12 July 2010


Black-crested macaque - Stefano Unterthiner

Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.
-Ogden Nash


  1. SK
    Wapping? Don't go comparing that bunch of bone-idle Luddite twats with the miners, at least they worked for a living

    That’s an appalling statement. I know people who were involved in Wapping, they are decent hard working people. They were no more ‘luddite’ than the miners were. Both groups of workers were fighting for their jobs, both were being thrown on the rubbish heap by the employers who decided they no longer had any use for them.

    The purpose of the police force (and the army – don’t forget Peterloo) is ultimately to protect the ruling class against the rest of us. During the miners’ strike and the Wapping dispute this was very clear. Although I would not discount the possibility that individuals in the armed forces and the police could ultimately see that are on the wrong side, in the final analysis there don’t seem to any who came to that decision in either of the above disputes.

    The position of the police is of complicated by the fact that working class people are expected to rely on the police force to defend them against crime. My experiences in the 80’s make me reluctant to do this. I no longer feel you guys are on my side. I realised this when, as a member of a local miners’ support group an idiot phoned. me to offer me a ‘fence post through my window’. I didn’t exactly feel I could call the police about that. (BTW that incident, which happened here in South Wales was an inexcusable breach of TU discipline and no-one I know supported it).

    When a line is drawn you have to decide what side you are on SK, fence sitting is a dangerous occupation.

    You end up being hit by both sides and are in danger of getting a fence post up your arse.

  2. @Anne

    I also knew people involved at Wapping, but - as significant - also worked as a journalist alongside print workers in the years leading up to it.

    You're right that many of them were decent and hard-working. But there was also a culture of nepotism, corruption, hour-padding, ludicrous demarcation disputes, outright fraud, needless obstructionism and restrictive practices too ludicrous to be parodied. All of this tolerated and often encouraged by chapel officials.

    I had and have no time for Murdoch, but by the time of Wapping I had precious little time for the NGA, SOGAT, Natsopa or Slade either.

  3. Don't have evidence for this but my instinct, backed by experience of the Labour movement in general is to say that most workers in any industry are decent and hard working - because most people were.

    The unions were a different matter they were largely CP (Stalinist) dominated and often worked in the interests of the membership.

    The vast majority of the people working in Fleet street at the time were thoroughly shafted, not just by Murdoch but by their own unions unfortunately.

    I would suggest that the tactics adopted by the NUM were not of the best either. Scargill was right when he said that the federal structure of the NUM did not require a national ballot, but if serious building for the ballot had been undertaken and if the NUM leadership had had more faith in the members the result might not have been so disastrous.

    The British TU movement does not seem to be felicitous in its choice of leaders just think of the general strike - talk about dragging defeat from the jaws of victory!

  4. Grrr para 2 above often worked against the interests of the membership.

    Off to get more coffee!

  5. To Leni (fro last night)

    I have hangover from hell......

    "Watching the match - I hadn't realised that rolling on the ground was such an integral part of football"

    I learned after watching Arsenal a few times, it's more entertaining than the actual footie being played!

  6. @Anne

    No argument with any of that. The problem then - and you can see it now with the RMT and CPS - is that the starting point for negotiations was a polarising refusal to negotiate at all, combined with threats. That kind of flat oppositionism in the face of change - change in technology, in particular, but also in the economy - produces worse defeats than the most one-sided negotiation could.

  7. Anne and PeterJ:

    My Dad was a Printer and the Print Union's (Sogat) strength saved his life (and ours) more than once when I was growing up. It sent my Uncle to University and gave him a bloody good life undreamed of for the vast majority of Working Class people - it gave my Dad a damn fine redundancy when Maxwell bought out the factory where he worked in the early 80's and going to Wapping and supporting the Strike against Thatcher was not some idealistic nonsense, but bourne of solidarity instilled in us.

  8. @LaRit

    I'm glad that Sogat did its job for your father and uncle in protecting their rights and providing opportunities. That's where unions have their strength.

    Over Wapping, I was trying to point out that I, at least, had conflicting feelings. On the one hand, Murdoch was the enemy and the unions had to be supported out of solidarity. On the other, the Fleet Street print unions were widely hated in the trade and by other workers who found their actions and attitudes distasteful and counter-productive. It was, after all, members of EETPU and the NUJ who made the Wapping move possible.

    Thinking back now, I'm still conflicted over it. Although I haven't bought a Murdoch product since.

  9. Morning everyone.

    First of all an apology for some 'intemperate words' last night. Feel a bit of a hypocrite for tarring an entire profession with the same brush when that's what I accuse Hank of often enough. Of course the printworkers weren't all bone-idle Luddites, but a good number were and more besides. A significant number of the Fleet Street casuals were engaged for many years in wholesale income tax fraud and were later granted an amnesty from prosecution and backpayments in return for a revision of practices. This got up the noses of a lot of taxpayers, and why wouldn't it? No other profession would have had that concession.

    Of course Murdoch was and still is a bastard, and the printworkers unions actually behaved quite honourably while he was building his not-so-secret alternative premises, preferring to try to get the public onside rather than shoot themselves in the foot entirely. But a large part of the dispute hinged on a refusal to abandon outmoded printing processes that were costing Murdoch dearly and the 'Spanish practices' that meant that they could demand overtime (once the days work was done) merely for finishing a shift that they had already been paid for. It wasn't going to last, and it raised the perfectly reasonable question of whether a contracted workforce is right to attempt to destroy their employer's business.

    There are implied terms to any employment contract of 'mutual trust and confidence' which includes an understanding that workers will cooperate with their employers - inherent in this is a duty to adopt modernised practices. Of course this modernisation would probably have led to job cuts in the workforce, and they were perfectly entitled to take industrial action on that basis, but a flat refusal to retrain to perform their core remit was ultimately their undoing. The sackings were upheld as a lawful response to a repudiatory breach of contract.

    So anyway, apologies if it pissed anyone off (apart from Hank of course), but I still think it's a bit rich to mention Orgreave and Wapping in the same sentence.

  10. @ A42, #Don't have evidence for this but my instinct, backed by experience of the Labour movement in general is to say that most workers in any industry are decent and hard working - because most people were.

    Were, Anne. That's what's telling, just as most people now would swing the lead, pad hours, take sickies, pockle etc, given the chance, crimes of opportunity, that they do not percive as crimes at all.

    Just as LaRit has a positive story, I can provide a negative one. My first job was in a factory (we had them in the Midlands when I were a lad) I handed union leaflets round, 2 days later I was sacked. No redundancy, notice or help from Bill Morris.

    I hope you aren't robbed or assaulted, your family threatened or victimised. But if you are I'll bet you dial 999 just like the rest of us. You work for HMRC don't you? What are you, the 5th column? You always attack, but despite your (long faded) Golden Age rep on Cif, what are you doing? You don't even suggest positive shit here. Busted flush mate, busted flush.

    You're conflicted. You're a mixed up guy. You're doing a job you don't really believe in, but you don't have the wit to explain why you don't quite believe in it.
    Looks like projection to me...

