02 May 2010


Anne Boleyn was arrested on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft in 1536.  Tennessee Williams won a Pulitzer Prize for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955.  Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Myanmar in 2008, killing 130,000 and leaving millions homeless.

Born today:  Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725), Vernon Castle (1887-1918), Lorenz Hart (1895-1943), Peggy Mount (1915-2001), Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), Theodore Bikel (1924), Luis Suárez Miramontes (1935), Jacques Rogge (1942), Judge Dread (1945), Lesley Gore (1946), David Suchet (1946), Alan Titchmarsh (1949) and David Beckham (1975).

It is Teachers' Day in Iran.


  1. Good morning.

    Re: a posible UT get-together in Sheffield - it will be open to all, of course. So sorry if anyone thought that it wasn't.

    Some of us met up in the Midlands earlier this year & we had such a great time that we said we'd repeat the experience in Yorkshire. sheff & I will be sorting it out, and our recent posts to the some of what I might call the UT stalwarts have just been about sounding out suitable dates.

    So when we have things sorted, we'll let you know when / where, here on the UT.

  2. PhilippaB

    When you've armed yourself with a very strong coffee, take a look at this


  4. And Philippa - when you climb down from the ceiling, stay away from the Barbara Ellen piece (not worth the effort).

  5. Not commenting on that.




    (coffee? coffee not enough - and it's too early for vodka, even at BST+1)

  6. MsC

    Just read that piece you linked too....ugh! Demonic possession? The woman is insane. I didn't think people who were actually mad were allowed to stand for office, not that you know it. So much for tory attempts to present themselves as gay friendly.

    Happy to get together to organise our knees up in sheffield.

  7. Stiff brandy perhaps? Or a Tia Maria in the coffee?

  8. sheff

    Terrific that's she's Cam's advisor. Not.

    Does this explain what's behind the ludicrous & highly divisive Con policy for a married people's tax allowance? Which was a BNP policy first, btw. Nuff said.

    There've been several reports of abuse of children by Xian parents who've believed that their child was possessed by demons. That case in Bradford (?) where a father regularly slit & stitched his 2 young son's tongues to release their demons with the complete compliance of their obedient & god-fearing mother- appalling.

  9. Is Barbara Ellen genuinely arguing that 'women' will cast their vote based on looking at someone at going, 'ahhhh, poor thing'?

    that does not seem to me to be "perfectly capable of assessing the core issues and thinking for themselves" - or they might stop to consider why he's taking such a kicking. you know, consider the past actions and policies of GB, rather than looking at him as the ugly puppy in the dog's home.

  10. MsChin - re the bats-attic Tory woman, I know have that song from Buffy going round my head

    "I've got a theory, that it's demon..."

  11. Hi all,

    In work on a Sunday, finishing a presentation to be given on Bank Holiday Monday, Gah!


    "MsChin - re the bats-attic Tory woman, I know have that song from Buffy going round my head

    "I've got a theory, that it's demon..." "

    LOL, also reminds me of the end of Angel, when Gunn went after the crooked female politician and her army of vampires....

  12. And, as a side-line to the sheer offensiveness of BATW's (I'm not using her name, particularly as it's my bloody name), this is catnip for the militant atheist element - "look! this proves christianity is evil!" - and for the fundy nutcases "this is anti-christian propaganda!" - so I'm actually annoyed on at least three different levels...



  13. Morning

    Does anyone else watch the Big Question on BBC1, it's hilarious.

    This weeks big question is do animals have souls?

  14. Hi Jennifera,

    Nope, and I'm nowhere near a TV, give us a run down?

  15. Thanks for the earworm Philippa, that's going to be stuck in my head all day now. ;)

  16. Dotterel

    Well apparently you can tell that great apes have souls just by looking in their eyes but they are not so sure about frogs.

  17. Philippa

    Exactly. Several threads running today which are making the most of the catnip effect.

    Hi jen

    Sorry, no. Not watched the prog that is.

  18. Ah I see, the irrefutable "looking in the eyes" defence. Are they trying to define "soul" and how we know humans have them, or are they just taking that for granted?

  19. Damnit, have been suckered in to commenting on BATW thread.

    Jen - nice follow up by Carole Cadwallader on "animal privacy". YOu can hear her sighing as she types...

  20. They had a scientist on for about 3 seconds talking about the existence of souls but quickly moved on to the holistic animal therapist.

    She thinks animals have souls you might be suprised to know.

    Oh now they are onto do dogs go to heaven.

  21. @Philippa - Har har har! That spoof Rees-Mogg Blogg is wonderful...

  22. PeterJ - having checked wiki, yes, it is indeed a spoof - feel very silly, although did read it with a mounting sense of 'WTF?' - has Cadwallader been suckered too? After all, it is very convincing but surely...surely there should be an 'as told to...' on it somewehere?

    need a sign up if there's going to be satire before i've woken up properly!

  23. I am not so a killjoy! Wonder if his sister Nancy (sorry, Annunziata) has a blogg of her own?

  24. Well it's not as much fun if it isn't real!

  25. Good day everyone.
    Another day of ciffing. Another cloudy day for me. Altohuh at least I feel better.

    Let's see, I remember commenting on Kevin Mckenna's article last week.

    What is BATW?

  26. Bats-attic Tory Woman. See MsChin's link in the second comment.

  27. Right - must go out. need fags and milk.

  28. Phillipa

    Lovely comment from seapiglet on the BATW thread

    And what about the demons? Who will speak up for their rights? They are quietly going about their business making people gay or whatever and then, BAM, cast out! What about new demons?Will there be a cap on the number of demons allowed into the country? Or maybe an amnesty for those who are already in situ, so to speak? I want to know what the parties policies are on demons!

