13 July 2010


The Sorrows of the King - Henri Matisse

A sense of humor... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.
Hugh Sidey


  1. Puma on the line at East Cheam, was it?

  2. Mornin'!

    Montana - loved the monkey picture yesterday ;0)

  3. ”…loved the monkey picture yesterday…”

    Nasty vicious sods, though.

  4. SwiftyBoy

    Damn right there! Rip yer fingers off in an instant - and that's just the little ones!

  5. "Bracken-delusion spectrum"

    @ Jay lol!

  6. I liked the monkey yesterday, too.

    Poirier's thread open again. I would quite happily slap that bitch into a stupor.

  7. turminder

    Watched The Counterfeiter last night. Brilliant! Thanks for the heads up.

  8. Good movie, eh? Would you have been the Saboteur or the Collaborator?

    Expect the ghettos of homeless underclass, mushrooming up north of Watford Gap, will they be shanty towns or concentration camps, not long till we find out, they're coming our way April 2011...

  9. Montana

    It looked like one of those Japanese sculptures - funny grizzly grumpy old man's face....

  10. ”…Watched The Counterfeiter last night…”

    Is that the one about the Operation Bernhard forgers? Hands up who’s old enough to remember Michael Elphick as Private Schulz…?

  11. Couterfeiters is a brilliant film....

  12. "Bracken-delusion spectrum"

    Perhaps their ought to be some kind of Bracken Scale, with Dawkins at 1 and David Icke at 10. All CiF contributor could then have their Delusion Index next to their picture. Could save a lot of time.

  13. @SwiftBoy

    Hands up who’s old enough to remember Michael Elphick as Private Schulz…?


  14. turminderxuss said.

    "Bitey, MAM Pwter Bracken & fariha, are all the same pre op trans-sexual, serial killing Abberdonian lorry driver."

    And not only can you not spell Aberdonian T'xuss but your analytical skills as as poor as your spelling. And what has CiF poster of the year done to be equated with me?

  15. Well, Whoopi Goldberg has now proven beyond all shadow of a doubt just what an ignorant bitch she is. They just said on the "news" that she has come to Mel Gibson's defence.

  16. "They just said on the "news" that she has come to Mel Gibson's defence."

    I read in the graun some pretty startling news about Gibson and his wife beating (and some charming words he offered her to explain his assault). He always struck me as deeply unpleasant, those quotes just about confirmed it.

  17. @Jay:

    "...some pretty startling news about Gibson and his wife beating..."

    I believe the correct term in Australia is "foreplay".

  18. As memory serves, he punched his wife in the face while she was holding his baby and told her she deserved to be "gang r*ped by n*ggers".

  19. @Jay:

    What a silver-tongued old charmer he is - and surely a shoo-in for Australia's prestigious Clive James Wordsmith of the Year award this year?

  20. # your analytical skills as as poor as your spelling# and your typing Bridge Dweller. Your styles may change with the seratonin levels, but all your manifestations share, pettiness, arrogance, pigheadedness, blinkered thinking, lack of empathy and a tendency to stick the knife in. It's the only reason you all hang around, imagining some other soul in front of a monitor, wounded by the witty barb, astute correction or simple 'fuck you' that the current driver of the bus throws up. I refer you to the answer previously provided by many of my co-UTers (you'll have all the details I'm sure)

    Piss off Bitey.

  21. Morning all

    Good post from PCC on WADDYA about the government website asking for 'help' on how to cut the deficit.Otherwise it,s mainly burquas,badgers and bollox today.Plus someone on WADDYA asking for an uplifting story about Africa???

    Agree with Montana et al about Poirier.Stupid bitch!Also methinks our Peter B has become a CIF star without perhaps realizing it.A bit like a CIF pantomime villain.And genuine kudos to him for fighting his corner.I actually like the geezer!

    Can,t get used to this working during the day lark.Shedloads of stuff to do .'See' y,all later.

  22. Turminder

    Would you have been the Saboteur or the Collaborator?

    Haven't a clue. How do any of us know how we'd behave in those circumstances? No better than the next person probably - maybe worse, how can I tell?

  23. Dunno meself Sheff, imagine I'd be an early victim of the shoe testing squad... Cif on the Govt 'savings' website this avvo. Stand by your beds!

  24. turminder

    imagine I'd be an early victim of the shoe testing squad...

    Expect I'd be joining you having no forgery skills.

    Love this from PeterB on waddya

    Freedoms and human rights - upheld by the West, abused by too much of the rest of the world - are not trifles and truffles to be dismissed as a product of false consciousness

    You could probably buy me for a half decent trifle...never mind a truffle!

  25. "Bitey, MAM Pwter Bracken & fariha, are all the same pre op trans-sexual, serial killing Abberdonian lorry driver."
    What other possible explination could there be, could have sworn I'v given birth to two kids though, weird.

  26. maybe you're F to M?

  27. Well done pointing out the misogynist assumption. SK ; )

  28. That would explain PB's behaviour. Hormone tablets.

  29. It's typical turm, homosexuality is always about gay men and transexuality is always about M to F.

    The ladies just never count.

  30. Hormones… a simple little word but strikes dread into the heart of any right-thinking male…

  31. 'Don Quixote with a laptop.'

    Right, now I am ensconced in the south east of England, there are many observations I can make about society here.

    1. London is hellish. Repeat endlessly. A Neoliberal dystopia. London is essentially a city state.
    2. I was planning to go to London to see a few museums but the transport costs are too great. There is realistically no alternative to going by train.
    3. NATIONALISE THE FUCKING RAILWAYS. I paid £22 for a ticket for a train journey of about 50 miles. More than the return coach journey from Glasgow.

    Many other things. I am busy. I have coursework and I want to go on a massive walk on the Sussex downs. Plus visit friends and look after my disabled dad (who is so disabled there is no chance of him getting 'reassessed')

  32. London as a city state- yes, the most influential city in the united kingdom, but also an 'other'.

    What do the UT Londonistas think? Jay and BB I presume, being the only ones.

  33. I visited London for the first time in 20+ years, in 2008. It reminded me of nothing more than a vast amusement park, people queing for the Eye, the Tower, Tuseauds. Etc... I did manage to get a day-pass tube ticket and check out the Tate Modern. Hope you can squeeze some kultcha in there somewhere Nap. ; )

  34. Gibson is a standout Roman Catholic male role model.

  35. "London is hellish. Repeat endlessly. A Neoliberal dystopia. London is essentially a city state."

    Agree 10000%. Living here only makes the contempt burn harder.


    Agree 10000000000000% (similar to the increase in fares privatisation has brought actually).

  36. Jay,thank you. I pity you.
    If you want to come down to Eastbourne and go walking on the south downs and/or up and along the cliffs at Beachy Head this weekend your welcome. Nothing like a bit of fresh air and getting away from the smoke.

  37. jennifer: I smell a little bit of transphobia, or at least transmisunderstandingia in your comment: Surely, trans women (the preferred alternative for "M to F") *are* ladies ...

  38. Gibson's an unspekable creep - listen to him here

    I notice Whoopie Goldberg is defending him as 'boneheaded' rather than an anti-semitic, misogynist racist.

    Mel Gibson is a bonehead not a racist, says Whoopi Goldberg

    What is it with that woman?

  39. Absolutely elementary, badly worded by me, I meant most people take transexuality from the beginning point rather than the end point.

    As far as most of the media is concerned it is all about what happens to the penis.