  11. Anne

    Hmmm - police v the people.... Tricky one when you've been on both sides of the fence and seen and experienced both truly awful violent policing and also excellent work from officers who patently care about what they do.

    I can really understand the breakdown in trust that happened after say, the miners strike when whole communities up and down the country went through such hell and for so long. And then there's the abuse of stop and search, the policing at HIllsborough, Kingsnorth the G20 etc etc.

    I remember the Strathclyde police had a terrible reputation in Glasgow when I lived there (90's), for not being at all averse to giving out good kickings as they saw fit.

    I once spent a long weekend (Friday to monday) banged up in Govan nick after being arrested at a demo....it was like something out of Dickens with attitudes to match. Mind you given the howling and barking I could hear coming from other cells on the Friday & saturday night, you'd have to be pretty tough to survive working there.

    but but but...I've also seen and experienced police doing a good job and they have to deal with some unbelievably appalling situations and behaviour as well as all the routine lost dogs, burglary, traffic, drunken brawling, muggings etc. There have been times when I've been grateful to the police. When my son and his friend were held at knife point whilst their band equipment was stolen for example.

    We do need a conversation about the role the police play when they're used as a political tool - when the helpful officer who turns out to deal with your house being robbed meets you dressed as a Dalek with a taser on a demo.

  12. Quick one from me before I head off on holiday.

    Very disappointed last night. The best team won no doubt about that, but the vitriol being flung at the Dutch on the Guardian football site is an absolute joke. It's been the same all tournament.

    It appears that diving (of which Iniesta did more of than the entire Dutch team put together, including the blatant one to get Heitnga sent off) is morally sounder than physicality.

    Apart from de Jong's Bruce Lee impression, the Spanish matched the Dutch for niggling, fouls and outdid them in diving.

    And if Heitinga's was a sending off then Pujol's pull back on Robben as he was clean through was a definite second booking and sending off. Which would have completely turned the game.

    Anyway, shit end to a shitty world cup. Off to France. See you all later.

  13. @Your Grice

    Goede reis, fijne vakantie. Wees als god in Frankrijk.

  14. Anne/SpeedKermit

    I guess I get my uncompromising behaviour/attitude from my Dad. Those who worked in the Print were often very creative and frustrated Working Class men who had a trade which was the result of a long and hard apprenticeship but was all that was available to them.... no fancy YBA lifestyles for them - they were fucking laughed and scoffed at when they dared mention the slightest aspiration to a 'better life' at school - they were earmarked as factory fodder. End of story.

    I have no issue with their practices, the closed shop etc. because they were the backbone of an incredibly powerful and wealthy industry - they were, despite their abilities as artists and dreamers, people who were, essentially, glorified labourers. I remember going into the machine room when I was six years old - where they did the print runs - I can still remember the noise - like working next to a jet engine on full tilt.

    Management were bastards - only ever looking after the owners interests. Maxwell was a theiving piece of shit who fucked those who stayed and hoped to retrain - my Dad told them to get out whilst the going was good - they were coming after the Unions even before Thatcher got in - sure as eggs were eggs - 2 years after my Dad got out with a decent redundancy - his workmates were reduced to manning a picket line without a pot to piss in ...

  15. Peter - refusal to negotiate by whom? Any union worth its salt will oppose job losses. This does not necessarily mean a refusal to negotiate.

    Industrial disputes are not revolutions, they are battles, the aim is to limited the threatened damage as much as possible. No union would sensibly refuse to negotiate unfortunately some managements do and expect the workers to 'accept the inevitable'.


    Tower colliery - in this case the union organised a worker's buy out and successfully ran the pit at a profit for 13 years. A pit that the management had said was 'uneconomic'.

    My own union branch (Barking and Dagenham NUT) faced the loss of 150 secondary teachers in the early 80's . Our default position was of course 'NO Cuts'. We saved 100 of those jobs by negotiation. Some called that a defeat of course! but we were facing one of the most draconian attacks on the class since the end of the war and personally I think we did very well and saved the quality of secondary education in the borough which, if all those jobs had been lost, would have been severely damaged. BTW that strike was built for and argued for democratically we achieved a 79% vote in favour of action teachers care about education and thats what the fight was about - not pay or even conditions really. Real TU leaderships consults members listens to their concerns and acts accordingly. We did that. Just saying everybody out isn't good enough.

    LaRit, Unions can be excellent at supporting members even when they don't listen to them about what's happening on the ground.The current leaderships of unions will be forced to take action against the condem plans because their members will inevitably push in that direction.
    But in the end you are right its not idealistic nonsense its a practical fight to save your livlihood . Thats real

  16. Turm -
    Were, Anne. That's what's telling, just as most people now would swing the lead, pad hours, take sickies, pockle etc, given the chance, crimes of opportunity, that they do not percive as crimes at all.

    Not sure about that I think most people still are. Granted there are probably more people whi are prepared to cheat etc than before and I lay that firmly at Margaret Thatcher's door. She not only dfeated the working class industrially she stole their pride from them and you do that to someone at great peril.

    One of the greatest problem of the age is how to restore that pride.

    Shef - the dual role of the police is a problem. Any society needs some kind of social control to protect the majority against the cheats and the violent. The problem is:

    The law locks up the man or woman
    Who steals the goose from off the common
    But leaves the greater villain loose
    Who steals the common from the goose

    The protection of the law abiding citizen is a right and proper function of the police and its the one we are encouraged to appreciate (all those cop shows!). But as you say when the nice bobby on the beat becomes the monster with a taser (or truncheon)...

    You more about that than most I guess. You and a lot of former miners print workers...

  17. Agree about that Anne, 'With slide rule and stopwatch, our pride they have robbed' one of my favourites. But I don't see how we are going to reverse the trends of; de-skilling, anti intelectualism, consumerism, atomisation of communities and self interest.

    I can't see continued organised protest, as the Stop the War & Poverty marches can be seen to have achieved fuck all. Will the commoner rise up and seize the means of production? Or will they sink into the sofa with can of lager in front of 100 chanels of cable?

  18. Anne

    the dual role of the police is a problem

    I know...the alternative to the way things stand at the moment could be something like the national guard in the States or the CRS in France - a bunch of thugs to a man in my experience - and they volunteer for it. Would that be better or worse?

  19. Better in one sense - at present the two functions residing in one force means that whole communities become victims of drug rings etc because they don't trust the police.

    But its been the tradition in this country to hide the class war role of the police and thus cause confusion so I don't think it will happen.

  20. turm

    Will the commoner rise up and seize the means of production? Or will they sink into the sofa with can of lager in front of 100 chanels of cable?

    I'm afraid it'll be the latter. The fact that 2 million people on the streets of London over the Iraq war, together with plenty of intelligent arguments against it, never mind the 'illegality' didn't persuade the politicos to take public's views seriously won't encourage people to take action, they'll see it as pointless.

  21. Apparently a 100,000 signatures on a govt website can trigger a debate in the commons.. The most likely legislation? A new death penalty.

    Is there anyway this can be harnessed for good? I'm just too cynical, the media manipulate us, the Govt treat us with scorn, bankers are still getting bonuses, and we own most of the banks! A plague on all their houses!

