22 June 2010


Stoat or Ermine (Mustela erminea), youngs playing in Aran valley, Pyrenees, Spain by Oriol Alamany

It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.
-René Descartes


  1. Hurrah!

    Is this the meerkats thread?

    Are they cats - or gaskets?

  2. Early start and sudden finish, it seems.

    Got the builders and scaffolders here today, who have arrived mob-handed and started work with a vengeance.

    So, it looks like I am going to rise through the ranks like a shooting star and become company tea-boy for the next day or two.

    Atomgirl has gone away for the duration and has just sent a text saying she is never coming back.

    What was the story about some pipsqueak ascending to the Lords and saying that there was no more lovely word in the language then ermine.

    Until someone said, "Yes, just like vermin."

  3. So is everyone bent over and ready (some lucky ones may even have found some lubricant!) for Georgie Boy's big hard neoliberal cock of death to be rammed up the collective jacksie?

    I have rapidly come to the conclusion that the population of the UK are masochists of the highest order.

    "GNNHHNNNHHNNNNN, that's it Dave, we voted for you NNNNNNNNNNNNN, push it up harder I can still breathe GHNHNNNNNNNNN. I´ve got just a tiny drop of savings left and I still use services such as the NHS, squeeze me like a lemon gimp boy GNNNNNNNHHHNNNNNNN....When I voted Bullingdon, I had no idea it would be like this GGGNNNHHNNHHNH N......."

    "What about us Dave?? We never voted for you, in fact we couldn't be arsed getting involved at all but please give us the pain!! GNNNNNNN OH That's it, we love it!! GNNNNNNNNN ASPHYXIATE WHAT´S LEFT OF CIVIL SOCIETY OUT OF US BULLI BOY!!!"

    Ladies and Gents, it's the only conclusion I can come to as the UK willingly plays out as Marsellus Wallace in Zed´s dungeon in ´Pulp Fiction´ whilst the Bulli Boys inflict the pain.

    And there is no Bruce Willis coming to save us...


    enjoyed your first edition of open copy news, keep it up.

  4. Where is Stoaty, anyway?

    Duke, you can't make me laugh like that at work! (Except unfortunately it's also true.)

  5. Wybourne


    I tried something sophisticated with the software, which I had got to work before the update but now splutters and wheezes and then falls over, so will have to leave that alone for a bit.

    It's a bit like government. You break something and pretend that it is actually working better than before, despite the fact that everyone can see the scattered wreckage and watch the stinking plumes of smoke spiralling to heaven.

    Anyway, as time permits, I will try to get it moving properly, so people can feel free to dust off any more perspicacious versions of events they would like to see released into the wild to savage the slightly more dubious propaganda and ideological lines trotted out by the cosy, cuddly Guardian or the feral Murdoch media beasts.

    I would say it is time to start biting the penes which shaft you, but I seem to have done the oral sex analogy to death lately.

    "Analogy" phnarr phnarr - looks a bit rude, innit?

  6. Mornin' all..... god, I woke up with a sense of impending doom this morning..... think I might have to stick my fingers in my ears when Osbourne gets going today...


    As if by some strange twist of fate - an article on Polari - apparently, used significantly by gay men and women in the days of oppression....


  7. Cheers LaRit - a heavily plagiarised piece to boot........

  8. Ah well, after the sarky comments from Ms Reed I think I have finally burnt my boats as far as CIF is concerned. Atleast she admitted that CIF has no political line at all. Makes me sad for my dear old Guardian, but never mind.

  9. Georgie Porgie, Puddin' and Pie,
    Kissed the girls and made them cry,
    When the boys came out to play
    Georgie Porgie ran away

    I felt like sharing this with everyone here. Hope everyone had a happy shortest night of the year last night (my fave part of the year).

    Anyway, last night, browsing through Lidls I saw one of them thar red bull clones, stimulant drinks very cheaply. Now I am a big caffeine weakling, one cup of tea is enough to give me a big boost.

    So, I thought, what the heck and tried one. Interesting results....

  10. Hello usini welcome/welcome back.

    I ain't seen stoaty anywhere for a couple of months now. I hope he is well.

    Take it easy Nap - that way lies the road to ruin....

  11. morning all....

    I've been following your "botta e risposta" with Ms Reed...she can be one sarcy woman...and doesn't like being challenged at all...

  12. @usini

    I think the worst part of the thing with Ms Reed is that she genuinely seemed not to understand what you were saying.

    You're welcome here, of course!

  13. Well fuck it Gandolfo I have really had enough. I made a mistake by mentioning Men's fashions and cakes in my last post, but quite honestly I was up to here with the little nicknames and cosy chitchat. I only started posting on CIF in reply to all those comments calling the Guardian a cesspit etc in I/P threads. The funny thing is that I wasn't even interested in I/P until that happened.
    We only get about one decent article a month about Italy, zilch about Germany, it is all so narcissistic.
    Recently we had an article that according to Ms Reed was about South Asia, and it was about South East Asia. Then before things exploded in Thailand we had people asking for an article and we just got an article from a PhD student at SOAS about how it affected tourists. Enough is enough.

  14. Deano:

    "heavily plagarised" yup, I thought ....'has he been reading the UT??' but put an overtly 'gay' spin on it to disguise the truth?


  15. Holy shit, anyone read Yvonne Roberts' latest?

  16. Hi Usini,

    Nice to see you here.

    CiF.... I just end up feeling as if someone's standing on my chest there at times....

  17. @thaum:

    Contentious, to say the least.

  18. Morning there, folks.

    Goodness gracios me, I only read the headline and subtitle of Roberts' piece. It will get slaughtered, and rightly so.

    And then people will come on the thread, complaining about the "what about teh menz" whiners ...

  19. Usini

    Recently we had an article that according to Ms Reed was about South Asia, and it was about South East Asia. Then before things exploded in Thailand we had people asking for an article and we just got an article from a PhD student at SOAS about how it affected tourists. Enough is enough.

    News is now something which only has merit insofar as it can be associated with our lovely hectic lifestyles and our shopping habits.

    Thus, the British Airways strike was only reported in terms of how it made the lives of holidaymakers a misery and was so evil that it might mean a lovely company was financially damaged.

    Did you really think that the vacuous and facile Ms Reed has any interest in news?

    CiF is like a coffee morning for mothers who have just dropped their children off in their 4x4 leviathans and want to complain about their husbands and the horrible staff in Waitrose who are not behaving with sufficient levels of servility and then join in unified shrieks and guffaws that the stupid poor have had it too good for too long and need teaching a lesson in thrift to put them back in their place.

    You will never be able to argue with this because CiF is now a cult and the dizzy, empty-headed pals of Ms Reed will always join in spitting at anyone who endangers their faux society, to which they desperately cling because their life in the real world is even more empty and pointless.

    They are children cuddling a small, furry animal because it looks cute and vulnerable.

    Of course, their smothering has suffocated it, but they carry on cooing over the already stiffening corpse because they are too detached from reality to imagine that bad things can happen - or that they could be the cause - or that the fantasies in which they insulate and wrap themselves could be penetrated by intrusions from the big bad world.

    Cif is now a competition to produce the most inane one-liners as quickly as possible after an article and then bask in the adulation of fellow idiots.

    Now, I have a ballet to attend with the crowned heads of Europe, but I will send you a bottle of wine and some chocolates just as soon as the imbecile waiter processes my credit card.

    You have drunk wine before, I take it? Or is it just the usual half of mild and some pork scratchings for your whippet, to save you embarrassment?

  20. "You will never be able to argue with this because CiF is now a cult and the dizzy, empty-headed pals of Ms Reed will always join in spitting at anyone who endangers their faux society, to which they desperately cling because their life in the real world is even more empty and pointless."


  21. Bleah. Ill. No fun. Even missed fete de la musique last night (DB not happy, her band was playing...)

    and now the budget.

    am not sure i have the mental strength.

    how do i access atomboy's new news service?

  22. PhilippaB

    I'll pop over and open it up to registrations, if that's what you mean.

    peter bracken

    You have managed to condense the idiot one-liner to an idiot one-worder.

    Place a gold star on your blue sticker.

  23. Afternoon all

    The sick will provide easy pickings for the government drive to reduce public spending.The media after all has done a superb job in persuading the unthinking British populace that many of those living on £89pw Disability Benefits should in fact be living on £65pw JSA.And we all know how much government policy these days can be driven by the media.

    The reality however is that after the cost of paying ATOS to declare anyone who isn,t bedridden 'fit for work' there is also the cost of the Appeals Process.And at present 40% of those declared 'fit for work' by ATOS have the decision reversed on appeal.And more importantly get their disability benefits re-instated.Which of course will reduce any savings.But will sadly cause enormous amounts of stress to those sick people having to endure this inhumane process.

