29 July 2010

29/07/10

Ceiling detail, Rajah Bazaar Mosque, Rawalpindi

If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbours. There is no other.

-Carl Schurz

182 comments:

  1. Since I don't know how many of you will look at the end of yesterday's thread, I wanted to let you know that we have a new arrival, Haimona. I'm sure you'll all join me in a warm Untrusted welcome!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Morning all, hello Haimona.

    Another good pic - before seeing the caption, I was thinking "William Morris? Bit detailed for him...". So clearly I am well on the ball today.

    Coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Morning Montana! (or whatever it is down your way!)

    Welcome Haimona!

    Frog2 Annetan40 -- so it's no bloody change from Nu Lab, so why even bother using the word " Tories" ?

    Thats so true begs the question of what we do about it!

    109 years ago the Labour movement came to the conclusion that Tories and Liberals did not speak for them. they founded the Labour Party.

    Looks like we have to do it all over again!

    Which just proves that until we rid ourselves of this wretched system any gains we make have to be defended.

    We didn't defend the Labour Party, allowed ourselves to be convinced that socialist ideas can't win votes and we got Nulabour.

    Politics has ceased to be principled its not about what you believe in any more its a public relations exercise in the persuit of power at any price.

    Ideas have to fought for people have to be convinced by reasoned argument not spin, and we need leaders that believe honestly that power should reside with the people.

    Its not what we've got now is it? But things can change they always have. In the English civil war Cromwell finally got rid of feudalism and the divine right of kings (the system had been on shaky ground since the black death of course).

    That was a step forward but now we need to work towards another change and get rid of Cromwell's heirs - modern consumer capitalism which is now itself on very shaky ground and has been for 150 years.

    Marx said:
    And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an overriding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society..

    From the Communist Manefesto

    ReplyDelete
  4. Alisdair Cameron:

    Loads of confused and pissed-off shoppers, the EDL embarrassed by their damp squib and evident lack of public support, the anti-fascists happy at having had a run, and leading the police on a wild goose chase with some dummy moves, the police happy at the overtime bonuses.

    I kind of agree about the 'let them march thing' on a rights basis, but policing these things are incredibly expensive. Personally, if they want a ruck I'm all for arranging to find them a big field to kick lumps out of each other in, see how confrontational they feel then. Half of them would shit a brick if they thought the police weren't going to be there to intervene.

    Just one point though; you seem very sure that the police were getting overtime for this gig - I'm sure some probably were, but with the current cuts it is far more likely that the majority were drawn from frontline shifts or had their leave days deviated (at short notice and much inconvenience). The people who suffer in such situations are the public who might not get a police officer when they really need one. There will come a point in the next couple of years when policing the rights of racists - or indeed anyone - to engage in protest becomes just too expensive to afford. Expect the HRA to be interpreted accordingly...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Double posting with Whaddya, but never mind.

    Hope you're all well and enjoying your respective summers.

    The Algarve is excellent. Beautiful sunshine, good food and wine, and congenial company. Not having not had much work (brilliant!) and using one of those pay-as-you-go wifi thingummajigs, I haven't been around much, but I suspect you'll be hearing far too much from me when I get to Granada and unlimited broadband.

    Anyway, I'm afraid my presence is urgently required on the beach.

    All the best!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stop showing off Spike. ;)

    Glad you are having a great holiday, I don't know what is going on with the weather here, it is warm enough but I don't think we have seen blue sky for about a week, if the clouds keep getting lower at the same rate I think they may actually reach the ground some time this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. SK: was going by what the local paper said,when they were saying how much it had all cost as it was the Saturday of a Bank Holiday weekend (29th May).No arrests made, having to watch those halfwits,travelling the length of the country to do all this on a bank holiday, and conceivably with no overtime (though the paper says it was paid).Crap gig.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just as a shout-out to anyone going for drinkies tomorrow night - still keen to go, but I'll probably only get there about 7pm, 6.30 at the earliest. Are people likely to have moved on to another boozer by then? If so, is there any kind of plan? (I can get access to UT from my phone if other people can)