  40. What you doing down in Eastbourne, Nap? I've got a date with a nice TMA this weekend sadly, Hume vs Kant on belief in an external world, havent even started it yet but gotta be done for next Thursday, i've done about 3 pages of reading - bit of a slow start.

    Hows your course going?

  41. Where is that article about Whoopi defending Mel? Has she coined another stupid phrase there, like "it's not racism racism", like she did when defending Roman Polanski?

  42. ”…I meant most people take transexuality from the beginning point rather than the end point…”

    I tend to defer to Alan Partridge on these matters, myself.

  43. Sheff have tried to reply to your email with message again - let me know if it doesn't come through my email is playing up.

    For all this comment on the governments site is a good one and one of the most commented on and if we can all log on and register and comment on this and vote for it they might have to listen!

    Its re Atos. Unfortunately so far the most approved comments are those which suggest that everyone should work for their dole.

    One other thing people could do is log on and make outrageous suggestions. This could possibly be a good way of blocking this section of the site? SOmeone has already put a very funny comment up re diverting all government spending on benefits onto nuclear weapons.

    A few hundred of these and I think the site might end up being counter productive for the fascist bastards in westminster.

  44. "As far as most of the media is concerned it is all about what happens to the penis."

    I read the last few posts too fast and thought we were still on Mel Gibson.

  45. My dear old dad lives in Eastbourne, he is originally a Yorkshireman though.

    Good luck on your essays. I am doing lots of short courses (all 10 point level ones so not very hard), have to write 1500 words about the 'concept of gender in Romeo and Juliet', plus another essay on Victorian values.

    My science courses include, one about microbiology, another about Darwin and evolution, another introductory environment course, and horror of horrors, a mathematics course. I am going to have to do all these as the deadlines are in two weeks, so I had to cart all the course materials down here :(, but still I should have some time to go on the dear old Sussex downs. Nature is an escape from the neoliberal dystopia, although in many cases you have to be quite wealthy to live near it, especially in the south of England. My dad lives on a council estate now, that really is overspill, right on the edge of town with no facilites whatsover. Sure, there are buses, but they are quite pricey.

  46. Calling Mel a penis is an insult to a useful organ BW. ;)

  47. I'm not that sure about that, jennifer (media's concern with the penis), or whether, if true, it shows that media panders (unconsciously?) to (straight) men; I, for one, am more interested in other people's vaginas than other people's penises.

  48. Wow!!

    (note to self: From now on, start at the top of the thread and work down!!)

  49. @ Nap 'concept of gender in Romeo and Juliet' that should be fun. Don't forget in the original performances Juliet would be played by a young man...

  50. "'concept of gender in Romeo and Juliet'"

    You poor man, my condolences. Are you doing an "open degree" or have you chosen a "subject degree", whatever the phrase is?

    The science stuff sounds alright, you not looking forward to the maths?

    The Downs are very nice, lots of good pubs tucked away too.

  51. "Calling Mel a penis is an insult to a useful organ"

    Since when has eunuchphobia been tolerated at the UT?

  52. Hmm, Jay, when you're thinking "person without penis" you're thinking "eunuch"?

    That's ... interesting ...

  53. elementary

    Where is that article about Whoopi defending Mel?

    I linked to it in my post - its in the D Torygraph.

  54. I must admit, I enjoy working in central London, you’re never short of something to do at lunchtime, but a) it’s a three minute walk from mainline station to work, so I get to avoid the horror of the Underground; and b) I get to leave London every evening.

    I really wouldn’t want to live here.

  55. You got me there jen, can't argue with that !

    You just reminded me of a Jo Brand joke for some reason.

    Woman in the hairdressers, says to the stylist "what is it again you do with your asshole before having sex ?"

    "I drop him off down the pub".

    Badum-tish !

  56. This is my idea for helping the government decide what to do about all the feckless scum - as posted on the suggestions site.

    ''Ian Duncan Smith was right when he said ''work can set you free''. The idle and the sick and disabled are a drag on our productive economy.
    There are nearly five million people relying on the state but I believe there are over seven million available jobs. Employers are folding because they just cannot find people to work out of the lazy and feckless scum that make up the majority now of our nation.

    I am so glad the Tories are in power at last. They are using the services of a man who in America locked up the unemployed and made them work. He called this the Final Solution.

    I am sure these ideas are totally new and have never been used before anywhere else in the world. Please see below for implementation.
    How the idea could be implemented

    1) Whip up a moral outrage against some 'other' best not do it against the Jews as that might cuase issues but the sick and unemployed should be a good target.

    2) Instead of using old fashioned methods such as meetings in beer halls and pamphlets use the modern media - especially the tabloids to constantly print stories about 'scroungers' and use internet forums to continue stirring the hatred.

    3) First make the unemployed work in really menial jobs for their pittance. They should be identified too as scrounging scum - maybe a bright red jacket or if not that some sort of symbol we could pin on their clothes.

    4) After some time cut off support to the sick and disabled. Suggest they get themselves sterilised so they cannot have kids who will also rely on the productive, hard working, decent citizens.

    5) If the above doesn't work build huge camps to send the desirables to. Ian Duncan Smiths statement ''Work can set you free'' could be put above these camps in huge neon lettering.

  57. Yeah, thanks, Sheff, didn't see it before asking ...

  58. Nice work PCC apart from the fact you make it all seem like it could happen so easily.

    You have given me the shivers.

  59. Props PCC. But if you fall into that style of satire, you might find yourseld advising IDS...

  60. I remember watching a C4 documentary a while ago, about a group of women from Doncaster who went to the real life equivalent of Pauline’s Job Club and were found work in the newly-opened Poundland or whatever it was.

    The one thing that struck me most, was one of the women, single mum with a couple of kids, who tearfully but honestly had to admit she was better off on benefits than she was working for the wages Poundland was paying… no “feckless scrounger” she, she really wanted to work, but she just couldn’t get it to add up.

    It is truly a crazy fucked-up system where people like her are financially better off on benefits than they are working for a living.

  61. Of course, Swifty, there are those people who agree with you (I do) and come to the conclusion that the benefits are too high 8I don't).

  62. Swifty

    Totally agree.

    I saw another programme that I think was part of the same series, set primarily in Hull, focusing on the 'work' of one of these private contractors charged with getting the feckless scum back to work.

    They were paid obscene amounts of tax-payers money, to provide 'learning and improvement' type services, and were then paid bonuses for getting people back to work.

    However, these 'learning and improvement' sessions involved mostly colouring in/browsing the classifieds, while the "instructor" sat reading the newspaper/meaty beaty big and bouncy.

    And, crucially, the bonuses were awarded just for getting people back into work, not for staying in it, so the lovely people there shoved people into short-term, temporary work, meaning that they got their bonus, while, after two-weeks, the 'client' found themselves back on the dole, and having to re-apply for benefits, and then wait weeks until they were sorted and paid.

    Now, between the two, I know who'd I'd consider the bigger thief of our taxes, but maybe that's just me.....

  63. Princess

    Sheffield's defunct airport would be an excellent site for one of your camps.

    Alternatively, perhaps we could use all the dole scroungers and disabled to fill the pot holes in the roads, it'd make for softer landings when I come off my bike.

  64. Get in early before the MFing C-bombs do.....

  65. Actually I am a bit scared that I will be locked up for that comment by some sort of government sercret department.

    Either that or forced to work for Demos under the 'guidance' of workhouse Purnell!

  66. @James:

    "...Thread now up on 'consulting the public'..."

