20 July 2010


Trotternish Peninsula, Skye - Jim Richardson

It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.
-Alec Bourne


  1. Lovely picture this morning Montana - you've picked my most favourite place on earth - the west coast and islands of Scotland!

  2. morning all! that's a picture just begging to be painted, isn't it? lovely.

  3. The bonny isle of Skye. Very nice.

    Anyway, enjoy your procrastination folks, I have to have my head down all day.

    Pity, I'll miss the debates on Cif.

  4. Here is another nice picture from near that area.


  5. Morning all!

    Fab pic Montana - one of these days I'll get up there ;0)

    OK busy day today..... oi'll b back laters.

  6. Tax Simplification Unit?

    Sounds good, not before time.

    Its first task will be to examine which reliefs can be removed.


  7. Hello folks, a week today I have an interview for the procurement job, with all the TLAs, that I posted about. Any input about local govt procurement, particularly legal regs & recs gratefully recived.

    How disingenuous was Call me Dave's Big Society BS? It's using stolen money to administer the stealing of jobs. Evil.

  8. @Turminder:

    It's a shame really, because I think I get what he's driving at, but he's pissing into the wind, frankly. For every unpaid Brown Owl running a troop and organising the kids on their own time, or church goer manning the soup kitchen on a Sunday, or driver taking the old folks to the luncheon club of a Tuesday, there are a hundred people who are just too disinterested, venal, I'm alright Jack, what's in it for me, lazy, busy, lacking in confidence, lacking in skills, apathetic, resentful, fearful, and all the rest, to get involved in community projects these days.

    It's a sunny vision of a Britain that has long since passed into memory, if it ever existed at all.

  9. I'd suggest that the 'Tax Simplification Unit' might have a stab at residency and domicile, but that might be too tricky for the little dears...

  10. to be fair - they've been trying to sort that out for a while but it's hellish complicated.

    wonder what reliefs will go first...

  11. Isn't this Big Society bs just New Labour's "Localism" dressed differently ? I mean, there's a fund/bank account just the same but with a different name.

    Reminds me of The Thick of It when the prat from a neighbouring department storms into DoSAC and accuses them of stealing 'his' ideas

    Malcolm Tucker to Ollie:
    "Is this true little man in the red and yellow car ?"

  12. TX
    Good luck with all that mate !

  13. Good grief. If we can't all see how were being led to the knackers yard by CMD we deserve the captive bolt gun. Or maybee that's just the prospect I'll be offered this effing job!

  14. This week's first candidate for the UT No Shit Sherlock ?! award:

    Ex-MI5 chief Baroness Manningham-Buller: She says Iraq posed only a "very limited and containable" threat to the UK - but the war increased the threat from terrorism.


    Who knew ?

  15. good luck, TX!

    have to go to work now. may have a piece up on cif later on terminology in the gay marriage debate.
    [crosses fingers]

  16. Afters all. Am off out in a bit to go and look at some wedding dresses with a mate. Had some good news - my specialist has said am okay to try and do a couple of hours voluntary work once or twice a week. Think it pretty much limits me to charity shops as he doesn't want me doing more than two or so hours at one time but I am more than happy with that.

    Re yesterdays discussion re American Psycho. I hated it - found it boring as fook. I also really found some of the violence a bit hard to stomach although I had read a lot of my dads James Herbet books when only a wee nipper (under the covers with a torch) so I am not too easily affected by violence - and watched a lot of horror vids as a kid too as my dad loved em. Pert of me feels that a brilliant writer could show what BEE tries to show without resorting to the schlocky violence.

    I liked the film better than the book. It portrayed him as such an idiot so effectively and thikn that Christian Bale was perfect as him as he seems a bit of a creep in real life (I reckon he is another Mel Gibson in the making possibly).

    One film that really did disturb me was Man Bites Dog. And I thought it was crap when loads of people raved about it. Hey ho.

  17. Morning all,

    PCC That's great news! \0/

    And re American Psycho. I can definitely see why some people would also find it boring. I think it's probably a good example of a 'marmite' book!

  18. *knock knock*

    Is this thing on...

