16 June 2010


Rape field in Skåne by Frederik Ekblad

I have an unfortunate personality.
Orson Welles


  1. Yeah. Another format change. I did get over my initial surprise about the change made while I was away and I think Jay will be happy to confirm that all is well between us. I was hesitant to change the format again -- I didn't want it to seem like I was being petty or control-freakish.

    However, I had a couple of problems with the other format, the most important of which was that the font was too small for my not-too-good-to-begin-with and now middle-aged eyes.

    The links being on the left was also an issue for me. When I found out that I wasn't the only one having those problems, I decided to go ahead and change the UT to be the same format with different colours as the UT2 again.

    Please let me know if this format doesn't work well for you. I'll try to adjust things so that it's the best possible format for the most people. The new templates seem to be much more customisable than the previous ones.

    Thanks, folks!

  2. Hi Montana

    Am glad to hear all is well with you and Jay!

    I love the background - v. soothing on the eye.

    Seems fine to me and I love the photo of Skane.... ahhh.... Sweden.....(dreams on....)

  3. "If I wrote a comment saying that France was a land of work-shy socialists who live high on the hog while other countries defended them (a view held by many of my compatriots), does that prick mean to tell me that he wouldn't consider the fact that he lives there a factor in arguing from greater authority?

    Do fuck off, Bracken. Cunt."

    It might lend me authority. Then again, it might not. But your pig-headed claim to monopolise opinion on the US is a joke.

    And control that gutter-temper of yours; it's plain thuggish and thick.

  4. Meanwhile.....

    The Frank Chickens....

    Unbeatable ;0)


    Stick that in your chopsticks at dawn pipe and smoke it Anna Chen.

  5. Like the format, but what would Julie Bindell make of your choice of image ? I mean, "rape field" ?? It can only reinforce the utterly mysogynist and intrinsically abusive hegenomy women have suffered under since men invented agriculture to subjugate the earth to his phallocentric ploughing and sewing, while women were left to do all the hard work like er, nurturing, er (continues page 94).

  6. "plain thuggish and thick."

    I can see a new UT banner line ...

  7. "The Frank Chickens" is a name I had completely forgotten and only ever heard in the context of eighties John Peel shows.

    That's made me smile that has.

  8. "We were lucky if we had a plate of boiled pebbles at the end of the week!"

    Boiled pebbles you say? That would have been luxury to me that would, we were lucky to have a handful of shingle between us, unboiled i might add!

  9. ""plain thuggish and thick."

    I can see a new UT banner line ... "

    Sounds good to me.

    Like the new format too, quite crisp. At the risk of pouring petrol on a recently extinguished fire, i think i prefer the new UT2 one best of all though, i like the colours...

    Yes all is well and good between me and the Wildhack, all sorted. I still havent mastered this tactic of *thinking* before posting/doing things, like template changes, but one day i'll get there.

    Bracken, you have got very sensitive since your 24 article, it doesnt suit you. You didnt used to get this grumpy.

  10. BW:

    I'll let you into a secret - I posted the Frank Chickens with you in mind! Glad it made you smile ;0)

    They were fucking brilliant and hilarious at Glastonbury many, many years ago....(in Japanses accents) " Ronald Reagan, Potato Person...."

    I think it's relatively easy to get hold of 'We are Frank Chickens" fantabulous record...

    (no doubt some middle class poseur will be on R4 or CiF sometime soon going 'oh, yah, the Frank Chickens, I practically invented them - there soooo suberversive OK-Yah?)

  11. Jay:

    I very much like the UT2 - are they those boiled pebbles in the background?

  12. Fuck, I've lost the ability to spell....

  13. "are they those boiled pebbles in the background?"

    You'd have to ask Atomboy, the only time i ever even saw a boiled pebble was for Christmas dinner one year.

  14. Morning! Montana, I like this way best (sorry Jay) because when the links were on the left and the text on the right, given that I have my favourites menu further over on the left, it looked a little unbalanced. Now the text is in the middle. Much easier.

    Pretty picture. might try painting that.

  15. "I like this way best (sorry Jay)"

    I see. Pistols at dawn it is then.

  16. HarrytheHorse is doing a fine job on the Bernadette Devlin thread - and a brilliant post by Michael Rosen (one of my favourite people)

  17. La Rit
    Splenid. 4.8 seconds' research (a CiF norm)throws up that year's (1986) line up

    The Cure
    The Housemartins
    Level 42
    Simply Red
    The Waterboys
    The Psychedelic Furs
    Frank Chickens
    Half Man Half Biscuit
    The Nightingales
    Ted Chippington

    The only year I wasn't there practically in the 80s. So it can't have been me who invented them. Ha.

    By the way, I could swear I just heard on a passing car radio, a steel band playing Chuck Berry's "You never can tell". If it hasn't been done, it needs to be !

    Maybe I'm just demob happy. Cornwall in T minus three days...

  18. Good God - Rick Astley's back.


  19. Morning all.


    Cornwall? Hope you have a great time & great weather.


    New layout has improved things for my not-so-good & ageing eyes too.


    Listening to Rick now and weirdly, actually warming to him.

  20. Just a few words on David Cameron’s "we’re all in this together speech" austerity speech from a couple of weeks ago.

    Personally, it was the most disingenuously nauseating speech I have yet witnessed from "the New Politics".

    As "we are all in this together”, it may have been reasonably expected in this brave new dawn of the ‘New Politics’ that there may have been some cross consensus of opinion gathering and consultation when applying the austerity cuts and justifying Government spending.

    And what a cross consultative committee representing all socio-economic facets of society we have.

    All Government ministers have to justify their future spending to a ‘Kitchen cabinet’ consisting of George Osborne, Francis Maude, William Hague, Oliver Letwin and Danny Alexander and Sir Alan Budd.

    Francis Maude is an ex director of Morgan Stanley and was in charge of the last Tory Governments tax deregulation committee which set in place the City of London’s freedoms.

    Oliver Letwin is a former director of Rothschild Corporate Finance.

    George Osborne or the heir to the Osborne Baronetcy went straight from Bullingdon to the Conservative Research Department, the oldest free market, hard right Tory think Tank where he worked also with a young David Cameron. He also frequents Russian billionaire’s yachts and flips his home for tax purposes.

    Sir Alan Budd, appointed by Osborne to the new office of Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), is in charge of implementing public finances, economic and financial policy. This exceptionally important post is now led by Budd, a senior adviser to Credit Suisse First Boston, one of the biggest capital financers to sub-prime mortgage lender and cause of crisis- Ameriquest mortgages and adviser to Barclays Bank, another lender to subprime, this time Countrywide.

    Barclays banking practices were also slammed by Vince Cable , branding a deal with Middle East businessmen at very poor returns to avoid using UK money as a "scandal of mammoth proportions".

    Budd was also integral to setting up the Monetary Policy Committee, independent of the Treasury in 1997.

    As we can see, future Government spending and budget is in the hands of those who are good friends and intimately involved with the gamblers and the speculators of the Banks and the City that created the crisis in the first place. ”We’re all in this together”.