  29. It just freaks me out when people talk about demons and other religious weirdness in the matter of fact way that some of them are on that thread.

    Being a bit soppy I always try to understand other peoples points of view even when they are directly opposite to my own but I just can't manage it with strongly religious people.

    It is probably wrong of me but I really can't take them seriously.

  30. sheff

    I've grown rather fond of seapiglet this morning, has made some ace posts there but this one is worth keeping & framing!

  31. Lols. Demons indeed. The problem is that this won't stop the forward march of the Tory twats.

    Why are our people so compliant and sheep like? On another thread, the one about the foreign correspondants take on the election, I have said that really Britain is as undemocratic as Russia, but we are masked by illusions. In Russia, Putin and Medvedev simply swapped power. In Britain Labour and the Tories have been swapping power.

    Lord ashcroft, homophobia, cutting public services, elitism and heirarchies, why oh why do people want to vote tory. Britain is abordereline dystopia anyway. The clever people will simply leave the country. I am looking for an exit strategy myself.

  32. Afternoon people!

    Cif is more than usually full of fuckwittery today isn't it?

    However -

    This article in the Observer is worth a read its here

    It questions the heritability of genius and emphasiszes the effect of the environment on the process.

    Interesting - Although the idea is not a new one - its actually quite obvious - e.g you may have a gene for tallness but poor nutrition will stop you from achieving your potential height. The same could be true for talent I guess.

    Also, 'Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains' a saying attributed to lots of people can anyone track it down.

    Pity the article isn't open for discussion - could generate an interesting discusion.

    As the article implies this issue has political implications.

  33. @Anne - the quote's usually attributed to Thomas Carlyle, although looking it up on Gutenberg the nearest to it is in Carlyle's history of Frederick II, Vol 4, where he writes: 'The good plan itself, this comes not of its own accord; it is the fruit of "genius" (which means transcendent capacity of taking trouble, first of all): given a huge stack of tumbled thrums, it is not in your sleep that you will find the vital centre of it, or get the first thrum by the end!'

  34. Nap

    'Why are our people so compliant and sheep like?'

    We have a proud history of social unrest. Take my local area - the Riot Act was read to protesters here in 1844 & 4 local women were arrested & imprisoned for stripping several of the military of their clothing. There were riots all over Yorkshire in 1893 because of lock-outs by pit bosses - the Irish Fusilliers were deployed to Orgreave in October 1893.

  35. MsC
    We have a proud history of social unrest.

    The fact that it's history is part of the problem. Too many people are sedated by consumerism and fear these days. IMO things will have to get a great deal worse before the Brits will ease themselves off their arses and engage in a bit of serious social unrest.

  36. Morning all. If you need a drink Philippa - then sit back and watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKFTtYx2OHc&feature=player_embedded

    (cant do proper links but if you copy and paste into google it rbings it up)

    You will need to attach a vodka drip straight into your veins. I thought at first - 'very clever this' but then it just gave me the fear - big time. I didn't sleep last night wondering about just what is in store for us a week next Friday!

    MsChin and sheff et al - great discussion yesterday - I read the rest of it last night but was late so didn't comment. Are you in my ward Sheff - central?

  37. Annetan - just taken delivery of Danny Dorling's book (Injustice) after a chat on here with Chin a while ago, he makes a very similar point about genius in his introduction. I've only just started it but it's looking like an interesting read.

    I survived the night fever but I must say the antibiotics I was given were strong stuff - on reading the 'contras' leaflet this morning I was pleased to see that wild nightmares and pyscotic behaviour can be a side effects. I was worried for a while. I thought I might have to go to a confession for the first time in my life and I ain't even a Catholic.

    I have to tell yous that what them priests were doing to them nuns in my dreams was a fucking disgrace. Them guys was plainly lying. They were not driving the demons out - they were driving them in.

    And all wildly aided, orchestrated and abetted by blokes in purple dresses. Plainly the Pope should attend to his Cardinals. And the drug company should mark the carton " not suitable for Catholic spinster ladies" or others of a nervous disposition.

    (I share your unease at the religious zealots Jenn30)

    I actually awoke in a sweat shouting abuse at the Cardinals, I don't like to see men abusing their office in pursuit of lust, Mungo wanted to know what a Cardinal was but fortunately I recovered me composure and didn't answer.

    If he were to get his paws on an Ecclesiastical Outfitters Catalogue I could be in trouble. I really would look silly walking around with a dog dressed in a Cardinal's frock.

    Mungo I think not

    Chekov a belated welcome and delight to see yet another Yorkshire connection. Hope you do make it to the Sheffield do - as a kid I saw John Charles play who knows I may have even seen your dad play.!! I was regular at Elland Rd 55-57.

    Nap hope to read soon: (a) you got your brass back from the shit internet company, and, (b) your shocking experiences of joining new groups in the city. Best of luck with both.

  38. Oh and re the Sheffield do - I cant do the 24th of June as am orff to Witby for me hols for a few days. But I htink can pretty much make any other date. Would be nice to be able to put faces to names as it were.

    Deano - Yes best to keep him away from the high church gear! Lol.

  39. Boudican et al- thanks for god wishes, things are improving. No longer trying to piss razor blades. Actually pissing what now feels like ground glass so it's an improve.

    You still on for a golf visit to the borders this year?? Got a date yet?

  40. Morning all

    Can,t sleep so decided to browse.