  22. TX:

    "Apparently a 100,000 signatures on a govt website can trigger a debate in the commons.. The most likely legislation? A new death penalty."

    Good, let's have the debate then. What then needs to happen is for cross-party tranche of Parliamentarians to absolutely rip the proposal to shreds using the same solid arguments that got it abolished in the first place. Job done. I can't even see many Tories supporting it tbh.

  23. turminderxuss
    I'd hapily sign a petition directing the government to insist on renegotiating all NHS and Education PFI contracts - as we bailed the banks out and those repayment contracts are effectively going to hamstring local authorities and NHS trusts for the next thirty years.

    Or to invest in a massive social housing programme, employing thousands of struggling construction workers, boosting the economy and providing essential accommodation for the low paid / unwaged.

    What are the chances ?

    No. We just get a mob wanting to hang people.

  24. This is what I find so depressing guys.

    Bread & Circuses

    Veg & Hospitals

    I know what would win the popular vote. And is that not in the current Govt's interest? We asked you and this is what you wanted, fuck the poor, invalids are scroungers, and nasty immigrants kicked out. I remember Thatcher, and TBH I think the next 5-10 years could make the 80s look like a picnic...

  25. BW - Start one off then, I'd sign both of those.

    The idea seems a pretty sound one really, democratically speaking, but I do kind of suspect that debate in Parliament is not automatic. From www.parliament.uk:

    "Public initiation of business"

    "The Reform Committee also considered the question of public initiation of business. The House has already agreed some changes to the way in which petitions are presented and is examining how petitions could be debated. The Conservatives set out additional plans in their manifesto:"

    "any petition that secures 100,000 signatures will be eligible for formal debate in Parliament."

    "the petition with the most signatures would enable members of the public to table a bill eligible to be voted on in Parliament."

    "a new online Public Reading Stage for bills"

    "The new Government may also come under pressure to change other procedures, such as for private Members’ bills and on opposition days, flagged up by the Reform Committee."

    The key word here is 'eligible'. Doesn't mean these things are going anywhere necessarily. Be interesting to know who will be making the decisions.

  26. How do you format text btw? Italics and bold etc?

  27. Same as the link info at the top of the page but easier {i}TXT{/i} for itallic {b}TXT{/b} bold use <> instead of {}. : )

  28. Cheers peoples, that was a great help.

  29. Thank you;)

    I'd forgotten all me html stuff - that's

  30. Hello All

    Have emailed Jessica about ongoing section on Cif around proposed welfare changes - tried to include all suggestions from everybody interested in subject. Wait and see time.

  31. This page has code for creating LINKS so that we don't have to copy/paste when you put up addresses for tunes or other articles etc..

  32. I greatly approve of these rapidly rising standards of HTML literacy. With a bit of luck such self-organisation will extend to achieve compassionate goals on the socio-political field as well.

  33. By the time of the last election ideological uncertainty, administrative methods and a recession that threatened real depression did for Labour.

    Not two criminal wars, filling your own pockets and a widespread inability to keep your pants on at work then, Dave?

  34. Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 2:01 PM
    Subject: Re: cif - suggestion

    Hi Leni - I like the idea, I'm just not sure how to best make it happen on Cif. We usually launch 'series' when they are related to a specific news event (and we try not to have too many series anyway for other reasons; we prefer pieces to blend in). Your suggested commissions are very good - we've done the MH aspect when professionals replied to the MH panel, but I'd love more about bail hostels/homelessness/pilots.

    I do agree entirely that treating one isolated aspect of the issue can be limiting. I'll try and mention your series idea this week to the editor, but if it doesn't work out, I can always commission more about the topic on a regular basis. I'll let you know.


    On Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 1:42 PM, Leni Farrer wrote:

    Hello Jessica

    Hope you enjoyed your holiday.

    Bella said she had passed on idea but to remind you.

    Following the very successful peoples' panel on disability and Incap there were lots of suggestions for further discussion. The Paul Gregg thread in particular aroused a lot of anger - many links were given which broadened the debate. Useful and insightful contributions from both recipients (or not!) of Incap and DLA and professionals.

    As a result I raised the possibility of a series - or even an ongoing section - around all issues arising and the overall and knock on effects of Welfare reform.

    Subjects requested

    Further first hand experience reports.

    Cost to tax payer - full disclosure and transparency in fact - of ATOS and associated Back to Work private agencies. By how much are envisioned and publicised cost saving offset by costs of running this scheme.

    Views perhaps from medics - both physical and MH specialists.

    Investigation of private bail hostels - run by property developers - and possible effects on tenants of welfare changes as many have mh problems. They do not have live in support - service on the cheap . Views from probation officers ?

    Knock on effect across generall economy - reduction in HB; increase in homelessness and problems for buy to let landlords.

    It was generally felt by many that looking at at one aspect of welfare reform in isolation gave a false picture in view of expected rise in unemployment/

    Also queries around the 2 areas picked as pilots for changes in DLA - interest in run down on specifics socioeconomic features of these areas.

    There is certainly enough there to justify an on going section on Cif - contributions from several sectors - critical and otherwise - as well as from the 'victims' of these proposed changes.

    Leni Farrer (afancdogge)

  35. Morning all....

    Great work, Leni.

    I, for one, am considering this a 'stress test' of whatever principles, ethics or level of compassion the Guardian are claiming to hold!

    Let's see how it works out....

  36. Jesus Fucking Christ, Cock-knocker the elder has just moved to the top of my 'Please, just give me five minutes in a windowless room with them' list.

    Absolute goddam MFing C-bomb!!

    (Great comments by Alisdair, Jay and PCC though....)

    I'm off to vomit for a bit....

  37. James

    Indeed - what will happen in reality we wait and see.

    It was worth a throw - there is no central media campaign on these issues.

  38. "It was worth a throw - there is no central media campaign on these issues".

    Absolutely Leni, and I'm genuine in my respect and admiration for you, Paul, and the others that have actively pursued this over at The Guardian.

    Whether they produce something, and something to the standard/effect that you've requested, is, unfortunately I suspect, not guaranteed, and, for me, that in itself, is a sad, sad thing, as is the fact that you have had to push it so goddam hard in the first place!!

    Like I say though, I hope that they do listen to you, because, frankly, the alternative doesn't bear thinking about....

  39. "I, for one, am considering this a 'stress test' of whatever principles, ethics or level of compassion the Guardian are claiming to hold!"

    What is the function of a newspaper if not to expose the inner workings of the Government to the cold light of day? Entertainment? Football results?

    I appreciate that having committed themselves to being Clegg's bitches in the run-up to the GE that they might be somewhat reluctant to immediately start trashing anything he has a hand in, but they seem determined to give the Coalition Cabinet (90% Tory, some would say a hundred) the benefit of the doubt, by which point it might be too late. There's no harm in keeping them on the back foot - you have to be a complete berk not to catch the whiff of disingenuity in most of their policy announcements so far.

  40. Read D Millipede's piece - needed the sick bowl!

    How dare he take the name of Kier Hardie in vain!!

    There were several good posts though including this from Nofixedabode (anyone we know?)