    And my, doesn't it reek of de haut en bas (phrase of the week, folks!) condescension for the ordinary man (and woman)? I know, I know, he pointedly refers to “wealthy white men” as a means of diverting the reader from the main thrust of his argument, and tries awfully hard not to sound like the most dreadful sort of snob, but as far as I’m concerned his point seems to boil down to this – one really shouldn’t let the great unwashed anywhere near the policy strings, my dear, they’re an absolutely frightful bunch of ill-educated, bigoted oiks.

  67. Jay, I will probaly do a BSC open degree in sciences, perhaps life sciences, natural or molecular science, but that is years off. The course I do now can count to them, although obviously not the arts courses. They are 'just for fun' and to keep me occupied over the summer.

    Interesting and sad posts about the back to work schemes etc. Arbeit Macht frei. The neoliberal train wreck.

    I think we need more conservatism in this country. Not Toryism, but a pragmatic humanistic conservatism like they have in European countries. I know many people who are small c conservatives and much more humanistic than the adovcates of the Neoliberal train wreck. More socialism and social democracy too would be a good thing, although less factionalism would be nice.

    I would also argue we need a small amount of nationalism (no that does not include the BNP).
    I am trying to say, if we had a concept of 'national interest' and an independent political establishment, we would withdraw from Afghanistan straight away. It would also put the (humanitarian) national interest (of the people) first, as witnessed in Scotland with the SNP, which are more humanistic than Labour and protective against the neoliberal train wreck. This is what you would term 'civic nationalism' not 'ethnic nationalism'.

  68. Brilliant comment by Schweik on the Useless thread.

  69. Swify - It's complex because yes he is saying that - sort of - but if you read the comments on that site they are a joke. Most people commenting know nothing about the benefits system, for example, so their comments are utterly useless.
    One guy said 'stop paying the unemployed so much that they can afford two holidays and big tellys'. Is his opinion worthless? Yes. Not because he is thick or an oik but because he knows nothing about the subject he is commenting on.

    If someone doesn't understand that JSA is sixty five quid a week out of which a proportion of rent and water etc has to be paid as well as utilities etc leaving most claimants with around thirty quid to spend (on all those holidays) how can they make a reasoned suggestion for improvements of the system?

    The site is a joke. And it is NOT free speech. Because the government have already framed the debate.

    ''Listen little people we are going to cut and we are going to cut hard. We will be protecting the rich so you lot fight amongst yourselves over who gets the biggest kicking.''

    It is vile, utterly vile. It is dumbed down populism dressed up as democratic consultancy.

  70. Swifty

    I think you're probably right.

    But (and I'm aware that this is the second day in a row where I'm moaning about the Graun...) I think it's yet another example of them taking a suggestion (in this case, a brilliant and impassioned plea from PCC), and completely missing the fucking point.
    (And then having the temerity to say, this was commissioned from a 'you tell us...').

    Don't get me wrong, it's something that needed addressing, and something is better than nothing, but essentially, they've been asked to write something about a website that is suggesting eugenics, euthanasia, ghettoisation, amongst other things, and they come up with some guff about the Dunning-Kruger effect!!

    (I can only assume that they're reluctant to come down too heavily on this, because such criticism may look a wee bit hypocritical given the direction CiF itself has been taking in recent months).

    As I said yesterday, I intend to use The Guardian's approach to these issues as a stress test for it's own (remaining) standards, ethics, morality etc, and, to be honest, it aint looking too good is it....!!

  71. turminderxuss:

    "Your styles may change with the seratonin levels, but all your manifestations share, pettiness, arrogance, pigheadedness, blinkered thinking, lack of empathy and a tendency to stick the knife in. It's the only reason you all hang around, imagining some other soul in front of a monitor, wounded by the witty barb, astute correction or simple 'fuck you' that the current driver of the bus throws up."

    So are we all that same "Abberdonian lorry driver" or are we different people?

    And an interesting suggesting about serotonin and writing styles; maybe JR could work it into his TMA, on "belief in an external world".

  72. Furthermore, if Britain continues with the neoliberal train wreck I can only see the country splitting up. Scotland will eventually have enough of the anti humanistic ideology of neoliberalism ,in favour of a more communitarian approach. Wales may eventually go. Perhaps if you are lucky the socialist republic of Yorkshire might get set up, and extend north and south across the country. Peter Tatchell will get his wish and Cornwall will become independant. London would be it's own city state.

  73. It also seems that CiF has put up (again) the 'are you a lurker who doesn't post, because, you know, your contribution is ever so valuable, so jump in, get involved, free jaffa cakes for all' thread.

    Now, if I was cynical, and had some sort of unhealthy obsession with CiF, I might be inclined to suggest that maybe they're getting a bit desperate and/or reaping what they've sown....

  74. princess

    ''Listen little people we are going to cut and we are going to cut hard. We will be protecting the rich so you lot fight amongst yourselves over who gets the biggest kicking.''

    Classic divide and rule.And this is where the chickens will come home to roost in many factionalised working class communities.Total lack of solidarity will mean factions will attack each other rather than uniting to confront the ruling classes.Very depressing!

  75. @James

    Yes, I noticed that. It looks as though there is some concern about the way things have been going. Perhaps they're hoping for the silent majority of coalition supporters to speak up? "Down with this sort of thing!" "Careful now!"

  76. @James:

    Yep agreed – yet again the Graun spectacularly fails to stick the ball into the back of the unguarded net.


    I’ve had a look at that website and frankly, given the hype, I thought it fairly tame compared to some of the stuff you’d hear down the local pub. I was out with the wife on Friday night as it happens, and there was plenty of not necessarily approving chit chat going on around us about Muslims, health and safety, “pikeys”, “birds” and the unemployed. Nothing that I heard about greedy bankers or tax evasion, to be honest.

    Of course, you could argue that it’s all just a big conspiracy to divide us and rule us, to set us one against the other, but I wouldn’t buy into that at all. It’s much simpler – lots and lots of people seem to think that, while they’re expected to contribute to the country, to raise and support their own families, pay taxes, save for their retirement, be responsible consumers and generally pay their way, there is another class of person to whom none of the above applies.

    They can’t all be Daily Mail readers or BNP sympathisers, surely?

  77. Yep Paul I think you are right. Ultimately I retain hope - because I have to - that there will be a fight back. BUT I think it will not be soon. Things will probably have to get much worse before it happens. But history shows us you really can only push people so far.

    The biggest nightmare is total social breakdown rather than an organised fightback. But eventually I hope people will organise and fight back.

    What's interesting to me is what is going on in China right now. Suddenly workers are downing tools and striking and demanding more money so if this sort of movement spreads and workers in India etc do the same the capitalists will have a problem with easily finding the slave labour they need to make their huge profits.

    As for here in the supposed 'developed world' who knows what it will take for people to fight back but I still have to believe that eventually they will. I don't think I could cope otherwise.

  78. Montana

    They,ve put up a thread on CIF for the 'lurkers'.I think you should get over there pronto and formally welcome them--to the UT.:-)

  79. "I intend to use The Guardian's approach to these issues as a stress test for it's own (remaining) standards, ethics, morality etc,"

    I asked following a discussion on violence sometime ago for a thread by Zizek discussing the use of violence in society ie subjective, systemic etc got what appeared yesterday something completely different but hey ho a semi request obliged........

    yesterday I asked reed for an article to discuss the implementation of gagging laws in Italy from the perspective that berlusconi has justified it as defending privacy of the individual which according to him is more important than the freedom of the press. Given that the output from the Graun on Italy was reasonable at one point and now is at an all time low despite the fact that there is lots going on politically and they have 2 correspondents in rome I thought maybe this take may be something interesting. No reply despite 2 requests.......

