly ooooolllld as I work my way through my bottle of wine here.

    I can imagine your missus having an easier time of it over there though. You don't get many people beating the crap out of each other because they have smoked too much weed, do you really?

  116. Damn posted before I finished -

    and Mckenna and the Guardian know it!

  117. Edwin - right about the Purcell business, and that wee special needs girl whose name escapes me who says she was abused. WTF is going on?

  118. Remake of The Prisoner with Ian McKellan on ITV in 15 mins - gonna give it a shufty.

    I was a tiny little thing when the original was on telly, and for years I was haunted by this image of a huge white balloon at the seaside eating people, until I realised less than 10 years ago what it actually was...

  119. BB,

    I watched the first few episodes here a couple of months ago - din't fink much of it, tbh!!

    That might have just been me and my 'that looks nowt like portmeirion' attitide though...

    (Happy Birthday for tomorrow too, just in case I don't get chance to say it...)

  120. BB,

    you're right. My 30 year old self would be appalled.

    It's true to say there is a different clientele in A&E here. I think most overnight admissions are hash related including half drowned cases who've cycled into the canals.

    Edwin, I saw you ploughing a lonely furrow on CiF highlighting the cokeheid. I'll be astonished if Kevin 'kailyard' McKenna ever properly addresses it.

  121. BB - many happies for tomorrow, I hope the sun shines for you.

    Not sure about The Prisoner remake: we had a bit of a Prisoner club when they re-ran it, so I saw the whole thing (mostly stoned) when I was a teenager. Don't really get the whole remake thing tbh - Patrick McGoohan was The Prisoner, don't think even Ian McKellan could compare. God, I'm a reactionary...

  122. Thanks for the good wishes, folks. :o)

    Shaz - Ian McKellen is Number Two I think - but in any event, it is worth a try to see. Some American bloke as the McGoohan character. I will report back.

  123. Ah feck - my comments are disappearing again...

  124. Well the first location freaked me out so I had to look it up on IMDB and it appears to be Namibia. Pretty awesome but definitely not Portmerion! :o)

  125. @BB
    Big sloppy cyber kiss and hug for tomorrow !!

  126. the 'some american blok'e is jim Cavie.., caveize, cavelezeli, cavei...

    ...-That bloke what woz jesus in the Mel Gibson film....

  127. The Simpsons did a good Prisoner episode which ended with a koala bear blowing smoke at the camera - think it was meant to represent Murdoch!

    Will have a quick trek back to Cif (no idea why am creature of habit) then get drunk - good night guys and happy birthday tomorrow BB!


  128. Just popping in as I occasionally do to throw some grit into the oyster...

    You're wasting your time, AtomBoy - this is Cif Redux, or the hospitality lounge for those who like to think that they're being wadical.

    Interesting to see that the birthdays, anniversaries, memorials a couple of days ago didn't find space to remember the 96 who died at Hillsborough.

    If the UT might have ever served a purpose, it would be nice to think that it actually campaigned for something worthwhile, rather than the same old shit about whether Jay gets premodded because Bidisha finds him boring.

    Popping in as I do, it becomes ever more obvious how wrapped up you all are in your trivial little spats on Cif.

    In the big scheme of things, it's really quite sad.

  129. Hank.

    Yes it bloody did. If you look at the top of the page for that day, you will see that Montana included it.

    And much as I love you - and you know I do - the other night you were arguing that the UT existed as a reaction to what was happening on CiF in terms of moderation and dissent (when I was arguing differently). Now you are arguing the opposite. Makes no sense. But then, I am a tad drunk, so what the f00k do I know?

  130. evening all, v interesting debate today.

    unfortunately wine + football means I am in no fit state to join in, so will just observe, heavy sigh re city, and while greatly enjoyed seeing spurs apparently playing bolton, at the end of th day that ent going to help things either, so more sighing...

    think will retire to sofa for crap TV.

  131. BB

    "If it got to the stage, though, where it was not just the Seaton Gang who muffled and stifled debate"

    "The Graun is not going to change what they do just because a dozen people with a grievance about having their posts deleted or being banned say they have to."