    MsChin-the true face of the Tory party on that link.
    And btw Sutton and Cheam once elected another right
    wing nutjob called Lady Olga Maitland who used to be
    a gossip priestess for one of the tabloids.Must be
    something in the water down there.Has been LibDem
    territory for a while though so it,s not a dead cert
    that Mary Whitehouses secret lovechild will be elected on thursday.

    deano-glad you,re feeling a bit better.Sounds

  41. @Paul - I remember Olga Maitland. She ran a pro-nuclear-weapons group called Women and Families for Defence (or something close to that), which was parodied as 'Nannies and Labradors against the Azerbaijani Threat'.

    Strange woman.

  42. deano30: My Dad left Bramall Lane after the 1952/53 season and Leeds United paid £600 for him to start the next season so it's almost certain that you saw him play at Elland road!

  43. Shuper Shteve McClaren has just won the Dutch League!

    A fantastic achievement for McCLaren to win it with a regional side and the first English manager to win a top division title since Howard Wilkinson in 1991.

    The whole of the Netherlands is celebrating that Ajax lost it whilst they'll be crying in the red light district of Amsterdam.

  44. hello

    deano - glad situation is easing for you - nightmares sound like fun. Time to worry about Mungo when he wants to be carried everywher and demands a Mungomobile.


    Interesting about your dad - £600 - makes you think about changing values - both cultural and of money .

  45. @sheff

    I agree with you that things will have to get a lot
    worse before the Brits take to the streets.My fear as
    i,ve said before is that divided communities may
    tear each other apart.And the forces of the state
    will simply be used to contain the problem.

    Remember what happened in Birmingham a few years ago
    when simmering tensions between Blacks and Asians
    exploded after a rumour went round that a 14 year
    old Black girl had been raped by a gang of Asians.
    These 'fault lines' exist in so many working class
    communities now that when the swingeing public
    sector cuts hit and workfare programmes are
    introduced the anger of the people may be
    misdirected.And in some places different community
    factions will either fight each other and/or seek
    scapegoats from within their communities.Rather
    than directing their rage at the State.Am worried
    that things could turn really ugly.

  46. chekhov,

    my father in law is a Blackburn Rovers season ticket holder. Been a fan all his life.

    He tells me the story of Ronnie Clayton, the Blackburn Rovers and England captain. My father in law was going to work one morning as a teenager two days after England had played an International at Wembley.

    As my father in law was walking to his work, the England captain from two days previously rode past him on his bicycle delivering newspapers. He owned a newsagents in Darwen all through his career.

    Not just another time, but another world.

    A fantastic book if you haven't read it which evokes beautifully the time your Dad played is My father and other working class football heroes. It's a touching book.

  47. My God Peterj - I had forgotten all about Olga Maitland. Years ago, back in the Greenham days, I once went head to head with her at a meeting. Mad as a bat she was.


    Someone left an interesting comment on the sharia piece which backs up what you say about divided communities. He recalled that back in the 70s/80s when the NF raised their ugly heads in and around Brick Lane, everyone stood shoulder to shoulder - Bangladeshis, Jews, together with everyone else. Nowadays he said, quite a few of the sons of those Bangladeshis have become radicalised in a different way and the divisions are growing. Very sad.

  48. 13th Duke: nice story. Another world indeed. My Dad was paid £10 a week. He made 289 appearances for the Blades and scored 111 goals.Not sure how that works out on a pro rata basis but you get the point!

  49. Sheff + Paul

    Sadly I see no politicians on the horizon willing to really acknowledge these divisions let alone address the.

    The Antony Lerman thread about a course in Sweden which teaches Judaism to Jews and others together is collecting an horrific amount of hate comments. Can't fathom out why.

    Too many groups trying to hang on to personal 'secrets ' and perhaps what they see as absolute truths which must not be shared.

  50. I've just spent a happy hour or two pottering around Kelham Island Museum. If you're interested in engineering its fabulous. Its really good on steel workers living/working conditions in the 19th and early 20th century too.

    In the Hawley Collection (a wonderful record of tool making), I found this little homily:

    At the heart of the collection is pride in a city's skills, skills as Ken Hawley says, "people didn't even know they had" and a wish that the tools which helped build the city stay here, where so many were born and used."

    Damn all pride these days and as for skills....

  51. Sheff: I once met Ken Hawley. He showed me his amazing collection of tools which he was catalogueing at the time (about 14 years ago). There was a plan to get them displayed somewhere. Not sure how that worked out.

  52. Sheff/Chekhov

    Reading both your posts made me wonder how contempory
    working class communities would be 'exhibited' in
    generations to come.How can you get across to future
    generations what it was like to live in a deskilled,
    deindustrialised,disenfranchised,divided,crime ridden
    community where for many the only escape would be a
    win on the lottery?

  53. chekhov

    They are displayed in a new gallery in Kelham Island Museum now.

    If you come down for the Sheffield knees up you could take a look - they had the huge River Don engine going this afternoon - magnificent.

    Oh and not forgetting, at least five of the best pubs in the city are round there too.

    I'll put a picture of the little Crossley gas engine up in the gallery - they had that going too.

  54. Sheff

    i recently visited the museum in Swansea - industrial and maritime heritage.

    sad to think our parents and grandparents - theirskills and way of life - have become museum pieces to be gawped at by the often nonunderstanding and nonappreciative.

  55. This is in danger of turning into a Monty Python sketch!

  56. We used to live in lake!

  57. A lake! What luxury - all we had was a small pond.

  58. Pardon me, but I have to say this in big, bold letters:


  59. I am here to confess I have never lived east of the Pennines - am I still ok ? x

  60. A lake ? A small pond?

    You lucky lucky people! All we had was a bucket!

