22 July 2010


Self-portrait with toy camera - Joe Wildhack, age 7

A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.



  1. Sorry to be self-indulgent, but I'm too tired to search for an image right now, so I'm sharing with you one of my favourite photos of my son. He took it with a little toy digital "spy" camera that he'd got for his 7th birthday. I don't know why, but it just amuses me.

    Just realised as I put this thread up that I had the wrong date on yesterday's thread & no one seemed to notice.

  2. Morning all,

    had a relaxing week in France and now at my folks for a couple of days to say hello. I hope all are well before I delve into the archive.

    Discussion for today

    I've been sent this 24 second blast of German teen punk called All Comic Heroes are Fascist Pigs, the basic premise being that because super heroes help the police they are all Fascists. And therefore should have their dicks barbecued. Their words not mine.

    The discussion- is this a fair representation of Super Hero Politics or do Super Heroes play an important role in David Cameron's big society in that they don't cost anything and get crime off the streets?

  3. morning all - great pic, montana! the inquiring mind shown in photographic form, and all that.

    your grace - welcome back. interesting point from ACHAFP - perhaps one can look to the Watchmen for an example of how this DIY society could backfire - initially popular due to their community-based vigilante action, their popularity wanes such that eventually they are opposed by the very community they aim to protect, causing riots, and end up being banned.

    The first Big-Society-Community-Initiative that ends up with someone spraining an ankle will no doubt result in a similarly even and balanced reaction from the tabloid press...

  4. @13thDuke:

    That was a theme running through the Watchmen, wasn’t it? “You mean, you guys do this for free? What kind of freaks are you?”

  5. BB - on waddya, someone posted about a 16-year old who is facing deportation (like with Rima, his age has been questioned by the HO) - I signed the petition and oined the facebook group, and have just got a message saying they may have to start a fighting fund to instruct a barrister. He's in the Manchester area, but wondered if you would know of someone doing pro bono up there?

    group here (with link to petition) if interested...

  6. Philippa/Swifty,

    having no real interest or knowledge of superheroes, I bow to both of your superior knowledge. Do you think their actions are enough to warrant their dicks being barbecued though?

    And regarding the big society, my mate sent me this laugh out loud funny clip where some cheeky wag has doctored a David Cameron speech

  7. your grace - i'd be happy to function at a similar level of ignorance, but given the obsessions of last flatmate but three, this was unavoidable...

    i'd say the barbecue thing is a bit strong, though.

  8. Funny stuff Duke, I especially liked the rolling news headlines at the bottom, Ian Beale to become the new face of Chanel!

    Glad you had a good holiday.

  9. Montana Loved the photo, Of such things are memories made!

    Only noticed the wrong date late last night - but then yesterday was a bit manic, too busy getting the outside of my cranium fixed(having hair dyed)to use what was inside.

    Re superheroes there does seem to be a theme - the badies are often powerful businessmen acting against 'the little guy'. But I see this as a part of the propaganda that says the forces of law and order act in favour of the little guy and that the little guy is dependant on the rich and powerful as in 'superman where are you?'

    They create learned helplessness IMHO. But toast their dicks? - a bit extreme that, just 'don't take them seriously' is good enough for me.

    Bit like all the cop shows - OK there is that side to policing but you never see the other side or if you do its the 'protesters' that are always seen in a bad light.

  10. Duke - that Cameron clip! Hilarious - have bookmarked it.

    Loved the rolling headlines - Tony Hart's Morph actually an unknown hominid kept in appalling conditions! LOL!

  11. 13thDukeofWybourne

    Superheroes ?

    Under New Labour they were all "Fourth Sector Pathfinders"

  12. Looks like the coalition could collapse sooner rather than later. Clegg has finally got some balls and called the Iraq invasion illegal- standing next to the man who leads the conservative party- which to a man voted in favour of the iraq war.

  13. @Nap:

    Nah, that’s just coalition politics for you. There was division inside the Labour Party too about the Iraq War, as I recall.

  14. Ah what a surprise - no charges for the copper who assaulted Ian Tomlinson. Not even for assault (because the investigation took too long!) Am pretty sickened.

  15. @Swifty

    Well, yes. But you couldn't publicly disagree with the war and stay in the Cabinet, as Robin Cook showed and Clare Short didn't. Doing it as deputy prime minister at PMQs is a bit different - after all, Cameron can't call that 'expressing a personal view' or 'not the policy of the Government', can he?