    For the benefit of Mr. D. Milliband (and others), here are the Principles and Rules of the Society of Fraternal Democrats from 1845. This may help you better understand the difference between Internationalism and globalization.


    The mutual enlightenment of its members; and the propaganda of of the great principle embodied in the society's motto, 'All men are brethren.

    We declare that the earth with all its natural production is the common property of all...

    We condemn the 'National' hatreds which have hitherto divided mankind, as both foolish and wicked; foolish because no one can decide for himself the country he will be born in; and wicked, as proved by the feuds and bloody wars which have desolated the earth, in consequence of these national vanities. Convinced, too, that national prejudices have been, in all ages, taken advantage of by the people's oppressors, to set them tearing the throats of each other, when they should have been working together for their common good, this society repudiates the term 'Foreigner', no matter by whom or to whom it is applied Our moral creed is to receive our fellow men, without regard to country, as members of one family, the human race; and citizens of one great commonwealth - the world.

    In the beginning, when we were winning, when the smiles were genuine

    I remember when politics was genuine too.

  41. Speedkermit

    Yeah, this is the thing, isn't it?

    When I spat my dummy out because the Guardian had become a New Labour think-tank mouthpiece, I always thought that, maybe, perhaps, they just might find their way/voice again once New Labour got booted into opposition, and they too, became more a 'paper of opposition'.

    That doesn't seem to have happened though.

    Or, when and where they have, it's been half-hearted and/or insincere.
    And then they also come out with Glover/Kettle style articles that are just too fucking awful for words.

    Add to that the fact that a large part of the BTL commentary has become a right-wing broth of hate, malice and fuckwittery (thanks to many factors, including the Graun's approach to moderation during their period as a New Labour Facebook page) and a once pretty good, left-leaning newspaper, and arguably, the only one that has ever really had any clout, looks like a bit of a joke really.

    I mean, having to be prompted and repeatedly asked to investigate the sort of stuff that Leni et al are asking for, well, it's a fucking disgrace if you ask me.....

  42. PS - Speedy, I read Glamorama.

    I quite enjoyed it, although the plane crash bit wasn't too bad for me.
    I actually felt more queasy/horrified with the previous chapter when 'Chloe's insides spilled out of every orifice...', which was, you know, quite graphic and that!!

    (I'm not too good with 'stuff' coming out of orifices, 'specially that much of it....)

  43. Oh dear

    "Schools told 'no swimming in Ramadan' for Muslim pupils"

    Swimming lessons in some Staffordshire schools should stop during Ramadan to ensure Muslim pupils "do not swallow water", a council has suggested.

    Stoke-on-Trent City Council has issued an 11-page Ramadan guide for schools to help pupils who may be fasting when the school year starts in September.

    It said swimming was acceptable to Muslims but posed a high risk of swallowing water that may break a fast.

    Islam requires Muslims to fast from dawn until dusk for one month per year.

    'Not disadvantaged'

    This year's Ramadan is expected to begin on or around 11 August and finish 30 days afterwards.

    The council guide states: "Schools with a significant number of Muslim pupils should try to avoid scheduling swimming lessons during Ramadan to remove unnecessary barriers to full participation."

    It also suggests re-scheduling sex education classes during the holy lunar month, as Muslim followers who have reached puberty are required to avoid sexual thoughts during this period.

    Because of the religious requirement for Muslims to avoid eating during sunlight hours, some pupils get up before dawn to eat with their families.

    Schools have been advised this can disrupt pupils' sleeping patterns and it suggests examinations could be re-scheduled to reflect their lower levels of concentration.

    The council said the document, produced by its Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education, was based on information from the Muslim Council of Great Britain, an umbrella organisation that claims to represent up to 500 Muslim groups in the UK.

    "The overriding consideration should be that children do not feel disadvantaged in school activities because of their religious observance," the council added.

    - BBC

  44. Bitters

    Should there be a heat wave and children keel over - or die perhaps from dehydration - the schools might well regret this.

    Fasting should be a choice made byadults with the full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing.

    Mind you - it is important to remember that Anybody - such as the sick, pregnant women etc - are in fact excused from fasting during Ramadan. I would think this would include children.

  45. Leni -- excellent initiative there .

    I was privileged to meet this 86 year-old on friday-- Jacques Vico. Sharper than most people a quarter of his age, I can't imagine him wasting time actually commenting on such as Millipede at CiF .

    I've done weeks' worth of that letting-off of steam myself, so not a dig at present company ! It's just a question of what achievable objectives you decide on, and then to aim the fire . The G will get increasing pressure , and we'll see if it works, but not holding my breath on them starting campaigning. A few score people read our best posts, and pick up ideas, but that's all. What will really worry the gov is the formation of large numbers of local support groups for the afflicted, each drawn from as wide a cross-section of the community as possible.

    M. Vicot's main job now is to visit schools and talk to kids, but not at all about just 'commemorating the Resistance'. He sees his mission as educating for the Future, to prepare the young to see present dangers, shades of 1933 democratic Germany, and then act. He visits school classes a minimum of twice a week , for two hours at a time.

    " Il faut refuser toutes les formes de pression exercée sur les plus faibles… C’est un combat de tous les jours. Le combat de la liberté est quotidien, c’est encore demain et ce sera toujours jusqu’à ce que les hommes soient arrivés à un équilibre parfait, ce qui n’est-semble-t-il pas encore pour demain…

    bottom of page

    Useful education, one might call it, but from a very different perspective to ex-minister Charles Clarke ...

  46. "The overriding consideration should be that children do not feel disadvantaged in school activities because of their religious observance,"

    Which kinda misses the point of a fast, you do it in order to feel you are making a sacrifice. Exercising self control is the positive side of the 'disadvantage' you might feel compared to a kid stuffing their face with pizza and chips at lunch time. Beyond parody...

  47. Leni I think that the children start taking part in the fasting around 11 or 12, it is still a load of tosh though, glad I was brought up catholic (it's not often I say that) at least we just didn't eat meat on a Friday, unless our Mam forgot and then we did. ;)

  48. All the contracts for back to work schemes and employment provision are completely changing in March which is when the current ones run out, as are the providers. The country has been split up in to five huge areas which companies are being invited to bid for, but crucially because of the insistence that projects to get the unemployed back to work, be they disabled or otherwise, should not cost anything the government intends to structure contracts so the contractor only receives any payment when the ‘claimant’ (this is actually the official new word) has been in work for a year. This is important because it means only a company who can sustain an investment for two years without seeing any return can apply for the contracts which means they must have a turnover of about £100,000. Basically only multi-nationals need apply. They other, smaller companies, like ATOS will be sub contracted by the big boys to provide the actual ‘services’. Essentially the gov is introducing a new tear of administration with its attendant shareholders.
    Great idea about trying to get the Guardian to investigate the social care industry Leni, without doubt the only worthwhile contribution the untrusted has ever managed.

  49. that should be £100,000,000

  50. my guess is its going to be big american 'social care' giants like cerios or scolarest - who Im guessing started out among other things providing prison services in places like texas.

