12 May 2010


Jagiellon University, the oldest university in Poland, was founded in 1364.  The National University of San Marcos, in Lima, Peru, was founded in 1551.  It is the oldest university in the Americas.  The first County Championship was held in 1890.  Yorkshire defeated Gloucestershire.  A magnitude 8 earthquake in Sichuan killed 69,000 in 2008.

Born today:  Edward Lear (1812-1888), Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), Jules Massenet (1842-1912), Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), Wilfrid Hyde-White (1903-1991), Leslie Charteris (1907-1993), Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003), Farley Mowat (1921), Tony Hancock (1924-1968), Burt Bacharach (1928), George Carlin (1937-2008), Susan Hampshire (1937), Ian Dury (1942-2000), Steve Winwood (1948), Gabriel Byrne (1950), Billy Duffy (1961) and Catherine Tate (1968).

It is International Nurses' Day.


  1. Good mourning (sic),

    Regarding the use of violence as a tool for political persuasion, I speak as a pacifist, so no, never.

    But then, I am also a vegetarian who knows that many of you meat eaters out there could never kill an animal yourselves. Perhaps in the same way, you recognise that political violence achieves its aim, to nourish you, but without any of you inflicting the violence?

  2. Mourning, Habib. Not enough coffee yet to get my head around deep thoughts. Or any thoughts except, "ah fuck, Tories are in".

    Hello Romanian visitor.

  3. Morning All-Been following your election on the Beeb. My sympathies for the result that I'm sure was unwelcome for most. As most of you will know, we have our own Tories in a minority government here. Different policies and issues, to be sure, but I can't stomach them. Don't see a long hold for either set, but been wrong before.

    Off to the sack, night guys.

  4. Morning all! Welcome to Tory Britain :(

    God help the poor!

    No-one else will!

    Which means no-one will!

    Except perhaps
    The Labour Representation Committee
    "The LRC the largest rank and file, grassroots Left organisation in the Labour Party, is calling for a ‘coalition against cuts’. Labour members, supporters, trade unionists and community activists need to unite to defend the interests of working class people in a Coalition Against Cuts.

    To do this effectively the LRC is calling on all socialists to join or rejoin the Labour Party to fight against the cuts and to defeat New Labour."

    Labour is OUR Party we Have to claim it back. Voters still voted Labour in sufficient numbers to cause a hung parliament, the predicted Lib Dem surge did not happen. The so called 'alternative Socialist parties' managed a total of 48,683 votes between them thats less than 0.002 of the total votes cast.

    So Join (or rejoin!) the LP, get active in your union (if you are in one) and start fighting back! Lets not repeat the mistake of the 80's and leave Cameron & Clegg's victims to suffer as labour did Maggie's victims in the 80's.

    Don't mourn this defeat! - ORGANISE!

  5. Oh and this link takes you to the Labour Representation Committee website.

  6. "Regarding the use of violence as a tool for political persuasion, I speak as a pacifist, so no, never. "

    The problem, Habib, is that most other people aren't pacifists. Regarding meat eating, in much the same charge of hypocrisy couldnt a meat eater say that, despite you being a pacifict yourself, you are kept safe by the violence of others - the police and the state, backed by public surpport for order and justice.

    I really struggle to accept the idea that violence is always negative and oppressive, it isnt, its often quite the opposite.

  7. "Labour is OUR Party we Have to claim it back."

    I may join you, Annetan, next election will have to vote Labour it seems so might as well do what we can to make it a decent Labour.

  8. Morning all,

    Call me naive, and I was dragged up under a Thatcher government being taught by my Dad to hate the woman, so I never in a million years thought I'd say this, BUT, I watched "call me Dave"'s speech outside number 10 yesterday and felt a faint glimmer of hope. I began to wonder whether this wasn't the best possible outcome....

    By possible I mean that:

    The Lib Dems were never going to win their own majority (or even minority) victory under our present system.

    Nulabour have been sh*tting on us for 13 years, they probably would've taken any sort of victory (even a minority with a Lib coalition) as licence to carry on.

    Obviously a tory majority would also have been a disaster, this way we got Cameron outside no. 10 talking about shelving the inheritance tax stuff for now and sorting out the lower tax threshold.

    I'm reserving judgement until he actually follows through (ha ha, told you I was naive) but I'm very, very, cautiously, slightly, optimistic.....

    Go on, shoot me down in flames....

  9. morning all! am safely installed in Bexley Garden Suburb. devious gits waited until i was in a plane to sort everything out, didn't they? easyjet cabin staff not impressed by requests to pass on information from the ground as it comes in, btw...

    well - whatever. i kind of second Dot, in that i could see two possible outcomes - Tory minority government and Tory/LD coalition, so this in terms of reining in the git-factor must be better. but maybe not - not being able to pass the really gittish stuff could have done that too, having the imprimatur of LD 'approval' might actually let them get away with more. and it could affect perceptions of the LDs, as many, I think, would have placed them 'centre left' rather than 'centre right' but it was really all they could do.

    seems to me - and i haven't read the papers yet - that this decision was actually not made by clegg - labour weren't up for it, brown sodded off, cammy went to the palace - there was nothing else to do but accept.

    so - don't quite know how to feel about it. no possible result was a good one...have we got the best possible or the least worst?

    ah well...

  10. christ, have just seen the pictures - are they holding hands? is this just another desperate attempt by cammy to attract the gay vote? bleah.

  11. Well, we endure these accursed unions...

    Kinda works on three levels...

    Good luck Anne, or will we all be manning the barricades?

    Thought this was interesting?

    Tuppenceworth on the Ctrl C & Ctrl V, the arrow keys can be used with the shift (& Ctrl) keys to highlightt txt, without having to take your hands off the keyboard and guddle with the mouse, this and the fact that keyboard shortcuts are listed in the drop down menus is probably the single most useful IT trick I've ever learned..