  19. People always label things as 'marmite' meaning that you either love or hate it but I quite like marmite, it's ok but I can pretty much take it or leave it.

    I felt the same about American Psycho really, I've never picked up anything else by BEE but I will keep an eye out for Glamarama since a few people have praised it. ;)

  20. "People always label things as 'marmite' meaning that you either love or hate it but I quite like marmite, it's ok but I can pretty much take it or leave it."

    Alright, alright. In my defence, that was written before the coffee properly kicked in...


    I read Glamorama the other week, in between the footie, and I quite enjoyed it.

    I would say that it's very much like American Psycho though, in style, and to some extent, content, so maybe not for everyone!

    (I only paid a quid for it, so it was totally worth it, for me anyways...)

  21. James our library system has just set up on virtual library service where you can choose from all the books in the County and they deliver them to your nearest branch to collect.

    They must hate me, everytime anyone mentions a good book I order it, I should slow down though I hardly have time to read them all. ;)

  22. Jen

    That's quality, I'm really impressed!!

    (and I think you have a duty to use it as much as you can, lest it be scrapped by the new lot....)

  23. Good news PCC! Hey Jen & James. Quiet today.. Just off for my 2 hour bus ride home. I'll pop back later..

  24. @jennifer:

    Our library service has had an online catalogue like that for a while now, I use it all the time. I've got my daughter using it for her books, too.

    Then again, I'll be honest, I'm one of the lucky ones, I get plenty of time to read - 40 mins on train in to work, 40 mins on train back home, an hour or so before lights out...

    I can't imagine not having time to read.

  25. Hey Turm -

    enjoy whatever banging choons the yoof are listening to on the bus today!!


  26. Swifty

    Oh I've got plenty of time to read thankfully but I have been getting up 8 at a time, I think I will get 4 at the most from now on to stop me rushing through them.

    They only let you keep them for 3 weeks now, the cheek, it wasn't like that in my youth.

  27. @jennifer:

    Ah I see what you mean. Yeah, I ration myself a bit, or just renew online if I'm getting close to the return date (and I remember!).

  28. I'm with princess on BEE - can't stand him - far too much graphic violence and unrelenting unpleasantness for me.

    Demo outside our building this afternoon in support of an AS who's about to be deported. As I left I saw at least three people I know so went over to have a chat. It'll be interesting to see if anyone on the staff noticed and dobs me in. That'll liven things up a bit!

  29. Aye Sheff,

    You're obviously not a team player, exhibiting as you did, human emotion, kindness and compassion...!?

    These days, that's a big no-no, apparently....

  30. Afternoon All

    Wet and horrible here - hardle lightened by the news. Still - trudge on everyone.

    Sheff - have you heard anymore about redeployment ?

    Libraries - ours no longer opens everyday - a 2 day a week service. Since Nulabs regime began - library service diminished, community bus gone, local cafe, garage and bank closed to say nothing of local pubs. Pet shop in nearest town closed last week. Dogge is horrified and is refusing to pay council tax.

    Empty buildings galore - perhaps the Big Society will let local community get hands on them ?

    Only joking of course.

  31. (Unless it's government mandated kindness and compassion, paid for by 'dormant' bank accounts, obviously....)

  32. James

    Did you write kindness and compassion ?

    Swoons in face of such vile language.

  33. I did Leni - my apologies.

    (It's a habit I just can't shake, although I do hope that the next few years will knock it out of me. For good!)

  34. James

    It's sad isn't it - when you have to think twice about chatting to a couple of friends because your employer might take offence. Of course whilst we've got more than our fair share of officious jobsworths, there are also lots of decent people too. The problem is the culture of the organisation which tends not to encourage open mindedness.


    I've done my application and sent it off andtrying not to think about it now. We should hear the results mid/late August. Morale is very low and people are acutely aware of their vulnerability - they know there'll be no jobs to go to for those who end up in the re-deployment pool. Redundancy is inevitable and it won't just be voluntary. Industrial action looming on the horizon.