  51. James Dixon:

    "When I spat my dummy out because the Guardian had become a New Labour think-tank mouthpiece, I always thought that, maybe, perhaps, they just might find their way/voice again once New Labour got booted into opposition, and they too, became more a 'paper of opposition'. That doesn't seem to have happened though."

    I'm prepared to imagine that they're just trying to build up a case before they launch themselves at the Coalition, rather than immediately denouncing everything and looking like hysterics if things turn out kind of OK. I'll give them another month for the policies to be implemented, then I think we have a right to expect some serious analysis.

    "Add to that the fact that a large part of the BTL commentary has become a right-wing broth of hate, malice and fuckwittery (thanks to many factors, including the Graun's approach to moderation during their period as a New Labour Facebook page) and a once pretty good, left-leaning newspaper, and arguably, the only one that has ever really had any clout, looks like a bit of a joke really."

    Well that's 'mutualisation' for you. The Guardian has largely gone the way of other newspapers, trawling for PA pseudo-news and internet rumours to fill up 80% of their content, and hoping that the paying public won't notice that only a fifth of their news is actually generated by, you know, paying a journalist to establish some facts. Of course they distinguish themselves from other organs by allowing idiots like me to write articles for them. We're all journalists now, even Bidisha.

    Having said that, aside from WADDYA, you'd think they'd use CiF to gauge public opinion a little bit more efficiently. Instead, they just moderate the stuff that doesn't fit the agenda they've already decided.

    Awful piece of editorial chod on Caster Semenya on CiF today. This is the stuff that the Guardian are actually putting their good name to.

    Glad you liked Glamorama btw.

  52. more public money going in to some very private hands.

  53. @SK Any inside thoughts on Mr Moat? Did the taser pull the trigger, was he fucked from the moment he started shooting?

    @fariha That's interesting; now, away n piss up a rope, eh?

  54. Large private-service providers are in the frame to help the government deliver its expanded welfare-to-work programme as contracts opened for bids today.

    The Work Programme will replace the range of welfare policies put in place by the previous government.

    Under the new system of framework contracts, firms will compete for a place in a market ministers have estimated to be worth £2 billion-£3 billion a year.

    Employment minister Chris Grayling said the government’s programme, which will be in place by June 2011, could be supporting as many as two million people in the next few years.

    Ministers hope to tempt big public services companies such as Capita, Cap Gemini, Vertex, G4S and VT into the welfare-to-work market for the first time with contracts worth up to £50 million a year.

    Meanwhile organisations that win contracts will be expected to propose their own methods to achieve results.

    But potential bidders, which include public and voluntary providers, could be put off as payments will be made almost exclusively by results and out of savings made from reducing the level of people on benefits.

    A new government guide published for potential delivery partners said: "We expect that our delivery partners should be able to demonstrate the capital strength to take on the risks inherent in an exclusively or heavily outcome-based approach where we seek to deal with the cases of millions of people on out-of-work benefits."
    and ah, oh yeah turdy, go fuck yourself.

  55. fariha

    Interesting - even the coalition is aware that the costs of paying private sector will diminish most of the proposed savings from benefit cuts and reassessments.

    The big problem here for potential bidders will be the decreasing job market into which they are to slot their victims.

    Hmm - becomes thoughtful.

  56. Speedkermit

    "I'm prepared to imagine that they're just trying to build up a case before they launch themselves at the Coalition, rather than immediately denouncing everything and looking like hysterics if things turn out kind of OK. I'll give them another month for the policies to be implemented, then I think we have a right to expect some serious analysis".

    Maybe. Although, I'm not so optimistic!

    I'd be more likely to put money on them realising (or having already realised) that 90% of the people who work there are actually pretty happy with the way things are/are going, and that, you know, 'tis all a bit passe to rock the boat' and that!

    I mean, like Kettle said the other day, Cameron really is a rather lovely chap!

    And now, wrt Leni's requests, I suspect it's a case of looking round the office, and realising that the only one who knows and/or cares anything about this stuff, is the guy who once went to a dinner party with a token poor fella who had such a terribly heartbreaking story about having to do something or other, to do with something or other, with whatjamacallit, but they forget exactly......


    "Instead, they just moderate the stuff that doesn't fit the agenda they've already decided".

    Like I've said before, they take the FOX news approach to 'fair and balanced', and now, given that they're fighting for financial survival, I strongly suspect they're going to continue to give this new majority of the readership, you know, the only one they've got left, exactly what they want.

    Bravo Guardian. Bravo!!

  57. Afternoon all.

    Cannot bring myself to look at Millipede's thread. He just makes my bloody boil. Clearly he is the Graun's fave for leader as he seems to be getting all the articles he wants lately.

    Leni - well done in persisting with Jess. Who else, if not the Graun, is going to pay any real attention to any of this? That's what worries me though. The proliferation of "Coalition is fab m'kay" articles we have been having recently has made me wonder what the f00k is going on at Graun towers.

    I thought Jay's suggestion about a series of articles on PFI's was a good one as well. It really is getting bloody ridiculous when you have to lobby the only soi-disant left-leaning mainstream rag in the country to cover matters of this kind.

  58. G4S btw the company slammed for the 'unsafe conditions' at refugee hostel in heathrow by chief inspector of prisons today

  59. And why have we got another bloody article by Brian May about badgers?

    Don't get me wrong - I love badgers. But he wrote one a couple of months ago that seems to be exactly the same as this one.


    Clearly badgers' rights are more sacred than those of the poor...

  60. oh god bb around that woman makes my flesh crawl, im off

  61. Brook House isn't a refugee hostel. It is an immigration detention centre, for people who are going to be deported or removed. It is a relatively new facility, but it has been a hell-hole since the day it opened.

    What I find worrying is that immigration detention is something that should only be happening as a last resort, when removal/deportation is "imminent" under the rules. Yet they have detainees who have been detained for 3 years - from countries like Zim and Somalia where no removals/deportations are made at the moment because of the precarious state of those countries.

    God knows how they are managing to get away with that.

  62. @Leni,one last thing if it helps,
    i think the big idea is that its not going to cost the taxpayer because they will only pay the provider when the claimant/victim has been in work for a year, and the contrator gets paid the amount that would have been payed out to the claimant if he she was still claiming, thus not incuring any extra cost. the fly in the ointment is the idea that the private sector is goingto come up with 2 million jobs in the next two years, just shows the gov is living on fantasy island, which industry in the private sector exactly is going to come up with 2m jobs, its mental.

  63. BB

    The cock-knocker (the elder) article is pretty much the same shit he was peddling the other day anyway (entire slogans re-used), 'cept this time he typed 'famous socialist' into wikipedia beforehand in order to pad out/reinforce his bullshit a bit more.

    So, you know, you're not missing much....

  64. James

    Like I said, I think the Graun are nailing their colours to the mast and supporting D. Milliband. I can't see why they would let him have so much "airtime" otherwise, so to speak.

  65. Leni

    Great e-mail to Jessica.Let,s hope it pays dividends.Although i think James made a fair point in his 16.44 post.Plus whilst Jessica may be sympathetic what if the Guardian simply couldn,t give a fcuk.We,ll have to keep pushing and may even have to by-pass Jessica.As others have said it reflects badly on the Guardian that they really seem disinterested in campaigning against the governments welfare reforms.Very depressing!