  12. Jay, "I really struggle to accept the idea that violence is always negative and oppressive, it isnt, its often quite the opposite."

    For the nonsense of your previous paragraph, I accept what you say, so expect a visit soon...

    (just kidding) (really)

    Dotterel and Philibee are in the book, too.

  13. just try it, mateyboy, recent events have left me with a strange urge to smack someone.

    and as i will be heading into london to go shopping soon, this may not end well.

    hai-yah! etc.

  14. "For the nonsense of your previous paragraph, I accept what you say, so expect a visit soon...

    (just kidding) (really)"

    Im confused now.

    What i mean is, if the state, with an electoral mandate, renounced all forms of violence, no military, police could only verbally request people to do anything (come with them, get in the van, go to court, go to prison, stop stabbing someone or shooting someone, etc), if violence was renounced as wrong by the state and completely abandoned in all forms, what do you think would happen?

    I think it always comes back to the sad fact that humans, like most animals, are violent.

  15. Jay, I can see this heading toward a pedantic argument about the words "violence", "defence" and "restraint".

    All I'm saying is that those who see violence as a means to an end, should be prepared to conduct that violence themselves.

    As Philibee would. (shudder)

  16. I'm just glad it's the pacifist that's picking on me.....;-)

    Which kind of backs up Jay's point!

  17. heheheheh.

    i'm strictly a 'self-defence' advocate, heyhabib - am currently considering how far i can push that concept from 'direct and immediate' to 'general and longterm'...

    thing is, when it comes to violence in political protest, there's several different types - april 1 property damage, for example, where I really don't see the point (and the results can still be horrible - see the greek bank - so the 'insurers pay for it argument doesn't really fly), rioting in the streets chucking of rocks / molotovs, where you could kill someone, so again, not seeing the point, or self-defence against the TSG etc, which just isn't a good idea, given that they're armed, and not just with a supine investigation system.

    so, what type of violence are we actually discussing here? i'll meet assault in kind, but starting something is a much more difficult approach to justify, to my mind...

  18. As a gardner, can I ask Habib, would he kill his own vegetables? The production of artisan bespoke legumes is an industry soaked in blood! The war against aphids, the immortal slug conflict, the physical barriers to prevent depradations from aggressive birds and bunnies. Some wantonly shoot Mr Dove or Mrs Pheasant, Shotgun Mr Bunny or scissor trap Master Mole.

    Then the decimation of seedlings, the arbitrary cut, that selects some for the table others for the compost. Is this not the future for our own children as the few will be ushered through the halls of privilege and the many destined for the recycle bin of vocational training?

    Well, vegetarians, are you prepared to get the grit under your nails, the scissor to the catterpillar, the beer to drown the slugs? Probably as keen as the 'lefties' will be to protest, we've seen what good it does, poverty is history and soon to be policy, war is over and the 'Con-Dem Nation' (Shukriah, HH ) is pinned to the end of the bed...

  19. "All I'm saying is that those who see violence as a means to an end, should be prepared to conduct that violence themselves."

    I think most people are, including myself, in the right circumstances - and its a high threshold as most people are reasonable and dont resort to violence easily.

    I think violence must encompass "physical force" - unless you take violence to be purely a sadistic ends in itself, most violence is a forceful means to an end - restraint, self defence, etc.

    I know these distinctions arent straightforward and are important in the debate, but i dont think you can talk about violence in politics as purely a malicious desire to hurt people, or violence to secure personal gain - i think it has to be taken broadly to see the links throughout the debate.

  20. Test received, Atom, fire away.

  21. Would agree that now is the time to act, organise, get involved, form activism groups or whatever.

    There always, on CiF, seemed to be a type of trembling stasis, where everyone agreed that things were terrible, but also tacitly agreed that everything would change after the election, simply by ousting New Labour.

    OK. Done that. Tick. Now what?

    Remember that the financial crisis will now trump everything and the fact that Dave Bloke will be fighting for his life. He has already let his masters down by not managing a proper victory. They will make damned sure he protects their money and is kept firmly in place.

    Apparently, they have drawn lines on one of the walls at Number 10 and his is using spare moments to practice jumping to the highest one.

    I said (in one of my instars) that he would form a government but it would not run to full term - long before anyone thought there would be a hung Parliament. (New Labour was going to be utterly crushed, remember?)

    In many ways, the thing to do is start planning for what anyone wants the next election to bring, keeping in mind that nobody will vote LibDem and the Tory press will not be as soft as they were this time round.

    Oh, everyone will also be told that hung Parliaments are also baaaaaddd and could cause the entire universe to wobble off its clumsy axis, so expect the choices to be presented as extreme and utterly binary. There will be no nuance or room for balanced or sophisticated thought.

    Do you want filthy dole cheat immigrant scum squatting in your house and eating your babies or do you want to be rich and live a life of idle ease forever?

    Do you want Eton toffs stealing your grandmothers to sell on the open market or do you want the state to run every aspect of your lives so you can spend them drugged and in binge-drinking competitions at cheap holiday resorts?

    Tip of the day: CiF will not determine the course of this government or the election of the next. Or anything else.

  22. Sorry, seems like if you forget to close a tag, Blogger simply prevents you from posting.

  23. Sorry again, that post does not really connect with anything. Have been trying for ages to just dump it here and get on. Thank you.

  24. connects with quite a lot, actually, Atomboy!

    'no nuance' does indeed seem to be the new motto for most of the media coverage...

  25. Do you read Littlejohn;s article, Atom? Quite the most disgraceful thing I've read in a long time. He should be put down, inhumanely.

  26. I thought it was relevant too Atomboy, relevant and depressingly accurate, sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one capable of perceiving shades of grey!