    I get the feeling the Guardian aren,t really that interested in taking up the cudgels on behalf of the sick.OK they,ve done the odd article by some low ranking journalist after a lot of BTL pressure.But their attitude to what is in my opinion a national disgrace is half-hearted to say the least.And yet when it becomes clear that vulnerable people are committing suicide rather than either facing an ATOS medical or as a result of ATOS declaring them to be 'fit for work' you better believe the Polly Toynbee,s and other senior journos at the Guardian will start speaking out.Because it will sadly take the premature deaths of vulnerable people to make it a 'GOOD fucking STORY'.

  24. Philippa

    Have done that, but keep in mind it is not really ready to use yet.

    See how you get on, though. You are welcome to play.

  25. "You have managed to condense the idiot one-liner to an idiot one-worder."

    Your self deprecation is to be applauded, Atomboy, but in truth I didn't call you an idiot one-worder.

  26. atomboy - actually meant couldn't find it, but have found it now. looks good - although head too woolly to join in at present. will get involved when less bleah.

    even the sound of gids' voice makes me feel worse.

    tenner on a vat rise...

  27. peter bracken

    Yes, almost funny but probably not really worth working on.

    We all know that there are parts of CiF which sometimes have merit and we know that WADDYA is just a little ante-room where those waiting to ascend to the breathless heights of stardom can chat idly with each other and parade their tribalism.

    you have your opinions, which differ from mine.

    You are entitled to hold them and express them how you choose.

    It does not make them right, any more than the fact that I have contrary ideas makes mine better or more correct.

    I am happy not to imagine or pretend that I am right or feel very bothered that other people might think I am completely wrong.

    We do not have to shriek like children having our swirly 99s with added flake taken away when confronted with different opinions.

    CiF seems to have set itself up for mockery and public ridicule, with the flashing neon sign planted firmly over WADDYA.

    Other than that, do you really think that anyone could care less what you or I might think?

  28. @ Paul. Don't get me started on ATOS. Fucking disgrace, sod-all knowledge of any of the conditions they are meant to assess.Just an overriding imperative to say no,regardless of the facts,encouraged by the past Govt, and this new one too.I've lost count of the hours I have to put in, above and beyond the day job,trying to get folk what meagre help they are entitled to. Over 80% of those turned down by ATOS get that decision overturned on appeal (n.b. appeals are when proper medical evidence is adduced, nit their incompetent and rigged assessment). No apologies are ever forthcoming, and in the meantime, folk awaiting their appeal are left potless. Shitdribble Purnell can try and reinvent himself but the fucker has directly caused massive levels of distress to the most marginalised,and the most afflicted.

  29. @Atomboy:

    I think you're mistaken, in the sense that you're viewing the whole of CiF through the lens of the much-maligned WDYWTTA thread.

    The point's been made before, so I won't labour it, but there is a lot of comment and debate around the site, and it would be dishonest to claim it's all ballet, meerkats and jaffa cakes. The quality of below-the-line comment varies, of course, but people get het up about all sorts on there.

    And re. the invariably tetchy Jessica Reed - well, we know CiF isn't "news", it's a "comment" and "opinion" site, and she commissions stuff according to that brief - op ed commented on by those who a) know the place exists; b) have a view; and c) can be arsed to share it.

    Now, as you know, I'm always happy to take the piss out of the stereotypical Graun-reader, well-manicured hands in a permanent state of wring while blind to their own hypocrisy and all that, but, while they are apparently in plentiful supply above the line, it seems to me it's a bit different below the line - indeed, the more egregious Graun-type examples of Ciffery ATL tend to draw fire from all sides, united in a chorus of "Oh, for fuck's sake" etc.

    If it's getting dragged down, it's because of the people who continue to peddle the Graun's agenda above the line - not those below it.

  30. Atomboy: You can't, in all seriousness, declare that the lives of people you don't know are empty and pointless, as you did. What you wrote was meaningless, condescending drivel.

    Your friends here wouldn't alert you to it, so I took it upon myself to do you a favour - just in case you mistook their silence for approval, and imbibed your own bull.

  31. Alisdair

    Is the success rate on appeal 80%? I thought it was 40%.

    I also heard that ATOS get a bonus for all those they delare to be 'Fit for Work'.But crucially they don,t lose that bonus when their decisions are overturned on appeal.

    ATOS and it,s 'ugly twin sister' A4E really should prick at the conscience of the nation.The fact it clearly doesn,t highlights for me just how low this country has sunk.Where vulnerable people are treated like shit in order to flush out the minority who are malingering.And nobody with real power or influence seems to give a damn.

  32. cutting CT?

    because we're all in this together.


  33. Osborne turns to disability living allowance. The government will not reduce the rate of DLA. But three times as many people claim it now as when it was introduced 18 years ago.

    From 2013 there will be a medical assessment for new and existing claimants.

    Confused - does this mean that ATOS will be stopped in their tracks? Somehow I doubt it.

  34. his voice is going already.

    sounds like the VAT rise is coming......

  35. @ Paul. I'm referring to my area, mental health, for the 80% figure, but a CAB report (with input from over 20 charities) also seems to point to 80%.It's the plain obduracy of ATOS to ignore the plentiful evidence, so at appeal, you turn up with testimony from consultant psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, that yes,as you've already said first time round, Mr X is actually on the SMI (severe mental illness) register, is on enhanced CPA (care programme approach), is visited by his CPN very frequently, and indeed is receiving input from the CAT (crisis assessment team), and they still want to argue the toss.I've even had folk undergoing sectioning still being told they aren't ill and are fit for work

  36. Wow, this budget's pretty steamy...

  37. wish they'd done a better job on looking into the impact - ball's piece was balls, the G's guy wasn't any better...

    housing. tell me about housing.

  38. nothing?

    he just said no other changes to the zero-rate - does that mean they're leaving it? thank christ.

    am still going to check the small print, though...

  39. @ thauma, "From 2013 there will be a medical assessment for new and existing claimants". Aye: depends doesn't it. Odds are it'll still be ATOS or an equivalent doing the assessing, which in my book doesn't count as a medical assessment, but an evidence-free predecided process.

  40. GAAP?

    Blimey...c'mon kiddo...

  41. Usini

    in fact Hooper has been very quiet while Rome burns...but then maybe BTL it's no possible to take the piss any longer out of Berlusconi maybe serious responses are the only possibility...not so much fun and not so many comments to be gained....therefore not so many clicks for the advertisers....

  42. still get pissed and smoke yourself to death without having to pay more duty tax then...that's assuming you can afford it I suppose....

  43. Alisdair

    Shit it,s even worse than i thought then-if that were indeed possible.Although as you know the tabloid press has been working itself up into a frenzy over the increasing proportion of those claiming disability benefits who are mentally ill.With the not so subtle implication that many are 'swinging the lead'.

    It,s only a matter of time before we start seeing some real tragedies over this.And i bet those bastard labour MPs who kept schtum when Purnell introduced this whole sorry mess will start loudly attacking the government-fucking hypocrites!

    ps it,s a good job there are people like you prepared to help the sick.However are the GP,s doing their bit as well.You mentioned that medical professionals are getting involved at the Appeal stage but surely GP,,s and others should be getting involved when people are first summoned for their ATOS medicals.

  44. SwiftyBoy

    My argument with CiF was, effectively, always and only that their moderation was inconsistent, did not comply with its own guidelines and frequently seemed to be based on censorship for ideological reasons.

    This was fairly well established when Summerisle was banned and the discussion which followed, despite the fact that Seaton said he would not enter into discussions about moderation.

    He then said he would look into and signally failed to do so and neglected to explain why not.

    His line is that because he thinks the moderators are above reproach, we must all believe this as well.

    Once you enter that degree of cavalier, baseless nonsense, you can only expect to lose the belief of your own and the site's abilities to be honest and trustworthy.

    At that stage, it became something which deserved to be mocked for being, basically, an inveterate and unconvincing liar.

    peter bracken

    Actually, I can say pretty much whatever I like, as long as I am prepared to take the consequences.

    We all use a shorthand and we all like to think that we know best. You think that the WADDYA crew do not have empty and pointless lives, but unless you know the details of the individuals, you are in no position to think your assumption is any more valid than mine.

    You seem to have a humourless and literal view of life and cannot understand the point of a rant, but I could be mistaken. It could be that you are a trivial, witless person who is the life and soul of the party.

    I do not consider anyone with whom I have online conversations as my friends and am not hugely interested in the adulation which CiF tends to prompt and foster, let alone want to see it here, so you are again making assumptions which you think are correct simply because they have the validation of being yours.

    You are entitled to like WADDYA and CiF and think that it gives you a platform where other people will notice you and absorb your ideas by osmosis.

    I am entitled to poke fun in a general, global sense without having to worry about naming those to whom it does and does not apply.

    Whether you like it or not really doesn't feature.

  45. Just been watching Harriet Harman's response to the budget..... the revolting sight of the smirking, bloated faces of the Tories and Lib Dems was enough to make me want to go down there with a Splurge Gun.