    @fariha-interesting posts !

  66. I think you're right BB- insert a massive commentary on why that's both not surprising, and deeply repugnant - and it's even more laughable, given that he spent a whole 30 minutes BTL during his 'Q and A' whatsit on CiF!

    ('Like, yeah, that's the kind of guy we can totally get behind!')

    In a way, I sort of feel sorry for the Guardian.

    It's like an example of what happens when you take nespotism, corporatism, clientelism, sycophantism, Stockholm syndrome, delusion/(s of Grandeur), inbreeding, and battered wife syndrome, roll it all up into a little ball, and then sit it in front of a computer and ask it to 'tell it like it is'.


  67. fariha

    The lack of jobs is clearly the problem.

    Thereis as yet (if ever ) any discussion around how or by whom these jobs will be created.
    No investment of public money is planned here - disinvestment in fact. Huge questions around infrastructure and transport links.

    we now need to start reshaping the argument . Simply being defensive is not good enough.

    a positive and planned offensive is required - based at least in part on viable alternatives.

  68. Re: Welfare and IB, ESA & WCA. I'd known so, but had it confirmed today via an e-mail out for the region that ATOS are definitely still going to be plaguing us until 2014 at the very least:
    Some information on this process of migration from IB, that will of course impact on people with mental health conditions

    o The migration will use the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to reassess over 1.5 million existing claims at a rate of 10,000 per week for 3 years from October 2010 to 2014
    o The WCA will be delivered by ATOS.
    o The first trial group should be around November 2010 (not in the North East as far as I know)
    o From February 2011 the process will go nationwide.

    I am sure more detailed information will be available from Jobcentre Plus & DWP nearer the time

  69. Leni

    Forgot to mention.In your e-mail to Jessica you stated the two pilots coming up in Aberdeen and Burnly in the autumn are for DLA.Actually they are for current recipients of IB being transferred to ESA.And tested of course by ATOS.

    @Duke-commisserations but the best team won in what was aa crap final.Enjoy your holiday and don,t forget to pack the chocolate flakes.I,m told that no self-respecting dutch person goes on holiday without them :-)

  70. commiserations of course only has one s!

  71. @BB:

    ”Who else, if not the Graun, is going to pay any real attention to any of this?”

    Private Eye. They’re much better than the Graun at exposing this sort of thing. And they outsell the Staggers by 10:1, the Spectator by 3:1 etc.

  72. Paul

    We can lobby Rushie as and when.

    I suspect we are going to have a changing and developing situation here - as with todays proposals.

    The wild assumption that the private sector will create 2 million jobs is fanciful.

    Other developments in response to requests for investment in science and research - which would result in economic expansion - have been rejected. The response was that we should build on and develope ideas from elsewhere - thus saving research costs, throwing it onto R=D costs from private compnies .

    Further run down of our universities and general teaching costs. We could just remove all science from Nat curriculum and sack all science teachers.

  73. This is also all about breaking up the public "markets" and allowing private companies in to manage them too, imo. The US have been chomping at the bit for decades as they see our health and welfare systems as essentially closed markets to them.

    And of course closed markets are anathema to the Coalition. Free trade is the only way to promote growth. Allegedly.

    Although how these bastards can consider things like welfare provision and health care as money spinning enterprises rather than essential public services kind of sums it up for me, really. Profit is good, irrespective of the people who get their faces trodden on in the mean time. Ugh.

    Very old article from The Lancetabout the international health care market, the US and the WTO.

  74. Paul

    sorry if I was mistaken - kept notes of discussions as I followed them. Perhaps you can post something on waddya about these schemes ?

    Been looking at sites for various campaigners against these changes - condemnation from campaigners for thos suffering from HIV , autism - cross the board really.

  75. Swifty Boy

    True dat. And their impact may be slow to reach the mainstream, but it always does in the end.

  76. Missed half my post Paul.

    Any threads which Cif prints which are relevant I intend to mail these sites asking them to comment.

  77. Leni

    If it's not too much trouble, can you please put the addresses of those sites in the 'resources' tab at the top of the page??

  78. MsChin - further to your post on the "GPs are Doctors..." thread, if you are around, you should give this a listen. It is a discussion between two GPs on the Today programme about the NHS reforms.

    Linky to discussion on Today this morning.

  79. Hi Leni

    I posted waddya about the pilots in Aberdeeen and Burnley on the 29June and 5July.And as we,ve already said we,ll probably have to keep posting about that and everything else as the Guardian clearly ain,t that interested at the moment.

    Sometimes feels like we,re dealing with the Daily Mail and not the Guardian.Dunno if i told you but even the Daily Mail published the Gregg story well before the Guardian.

  80. Paul

    "Sometimes feels like we,re dealing with the Daily Mail and not the Guardian.Dunno if i told you but even the Daily Mail published the Gregg story well before the Guardian. "

    I seriously have no idea what the Graun's agenda is any more.

  81. leni

    good stuff certainly a wait and see situation,,,


    nice comment on the zizek thread! Bru knows jackshit about Italian politics......!

  82. Watched that Zizek video and he was very entertaining. isn't he rather stating the obvious though, when he says tinkering round the edges of the present system is useless?

    I do agree though that the totalitarianism he warns of will creep up in a way that people won't notice from the comfort of their sofas. But hadn't Huxley already warned us about that donkeys years ago.

    His reference to the cat licking thing was a bit weird - wouldn't have let my cats anywhere near those bits of me - teeth like bloody razors and they were always washing their rear ends.


    Bru is hilarious on that thread. Great responses from LaRit!

  83. Grrr !Had about 20 tags open - caused horrible hiccups and disintegration. Have gathered bits together again and patted them back into some sort of shape. My laptop needs medical intervention.

    James - am working on links - again.

    that poor old Macaque looks as though he has just failed his reassessment.

  84. Thanks Leni.

    Hope I didn't bust up your computer too badly...


  85. Black-crested macaque - Stefano Unterthiner

    He looks like a Stefano doesn't he?

  86. sheff

    also cat's tongues are like sandpaper wouldn't want one of those rasping at me bits thanks!!!!

    But infact zizek has a point that needs reiterating that being capitalism the more it becomes "real capitalism" the worse it gets for the majority...liked the starbucks thang though...

  87. macaque looks like he's just read millepede....gobsmacked..... and has the expression of "I'm just about to vom......"

  88. "macaque looks like he's just read millepede....gobsmacked..... and has the expression of "I'm just about to vom......"

    lol. Yeah, when I saw it after reading cock-knockers piece, I thought I'd somehow turned my webcam on....

  89. Coming back to what Paul was saying earlier about not knowing if we are reading the Graun or the Daily Mail these days, I just had a look over there and on their front page even Mad Mel is calling the NHS reforms "half-baked".

  90. For your hedificashun

    Bout 20 years ago somenoe left me some shares in "Walker Wingsails " Company went bust - into liquidation.

    Today I finally got note from Begbies traynor - the liquidators.