  27. Dot, I agree. Labour have once again proven themselves to be despicable in their bad-faith negotiations.

  28. Actually that post was created some time ago - agreeing with Dot's first one!

  29. I don't know Dotterel, I sometimes think all I can see is shades of grey, it is an exhausting way to live sometimes, trying to see everything from every aspect and never quite getting to the bottom of anything.

    I wish sometimes that I was one of those black and white people, wish I could just say that this is what I think without constantly second guessing myself and taking everyone elses views into account.

    Single minded certainty is a worrying personality trait but being a wishy washy hand wringer hasn't done me much good.

  30. Philippa

    Thanks. Good luck with job and enjoy your trip.

    Tip of the Day 2: Do one thing at a time.

    The chap who runs NO2ID said that you have to concentrate exclusively on one issue and avoid all peripheral distractions and attempts to be led or lead yourself astray.

    It also means that you are likely to be listened to with regard to this one thing, if you do it right.

    The reason the Right wins is simple. They have only one thing they want to achieve.

    It is this:

    I want everything.

    They say a baby suckling at the breast is simply performing a small part of its perceived task: to absorb and assimilate the world. Everything.

    If he or she is thwarted, the screams and rages start.

    The sign that a toddler is growing up is when he or she learns to share toys.

    So, those on the extreme Right, the rabid capitalists are forever trapped somewhere between babyhood and toddlerdom.

    The Left, though, wants - not everything for itself - but everything for everyone.

    It then feels guilty if the process leaves anyone poorer or affronted or unhappy or in any other way dissatisfied because it operates, not through selfishness, but through varieties and shades of guilt.

    The Right is freed by its monomania for riches and the Left is hobbled by its constant need to do everything for everyone.

    I watched a gamekeeper once, shooting pigeons which had overrun a derelict barn. Each time he shot, one plopped from the beam on which it had been roosting. His dog tried to bring them to his feet, but they were falling too quickly. He kept dropping one in order to pick up the next and in consequence just moved them around on the ground, without retrieving any beyond the first one or two.

    An elderly person, especially, when confronted with too much choice in a supermarket will make either a random decision or stick to whatever he or she has always bought. One or the other, this one or that one.

    Things like fairness or justice or equality are too riddled with slippery gradations to stick on people's minds and we could argue those until we are blue in the face.

    Perhaps we need something much more simple.

    Something like:

    What have you done with our money?


    What have you done with our freedom?

  31. Cheers thauma, skimming the end of yesterday's thread I was worried I was going to get flayed alive ;-)


    Know exactly where you're coming from, but the way I see it it's like religion: not really a choice as such. e.g. I'm a happy atheist but my house mate has expressed her desire to beleive in god, she just can't...

  32. and I can't spell believe....

    and wow Atomboy, right on the money, again!

  33. Jay

    No, I haven't. Actually, I have to confess to reading very little lately and struggling to write.

    I feel as if I am not very interested in what I think and not very interested in the views of others, either, which is a pretty poor state of affairs.

    I think I am coming unstuck and getting detached.

  34. Thanks Dotterel and everyone.

    Better get on for a bit.

  35. Dotterel

    Being atheist is about the only truly untroubled aspect of my life strangely enough.

    It is the only thing I don't worry about.

  36. Atom - and the Left is hobbled by its constant need to do everything for everyone.

    Thats the mistake many on the left make - the working class (or a sizable proportion of it needs to believe that it can change society - the role of the is to persuade them that they can, by talking to them and convincing them.

  37. Will be off to hospital in about two hours - unless an emergency has taken my bed!

    Should be home by the weekend!

  38. jennifer, like I say, I think we have a lot in common!

  39. annetan - good luck! hope to see you back fighting the good fight very soon.

  40. turminder,

    Thanks for linking that Herald article. I know you're not a Labour supporter so this is not a go at you.

    Personally I thought the article was a lot of tosh.

    For where is this Scottish left the author talks about? If he means that the Scots voted Labour then yes, but this is not left wing.

    Scottish Labour MP's were at the absolute forefront of the 'New Labour project'. To a man, they slavishly followed the NL line. From Iraq to ID cards to the attack on civil liberties to every single whim of Blair, there was nothing too neo-liberal that these "working class heroes" wouldn't vote for.

    Where was the Scottish Labour voice of opposition to Blair and Brown? Where was the Scottish Dennis Skinner? Where was the Scottish Bob Marshall-Andrews?

    Answer- nowhere, they were all too busy gorging themselves on the fat of the Westminster land, all grotesquely personified in the shape of Michael Martin, speaker of the house. Martin, who "represented" one of the most deprived areas in Britain ferrying himself between meetings in his constituency in his chauffeur driven Jaguar.

    Scottish Labour are a fucking disgrace to their natural constituency- nepotism, corruption, expenses fiddling, slavishly following the neo-liberal party line etc all whilst their constituents already appaling socio-economic circumstances worsen.

    There will be no Union split because Scotland voted for a different shade of neo-liberalism and for the author to write this guff shows the natural labour bias in a once great publication.

    It shows just how much the death of politics has occured when an opinion piece laughably suggests a left bias in Scotland.

    The UK is ruled by one fat neo-liberal arse. One cheek is coloured blue, the other red and the aching piles in the middle yellow.

    Atomboy- great last post.

  41. Morning All

    Tis the equivalent of the middle of the night for me
    and the fcuking drilling has yet again woken me from
    my slumbers.Methinks i would be perfectly justified
    in doing violence to my neighbour.

    That picture of Cameron and Clegg posing on the steps
    of Downing Street could easily be mistaken for them
    both saying goodbye as they shoot off together on their honeymoon after their Civil Partnership Ceremony.Cute eh!

    @Anne-good luck with your op!

  42. Paul - great minds, etc etc.

    this is going to be a hell of a rocky honeymoon, though. banks apparently not pleased with the prospect of vince cable being in charge - so that's one thing to cheer you up.