    Biggest cuts to Welfare and benefits..... utterly disgusting.

  46. @ Paul, TBH, GPs (along with other directly involved medics) end up out of the loop in the process. The client/service user/patient/survivor (delete according to outlook) gets a letter summoning 'em to the ATOS assessment, and that's it: it's down to the client/service user/patient/survivor to let any or everyone else know.

  47. Radio 4 went to 'responses from Gateshead' after the speech, and the best points were made by the man working on the bins - he's on 16k so will get the £250 rise, but with VAT going up, that could well cancel that out, and that's if he manages to keep his job. Because the cuts planned could be horrific...

    Am nervous about opening email up and seeing the no doubt multitude of panic-stricken messages from clients already struggling to pay irrecoverable VAt bills...

    off to check the small print.

  48. Will Hutton to draw up plans for fairer pay across the public sector, without increasing the overall pay bill, so that those at the top of organisations are paid no more than 20 times the salaries of those at the bottom.

    Watch out for "reorganisations" in the public sector!

  49. Well, treasury site clearly creaking under the weight, but hmrc is still up (for now) - and no dicking around with VAT on housebuilding, which is a reassurance...

  50. Alisdair

    Is there an ATOSWatch website, if not why not ? Action at community level seems to me to be absent in the UK, with just individuals like you working alone ? That's my impression.

  51. Atomboy:

    "Actually, I can say pretty much whatever I like, as long as I am prepared to take the consequences."

    Of course you can say what you like. Never questioned the fact.

    "We all use a shorthand and we all like to think that we know best." If that's an apology for the people you've unnecessarily traduced, fine. We all make mistakes.

    "You seem to have a humourless and literal view of life and cannot understand the point of a rant, but I could be mistaken."

    You are mistaken. An no weasel words of yours in hindsight will gloss over the pathetic superiority of your earlier post.

    Take it on the chin. You were well out of order. It's a characteristic of the navel gazing that too often disfigures this site. And if you're not big enough to admit the garbage that was your rant, this conversation's over.

  52. Interestingly, away from the rate rise (obviously a big deal) there seems to be much less desperate dicking around with the edges of VAT than is the norm.

    It actually looks quite simple.

    It's just:
    rate rise
    anti-forestalling (connected to the rate rise)
    changes to flat rate scheme (connected to the rate rise)

    that's possibly the shortest list of budget day vat changes i've ever seen.

    mind, when you've just raised £12b a year with the rate rise, I suppose scrabbling around for an extra £50 by fucking around with mileage allowances and the status of snack food becomes less important.

  53. PhilippaB

    Using Koolio's 4% for the lowest 20% of incomes, I made the impact a 56p increase for each £100 of spending.

    Sound right ?

  54. LaRit - I had it mind that the article had a strong resemblance to the Wiki entry:
    Wiki on Polari

    but to be fair its always possible that the guy himself wrote the wiki entry. I think he may be the Paul Baker guy whose written a book or two on the subject....

    But that said I think you may be right about the commissioning editor reading here at UT.

  55. frog2 - i get 57, but yes - thing is, am still not clear what the figures really are - people citing different things all over the place (Save the Children apparently saying 14%, which could just be laziness, as there's no way that's right).

    while a lot of 'revenue necessities' are VAT-free, the problem is that 'capital necessities' (other than property) tend not to be - car, washing machine, oven - well, all white goods, all furniture, etc.

    and the 'no vat on food or children's clothes' thing that pols are always so proud of is a fecking farce.

    there's VAT on fruit juice, for example. not at all out of line with health advice. no vat on cake, though.

    and the children's clothes rules are a nightmare. most twelve year olds now are too big to meet the size guides, so most secondary school kids will only get zero-rating on their uniforms, if that...

  56. am just waiting for retailers to put prices up by 2.5%, as well. thinking nobody will notice. peh.

  57. peter bracken

    It's a characteristic of the navel gazing that too often disfigures this site.

    So, it is OK for you to make vague, undefined statements about this site in totality but not OK if I do it about your favoured playground?

    Why do you think I should feel the need to apologise for something which simply bruised your tender sensibilities and your view of a collection of virtual conversations?

    You are only really entitled to say how you, individually, took the comment and found it to be unfair. You have done that. We all make general comments without worrying too much about whether the thrust of the statement will be true in each and every case.

    Much as I loathe Stephen Fry, I will borrow his comment:

    "So you are offended? So fucking what!"

  58. I see peter brackens piece is up at CiF.

  59. Alisdair

    I've even had folk undergoing sectioning still being told they aren't ill and are fit for work

    ...and the bit before it.

    I know you are very busy but if you were able to knock together something connected with this for OCN it would be welcome.

    I have put the full budget text over there for anyone who likes that kind of thing.

  60. PS Sorry for this clumsiness, but please also feel free to pass on the facility to write about what is happening to anyone else who has working knowledge.

    I should be able to get things running roughly OK over the next day or so.

  61. frog + Alisdair

    the working alone bit - it is very difficult on your own. Up against local councils, various statutory bodies , self protection by orgs. is rife - surrounded by a sea of apathy about the lives of 'other'.

    Just trying to get info through Freedom of Info act is difficult and time consuming. I have written screeds around the children's Act to local SS depts. - they misinterpret it constantly to fit within spending limits and close ranks - backed by legal advisers - to protect staff.

    Took me 10 years to close a Private Scool which effectively abused children by denying them medical help other than that of a half barmy 'alternative' practitioner. Only when a boy almost died did the authorities move. This was a residential school for 'psychotic' kids from abroad.

  62. AB, if time permits, I'll get over there. Bit of a clusterfuck looming with social care where I am. The implementation of personalisation (as opposed to the broad idea, which like motherhood and apple pie, no-one disagrees with) is going to see prevention and maintenance wiped off the agenda, as the bar is raised (using ludicrous RAS criteria now...). In other words, odds are in my neck of the woods nobody'll get a personal budget worth anything unless they are massively unwell most of the time, which is the point at which most social care has to take a lesser role, and medical interventions come to the fore. Getting services to keep you well/ticking over, nah.

  63. Meant to comment on stoats - one of my favourite small mammals. To see stoats dancing in long grass is a priceless joy. Mad as a stoat captures that feeling of unrestricted freedom and total lack of inhibition we so seldom experience.

  64. The Budget - put me in mind of the story of the Widow's Mite - there'll be very few mites to spare for or from the poor.

  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. Alisdair and Leni

    Another factor to consider when you,re trying to help those up against the 'big boys' is the need to maintain contacts-who may or may not help you.The old adage 'you scratch my back and i,ll scratch yours' seems to be a fact of life everywhere these days.

  67. leni, Alisdair, Atomboy

    From your answer leni you are working alone -- don't know precisely in which field, so I'll repost my original question :

    " Is there an ATOSWatch website, if not why not ? Action at community level seems to me to be absent in the UK, with just individuals like you working alone ? That's my impression. "

    I won't generalise to all of france, but in my rural area there is a lot of solidarity and small 'Associations (Loi 1901)' that put pressure on politicians on individual cases.

    When 'illegal immigrant' kids well-integrated in schools are threatened with deportation, the teachers and other kids get organised .

    So to what extent is opposition to the abuses in mental health & disability bureaucracies organised ?

  68. Hard to think of a more spectacular World Cup meltdown than France 2010. The only one that comes close is Scotland 78.

    One of the pre tournament favourites dissolving in the chaos of dreadful tactics, abysmal management, members of the squad being held at gunpoint and a player being sent home for drug taking. But at least Scotland got it together to beat Holland in their final match.

    France have drowned in a sea of hubris, arrogance and ego. Exacerbated by a muppet of a manager.

  69. Forget the budget - I am wallowing in a delicious vat of schadenfreude.

  70. Afternoon everyone

    Haven't had a chance to mull over the budget properly yet - but its looking fairly grim. Looks like the three amigos (georgie nick and vince) have looked after their key priorities...ie the ones most likely to vote for them next time round - the older generation - everyone else will be shafted and the vat rise will put paid to any income tax cuts etc etc...hey ho what did we expect.

    ATOS also have the contract to look after the Home Office/UKBA IT systems - they have a hand in many pies and should be kept an eye on. Same with Siemens and Capita.

  71. Which particular vat is that thauma?

  72. From Scherfig yesterday night:

    "BB has agressively pushed the LibDem agenda here for months. And she also voted for them. Middle class wankers who don't give a toss about the ordinary people. It's not their reality no matter how much they try to pretend it is. "

    1. He who asserts must prove - please provide examples of me "aggressively" pushing the LibDem agenda so I know what you are referring to. Perhaps I might be able to reply then.