    The Government spin machine has constantly spread disingenuous propaganda that we were all the cause and we are now witnessing the nauseating spectacle of Government puppets carrying out public austerity measures at the behest of those who caused the crisis in the first place. ”We’re all in this together."

    And just in case you don’t think we’re all in this together. In April, the Sunday Times revealed that the richest 1000 people in the UK increased their assets by £77billion to a combined £333 billion between 2009 and 2010.

    We are all in this together.

  21. your grace - think you may have missed the point of this 'togetherness' - the uppers need all the lowers to band together so we provide a more solid and stable support to keep them safely above the shit.

  22. Duke

    "the Sunday Times revealed that the richest 1000 people in the UK increased their assets by £77billion to a combined £333 billion between 2009 and 2010".

    But of course. Someone had to profit from the downturn surely.


    I suspect you are right.

  23. General David Petraeus faints during grilling over US in Afghanistan

    If he faints during a congressional grilling, I wonder what he'd do if someone waterboarded him?

  24. @Da Duke

    I've saved your post and will be plagiarising it mercilessly in days to come.


  25. Duke
    According to the Eye, parliament's headcount of old Etonians increased by five in the May election. And not to the back-benches either.

    Cheers MsChin, me too

  26. Spike
    Duke's posts are like that. Monkeyfish has been posting sdome tour de forces recently too.

  27. Asylum seekers thread for sheff, when she joins us.

    Very sobering reading.

  28. Hi Bitterweed,

    Thought of you the other night when I recorded hours of Blur on BBC4. ;-)

  29. See there was a masterful 12-0 drubbing of Brazil in the World Cup last night. At least according to the North Korean Football Pink.

  30. "Duke's posts are like that. Monkeyfish has been posting sdome tour de forces recently too. "

    We have been spoilt lately, just need a new book recommendation from MF for a full house.

    Excellent post, Duke, i'll be keeping that for future use too.

  31. All
    Here's that USA - England game again...

    In Lego.


  32. Glad to hear that the format seems to work for people. I could easily swap the colours around, if people prefer the UT2 colour scheme, since this is where most activity takes place.

    But your pig-headed claim to monopolise opinion on the US is a joke.

    Well, shucks, Peter. I never actually claimed to monopolise opinion on the US (whatever the hell that might mean). I claimed, quite justifiably, to know a damn sight more than you do about the political situation in the US and what life is like here. It's somewhat amazing that someone who thinks he's as intelligent as you do wouldn't be able to understand that simple concept.

    And control that gutter-temper of yours; it's plain thuggish and thick.

    Aw, now. You had to go and do that, didn't you? How the hell is a girl supposed to pass up calling you an overweening, pompous bawbag when you go and say something like that? I mean -- you go around saying things like that to someone, you're just begging them to call you a motherfucking blowhard or maybe a soapy titwank. Conceited prick or condescending jizzbucket would work well in this situation, too. So many vulgarities and yet none of them really capture the essence of just what a load of excrement you are.

    Tant pis.

  33. Spike
    That's actually not a bad documentary - I actually warmed to the gits a bit.

    Must be me age...

  34. Soapy titwank is an insult? I would have thought it conjured up pleasant associations, certainly far more pleasant than our resident Sherman McCoy.

  35. Just heard the rasping tones of Mrs T in her 'this lady's not for turning' speech, on Woman's Hour.


  36. @Bitterweed

    Hoping it's shown again, because my fucking useless digibox decided to indulge its new habit of switching itself off halfway through, so I've lost some of it.

    Steeling myself to ring dozens of French electrical repair shops to find one that can repair an English digibox without charging me more than the cost of a new one.

  37. Montana, you are on form!

    Peter, have you ever actually lived in the US? Because your posts, as Montana points out so well, suggest that you know next to nothing about it.

  38. 13th Duke; "We are all in this together".
    Well thanks for going to the trouble of deconstructing that load of bollocks.
    We just passed the sick bucket round in our household!

  39. Good luck Spike. It'll be on again. Mine also did that - the stupid box missed the last ever episode of Life On Mars. Fucking thing.

  40. BW:

    I think that was the next but last year I went.... remember very little (aprt from the Chickens) it was a very muddy year and there was lots of shrooms, rough cider and very strong weed doing the rounds!

    4.8 secs - heheheh ;)

  41. "maybe a soapy titwank"

    An even BETTER UT strapline

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Montana;

    "Glad to hear that the format seems to work for people. I could easily swap the colours around, if people prefer the UT2 colour scheme, since this is where most activity takes place"

    Had you and Jay thought about setting up an Interior Decorating business??? ;)

    Works for Nicky Haslam - that doyenne of 'taste' to the upper classes.... you could both give him a run for his money.

  44. Morning all

    Estimated personal net wealth:

    George Osbourne £4 million
    Francis Maude £3m
    William Hague £2.2m
    Oliver Letwin £1.6m

  45. Duke:

    Elegance with a steel blade.

    I love it!

  46. Oh Montana nice format especially the thuggish and thick..!!

    Talking of thuggish and thick....I got deleted responding to this posted by our beloved IB on a Bloody Sunday thread:

    "This has told us all no more than what we already knew though right?

    I remember doing the history of the troubles at GCSE and even then I was taught that bloody sunday was a huge great big mess of soldiers acting inappropriately against civillians.

    Did anyone anywhere, before this report, actually believe that the soldiers on that day ALL acted in a legal manner?"

    Apart from questioning this drivel I asked whether she had actually passed her GCSE in history.....I thought is was fair comment but then I was most probably being thuggish and it was me being thick not 'er....

  47. Gandolfo:

    That's just the bit they 'declare' - the rest is in secret bank accounts somewhere near Belize....

  48. Gandolfo:

    Don't get me started on dear Imogen ("pleeeze give me a job on the Guardian") Black

  49. Thauma
    yeah that's the estimated bit......;) just that glint of doubt that the whole truth and nothing but the truth is not being said........
    Francis Maude is my dad's MP.....he goes with his mates to heckle him as is favorite hobby....

  50. Morning all,

    I have a theory* that anyone in government should have to be:

    A) paid the modal average national wage


    B) give away 50% of their net worth over and above the national modal average.

    Should give them an incentive to raise everyone's standard of living..........

    *A theory which I came up with about 5 minutes ago, so I'm fully expecting one of you lot to rip it to shreds in 5 seconds flat, be nice, and if you can't be nice be witty ;-)

  51. I'm not really a pedant but can someone tell her that their is spelt THEIR not THIER

    "i before "e" except after "C" is obviously her mantra..."

  52. Not wishing to weigh in too much (but greatly enjoying learning interesting new insults, Montana!) but the thing that caused me to go arrrgggghhh most was when PeterB said

    "Perhaps it tells you something deeper, Montana: that your views merit marginalisation."

    Now, that seemed to me to be the utter acceptance of the status quo - not heard? it's because you don't deserve to be - I'm not sure if Peter necessarily meant that re Montana but it did look like he was setting this out as a general rule. And I thank that's just bloody dangerous, as an idea (as well as v dismissive).

    It does tend to imply that any resistance or disagreement is not just futile (which I'm sure many would agree with) but also unwarranted.