  16. @princess

    Yes, no surprise at all. Although more may come out at the inquest, particularly when the first pathologist - the only one of three who said Tomlinson's death was natural - is questioned. And at least the CPS acknowledged that it reserves the right to press charges after the inquest depending on the verdict.

  17. @Nap:

    "...after all, Cameron can't call that 'expressing a personal view' or 'not the policy of the Government', can he?"

    Well he can, if you understand that “coalition government” means “two parties with different agendas glued together rather badly in the name of political expediency” or such like.

  18. @Swifty

    I still don't see how Clegg can get away with it while answering questions on behalf of the Government rather than himself.

  19. peterj - they're adopting a papal infallibility argument - if he puts on a funny hat and blesses people beforehand, it's holy writ. if not, it's just a bloke in a suit wittering, he might as well be standing at oxford circus with a placard and a megaphone.

    am hearing from connected friends that they are considering introducing a 'simon says' rule to prevent future confusion...

  20. @Peter:

    I have a slightly different view of all this, which I cheerfully admit may have absolutely no basis in constitutional law or political science or indeed workable governance, but I can see how it is possible for a member of a coalition government, no matter his pay grade, to say “this is our coalition Government’s position, but it is one (of a few or many positions) with which I do not agree. My colleague, for whom I am standing in, would disagree”. I reckon there’ll be quite a bit of that in the coming years, and personally, I don’t have a problem with it.

  21. loud woman on Y&Y talking about 'topping up' for utilities - asked how someone working can top up if the payment places are only open during the day, responds "well, if you're in the office, you can top up online"

    because everyone works in a sodding office, with an internet connection.

  22. @Swifty

    Well, that's quite possible. But it would make it tricky to work out what Government policy actually is, when asking about can produce different answers depending on who's standing at the dispatch box. Even coalition Governments need some collective responsibility, surely?

    "Will the honourable gentleman's Government repudiate the policy to hand state schools over to people called Toby?"

    "The Government stands firm in its commitment to people called Toby, even though the whole idea's obviously a pile of crap."

  23. @Peter:

    Indeed, I take your point, and at that level there would certainly be an issue, but fundamentally he wasn’t espousing policy in that instance, was he, he was expressing his opinion that the Iraq war was illegal, and frankly that’s far from a “live” issue these days, despite the obsession of many people to see some sort of restorative justice carried out on Blair’s neck.

    FWIW, I happen to agree with Clegg on Iraq “mission”, I never bought into all that Blair/Bush bullshit, I figured that it was none of our business meddling in the affairs of nation states in the Middle East or elsewhere, and I followed the rhetoric closely, believe me, watching how the message slowly changed from one of “destroying a hotbed of terrorist support” in the aftermath of September 11th to “disarming a potential threat to Israel and the UK” to “well, Saddam was a pretty nasty kind of guy and the Iraqis would be much better off without him, honestly”. A foreign policy based on “humanitarian intervention” is a bullshit and dishonest foreign policy in my view, and I speak as one who served as part of IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia in the mid-90s.

    But the Coalition has a manifesto of sorts, a series of policy commitments to which both parties have signed up, and while politics strange bedfellows make, ultimately it’s an interesting experiment to see how two less-aligned parties can make a government work.

  24. @Swifty

    Yes, this particular case isn't a coalition-breaker, although I suspect Cameron will have a quiet word when he gets back. There really does need to be clear agreement on Government policy in public, though, or there'll be various LibDem 'man overboard' moments in the near future.

    The humanitarian intervention argument opens up an even larger can of even writhier worms, which I'll steer clear of for now. Although it's been interesting re-reading some of Blair's old speeches, which I was inspired to do by Deborah Orr's piece on why his failure to listen to Dame Bullying-Manner and Ms Orr herself could only be explained by his messianic monsterhood.

  25. @Peter:

    OK mate, we’ll steer clear, but I’ll just say I’d rather my politicians were honest about the self-interested nature of foreign policy and not try and dress it up as something it’s clearly, clearly not.

    Faint hope, I know.

  26. @Swifty

    The problem with the self-interested approach is that you end up with Douglas Hurd and Pauline Neville-Jones endorsing a 'level killing field' in Bosnia while acting on behalf of NatWest Markets in deals with Milosevic. But you'll know much more about that period than me, obviously.