  80. Fuck it!!

    Not that anyone cares, but I think I'm going back.....

    This will be my contribution to the lurker thread. Probably best to pop it here too:

    "I would like to suggest to any 'lurkers' that, before taking the plunge, you really read and consider the talk policy/community standards, and also be prepared to suffer at least one or two 'deletions' when you, allegedly, fall foul of it........

    But, you see, even talking about moderation is itself worthy of moderation, so I find myself in a bit of a quandary......"

  81. This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. Swifty - no they cannot all be BNP'ers or Daily Mail readers. Some will read The Sun or The Express instead.

    No seriously. The fact is that of course there are some people who play the system - human beings are not perfect and every system open to abuse will be abused. But those playing the system are not going to be the majority - stats show that indeed they are a tiny, tiny minority.

    The thing is there is a bit of a hysteria in the country at the moment about those who claim benefits. It is stoked constantly by the government and the media and to deny that is just risisble.

    As to your point that lots of blokes down the pub talk about Muslims and benefits scroungers in that way - so? Are you saying their views have some legitimacy because they are popular views?

    Can it be that if enough people believe something then it is valid? People used to believe homosexuality was a sin or a crime. Was that valid? People in Germany - million and millions of them - talked about the Jews in their local beer houses just as the blokes down the pub now talk about immigrants and the unemployed -they were people who they saw as '' another class of person'' to whom the normal rules of life didn't apply too.

    The issue is that in actually trying to dismantle the welfare state the government have played into easily stirred prejudices and created a false panic.

    The facts are that the biggest drain on the welfare system are pensioners (55% of the welfare bill)- not that I am saying we should target pensionsers - bear with me here. The second biggest drain is middle class welfare (over 32% of the bill). JSA and sickness benefits are a drop in the ocean of total government spend. Yet it is these benefits the media and government etc focus on. Why? Well because they are easy targets - most of us will have kids therefore most of us will recieve child benefit. Most of us will get old therefore most of us will recieve pensions. Most people, deludedly, believe they will never be out of work or sick or have an accident and be disabled.So the government start nibbling at the outer edges of the welfare state where they can - aided and abetted by pub bore idiots. Of course they will eventually come for the child benefits and the pensions. And by that time there will be no one left to fight for the pensions and child benefits because we will all be scrabbling to just survive.

    Its the thin end of the wedge.

  83. paul

    don't not after yesterday.....seems to have kept 'er 'ead down today...but I'm sure she's throwing a virtual champagne welcoming party for *nice* new lurkers...

  84. Swifty/PeterJ/Gandolfo

    I appreciate that I've just relented and therefore perhaps lost any moral authority I may have had, but this is 'The problem' in a nutshell*.

    You tell us, in reality = give us ideas, we'll read 'em, and then, if one of them happens to vaguely coincide with one that we were going to write anyway/or we know someone who can bang something out with the most tenuous of connections to your 'suggestion'...

    ...then we'll do it, and then point at the ever growing 'you told us' section like a bunch of missionaries pointing at the funny locals who've managed to pick up the rudimentary aspects of cricket.

    and, then, their reluctance to address moderation etc, combined with their bizarre infatuation with New Labour and now the Condems, has inevitably led to a virtual infestation of muppets, numpties and the downright deranged, and many 'decent/knowledgeable' posters have jumped ship, and now they have to wave seductively wave their backsides in the air like some sort of desperate gimp.....

    *Admittedly, it's a rather large nutshell!!


  85. gandolfo

    Sorry i deleted it.Got into a scrap with her hellenic sidekick last week.Accused us all of being obsessed with Bru.Decided not to give her any ammo.:-)

  86. PCC.
    Yes, it is quite sad, I looked on the site and all, but I think you overestimate the fear. There is no suppression of free speech, no one is going to come for you, as you imply on here and on Cif.

    Frankly all I want from the coalition is electoral reform, but then all those right wing brain dead twats down the pub that you talk about will get to vote for the extremists of their choice- but so be it. You too would all get to vote for whoever you wanted with much more certainty of them getting elected. That is Democracy.

    Unfortunately it has always been in the interests of the ruling elite, first the landed gentry, now people like Murdoch, to keep the people in the dark and uneducated. This can be shown in the arbitrary judgements of the English comprehensive school system and also the general anti intellectualism prevalent in the media establishment.

    If we have a better education system then there wouldn't be brain dead twats down the pub.

  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. "Swifty - no they cannot all be BNP'ers or Daily Mail readers. Some will read The Sun or The Express instead."

    Talking of the Express, did anyone see their headline the other day?

    “Now asylum if You’re Gay: they must be free to go to Kylie concerts and drink multi-coloured cocktails, says judge”.

    Not only unspeakably vile sentiments, but factually inaccurate. They clearly imagine that now the Tories are back in it is safe to indulge in a bit of frontpage queerbashing. They're probably right.

  89. Gandolfo

    According to Jess, they'll have something on the gagging thing soon.

    Fancy doing a sweepstake on what it'll actually be about, and what 'other stuff' they'll manage to shoehorn into an 800 word piece?

  90. @princesschipshop:

    ”As to your point that lots of blokes down the pub talk about Muslims and benefits scroungers in that way - so?

    Interesting you assume it was all blokes wot done the talking – it wasn’t, by any means – one of the most outspoken racists was a little Scottish woman, as it happens. But that’s by the by. I don’t think we’re quite at the “deporting and gassing” stage just yet. Raising the spectre of “Nazism” every time you hear an opinion which doesn’t suit you, and invoking the spectre of some baleful state just waiting to nick you for being outspoken, makes you sound hyperbolic and hysterical, and where does that get you?

    Because people talk about stuff in all sorts of ways, all the time, depending on who's listening, what they think is expected of them, etc. One moment a poisonous twat on the internet, the next a devoted son trying to come to terms with the death of his old man, the next an in-patient sat talking to the doctor, the next a mum worrying about her kids’ exam results… people are just so much more than their pronouncements, most of the time. And anyway, for all the imperfection, I fear them much less than I do the monomaniacal preachers with the single-minded devotion to an ideal – they’re the truly scary people, in this humble sinner’s opinion.

  91. "Scotland will eventually have enough of the anti humanistic ideology of neoliberalism ,in favour of a more communitarian approach."

    I hope you're right on that. I've been up to Scotland three times in the last couple of years, going again in Sept, all to live music events. There is a much stronger sense of a common culture there (which seems to have been priced out of Cornwall much to my sadness.)

    Given the chance I'd hapily relocate to Scotland for a few years years.

  92. Given the chance I'd happily relocate to Scotland for a few years years.

    I'd recommend it Bitters. If the choice had been down to me alone I would never have left Glasgow - unfortunately it wasn't.

  93. Swifty - for ferucks sake - I just used 'bloke down the pub' as a kind of catch all - I don't mean that all people with vile opinions or uneducated opinions are men.

    As for it being hyperbole - fine.

    But when a government minister says ''work will set you free'' knowing all its connotations. When the person the government is employing to help them with welfare reform advocates the locking up of the unemployed and calls it his 'final solution' - also being fully aware of the connotations. And when papers such as the Express can bash homosexuals as highlighted by SK above and have a front page headline pronouncing ''scroungers get a kicking'' then I think there are some worrying paralels that can be drawn.

    its not a question of disagreeing with people Swifty. It's a question of racist, homophobic and vile utterances about sick and vulnerable people that I am talking about.