    The Union is busying itself but having obstacles put in it's way by the brass. For example - they wanted to hand out indicative ballots to members by going round the floors and giving them out but were told they couldn't do that. Still, more people are joining which can't be bad.

  35. Been on Big Society thread (Alex Andrews) - I/m really just throwing in ideas and observations. It is such a crap idea - not properly funded - it is funded at less than £i per head of population.

    Too many nasty loopholds for job losses and workfare to crawl in through.

  36. Sheff

    Are you referring to union big brass?

    I ask because I am currently trying to help someone who feels his legitimate claim against employer was blocked/obfuscated by Union leaders. (NUT)

  37. Ah the Big society - a way of getting people to work without having to pay them - good thinking!!!

    Well if I do lose my job I shall get my own back by working with our local anti-deportation campaigners. Not to mention the book I might write about the joys of working there....hehehe! You pick up a lot of info in 8 years.

  38. Leni

    No, I meant the management brass. The union says they seem to be shitting bricks and will block as much activity as they can get away with.

    Sorry to hear the NUT leaders are not supporting one of their members. Does your friend have a decent case do you think?

  39. Sheff

    He did have before Union 'lost' various docs.

    Will tell more when he feels safe to tell story.

  40. Gawd...poor bloke. If he can't rely on his union who can he rely on?

  41. thank you james, am just pleased nobody has said i'm going to hell yet. give it time...

    great news pcc! good luck with it.

  42. Yes, well done Phillipa.

    Speaking of libraries, Glasgow's municipal libraries do not have a database where you can search for books-- grrr!. Altohugh I picked up a real treat today- the fairly recently released graphic novel of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita.

  43. Thanks James

    Will look-see.

  44. No problem.

    And you may have spoke too soon - plums has turned up!!

  45. Mr Cameron goes to Washington..... and kisses America's backside, unsurprisingly.

  46. plums is just wondering what to put on the RSVP card, think.

  47. Sorry Philippa you have written a far too reasonable article to excite the loons. ;)

    Don't quote me on that though they might just be having their tea before swamping it in abuse.

    I wonder if Etoiles has a new name yet, he could always be relied upon for a bit of homo hatred.

  48. Pip

    Haha - was debating making the Plums 1 and 2 joke, but didn't.


    "I wonder if Etoiles has a new name yet, he could always be relied upon for a bit of homo hatred."


  49. Could be James, not as rabid as his usual output but being banned may have calmed him down.

  50. jen - was deliberately trying to be, well, not 'dull' exactly, but a bit more evenhanded and less strident than many of the articles on it are. bit more booky.

    am still a bit nervous, though...

  51. I don't blame you for being nervous Philippa I know how vicious some of the posters can be but I think you will be ok.

    And it definitely not dull.

  52. Phillipa

    You article is sensible - impressive indeed.

    worry not - we dragon slayers are on hand.

  53. thank you!

    hope dad likes it...

  54. Evening all.

    **** Turminder

    I only know a smattering about local govt procurement in England, but hopefully Scotland will be similar. Buzzwords are 'shared procurement' & 'efficiency savings'.

    Office for Govt Commerce gives a good overview, inc. legal stuff, guidance etc.

    West Midlands Procurement Hub is a best practice example. I think there's another good example in the North East as well.

    Regional Improvement & Efficiency Partnerships play a big part. Is there a RIEP (or equivalent) for your area?

    New law - Equality Act 2010 - relating to procurement

    Right, back to reading unthread now.

  55. Jen

    (If etoiles had problems with blockquote, I can't remember) then my money's on Gabriel100!!

  56. dinner. need dinner...

    ooh, have steak in fridge.


  57. Great stuff Phillipa! - good to see you atl again.

  58. Etoiles is back? He's a complete pain in the aristotle.

    Steak, Philippa? Mmm. I've just had egg & chips :(

  59. Is this an episode of the 'Royle Family' now?


    (I'll be having rice and beans. Again.)

  60. Evening all

    Drive-by posting to say hi. Got loads of work so will be reading not posting prolly.

    And asleep by 9 the way things are going.

    And up again at 5.45. Feck.