    And certainly not when some of its most popular posters have provided them with the incentive and the evidence to 'clean up' CiF and with your help Mrs B, cooperating with them on WDYWTTA, turn it into a kind of Facebook lite meeting place for mutual backslappers.

  132. Hank,

    did you read the David Conn article on Hillsborough in the football section? He quoted Jimmy McGovern on why Hillsborough was the result of Thatcher's war on the working class- chucking all the young men into 'pens' (horrendous term normally used for swine and indicative of attitudes). Football fans were also the enemy within.

    I've just thought, were you at the game in the Forest end?

    I think as the years go by, the admittance of culpability by the authorities is getting nearer. I watched a documentary last night on youtube by Liverpool TV. One of those interviewed was Neil Fitzmaurice (who co-wrote and was in 'Phoenix Nights), he was in the leppings lane end and his and others testimonies were numbing.

    Regardless of CiF and all the fighting I hope you're well and I keep my fingers crossed for Forest in the play offs.

  133. BB - I'm arguing differently now, if indeed I am, because the UT has become cosy, trusted, the antithesis of what it was supposed to be.


  134. No it hasn't, Hank! God knows there are enough posts today which demonstrate that as clear as day.

    Anyhoo - back to more serious stuff. We miss you. How ya doing? The place is not the same without your grit. If there's no grit, there's no pearls... xx

  135. @HankScorpio

    Not looking for a scrap with you and sorry things
    got a bit out of hand last time we 'met'.No hard
    feelings eh!

    I think you,re being a bit harsh.The various strands
    of the Left as you well know are all over the place
    at the moment.For what it,s worth i,m fucked if i
    know how things are going to pan out in the future.
    I understand all the theory but when you try and put
    that theory into practice then things don,t seem
    so clearcut.Because at the end of the day if the
    people won,t elect a government committed to raising
    taxes not only to properly fund public services but
    also redistribute wealth what do you do?

    From what you said before you only rarely visit UT
    but there have been some interesting discussions in
    recent weeks.It,s not all idle chat.

    I,m not preaching mate.You make your own mind up.
    But before things 'kicked off' before you had some
    interesting things to say.And i,m only sticking
    my oar in now because i think you have something
    positive to contribute.

  136. Evenin' all. Wouldn't it be great if Labour just pulled out of the election? No way the tories would win, then... damn this is some good shit I'm smoking! The door is a jar...

  137. For anybody in the UK, Nick Drake was covered by many artists in this programme. Amazing.

  138. Heheheh

    Habib, I agree with Nick.

    We are prolly the only two on here though.

    Would like to see some "I agree with Nick" bumper stickers launched.

  139. ...they might have *called* it The Prisoner, but it *wasn't* The Prisoner... grumblegrumble...

  140. It tipped its hat in passing, Shaz, but not much more... not very impressed so far. I wonder how it might develop though.

    Still - was happy to see the white balloon...

  141. BB, you mean there are people who don't like this??? They have no soul.

  142. Ah, but this is how it should be... ah, the Mini Mokes... ah, Portmeirion... sigh... :)

  143. @Duke - hello mate.

    Yeh, I was on the Kop. My brother was on the Leppings Lane. He made it out eventually, but he had to throw corpses off his head and shoulders to survive. And you're right, the "fences" were there to pen in the working class scum that Thatcher hated and feared. Unless of course they were the working class scum doing her bidding, killing Argies at Goose Green or scabbing at Awsworth.

  144. saz

    I turned it off after about 10 minutes.

    We had light dusting of grey particles this afternoon - I assume bits of Iceland - this suggests the dust cloud is above us as there is no wind. ( Althiugh obviously there is wind at high altitude )
    Yet all day the sun has been bright and clear and tonight the stars and moon are very bright and sharlply defined. No haze.

    How is this ?

  145. Leni - we've had nothing yet, although I read somewhere that there's been ash reported in Chiswick - about 30 miles to go.

    An Icelandic tour guide has been quick off the mark with this -

    "You've heard about Gordon Brown? When he heard about Iceland he wanted cash, but there's no 'c' in the Icelandic language, so we gave him ash."