    2. Yes I did vote for them because many of their policies were further left-wing than New Labour's, they were proposing lifting the income tax threshold to £10,000 which would have assisted a great many working-class families, and I like what they had to say about Europe and immigration. I spent 5 days in May arguing with my husband every day about why they should team up with New Labour and not the Tories. He was just anxious to get rid of the last lot at whatever cost (he's Canadian, and doesn't remember the worst of Thatcher because he wasn't here at the time).

    3. Don't presume to tell me what I think or believe based on the party I voted for.

    4. Lurking in the corner waiting to take a pot-shot at people you don't like is making you look a bit - well - sad and spiteful. I once said something mean to you. I think I accused you of something like "arguing black is white and red is no colour at all" and playing the man not the ball. It was a very long time ago. I am sorry if it upset you, but you need to let that grudge go otherwise you will make yourself miserable. Hell, you already are miserable, you will just make yourself feel even worse. You only seem to be "happy" when there is a fight going on. That says a great deal...

    Now then, back to today's business:

    I haven't heard what the cuts are yet, so I will have to take a shufty. I heard Harman's HoC bit on the radio on the way home, and she is spot on about VAT - raising VAT is pernicious when we should be raising income tax for the top tax bracket instead. In Thatcher's day it was 60%. I fail to see why it can't be that now.

    I shall go off and take a look at it all now...


    You are right that solidarity and community action is far better galvanised in France than it is in the UK. We have very little here in comparison, certainly not outside the major conglomerations.

  73. Oh, I guess you're wallowing in the fallout from the French farce - as will be the whole of ireland.

  74. Hi all,

    Just a quick post before I have a nap. Bloody awful but what I expected (budget that is). Would of course been lovely to wake up and found out that Gideon meant it when he said we would 'share the pain' but he didn't - not even a mention - not a mention of tax avoidance (although not listened to the whole thing so if he did I prepare to take that back).

    And those on benefits screwed - as for regular medicals for DLA - well THAT will save money wont it - not! As well as being very stressful for people who are severly ill or disabled.


  75. frog2

    The problem with something like ATOSWatch - or what is the other one? A4 something? - would probably be that they would send round a team of crack lawyers as soon as you said anything which suggested that they might be anything other than perfect, both commercially and in their purely beneficent dealings with their "clients".

    People often say that we, in Britain, need to behave more like France and take action and demonstrate and whatever.

    The, of course, we don't.

    The problem has always been that those who could do something tend not to bother until they are affected themselves. All the time it is happening to other people - especially those who do not make a noise or get into the headlines - it is not really happening at all, so who cares?

    I suggested (possibly here) some time ago that committees or groups or councils or whatever you want to call them should be formed in each constituency to keep watch over the MP and the local authority and any other public entity. That we should perpetually scrutinise those who make decisions on our behalf.

    Strangely, Nick Clegg, when announcing the Great Reform Bill - or whatever it was called - said that we needed to move from the overweening state of New Labour to citizens taking active responsibility and politicians understanding that they work for us - that we are in charge.

    Do you think he meant it?

    Do you think we would be able to assert our power?

    It may depend on just how much ordinary people come to feel that the imagined material success which has always been promised will be coming their way seems suddenly to be sailing away with them not on board.

    Otherwise, cheap booze in Tesco and the lifestyles of celebrities and the rich and famous may still keep us distracted.

    After all, who really wonders or bothers what misery and exploitation has allowed them to buy a new outfit for £1.99 and triple clubcard points?

    It's cheap, innit?

    As long as the slave-labour to produce it is hidden on the other side of the world, globalisation is good for me.

  76. That's right, Sheff! The Graun live blog is pretty amusing; here's an excerpt:

    52 min: Theirry Henry is about to come on to lend his team-mates a hand. "I'd like to say that as a more modern, mature, civilised and cosmopolitan Ireland, we can graciously extend our condolences to our French bretheron, knowing that all that went before is water under the bridge and to offer them our support in their darkest hour," drools Dara Ryder. "But I'd fibbing. Boy, I'm enjoying this. With this twisted, bitter and deranged joy across my face i must look like a Francis Bacon painting."

  77. PCC

    It is all about stuff being seen to be done. The Daily Heil and Murdoch's (wouldn't hang them up in the toilet for spare) papers witter on incessantly about "benefits scroungers" so the gubmint has got to be seen to be doing "something about it", whether in the end it actually saves money or not. Stomach-churning.

  78. Point taken, BB, and apologies if I offended you. I've re-read my comment and can see how it could have been misconstrued. But it is a matter of record that you strongly supported the LibDems repeatedly on this thread and idolized Vince Cable, who (imho) is now totally discredited as any having any sort of economic/financial 'wisdom'. You backed the wrong horse - the Libdems were merely Tories in disguise, and I and several others pointed that out a long time ago. You just didn't listen.

    btw, you might want to do some basic research on the real economic consequences of raising the tax threshold to £10,000 or above (which I recall you praising to the skies). Who benefits most from that? - well, cor blimey guvner!, strike a light! It's not the lowest paid, it's the fucking middle classes!

  79. "bitter and deranged joy" - like it!

  80. Mr Deputy Speaker, one of the most chaotic areas of tax that the new Government inherited from its predecessor is the capital gains tax regime.

    Some of the richest people in this country have been able to pay less tax than the people who clean for them.

    That is not fair – and it stems from the avoidance activity that has exploited the wider gap between the rate of capital gains tax and the top rates of income tax.

    These practices are costing other taxpayers over £1 billion every year.

    It is therefore right, as set out in the coalition agreement, that capital gains tax should increase in order to help create a fairer tax system.

    I have listened carefully to everyone’s views and considered all the options.

    My concern has been to balance the competing demands of fairness, simplicity and competitiveness – and I believe my decision gets that balance right.

    Low and middle income savers who pay income tax at the basic rate make up over half of all capital gains taxpayers.

    They will continue to pay tax on their capital gains at 18 per cent.

    From midnight, taxpayers on higher rates will pay 28 per cent on their capital gains.

    Yes, but there are many other ways in which the rich simply decide that they would prefer not to pay tax. After all, only poor people pay taxes.

    So, what is going to happen to the other £24 000 000 000 which magically fails to find its way into the coffers of the Exchequer, simply because it is money owed by the rich, who wriggle out of paying it?

    Maybe Osborne might find some of it stashed on the yachts of his Rothschild chums. He could ask Peter Mandelson to look.

  81. Duke(/Thauma),

    If I've got one complaint though, it's that there hasn't been any shots of Michel Platini looking thoroughly pissed off. That would be the icing on the croissant for me!!

    Anyway, as you were...

  82. scherfig

    btw, you might want to do some basic research on the real economic consequences of raising the tax threshold to £10,000 or above (which I recall you praising to the skies). Who benefits most from that? - well, cor blimey guvner!, strike a light! It's not the lowest paid, it's the fucking middle classes!

    Yes, since we can devise something as ludicrously complicated and monstrous as tax credits, why is it not possible to allow people on a certain income a tax allowance of £10 000 but deny a proportion of that to those who earn above a certain threshold?

    Is it because the computers could not cope with it or because filching from the pockets of the lovely people is not the same as fleecing the poor?

  83. Has this Emergency Budget closed any of the remaining tax loopholes that the rich still benefit from.And out of interest does anyone know the tipping point re tax increases that is likely to trigger off a serious outflow of captital as well as a brain drain from this country.We are after all constantly being told that higher taxes for the better off will cause both.

  84. Is it because the computers could not cope with it

    No, atomboy, it's simple political ideology. The LibDems have never been interested in helping the low-paid/working class. But they found a convenient sound-bite that resonated with the bien pensant middle classes and made them feel better about themselves. It doesn't matter that it's bollocks, they knew that their cheerleaders and deluded supporters would never get off their arses and actually check it out. 'Feel good' factor at its simplest and most effective.

  85. Exactly Atomboy,

    unless a strong, rigid and thorough tax regulatory body was announced by Osborne today to investigate tax avoidance and take measures, that supposed extra rich tax will disappear to the Cayman Islands and Belize.

    The 'emergency budget' and the New, Old, erm we're not quite sure how to rename this turd yet, probably 'blandband Labour response was a grotesque pantomime taking place in a Wonderland where 99% of representatives represent directly or indirectly banking and industrialist concerns.

    This 'emergency budget' is the public showpiece where titbits such as capital gains tax rises and tax threshold rises are thrown around. Note the use of the term low income savers, a rhetorical device used to give the impression that those on a low income are included and shall be protected. How many on low incomes can afford to be 'savers'?

    The real war on public services and the poor/median incomes will gradually be implemented away from grandstand showcases such as the 'emergency budget'.

  86. Luckily, though, the FT seems to be giving it their seal of approval:

    Higher earners breathe sigh of relief

    Higher earners expecting to bear the brunt of the chancellor’s tax increases have been spared big increases to capital gains tax and income tax in the emergency Budget.