  43. "banks apparently not pleased with the prospect of vince cable being in charge "

    That'll be interesting. Tories are indistinguishable from the banks so will be interesting to see if they can reign him in. I would really like to hear Osborne (history grad) explain to Dr Cable why he's wrong (PhD economics, lectured at LSE, former chief economist to Shell).

    Go on gimp boy, tell Vince how it is...

  44. philippa

    Suppose it,ll come down to who shafts who first!Or
    maybe they,ll both be versatile!

    re Vince Cable-i think he,s still in a state of shock
    after recently sitting next to La Street-Porter on
    QT.The poor man looked unhinged and is probably self-

    btw did you get your job?

  45. that's a mental image i really didn't need...

    think have got job - they need to talk about salary and contract type (this being france, there's numerous options) but with a bit of luck I should start 1 june... eep. weight off, if i get it, but a bit scary - french will have to improve sharpish to cope!

  46. So annoyed with reynardmandrake on Waddya, the 80s were apparently great for her.

    She wants a return to community coffee shops and lefty second hand bookshops.

    So no worries about the grinding poverty or the destruction of the working class as a community then.

    Bring on the alternative festivals and late night chats about Marx, bloody idiot.

  47. Morning all. Afraid I don't share anyones faint hope. I think this is going to be a nightmare of a government. If you listen to the language the Tories will 'work towards a fair tax system' so thats a half concession - and have a referendum on AV which is useless - so no concession and thats IT! Vince and Cleggy have sold their souls for a stint in government. Thems the facts.

    If you listen to Osbourne this morning they are going to move fast to cut the deficit and to reform welfare. Thanks a bunch lib dems. I predict they will be in the electoral wilderness for a generation for this.

    But the biggest thing to me - and it has just been mentioned on the Beeb as if it is nothing - is that they are going for a five year term and changing the rules on a no confidence vote.

    They are going to make it need instead of fifty percent fifty five percent or maybe more to succeed.

    THAT means the disaffected lib dems who realise they have got into bed with the devil cannot instigate or succesfull no confidence vote - or with great difficulty. THAT means that even as this governmnt do terrible things and on the ground lib dem supporters are livid - they will not easily fall as many have predicted because those in power (Cameron, Osbourne, Clegg and Cable et al) have understood this wont last and are making damn well sure it will.

    And THAT is a dictatorship. Nothing less.

    Anne - good luck and get well soon. I am going to think long and hard about what you said. I hate New Labour and I am not sure that even if a lot of left leaning individuals join Labour will move to the left - but I am going to think about it. I mean I cant vote Green at the next election as I will have to vote Labour to get this lot out so as Jay says you might as well join and try to have some effect on the cold black hearts of the leadership.

    But the PLP has always been to the right of its grass roots and always sold them down the river too. Who knows maybe after five years of this lot 'left wing' wont be a dirty word anymore but it didn't work after Thatcher so I don't hold out much hope.

    I have some leaflets Nick Clegg sent me and I have returned them to him with some choice comments as to how I feel about his pathetic betrayal.

    Oh and to those who say they had no other choice. I am a pragmatist - I never thought a 'rainbow coalition' would be viable. But the Lib Dems had the choice to stay out of the government and vote yay or nay on legislation one piece at a time - they didn't - they sold out for ministerial posts. Fuck em!

  48. Oh fuck my eye hurts.....

    A42 - you be careful my dear young lass. I trust your hospital visit will be well.


  49. Exactly Princess.

    And they had a choice alright, a choice to either step back and let the Tories sink or swim or a choice to support them and get a bit of power for themselves.

    I feel a bit foolish for even thinking that politicians might do the right thing for anyone other than themselves.

    Good luck with the surgery Anne and hope you are back soon.

  50. jennifer - think mandrake may have been a bit tongue in cheek / look on the brightside...

    have a nasty feeling that princess has just nailed it. bloody hell. super-majority votes are what makes the US system so bloody static - confidence votes should be 50%+1 or nothing...

  51. I dunno, Princess, isn't it better that they've achieved some concessions such as no tax under 10K, no rise in threshold of inheritance tax, etc.? They'd never have achieved that in oppo.

    Thought this was quite good.

  52. Plus I do love to hear that the banks are worried about Vince being in charge!

  53. Philippa I hope she was being ironic but then again it means my irony meter is broken if she was.

  54. Sorry princess, I'm with thauma on this one!

    and I now have a new claim to fame, I once met the Home Secretary!

  55. jennifer - i'm just generally broken at the minute, i think. may call it quits and head into town...laters.

  56. princess,

    the ultimate irony isn't it?

    The administration that had the 'moral mandate' to govern based on a piss poor minority result now push for a system which prevents a basic majority putting them put of power.

  57. Got to go and clean my ma's house so dead quick one. Thauma - they could have got those concessions without going into a formal coalition. And the concession is only to 'work towards fairer tax' which means it wont be done anytime soon. I mean cut cut cut is the message, so how can they do that and give people a nearly eight hundred quid tax cut?

    And the language being used by Osbourne and co is scary and very right wing. Time will tell and I hope you who are more optimistic are right but I fear not.

    Also as I said before people need to write to their MP and whoever else urgently re this change to the no confidence vote. That is going to ensure this coalition lasts till the bitter end even if the country is in flames in two years time.

  58. Montana - thank God for you.

    In my angst you give some good news:

    It is International Nurses Day - that bolds well for our dear Annetan.


    "The first County Championship was held in 1890. Yorkshire defeated Gloucestershire."

    I think I can breathe unaided and that is usually a good sign.


  59. Morning/afternoon all,

    Having spent much of the night trying to make sense of this shitstorm, the only thing I can conclude is this:

    The Lib Dems have always faced two main issues, the voting system, and the 'untested in government' thing.