  146. Ah - the :( was in response to Hank's Hillsborough post.

    Hey leni - at least it is not Tchernobyl fallout I guess! :o) No health hazards as far as I am aware unless you are in the thick of it. I was in Seattle in the summer of 80 when Mt St Helens went up, and there was a two inch layer of volcanic dust on everything. Still got a little souvenir bottle of it somewhere. Nobody running round with masks on or anything so it must have been ok I guess.

    Anyhoo, nighty night all x

  147. And I should have added of course that whenever I've demanded my right to freedom of speech by posting under a new name, it's you MrsB who's been the one who has taken on the role of informer.

  148. Shaz

    Brown doesn't like C too much - 'ameron, 'onservative and 'legg.

    we have 15 year old niece stranded in LA - school trip - it seems this could go on for some days yet.

  149. BB

    "We don't want to wonder whether the match is fixed and rigged and we don't want to wonder whether our own part is contributing to the corrupted process."


    You've been leading the charge madam.

  150. BTW, Duke, I went to Anfield this time last year for the memorial service, with a couple of Forest mates. And I met Jimmy McGovern shortly afterwards when he did a Q&A after screening his film at the Broadway in Nottm. He's still angry about it, as am I, and lots of others.

    I'd like to see heads roll. I'd like to see those responsible punished.

    I'd like Duckenfield to accept responsibility and admit his guilt to the point at which he fucking hanged himself.

    I hate the fucking cunt, and all the rest of the senior brass of South Yorkshire Police who walked away from their responsibilities and conspired in painting the innocent dead as the villains of the piece.

    This country will never change for the better while we have a media which paints all coppers as heroes, when the truth is that many of them should be hung on rusty hooks, to encourage the others.

  151. Hank

    just read your Hillborough post. i remember it - was in L'Pool visiting relatives - the shock and anger and the awful silence.
    Recently saw interview with paramedic who said the ambulances were stopped by police - no coordination.

    The caging of people defies belief really - but they have learned nothing - the police still 'kettle' people and brutalise them.

    should say we have learned nothing - we let them get away with it.

  152. Hank,

    I cannot begin to conceive what that must have been like to be there, I really can't. And your borthers experience. Jesus.

    If anything epitomises the British Establishments nauseating ability to look after their own it's Hilsborough.

    As Rogan Taylor notes on the documentary- after Heysel, the chief of the Brussells police and the head of the Belgian FA went on trial and the chief of police diemissed. After a temporary terracing collapsed at a Bastia UEFA cup match in 1987, the French FA Secretary was dismissed.

    After 96 people died at a football match in Sheffield as a direct result of police negligence and the FA's failure to heed the lessons of the previous years semi final crush what happens? Nothing. No resignations, no convictions. Nothing. In fact the fans were immediately put on the defensive after the S*n's infamous front page, they were the ones that had to answer completely false accusations. Duckenfield got a fat pension and Kelly at the FA carried on as normal.

    I was at the Celtic-Liverpool benefit match two weeks after at Celtic park. I was only 16 (the age of a few lads that died) and was completely overwhelmed by the whole experience, I just could not get my head around (and still can't) that people could die going to watch the fitba.

    Here's Manic Street Preachers SYMM (South Yorkshire Mass Murderer in 'tribute' to Duckenfield and here is part 1 of that documentary I mentioned.

    Justice for the 96.

  153. Alisdair Cameron

    "Above the Liners are privileged and some are especially protected even when making the most outrageous,contentious or plain wrong (as in ill-informed , evidence-free or inaccurate) assertions. BTLers, get moderated for pointing this out."

    And who are the privileged above the liners from The Untrusted?

    Ah yes Montana Wildhack, Ann Tanner and of course Mrs B. Anyone else?

  154. Hank,

    we cross posted exactly the same sentiments there.

    Another example is the struggle of Anne Williams to get justice for her son Kevin who died outside of the arbitrary 3.15pm cut off point designated by the initial coroner.

    Because of this, South Yorkshire Police did not have to answer why they did not let 40 ambulances inside Hillsborough (an independent coroner stated that Kevin Williams would have been saved by a simple tracheotomy that could be administered by an ambulance attendant) and why the Police did not action the emergency action plan until 3.55pm.