    I'm happy to discuss the whole thing, but it's a big subject for this time of day...

  27. Morning all...


    Nice pic.

    Although, I have to admit, being a wee bit paranoid at the moment, I did jump a little when I opened the Untrusted in my still half asleep state today...



    Glad you had a nice vaycayshun...

    RE Superheroes.

    It's an interesting idea. Batman though (although technically a crime fighter, as opposed to superhero) was often required because the police were corrupt, and was summoned by one or two good ones when needed...

    (But I'm not an expert on comics an stuff though- honest guv'nor)!


    The Clegg thing is quite interesting, but my personal opinion, is that it was 'deliberate', and is part of an ongoing tactic to be equal yet different, and limit the damage caused by their bending over like a particularly jobsworthy gimp.

    Which is why we're getting a few 'all the best policies in the coalition are ours' type things at the moment....

  28. on the ian tomlinson case

    the chap who did the first pm is under investigation for incompetence, but because he did the first pm (discarding evidence in the course of it) that has to be included in consideration and so this gives a 'difference of opinion' between him and the other doctors not currently being investigated for incompetence. thus no case for manslaughter.

    and as someone died, it wouldn't be treating it seriously enough to bring charges for common assault.

    so, no manslaughter / murder charges because they used a moody doctor, no assault charges because this wouldn't be treating it seriously enough.

    would be treating it slightly more seriously than doing cock-all, though.

    the internal logic in this confounds me...

  29. @Philippa

    You missed off the 'and because we fossicked around for so long listening to the pathologists argue, we can't do him for common assault either because you've only got six months to make that charge'.

  30. James

    I think jobsworthy gimp is my new favourite insult.

  31. I think the Tomlinson decision is a sop to the Police in light of the cuts they'll be facing as well.

    The simple fact of the matter is if a protester had been caught on camera hitting a copper to the ground and the copper subsequently died, there is no way there would not be charges at least of manslaughter. No way.

    And remember that overview of the Dutch elections I stuck on UT2 way back? Well, there's still no Government 42 days after the GE. The latest attempt collapsed a couple of days ago. A new coalition negotiator has been appointed and they're starting again.

  32. @Peter:

    I always thought Hurd was a bloody idiot – his subsequent stomach-turning shilling for NatWest with Milosevic did nothing to alter my opinion of him.

    But I’ll be honest, I cannot hand-on-heart say I felt “we” had any business intervening on behalf of the Bosniaks.

  33. Jen

    Cheers. I suspect we'll have plenty of opportunities to use it in the coming months.

    Every cloud and all that...


  34. Hello All!

    A very quick dip in and out.... off to Womad this afternoon.

    Cheers Your Grace for the hilarious video of Camerwrong - fair cheered me up!

    be back on Monday ;0)

    Big hugs n kisses.....

  35. Hello everyone, not sure what this is all about but I thought Nap might be interested in checking it out.

    The Venus Project World Tour - Glasgow, Scotland
    Saturday, August 07, 2010 from 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM (GMT)
    Glasgow, Glasgow City

    The Royal Concert Hall
    Strathclyde Suite
    2 Sauchiehall Street
    G2 3NY Glasgow
    United Kingdom

  36. Sounds interesting Chekhov, googled them. They seem to be bursting with ideas about things like human centred architecture, green of course, various social issues etc.

    Maybe I will take a look

  37. hear Peter Tatchell's had another crack at nickgriffin. love that man (Tatch, natch).

  38. the slitheen now being interviewed on pm. now, i know he's a shiny-faced nazi weasel, but i hadn't previously just how bad his grammar is. quadruple negatives ahoy.

    he's got a nervous, lip-licking speed to his speech that just adds to the sense of unnervingly weird.

  39. I am listening to Griffin on radio 4 and he made it sound like his friends just asked Peter Tatchell to go away.

    PT says he was man handled.

    Who shall we believe?

  40. he moved from 'ushered away' to admitting PT was pushed and shoved and 'carted off' - thing is, that's actually what PT wants. he knows that none of the people he faces up to like that will have the moxy to just talk to him. so he isn't going to get a useful response (in practical terms) so he'll take the PR-useful one.

    and all power to him. not sure if yelling at someone does constitute 'assault' as ng claimed (yelling can, if threatening behaviour, but that seems unlikely to have been a reasonable interpretation by ng and his ickle frens.