    They list their costs - after saying nowt left for small shareholders.

    Partner hourly rate - £350
    senior manager - 295
    manager - 250
    asst. manager - 195
    snr. admin - 160
    admin - 130

    I,m not bleating on behalf of shareholders - not my bag but it looks as tho there are going to be easy pickings around for these companies as they pick thru the decaying bodies of collapsing firms.

    WWinsails were predominatelt supported by people who championed alternative energy research.

  91. Should have added that shareholders took no dividends throughtout life of company - one of Maggies schemes.

  92. Bloody hell. I should go and do admin for them. They get a better rate an hour than I do.

  93. There's gold in them there bankruptcy hills...

  94. Not a job I would feel happy doing, James, tbh.

    I like to be able to sleep at nights...

  95. Just read this bit

    " time spent by support staff for shorter tasks, such as typing or dealing with post, is not charged to cases but is carried out as an overhead"

  96. C'mon, we're all old enough to know that that is what they bill. The admin and senior admin get less than half that if they are lucky, with the remainder ending up in the senior partner's pockets. So he's on £350p/h for turning up, and £10k + per day, for taking a shit on, and emptying the pocket of everybody beneath him.

    Watched the Zizek, liked it. What, & when's this tipping point then?

  97. Turm

    "What and when's this tipping point then?"

    When the middle class starts hurting, imo.

  98. True, but that's what separates you and I from the true capitalists, who seem to sleep perfectly well no matter what they do!

    It's also interesting, because one of the ways that capitalism has historically 'corrected' itself, is with a kind of shadow economy in stuff like this.

    There'll be significant numbers who get rich from the ruins of the most recent crisis, and, voila, there's a whole host of new millionaires, investors and oligarchs, and Capital is king again baby!!!

    And then we all start again, as though nothing ever happened....

  99. Attacking liquidators ? Stevehill alert !

  100. Apologies BB, but it's all getting a bit daft now isn't it!?

    There's a quote from Mark Twain (at the beginning of a book called 'Devil Take the Hindmost' about the history of financial speculation, funnily enough..) which I'll paraphrase as this:

    'History may not necessarily repeat itself ....

    But it sure as shit rhymes!!!!'

  101. see aggie poirier's up to her old tricks of polanski worshipping........oh go on need another rant and I'm pumped up on coffee now!!!

  102. LOL James!

    Bonsoir, Frog2. I am sitting here sipping a porto facon francaise with ice cubes in it and was wondering where you were...

    Gandolfo - posts closed already, but discussion still going on on Waddya. Agnes - along with half of Hollywood - has got it so wrong it isn't even funny. :S

  103. OMG:Mandelson's bought himself a slot on channel 4 to plug his sordid memoirs.
    Isn't there a rule about putting nauseating and offensive material out before the watershed?

  104. I'm popping my nomination for comment of the day here, before it disappears up Seaton's rectum:

    From our very own Jen:

    "Over the last couple of weeks I have just about lost patience with Cif, the coalition love in has made me so angry and now this again.

    How about some kind of open thread or editorial on just what the fuck the Guardian is playing at?"

  105. chekov

    I know!

    I tell you what, though, it is bringing out the Hello reader in me. I want to read his book to see what dirt he is dishing on people.

    Maybe I will wait until it is in the library though - can't bring myself to pay him royalties... :o)

  106. Which thread is that on James? Waddya? I will take a look and give it a recommend. (Not that that has ever prevented posts being deleted as many will attest)

  107. I thought Mandelson has already done his memoirs!?

    I've never read it, but I always just assumed it was this.....

  108. Hello, flying visit. Just arrived after 12 hours of travelling. Reminded me how hellish going through London is, and that is not living there.

    Limited internet access. Interesting plans Leni.

  109. Welcome to the Sunny Sarf, Nap! :o)


    Did you say "badgers"?

  110. Hi BB, bit of gloomy frog vid upthread to cheer you down :) XX

  111. Jen
    great comment!

    BB yep I read it then noticed it was closed aggie is friggin awful
    we're all moral mccarthyists now........

  112. Frog2

    Frog vid?! Can't find it...

  113. Bit slow round here tonight......

  114. chekhov

    just seen Mandy's ad - arrrgh! Am watching very depressing Despatches about homophobia in Africa.

  115. BB justaminute at 1558,tough stuff.The text link is interesting, for the individual , and the approach of many history teachers etc who do the same .
    Being 'victorious' can have its own 'blowback', like the Dutch & the curse of North Sea Oil.

  116. Thanks Frog - will take a look.

    Sheff - I was thinking of you today when I was reading a thread on Free Movement about the gay Iranian case, because there are a couple of HOPOs who have commented on it, one of whom is an ex-HOPO and a lesbian. Really interesting comments from here.

    Linky linky...

  117. Hello Sheff: yeah, I saw the Despatches programme.
    Really depressing stuff.
    You sometimes have to give yourself a pinch to remind your brain that this is the year 2010!
    Those "God Bothering" fuckwits do my head in.
    Mind you, there's plenty over here!

  118. Frog2

    Powerful stuff. I like his message to youth in the last paragraph.

  119. Just watched this movie. Fucking brilliant. Watch it, and think what we'll do if we face similar scenarios, soon.

  120. Rubbish - iplayer won't let me play it on account of me possibly being a free-riding johnny bloody foreigner...

  121. Was the Counterfeiters James. POWs forced to counterfeit UK currency in WWII. V. moving..

    A pale imitation of the original BB. Any way here my latest musing.. Bitey, MAM Pwter Bracken & fariha, are all the same pre op trans-sexual, serial killing Abberdonian lorry driver. Just at different phases of the moon/ cycles of them taking their meds... ;-) NN all. P x

  122. turminderxuss
    Got it on dvd last year, most execellent indeed.

  123. LOL Turm!

    Night night

    I've bookmarked that movie for viewing tomorrow. x

  124. BB -- no message quite like that to UK youth ...

  125. TX: Yeah, The Counterfeiters is a great film, I saw it within a year of both Downfall and The Lives of Others. German films tackling German 'issues', all of them superb.

    If there's anyone in the universe who has yet to see this Youtube clip, then enjoy...

  126. Ahhh, will look out for it elsewhere...

    Night Turminder...

  127. We johnny foreigners can get that beeb stuff with a proxy-site or something ?

  128. In case anyone was missing out on some bug-eyed South American mask wearing folk music tonight


  129. chekhov

    And what is also depressing is that some of this country,s fast growing African communities are bringing these homophobic attitudes with them.

    IMO i don,t think homophobia is as vigourously challenged in some of Britains ethnic and religious minority communities as it should be.In the well established Black Caribbean community a particularly virulent form of homophobia has taken root.A similar situation has occurred in some Muslim and ultra orthodox Jewish communities as well.

    Obviously homphobia exists in the White majority population as well.However IMO people are far more reluctant to confront it in religious and ethnic minority communities for reasons of cultural relativism.Which is unacceptable and must change.

  130. Frog2

    Yeah, I tried the proxy thing a while back, but didn't seem to really get anywhere.