  61. Paul
    Our bucket had a hole in it.

  62. It's not quite as wet here Leni, but apart from that and Deano's conviction that Yorkshire is gods own country (which is arguable), it's not that different.

  63. Leni

    Our bucket had a hole in it.

    Only one hole?

  64. Come to think of it we did occasionally get a lake
    in our street if a water pipe burst!

  65. Or more like a great big puddle but it was fun
    for us kids!

  66. Not a good day for the Wednesdayites.

  67. Back again ..

    And in t'outside privy, we 'ad just t'one sheet of Izal toilet paper, which we 'ad to share ..

    And I take it someone's pissed Montana off big time.

  68. Ahem

    Deano's conviction that Yorkshire is gods own country (which is arguable)?

    No, sheff, it's a fact.

  69. I still have a hole or two in my tin cup...........what do you think I shower under.

    Leni it is different in Yorks - it is civilised and civilising.

    You should note that the lass didn't call herself Somersetpixie. Her years here contributed to smoothing the shrillness sometimes found amongst cider suppers. You should save your pennies a weekend in Sheffield with a UT get together thrown in could be a fun experience.

    Fine photo of the Crossley Sheff well worth a visit I've bookmarked it.

    Went to Brodsworth Hall nr Doncaster last week - good to see a once might banker family fallen..

  70. Montana grand to see the long winter has not put your fire out. I was beginning to worry - needlessly.

  71. deano

    Can't get the Preston SATS piece to load (or owt else on CiF for that matter), to see what's naffed her off so much. But good to get me ears singed by her again!

  72. "...And in t'outside privy, we 'ad just t'one sheet of Izal toilet paper, which we 'ad to share..."

    What and it wont Christmas... .. posh bastards you came from Chin

  73. Hi, another rainy day in Glasgow (all this week, damn). I went to the people's palace and winter gardens if anyone is familiar. It is very interesting, essentially a social and cultural history museum. It was built in the great Victorian civic tradition of 'for the benefit of the poor'. And it certainly needs it. I walked there and back, going through the district of Calton, which is the place with the lowest life expectancy in the UK.

    Also, I have a hilarious photo I want to upload to the UT photostream from my mobile. Do I need a flickr account?

    Otehr than that, jsut rest easy and study a wee bit tonight. Next week is going to be the gruelling week. First sort out some forms at the bank. Then, apply for as many jobs as possible-- no matter how awful they are.

    So, I may be around less as I live the Mcjob dream, I will be too drained to post much. But as long as I retain my sanity and intellect. I could even write a few blog entires on them, ie analyses on the conditions of labour etc.

  74. Sounds like a good plan, Nap. And nothing wrong with honest toil mate, I guess most of us have done jobs we'd rather not, when necessary.


    LOL. I've just spluttered me coffee over my keyboard and split my sides!

  75. @Montana

    I agree, that PETER PRESTON IS A TWAT.

  76. Chin Preston writes:

    "All professions play self-interest games via seemingly lofty bodies called societies, councils or "royal colleges". But only teachers give that elevated game away by too much bog-standard inter-union squabbling, name-calling, fist-waving and the rowdy rest. And only the National Association of Head Teachers, 28,000-strong, has the gall to call itself "an independent trade union and professional association". My italics. Friends, you can't have one and claim the other.

    Today in Liverpool, the association's conference gave the schools secretary, Ed Balls, a predictably rough time. On Friday, in up to 8,500 primary schools around England, heads are poised to stop preparing Sats tests for 11-year-olds. Thus there will be no useful league tables available to parents wanting to choose a school, no reliable guide on national performance – and too little untainted fact for Ofsted to use for its individual assessments. That may not matter overmuch to the NAHT. They've just voted to scrap Ofsted, too. But the rest of us, interested in how our children are getting on, are entitled to ask a few more difficult questions.

    Let's start with warm consensus. Headteachers are always the most vital people in school. They are the inescapable difference between success and failure. A good head in a "leadership role" matters more to the school at the end of your road than any number of Whitehall circulars. Heads are well worth salaries that start at just under £40,000 for the very smallest village primary and rise to £110,000 or so for a big metropolitan comprehensive. It's entirely just that 19 "leadership grades" should rate more than an MP's salary, minus expenses.

    But when you start paying professional rates, you also start seeking professional conduct – the leadership to go with the role. You also start inquiring about responsibilities, plus lines of command. Ed Balls in Whitehall thinks heads who won't run the tests should stay away and delegate a "competent person" to superintend them instead. He reckons heads who – in effect – walk off the job, should lose a bit of cash for that defiance. He believes that school governors have a "statutory duty" to ensure that the tests are held.

    Cue utter confusion. Headteachers, who anger easily, blow their tops. Governors aren't sure what this statutory duty amounts to, often side with their headteachers – and wonder what central sanctions can bring them to their unpaid, unregarded knees in any case. Local education authorities flip this way and that. It's a mess, and an administrative shambles. But it also needs sorting out.

    Can governors govern, or are they merely cheerleaders for whoever happens to sit in the head's study when they meet? Can an elected government ask for national standards to be observed – and then find itself spurned by school after school? Where do local councils fit? The only victims in this melee are 11-year-old kids who've worked hard at reading, writing and maths for years – and now won't know where they stand.

    Oh, of course we know that a curriculum that concentrates on crucial skills blights creativity, diversity and many other boons. We know that, bizarrely, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers thinks Sats test absentees could more profitably fill in their time by learning to play rugby union. We absolutely know that teachers (like almost everyone else with professional aspirations) don't like to be timed, examined or tested themselves.