    Clegg, for whatever reason, decided that he should take a (very) partial solution to the first issue in the form of a referendum on AV, and try and address the second one more head-on, in the form of an actual Lib Dem record in government, hoping that this would be enough to over-ride any sense of betrayal their supporters would feel come the next election.

    If this is the case, he's placed himself on the gullibility spectrum somewhere between plain naive, and the kid at school who eats worms because you tell them it's liquorice.

    And, as someone said to me yesterday, he won't find it so fucking funny when he wakes up one morning to find that Cameron and his goons have deported his wife.....

  60. The Coalition commands almost 60% of the popular vote
    (making it the most representative Government in generations), as well as a huge effective majority in the Commons. Both parties have hammered out exactly which aspects of their policies will stay, and which will go - in advance. Half of all Lib Dem MPs will hold ministerial posts, making it very difficult for them to rebel against the Government. Legislation will enforce a guaranteed 5-year term. Both party leaders know that allowing the Coalition to fail early could
    bring Labour back with a vengeance - so they will move heaven and earth to keep it together until electoral reform, boundary changes, and caps on union donations freeze out the reds forever. Not to mention the leaders' clubbiness on a personal level - the British commander at Waterloo was an OE, but his second was an OW.

    Con-Dem Government is here to stay, chums.

  61. It was fine to wake today and read all which is above from the contributors to this UT community.

    I don't have to agree or disagree with any of the views expressed. That they are expressed at all and with the passion that they are is in itself a kinda joy. And they are always a pleasure to read and think about.

    Talking of pleasure booze is sometimes such a delight. My invan stores allowed me a rare pleasure, uninterrupted sleep. Since I fell from the coil at about 5 am last I have no recollection till waking about an hour ago.

    And then to take more of the air of the new day by reading you all at UT ....I think it's called bliss or at the least a delight.

    Dott has had the experience of meeting the new Home Sec and I had the experience of meeting the last and thus our world goes on - all the better by being lubricated by UT.

    I hope that Walter from last night decides to join the UT community for there is plenty of room.

    habib - I admire pacifists but sadly all my attempts to be one are thwarted by my angst. I will continue trying though.

    As I said before my dongle allowance is about gone and I am now about to search the field for the shoes I threw in fear of pissing in them last night.

    I will as the saying goes be gone for some time but I will be back sometime down the road.

    Best Wishes to all at UT and my regards

  62. Just as I post - so you arrive Walter

  63. So Iain Duncan Smith will now be heading up the DWP!

    Will be interesting to see whether the man who
    published the report on the 'Broken Society' will
    quickly resort to type and smash it up further!

  64. "....The Coalition commands almost 60% of the popular vote....." - aka a leap in the imaginative dark.

  65. Thank you kindly, deano, but I think I shall remain a fly-by-nighter. For one thing, my substantial (if guarded) satisfaction with what has transpired may not win many popularity contests around here...

    As for the 60% - OK, let's assume 1/3 of the Lib Dem vote would have gone Lab had they known about the coalition. 59% - 7.5% = 51.5%, which is still pretty damned good. Am looking forward to the Repeal Bill (a Lib Dem idea) blotting out a lot of NuLab crap!

  66. Hllo All

    i am determined not to be downcast - all we can do in the short time is wait and see.

    I am concerned by Gove running education. This is a major area from which real change can come - or policies can be used to stifle any progres for the poor. I am also anxiously awaiting the dreaded Pickles' stance on the 'big society' and the third sector.


    I too am opposed to the use of violence - particularly as a political tool. By supporting political violence we give the OK for war.

  67. Walter,

    Please stick around, if we all agreed with each other all the time it would be bloody boring around here. Whilst I acknowledge the irony I will quote (and agree with) Deano to support my point:

    "I don't have to agree or disagree with any of the views expressed. That they are expressed at all and with the passion that they are is in itself a kinda joy. And they are always a pleasure to read and think about."

  68. turm - that was a fine read thanks for the link.

    Found me shoes so off for a walk.

  69. Walter

    I too would like you to stay - discussion and disagreement can sharpen thinking.

  70. Here is the coalition agreement. Lots to like, I think, and some things to go 'hmm' about.

    The civil liberties section is excellent.

  71. The markets have spoken

    You know, I really don’t know why we bothered with an election..

    A little fable from Kafka:

    "Alas," said the mouse, "the whole world is growing smaller every day.
    At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and
    running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left,
    but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last
    chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into."

    "You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up.


    Don't go - You add to the variety.

  72. Anyone remember the address of the website that had the vote calculator whatsit that we were all playing with t'other week?

  73. James


  74. Late checking in today, but can I just congratulate Atomboy for an excellent, excellent post.

    Walter: all types welcome here,that's kinda the point. You don't need to conform to nay group-think, though a healthy sense of humour and a good slug of cynicism/realism (delete as applicable) don't go amiss. There are hard left posters here, those tending to anarcho-syndicalism,libertarian leftists (JamesDixon) Old labour types (annetan), even a Euston Manifesto-ist and keen NewLabber (PeterBracken, though he's gone quiet here and to a degree on CiF too, not even squaring up to Henry Porter as usual)

  75. I all to often forget how blissful the eveningsong is too.

    I love the shrill of birds saying ........"I don't suppose...........................you would shag me would you?"

    I love it - it is pure Frank Harris.

    Right back to the final last two bottles of my supplies.

  76. Cheers for the link Thauma. Have read and agree the civil liberties stuff is good. Much of the rest not so. For a start the numbers don't add up and they cannot make the cuts they want only using non essential - non front line cuts. Nice rhetoric but I expect the reality to be different.

    And as for welfare. Sickening. So they are going to bring in one great big workfare scheme to replace all Labours little workfare schemes and make it immediate for long term unemployed. So the long term unemployed - basically the miners that Maggie shafter are now going to be made to work for their sixty quid a week. Fucking bastard Tories and Lib Dems and fucking bastard Labour for opening the door to all this.