    And I studied thirties germany and many, many people kept either ignoring or denying the worrying developments. I am not saying we are like Nazi Germany right now - obviously we are not - what I am saying is that we are seeing increasingly fascistic sounding pronouncements from this governemnt and in the media and increasingly people are feeling free to say the sorts of things they would not have uttered, except in the comforts of their own homes maybe, in the past.

    What I am also saying is that there is a movement right now to target many vulnerable people and that - in my opinion - is fucking bang out of order. Do you even know how many people right now face a severe curtailment of their rights and are living in fear of draconian tests from the government as well as having to face daily headlines pronouncing them scroungres. 2.5 million!

    And I will fight lazy, proto-fascistic hate bollocks whenever I see it and if that makes me hysterical fine.

  94. Alba gu brath! Ya Bas! My offer of accomodation still stands, lovely village in the Borders... UT get together? We can all chip in to get MW over!

  95. princess

    That "work will set you free" remark gave me a horrible jolt too. That it should come from a government minister was really shocking imo.

  96. @princesschipshop:

    Yeah, sorry, reading back I was using "you" in the sense of "one", not an attack on you personally, just me speaking my branes, sort of, without wishing to come off like Prince Charles.

    However, I do think (and always have) that it's just lazy shorthand to start shouting "fascist" or "proto-Nazi" whenever one hears views as discussed above.

    Racist? Very likely. Homophobic? No doubt. But suggesting that "they" should all be taken away and gassed? Err, no.

    The circumstances are so utterly different that drawing parallels between Weimar Germany in 1933 and Britain in 2010 is pointless in my view. Where, for instance, is our modern-day Hitler to galvanise the seething resentful masses? David Cameron? Don't make me laugh.

  97. Paul

    Good, nay great, post on Waddya @5:17 PM.

  98. Evening all

    Haven't read anything much yet, but who the fuck was the minister that said "Work will make you free"?!!

    Jesus wept.

    There is no way in hell that they could not have realised the implications of that phrase.

  99. PCC your post at 13:54.

    Best bit of Godwinning I'v ever seen!

    Superb! :)

  100. Aha! Thanks for the pointer, Ann. All my questions are answered.

    Truly excellent post by PCC - and my hatred of IDS (I always thought that sounded like an uncomfortable ailment - irritable dick syndrome?) has increased exponentially.

    What a complete twat that man is.

  101. ....to come off like Prince Charles.

    "Uh, uh. uh, UH! Arhhh... Oh, Camilla!"

    Off to the pub.

    : )

  102. First I read the "useless workers" thread, where I felt a fair bit of solidarity with others who are completely disaffected, disillusioned, unmotivated and frankly sodding pissed off with their work.

    Then I read Polly's thread.

    I now have a cunning plan.

    I am going to set up an untraceable offshore company and sell my house to it. I will then rent the house from this company at an extortionate price, then quit my soul-destroying job, claim HB and live off the proceeds without having to lift a finger.

    What could possibly go wrong? I mean, the whole system is geared toward this kind of fraud, isn't it? The only disadvantaged ones would be people working their arses off and paying their taxes honestly, people honestly claiming HB and other benefits, and similar losers with no business acumen or sense of entrepreneurship.

    I want to join the leisured classes. I want what Peter Bracken's got. Maybe I could indulge in a little insider trading on the side, if I'm not too busy ranting about workshy feckless benefit scroungers all day.

  103. Thaum

    Haha - I'm one step ahead of you there!

    Not only that, but Brazil's non-extradition Baby!!!!


  104. James

    Thanks for your kind words earlier.I might be wrong but erring on the side of pessimism i have a sense the Guardian can,t/won,t see the whole picture.That they really don,t want to take on the government on this one.For let,s face it ATOS,A4E et al are beholden to the government.And ATOS and A4E are if you like symptomatic of a much deeper malaise.

    I,m sure the Guardian will run the odd ATL article disapproving of government policy but methinks they will stop short of joining the war.It will be a pleasant surprise if i,m proved wrong.

    @BB-thanks for your support on waddya.

  105. James - hmm, what about Argentina? I don't have any Portuguese, but can struggle a bit in Spanish.

  106. james

    thanks for that was out dog walking...

    "Fancy doing a sweepstake on what it'll actually be about, and what 'other stuff' they'll manage to shoehorn into an 800 word piece?"

    What's your bet?

    Mine is: it will go along the lines of press being gagged, evil, mad fucker berlusconi, stupid italians end of article...

    I'd like it to be centered on the "is your or your political leaders etc personal privacy more important than freedom of the press...or is individual privacy above and beyond freedom of the press in a democracy..
    or somefing like vat......

  107. Paul

    No problem.

    Absolutely deserved praise in my opinion.
    Like I've said before, you, Leni, PCC, Frog et al have been on fire with this shit recently, and regardless of how the Guardian chooses to respond, you should all be praised for pushing it so passionately, eloquently, and consistently.

    Hells, you've even inspired me to put my dummy back in and pop back (after a fashion anyway...)


  108. Thaum

    Nah, Portuguese is just like Spanish spoken with a cold anyway. And if you're struggling, just shout louder like wot I do....



    To be honest, I'm not sure. I was thinking there'd probably be a 'Greenslade - journalists are heroes' type angle, but I was wondering how many other 'Guardian things' they could squeeze in.

    I'd say, generally, it'll be:

    History, how the Guardian successfully fought this sort of thing in the past - Berlo's thing for a certain type of laydee - dodgy analogy with football - Italian stereotype - quote from the Godfather - arriverdeci.

    Either that, or it'll be an article written by someone who once sat next to a friend of Berlusconi at a dinner party, and mainly be about the migration of feminist thought in eastern europe anyway....


  109. Am just parking this here lest it be moderashuned:

    "Dear Jessica Reed,

    Hope you had a nice holiday (It's always nice to get in touch with one's roots again isn't it?)!

    On that note, I'd like to humbly request an article about how once great institutions can lose their way, and perhaps, one day, appear to be a manifestation of everything it is, or was, that they once fought against.

    You could approach this from a 'whistleblower' point of view, you know, an insider saying,

    'One day, I looked around, and realised that I was seeing x, y, or z that goes against everything I, we, were supposed to believe in....'

    (perhaps somebody who's been fired and re-hired for 'legal' reasons, from whatever institution you choose, would be willing to do this one!).

    Or maybe you could do a,

    'Well, we do have to pay the bills, and it's so easy to go from abandoning one small principle, to bending over completely because, really, when all is said and done, it's a lot like eating pringles....'

    from someone a bit 'higher up'.

    Then, on a completely unrelated note, maybe you could also do something about the role of the media in laying the groundwork for a complete and utter demolition of society, humanity and justice - maybe here, you could talk about groveling, sycophantic articles which talk about how great 'our leaders' are because they always ask politely before they shaft whole sections of society and whatnot, you know, that sort of thing.....!!

    Or, maybe, and I realise I'm walking perilously close to the 'third rail' here, you could throw in some stuff about what happens when said media outlets, allow their websites to become havens for raving right-wing lunatics, by virtue of having previously alienated, or otherwise banned, many of the posters who had the time, energy, passion or knowledge to counter such frothing rhetoric, you know, with actual facts and a bit of humanity and the like......

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Many thanks in advance,


  110. good one Paul - I think we might need bigger boots for our stomping campaign.

  111. James - where's this rumour come from about the Graun firing its staff (presumably contract?) just before they acquire any rights and then rehiring them?

    Standard practice in my biz, basically. I've had contracts of duration of anywhere from 6 weeks to a year, yet never more than that.