    Hugs xx

  61. James

    It was that or egg fried rice (and not the takeaway kind).

  62. MsChin,

    I'm just jealous. I haven't had decent egg and chips for, literally, years!!

    (and I haven't had steak for about 16....)

  63. Egg & chips?

    Who said egg & chips????? ;0)

  64. Pathetically blowing me own trumpet, but I thought this was a good representation of Michael Gove and should be used whenever his vile name is mentioned.....

    The Child Catcher

  65. Just watching a prog on iplayer about Northern Irish humour Best joke so far from 10 year old boy:

    Why do seagulls fly upside down over Britain?

    Because it's not worth shitting on.

  66. Haha, La Rit!!


    ('cept Gove's arguably more scary, and that's bearing in mind that I didn't sleep for a week after I first encountered the child catcher!)

  67. JamesD;

    Be afraid, be very afraid.... it came to me in a weird flash of inspiration and I'm going to post the link every time his name is mentioned on CiF ;0)

    What really concerns me about Gove in particular is that he appears to have a bottomless soul.... he's a weak and unpleasant person who has been waiting in the wings for his chance to literally act out all his darkest fantasies - he is the 'dark side' of Cameron imho a very dangerous person to have in govt.

  68. La Rit

    To be fair, I get that impression from a few of the Conservative lot (also got it with Blair and a few of his acolytes).

    Sometimes you can almost see them cracking under the pressure of the 'compassionate conservatism' facade, and I reckon it's only a matter of time before one of them cracks, and all the repressed goose-stepping and frothing right-wing loony comes gushing out.

    I only hope they're on live TV when it happens.....

  69. James

    "I only hope they're on live TV when it happens....." Oh god, so do I, so do I...... Dave is so far putting on a good show, but Gove is beyond help - the man is a fanatic making our 'Dave' look like a moderate......

  70. Ooh, MsChin, please don't get me started on our RIEP. Completely remote, issuing (at great expense: the number in that body on cushy salaries...) out-of-touch diktats that eveyone on the ground knows are unworkable, though they sure look lovely and streamlined on paper. One great idea they tried foisting was to impose a web-based marketplace for socail care and personal budgets, etc, across the board. One provider only of such a solution was ever mentioned, and we weren't meant to query their very large rake-off and transaction costs (turns out they'd been lobbying for ages).Point out the failings in their plans, like there being a fucking vast digital divide, especially in rural areas, with LD service users and the elderly all of whom will still need human assistance, even more given the byzantine nature of the preferred and only solution and a black mark goes against your name (not like I'm bothered).A solution that was going to be more expensive for a long while, that gave a certain provider a monopoly position regionally, and that ignored solutions proffered by anyone actually based in the region, or specialist in any of the affected areas.Genius... Full of PRINCE 2 and Sigma 6 bullshittery, and desperately short of any contact with anyone practising who could might suggest, y'know workable efficiencies rather than sweeping grand plans doomed to failure on the grubby public and the disappointingly messy real world come into play.

  71. hehehehe james - thought you were going to go with the Slitheen, or something - gove unzips his forehead on question time and ends up eating dimbleby...

  72. God, I'm on a right old ranting head today on CiF.....

  73. is it me or is all BBC radio down?

    have tried 4, 6 and 3. nuttin.

  74. Na Pip, The slitheen/'V' references are saved for the Milibands....

    Like this, from wikileaks, of Miliband (the elder) at bedtime.....

  75. Alisdair

    I was just trying to help Turm with some stuff for his job interview, not put him off going for it!

    And the digital divide in rural areas is one of my soapbox issues - can't even get a mobile phone signal in some areas and as for broadband - it's still not available in many rural villages & towns.

  76. Philippa

    Same thing happened here, late afternoon on Monday. Car radio & house radio were out for a while.

  77. Time for bed & a good book. Night folks.

  78. christ, james - what was that?

    DB mentioned 'V' the other day, assumed this was some weird french show...euch.

    great comment below it
    "Donovan would not be able to nock that lizard with the new digital mini cameras. God Bless Betamax.
    juananteojos 7 months ago 10"

    mind you, best ever comment is probably here

  79. @ MsChin. Point taken. Tx has too much grounded sense for a RIEP,mind.