    I am dismayed too by no mention of incap benefit but all talk of those who can work will., Once again it is okay for those in power to shit on the most vulnerable. And here is the kicker for all those nice middle class parents - they will have to support little Johnny or Jacosta themselves because under the proposals anyone under twenty five will start workfare within six months of becoming unemployed!

    Just great - and putting millions of people onto workfare programmes without waiting for the roll out results from Labours pilots could seriously affect the jobs market as in many US states so many legitimate jobs were going to workfare providers that a viscious circle of ever increasing unemployment began. I despair.

  77. As I said I love the eveningsong and all the girls who shrill in it.

    PCC - you are going to have be a real half bake not to get my vote as most admired and adored poster of the year in 2010.

    Take nowt for granted young miss it is early days and I have been known to change my mind.


  78. PCC - quick post before dinner - I did wonder about the numbers adding up too (am hoping taxing the fuck out of bankers' bonuses will help, which it looks like they plan to do!) and the workfare one was what really made me go 'hmm'.

    Will reserve judgement until I see the details of what they're planning. The thing is (quite apart from the possibility of people who are ill being forced to work): what work? The jobs just aren't there! The only hopeful bit is that they seem to realise that Labour's horrible workfare is a shambles - but that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to replace it with anything better.

    Back in a bit.

  79. thaum - "I did wonder about the numbers adding up too (am hoping taxing the fuck out of bankers' bonuses will help, which it looks like they plan to do!) and the workfare one was what really made me go 'hmm'."

    My much loved Celt - three in one sentence...................I don't suppose.

  80. Walter I would not wish to prejudice you decision or confuse your thinking ............

    Fact was thaum who told me she thought Kerouac a tosser and Frank H a myth.

    I can't get enough of ladies of honest and thoughtful opinion. You will find lots here at UT.

  81. Leni:

    'I am concerned by Gove running education. This is a major area from which real change can come - or policies can be used to stifle any progress for the poor.'

    Bloody hell, me too. My only consolation and hope is that he can't be worse than that utter bellend Balls.

  82. Deano - I most certainly still maintain that Kerouac was a tosser of limited talent, but I don't remember this Frank H bit....

    Back on workfare: there are certainly a number of people who one could class as 'benefit scroungers'. However, my educated guess is that, in terms of the country's finances, their drain on the treasury is minuscule compared to the stinking rich bastards who refuse to pay their taxes honestly. Let us sort the latter out before the former.

  83. My much loved thaum - please to forgive me if I ascribed that which was not yours.

    JK wrote his tale as continuous prose, as I understand it, something akin to a lav roll, thus I was bound to be impressed with an author who understood the stream of consciousness.

    I wish it were not the case but I still want to get in top of you and love you honestly.

    love Dean.

  84. and while I am in sum sort of remember mode - young miss Lucy I will commit on ut2 what I think about this fine place and the opportunity to talk. .....eventually

    Good luck with your search for understanding.


  85. Deano - for a stream-of-consciousness (er, perhaps raised-consciousness) author I much prefer the likes of Hunter S Thompson. Not exactly a feminist icon either, but at least he had the advantage of being funny.

    Also on the Disliked list is Virginia Woolf, so I do not discriminate gender-wise.

    As for your last point, you haven't met me yet, so you know not what nightmare you might be signing yourself up for. ;-)

  86. I have no regard for my signature. - I will if pushed address it

    You be class lass.

    Home counties a reason to change oner's underwear.

  87. Duke, re Scottish labour.

    I live a few minutes away from the constituency offices if Paul Martin MSP, son of Michael Martin.
    Over in another part of Glasgow, Mohammed Sarwar has retired as an MP, to be replaced by his son. Won 52% of the vote. Safe easy seat to be parachuted into.

    One wonders what kind of horse trading goes on behind the scenes as they choose who gets a candidacy in a safe seat.

  88. Nap - John Prescot's idle sperm tried the same.

    I ought to check it out.

  89. A song of the working classes - a sad song en franglais French-Canadian.

    Is it about how capitalism grinds us down? About an individual who couldn't control his drinking? A bit of both?

  90. thauma, princess and anyone else interested.

    Back on workfare: there are certainly a number of people who one could class as 'benefit scroungers'. However, my educated guess is that, in terms of the country's finances, their drain on the treasury is minuscule compared to the stinking rich bastards who refuse to pay their taxes honestly. Let us sort the latter out before the former.

    Some interesting figures (up to 2009) for you that I collated for a CiF thread a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away:

    (in order of cost to the taxpayer)

    Bank Bailout- £1.3 trillion

    PFI- £250 billion or £8400 pounds per taxpayer

    Estimated Individual Tax avoidance- £12.9 billion

    Estimated Corporate tax avoidance- £11.8 billion

    Benefit fraud- £1.1billion

    Benefit error- £1.1billion

    DWP mistakes- £800 million

    and what about this for a statistic:

    Unclaimed benefits- £16 billion

    I have the links should anyone wish them.

  91. Fuckinell, Duke, as I suspected, only more so. Thanks for that. Just broadly, where do the stats come from?

    Bonus track: Hard Times.

  92. evening all....great posts today one and all

    annetan hope all goes/has gone well....

    Thauma I think it was Capote that said of kerouac's writing:
    "It 'isn't writing at all - it's typing."

  93. I'd be interested to know how much of the benefit fraud figure is actually due to claimants not notifying change of circumstances - either because they have fluctuating incomes and know fine well that their benefit - esp HB - will never catch up - or because the poverty trap between being wholly and partly reliant on benefit is just too great. I'd be willing to bet that only a small percentage of that fraud figure is deliberate swindling.

  94. t - I adore the notion of slip sliding in one's friends.

    I will love to my end without regard for me.

  95. I for one look forward with confidence and enthusisam to the "New Politicians" of the "New Politics" forwarding the "National Interest" by tackling the fundamental Corporate and Individual tax avoiders.