    And of course, the CCTV tapes showing the decision to open the turnstiles to let the fans who had been running late due to severe roadworks into the leppings lane end went missing. For further examples see stockwell tube station cctv.

    Mrs Williams took her case to the European COurt last year but it was rejected.

    As I said before, nauseating.

  155. And of course right on time come the UT groupies Sheffpix and T'uss raving about a great piece by Alisdair Cameron, which they fail to understand points the finger at them as two of the guilty parties.

  156. @HankScorpio

    I remember Hillsborough.i remember the miners strike,
    i remember Brixton,Broadwater Farm,Toxteth,the death
    of Cynthia Jarrett ,a Black mother who had a heart attack in her home whilst the police ransacked the place,Cherry Groce,anotherBlack mother now confined
    to a wheelchair after an'accidental' police shooting,
    the list is endless.

    There is a lot of deep-rooted anger in working-class
    communities all over the country and yes you,re
    right the media-including the Guardian doesn,t give
    a fuck.Neither do the politicians-and i,m talking
    about Labour politicians-who have largely sold out
    to the New Labour disease.

    But history shows Hank that one day the shit will
    hit the fan because anger gets passed down the generations.I,ll tell you a story.My dad was part
    of the first wave of immigrants who came to this country from the Caribbean and that generation went through some serious shit.They fought back when they had no choice but otherwise were totally law-abiding.
    And when their kids,my generation,started fighting
    back in the 70,s and 80,s they actually supported
    the police.It really wasn,t until the riots in the 80,s that the older generation really faced up to
    what this country was really like for Black people.
    And some of them even got in touch with their own
    repressed anger.I read a story about how the older
    generation were briefly cheering from the sidelines
    when Handsworth went up in flames in the 80,s.They
    didn,t get involved themselves but briefly their
    kids actions helped them to release some of their
    own repressed anger.

    I know it,s a cliched statement but what goes around
    comes around.And one day all the wrongs that working
    class people have had to endure will be confronted.
    Trouble is the working classes are so fractured nowadays-on the lines of race,religion,those
    working versus those not working etc, we have no
    meaninful representation and things right now look
    like shit.But things will eventually get better.
    What bothers me however is how many more people
    will suffer before that happens.

  157. @Leni and Duke - I've never trusted the police since the miners' strike anyway, so I wasn't too surprised that they fucked up so badly at Hillsborough and then used their media contacts to pass the blame to "pissed up scousers".

    What bothers me more is supposedly intelligent people like kiz, BB and others who are happy to swallow the bullshit that speedkermit spins on Cif.

    Actually, I'm fibbing. It doesn't bother me much at all.

    I know that all coppers are liars, and I really don't give a shit about those who seek to defend them.

    What really bothers me is fat-arsed liberal intellectuals like Jay Reilly who have an opinion about everything and, as a result, have nothing to say at all.

    Does make me laugh that Jay Reilly got banned for calling Tony Blair a cunt. And became a cause celebre for doing so. As though it was either brave or original.

    Christ, I am so bored with all this.

  158. Alisdair Cameron

    "I don't thnk there is overt Govt/NewLab control (and a tragedy of the last decade has been a deliberate blurring of the boundaries between party interest and Govt business, a wilful stepping over the boundaries), more a buy-in by the paper and the bulk of its staff to the Newlab project in its totality. "

    The very idea that The Guardian is subject to an "overt Govt/NewLab control", is really just a modern version of an infantile disorder.

    The Guardian like every other paper has been caught in the dilemma of needing to allow some measure of interactivity while at the same time having to keep some semblance of control over it's content but, at the same time, not taking on the role of censor. (A role that certain members of The Untrusted have taken on with gusto).

    But to suggest that there's someone in government monitoring the posts on CiF and instructing the mods what to allow and what to delete, is somewhat of a fantasy.

  159. I'm calling it a night now.

    Hank, outside of the politics and animosities of the UT , I hope you'll be around and respond to me laughing my arse off at the hubris of the English media and national team as you get knocked out in the World Cup quarter finals ;)

    Remember, it's a Scottish trait to laugh at a team we can't beat getting beaten in a tournament we can't qualify for.