    But we ought to know that standards in Scotland and Wales have slipped since testing there stopped. And we might reasonably note that unpopular policies here get changed by the ballot box rather than wrecking crews (and that this Thursday precedes this Friday). "We defend all our members to the hilt," vows a proud NAHT. Precisely. That's the trouble. It's a union parents and children can't join"


  77. Ms Wildhack responds:

    2 May 2010, 5:22PM

    Anyone who has spent time in a classroom actually teaching children -- children with huge disparities in the amount of educational support they get at home, the stability of the home itself, the nutritional standards of the food they eat, their cognitive abilities, level of test anxiety, etc., etc., etc. -- can tell you that standardised tests tell you fuck all about the quality of the education that is going on in the classroom.

    That is what the members of the NAHT and NUT know that you don't, Mr. Preston. Perhaps you should ruminate on that a bit before you spout off."

    You can plainly tell the lady has a friend from Bradford Yorkshire

  78. Ta, deano. I think Montana would've blasted the bastard even if the Yorkshire connection hadn't existed.

    But yes, we'll claim some credit for god's own country for the Bradford 'insider knowledge', as is our custom.

  79. Couldn't agree more Montana ! - with your comment here and CiF

    TheGreatRonRafferty has pretty much buried Preston too.

    Sneering ignorant opinion piece applauded by right wing enemies of reason.

  80. some twat called stoneshepherd has just pissed me off big time now, on that bloody Preston thread.

    *stomps out to porch for a fag & a fume*

  81. Message from Larit - she is locked out. I have advised she check google ac.

    She is currently using Tmobile 'web +walk' dongle - any advice welcome please.

  82. Ok, don't mean to sound crazy but I am writing a blog concerning 4 things and somehow trying to unite them.

    The elections, British lack of democracy, my own and young people's employment conditions and Vasili Grossman on Chekhov. Should be up soon. I have a bare bones version up right now, I will edit and improve on it later.

    And I really want to put my photo up on flickr. Anyone?

  83. Oh, my fucking god, that piece made me angry. (As if you can't tell...) It wasnt' just this idiotic notion that people like him have that standardised tests are in any way a meaningful measure of the quality of a school, it was also the notion that voting is the only appropriate way for members of the NAHT and NUT to express their disapproval. What good is voting going to do them when all 3 parties amount to the choice of Vanilla, French Vanilla and New York Vanilla?

    Standardised tests simply cannot measure how hard the staff works or how much they care. And all the caring and working in the world cannot overcome unstable home lives, parents who can't or won't support academic achievement, poor nutrition, cognitive disabilities, bad attitude, etc.

    The ones whose major problem is attitude know that we are extremely limited in what disciplinary actions we have available to us, so there's not much we can do to turn around entrenched attitudes. And when the parent's don't give a damn about their children's educations, getting the kids themselves to care is nigh well impossible.

    And when the parents with the concern and means to educate their children elsewhere have the option to send their children to private schools or better-funded state schools, the schools in the poorer neighbourhoods just fall further behind.

  84. Napoleon: I'll send you an e-mail with the details of how to log into the Untrusted's Flickr account so that you can put the photo up. Look for it in just a few minutes.

  85. I see from the news the good people of Louisiana are deeply concerned about the oil spills effect on their environment and livelihoods and it is going to be a dreadful catastrophe by the looks of it.

    And I know it smacks of whataboutery, but have you ever heard them utter a solitary word of concern about the lives and environment of people in the Nigerian delta, or elsewhere in Africa where minerals are dug out by hand for pennies for the benefit of a small local oligarchy and the west. No, I thought not.

  86. Leni

    Montana may know. Failing that we need a UT techie to advise on how to sort out La Rit' s problem.

  87. Sheffpixie
    Louisiana's a pretty conservative state. New Orleans was strongly Democrat, but guess what ? Half its population left after Katrina, and many did not return.

    I feel dreadfully for the damage done to the environment, and also the poorer Lousiana people, who used to be able to live cheaply off the abundant sea food. According to Guardian a few days ago, 70% of what was once an extraordinary biodiversity has goneth- through the combined onslaught of overfishing, the laying of oil pipelines and man-made diversions to the Mississippi.

    And now the region "which includes nearly half of America's wetlands – faces its greatest threat of all whichcould kill off what little environmental riches are left."

    Makes me sick to the stomach.

  88. I'm afraid the technical bumps are completely beyond me. I can count the number of times I've had problems here on one hand, so I don't have any personal experience to go on and the Blogger 'help' pages don't do what it says on the tin. And they don't seem to have anywhere to e-mail them to say, "This is what is happening to some of the people who comment on my blog -- what could the problem be?"

  89. There's a claim on Sky on-line that the "Pakistan Taliban" are responsible for the New York car bomb-that-wasn't. No 'story' as yet, though.

  90. I see that woolly mammoths survived cos their blood contained anti freeze - now there's a genetic modification I could live with. Put the utilities out of business.

    BW - I agree - the gulf oil spill will be catastrophe of monumental proportions.

  91. Sheff;

    I think that most people in Louisiana are too poor to be concerned with much beyond their own survival. Certainly very few of them would have any benefit from or awareness of Nigerian mining.

  92. Preston was the spineless maggot who (in an attempt to excuse himself for having been responsible for the gaoling of Sarah Tisdall) wrote in 2005 that: "...journalists must put pragmatism before principle."

    Rusbridger (or 'The Mr. Pooter of the Piano' as I always think of him) was Preston's personal choice to take over. Big surprise...