  112. Thaum

    You may joke, but I was involved in a hearing on a divorce finance case a few years ago on behalf of the beleaguered wife, where the financial settlement had already been done and dusted, but the husband had made an application to reduce his monthly spousal maintenance from £150 to zero on the basis of his "change of circumstances".

    He produced lots of pay slips showing that, as an IT developer, he was only earning £200-odd quid a week... but there were random sums of thousands of pounds a month being paid to him as a "loan". He was representing himself, otherwise it would never have got that far.

    I looked at the "loan" paperwork and it was a single A4 sheet signed by two "trustees" in such vague terms and with no repayment details for the "loans" etc. that I decided to do a bit of research of my own.

    Turns out it was an Isle of Man company that effectively takes over contractors' contracts, takes them onto the payroll, pays them a pittance so they can avoid tax, then "loans" them the balance of the revenue from their contracts, minus a handling fee of course. Except the loans are loaned for life, no repayments made, and when the "borrower" dies, they are written off...

    So not only was the fucker cheating HMRC out of thousands per year, but he was also trying to cheat the mother of his children out of £150 a month, while simultaneously earning about £5-£7k a month tax free.

    Complete. Fucking. Asshole.

    I suggested that the solicitor write to him saying "we know what your game is, you thieving git, now withdraw your application and pay our costs otherwise we will shop you to the tax people - which we might be obliged to do in any event." Don't know whether they did or not, but the final hearing never happened...

  113. Thaum

    I think it's been mentioned on WADDYA a couple of times, and then Jess went with the 'well, I don't sit anywhere near any of them, so I couldn't possibly find out one way or the other...' response, which set my spidey-sense a-tingling, although to be fair, I don't know if it is definitely true!!

  114. Just went back to the Poirier thread. God I wish I hadn't. There are some truly sick fuckers about... :(

  115. BB - doesn't surprise me in the slightest, unfortunately.

    Companies use IT and engineering contractors because they are cheaper than real employees, not only because they cost less in terms of pensions, benefits and paid time off (we don't have any of that), but also because we tend not to take holidays or sick days (cf no paid time off). We do not get time-and-a-half or double-time for working on weekends or bank holidays, generally - just straight-time pay. We tend not to whinge (well, maybe on the internet) as much because we know our contracts can be terminated for any reason at any time.

    We do usually get paid a slightly higher rate than permies, which is why we do it. There are also some tax advantages which are exploited to a greater or lesser extent by my cohort.

    Labour changed the rules on taxation, which meant that long-term contractors (permie-tractors) were exempt from the tax advantage which made working as a contractor worthwhile (ie you might be able to save for a pension), while holding corporations completely non-responsible for using contractors as permanent staff. I've been in my current "temporary" position for about 5 years; the bloke next to me is on 13 or 14 years.

    Now, I don't like the tax loophole and do not over-exploit it as some do. But the solution is not to fuck over the contractors and pay permanent employees what is effectively a sub-standard amount: the solution is to legislate against corporations using contractors as permanent staff, which depresses the amount paid to permanent staff who want a bit of stability and security.

    Contractors have no employment rights: we can be hired or fired at will, for any reason (don't like your sex / age / whatever). My contract requires them to give me a month's notice; many are not so lucky. When I worked in the US, a contractor could be fired for any reason at exactly no notice at all, with no severence pay or anything. (This would effectively terminate any health insurance they might have had as well, if actually provided by the agency.)

    Now of course this is preferable to contracting in many other industries where the same conditions apply but the pay is actually less than permies', so I can't whinge too much. This rant is against government policy that actively encourages this sort of thing, and which is even doing its best to increase it in the public sector by outsourcing more and more services.

  116. Depressing, Thaum.

    Essentially, you would be better off as a perm employee, if the gits would employ you as such.

  117. Hey Swifty - no I didn't take your comment as having a go at me personally. But I do maintain that there are proto-fasicistic elements in government right now. The thing is Fascism doesn't only mean Nazi's and jack boots and massive death camps - there are different forms fascism can take.
    In fact most political historians write that fascism when it occurs again will look completely different to the thirties version and many political commentators would argue that the US could be seen as a proto-fascist state. However as you say - thinking the workless are scroungers is not the same as being a fascist and you are correct. Offering a serious comment that says that the sick, disabled and elderly should be put in workhouses or camps and forcibly sterilised IS the same - or at least the same sentiment.

    And there were numerous comments on there stating that very such stuff - maybe they have been removed now but I saw some of them last night. Chemical castration for the poor for example and cutting off all benefits so ''the useless die''. I am sorry Swifty but those sentiments are not a million miles away from the sentiments of fascists, they just aren't.

    Just because we live in a democracy and have free speech doesn't mean we shouldn't be alert to shifts in public sentiment in that direction. And it doesn't mean we shouldn't challenge those sentiments either. And yes I used a terrible event for satirical purposes (possibly misguidedly but I was just so fucking angry) and that might not be on but much, much worse is that a government minister used that phrase when he must know its connotations.

    (Re IDS and his statements Thauma - I can't remember where he said it now - think it was during that rambling interview he gave the beeb. Nice to see you around btw. Hope alls well?)

    And added to all this - one of their advisors on welfare reform also said that his solution was 'the final solution' he also said it was a shame that such terminology couldn't be used or you were accused of being a Nazi. So again we have someone fully aware of what these phrases mean applying them to the 'unemployed problem' - his words. And not only is that frightening for the unemployed but it shows utter contempt for the victims of the Nazi's.

    Anyway rant over. I am off to make my tea and watch that programme with rich hall called 'the dirty south' on I-player. Laters.

  118. BB/Thaum

    And therein lies one of the great sleights of hand of the Capitalist/free market machine.

    "We can do, x, y or z cheaper (because, basically, we're a bunch of bastards, and we're focused on the bottom line), but, we'll push the extra costs back onto the state while you're not looking properly (healthcare, unemployment, tax avoidance etc), because we're sure as shit not going be taking any of that out of our profits!

    You got a problem with that, read the small print....."

    Bada bing, bada bom!

  119. Exactly, BB - certainly in the long term.

    I haven't even mentioned advancement or training. Obviously it's impossible to get promoted when you aren't an employee (not that I actually want to join the cadre of twats at the top any more), and only permanent staff get any training. So when technology changes, it's a case of "pay for it yourself or we'll hire someone else who already knows how to do this - at a lesser rate". Oh, and you'll lose any salary for time you take off for said training, if you're even allowed to take the time.

    Everything is set up for large corporations to screw the workers over. And then they wonder why the slaves have no loyalty to their masters.

    I am probably over-egging the pudding somewhat in my own case, but the same principle applies to people who are making a fuck of a lot less than I am, eg hospital cleaners and other "unnecessary and expendable" employees.

    Bullied at work? Tough. You have no grievance process.

    Ordered to work extra hours for free? Ditto. Don't you want a job?

    Injured on the job and need to take some (unpaid) time off? Oops, we're terminating your contract.

    The set-up stinks, and the government (this one and the last) loves it.

  120. Evening all.

    Paul & Leni

    Have you seen the bin ATOS suggestion on the Spending Challenge website?

  121. PCC, to be contrarian, the phrase 'work sets you free' does not seem particularly offensive and I actually agree with it, although obviously being out of a job. The irony is that now not working I find myself undisciplined and unmotivated to other things like study, but when I have more structure through things like volunteering, it means that I manage my free time better and so achieve more in it.