    So what does that mean - that we've stopped? That the establishment just is, and we can make no changes? (except change from within - ha! anyway). That's very depressing.

    Not wanting to get too dialectic before lunchtime, but progress does rely on challenge.

    So when I referred to the pointlessness of banging a drum when everyone with mocrophones was singing a different song, the key word there was 'microphones' - the inherent power of the establishment (whether in economics, politics, social issues, theory, whatever) to drown out challenge, so it may appear that it isn't there.

    It is there. And every view, from the (IMH) reasonable Montana approach to, yes, the random witterings of the (IMH) outlying oddballs, needs to be heard and discussed - which Peter was himself saying re the Alderman article.

    But having one side miked up on a stage and the other yelling plaintively into the wind at the back of a field, that isn't helpful, to me.


  53. Wybourne

    Thanks for the post above. Would you mind if I used it elsewhere, perhaps adding some of Dave Bloke's claims that his life is just the same as every other ordinary person in Britain, so he is daily sharing our pain? (Has he used "hardworking families" yet?) You will get attribution.


    Nice to see you on a roll. Anything you would like to tell us about America would be welcome. Actually living there would tend to lend it credibility. I assume it is just a perfect land for anyone and everyone, where dreams always come true - just like in all the publicity brochures.


    I am going to confess that I was simply showing off earlier.

    We only had pebbles occasionally because we had rich relatives who sent them to us in food parcels. The rest of the time we used to gnaw on the gatepost of the poor-house.

    The plate was just a bare-faced lie.

  54. Thanks for the comments all.

    When I saw that speech, I just couldn't believe the size of the enormous lie that it was. And as much as I hate to go down the Godwin's law route, Joseph Goebbels maxim:

    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

    really does ring true in so many ways.

    Montana, I really like the new format.

  55. Dott

    too generous I'd go for a sliding scale of 90%- 95% because as Thauma pointed out they've got it enough stashed away in the Cayman islands to keep them going.......

  56. Morning all

    I have this lovely old neighbour who comes out with these pearls of wisdom when i see her.One of her favourites is 'Don,t get old love,for gawds sake don,t get old-it,s 'orrible.'Sadly when i hit my dotage i,m likely to be a cantankerous old git who tells everyone to 'Fuck off'.And my neighbours will probably only be too happy to club together to buy me a one-way ticket to Switzerland.

    @Nice to see you in fine fettle Montana.

  57. Atomboy, feel free to use anything of mine on here!

  58. Too early for me to be witty, but the unwitting one said this yesterday --

    "It is precisely this malicious revisionism that deserves the most fulsome derision. 6.40PM"

    Another which will get a rebuttal some time is -

    "Despite its short history, it has emerged as one of the most benign superpowers that history has recorded. 15/6 5.04PM "

    Amazing stuff for a history graduate.

  59. Has Imogen actually said something somewhere about wanting to work for the Graun?

  60. Gandolfo, I think it's been suggested in the past that she use a fucking spellchecker.

  61. Right, no more posting until later..... the Devlin thread is about to get nasty and I ain't getting banned for the likes of MonikerLewinski.

  62. @ PhillipaB
    "Now, that seemed to me to be the utter acceptance of the status quo - not heard? it's because you don't deserve to be - I'm not sure if Peter necessarily meant that re Montana but it did look like he was setting this out as a general rule. And I thank that's just bloody dangerous, as an idea (as well as v dismissive)."
    Absolutely, and it fits with what I posted yesterday about the chimera of "meritocracy".It's way,way too easy for it become the justification for the status quo.
    Meritocracy advocates feel assured that good works-cum-intentions will be materially rewarded. This helps motivation a lot. Why else do something good if it is not going to be rewarded? Goodness as its own reward? How quaint.

    So, the idea of a rewarding (read "just" or "fair") world is terribly appealing. Even going the other way…that evil will be punished and injustice addressed. It is so appealing that it's hard to argue against, but it's also folly to pretend that what we have at large even in the West is this ideal, though it loves to present itself as such. Some bit vaguely approximate in some regards, but overall, no.

    The world is, de facto, ordered this ideal way. Pluck, luck and who you know play, at times, far greater parts in than your ability. Sure, ability, talent and hard work helps, but there are plenty of talented, hard working poor and sick.
    what I’d prefer would be a little more humility mixed in. Talents are, in part, a function of luck. Good health is, in part, a function of luck – no matter how well you take care of yourself, you could get hit by a truck tomorrow. Luck can change. I’m fumbling around for the political rhetoric that combines a recognition of talent and hard work with a recognition of shared human frailty. Yes, some will be paid more than others, and I’m pretty okay with that, within reason. But there’s a limit to how low we should let the bottom be,how marginalised because there but for the grace of God goes anybody. And to say that it’s deserved strikes me as immorally arrogant.

  63. It does tend to imply that any resistance or disagreement is not just futile (which I'm sure many would agree with) but also unwarranted.

    Does this mean that Bracken and his ilk are actually the Borg?

  64. Montana:

    "So many vulgarities and yet none of them really capture the essence of just what a load of excrement you are."

    You spew bile like a drunken hag.

    "I claimed, quite justifiably, to know a damn sight more than you do about the political situation in the US and what life is like here."

    Clearly that depends on what you say about life in America. And since all you do is slag it off, then, no, your claim to be a superior authority on it is not justified. The only interesting facet of your rants is why you think they might make you one.

  65. Cheers Gandolfo,

    Actually if we really get down to it I subscribe to Douglas Adams' theory (anyone who wants to rule shouldn't be allowed to)

  66. Montana:

    Just reading through her comments on the Unemployment thread lead me to surmise that that's probably her goal....

  67. Unless i,ve missed out on something i thought Ms Black was just another run-of-the mill BTL bod .
    Doesn,t stand out at all-although saying that i,m not sure what the criteria is for working for the Graun other than being an Oxbridge graduate.

    @great post Duke.The mere fact Cameron said 'we,re all in this together' is a joke in itself.

  68. Gandolfo

    as Thauma pointed out they've got it enough stashed away in the Cayman islands to keep them going.......

    That was LaRit, although I'd love to take credit!

  69. Sherman McCoy Bracken could apparently do with a spell checker too. His profile describes him as "athiest". What's that? The most athy? Greathiest with a lisp and the first two letters lost?

    If his typing's always like that, I look forward to hearing he's given an order to buy Gould instead of gold and found himself cornering the market in copies of "Bully for Brontosaurus" or "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory".

    I do enjoy a bit of venom on occasion!

  70. "We only had pebbles occasionally because we had rich relatives who sent them to us in food parcels."

    Food parcels? Sheer opulence, you clearly lived in a veritable Eden of nutrition and wealth. Royal Mail stopped delivering them to our hut after we ate one of their postmen, hunger does terrible things to a man.

  71. And to say that it’s deserved strikes me as immorally arrogant.


    By the way, I haven't looked at the Graun's site much beyond Waddaya and a couple of other articles lately (Monbiot's wonderful article about the Teabaggers being one), but have you heard much/anything about this over there? It is both one of the funniest and scariest things I've heard in a long time.