  93. More about NY elsewhere on the net, saying authenticity of claim is hard to verify. Also the 'Taliban' connection seems to be pretty loose & nothing to do with the real one.

    Ah well. Off out for a few hours for a natter with my mates. They drink, I watch. It's fun, trust me.

  94. Montana - Bitterweed

    You're probably right and i agree the gulf oil spill is a potentially huge catastrophe. But I do get fed up with how rich country centric the news and concerns about peoples lives is.

    There has been a major catastrophe ongoing for years despoiling the environment and wrecking peoples lives thanks to oil corporations and corruption in the Niger delta, just to take one example, about which we hear practically nothing, although we benefit from it, unlike the local population.

  95. Sheff

    I agree wholeheartedly about Niger delta - the people are robbed of their resources - called thieves and criminals if they pinch a drop or too of oil and many have been killed in explosions along pipeline.

    So many - far too many - of these ongoing injustices and outrages are hidden away.

    The meedja shirks from highlighting them thus ensuring their continuation. ,

  96. La Rit may like to know that I used to have log on problems to UT from a three dongle (they share masts with tmobile these days).

    I could almost always read here, but was sometimes unable to log in to post. I came the conclusion that it was down to variable signal strength from the local mast.

    They put in a new mast locally a few months ago and the signal is now always much stronger and I haven't had a problem for ages.

    I also seem to recall that someone once had problems because they set 'block all' the cookies to 'on'. That, if I recall it correctly, had a result of blocking access to UT but I don't remember which system internetexplorer/firefox/googlechrome was involved.

    I find that the new google Chrome (free to download) set with its default settings works faster with the more limited speeds you get with dongles.

  97. Another 'dongle' difficulty:

    Signal strength varies in response to the number of users using a particular mast at different times. A few folk using iplayer youtube nearer to the mast than you can make it more difficult.


    Signal strength varies from room to room within a house if using a laptop. Upstairs often best.

    What seems to work one day don't always work the next day.

    Best advice to dongle users is often 'keep trying' you sometimes suddenly get through.

  98. Sheff
    Fair point. I will never forget face of that that pious, pug faced bitch of a woman Anne Widdicombe when she stood before the press in 1995 and told anyone who was listening precisely why she, as newly promoted Minister of State, was absolutely morally right and justified in sending oil protester Ken Saro-Wiwa back to Nigeria that morning. She claimed to have not been aware of any danger to his life. Fuck off. The utter, sanctimonious lying bastard.

    I'm still reading Le Carre's Most Wanted Man, and, as with having just watched Anthony Minghela's beautiful "Breaking and Entering"
    I'm left certain that we - our media, our electorate, or parties prefer to know jack shit about immigration.

    Like Widdicombe, we pretend we can't tell the difference between a survivor of Sarajevo from a machete wielding Somalian crack wholesaler in Kings Cross.

    We know the difference but we pretend we don't. They're all underclass, pikeys, benefit frauds. We don't want to know about their problems. We just want to know how much it will cost us to help, and to then say no. We want the fruits of their economic status. We don't want the trouble of caring how bad or awful that status is to live under.

    Fuck it, I think I'll vote Green.

  99. BW

    I got the name today of the person in Afghanistan I've given my vote to and I'm now waiting to hear who they want me to vote for on their behalf and why.

    As for anne effing widdicombe and Ken Saro-Wiwa - the less said about her the more likely I am not to blow a fuse.

  100. BW

    PS - Try and catch the Radio 4 Smiley series on iplayer if you didn't hear them when they were on - they were excellent

  101. Good call Sheff !

    As for AW, you and me both. People go on about her likes she's some kind of loveable mad aunt. She's a mendacious fucking sow - and that event coincided with her conversion to Catholicism you know ? Shit.

    Right - back to my movie.

  102. Will do. Sheff I still have the whole 80s tv series on a BBC VHS. It's quality. (Trouble is I now have an unshakeable image of the troubled banker Herr Brue played by Guinness...)

  103. BW - Simon Russell Beale as Smiley won't disappoint you

  104. Sheff - what if she asks you to vote for Cameron?

  105. Deano

    There'll be major problems and a discussion will ensue. But I don't think thats very likely - at least I hope not!

  106. deano30:you may have missed it but posted earlier to say that I had checked the dates and it seems more than likely that you could have indeed watched my Dad play at Elland Road.His name was Harold Brook. Does that ring any bells?
    One of the reasons I'm asking is that I never got to see him play since he retired before I was born.

    Bitterweed: from last night: "I assume you are joshing"
    Not joshing at all. No doubt you interpreted what I said as implying that I played in a professional football match with Eusebio. Well no, that's not the case. However I did get to meet the great man and have a kick about with him at a training session at Benfica's stadium in Lisbon.I was about fifteen at the time and I have photographic evidence as proof!

  107. Sheff
    If you get the chance, check out Breaking and Entering. Minghella's finest hour I'd say, produced by Sydney Polloack and with a great score by Gabriel Yared and Underworld.

    Great casting too, thoroughly beleivable understated performances, beautiful lens work (like watching Poliakov but with out the fawning posho bullshit), and visual and scripted metaphors that are used brilliantly throughout. I may be overstating it but I don't care, somethimes art can be a triumph of humanity. I'll watch this movie again.

    And it's a shame he died at 52. Such a shame.

    Thats' just brilliant mate. I wa a bit pished so may have been a bit unmeasured in my tone. Truly, I'm impressed.

  108. Fingers crossed girl.

    How do you say you can have anybody you want but not Cameron in Afghan?

    Can't find an Afghan translator but in Russian it's

    вы можете иметь любого вы любите кроме Cameron

    and in Chinese


    Good luck.