    ReplyDelete
  9. The paper could be right. Maybe they called Northumbria HQ and spoke to one of the cleaners, although it is equally plausible that they did a cursory headcount from the office window and extrapolated the cost from the interwebz. That's what journalism tends to be these days, far too expensive to leave your desk when there is a wealth of misinformation online. Local papers are worse than the nationals for doing that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nah, SK. Our locals are very,very much in the pocket of Northumbria police. Been a bit of a scandal brewing about that for some time actually.See this for example. It might have been a way for the force to claim that policing such events is more expensive,thus creating 'evidence' to back up future funding claims.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Morning UT. Hello Haimona.

    Philippa - + 1 re William Morris. And coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  12. AC:

    "Nah, SK. Our locals are very,very much in the pocket of Northumbria police."

    They might be reliant on press releases - and pieces written by force press offices often go straight into print unedited and even unverified - but you could hardly call a paper like the Chronicle 'in the pocket' of Northumbria Police. What about the Hayley Adamson campaign that seems to have rumbled on for two years now with no sign of closure, despite an officer being jailed? That's causing untold grief for them, and I'm reliantly informed by a traffic officer up there that staff have been told in no uncertain terms that they should not speak to any journalists, local or national, and certainly not the Chronicle - everyone gets referred to the press office.

    There's a symbiotic relationship to a certain extent - the police provide favourable stories for the papers to fill up a bit of vital column space. But that doesn't mean that there isn't an almighty stand-off going on. Yes Northumbria are not reporting everything, but why would they? It isn't their role to frighten the hell out of the populace by making them think there is a crime on every corner! - that's the media's job, and if they still performed an ordinary journalistic function they would be getting out there finding out about these crimes by other means, just like they used to.

    "It might have been a way for the force to claim that policing such events is more expensive,thus creating 'evidence' to back up future funding claims."

    Maybe, but I doubt it is going to magic up some funding for them out of thin air. They'll get told to make do on a reduced budget like every other force - no exceptions. This is why I think the Government will be looking for ever increasing ways of curtailing the right to protest over coming years just as the Thatcher government found ways to limit picketing rights. Protest is an expensive luxury, especially when - in the eyes of the present administration - they're all racists, tree-huggers, or leftie spanners-in-the-works of honest-to-goodness Capitalist progress.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Alisdair 10.58-- interesting link there, article, references to Flat Earth News by Nick Davies, and comments; I liked this one --

    MickleFlic
    7 Dec 2009, 2:10PM
    I agree with Nigel Green's comments and most of the above. Northumbria's corporate communications department sends out pictures of raids, crime backgrounders and even court reports. Like all forces, it is under pressure to hit government targets on public confidence and fear of crime.


    Sadly, I do not recognise today's police forces as those in which I served for 30 years, leaving over 10 years ago. In that time, there has been a huge shift in police attitude and it is now directed by senior officers who have served but a token amount of time in real contact with the public. The police force is now run on business lines, even to the use of terms such as 'Corporate Image' and referring to the public as 'customers'.

    Chief officers all sing from the same Corporate Hymn Book, approved by the Home Office and chase 'sales figures' in much the same way as businesses. Woe betide the police officer who disturbs a clean sheet by recording a crime which does not earn 'points'. No more 'Drunk & Disorderly' (No points) , no more 'Breach of the Peace' (No points). Instead, charge the poor 'customer' with the hugely more serious 'Public Order' offences. Why? Public Order charges score 'points'!

    To use Mr. Forsyth's phrase, "What do points make?" Prizes!! Senior officers receive large cash bonuses based upon these points. Similarly, if the public are told in every Press Release that they've never had it so good, the satisfaction scores mount. More points = more prizes.