    The lovely rich, never known to miss a trick, are also ahead of the game and ready to present a moving target in the event that they should ever be asked to stump up for their round:

    Some believed tax shelters would become more valuable in years ahead, as tax rates may yet rise further. Louise Somerset of RBC Wealth Management said: “The limited nature of today’s announcements so far as taxation is concerned immediately raises the question of whether the chancellor will need to take a second bite of the cherry later. Wealthy taxpayers may be worried that there is worse to come, and I expect to see plenty more clients wanting to act in the next few months to lock in current tax rates before things get worse.”

  87. Scherf

    Fair enough, guv'ner. :o)

    Come on though - the £10 thresh-hold benefits the lower paid and the middle classes. And if it were combined with an increase in the top rate of tax, it would be a sensible answer to the problem.

    I am not sure that Vince Cable has anything more than a walk-on part in the current government to please the LibDems, though - but I still maintain that it is better to have an economist dealing with the economy.

    I am thinking about when there was a similar situation in France in the 80s, and Raymond Barre - economist and grosse-tete - was hauled in, and did a bloody good job of it.

    Yes I am gutted that the Tories got in at all. Yes I am doubly gutted that the LibDems sided with them instead of New Labour. But I am glad we are getting rid of some of the New Labour authoritarian shite that was throttling the country.

    I said a long time ago, and I still maintain that the Labour Party left me, not the other way around. Look at what Purnell was plotting already. Seriously, I think some of us have short memories and forget some of the egregious things that New Labour were up to, or planning to do.

    When they start gravitating back to their core values, I will start voting for them again. In the mean time I have to vote for the least-worst alternative. Next time round I will have to think very carefully about who that will be...

  88. Thauma

    France, on the other hand, could not have found a more ignominious way to exit. THey finished bottom of Group A in a manner that makes them the laughing stock of the footballing world. At least until tomorrow. Over to you, England ....

    Knowing our luck, not to mention ability, it looks possible that England and France will be united in ignominy.

  89. Thauma and others currently snickering at the departure of the french - post-match discussion is just starting on the telly.

    boy oh boy.

    there could be tears.

  90. and again, the first post-match interview (after a small chat w cisse on the pitch) is with the minister of sport.


    mind, the sound's down, so we don't have to listen to her insufferable school-marmish mother-henning.

    no, i get to try to understand what fabien barthez is saying instead. mumbling plus shrugging is not 'analysis' to me.

    head of the FFF (=FA)
    "the French team has brought shame on this country - a sad moment for football - we have to turn the page - totally negative - we have to look to the future - take a long hard look at the problems - I have confidence in Laurent Blanc, a great player, a great coach"
    sadly, he can't hear the studio. who are yelling questions at him

  91. Sheff - it's a beautiful thing indeed.

    Don't think England can possibly match France in ignominy. Although if the last match is anything to go by, everyone may fall asleep before it's over.

  92. BeautifulBurnout

    Seriously, I think some of us have short memories and forget some of the egregious things that New Labour were up to, or planning to do.

    Perhaps, but I do not think so.

    This is more to do with not pretending that when you get a change of government, you actually get a change of approach.

    It does not really matter what logo or badge or sticker is on the candidate or the party, it is simply that there are many more poor from whom to extract just a little bit more than there are even moderately or relatively financially secure people, who simply refuse to pay.

    Yes, we all know that tax avoidance is legal and what any sensible person would do in order to minimise their exposure to the grasping hand of the state.

    After all, social responsibility is all well and good, until you have to part with hard cash to pay for it.

    Much better to let that burden fall on those least able to sustain it.

    Politicians are the lackeys and Kapos of businesses and will always operate at their behest.

    Otherwise, the lovely revolving door would start screeching and grinding to a halt.

  93. Phillipa

    England will probably be doing their own weeping and hand wringing soon.

  94. sounds like the post-mortem on this is going to be nasty...

    FFF chief not being drawn into anything on responsibility, sackings or anything. but he's made it very clear that he picked Blanc as successor, which suggests he's trying to save his position...

  95. PhillipaB

    I refuse to gloat until England have thrashed Slovenia.Then i may well celebrate/gloat with a bottle of good French red.

  96. Phil - according to Graun, Henry tried another handball that wasn't spotted by the ref! Did you see it? (I could only read the blog.)

  97. sheff - indeedy, but it'll be a dull pootle home, rather than the rather spectacular display of chaos the french have managed...

  98. It's free pizzas all round in Dublin again! Another 700! Merci, la belle France. Mine's a pepperoni and gorgonzola.

    And Domenech wouldn't even shake hands with Pareirra - what's that all about?

  99. thauma - there was a handball - not deliberate but definitely a whistle's-worth - came off his head onto his arm - fortunately he then screwed up the shot...

  100. scherf - was watching france v mexico with a mate, who said domenech is a mixture of the mentalism of hoddle and the ineptitude of mcclaren, in the same person. apparently he doesn't pick saggitarians to play midfield, or something. he's not just bad, he's a bit weird as well...

  101. Fuck punitive cuts. Think how much the forein office spends on taking Arab Sheikhs round Harrods or buying them Bentley's.

    Cut the Ferrero Rocher allowance.

    The Guardian has a tonne of analysis. I can't be bothered reading, but 20% fucks sake

    I would be supportive of an 1940s style austerity if there was a social sense of everyone being in it together to lay the foudnations for a better coutnry, but when we have the wealthy fucking off to Belize, Cayman islands, etc, taking their tax evading money with them- then fuck em.

  102. what's that all about?

    Poor sportsmanship.

  103. more interviews - sports minister v dull - now malouda, clearly on the verge of tears, apologising to all the supporters...

  104. Sounds about right, Philippa. But you you've got to admire his hairdo. Pretty impressive for a guy his age. But it's now time for Laurent Blanc. I always liked that guy, and a great player too.

    Silly fact from wiki - 'he was criticised for poor performances in the early months of his stay at Old Trafford. This was compounded when United suffered their first five losses of the season to Bolton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and Chelsea (The first letters of each team spelling B-L-A-N-C).' That sort of puts Domenech's saggitarians into perspective!

  105. prevailing feeling, from several of the ex-players being interviewed, is that the current team 'took the shirt hostage' - i.e. thought they were beyond criticism because they are in the team, whereas 'the shirt belongs to everyone'.

    it's all got rather philospophical.

  106. Jeez!!!

    France is really taking this badly.Talk of punch-ups in the French squad,sponserships being withdrawn,Sarkozy wading in with his stacked heeled size 6,s ,Carla,s stopped pouting etc etc-They,ll be declaring a National Day of Mourning next!

  107. philos...phisol...philso...

    talky. thinky. it's got.

  108. paul - several adverts have already disappeared from the TV since it all blew up (including nicolas anelka shilling for 'quick', the burger chain that makes wimpy look high-class)...

    imagine much ricard will be imbibed tonight.

  109. Poetic justice for les bleus, it has to be said. Or should I say, karma! :p

  110. domenech apparently claiming that some of the players he didn't pick (Abidal?) weren't dropped, but said they didn't want to play.

    ex-players in studio actually speechless.

  111. PhilliB

    "Quick" being pronounced "Keek"

    And "Keek" meaning shite in parts of Scotland and NI....

    Nuff said.

  112. "...took the shirt hostage"?


    Has anyone started talking about seagulls and trawlers yet, or Baudelaire?

  113. yup, have just seen the clip - although it wasn't so much that he didn't want to, but that he didn't feel he had it in him

    speechlessness broken, somewhat, by more mumbling, shrugging, and plaintive looks at Pires from Barthez.

    the FFF might want to carry out their 'bilan' behind closed doors, but there's a lot of questions about their role too, a lot of people asking for an investigation into them too...

  114. BB - not quite, but we're getting Evra now, so anything could happen.

    'le maillot' is a big deal - what troubles me is that the french journo they had on last night's podcast was saying that some of the criticism o the team is developing on slightly racist lines - after the positive results of the diverse team that won in 1998, there could be negative talk now. really hope that isn't the case.

    he did make the point that it could be more a 'class' issue, about people coming from the banlieus, so ribery etc as well, but he said he had heard some really surprising (in a bad way) comments...

    evra's interview - he was banned from speaking to the press (when domenech had his lone press conference) and said he couldn't really talk now about why he was dropped.

    barthez has just called this bullshit. understand that bit. (meaning the situation, not what evra said, think)

  115. I am holding back from jumping on the French debacle a wee bit, as I suspect that tomorrow, when we slide out, there'll be some pretty ugly scenes too!!

    (My money's on Wayno, if he's still on the pitch....)

  116. james - me too...maybe see this as a dry run? after all - who is responsible? - I'm not going to respond to that now - we're really sorry - crying...

    they've just got better metaphors...

  117. Well, I say fuck the French and their pathetic navel-gazing. The cheating bastards (Thierry Henry) should never have been at the World Cup in the first place. Good riddance to them.

    They should shut the fuck up, hopefully eventually sort out their 'problems' and learn to play decent football again. Egos the size of small planets coupled with rank stupidity don't really work in a decent football team (are you listening, John Terry?)