  41. why in all the tomlinson coverage is the fact that the first doctor to do the pm is currently under investigation for incompetence? it was mentioned briefly this morning, but not since.

    1 guy breaches protocol in carrying out the first pm, and is facing incompetence charges

    the 2 guys who disagree with him (appointed by different sides) are not facing such charges

    give it to a sodding jury to decide...

  42. ah, no, they've just moved on to it...

    ignore me.

  43. The Tomlinson verdict is a very, very unjust outcome. Then they wonder why fuckwits go and set up "I heart Raol Moat" web pages.


    Here's some entries in the the Met's 2009

    Business Plan

    Strategic Outcomes / Corporate Objectives / Key Activities 2009/10

    Convince communities we are on their side
    Make our service more accessible and improve people’s experience of their contact with us, especially victims and witnesses

    • To improve public confidence in policing London
    • To enhance service delivery in neighbourhoods and across London
    • To improve user experience in every contact with us
    • To improve the satisfaction of victims, witnesses and minority groups with our service
    • To develop the ways in which people can access police services
    • To deliver on the MPS Policing Pledge Our Promise to the Public
    • To understand community needs through engagement and expectation research
    • To improve access to information and keep local communities informed

    That's a big shiny fuck off F for FAIL, Inspector Knacker.

    £5.8 Million Public Affairs Budget forcast for this year. They'll need it. Wankers.

  44. Read it in the Standard on the train home and I couldn't believe what Starmer was saying, frankly.

    "Realistic prospect of conviction"... of course there fucking is, given that the first pathologist has since been in front of the GMC for incompetence in other cases, and he is the only one of the three putting it down to a heart-attack.

    This really is a case where they could have let the jury decide - god alone knows they prosecute on far shakier evidence than two concomitant autopsy reports. There is sufficient evidence to get it past half way, and that is all they needed.


    I am really furious.

  45. Joke via e-mail:

    On his 75th birthday, a man got a gift certificate from his wife. The certificate paid for a visit to a medicine man living on a nearby reservation who was rumored to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction. After being persuaded, he drove to the reservation, handed his ticket to the medicine man and wondered what he was in for.

    The old medicine man slowly, methodically produced a potion, handed it to him, and with a grip on his shoulder, warned, "a teaspoonful and then say '1-2-3'. When you do that, you will become more manly than you have ever been in your life and you can perform as long as you want."

    The man was encouraged. As he walked away, he turned and asked, "How do I stop the medicine from working?"

    "Your partner must say '1-2-3-4'," he responded. "But when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon."

    The old gent was very eager to see if it worked so he went home,showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom. When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, "1-2-3!" Immediately, he was the manliest of men.

    His wife, excited, began throwing off her clothes. And then she asked,

    "What was the 1-2-3 for?"

    And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition, because we could end up with a dangling participle.

  46. Tomlinson verdict is disgusting. BB, glad to see that you disagree with it; it seems incomprehensible to the layperson.

  47. (Sorry, posted joke before reading the thread. Probably not the best moment.)

  48. Thaum

    A good joke is always welcome. Especially when news is grim...

  49. Just reading the scientology thread on CiF and thinking the Graun are in for some trouble. I don't think I know of a more litigious bunch of [censored to avoid Montana being sued]

  50. BB - glad that my 'common sense' understanding that this was somethingg a jury would be capable of weighing up chimes with your reading of it.

    one under investigation v two not

    ok, there's a disagreement, but that's something a jury can decide about, surely....

  51. and there have been some deletions about S----y on waddya to. my favourite one on the actual thread, from JYD:

    "They're not tweets, they're clearly the souls of long dead aliens attaching themselves to the internet.

    That will be $150 please."

  52. new flatmate has arrived - seems nice. so far have established that he likes rawk and hates homeopathy and thinks science needs better communication skills. and that he cooks proper food.

    think will get on.

  53. blimey, have now moved onto 'see all comments' and yes, BB, there could be letters.

    some bloody good stuff BTL, though.

  54. Coming back to the Tomlinson case, the way the CPS could have done this was to tender Patel as a witness - which means that they would not rely on his report and if the defence wanted to call him as a witness they would have to do it themselves.

    And of course, they would have to explain how it was that their witness's evidence was rubbished by two other experts...

  55. Philippa

    I was interested to see that Starmer referred to proving beyond a reasonable doubt - this is not the test as to whether it is right to bring charges or not. The test is whether there is a reasonable prospect of success.