    You know, the avoiders that fund and provide blanket media coverage the senior coalition party in the UK's "New Politics"?

    Is it just me that retches violently at this utterly empty, rhetorical fetid pish that comes out these puppets mouths?

    "Oh give them a try, give them time" seems to be the mantra.

    Does anyone for one second believe that this mob will bite the hand that feeds them? That this mob will tackle the tax issues that are exacerbating Britain's deficit?

    Will they fuck. They'll continue New Labour's grand tradition of screwing the poor, focusing on benefit fraud as if that was the cause of Britain's deficit and continue the nauseating tradition set out by Thatcher continued by New Labour of targeting the weakest to look hard.

    I'm astonished anyone can think otherwise.

  96. What a f*cking depressing prospect, more targeting of the unemployed and the sick, reduced public sector services. I could hear the public sector redundancy notices whizzing through the printers up and down the land last night. Bah humbug.

  97. gandolfo - brilliant!

    shaz - yes, the current structure is just stupid. If my memory serves me correctly, the brilliant Princess (and forgive me if I have the wrong person) declined an opportunity to write a piece for Cif on the grounds that a one-time payment of 60 quid or thereabouts would cause bureaucratic nightmares and benefit loss.

    In my opinion, small sums such as that should be completely overlooked by the benefits system. After all, if they really want to encourage people back to work, a few tastes of a bit more money for a week are surely much more effective than punitive measures for actually trying to do something.

  98. I'm astonished anyone can think otherwise.
    12 May, 2010 21:24

    I'm of the same confusion and pleased to find myself in the same Chapter as you.

  99. Well, Duke, I've got a foot in the 'let's see what they actually come up with' camp, but I'm not overly optimistic that they'll not go for the wrong targets.

    From reading the agreement, it *sounds* as though they're going to go for both ends, but as Ashcroft et al weigh in, we can guess which end they'll pursue with more vigour.

    And, as I said, and your figures proved, going after benefit fraud isn't worth much at all. Probably costs more to implement than it's worth.

  100. "I'm astonished anyone can think otherwise."

    Indeed DukeI wake up every morning here in Berluscoland and can't believe that shit faced git is still PM and isn't in prison for one of his many crimes....

    people often don't want to see the reality of the shit they are in with these lying, self interested, self gratifying, degenerates...and what's worse they just sit back and take it....

  101. should have said "the majority just sit back and take it...."

  102. thaumaturge - yes, particularly for HB/LHA claimants who move from IS & full entitlement to a job with fluctuating wages. They have to submit a new claim every time their circumstances change, and although LAs have a stat duty to process claims within 14 days, this never happens and it's v easy for serious rent arrears to build up. It's safer just not to notify change of circumstances - which is fraud. Crap system.

  103. I'm astonished anyone can think otherwise.
    12 May, 2010 21:24

    Fact is the poor can't afford good lawyers

  104. thauma,

    the PFI link is here

    The tax avoidance and benefit information here was carried out by Richard Murphy of tax research and tax justice institute.

    He won blogger of the year a couple of years ago.

    As he himself says, this is only a conservative estimate of tax avoidance due to the expertise and Machiavellian scale of tax avoidance. The mind boggles as to the actual amount.

    But hey Britain's deficit and "broken society", what caused it? To paraphrase the biggest tax avoider of them all- Murdoch and the Sun:

    "It was the benefit cheats and workshy wot done it!"


    Mohammed Sarwar, now there's a man that put the 'rook' in 'Crook'.

  105. my 'waiting and seeing' mode is already sliding towards 'I think I've seen enough'

    Not looking good at all.

    Will not be happy if Lab regroups around Milliband.

  106. Shaz, that's total shite. For one thing, 14 days is a long time when you're living hand-to-mouth, even if that system worked. For another, if you have fluctuating wages, then it should be assessed over a six-month average or something.

    Still, it's a good thing that government offices are always open at times convenient to most working people, and that no-one ever has to take unpaid time off work to just deal with the bureaucracy.

    And before my sarcasm metre explodes, I shall toddle off to bed. 'Night all.

  107. gandolfo,

    the problem you have in Italy is that Berlusconi is 'Old Politics', you need to get yourselves some 'New Politics' like in the UK. It's the future.

    Tired old Social Democratic party? Just add "New" and lose all your core values!!

    Have the novelty of two parties in power that follow the same socio-economic agenda? Just add "New" and enough people will swallow it!!

    Has everyone forgotten how much better "The NEW scooby doo featuring scrappy doo" was than the original old boring "Scooby Doo"?

    "Don't feel blue and in the cynical few,
    swallow our neo-lib crap, because it's shiny and NEW!!!"

  108. @ Leni "Will not be happy if Lab regroups around Milliband".
    not be happy. That's understatement. Miliband is Blair-esque, neo-liberal to his toes, a proven liar and dissimulator (rendition cover-up, Chagos islanders,etc) a risible figure on the world stage who is a dangerous wonk, hanging on the US coat-tails, incapable of ever questioning US policy even when it goes against UK interests. Oh, and he's a truly shite, I mean really bad local MP, utterly out of touch. Some of my punters went to see him about iniquities on bus passes and the benefits system, and he appeared to have no conception of the level of benefits (i.e. the square root of fuck all), the cost of a bus ride, and how the former doesn't cover the latter and let you eat, while going to the requisite, DWP-demanded job interviews for which they keep failing to provide the fares as they're meant to.
    Re: such interviews, and I shit you not, could give you all the details save that would breach confidentiality, the folk at one of the JC+s nearby sent a punter to an interview to be a paint mixer for Dulux (y'know the thing where they match/mix up paint to match a swatch or whatever that you bring in). He is colour-blind, and they knew that, but both they and he had to play along to satisfy the system. To the JC+ staff's credit, they knew it was stupid, but also that there were sod all jobs going, and that he had to get interviews or lose his meagre allowance. So to meet the system, a whole load of effort,time and some expense is put into doing an exercise that all parties knew from the outset was futile. God only knows what the Dulux folk thought.