    In the interim, I hope Davies gets you promoted to the Premier League.

    All the best mate and goodnight all.

  160. My brother is a policeman. He was at Toxteth and Orgreave. He's going to retire this year. Thirty years of service, as a constable. He is no liar. He is the most honourable man I've ever known.

    Some men shout from the sidelines, some engage in fights they see as the be all. Most just do the best they can and those, quietly standing in the front line deserve a little more respect.

  161. JayReilly

    "Interesting points. Someone else made a point I agree with re CIF in general, it doesnt change anything but i do think it encourages people to get more involved in politics, join groups, petitions, marches - it involves them in politics. There is the flipside of whether they use CIF as a replacement for other action, but i think on balance it probably encourages political action, however mildly. "

    Good perceptive post Mr R.

  162. @heyhabib

    The police are the agents of the state.I,m not saying
    they are all bad.And accept that without them there
    would be anarchy.But their 'excesses' have disproportionately hit working class communities.And
    that has led to a residue of anger which has been
    further fuelled by the de-industrialisation that
    again has disproptionately hit working class
    communities by de-skilling them and given them the
    option of either low-paid work in the service sector
    or a life on benefits and/or crime.

    I am sure your brother is an honourable man.But
    you know that Black and Asian police officers
    have to confront institutionalised racism in the
    police force.So it ain,t all sweet is it?

    If my post upset you it was unintentional!If it
    did come back and tell me.

  163. @HeyHabib - your brother was a policeman at Toxteth and Orgreave. And was an honourable man.

    The most honourable man you've ever known.

    No big deal to be honest. It's like the conferring a statuette on the Greatest Italian War Hero, or Belgium's Greatest Sailor.

  164. Paul, I think you know better than most how shitty some policemen can be. I hated what my brother stood for, for a large part of my life, but looking back now, I wish there had been more like him. Not offended, Paul, not blind, either, but some of them do work hard and honestly.

  165. @HankScorpio

    Be fair- even i accept all the police aint bad!

  166. There's a great film called La Haine, where one of the characters says "there are good policemen and bad policemen, but there's no such thing as a good nazi"

  167. JayReilly:

    "If not, why do you allow yourselves to be so intellectually lazy when it comes to feminism?"

    Mr R if you think you can equate feminism even in it's most strident form with Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof in their most extreme form, and Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 people, including 19 children under the age of six, you don't deserve to have your comment deleted, but you do need to learn something about how to develop a sense of proportion.

    Not even Valerie Solanas, the founder of SCUM came nowhere near the kind of obscenity that McVeigh committed and that's something you need to understand when you criticise feminist writers.

  168. @Paul - you might be right, but a copper at both Toxteth and Orgreave...?

    He's either looking for trouble or Habib's lying. FWIW, I think that he was looking for trouble AND habib is lying.

    Habib's full of shit, btw, Paul.

  169. BB

    "They will be asked to look out for sweariness, personal attack and anything that is dissing the writer. In particular, if someone reports a post they will likely as not delete it to save argument."

    So as an ABL writer and "someone who reports a post" would you like to tell us your own experience of posts you've asked to be deleted and posters you've asked to be banned?

  170. @Hank

    I don,t know anyone well enough to know what is what
    on UT.Habib has been cool with me so far and i don,t have a problem with him.

    Likewise i don,t have a problem you sir.So hopefully
    we can be cool as well even though we may disagree on
    some things.I suspect you and me are probably more
    similar than either of us would be prepared to
    admit.Scary eh!

  171. 13thDukeofWybourne

    "It's easily the best newspaper site for discussion and I do miss not posting at times, but censoring posts (especially from the left when it challenges their received wisdom), whilst claiming to be a bastion of free speech based on sound, published modding principles (when it's clearly not the case) is downright hypocrisy. And this is the issue I have with it."

    Well said 13th Duke and while I regret having almost four years of posts as Bitethehand ended with no warning, advice, suggestion, or hint that my end was nigh, it's the duty of everyone who believes in free speech to return as a new poster. Sometimes you get caught and banned again; sometimes you don't. But continuity is the important thing. Try reading Hedi Kaddour’s 'Waltenburg' for an example of historical stamina.