    There is, however, another saying, "You can fool some of the people all the time............................"

    Mr Green, hits the nail on the head.

    ----------------------------------------

    This from the article intrigued me --
    " Northumbria's corporate communications department sends out pictures of raids, crime backgrounders and even court reports. Like all forces, it is under pressure to hit government targets on public confidence and fear of crime.

    So it appears there is a whole UK industry doing surveys and polls to satisfy the government's hunger for stats ? Or maybe to be more accurate, the LAST government. What's the odds Theresa May abolishes it all ?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello all - welcome Haimona - and many apols. I won't be able to make it tomorrow for the great North UT booze get-together ;( no more moulah until next week - gutted.

    hey Spike - glad you're having a lovely time on yer hols ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  15. God some of the comments on that EDL thread are depressing......

    ReplyDelete
  16. @ SK. Maybe in the pocket was too strong, but I do have some contacts in the press who've said that the Hayley Adamson stuff was a particularly uphill struggle, more than usual, because there were voices within NCJ who didn't want to give it 'undue' prominence (note:they'd still cover it:things aren't outright bent) for fear of losing easy copy written for them by the police (and that's besides the double-page spreads with the dawn-raid photo-opportunity, of which we've had at least four this year).
    It's not the police's fault per se, nor is it exclusive to the police: NHS North of Tyne similarly write screeds straight into the paper, and so there is an unspoken reluctance to cover stories too critical of their plans or services,even when there is public concern or dissatisfaction. It's nothing overt, and might not be policy, but going with the big organisations line most of the time is cheap and easy.
    I think you nailed it when you said "the media's job, and if they still performed an ordinary journalistic function they would be getting out there finding out about these crimes [and you can add health service issues] by other means, just like they used to."

    ReplyDelete
  17. frog2:

    "This from the article intrigued me --
    " Northumbria's corporate communications department sends out pictures of raids, crime backgrounders and even court reports. Like all forces, it is under pressure to hit government targets on public confidence and fear of crime."


    So it appears there is a whole UK industry doing surveys and polls to satisfy the government's hunger for stats ? Or maybe to be more accurate, the LAST government. What's the odds Theresa May abolishes it all ?

    May has already told the 43 forces that from now on, the only target will be 'to reduce crime'. This effectively means an end to the last big push for 'public confidence and satisfaction'. If you think about it, the latter can be achieved without actually tackling very much crime whatsoever. "Let's just tell them we're doing a good job". Hence Northumbria deciding to put themselves up for a media award for the way they handled the Hayley Adamson case in the press (where police officer killed a 16 year old girl in a high speed chase with no lights or sirens; PR = 10, sensitivity = 0). In effect, they were asking the police to conspire with them in a confidence trick, which is entirely consistent with police forces holding back unfavourable stories but releasing the ones that make them look cool.

    Having said that, we've been told that despite Theresa May telling us that public confidence is no longer a target, that we are still going to pursue it at a local level in direct contradiction to her explicit orders. I expect they'll get shafted for that soon. It's very hard for Chief Constables weaned on stat-chasing to suddenly adjust to tried and tested common-sense methods. Undoubtedly we'll lose something in accountability if we don't record every time we fart during a ten-hour shift, but I think we'll survive. It might even make the job bearable again.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Speedkermit -- good to hear that commonsense is no longer forbidden , so what's going to happen to all those senior officers' bonuses then ?

    ReplyDelete
  19. frog2 - Oh, I should imagine they'll conspire to make sure they still get paid...

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just popping in to tip the hat to @speedkermit for telling that hopeless cluck Alan Johnson what the score was. I'll bet the fucker was a crap postman, too. Nice one, speedy...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Haimona

    And welcome also to the person who is currently lurking anonymously.

    ReplyDelete
  23. misharia- you made me break my resolution to not read anything, ever, by Labour ex-ministers ! That post by speedkermit 11.59AM on the ASBO thread was worth it tho.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Afternoon all,

    I'm sure most of you are aware, and doing fine work there already, but the ATOS piece is up on cif......