  72. Ooh. Links don't show up very well, do they? I'll tinker with that.

  73. "Clearly that depends on what you say about life in America"
    Ermmmmm...I could very easily say that North Korea is a people's paradise, full of plenty and freedoms. Someone who lived there might disagree with me. I'd think they had more credibility, being there and all...

    Look - if you live in a country that holds itself out as a shining city on a hill, that sticks its oar in to spread peace and love and stuff in other countries, they are holding themselves out as 'the ideal'. To point out that many of its own citizens can't get healthcare, that the party system is just two logos fighting for much the same ground, and that the America dream only really works for those who already sleep on silk sheets, that's not 'bile', that's righteous anger, and a valid criticism.

  74. Alisdair and PhilippaB:

    What I said about some views meriting marginalisation was pretty unexceptionable. Holocaust deniers deserve to be marginalised. So do members of the BNP, and religious fruitcakes.

    Now, I'm well aware that Montana aligns herself with none of these, but that's beside the point. Which is that some marginalisation is not only understandable, it's morally justified, and far from 'immorally arrogant'.

  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

  76. I may have missed it, Peter, but I didn't see a 'some' in your original comment.

    And while it is easy to say that holocaust deniers should be marginalised, or creationists, or homeopaths, or geocentrists, or anyone else who 'we' think are crackers, if you agree to the exclusion of X then Y starts to get worried.

    Again, re the Alderman article, you were professing indignation that people could say 'he shouldn't be allowed to write'. You said we need to hear all views. So I am confused by how exactly you rationalise a moral imperative to exclude certain views with a moral imperative to hear everyone equally.

    Am presuming you have a list of stuff you like and don't like, and set the place on the range using that.

    Which is what we all do, more or less, but somehow when you do it it's a moral thing and when someone else does it, it's the damn leftish control freakery, or something.

    Where do you draw the line and how is that not a personal judgment?

  77. You spew bile like a drunken hag.

    Why, thank you. :-) I'm rather proud of that.

    Clearly that depends on what you say about life in America. And since all you do is slag it off, then, no, your claim to be a superior authority on it is not justified. The only interesting facet of your rants is why you think they might make you one.

    You know what, Petey? If it makes you happy to think that, then you go right ahead, you sad, deluded little freak. I'm not actually sure why I've wasted as much of my time and energy engaging with you as I have. You really aren't worth it.

    From now on, you go ahead and spout your ill-informed, arrogant showers of shit. Call me a drunken hag or whatever else you like. No skin off my nose. Why should I care what a greedy self-absorbed shitebag like you thinks or says of me?

    For the life of me, I can't think of a single reason.

  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

  79. I,m slowly adjusting to being conscious in the mornings..Have only just noticed the new format.
    Very nice Montana.Bitterweed could have a point about the rape field though.You may soon receive a poisoned e-mail from Bindel ,Bidisha and Campbell.They i,m sure would have much preferred a field planted with Pussy Willows.

  80. Bracken, you're a foul, worthless little excrescence.

    The broad consensus seems to be that whether one agrees with your politics or not, you yourself are a specious idiot who wouldn't recognise reason if it came up to him wearing a sandwich board with "I am reason" emblazoned on it in flashing letters and smacked him in the face with a copy of Kant.

    Fuck off, you waste of space.

  81. Vagina willows, Paul, do try to keep up, pet.


  82. Alisdair Cameron

    ...you could get hit by a truck tomorrow. Luck can change.

    Yes, indeed. It was not so long ago that BP was lauded for its success and the only complaint against its unalloyed brilliance was that, perhaps, it was simply making too much money.

    Now it is flopping around like a beached whale with a "BBB" rating carved into its side and America wanting to siphon off quite a few billion from its swag-bag.

    The problem is that the rich always want to claim that they have earned their money and they deserve it. (Not that their mums and dads helped set them up because, they, too, had been lucky and they then used contacts and networks to launch their lovely careers). Of course, because it is essential that they both deserve and have earnt their money and stellar place in the world, the converse must be true that the poor ar so because they have not worked hard enough and therefore do not deserve anything other than their stupid, poverty-afflicted misery.

    Naturally, that includes the poor who work at two and three jobs and still have to live in their cars.

    The propaganda for all this is a bit like a cult or religion and the whole scheme involves proselytising and evangelism, so something like the lovely Ponzi and pyramid schemes on which it is all essentially based.

    The other problem is the fact that we all tend to view things from our own perspective, through our own varieties of distorting prisms.

    Ask someone on £150 000 plus per annum what they think are poverty wages and they will say about £30 - 35 000, or about 2-2.5 times what most people have to live on.

    Osborne and the others mentioned above will see themselves as, effectively, the meritorious and valiantly struggling poor because they mix with plenty of people who make them look threadbare and penurious.

    People like Mandelson are quite happy to act as bag-carriers and lackeys to the super-rich because their tiny fortunes place them in the servant-class when they are aboard yachts, which are baubles and playthings to their hosts but idiotic pipe-dreams to them.

    The main problem is that by making the poor and ordinary ashamed of their lack of material success and making purely material success the one and only measure of worth, the work of vilification and unreasoning hatred towards the poor has been taken over by - the poor themsleves.

    It is just that those who believe that the accumulated tat derived from a squealing and tortured credit-card has made them somehow better and on a level with the rich who can actually afford the material displays of wealth - though not necessarily ever paying for them, of course - are the ones who blame those lower down the pecking order for the fact that their success has somehow been limited and curtailed by those beneath them.

    Like most things, it is a numbers game.

    If the poor adopted the avaricious, amoral and mindless tactics of the rich to simply grab whatever they want, the rich would be trampled underfoot.

    If the poor simply decided to take the possessions of the rich, they very easily could.

    The problem is, the rich steal from the poor and, copying their elders and betters, the poor steal from the poor, too.

    ..I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.

    - George Orwell on setting Animal Farm on a farm

  83. You're confusing marginalisation with freedom of expression, Philippa.

    Holocaust deniers - and Alderman - should be allowed to make their claims. But they marginalise themselves in the making of them.

  84. @ Peter Bracken. Aye, some views can be widely accepted as somehow 'meriting' marginalisation, but, and it is a huge but, the wider notion that we have a meritocracy is very dodgy, and uses fallacious post hoc reasoning. Because something is marginalised, be that a person or a notion does not mean that it is meritless, but that is all too often the rationale given in order to uphold the status quo, eg the party duopoly in the USA. Despite the rhetoric, too many of those individuals and institutions that are top of the tree define what 'merit' is (self-referentially, of course). The simple fact of being marginalised is no indicator per se of 'merit' unless you solely define merit in the skewed terms of those in power.

  85. Sorry, Philippa.

    What I'd actually really like is to come across Bracken sitting in a Metro corridor with a yellow dog on a string and a sign marked "1 euro pour manger, svp", having been reduced to abject poverty by a bigger parasite than him.

    I'd even give him a euro.

  86. Alisdair:

    "Because something is marginalised, be that a person or a notion does not mean that it is meritless."