  118. What are the odds, right now, of the French team getting to the final next time around, I wonder?

    That might be worth a punt!!

  119. Evening James

    Dunno about that but i hope that male airhead and fashion guru David Beckham won,t be sitting on the English bench all suited and booted tomorrow.His attempts at gesticulating and shouting along with Fabio at the Algeria game must have put the English off.Imagine that VOICE in your ear-'oles.

    No offence mind to any UT males who talk like a wuss.

  120. Paul.


    Perhaps it's a note/pitch thing, in that Beckham's high voice provides enough contrast to the vuvuzela noise to pass instructions on to the players.

    (not that it seems to be doing much good anyway though...)

  121. I've gone done broke the t'internetz again!!

  122. beckham would just add a slightly higher frequency annoying noise, surely - bit like somebody throwing a kazoo into the mix...

  123. Excellent summation of the budget by Richard Murphy:

    It was extraordinary to hear the demands of the right wing think tanks for cuts in government spending that have been emanating from them since the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats won the general election just six weeks. It was, however, something else to see the Chancellor confirm that most savage round of cuts that anyone has ever attempted to impose on the UK economy.

    I can’t have been alone in hoping the injustice this budget will heap upon the UK would not happen, but happen it has. Benefits will be cut by about 10%. Departmental spending, except in health and overseas development will be cut by 25%. At least 750,000 state sector jobs will go on that basis, in my estimation. I think 750,000 more from the private sector could join them on the unemployment register. And this budget, which according to George Osborne promised growth, did no such thing.

    It is true that maybe the very poorest might – if they fill in all the right claims – be protected from the very worst of George Osborne’s cuts. But with £11.5 billion of benefit cuts most won’t be. And a 2.5% VAT rise is intensely regressive, whilst new measures, like linking benefit rises to the Consumer Prices Index rather than the Retail Prices Index suggest that a plan for benefits dragging behind real need has now been inbuilt into the system. There is only bad news for the poorest in the UK in this budget.

    It is no better for those on middle incomes. The fear of unemployment will be rampant in every household in the country but their chance of saving against that rainy day will be reduced. Their cost of living will rise by much more than the income tax cut they’ve been given. Capital gains tax changes have no impact on them. But whole rafts of benefit cuts will – especially if they have very young children. And the services they need will be much harder to secure.

    It’s hard to imagine how effective education can be supplied to children on 25% less spending than now. Or that the emergency services can be effective with 25% less to spend. Or that whole rafts of other services will even be available in the future. It’s when these cuts happen that people will realise that paying tax is a lot cheaper than buying services in the market place, one by one, even if you have cash left to do so.

    And what will be the benefit of all this pain? George Osborne thinks that there will be growth from new private sector employment. But that’s just not credible. Domestic economies are going to be depressed because people have less to spend. The government is going to reduce the incentives to business to invest – so it will invest less. And all our major export markets are introducing similar austerity measures. There is in that case no hope of a private sector led recovery in our economy.

    George Osborne has gambled that undergraduate right wing text book economics emanating from Chicago works. But it doesn’t. It never has, and it never will.

    This gamble will fail. Give it three years and, as I predicted on Radio 2 today, we’ll be seeing unemployment at 4 million, almost no cut in the deficit, the coalition government a memory after its fallen apart in chaos as backbenchers flee its ranks, and a new government will be announcing a budget to tackle the mess that George Osborne has left.

    That will be very hard to do.

    But that’s the challenge now for all those who believe that there is a future for economic policy on the left. Because this is the scenario any Labour government will inherit when it comes to office.

    There’s no time left to begin the process of planning for this demand that office will impose. It should begin now, and with the greatest possible urgency because one day, sometime soon, Labour will be called on to save people from the onslaught on their wellbeing George Osborne unleashed today.

  124. Haha

    Kazoo sounds about right.

  125. With the exception of the last paragraph that suggests Labour will save us.


  126. Duke

    Was just going to say, of all of that, I recoiled most upon reading the last paragraph.

    We're well and truly fucked then...

  127. I have no idea how Labour would be able to save us, frankly. Not with the lineup they have currently.

    We need new blood or some frontal lobotomies.

    James - dinner time here, so a bit quiet.

  128. Truly shocking budget, a nation laid to waste to bail out millionaires. The levy on banks is insulting, and the well off have lost virtually nothing in this budget.

    Possibly worst of all, absolutely nothing has been done to ensure there can be no repeat of the bailout, banking reform has been all but non existent.

  129. Yeah, well, according to some fella on CiF:

    "The bank tax, increased tax on flights and increased capital gains tax will all mean that the rich pay more. Overall, all measures considered, the richest tenth of the population will be losing 2% of their income, compared to 1% among the bottom half of earners. People in the top tenth of incomes lose £1,600 a year, compared to less than £200 among the poorest tenth."

    So that's alright then!!

  130. £1600 a year!


    That will hurt them.

    The equivalent of dropping a 5p piece and not bothering to pick it up again.


  131. JayReilly

    Pretty much as Polly Toynbee predicted, then, back in the days when people were pretending that maybe there would be no recession and, even if there was, it would be a lot of fun.

    She said that interest rates would fall, making the mortgage cheaper which, combined with being able to employ servants on a food and shelter basis only, along with food and stuff you buy being cheaper, would make it seem like a never-ending party.

    Looked at from that perspective, it is surprising that we do not all want to be living in a permanent recession/depression.

    As the sign says: "If you're so smart, how come you ain't rich?"

    Remember: We are all in this together.

  132. Labour will save us?????

    Aren,t they responsible for the mess we,re in?

    Isn,t it because of their incompetance we now have this ConLib government?

    Didn,t they start the Welfare Reforms which
    went even further than the Tories ever did between 1979-1997.?

    Aren,t they responsible for taking us into an expensive war in Iraq?

    Didn,t they fail to control the financial services?

    Didn,t Cherie Blair encourage us to believe that greed is good?

    etc etc etc

    Am i going mad?

  133. James

    We're well and truly fucked then...

    Looks like it and agree the banks and the rich (many of whom will no doubt bail out to tax havens if they aren't already non doms) have been let off the hook. It was ever thus I suppose.

    Was just working out how I'd manage if i lose my job - which could be on the cards with the proposed cuts to the civil service - and it looks very tough. I might just keep things together if I live on bread and water.

    But there are millions of others in a much worse position than me - god help them...

  134. Ah yes BB, but you're forgetting the increased taxes on flights, and the increase in capital gains tax.

    All in all, it's going to make the upkeep of Mummy and Daddy's Tuscan estate a bloody nightmare.

    Still, spirit of Dunkirk and all that...

  135. Meant to say expensive and possibly illegal war in Iraq.

  136. Just heard from a pundit on C4 News - someone called Toby Faulks Fuck Face - that apart from cgt the rich haven't really been touched in any significant way, so they'll be relatively happy. And the banks can handle the levy, particularly as their bonuses are safe. Sighs of relief all round in the upper echelons then.

    How gratifying!!

  137. James/Jay/BB,

    I've rapidly come to the conclusion that it's going to take civil disobedience on an unprecedented scale for the UK to change the direction of civil society in the country.

    If you type 'Politics' into google, it is defined as:

    "the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power.

    Now to me, there is a fundamental and total dysfunction at the heart of European politics in terms of representation. The banks and unaccountable organisations such the IMF and EU control political policy. Politics exists only in the sense of carrying out the economic agenda of these organisations.

    Politicians only ask 'the people' every four/five years for legitimacy. It's an empty action in which politicians know, as Scherfig said above "that they are talking bollocks."

    We have a minority Government in terms of actual voting figures which seems hell bent on pushing through more neo-liberal ideology to the detriment of the majority.

    The 2010 budget is vandalism on an unprecedented scale on the functioning of civil society and leaves it open as Jay says to further bank bailouts.

    When do we stand up and say that the act of legitimacy is not legitimate and that Politics must reflect the wishes of society, not the unaccountable few?

    How long they will be able to get away with it I have no idea, but a breaking point has got to come.

  138. Paul

    Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes; and No, you're not going mad.
    (and even if you were, we couldn't officially say so until you'd filled out a thousand forms, and until you'd spent a year or so arguing your case in front of about a thousand different people who doubted your claims...)



    Yeah, it's looking very, very bleak.

    (And that UT commune whatsit that people were talking about before, well, that's starting to look almost necessary now....)

  139. Well there is good news for waddya folk -Jaffa cakes are zero rated for VAT. Thank God for that .

  140. Your Grace

    I've rapidly come to the conclusion that it's going to take civil disobedience on an unprecedented scale for the UK to change the direction of civil society in the country.

    Agree. When do we start?

  141. Paul,

    Labour will save us?????

    Aren,t they responsible for the mess we,re in?

    Thatcher said her greatest legacy was New Labour, which goes some way to explaining the mess we are in.