    The phrase is old as the hills, there are probably Greek and Roman philosophers who talked about the mental benefits of productive days labour. It just happened to be adopted by the Nazis, but the Nazis also opposed smoking on health grounds. Does that mean saying that smoking causes cancer makes you a Nazi? Of course not.

    Of course in my hypothesis, we have to consider the social conditions the labourer is subject to, and it's relation to pay. Finally consider the social worth of each job. A nurse or a teacher gets more satisfaction than a trendy Mayfair nightclub manager.

    I think a better phrase would be 'socially useful, satisfying and moral work sets you free'.

  122. thauma
    "I am probably over-egging the pudding somewhat in my own case, but the same principle applies to people who are making a fuck of a lot less than I am, eg hospital cleaners and other "unnecessary and expendable" employees."

    I can vouch for that, as anyone who has read some of my posts on here will know. It is so sick- do you know what the hurdles are like just to get a minimum wage job. It is an absolute disgrace.

  123. Napoleon.

    You are aware that "arbeit macht frei" was engraved above the entrace to a concentration camp, aren't you? That sort of de-legitimises its usage, some would say.

    A nurse or a teacher gets more satisfaction than a trendy Mayfair nightclub manager.

    Are you sure about that? I'd guess the work of a teacher or nurse is more about pure drudgery than that of a nighclub manager, especially a trendy Mayfair one, which is probably also very well-paid and involves a lot of free cocaine.

    I think a better phrase would be 'socially useful, satisfying and moral work sets you free'.

    FFS, you've not had a job, have you?

  124. OK, sorry Napoleon, I responded before reading your last to me.

    But I still say that the vast majority of jobs are neither socially useful (except for construction, eg), satisfying or moral.

  125. Nap

    "I think a better phrase would be 'socially useful, satisfying and moral work sets you free'".

    Not IRL, I'm afraid.

    And I'm with thauma, the use of that particular phrase cannot be separated from the context of the camps.

  126. thauma.

    Arbeit macht frei is a German word used in a specific context in the 1930s, although it predates the Nazis.

    'Work sets you free' is the English translation, as this can be said in any language. It is a human universal. We are descended from Apes, correct? Then we need to occupy ourselves, full stop.

    The Mayfair cocaine addled nightclub manager is living a life of extreme poverty no matter how much money he is earning. Wealth is not measured in money, I thought the more socialist orentated here would know that. whether or not the job is drudgery is up to the how the employee sees it, but a socially usseful and humanitarian job like that is surely better than the nihilistic excess that many 'glamourous' jobs entail.

    No, I have not had a job and I can't even get a job in Mcdonalds, despite my best efforts. So please don't go calling me out of touch. As I have said here before, I would love a job where I would feel I am doing a social good- even if it was a hospital cleaner. But as I said, all these jobs have been privatised, and eroded the conditions, and more crucially the sense of teamwork and camaraderie.

  127. Mschin, I agree.

    A job in Maccy Ds is neither socially useful, satisfying or moral, but that is what I am trying to chase at the moment.

    I would prefer to have a job that is socially useful, satisfying and moral. At least I can volunteer for the time being, but it is not the same.

    What can I do- try and receive ordination as a priest? Except I am not religious. :)

  128. Right ... am reconsidering my previous post. Socially useful: many if not most blue-collar jobs are this.

    Satisfying? Some jobs can be satisfying if you feel it. Being a bin-man is certainly socially useful, but I'm not sure that most binmen (or -women) would consider it a satisfying job. Artisans perhaps would do so. I have felt satisfaction in getting an impossible piece of software to run, but that is probably not particularly either socially useful or moral. (Although I could make an argument for both on the grounds that the software improves elfin safety.)

    Moral? Most jobs - certainly private sector ones - contribute to the immorality of our current society. Even binmen, if you consider that they might blithely throw out potentially recyclable materials.

    Basically I am just very embittered at the moment.

  129. Well then Thauma, I suppose at least one of these three categories will do, although a brothel owner mght see his job as satisfying.

    But enough about that. I am sorry if I sounded blunt or offensive, but I just want a feeling of satisfaction from a job.

    And personally, yes, I would feel that work would set me free, at least give me some stability and routine.

  130. Napoleon

    The Mayfair cocaine addled nightclub manager is living a life of extreme poverty no matter how much money he is earning. Wealth is not measured in money, I thought the more socialist orentated here would know that.

    Fair enough, but have you asked the average Mayfair cocaine-addled nightclub manager about their life satisfaction and also your average nurse or teacher?

    I personally would choose teacher or nurse above nightclub manager (I hate late nights, crowds and shit music) but I'd guess I'm in the minority in this. And of course nursing also involves late nights, and both teaching and nursing are very unpleasant a good deal of the time. More power to people who choose these professions.

  131. Napoleon (again)

    I am sorry if I sounded blunt or offensive, but I just want a feeling of satisfaction from a job.

    Nah, you didn't sound either blunt or offensive; it's just that those of us who have been working for many years have also wanted a feeling of satisfaction from a job but most of us haven't found much of it. Just wage-slavery.

    As I said, I'm feeling particularly bitter about work lately.

  132. fair enough Thauma.

  133. I'm feeling particularly bitter about life, the universe and everything lately.

  134. Thauma/Ms Chin

    For some reason, this song always cheers me up.....

  135. MsChin - I've just had a lovely week-and-a-bit off. Four days admiring gorgeous scenery, lots of fresh sea air and exercise, and the rest just chilling at home.

    Two days back into work and I don't see the point of getting up in the morning - except that I need the money.

    Must be off to bed shortly so that I can serve the man early tomorrow.

  136. Hi All

    Spent time - on + off - on Polly's thread. Dispiriting - as is one on sggestions please for punishing the poor. Drive them out of 'posh' area and beat them with a big stick seems popular whilst ensuring they neither eat nor rest their heads.

    Am I still living in Britain ?

  137. Here is an interesting site- about 'benefits and work'.


    "At a time when most politicians seem proud to treat sick and disabled claimants with harshness and suspicion, independent and accurate information about how to claim and keep your benefits is vitally important.

    Benefits and Work, was launched in 2002 (and became a limited company in October 2006) by advice worker turned barrister Holiday Whitehead and benefits writer and trainer Steve Donnison, to provide just such information.

    It is unique amongst benefits information providers in that it asks for no funding or support from the government, local authorities, grant making trusts or large companies. Every penny of Benefits and Work's revenue comes from its subscribing members."

    There is an £18.95 annual subscription, but after that you can download all the materials. Perhaps everyone can chip in a quid and one of you can become a full member, and download and share all the information with everybody.

  138. Thanks, James. Although this is more my mood at the mo.

  139. Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
    And you think you're so clever and classless and free
    But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see


    There's room at the top they are telling you still
    But first you must learn how to smile as you kill

    What's that phrase of Bitterweed's? RightOnFuckAlmighty (except that isn't it)!

  140. Last contribution for the night: community and kindness. Thanks Bob, Sandy and the crew.

  141. Damn ... someone always posts something interesting!

    James, love that, but her song about desperation rocks me even more.

  142. Yeah Thaum, Fast Car's pretty powerful too.

    In fact, I'm voting for Tracy as one of our official minstrels come the revolution.

    Her and Gil Scott Heron...

  143. Too right, James ... now, I'm off to serve Mammon.


  144. And Bruce Springsteen!

    And Kate Rusby.

  145. Night Thaum

    And good luck!


  146. Indeed, I think we all need to start asking how can a poor man stand such times and live?

    Answer that ConDem fuckers....

  147. Badger cull in Wales overturned.

    That has cheered me up /

    Now we need to overturn the people cull.