    Well indeed, history is full of such examples. Scientists battled for centuries against the dogma of faith, which effectively marginalised them (if that's the right word - persecuted fits better).

  87. Thauma/LaRit

    don't know why but I always mix you two up....maybe I have cognitive dyslexia of avatars and certain names.......apologies........

  88. @PeckerBroken is an expert on America. He's seen every single episode of 24. Twice. So there. QED.

    Jesus. Of all the dismal, windy, ill-read, pompous, flatulent, half-bright blowhards on CiF (and let's face it, it's not as if there's a paucity or anything) @PeckerBroken is the worst.

    I guess it's the fatuous, preening, ignorant arrogance of the oaf that makes him so eminently, gloriously slappable...

  89. Spike

    Eh come on mate.This is primarily between Montana and PeterB.

    For the record Peter i think you,re wrong on this one.

  90. That chap Galileo Galilei was marginalised by the Catholic Church and had to recant and retract his theory that the earth revolves around the sun, after he was imprisoned - was it an extraordinary rendition to a secret prison? - and threatened with death.

    That was simply those with power enforcing the status quo.

    Opinions and ideas do not actually "deserve" to be marginalised. That is just based on a value judgement that my ideas are better than yours.

    They can be argued with and examined and then let other people decide.

    Otherwise, it is simply maintaining entrenched positions in order not to have to give ground and imagine that, perhaps, you might be wrong.

    Which sounds a bit like simply being scared of ideas.

  91. Why on earth am I a parasite, spike? Why am I excrement? This language of yours is foul, and reminiscent of the dehumanising outlook of a fascist.

    Unfortunately for you, I'm not Jewish, but if you wish you can pretend that I am: that will you allow to go the whole hog, and invoke some final solution.

  92. Anyway, this will not get the baby washed, as my mother used to say.

    Or eaten, now that we are living under the benign ConDem regime.

  93. @Paul

    Oh, don't worry. Apart from being inherently offensive, Bracken has been offensive enough to me personally too on CiF.

    If you glance at my CiF comments, you'll see I don't flame people for no reason.

  94. Spike

    Fair enough! Sorry i shouldn,t have got involved.

  95. PhilippaB10.40am --on peter

    The End of History occurred when he fixed his world-view at the age of 17 3/4. Everything since has been denial of alternative views . A one to one therapy on the history of US Empire would be interesting, just to see if he is capable of learning . So I disagree with Spike there :)

    One of the hopeful aspects of humanity is that some people can argue, ferociously even , against a new idea but can actually be imperceptibly influenced by it and change their behaviours/evolve .

    Done that myself, or rather seen it happen to me .

  96. @Paul

    There you are. Apparently, I'm antisemitic, a fascist, guilty of "malicious revisionism" because I don't like the global dictatorship of wealth, etc., etc.

    Bracken is a weasel. Short on arguments, he makes up for it with sly, baseless insults and an unfounded sense of smug superiority.

  97. Anyway, let's ignore the troll and move on to other things!

    Steve Bell's take on the Saville Report today is a supreme example of the political cartoonist's art.

  98. "Bracken, you're a foul, worthless little excrescence."


    "Bracken is a weasel. Short on arguments, he makes up for it with sly, baseless insults and an unfounded sense of smug superiority."

  99. Whew! Lime green for links? Hmm...

  100. "You spew bile like a drunken hag."

    While I shout drunken abuse like a pirate in a storm...

    Oh how I love this place.

  101. An example of an oxymoron?

    Microsoft Works

  102. Gerry Adams thread now up on CiF.

  103. Bracken, your worldview is downright Panglossian.

  104. PeterBracken

    From a post over on the other place:

    The US is the most vibrant democracy on earth... Despite its short history, it has emerged as one of the most benign superpowers that history has recorded. What a contrast it affords to the Orwellian nightmare of Communist and theocratic totalitarianism... It has failed to grasp the leadership role in world affairs that its status warrants, and that the oppressed and impoverished people of the world deserve.

    Perhaps you could let us know whether you see America's intervention in the affairs of other countries, both the bits we see as they happen on the telly and the things which we only hear about decades later as always benign and only ever for the good of those who are unfortunate not to be living in God's own country or if sometimes there is the merest hint, the smidgenette of a scintilla of possibility that America is simply acting in its own financial and imperialist interests and doesn't actually give a flying fuck what damage it does and how many lives it either ends or ruins?

    Also, since political ambition seems to ooze from every standpoint you adopt, perhaps you could tell us which party will be blessed by having you in its ranks when you decide to run for office?

    After all, if you wait for five years, all their fortunes are likely to be looking pretty queasy.

  105. MsChin:

    "Gerry Adams thread now up on CiF"

    Oh, god, the frother's on the Devlin thread are in full battle mode.... hold nose and plunge in?

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. Interesting statistic from the Dutch elections.

    62 of the new MP's are women. Out of 150 MP's in the Tweede Kamer this accounts for 41% of the final total, which I think is the highest percentage representation of women in any country's parliament.

    Notably, there is no law that states that women must be represented in quota lists.

    I'm not sure if the rad fems would see this statistic in a positive or negative light.

  108. LaRit,

    the Bloody Sunday report threads have contained the largest amount of 'whatabouttery' I have seen in a long time on CiF.

    Or should I say 'whataboutatwattery'?

  109. La Rit

    I don't do Norn Iron threads - and so avoid the outrageous claims of the frothers.

  110. Duke

    41% = a positive, surely? The Dutch are obviously doing much better than we are, without quotas.

  111. MsChin,

    absolutely. I think there has been various campaigns for more women's representation in Dutch Politics but the important aspect is there has been no 'affirmative action' in terms of quotas by law.

    The UK election returned 21% Women MP's, almost exactly half that of the Netherlands.

    Comparing women in politics in these two western states would make for a good CiF article.......in the right hands.......

  112. Meant to say, someone may want to "pitch" (God, I hate that word, except in Baseball) the idea on WADYYA.

  113. Duke

    I'm sure there has been positive action to get more women represented in politics in the Netherlands! Unfortunately here in the UK, Emily's List appears the most successful measure in terms of women MPs, but more middle class lawyers / policy wonks in parliament doesn't quite cut it for me.

  114. MsChin:

    It's shocking to behold.

  115. Bitterweed,


    that's the one!

  116. La Rit

    It's a f*cking disgrace.


    A CiF pitch, eh? Would be good to have more countries / contrasts - Denmark, for example, as illustrated by scherfig's piece on UT2.

  117. and they are still pumping out those NI threads...and now another one to add to the other 9.........

  118. Duke/MsChin

    could always be a comparison with Berlusconi's style of personally selecting ex showgirls as MPs...

    joking...but an extreme example of how not to do it..

  119. apparently Tebbit has an article published today... refuting, yes refuting the Saville report, still trying to put about the lies!! Sanctimonious fucker.

  120. Has anyone read this yet?

    MartyninEurope on the I/P Israel for real thread?

    "It could have been worse, the Israeli government could have asked one of the big consultancy companies to write the report for them.