  142. Sheffpixie

    I might just keep things together if I live on bread and water.

    Yes, when is it that we get to eat the rich?

  143. Sheff,

    Agree. When do we start?

    The million dollar (not subject to capital gains tax) question.

  144. sometimes getting into this thread on here is like trying to get in to jump on the big skipping rope....

    One, two, three, missed.... one, two, three.... missed AGAIN!

    One, two.... number THREE stole the cookers from the cookery shop. Who me? yes you, couldn't have been, then who? nummmmmberrrr FOUR stole the cookers from the cookery shop ;)

    OK - Greece v Argentina - rooting for Greece and off to start up the pasta.

  145. Sheff

    Just read that.It seems the richest 250,000 people in Britain will sleep easy tonight in the knowledge their tax loopholes are still largely intact.But let,s be honest here.Was anyone really expecting any different when it became clear the Tories had the whip hand after the election.

    As Jim Royal would say-' Caring Conservatism My Arse '!!!

  146. Duke

    "When do we stand up and say that the act of legitimacy is not legitimate and that Politics must reflect the wishes of society, not the unaccountable few?

    How long they will be able to get away with it I have no idea, but a breaking point has got to come."

    Yeah, it's like that Rousseau thing we were talking about before the 'election'.

    It's broken. We're fucked.
    The only 'untested' party's done a number on everyone now, and there's not even a pretense that the system works anymore.

    If it's not now, then it's never, really.

    (and that means MadMax/Book of Eli/The Road type stuff within about 15 years, I reckon....)

  147. Sheff
    "Was just working out how I'd manage if i lose my job"
    God. Reality bites - I know it's weird, maybe it's the field am in, but I've always looked at the deep detail, the fine points, the possibilities for challenge, the 'techy' but of it.

    Lose sight of the bigger picture, the wood.

    Am keeping everything available crossed for you.

    Leni - as I was bitching earlier, pols are always so proud of keeping the zero-rates on food and children's clothes. Means very little. OK, you can do your weekly shop at mostly ZR, but little things like fruit juice, cleaning products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, any little treat (sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks) - VAT. Need to replace that washing machine? VAT. Radio? VAT. Your 13-year-old needs new jeans, because he's hit 5'10"? VAT.

    Those zero-rates are the cover for getting shafted.

    Don't worry, you can still buy bootees with no VAT.


  148. LaRit,

    yeah, rooting for Greece myself. They deserve something to cheer about.

    Have a good evening all.

  149. In the 1930,s there were riots at what were then called the Labour Exchanges when benefit entitlements were restricted.Todays JobCentres and Social Security Offices are already volatile places as it is.So plenty of potential for flashpoints there.Although probably nothing that will force a change in government policy.

    Of course history tells us that when a government is unpopular at home there,s nothing
    like a good overseas war to channel the attention of the populace.

  150. The problem is that the budget sounds a bit like Michael Heseltine's lifeplan, scrawled on the back of an envelope: Carry on being a cunt, make a few squillion, become prime minister.

    Bits of it worked, but the main, crowning glory failed.

    It is all well and good predicting what the state of the economy will be in 2015 but there are just too many variables.

    How about an international sovereign debt crisis?

    Collapse of the Euro?

    Civil unrest/strife/war.

    Complete, full-blown war with all the bells and whistles, so that the armaments manufacturers who sell surveillance equipment can test their big toys in real life and the banks can get us into serious indebtedness?

    The problem with the policy of "keep kicking the poor" is that there is another factor in the equation.

    You can keep people sullenly obedient almost forever if you never say their lives will be anything else. The problem is, there has been a tacit promise that all our lives will forever get better and better.

    It is when you make it clear that this promise will never be fulfilled that trouble starts.

    You mean I am never going to be rich and famous?

    Well, fuck it, then. I'll just push your fucking face in.

  151. Duke

    Excellent post.

    "I've rapidly come to the conclusion that it's going to take civil disobedience on an unprecedented scale for the UK to change the direction of civil society in the country."

    This has been depressing me for a long time now. I cant see any hope for change through the standard channels, I really cant. Mass action of a serious kind is the only thing that change anything, and the country seems too apathetic, too uninterested. Which makes the situation pretty hopeless in my eyes.

    "there is a fundamental and total dysfunction ... Politics exists only in the sense of carrying out the economic agenda of these organisations."

    This is the key point. Representation has failed because they moved key decisions and key powers out of the realm of our representatives, beyond the reach of democracy.

    I'll email you something over, Duke, pretty lengthy essay i wrote (I wont use the D word) largely on these issues.

  152. Atomboy

    "It is when you make it clear that this promise will never be fulfilled that trouble starts.

    You mean I am never going to be rich and famous?

    Well, fuck it, then. I'll just push your fucking face in."

    That's when it helps to have a few 'funny looking', and ultimately more pushable faces to deflect the anger on to!!

  153. This comment has been removed by the author.

  154. Hi All--Home after 22 hours of travel, a long day.

    scherf--Agree about France. Got exactly what they deserved, bunch of classless twats. No sympathy here. As for England, I don't like their chances, but who knows? They have to open it up and pot some goals, we'll see how Fabio deals with it though.

  155. Yes, when is it that we get to eat the rich?

    Not an appetising prospect - but could probably manage it if pushed.


    I'm not one of the worst off by any means. I'm over pension age so could struggle along somehow - although a capped housing benefit won't cover my rent.

    The thing is I could just about manage - and I have some skills that might earn me a bit if I put my mind to it.

    There are so many others in a much worse position and the stress on them will be huge. It won't just be mass unemployment but all the personal ways it'll affect people - all the things that hit the fan in those circs.

  156. "Yes, when is it that we get to eat the rich?"

    Im still slightly shocked at how light they got off. Call me naive, but i thought they would at least offer a couple more token gestures to uphold the charade. As its turned out, its all pretty frank and candid - 'no, they're not paying. You are.'

    And for all their talk of "opporunity" and hard work being rewarded, how can capital gains possible be taxed lower than EARNED income? Indefensible. Your capital earns at a kinder tax rate than you do, your innanimate, lifeless capital.

    That little gimp fucker in particular should be torn to pieces in a public square.

  157. Your grace
    "Politics exists only in the sense of carrying out the economic agenda of these organisations."
    Agree - excellent post, and this is the key point for me in the whole 'capitalism v whatever' debate.

    Criticise capitalism and you are all for state control and keeping the little person down!

    Failing to notice that the capitalist model as currently screwing us up is all about control and keeping the little person down.

    Its very easy to be positive about capitalism if you are given 'the american dream' (example) as a possibility - but it isn't a possibility - it's a cover.

    I've nothing against people making a bit for themselves - but they don't get to, under this wonderful system.

    You either make shitloads (having started with shitloads) or you make shit.

    "You mean I am never going to be rich and famous?"
    Nailed it.

  158. Jay

    Why don't you put your essay up on UT2? Give us all the pleasure of reading it.

  159. James

    There is a market to be exploited there.

    Line up the stupid feckless poor and tell them you will pay them £5 a go to have their faces smashed.

    Get the rich together and charge them £10 a pop.

    You are on the way to your first million.

  160. Boudican

    (I was looking out for you on ESPN on Sunday night.
    For about an hour, then I realised I have no idea what you look like, so I stopped....)

  161. Atomboy

    "You are on the way to your first million."

    Nah, it's just not worth it.

    My kiddywinks'll have to pay £11.50 when they come to inherit it!!

  162. Sheff, Jay

    Why don't you put your essay up on UT2? Give us all the pleasure of reading it.

    Yeah, or the other other place?

    We need to counter the shitty, witless propaganda.

  163. Sheff/Leni

    ''There are so many others in a much worse position and the stress on them will be huge. It won't just be mass unemployment but all the personal ways it'll affect people - all the things that hit the fan in those circs.''

    Mass unemployment and/or money worries usually leads to increases in family breakdown,homelessness and crime.So any short term savings in shafting the least well off usually results in increasing costs dealing with the consequences.The Tories just don,t learn from their past mistakes.

  164. Sheff

    It was not clear - does the 1k rise in tax threshold apply to pensioners - I can find only references to 'the low paid'. Other additional costs will wipe this smal benefit away of course - that's before the usual hike in energy costs. Cold and hungry winters on the cards for many.

    Agree - action needed. Question - when, how and what/

    The nature and direction of society needs changing - huge structural probs as well as immediate outcomes from this budget. Will people wake up in time and will there be cohesive action or just lots of local flare ups ?

  165. Jay
    "Your capital earns at a kinder tax rate than you do, your innanimate, lifeless capital."
    Always struck me as weird, the CGT, the special savings rate, etc.

    It's odd, it's like it's seen as something involving less effort so it isn't really real. Can't tax it too much, because it might vanish, or something.

    Which it would, for the rich - offshore, hurrah. I did think for a minute he was going to bring in a gaap, but that was false hope.