  80. You've never heard of 'V'??

    (There was a remake on TV here recently, dunno about over there in Europeland).

    It's about some aliens that come and pretend to be all nice and that, but underneath they're a bunch of lizard-people who want to steal our essence...

    Which is why, I often draw a parallel with New Labour and/or their 'stars'!!

    (and I've said before, Miliband's not right, not in a 'not my cup of tea' kinda way, but in a 'gonna make V look like an unheeded warning' one...)

  81. as Radio 4 is not cooperating, then - slightly strange vid for DB's band (not sure who put it together) - the peace and love cowboys (name not brilliant, know)...

  82. and yes, they are gigging in a bookshop...

  83. there's a variety of inept handheld videos and some audio tracks on their facebook page

    album out soon. possibly.

  84. so, radio 4 comes back just as the world tonight is over. peh.

  85. Looked good Philippa

    (I'm unable to do sound at the minute, so I'll check again tomorrow!)

    It also might be an idea to do one of them epilepsy warnings for that particular vid too...


  86. pity no sound, you're now missing the zep!

  87. Yeah, but pretty pictures are ok too...

  88. Hi, and er bye. Just on a break from studying. Interesting stuff going around- the webs and all that. Sometimes you get the sense that there is too much informtation and we are drowing in it.

  89. "Sometimes you get the sense that there is too much informtation and we are drowing in it".

    True dat. And given that I've probably already absorbed more than my little brain and one good eye can cope with for today, I'm calling it a night!!

    Night everyone!!

  90. Oh well. I've given up trying to post stuff on Cif; the great JavaScript debacle continues, and it keeps telling me I'm not signed in when I am (as well as losing everyone's profiles and telling random users that they have no username).

    So that nasty article about Israel, and the one about Willard Price's Adventure books will have to stay uncommented on by me.

    No great loss, I suppose.

  91. Oh, and my rant about how Horizon has changed from a serious science programme into a co-produced, celebrity-led, medically-oriented, 'personal journey' pile of crap, which was scheduled for the poll thread attached to Stephen Fry's anti-BBC interview.

  92. Peter

    I/m having the same problem - very frustrating.

    The Strenger article yesterday was good - very thoughtful. He came in for alot of stick. Many seem to have responded without reading him.

    Struggled on and off on the Big Society thread - managed- just - to post on Phillipa's thread but now seem to be unwanted on cif. Managed few lines on waadya.

    Their site needs sorting.

  93. @Leni

    Yes, I think Strenger's usually worth reading. It was the Mya Guarnieri thread today, transplanted from the Huffington Post, that could have done with my reasoned response.

  94. This is like a brilliant short-form history of my working career. (For computer nerds only.)

  95. Peter

    i avoided that one. The plight of children caught up in politics and the mass movement of people distresses and angers me.

    Many countries do what this current Israeli gvt. is doing and there were mass protests in support of the children. Some of them are 14, born in Israel, speak only Hebrew and regard themselves as Israelis.

    Netanyahu and Leiberman are doing Israel a lot of damage - Israel is losing support everywhere. Cast Lead brought Israel to the attention of many who were previously indifferent.

    Although I don't think isolating Israel is the answer I'm not sure what is. Should she attack Iran she will bring anger and much more down on her people.

  96. @Leni

    My main objection to the piece was the way it shoehorned what could have been a positive story - widespread public protest over Israeli Government plans to deport foreign workers, plans which are becoming commonplace with Governments worldwide - into a pre-determined and negative narrative. It's like that piece the other week, which managed to turn Israeli tolerance of gays into something to be condemned.

    It would be nice to see some widespread public protest against deportations here, too.

  97. Peter

    I agree. The I'P threads are very polarised - I do wonder how many who posted there are aware or even care that these things happen here too. It is the principle against which we should protest - not just the practice in one country.
    I have been on threads about the Chagosians supporting their right of return - lucky to get 10 posts there. Where are the protesters against the theft of their island ?