    I think you have to keep changing as and when they get busted too, so it requires a bit more than my limited IT capabilities....

  131. Paul

    We also have to remember that members of both CoE and RC churches although not supporting death penalty or open persecution of gays are, by their anti gay stance ref. to priesthood, are offering tacit support to religious extremists of all stripes.

    Something they don't seem to be aware of - true also with their anti women stance. Idiots certainly criminal probably.

  132. Frog2

    Makes me want to translate it and print it in a pamphlet to hand out at schools...

    SK - Evenin' all! "The Lives of Others" is one of my fave films. Really brilliant. The scene where they are in the staff canteen "joking" is buttock-clenching... amongst many others.

    BW - really need to get you down here for the Crawley Mela this year. Lots of North African rai and Senegalese music on the programme, as well as the usual bhangra etc.

    Paul - I think what disturbs me most is that we seem to be regressing in the UK with our views on homosexuality, and this is largely driven by evangelical Christians - home grown as well as African charismatic Pastors. Peter Tatchell wrote an article a week or so ago about how he felt his job was done, but I am not so convinced. Makes me mad.

  133. TX:

    "@SK Any inside thoughts on Mr Moat? Did the taser pull the trigger, was he fucked from the moment he started shooting?"

    I haven't been privy to any insider knowledge, but I was puzzled about this post mortem business. Apparently the family are demanding a second one because the first didn't show any injuries from the taser activation to fit in with the theory that it caused him to spasm and shoot himself. It sought of struck me that given the tasering was no real secret, and a coroner could be expected to both look for and find the relevant marks, that maybe their aim was off. After all, he was lying prone and about twenty yards away from the firearms team at the time, and they would have been at the very limit of their range.

    Should be good for a Liberty Central article about how all tasers should be banned because they're inaccurate though.

  134. James -- proxies tomorrow then ! NN all

  135. Leni

    I don't know whether you caught it or not, but there was a debate on R4 Today prog - might have been Friday - concerning women Bishops in the CofE, and the chap arguing against it had me screaming at the radio. Apart from the fact that it sounded like we were being given a lecture from Snape from Harry Potter, he was singularly brusque verging on the rude, and failed to make any reasonable point at all.

    Why is the organised Church so bloody frightened of us wimminz?

  136. BB
    Nearly came down to that four years ago (alerted through a contact at work), looks good !

  137. Fais de beaux reves, M. Le 2eme Grenouille.

  138. Night Frog. And it's a date for tomorrow!


  139. "Why is the organised Church so bloody frightened of us wimminz?"



  140. Mr BB is very much involved in it, Bitterweed. It is at the end of July and worth a visit. Might be able to put you up if you can cope with the house being a "work in progress" while the decorating is going on...

  141. Just posted this on waddya and wanted to re-post on here as think it is really important and know there will be many on here who might want to write and protest about this:

    ''Re the governments website asking for 'help' with cutting the deficit (which I always thought was a ruse to get loads of Daily Heil readers to come along with helpful suggestions about upping the numbers of police and then making the unemployed live on ten pounds a week and soup kitchen handouts) well looks like it has turned into a hatefest.

    This from the Benefits and Work site: ''The governments new website for suggestions in cutting spending is full of hate speech including many posts which possibly are actually illegal under the Public Order Act 1986. One suggestion is to “Re-open the workhouses” for the unemployed, the elderly and asylum seekers. The poster goes on to suggest that:
    “To prevent the problem of generations of poor people, release could be conditional on getting sterilised.”
    Another idea entitled “Discouraging those who do not work from starting a family” goes on to say that:
    “Where NHS staff have identified that a couple or single mother isn't in a position to support themselves and a child financially, they should be advised to terminate the pregnancy (if very early on), or be recommended to give the child up for adoption.”
    Other ideas include:
    “Benefits claimants to work in sweatshops” which urges the government to also send the unemployed to Afghanistan as cannon fodder.''

    The site is urging everyone to contact the equality and human rights commission re the website and to write to their MP's to get it closed down. Jess please can we have an article on this? ''

  142. Ps. Sheff and MsChin - you've got mail.

  143. or all media and press enquiries, please email stevehay@haypresto.com .

    sent foll email to Steve Hay (Benefits and Works site) this afternoon.

    Hi Steve

    Not a media request sorry but more a call for support.

    a group of us are trying to pressurise the Guardian newspaper to run series/section on these proposed changes on their website Comment is Free.

    I have emailed their comments editor Jessica Read and the idea is at least up for consideration. We are hoping the Guardian might become a central media location for coordinating campaigns - not holding our breath !

    Comment is Free do ask for pitches from readers for artcles to appear in Cif - details can be found on their "You tellUs" feature accessible through main Comment is Free page.

    The main thrust for pressure on the Guardian has come from contributors to our own small site which can be accessed at http://cifthreadrefugee.blogspot.com/
    where I have printed a copy of my email and Jessica's reply.

    I realise this is a bit of a longshot - but would welcome any support and ideas for strengthening our as yet small campaign.

    Anyone is free to post to the Untrusted as of course they can to Cif.

    Leni ..

    Casting straws in wind perhaps. He may think I/m some kind of nut.

    Having probs with other links - will keep on trying.

  144. BB
    Thank you, would love to but have two massive familly events on - 50th wedding aniversary and 70th birthday party on successive weekends.

    Speak soon - would like to hear more about it anyway !


  145. Good work PCC, and again, Leni!!

    Right, I'm off to figure out a way of luring Miliband the elder into an abandoned warehouse here in Sao Paulo.

    Night folks, ate amanha!!

  146. Lots of facebook pages on thgis topic.

    Will go recruiting for support there too.

  147. Paul: I posted a reply to your comment but it got "404rd " or whatever. I'll try again tomorrow!

  148. James

    Re wharehouse - make it slow !

  149. Have posted steve hays mail for Jessica on waddya.

    Spent so long on line today my eyes are rolling up and have crick in my neck.

  150. Leni/BB

    I did say that homophobia was still a problem in the White majority population.My point was that IMO homophobia is not challenged as vigorously as it shoud be in some of the minority communities for reasons of cultural relativism.

  151. Paul

    i wasn't disagreeing with you my good man. I was adding to your point.

  152. Leni

    Wasn,t being heavy!Sorry if it came across like that:-)

    Nite x

  153. nightynight my friendly nitwit x

  154. Leni - there is an online group that represents various people working against welfare abolition - I have asked them if we can construct an official request to be sent to The Guardian too.

    Anyone can join so if people are interested the more the merrier the address is: no-to-welfare-abolition@googlegroups.com

    I think you have to be registerd for google groups in order to join. In fact I joined so long ago I am not sure now! But the group sends round great (if depressing) updates and some local groups have met up and organised protest action - such as a day recently in (I think) Edinburgh when A4E had to close their offices for the full day due to protests.

  155. Princess

    Will go there - thanks.

    We really have to try to DO something.

  156. Agreed Leni. What is happening is even worse than what I thought would happen - which is saying something. Just read the lastest plans for the NHS and feel really, really down and helpless.

    Anyway off to bed for my beauty sleep.

    Nite all.