  172. Hi All

    Habib, Paul--Interesting stuff about the police. Agree that not all are bad, I think most are good, but when the dishonest ones betray our trust (much like priests, teachers, politicians) the public can't help but be wary of the rest. In Canada from time to time we have the RCMP investigating their own officers for alleged crimes. This does not sit well with the proles. When are we to believe them? It's not often that one will be censured or fired either. Policing their own privelages. Nice.

    OK--Let the tunes roll.

    Bitey--I'm curious. Is there anyone you do like? Anyone at all? Thanks in advance.

  173. I feel sorry for those who look at football results and see that their other half's team has been resoundingly thrashed. They just know he's going to come home in a foul mood and take it out on them.

  174. Boudican, I think that the authorities are a law unto themselves. Nothing we can do about it. Never has been, never will be. We rely on the benificence of the mighty.

  175. @You alright Boudican

    I,m off now.There,s a pizza with my name on it.

    Nite guys.

  176. BB

    "Piss off, Bitey."

    Ever the barrister MrsB

  177. Habib,that seems to be the case. Glad I don't live in Myanmar or Saudi Arabia though. Got to feel for those people. I probably shouldn't be so critical of others when our own western democracies don't measure up to the desired standards. Oh well.

  178. Paul, they named a pizza after you? That's cool. Enjoy it man.

  179. @Boudican - they named a pizza after Habib too btw. It didn't sell very well.

  180. boudican

    Institutions within democracies should not be self regulating/policing. Even if they are open and honest - which cannot be guaranteed - it leaves too many suspicions. We too have a history here of no accountability in several institutions - police and army to name 2.

    We have become very apathetic about our democracy - it is a mistake to think we have arrived at a final destination - much is becoming eroded , rights are being lost and an increasingly arrogant political class - who see themselves as an elite - are unnacountable.

    Democracy works both ways - there is a collective responsibility to maintain the balance - apathy is all that is required to hand power over to a small, self perpetuating group and the institutions which both depend upon and support them.

  181. Hank,Hank,Hank, you are in fine fettle tonight. I'd buy the Habib pizza if they were available here, and I'm a discerning pizzerologist.

    Watch the Chelski-Spurs match? Despite wasting a shitload of chances, Spurs ran the show. Good to see the odious JT sent to the showers as well. Come on Stoke!

  182. Well, occasionally, Leni and Boudican, just occasionally, if we all stand up together, we can get things done. Like the abolition of slavery, repeal of the corn laws, votes for women, the national health service, getting troops out of Vietnam, change to the poll tax, getting rid of Clause 28.

    I've missed out a few, and have no doubt that the Tory years ahead will see many more occasions when we can all get together to protest.

  183. Hi Leni--You are a nocturnal soul.(-:

    Agreed about the apathetic disdain in the populace. Ignorance and party politics are factors as well.

    Should also mention the Afghan detainee scandal that our government and army heads are trying to whitewash. A digusting series of coverups reminiscent of the recent Bush administration. Heads should roll, but they will no doubt be fitted for fancier hats.

  184. Boudican

    "Bitey--I'm curious. Is there anyone you do like? Anyone at all? Thanks in advance."

    There was a time when I had a profile on CiF, built up over several years which included masses of information about who I liked and admired. It included the likes of William Boyd, whose book 'Any Human Heart' is one of my favourites, - ‘That’s all your life amounts to in the end: the aggregate of all the good luck and the bad luck you experience. Everything is explained by that simple formula. Tot it up – look at the respective piles. There’s nothing you can do about it: nobody shares it out, allocates it to this one or that, it just happens. We must quietly suffer the laws of man’s condition, as Montaigne says.’

    Peter Carey, whose Oscar and Lucinda manages to encapsulates the affection and animosity of England and Australia, a world apart but a soul together, Cormack McCarthy, J P Donleavy, Jack Kerouac, Paul Theroux, A E Housman - "What are those blue remembered hills...", Babara Castle -"Even at 90, frail and nearly blind, she was battling with all her old ferocity for the causes in which she believed. Her courage and refusal to be cowed by pressure, even by violent abuse, gave us the breathalyser. There are some, reading of Barbara Castle’s death this morning, who will owe her their very lives”. She also freed women from the need to pay to pee.