  109. New. Change. Working together. National interest. Compromise.

    Anyone convinced ? So much meaningless rhetoric, buzz wording and twaddle.

    The worst is yet to come.

    promises of smaller classes for children in deprived areas sounds good - what does it mean / We need more than a few more pounds per head for our children. Have to wait - again - and see how and when this translates to reality.

    Not sure that this will apply to Wales - education is devolved.

  110. Leni

    Convinced? Definitely not. I'd show 'em the pigs, except the pigs couldn't stomach them either.

    I'm off to bed. Night folks.

  111. Duke
    old news for this lot caught onto name changes as the best political manifesto in town don't need to change anything same politicians, same policies just a fancy new logo and slogan....name changes are the rule of the day...new names on average every 15 months here that's why government works so well;)
    National Alliance > Forza Italia > People's Freedom Party......it gives that sense of renewal, of regeneration, of a brave new world....;)) god I feel liberated already.....!

  112. Miliband will get it though, i'd be shocked if he didnt.

  113. Alisdair

    the smoke and mirror approach to benefits and support systems in general is played by both sides.

    We have a chap here in the village - a litter picker. Everyone knows him - he'll always help anybody - nip to the shop for a pensioner , help lift heavy items etc. He lacks any formal education so chances of another job are minimal.

    Talk of his job being done under workfare or by people on community service.

    so Dai loses his job - goes on benefit - goes back to old job under workfare ?

    How does this make any sense or begin to address any problem ? Most importantly what does it do to human dignity as with your colour blind chap?

    a minimim wage job funded by council now being funded (at lesser cost ) by benefits - not much will be saved when we add on admin costs.

  114. "....so Dai loses his job - goes on benefit - goes back to old job under workfare ?

    How does this make any sense or begin to address any problem ? Most importantly what does it do to human dignity as with your colour blind chap"....

    A proper enquiry - were I not pissed I would have enjoyed discussing.

  115. @ Leni "How does this make any sense or begin to address any problem ?
    It doesn't stand up to scrutiny at all, is horrendously wasteful of time,money and effort, and demeaning, making folk jump through hoopes wholly unnecessarily, but it makes sense when you consider the cosy relationship between some workfare pedlars and the big parties, the agencies promising seven kinds of bullshit solutions (and then manipulating figures by cherry-picking and/or delivering dross courses) and getting huge rewards for their chief execs in the process (c.f. the atrocious Emma Harrison and A4e, beloved by all neo-liberal parties, but who are a terrible parasitic scourge)

  116. Dear Regulars,

    Been lurking, mostly unseen, but have read everything. How come a blog like this makes more sense (to me) than the "mainstream" political and media discourse?

  117. Medve: because the "mainstream" is insane?
    The only reason I log on to UT is because it's a refuge from the madness of it all. A little oasis of common sense where it's all right to agree or disagree and be polite about it.

  118. Medve + Chekhov

    The thing about UT is that we can range across topics and explore them without the constraints of 'being on/off topic' or fear of the mods. This enables us to discuss any theme arising from a broader perspective - the daily chit chit creates an atmosphere of being among friends so any disagreements can be settled amicably (generally !).

    Cif has an element of competition to it - people wanting to be cleverest, funniest or most resommended poster which severly detracts from it. To say nothing of the sometimes very poor ATL contributions.

  119. Following on my train of thought; the "mainstream" only subscribes to "black and white".
    It doesn't allow any nuances.
    Neither does our indoctrina...oops sorry education system, which is the root of the problem.

  120. Leni: well said. My sentiments exactly. I love the fact that people are allowed to say what they think on UT without fear of "moderation" and I'm thrilled that I was welcomed on board!

  121. Chekhov

    I have never quite caught on to the black and whiteness of things - I seem to live in the grey area.

    All sorts of things confuse me - like to whom does national sovereignty belong - I say to the people but it doesn't work like that. Is the world mad or am I ? Who decides? I am permanently perplexed.

  122. Leni: anyone who is prepared to take the risk of digging beyond the "veneer" will be perplexed, for the simple reason that you are "ahead of your time"!

  123. Leni: "Is the world mad or am I?" Good question.
    I don't think you are mad. I think you are a perfectly rational, thinking, human being. Of course I could be mad though! This stuff is complicated isn't it?

  124. Chekhov

    very complicated! probably why I like art and literature so much, Both can create other worlds or realities which are as possible as the one around us - and often make more sense.

    Several years ago I lived and worked in a steiner school. Everything they did was based on a philosophy called Anthroposophy - very odd, interesting not very plausible (to me ) but as likely to be as true as any other.

    They believed - among many other things, that we had a soul ans what they called the etheric body. They also thought the ego was a ladder like structure.

    I was the only non Anthropop there. Failure after 3 years to convert me led them to the conclusion that I had not fully incarnated into my body - that part of me was still out there (somewhere) struggling to find its way into my physical being. One even said she could see the stray bit floating above me.

    The numbers of different understandings of our nature - and therefore the nature of the physical, mental and emotional worlds - are trully astonishing. What amazes me all the more is that from so many different perspectives some things are taken as given - things such as the acceptance of war, famine or oppression.

    All the investigations into the nature of our being and relationship to creation - religious or otherwise - finally somehow narrow down into a blindspot of certainty. It is this certainty which in turn blinds us to other possibilities.

    We are dazzled by the white and endarkened by the black.

  125. Chekhov

    Last sentence- should have made it clear we are dazzled by *our own* white and endarkened by *our own * black.

  126. This comment has been removed by the author.

  127. blogger messing me about again.
    Night x