    But that's why, Jay, I think - you pick where you want to be, and while you can change that, tax-wise (non-doms, etc), that can be a pain. But your capital - I mean real capital, not a savings account or a couple of shares in M&S - you can move that in an instant, and stay exactly where you are.

    That's the 'dynamic analysis' that stopped him.

    Now, if you couldn't effectively move it for tax purposes...


  166. James

    Yeah, sorry. Forgot about the poor little rich kids.

    Let me empty my bank account and send it to them.

    Poverty is a virtue I really need to embrace.

    It will help me into heaven more easily than squeezing through that fucking needle's eye.

  167. I have a horrible feeling that people will simply think that they had their chance to elect another government, got one which has a different logo and now imagine that this is all that can be done for another five years.

    The political process has been reduced to trundling to the local scout hut or infants school, daubing your cross and just taking whatever happens until you miss Coronation Street on once again in five years' time.

  168. Atomboy

    "Yeah, sorry. Forgot about the poor little rich kids.

    Let me empty my bank account and send it to them."

    You forget the maxim, Atomboy.

    Give a rich kid your bank account, and they can fuck you for one day.
    Give them the means to continue to fuck your bank account, and they'll do so for their whole lives (and their childrens, and their children's childrens...)

  169. Sheff

    Its very long, for one thing, and secondly its quite dry in places where I've had to pad it out to cover the necessaries, and not as polemical/biased as i like to rant usually - have to give a nod to academic convention and all that. Was also crammed in at the end, got very near submission deadline, a couple of hours away in fact, so turned into a rush job at the end.

    And its pretty long, i'm not sure i want to inflict it on people. But maybe.


    "Yeah, or the other other place?"

    Other other place? I'm confused, has a new blog been opened? I've missed a lot of stuff here last few days, and CIF, so not kept track.

    "I mean real capital, not a savings account or a couple of shares in M&S - you can move that in an instant, and stay exactly where you are."

    Beautiful isnt it. We now live under the eternal threat of the "virtuous" removing their capital from the island without leaving their armchair.

  170. Hi James--My wife was watching for me too, but I didn't make it on to the screen. The ESPN roving cameraman was all around us, (we were 10 rows from the field at 3rd base)but we couldn't get our moment of glory. Whole trip was a blast though.

  171. James

    Sorry, I see your point.

    How could I have been so churlish and tight-fisted?

    Let me get my account details and post them across the internetz, but only on sites for the rich and famous.

    So, that would be aSmallWorld.net. A gated community for the international jet-set and globetrotters.

    PS Why is it that there are so few of them and so many of us that we keep losing?

  172. Jeeeeesus H,

    I just looked at asmallworld.net.

    Right, that's it. Pitchfork polish's coming out now....

  173. "Why is it that there are so few of them and so many of us that we keep losing?"

    There was a film, a while back - one set of soldiers beat another set of soldiers. One of the winners said it was 'a miracle'...

    "If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle"

  174. (james - me too - any groups of people using the word 'jetrosexual' need culling)

  175. Boudican

    You obviously didn't have one of those ever so funny signs what make a grammatically dodgy sentence from the initials ESPN!!


  176. jeeze it's all so depressing

    "So, that would be aSmallWorld.net. A gated community for the international jet-set and globetrotters."

    hang on I know just the person.... but have to make a call to Brussels.........

  177. Philippa,

    Yup, I actually vomited a bit when I read that.

  178. Philippa

    To condense this before I go away and come back again, see this re: the French Foreign Legion at Wiki:

    It was in Mexico on 30 April 1863 that the Legion earned its legendary status. A company led by Capitaine Danjou, numbering 62 soldiers and 3 officers, was escorting a convoy to the besieged city of Puebla when it was attacked and besieged by two thousand revolutionaries,[5] organised in three battalions of infantry and cavalry, numbering 1,200 and 800 respectively. The patrol was forced to make a defence in Hacienda Camarón, and despite the hopelessness of the situation, fought nearly to the last man. When only six survivors remained, out of ammunition, a bayonet charge was conducted in which three of the six were killed. The remaining three were brought before the Mexican general, who allowed them to return to France as an honour guard for the body of Capitaine Danjou. The captain had a wooden hand which was stolen during the battle; it was later returned to the Legion and is now kept in a case in the Foreign Legion museum at Aubagne, and paraded annually on Camerone Day. It is the Legion's most precious relic.

    The French Foreign Legion never surrenders.

    We give up before we have even fought.

  179. gandolfo

    I'm not sure whether they accept glorified waiters, but it will send a little frisson of excitement through the mussel's spine.

    Oh, wait. Sorry. Molluscs don't have them, do they?

  180. AtomB

    Looked at that site - definitely oiling my kalashnikov!!

  181. sheff

    what I suggest is that we all apply to do an internship for "smallworld"...obviously it's unpaid but you sometimes have to sacrifice to get end results do an inside job...clean and fast.....

  182. I see Ms Diane Abbott has again played the race card to justify her decision to send her son to a public school.But this time she says that all you White people simply can,t understand the cultural drive amongst Caribbean parents to do the very best for their kids.That Caribbean mothers in particular will go to the wall for their kids if they have to.

    So there you have it from the horses mouth.From the woman who hopes to lead the Labour Party and eventually become PM.For what she,s actually saying is that it,s her cultural superiority and not her hypocrisy that caused her to send her son to public school.But because all you White folks are inferior anyway you couldn,t possibly understand where she,s coming from.

    Stupid cow!!

  183. oh maradonna's boys are through yerrrrrr.....still waiting for diego to put his shirt on and play though.......

  184. Where did she say that Paul? Any links? Unbelievable. I just emailed her a response to her leadership email - im not hopefuly of a reply, it wasnt overly sugar coated.

  185. Paul

    Is it cos I is wite ?

    stupid woman - I despair totaly of NuLabour. Do they only allow numpties to stand for election ?

  186. gandolfo - after all the bitching about the ball, apparently someone managed to put in two beautiful dead-ballgoals in practice.

    can you guess who?

  187. Leni

    Now, now. It's numpties that tick the right boxes.


  188. NapK:

    "Fuck punitive cuts"

    You missed out a few syllables....

    "Fuckin' punitive cunts" more like

    ....and this is BEFORE they 'announce' the 'real' cuts in the Autumn.

    Read it and weep brothers and sisters, these smirking, fat, bloated bastards have only just got started.

  189. philippa

    I reckon he's warming up for the semis...;)

  190. Well, this budget is perfectly lovely for me and others like me who have small businesses outside the SE (apart from the VAT rise of course - my next SUV and Aga are going to cost me).

    In fact, Hank, if you're about: it seems to me that the best thing to do would be to dissolve my company and start a new one, thereby gaining 5K in non-paid NI charges. What larks! Companies House will be busy.

    Never mind that Trident is untouched, income tax hasn't risen (of course not on the richest), tax avoidance/evasion hasn't been addressed - we'll just throw a couple million more on the dole queue and make it harder for them to collect.

    And the loan to Forgemasters (for example) has been cancelled.

    That'll all do wonders for British manufacturing and the bottom line.

    Some vague "banking levy" - yet to be defined - will save us all, even though the government's projected income from that is a very small amount compared to cuts.

    I am sure there are people abusing the benefits system, but their abuses are nothing to those abusing the system at the top end. Sort the top end out first, and then address why it's often better to be claiming benefits instead of working (should there be jobs).

  191. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/features/2010/06/21/diane-abbott-i-sent-my-son-to-private-school-so-he-wouldn-t-end-up-in-a-gang-115875-22347604/

    Unbelievable. Really quite unbelievable. For all the white mothers on this board - you dont understand the concept of "doing everything you can for your child" apparently. Thats from a rank hypocrite hoping to lead the labour party. What a fucking clown and what a nerve.

    So McDonnells gone, i'd rather roll in shit than vote for Abbott, what is the point in having a vote? Other than to vote against Dave Miliband it seems pointless.

  192. LaRit

    yep this is just starters, main course still to come and don't think we'll be getting any pudd...

    fuckers...we should waterboard the lot of them.....for starters....

  193. Just had a thought whilst listening to what purports to be the 'general public' giving their views on the budget on LBC - I have a feeling the same old Tory trolls from Think Tank and Tory HQ are doing the rounds calling in on local Radio stations as we speak.

    I SWEAR I heard the equivalent of WheatfromChaff or MAM this evening....

  194. I cannot understand why billions of rational beings allow themselves to be perpetually shafted by a few greedy and power hungry bastards.

  195. Thauma;

    "Never mind that Trident is untouched, income tax hasn't risen (of course not on the richest), tax avoidance/evasion hasn't been addressed - we'll just throw a couple million more on the dole queue and make it harder for them to collect"

    Oh and DOUBLING THE CIVIL LIST.... from 7.4 million to 14.8 million. How many free school meals/free swimming lessons is that?