    John Kenneth Galbraith - "There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth." ’ Isaiah Berlin - ‘As for the meaning of life, I do not believe it has any. I do not at all ask what it is, But I suspect that it has none and this is a source of great comfort to me. We make of it what we can and that is all there is about it. Those who seek for some cosmic all-embracing libretto or god are, believe me, pathetically mistaken.’

    I like jazz, post 1940s and particularly from the past three decades. 60s & 70s rock, Classical music and Opera. Favourite band - Steely Dan - album The Royal Scam:- “Becker and Fagen spin a web of lyrical cynicism in nine dark, intriguing songs about divorce, mass murder, immigration troubles, condom use and life on other planets set to some of the greatest jazz-rock guitar lines ever recorded.

    Rudyard Kipling's poem 'Harp Song of the Dane Woman'. - 'What is a woman that you forsake her, And the hearth-fire and the home-acre, To go with the old grey Widow-maker?'

  185. Bitey--Interesting, some very good stuff there.

    Another question, if it's not too much. What do you feel causes animus toward yourself online? No slight intended here, but that is what I see.

  186. Boudican

    similar problems here.

    party politics are a limiter on action - apart from the anti war demos the left here seem paralysed by the fear of the tories. Many still like to believe that Nulab are of the left. Politics is a mess.

    i'm actually off to bed now - i fell into a bush which viciously retaliated by stabbing me between the ribs , bruised intercostals are very painful.

  187. Boudican

    "What do you feel causes animus toward yourself online? No slight intended here, but that is what I see."

    Well apart from you calling me "rather puritanistic and mean spirited", when as far as I know I've never engaged you in any kind of online discussion, let alone challenged your opinions, I suppose it's because I challenge my own and other people's deeply held beliefs. And that tends to upset people.

    So when I see posters ganging up on other posters in order to make a cheap point, as for example happened to Ultimathule, I'm quite happy to engage them - as I have JayReilly, Alisdair Cameron and BeautifulBurnout tonight.

    But when those posters who claim freedom of speech is what differentiates us from the dictatorships in the world, and themselves become the censors, I conclude they really aren't concerned about our democratic values, and only crave attention, recognition and celebrity.

  188. Bitey--Thanks for the reply. I did say you seemed rather puritanistic and mean spirited because that's what your posts seemed to be. To me anyway. That was our first encounter, and I thought you were being a bit snarky. If I've misread you, then I'll retract, but surely tact and diplomacy can be applied as well.

    Challenging beliefs, and dogma, is something I like to do whether mine or others. A bit of fun,music and even the mundane are other reasons I like to visit here. Or Cif. I think most people like to be agreeable without necessarily agreeing, but, that's just my view. Bye for now.

  189. Err, Bitethehand, I think you took that line of mine the wrong way: I was not suggesting any overt or even covert Govt control of the Guardian; that's the very point I was making.
    There isn't such control, nor does there need to be. The paper bought into Newlab in its entirety (and has by the way become financially dependant upon discretionary Govt spending on events, adverts etc). No control needed, since the mindset is a shared one.
    The hypocrisy/inconsistency and cliquishness covers both the paper and the party though, and neither accept dissenting or challenging views with good grace, seeking to squash such views in a ruthless fashion that belies their claims to openness, freedom,or fairness.
    It's their paper, their space, so they can do what they like with it, but what they shouldn't do is posture as something they aren't, proclaim themselves to be somehow morally superior,righter,purer than the rest of us, when their position is so obviously inconsistent and they can't or won't admit to that.
    As I've said at length, if the paper were more honest about its limitations, its (limited, to me rather blinkered) outlook and partisanship,laid less claim to moral superiority and were more open about the constraints it imposes, then we'd all be better off, and its journalistic standards would rise.

    [By the way, I'm puzzled by your sentence relating to "ganging up" on a poster, a sentence in which you included my name. I think it might be an inadvertent construction, but it seems on one reading to imply my taking part in such activity. I'm at a loss to see where this has taken place]