    Based on a thorough risk analysis, and the prevailing Greek sensitivities, a strategic market incursion was carried out, at the behest of senior management.


    Gaza is a major captive market, and as such, needs protecting from the external market forces (see Porter, et al).


    The operation was a resounding success, a win-win for all parties, although some minor issues of little relevance did arise (see Appendix XX - Operation Take The Piss).


    We commend this independent report - the result of a comprehensive, detailed, exhaustive, inclusive, honest and open inquiry - to the international political community.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chopper McArsicle, Principle
    Gussy Bollockin, Associate
    Norma Stits, Associate
    Fek, Feck and Feckin Associates

    Brought a smile to my chops that's for sure!

  121. "....or if sometimes there is the merest hint, the smidgenette of a scintilla of possibility that America is simply acting in its own financial and imperialist interests...."

    I think the "or" is often redundant, Atomboy.

    All nations act in their self interests. But those are not necessarily incommensurable with the wider good. The fallacy of purity of motive disables coherent criticism of US foreign policy. For example, Iraq (both wars) becomes a campaign about oil, which somehow neutralises the wider beneficial consequences, namely the liberation of Kuwait and the deposing of Saddam.

    Except of course, it doesn't.

    Likewise, the US's recent humanitarian efforts in Haiti were roundly decried by some as a cynical imperialist ploy, by others as an effort to ensure that refugees from the stricken Island didn't wash up on the Florida coast. Any explanation so long as it avoided the obvious one: namely that only the US had the capacity to act, and a moral duty to do so.

  122. Oh yes, should have added: no intention to seek a parliamentary seat. Live in France, three young children, regard domestic party politics as almost an irrelevance.

  123. peter bracken

    I think the "or" is often redundant, Atomboy.

    Perhaps, but not when it has been used in a 'whether or if' construction.

    The fallacy of purity of motive disables coherent criticism of US foreign policy.

    You are the one trying to attach purity of motive to the question. I was simply asking how you saw things in a general sense.

    Most people, when they think about why people or collective groups or companies or countries do things, will quite quickly see that there is a complexity attached to the whole process and that it is facile and infantile to imagine or pretend that there is one reason alone or one process of action.

    However, you are the one who seems to be idolising and mythologising America and its motives:

    Despite its short history, it has emerged as one of the most benign superpowers that history has recorded... It has failed to grasp the leadership role in world affairs that its status warrants, and that the oppressed and impoverished people of the world deserve.

    You ascribe to it a type of inherent goodness, which somehow is automatically linked to its power - might equals right? - and then assume that all the poor and oppressed of the world are queueing up and dreaming of being rescued by America, believing that it will do them no harm.

    The point, surely, is to question why things are done - including why we do things ourselves - rather than pin stickers and labels on things, marked "Good" and "Bad", especially things as big and essentially indefinable as a country.

    Oh yes, should have added: no intention to seek a parliamentary seat. Live in France, three young children, regard domestic party politics as almost an irrelevance.

    Lucky for us, perhaps.

    Of course, domestic party politics will be an irrelevance if you think that, as far as politics and business go, the bigger the better, preferably global.

    Clive Stafford Smith, in his book Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons said that, as far as America is concerned, Americans themselves have rights conferred by their constitution, but in the wider world, there are no such things as human rights.

    So, let's all hope that America is benign because to America, you are just a notional, invisible dot in a country which it knows hates its cultural, political and financial global hegemony.

    Not even significant enough to be irrelevant.

    Just non-existent.

  124. Not often I say this

    Come on Switzerland !

  125. Too true, Atomboy, Americans will actually make the argument that "liberty and justice for all" actually only means "for all Americans". And really believe it.

  126. Are you psychic Bitterweed?

    Go on Switzerland indeed. :-)

  127. Your point on Iraq is a weak one, Peter. Its a bit like saying "i punched him in the face to steal his wallet, but i actually managed to straighten out his crooked nose in the process, so its had a positive outcome and I shouldnt be prosecuted for it".

  128. Too right, come on Switzerland! Looking at my sweepstake, I lose points against someone or other unless Switzerland win or Spain now score four.

  129. JayR

    Don't know whether I've recommended this before...


    and it probably wouldn't become clear until 2/3 of the way through, but I'd defy anyone who hadn't come across it before to read it and deny that they came away without an entirely new perspective on European history. The more you read the more things just kinda slot into place. It's especially good as an insight on the holocaust..even though it finishes about 1535 with the Anabaptist revolt in Munster.

    The standard trope of disbelief and "How could it have happened?" is kinda replaced with a shrug of recognition and a "well..it happens"...you don't come away with a much enhanced view of humanity but I think you might claim to understand it rather better..particularly social upheaval and the roots of early socialism and communism.

    Also..I've just finished Francis Wheen's new 70's book...


    Excellent read..light and entertaining...the stuff on Nixon's brilliant as is the short but illuminating section on China...possibly the funniest but most poignant section is on Harold Wilson who, frankly, seems to have just lost it towards the end (possibly the early stages of Alzheimer's). There seem to have been various right-wing cranks on his case but he just turned into a spit flecked, swivel-eyed buffoon.

    I'd also forgotten just how good some 70s cinema was. He covers this well. The Seventies comes out looking like miners' strikes, power cuts and three day weeks seen through a Russ Meyer lens..which is not exactly how I recall things but, then again, I wasn't really paying attention.

  130. thaumaturge

    Quite so. You also have to think about when and under what government or agency of the state and business interest might be applicable.

    In our own funny little backwater, we have had New Labour introducing all manner of laws which many people have said were designed to reduce our liberties and increase the power of the state over us.

    Presumably, the cheerleaders and facilitators of New Labour and the businesses which hoped to profit under its charge, by courting its policymakers, thought that these laws were nothing other than distilled wonderfulness.

    Then along comes another government and says from the outset, no, this was all bad and needs to be done away with, especially if we can call the process something like The Great Big Mammoth Massive Huge Bollocks Repeal and Reform Everything in the Entire Universe Act to get some headlines for a day.

    So, there are two versions of good and bad by two governments in quick succession.

    During that whole time, Britain remained the same country, so when was it good and when was it bad?

    To see what America is really like, just wait a few years.

    If India and China and other non-American countries start to forge ahead commercially and America enters the rickety twilight years of a former super-power on its last legs, see if it still goes around the world patting poor children on the head and handing out sweets and loose change and generally being everyone's favourite uncle Sam.

  131. @Jay

    That bloke down the street used to beat up his wife and children, so I got the bastard.

    I may have killed a few of his kids in the process and let another bastard move in to mistreat the remaining family members in the ruins of their house, but I reckon it's a good job well done.

    And his flat-screen TV looks great in my living room.

  132. PeterBracken

    Peter i left you a couple of posts on WADDYA yesterday which you didn,t respond too-which of course is your perogative.However i did say earlier here that i felt you were wrong on this one and without repeating everything i said yesterday i would like to add the following.

    I felt there was almost an element of the Mc Carthyite House UnAmerican Activities attitude in the tone you adopted with Montanna.For you were in effect equating her beliefs with either an act of treachery against the 'American Dream' or the rantings of some misguided fool who knew no better.So from where i,m standing Montana was completely justified in getting pissed off with you.