    ReplyDelete
  25. I thought the Atos thread was going to be by Atos themselves justifying their tawdry record. Good article. God I want to just punch SteveHill. What amazes me is that he once wrote a post about his wife who died horribly of cancer yet he seems to have no compassion at all for those suffering cancer and other horrendous illnesses who are being subjected to such vile treatment!

    Sheff et al - I am off back to bed (well am in bed but back to sleep) as I feel horrendous. Have felt rough last couple of weeks on and off but last two days feeling pretty bad. I will really try to show my face tomorrow even if just for an hour or so as would love to meet everyone - but if feel like this won't be able to be there so fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
  26. PCC

    As ever your posts on that thread were brilliant, compelling and passionate.

    You've done magnificently.

    I'm not saying that he is lying, but Mr Hill certainly seems to have an inordinate amount of 'well, when I was...', 'having personal knowledge of this...', 'when I worked as..' "experience".

    Having done the math before, it seems that he's got about eleventy-twelve careers under his belt, lived in every country in the world, managed to devote a billion hours to charity, and somehow still managed to find time to post every hour, on the hour on cif, and read the Daily Mail on a daily basis.

    Quite a guy....

    Anyway, hope you feel better soon, and make it tomorrow, where I insist that someone buys you a drink on my behalf....

    James

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yes, the ATOS thread was a good article and largely good comments.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks Jenn, La Rit! Have had to be a bit careful, I overestimated the potency of a single application of factor 30 on day one and ended up looking like a proper English tourist with a dayglo red back.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Alisdair:

    We both know that there is no historical precedent for totalitarian government in the UK. The Interregnum resembled a dictatorship, though you could argue that Cromwell's legacy hardly supports that description.

    As for New Labour's creating the instruments or apparatus for totalitarianism, this is just baloney. Your depiction devalues the term, and deep down I think you know this.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just parking this one here, because it aint going to last long

    MattBelmer (In response to Happhazzard, who said):

    "Sometimes you just have to say "tough shit" and accept that some people must perish in order to allow the continuation of the human race".

    Oh, I see. You're a cunt.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well I'm moving out of this house on 16th August. I'll be able access here some days on daughter's computer as I will re-register here and on Cif with my new e-mail.

    Spent all day on the phone arranging removers and informing Electric Gas ISP phone etc.

    So I've been doing this

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hehehehehe ... anyone looked at the Andrew Brown Pope T-shirt thread? Oooooops!

    Agree that Atos article v good.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Good on Matt. HappHazzard really is a cunt and a half.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Has anyone else lost the comments from the ATOS thread, or is it just me?

    ReplyDelete
  35. ternoon all.......

    james it ain't just you.....completely vaporised......

    ReplyDelete
  36. Cheers Gandolfo,

    Thought I'd been 'escorted out'....

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello All - Welcome Haimona

    Where are the ATOS comments gone ?

    Good article but we still need to nag for more detailed financial info on it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Speedy

    Have the security forces been given vapourising powers to employ against unwelcome comments on popular web sites.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I did wonder if ATOS had pulled a 'legal', but then I suspect the article would have gone too, so it's probably just a 'technical problem'....

    (good work there btw Leni - The Duke and Paul too if you pop in...)

    ReplyDelete
  40. they're back........please take your seat james on the ATOS thread......

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hpphazard is Plums on wheels.

    ReplyDelete
  42. What's going on with the open threads on Cif this week, yesterday was do you have enough friends to keep you alive which was based on some bollocks study that Loose Women wouldn't take seriously and today we have got lets talk about ugly people giving everyone their chance to drag out their favourite insults.

    I turn my computer on to get away from daytime TV, it is just getting silly now.

    The ATOS article is well written etc but isn't it just a rewrite of the other articles they have had about it?