    I am really upset at him. Keir Starmer used to be one of the good guys. He must have been severely leaned-upon in this...

  56. BB.

    I said Scientology is a dangerous cult on that thread and I was deleted :)

  57. @BB: I'm no expert on the law but what happened to the principle of there being a "case to answer"? Has that gone out of the window?

  58. @Nap

    You could have called Scientology "corrupt, sinister, immoral and dangerous" quite safely; it's a High Court quote from Mr Justice Latey, and can be repeated as often as you like if I understand court privilege correctly.

  59. Another great quote, this time a piece of advice for Nick Clegg from Professor Peter Hennessy:

    "If Nick Clegg wants to model himself on Clem Attlee, as the one deputy who made a very good prime minister, he should grow a moustache and shut up."

  60. Chekov

    The standard of "case to answer" is lower than "beyond reasonable doubt".

    "Case to answer" is what we call getting it past half time. The test as to whether something would get chucked out at half time is that "no jury, properly directed, could safely convict".

    This is a battle of the experts. It happens all the time (although ideally the courts prefer using jointly-instructed experts). But in this case we have one otherwise-discredited expert saying it was a heart-attack, and two other experts saying it was internal injuries, it seems.

    I guess I am too angry to look at it objectively, and I certainly don't have access to the reports or any other evidence. But on the face of it, it could have been a runner.

    And as Philippa pointed out on Waddya: how long would it have taken the CPS to lay charges if a civilian had come up behind a police officer and whacked him with a baton, knocking him to the ground, in the same circumstances, and said copper had died minutes later...

  61. thanks for posting the vid of PT v ng, had only heard the audiio previously.

    God love PT, really.

    "But in this case we have one otherwise-discredited expert saying it was a heart-attack, and two other experts saying it was internal injuries, it seems."
    Quite - there may not be a cast-iron case, but there's a case. There may have been a disagreement, but not a fatal (to the case) disagreement given both numbers and conduct...

    Judicial Review?

  62. @BB: Thanks for your reply.
    From what you said I gather that you clearly think there is a "case to answer" (correct me if I'm wrong in that assumption.) So, where do the family of Mr Tomlinson stand? Can they appeal and put the case for a "case to answer"?

  63. chekhov - as I understand it, the family can appeal, which would if successful result in judicial review of the CPP decision (unusual), or bring a private prosecution.

  64. right - night all, have fun...

  65. Chekov

    Yep - what Philippa said. Judicial review - although all that can do is make the CPS look at it again. It can't force them to make a different decision.

  66. @BB and Philippa: Ok,so if the "judicial review" can't force the CPS to change it's decision, how does the "private prosecution" option work?

  67. Just watched the end of "Question Time" where the Tomlinson affair was reduced to a footnote.
    BTW:Am I the only person of a left wing persuasion who thinks Nigel Farage sometimes makes sense?

  68. Chekov

    Essentially anyone has the right to lay an information (complaint) at a Magistrates Court and bring a private prosecution - even if they are not one of the victims of the alleged crime. But they have to pay for it.

    Once an information is laid, a summons is issued and the accused is either summonsed or a warrant is issued to bring him to court to answer the charge.

    Once the ball is rolling, it runs just like a normal prosecution (except the CPS are not involved). The drawbacks are that the private prosecutor will not necessarily have access to all the evidence available. I am not quite sure how the disclosure of evidence would work, because I have never been involved in a private prosecution, except for one on behalf of the RSPCA who gather their own evidence.

  69. @BB: So, what you are effectively saying is, if you don't have the dosh, you can't make a private prosecution. Is that a correct interpretation of what you said?

  70. Where's "Deano"?: you alright mate? I miss your contributions however obscure they might be!

  71. \0 - Chekhov/ PCC et al

    I'm still a UT fan and continue reading here everday and I very much appreciate the good wishes from all.

    Truth be known I'm feeling a bit obscure of late. Not to worry, I'm getting there, albeit slowly.

    Regret, that I'm away to my bed now my friend.


  72. This comment has been removed by the author.

  73. Hi All
    omeone on waddya asking G to organise a whip round to fund Tomlinson family's fight back - he'll be lucky !

    Hi Paul - Thanks , will watch out for it.

    Deano - take care - love x

    chekhov - missing late night chat.
    Where is Habib ?