  148. 163 million cut from budget to Welsh Assembly.

    I will have to sell either dogge or my body to raise extra funds.

  149. Time for that UT commune now, Leni?

  150. Hi James

    Yup - time to get out and build a seperate society.

    I actually believe that we can live outside main society. Some could grow things - to eat and sell. Some could work or be self employed. Run our own home schools - have fun - get drunk and listen to music. Connect to net , windmill and solar panels. Doable with goodwill.

    Reduce individual costs - oh yeah!

  151. Aye Leni,

    The more I look at what passes for our 'society' these days, the more I want to do a Henry David Thoreau and disappear from it....

  152. Anybody think that the ban on full face covering in France will prevent some Muslim women ever going out of the house again ?

  153. It's certainly a distinct possibility, Law of unintended consequences and all that....

  154. Evening Leni/James

    I hate,loathe and detest the face veil and wouldn,t object to it been banned in this country as well.I know it makes me sound like a Daily Mail groupie but covering your face gives off a signal to the rest of society-namely 'i don,t want to be part of it'.And if it isn,t banned in this country then people should have the right not to engage with those covering their faces.This isn,t only about the rights of Muslim women-no matter how small the number wearing the face veil.Also i can,t believe that a Britsh muslim woman would choose to cover her face unless she was a young woman going through a 'phase'.Plus what is the social and economic status of Muslim women wearing the face veil in this country-irrespective of whether they are British or not.I,d bet most if not all of them are living in poverty.Finally the Holy Koran doesn,t require a Muslim woman to cover her face or head.This is purely a cultural as opposed to religious thing.The Holy Koran only demands that Muslim women dress modestly.

  155. Paul

    Agreed - it's not a religious requirement but a pre Mohammed social custom.

    There is a balance tho I think.

    A ban could confine a woman to the house completely. If she has been coerced into wearing it she could be subjected to greater restrictions on her liberty.

    For those for whom it is a statement of identity the trauma may be less and of a different nature.

    I am not enamoured of the practice at all but it's not as simple as it seems.

  156. Leni

    Agreed.It,s a massively contentious and divisive issue.But if the choice a muslim woman has is to either cover her face or not leave the house then that IMO is a pretty dreadful choice to have in 21st Century Britain.And ,again IMO ,highlights a reluctance to face up to certain root causes which need to be vigorously challenged.

    Have to go now.Working days at the moment.


  157. Paul,

    It's a complex issue, and I'm not even quite sure where I stand on it to be honest.

    That said, I have a friend from Egypt, who chooses to wear a headscarf, and I've spoken to her about it, literally for hours, and I can't help but admire the decision, and how she came to make it, despite being quite anti-religion/religious symbolism myself.

    I think I've mentioned it here before, but we were both in Kentucky together one summer, and at one point, we both found ourselves at the wrong end of a shotgun because of it, yet she still believed in it enough to wear it again the next day, and the one after that.

    So, as much as I'm a fan of secularity etc in general, I do think that, when someone believes in something that much, it's probably quite wrong to legislate against it, when, ultimately, it doesn't actually 'harm' anyone else.

    But, again, I appreciate that that's just one of the many, many issues involved in the whole 'debate'....

  158. I'm off too...

    But, before I go, here's a little som'thin-som'thin for anyone doing a nightshift tonight.

    The Revolution will not be Televised!!

  159. "Agreed - it's not a religious requirement but a pre Mohammed social custom. "

    Don't ignore geography. Islam started in hot desert countries. In the original context, the wearing of a veil is a perfectly rational thing, protection from the sun and sandstorms etc. As for the men- ok they didn't wear the veil, but the Saudis in particular wear those long robes.

    Similalry, Judaism and Islam both forbid consumption of pork. In hot desert countries pigs smelt very bad.

    Obviously how this bears on the modern debate I don't know. I have seen many full body veils in Glasgow, or even only partial ones that are still overly opressive.

    Different ethnicites also have different type of veils. For example, black African Muslims, Somali or Sudanese perhaps where a single veil that covers the body, going over the head with a circular hole where the entire face pops out. Although a full head to toe veil, you can see her entire face so it is not as bad.

    Also, of course there is family pressure. Call it anecodtal, but on the coach down from Glasgow yesterday, a young Muslim woman was saying goodbye to her family, wearing a headscarf, her female family members wearing headscarves. By the time we were in London she had removed it.

  160. @Paul
    The report on French on Radio Four interviewed a woman who had converted to Islam - I distinclty remember the reporter stating that out of the 2000 women using the shroud, many are indeed converts.

    I guess some people willingly become slaves to money, booze, alcohol, celebrity worship, and a whole list of other destructive crap; they then, quite often pay a cost demanded of them by their society - if they choose to unpick five hundred years of progress in human rights for the sake of some set of middle age, middle eastern stories of magic and terror it's up to them, but they are willingly sacrificing societal engagement because they think their God is better than their own neighbours. If their neighbours take that as an offensive and antisocial message tough shit really. How this actually becomes legislation says more than I can stomach about populust empty politicians just manipulating people though. But - that council in Stoke that's cancelling swimming lessons in many schools for the whole month when (some) adult Muslems are observing ramadam - it's not helping is it ? They're manipulating people just as badly, for different - but similarly arrogant and controlling, motives.

    I have a close friend in Egypt whose sister, sister in law and mothers have all started wearing headscarfs in the last ten years; all cite "personal" reasons. No coincidence that Egypt has also become a much more controlling and reactionary religious culture over the same period. My fear is they're doing it out of a desire to conform. Much more to speak about this anotjher time - my pal was receiving death threats when I was over there last December - because his client agreed that he, as her psychiatrist, should be able to see her face during clinical one hour sessions. Her husband put a death threat on him.

    The argument isn't about scarfs, it's about full-face veils and what they often enforce on the wearers - isolation and a great big sign saying "leave her alone - she's OWNED". Ghastly things really.

  161. James

    Just picked up your post.Yeah it,s not a straightforward issue but at some stage IMO a line has to be drawn .


  162. Nite Bitterweed

    It,s getting like the bloody Waltons round here!

    Nite jimbob!Nite ellymay! Nite grandma!

    Definitely off now.

  163. If anybody is dumb enough to wear such vile garments, (created by men to guarantee subservience) every time they go out in public, they should be allowed to do so.

    They think wearing these ridiculous garbs, symbolising adherence, will guarantee them glory at some indeterminate point in the future. I admit some find them threatening, but really, pity them, they are merely Sunderland and Newcastle fans...

  164. Morning Habib

    Clearly walking around covered from head to toe is nonsensical - from our pov. It makes no sense and I assume makes movement rather difficult and uncomfortable.

    The same is true of the hairshirt which was scratchy and said to harbour fleas and tickle the more delicate body parts.

    These garments are outward symbols of a mind state. How such minds are to be reclaimed is the question. Banning the symbols won't change the minds.

    RC nuns only discarded their medieval dress in the last century - able to do it only because the Pope told them they could. This enabled them to make the change - they felt that Papal authority made it right to do so.

    Secular opposition to face coverings will have the reverse effect - it will be seen as an attack to be resisted.

    I do worry about those women who may now be locked away permanently.

  165. "How such minds are to be reclaimed is the question. Banning the symbols won't change the minds."

    I know, Leni, they are Sunderland and Newcastle fans, after all.

  166. On a serious note:

    "I do worry about those women who may now be locked away permanently."

    They have been for centuries, not through any religious belief, but through the edicts of some men who have always wanted to control them.

    I would beg them to discard the veil, but it has to be their choice.