  109. This comment has been removed by the author.

  110. BTW: I would be interested to know the allegiance (if any) of the Sheffield contingent.
    Who supports the Blades and who the Owls and who supports any other team for that matter?
    Another thing interests me: are you all actually from Sheffield or have you "gravitated" from somewhere else?
    I only ask because when I lived in Sheffield I met a lot of people who moved there on a whim of fate and decided to stay because the people were so friendly and welcoming. I hope that is still the case.
    As you probably already know I'm on Tyneside now. I will always be a Tyke and not a Geordie but I'm happy to say I was welcomed here and I'm very grateful for that.

  111. Good work Deano. Sheff - in case you need the phrase "David Cameron is a bum-faced southern ponce with a small washer for a mouth" in Arabic, here it is:

    ديفيد كاميرون هو بونس بوم الوجه الجنوبي مع غسالة صغيرة لالفم.

    It should of course be aligned right.
    Hope this helps.

  112. Deano/BW

    Thanks guys but I think I need Pashtun or Farsi.


    I'm a blow in - albeit of long standing but MsC and Princess are local I believe. Don't know their football allegiences but mine must be Blades, according to my son.

  113. BW
    Put back through Google that translates to -

    DC is the southern face bum bones with washing machine small mouth.

  114. Leni
    The wired-up world is such a wonderful thing. Thanks !

  115. No saw it Chekov - have been googling all day trying to find who transferred in in 1954.

    I came across the Wiki for your dad and thought it might be him:

    "Harold Brook (born. October 15, 1921 in Sheffield, England – died.1998) was an footballer who played in the position of inside forward for Sheffield United.
    Brook started his football with Fulwood F.C. and then Hallam F.C., before signing for Sheffield United in 1945.
    In his time with the Blades, he made 229 appearances scoring 90 goals. He spent 8 years with Sheffield United
    In 1954, he was transferred to Leeds United, and scored 46 goals from 103 appearances for the West Yorkshire side. When Leeds United were promoted he scored a hat-trick in their opening division one game against Everton. The legendary John Charles was playing alongside him."

    but then you posted some new stats which didn't seem to match his Sheffield days and I assumed not Harold then.

    I didn't want to ask his name in case you wanted to remain anon - but with a dad with Harold's record I can well understand your pleasure and pride in naming him.

    I was only a small kid 7 years old in 54 and in awe of the gentle giant himself so me memory of the rest of the team team is not too great. Have texted me brother in law who was also a fan at that time and a bit older.

    Super 1950's Leeds

    I just been reading the season's reviews from when your dad joined I'm sure I would have been going nuts when watching him - he was well thought of especially when he got that hat trick in the first match in the longed for Div I against Everton. I really hope you inherited the match ball.

    You read the Leeds United season reviews from the his days?

  116. Leni
    DC is the southern face bum bones with washing machine small mouth.

    Love it!

  117. Right. Off to watch Dog Soldiers now. Werewolves v British Army. In Scotland. I'm hoping it'll be a good as "Wrong Turn", wherein three Virginian hillbillies decide that Ivy League students on a hike are good enough to eat. Laters ;-)

  118. Sheff
    I rather relish the 'bum bones' bit.

  119. Bloody Hell my Dad's on wikipedia!

  120. Come to think of it 'washing machine mouth ' is good - suggests a mindless churning of not necessarily related items,

  121. chekhov

    I have been following this conversation with interest - although I know nothing about football.

    You must be proud of your dad - I imagine, with his record, that had he been playing today he would be a millionaire. It sounds though that he had his share of glory - that must have meant a lot to him, and to you.

  122. deano30: thanks for your reply. Quite frankly I'm astonished. The figures don't add up but everything else does. My figures: 289 appearances: 111 goals.

  123. Leni: my Mum and Dad were the equivalent of Posh and Becks on a local level!

  124. Chekhov write to Sheffield and ask them to check their records and then if necessary correct the wiki entry.

    I would.

    Leni - He sure would have been a very rich man had he played these days. He spent quite a lot of his playing days (at Sheff and Leeds) in what would have been the Premier Division.

  125. Leni: I'm very proud of my Dad. Not just for his achievements on the football field but because he stuck up for the working class who supported him and I'm welling up now because I'm proud to be his son.

  126. Evening all

    @chekhov-aww don,t be such a big tease!Bet you really
    are Becks!Now all i,ve got to do is work out who,s
    'Posh' on UT!!

  127. Paul: wrong call, I'm dirt poor and almost happy with it! I certainly don't aspire to the status of the upper echelons. I went to school with those shits and and I know fine well they are scum.

  128. @Chekhov

    Sorry man i was only jesting.No offence meant!

  129. Chekhov - if you ain't already got em I'd write to Jack Charlton and ask if he has any memories of playing with your dad. Jack might not be around for ever.

    Leni Chekhov's dad played alongside the legendary John Charles(born Swansea died Wakefield Yorkshire) a world class legendary player from Wales! Probably Wales most famous player, so great he was poached from Leeds by Juventus one of the first UK footy stars to play for an Italian giant.

  130. The record shows that he was seriously considered and recruited as a possible replacement for John Charles should he have left Leeds.

    ".....major signing was 32 year old forward Harold Brook, whom First Division strugglers Sheffield United freed for £600 after 13 years and 89 league goals. They reasoned that Brook's best years were behind him, but he was to have an Indian Summer at Elland Road.

    The arrival of Brook was partly insurance against the potential loss of Charles. ..."

  131. Deano

    Even I have heard about John Charles - he is still celebrated here.