    I believe that the ghost of McCarthy and all he stood for is deeply ingrained in the American psyche.And has in effect played a key role in keeping the majority of Americans in-line as far as certain key American ideals are concerned.But as Montana and others -including myself-have tried to point out to you it is those American ideals whicht have been responsible for causing a number of fundamental fuck ups not only in American society itself but also in American foreign policy as well.

    It seems to me that all Montana was suggesting was that there must be a better way for Americans to do things.And whilst i think American has a lot going for it on balance i think Montana is right.Because the underbelly of American society at present should be viewed as being a national scandal amongst the American political classes.Yet somehow i don,t think it really is.And as far as American foreign policy goes there have been too many cases where the Americans have displayed a collective refusal to recognize what has been the 'bleedin obvious' for much of the rest of the world.And examples of that are their tendancy to support corrupt foreign governments,their refusal to even consider planning for a post-Saddam Iraq when they went to war etc etc etc.

  133. @monkeyfish

    Oh, the 70s were very Russ Meyer for me. :-)

  134. Massive Huge Bollocks Repeal



    Exclusive report by our paint correspondent Jacko from Brush Strokes.

    The world of paint drying has been toasting the success of the inaugural International “Watching Paint Dry”™ tournament, taking place in various DIY stores around South Africa this June and July.

    “It’s been less than a week into this tournament and we’ve already seen some unbelievable displays of watching paint dry” said David Dulux, Secretary General of the WPDA© (Wet Paint Drying Association). “Since the South African’s painted off last Friday, billions of people have watched the world’s greatest painters and decorators , paint a wall in their national colours and wait for it to dry,” Dulux continued.

    From the flamboyant stroke of the Brazilians via the carefree splatter broad brush approach of the Spanish to the more conservative, methodical techniques applied by the English, there has been something for every paint drying fan.

    It hasn’t been all plain drying however as Dulux is keen to point out, “The Swiss wall caused a bit of an upset when it refused to dry for quite some time but other than that the Tournament has been an unqualified success. We have had literally millions switch off to go and read a book, twiddle their thumbs or do something else.”

    The tournament has been such a success that Angela Anaglypta, chief executive of the World Wallpaper Hanging Federation is said to be extremely interested in initiating the first wallpaper staring competition sometime next year.

  136. Duke

    Must admit the only real enthusiasm i can muster for the tournament at present is for fridays game.

  137. thaumaturge

    Thought that might appeal to your more, er, basic instincts.


    Excellent, although I have to say that, since I am allergic to football, even the version you mention might be a bit too racy for me.

    It seems that everything over on WADDYA has settled back to lovey-doveydom and nobody is mentioning JessicaReed's terrorist outrage from the weekend.

    Watch out for someone there, though, who seems to priming the idiot contingent for a fall.

  138. Ha ha ha! I'm now off to find out what Switzerland have done.

  139. Duke/Paul,

    Maybe we're getting old, because it seems to me that the 'World Cup experience' has suffered the same fate that Christmas and the size/quality of mars bars/milky ways has.

  140. Aha! No-one expects the Swiss Inquisition.

  141. Atomboy

    I spotted that too. ;)

  142. AB, it certainly seems to be working!

  143. This comment has been removed by the author.

  144. At which point, like an elderly deaf person in a crowded room with multiple conversations, I am utterly befuddled.


    Let me know if you want me to pop round with a bucket of cold water.


    I assume you mean the other place. If whoever it is plays it right, it could be funny.

  145. James

    What,s the mood in Brazil.2-1 FFS.And if we,re to believe everything we read in the papers the North Koreans were probably half starving.

    Will be watching the SA v Uruguay match tonight which hopefully should be a lively affair.

    Tournament so far has been a bit of a non-event.
    Commentators this end seem to be outdoing each other in putting it down to a typical 'slow start'.But i can,t remember the early stages ever been this dull before.

  146. This comment has been removed by the author.

  147. Paul,

    Well, it all went a bit mental here yesterday, before, during and after the game.

    The good news though, if you are finding it all a bit boring, is that it's already been decided by everyone here that Brazil are definitely going to win it, so, you know, we don't have to bother watching the rest of it if we don't want to.

    (Pointing out that they played shit and were lucky not to drop points against North Korea's not the done thing either, apparently...)

  148. Cheers MF, the Millenarians is on the shelf already, about 3rd in my current reading queue, but will have a look at this Wheen book and put it on the list. I see Wheen also wrote that "How mumbo jumbo conquered the world" book, anyone read that?

  149. Jay,

    I have.

    Quite enjoyed it.

  150. Thats good enough for me, James, thats going on the list too. This "wish list" function on Amazon is very handy actually...

  151. MonkeyFish:

    Thanks for the recommends. Read Francis Wheen's book on Karl Marx - great stuff. Shall certainly check out the above.

  152. @Jay

    Me too. Wheen applies the toe-cap to some deserving targets in diverting fashion, although some of the targets are over-familiar.

  153. Peter

    I think the Princess Diana Chapter was quite good though, although not as good as Stewart Lee's take on events.....

  154. James
    "Maybe we're getting old, because it seems to me that the 'World Cup experience' has suffered the same fate that Christmas and the size/quality of mars bars/milky ways has. "

    Damn right. I put it down to not having a sticker album. I liked having the sticker album.

  155. James/Paul,

    the tournament has been gash so far, it really has.


    I was just wondering how the Brazilian press reacted to the 2-1 win. Is it something along the lines of:

    "Dunga should be made subject of an extraordinary rendition. Drugged and kidnapped in the team hotel, he should be interrogated and tortured in a CIA hellhole in Kyrgyztan before being transferred to Guantanamo in an orange jumpsuit.

    Whilst being detained in Guantanamo he should have his testicles guillotined, fried in front of him and eaten with fava beans and a nice chianti (fafafafafafa....), before being transferred back to Brazil where he should be put on the sex offenders register and monitored 24 hours daily for the rest of his life by security forces."


    Jay/La Rit,

    read both of those Wheen books. PeterJ nails the 'mumbo jumbo' one and his Marx biography is an absolute delight.

  156. Philippa,

    just for you: the complete Italia 90 panini sticker book

    Just check out the Colombian squads hair. Absolutely magnificent.

    And it was great to see Charles II come back from the dead to take his place in the Colombian goal.

  157. Philippa


    But that's the thing though, I do have a sticker album....


    From what I can tell, the result's everything, and pointing out flaws/problems seems to be a bit of a no-no, so, so far, everybody seems to be going with the 'it's ours' approach, rather than 'wtf was that?' one.

    (I even saw a 5 minute piece, about how Dunga was the height of fashion last night, sporting what appeared to me at least, to be the 'gay fisherman' look)

  158. james - hehehe - one of the chaps on the daily podcast said that he had his sticker album 'by proxy' having bought one 'for his son'. much better to be open about it...

  159. Philippa,

    it's great and certainly brings back memories of when Scotland used to qualify without a second thought.

    Although I got a jolt when I noticed Dave Macpherson in the squad.