    ReplyDelete
  43. "What's going on with the open threads on Cif this week, yesterday was do you have enough friends to keep you alive which was based on some bollocks study that Loose Women wouldn't take seriously and today we have got lets talk about ugly people giving everyone their chance to drag out their favourite insults".


    Shiny new GMG business plan Jen...

    ReplyDelete
  44. @jenn

    Yes, there's not that much new there if you've been following the story. But it needs repeating and repeating again.

    If the Guardian had any balls, the next stage would be investigation of the DWP/ATOS contract and enticing some whistleblowing from Jobcentre staff, ATOS assessors and the DWP, followed by shaking Purnell until he froths to get some answers, and then holding the new minister's feet to the fire.

    Won't happen.

    By the way, I just noticed how ATOS got the gig. It's KPMG in a French frock.

    ReplyDelete
  45. PeterJ

    I agree it needs repeating, I do worry that this is where they are going to stop though.

    They will run this article every couple of weeks and they can say they did their bit, plus it gets them lots of site hits as the usual bastards compete to find the best anecdote about one of their good friends living a life of luxury on IB (even if I believed any of the stories I would have to say these people have a very odd definition of friendship).

    ReplyDelete
  46. PeterJ

    We,ve been fighting with the Guardian to get them to do as you suggest for ages.In all fairness todays article IMHO is the best one so far.But the fact they are taking a 'softly softly' approach with ATOS reflects very badly on the powers that be at Guardian Towers.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Peter + Paul

    The ATOSarticles are allowing us to repeat our opposition without further investigating the economic, structural and personal connections within these policies.

    Feet to fire time is a long way off - if ever.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I do wonder if ATOS will demand a right to reply when they see the level of hatred towards them.

    I know they've got most of the media 'on side', but I wouldn't expect them to let this go unanswered!

    (I'm keeping some of my powder dry just in case...)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Leni/Peter


    Not feeling up to much discussion right now but i agree-as i,ve said myself a number of times-that the Guardian seems to be half-heartedly going throught the motions right now with regard to ATOS,the DWP,Social Inequality etc etc.It,s as though it wants to be seen to be doing the right thing without actually doing much.I believe that Jessica is actually doing everything she can vis-a-vis Cif.The problem is higher up.The powers that be at Guardian Towers clearly don,t want to rock the boat.Although as i,ve also said before i,m sure that will change when sick and disabled people are driven to suicide by ATOS and the DWP.Although by then the Guardian will share a certain guilt by association by it,s failure to confront both the government and ATOS about this extremely sad state of affairs.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Paul and others,

    It's possible that the Graun is working on exposing Atos, and that they obviously don't want to advertise the fact while they're working on the exposé. They do occasionally still pull off some decent reportage.

    It's also possible that pigs are flying over my house, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  51. All
    Flying visit, away for few days - my take on EDL "demonstrating" in Bradford is this: look what happened when David Blunkett banned the NF protesting there under the Public Order Act in 2001. Complete chaos, because the extremist thugs showed up anyway and kicked off various street fights - often no-where near the police.

    Not to mention - they can re-mobilise quicker now with their blackberries and all.

    Let em 'march'. And let the rest of the populace treat them with the derision they deserve.

    They are Nazi fuckwit scum, not a growing "menace" to democracy, as nearly all the BNP polls showed.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Evening all

    Bitterweed

    I agree. I want to see the police being as harsh on the Nazi fuckers as they were on the Climate Camp hippies though.

    I think we are going to have to rely on Private Eye or Ch4 Dispatches or the like to expose the ATOS "assessments" for what they are.

    Ideally they need someone to go undercover, which Dispatches does marvellously well.

    ReplyDelete
  53. ASBOs. May be seeing one in action.