    Football seems to engender loyalties - and admiration - which are long lasting.

    I am put of current sport by the sleb culture and other nonsense surrounding it.

  132. I'm pretty sure I would have had his autograph. I used to haunt the Leeds training ground (in what is now the car park at Elland Road.) which was not far from my primary school - we used to bunk off to watch em train.

    I had all the the Leeds team and some of the giants of the day Billy Wright Eng Captain/Wolves..Nat Lofthouse (Bolton) Stan Matthews (Blackpool) Tom Finney (Preston NE) all
    gathered when they played against Leeds.

    Your dad played against some real fucking .

    Sadly I lost my autograph book years ago when I left home to go on the road at 16. My folks moved house whilst I was away and it got thrown out by my lovely mum who didn't understand its value to me.

  133. "I am put of current sport by the sleb culture and other nonsense surrounding it."

    Me too these days. I'm not a fan of the modern game. I will have nothing to do with anything that puts money money in Murdoch's pocket.

  134. my Dad was the last person to captain Sheffield United to the second division championship. He then went on to lift Leeds United into the top flight of division One along side the great John Charles along with Don Revie and another stalwart from Bramall Lane, Albert Nightingale.
    Raich Carter signed both my Dad and Albert. My Dad was "released" from his contract because of a knee injury. The Leeds United physio had a different opinion. My Dad was sacked from Bramall Lane and the next day my Mum gave birth to my twin sisters.

  135. Been a pleasure Chekhov Hope you make it to Sheffield I'll be delighted to buy you a pint.

    Time for bed for me - wonder what my nightmares will bring tonight?

    Night Paul & Lenni too.

  136. Chekhov - That's a proud history. It was all a bit before my time, but it is always good when legends get their deserts. It was great to see Bert Trautmann turning out for a presentation at City a few weeks back, and hearing the reception he got from the fans. Your dad could have put a few past him!

  137. Does anyone think that the opinion polls may be biased. Craig Murray certainly thinks so. YouGov in particualr.

    Remember, some polls are showing a 10 point lead for the Tories. These are bigged up on Sky News, yet we have ni evidence as to their veracity.

    I am surpirsed htat there are millions of people round hte country who actually will cast their vote based on the opinion of a 1000 person poll.

    The media simply abuse psycholoogy, to create a snese that on person (Cameron) is hte winning horse and will win anyway, so the people might as well be on the side of the winner.

    British democracy is an oxymoron. We are more like the soviet system, altohug much more subtle.

  138. This comment has been removed by the author.

  139. Paul

    There's a conundrum.

    I like men I can have confidence in - in terms of integrity and the attitudes towards other people. Men can be both soft at heart and courageous. This is equally true of women.

    Some men are genuinely protective without being possessive - it is nice to feel looked after. Smarmy, over charming types I find rather nauseating - generally they are insincere , playing a part.

    There is no ideal man. No ideal woman. Sometimes a man may need a woman to take the lead - circumstances differ. It's about respect isn't it ? Respect begets confidence so both feel free to be themselves and not act a part.

    Oafish men who think an over muscled body and too much after shave is all they need to get any woman into bed are anathema as are those who constantly preen themselves and practice a seductive smile in front of a mirror.

    My personal choice is for a bit of a softy with guts and brains. He also would have to be very tolerant to put up with all my oddities . Oh - and he *must* read books and enjoy discussing ideas. Don't care if he's a bit on the scruffy side, a collector of things which 'might come in handy ' or a creature of strange enthusiasms . he latter within reason obviosly !

  140. Ah Paul

    You've done it again - made me ramble on to myself.
    Ya Boo!

  141. I won't be getting my photo up on the UT flickr right now, becaue I can't get if off my phone and onto my computer. Let me figure it out first.

    Other than that I have written a massive long blog post on my view of the British election, opinion polls corruption, nefarious tactics of Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen in promoting tge Tories, with reference to the excellent Craig Murray's investigation into this, and how Britain and Americas lack of Democracy is somewhat similar to the Soviet Union's, also the Huxleyan dystopia where people only care aobut their hedonistic pleasure.

    Also, my reflections on my new locale, my espousment of somewhat conservative views in the social/community sense (but not Tory). My rejection of multiculituralsim, and my case for argung for a left/liberal reson to oppsoe immigration,- many immigrants tend to be homophobes and religous maniacs.
    My view on cheap labour, just as am about to enter it, and won't be able to blog as much.

    Finakky, I managed to squeeze in bit about Chekhov, and the Chekhovian spirit of humanity.

    Feel free to take a gander.

  142. Leni: I like a bit of rambling now and again. Of course there are different sorts of "rambling" I prefer yours so please feel free to continue!

  143. Chekhov

    women used to be believed to suffer from wandering wombs - I suffer from wandering brain - brain goes off all on its own.

    Idiscovered quite recently that not everyone can see moving pictures when they close their eyes and - this is serious - seeing colours and shapes while listening to music is a mental abberation ! There's a name for it which I have forgotten.

    Paul has a habit of posting something which interests me - while I am replying he deletes his - leaving me talking to myself.

    Have to tell you - I have now realised you are older than you seemed on Cif - isn't that odd ? Perhaps you are more confident here ?

  144. Nap

    Have posted on your blog.

    Thinking about the immigration bit. Deano and I had discussion on that 2 - 3 weeks ago.

  145. Hi Leni - that colours thing is called synesthesia. The wandering brain thing, I'm not quite sure about... oh look! A moth!

    Perhaps it's bedtime.

  146. Thanks Peter.

    I can anchor brain when required.
    Night night.