    Just to put this in context- George Best, George Weah, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Dave McKay and Alfredo di Stefano never played in a World Cup but 'Donkey' Dave Macpherson did.


  160. Phillipa

    if you like I can collect the dischetti mondiale of all the Italian squad that they give out at the supermarket....but it will cost you;)

  161. Pssst, Phillipa, don't tell anyone but I've still got the full set of coins featuring the England team in 1970.

  162. evening all....

    football collection secrets? I have the entire England World Cup Team from 1986 on little magnetic marbles. Hoddle and Waddle's haircuts are hilarious.

  163. I think it's rather sweet thauma, especially James's sticker album. I know my (12 year old) and totally adorable grandson has got one, my son probably has one too and he's 42 - not that he'd tell me.

  164. In my defence, it was a gift.

    (Granted, a damn good one!)

    However, I am having trouble finding people to swap the stickers with.....

  165. Come to think of it I've got a programme from the 1966 final in my box of memorabilia/ephemera.
    God knows where it came from 'cos I don't remember knowing anyone who actually went to the match!

  166. Chekhov,

    That's a bit special...

  167. I loved the sticker book! The things I miss out on by living in a footie-deprived land. One of the most interesting things for me was seeing how much my taste in men has changed. I used to think that Chris Waddle was so hot!!

    (And Walter Zenga -- used to do a fair bit of drooling over him, too.)

    Speaking of the Scottish team -- Ally McCoist is doing commentary on ESPN for this match.

  168. Walter Zenga!!

    As an eight year old goalkeeper, he was my idol.

    (Although, not in a drooly way, I hasten to add....)

  169. Am I the only person who is beginning to wonder if "paint drying" quality of football the Duke referred to, might have something to do with a combination of the design of the new ball and the altitude?
    After all the continentals are used to swift and accurate passing and if the ball is lighter than the ones they are used to playing it could be harder to judge the pace.
    Likewise in the air; how many shots have "ballooned" over the cross bar?
    Since they are made in Germany by Addidas, I reckon they must be filled with helium and the Germans have a special batch smuggled in for the final!
    Now there's a conspiracy for you!
    I'll get me coat.

  170. The balls do strike me as having the same aerodynamic qualities of what were, in my day, referred to as 99p flyaways!!

  171. (Although, not in a drooly way, I hasten to add....)

    Sure, James.

  172. They had a big discussion about the ball design on ESPN. I think Gullit & Lalas didn't think it should matter. The other guy (name escapes me -- never heard of him before) thought it would be a factor.

  173. Ta for the Kearney, Montana!

  174. Re the ball and altitude an' all - there was quite a bit of discussion over that sort of thing during the Lions' tour of SA last year. They kept switching the matches between low-altitude and high-altitude, which takes a lot of getting used to.

  175. The World Cup ball - they've been using it in the Bundesliga for the last six months. And the Germans have already scored 4 times. Nuff said.

  176. Re Kearney - can I just mention that he is unquestionably the Northern Hemisphere's best full-back ... possibly the world's best, but I am not that familiar with the SH players.

    Geordan Murphy ain't that bad either (despite traitorously playing for an English side), and is getting his first Ireland team captaincy on Friday against the Maoris.

    OK, sorry, back to the footie.... (This time next year I expect footie to be a minor interruption to the Rugby World Cup, mind!)

  177. My Dad used to tell me about playing at Bramall Lane on a muddy wet Saturday afternoon with a nifty right winger called Walter Rickett who was like lightening down the flanks but literally didn't have the strength to cross the ball into the goalmouth from the corner flag.
    Someone had to help it along the way!

    The "Golden Balls" of Sheffield Utd at that time was Jimmy Hagan of whom it was said; "He's such a smart arse, he can cross a ball so that the person who heads it doesn't get the laces tattooed on his forehead!

  178. Scherfig - saw your comment from last night re Bloody Sunday (1972).

    Yes, 14 innocent civilians is a very good place to start.

    Also read Bernadette Devlin's and Gerry Adams' pieces today.

    Frankly I think Adams should have kept out of it as he has plenty of blood on his own hands and that is only going to incite tensions. I'm not saying that he hasn't been very important to the peace process - he has - but using the enquiry for his own political ends is a bit nauseating.

    Bernadette (sorry, I keep hearing that in my head) has a bit more cred in my book, although it could be because my book isn't that well-informed.

    Devlin's point is that prosecution might prevent future abuses, and I think that's a good point; also she isn't interested in prosecuting the individual squaddies who committed this crime, but the government who permitted it, condoned it, and covered it up.

    Yet I think that any such prosecution for war crimes will only inflame tensions and undermine the fragile peace. The GF agreement was based on drawing a line under recriminations and that's essentially a good idea.

    Prosecution for perjury, however, is possibly a viable option.

  179. extra-sensory perception network?

  180. poor south africa.

    played like lemons, but still...

  181. Philippa - encouraging for those of us (well, me) with Uruguay in the staff sweepstake, though...

    Numbed - great posts on the Louisa Young thread

  182. Thauma

    I met Bernadette Devlin once, I liked her. She is a very formidable woman - I certainly wouldn't mess with her. She's rather partial to field sports - hare coursing and such, which is when i discovered it's a good idea to martial your arguments!

  183. Have they decided to do something about the vuvuzelas? Distinctly muted during the SP-CH game (I fell asleep and missed the SA-UR match).

  184. Thauma: every dog has it's day and I certainly won't deny yours next year. I know you love your rugby, nowt wrong with that but us footie nerds are in the ascendecy right now, so probably best to bide your time till your moon is in conjunctive with Venus and Mercury rising over Saturn!

  185. My English friends who've lived in Spain, but mainly France, since the late 60s named their daughter Bernadette after Ms. Devlin.

    Unfortunately, they forgot that the name Bernadette in France has rather strong Catholic connotations. Still, never mind. Bernie seems happy.

  186. cheers Shaz - you too!

    I've been waiting for it all day. CRB makes me so fecking angry.

  187. Just re-read myself. Of course, it has Catholic connotations in Ireland too. What I meant was that in France, it suggests devoutly-religious, conservative Catholicism. Lourdes and that.

  188. @Spike:

    ...it suggests devoutly-religious, conservative Catholicism. Lourdes and that.

    Not necessarily a problem once one ventures away from Paris and into the French hinterland, of course. Plenty of Jean-Baptistes and Maries in those less-travelled parts...

    I'm sure Major Bracken would be able to advise.

  189. Sheff

    Devlin actually punched Tory Twat Reginald Mauldling in Parliament after he stated the soldiers had fired in self-defence on'Bloody Sunday.Think he was the Home Secretary at the time.Got her a suspension.She was only 21 at the time FFS.The youngest woman to ever sit in Parliament.Sure you knew all this anyway.

    Many years later she was also shot as well.
    As you say a tough formidable fearless woman.

  190. OMG. Who is Urism?

    Firstly he/she states that any non-UK citizens or those not born in the UK should have to wait 5 years before being allowed to work in schools and now he/she is claiming that anyone on a school premises has to have a CRB.

    all total bollox.