    My window overlooks the village green. About 20 minutes or so ago, I looked out and saw three yoofs, two of whom looked like they were kicking the third in kick-boxing style. By the time I'd got my glasses on to see if it was serious, they'd run out of view. Pondered whether or no to ring the cops, as I'd just seen them drive up the street (we don't have any assigned here), but decided it was a bit of youthful high spirits, that they were just horsing around.

    At least two came back a few minutes later, then 4 or 5 more appeared on bikes. And the fuzz. The kids've been having a stern talking-to for the past quarter of an hour or so, and now the cops have disappeared off behind the church (where the bike-riders came from).

    And now the cops have returned to their car and peace descends on the village once more. The last bus has gone into town, the shop has closed up and the dog-walkers are out.

    No doubt I'll hear all about when I go down for my paper in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
  54. just parking this....

    englishhermit

    What needs to be investigated is how much Atos made out of this when there was no saving to the tax payer. How much did this cost the tax payer and how many people has it (not) affected.

    well said
    I'd like an article investigating ATOS:

    ..whether their staff get bonuses for getting people off benefit,maybe need someone that has worked or works at ATOS as they seem to be reluctant to divulge any information on this
    ..what the contract actually is between DWP and ATOS,
    ..what has been done when they have breeched this contract i,e flouted the DDact
    and
    ..whether the original £500million intial 7 year contract which is extendable to 12 years at a total cost of £850 million is a cost effective use of tax payers money

    ReplyDelete
  55. PeterB

    Bonsoir!

    You're doing it again, though.

    "As for New Labour's creating the instruments or apparatus for totalitarianism, this is just baloney."

    You make a bald assertion, but don't give any explanation as to why your assertion is correct.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Exactly, Gandolfo and BB. We need a proper journalistic undercover investigation. Wikileaks to publish results since everyone else is bought and paid for, apparently.

    ReplyDelete
  57. BB - indeed, one could argue that New Labour are the most authoritarian administration since 1215, as they've managed to roll back various provisions of the Magna Carta. (Dishonourable blip of Bastard Cromwell excepted, of course.)

    ReplyDelete
  58. i think I'm going to use wyrdtimes tactics and just post about one topic on every thread... ATOS....

    ReplyDelete
  59. I've never pretended to have the first clue how money/economics works, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I don't understand where the savings for government are supposed to happen when they contract out services to for-profit corporations. It seems so counter-intuitive to me that I just don't even understand how they (politicians who promote contracting) can even pretend that it would save money.

    I mean, if the company is making a profit from it, that profit is coming from the government, no? So, wouldn't it be better for that money to be going to services instead of lining the pockets of shareholders?

    Anyone who can explain it to me -- using itty bitty words, please -- would have my gratitude.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Don't worry, Montana - it's not you. It just doesn't make any sense at all.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Recently I have been giving the comments on articles a miss but I have just read the ATOS comments and I am so pleased that the great majority are not rage inducing, in fact some of them are fantastic (a lot of them from people on here).

    I can't understand how Happhazzards post about some people dying to enable the continuation of the race (or whatever stupid eugenics based shite he said) still stands, I don't report posts but I made an exception for that one and I don't think I will have been the only one.

    I can only assume they are keeping it there on purpose to wind people up.

    I think I might have finally had it with Cif and the Guardian so I am having a break from them for now.

    ReplyDelete
  62. PeterJ
    "If the Guardian had any balls, the next stage would be investigation of the DWP/ATOS contract and enticing some whistleblowing from Jobcentre staff, ATOS assessors and the DWP, followed by shaking Purnell until he froths to get some answers, and then holding the new minister's feet to the fire.

    Ezzackly. Mikebach and others made the point about corruption, and it is well worth keeping going on that one . Value for money is close to the ToryDem heart too , as it is to mine :), so this new lot may not be averse to doing the Right Thing , sometimes.

    In our earlier discussion with Speedkermit he was mildly encouraged by the new gov's more common sense approach . So let us encourage whistleblowing !

    ReplyDelete
  63. Montana

    I agree.

    The theory, I believe however, is that the 'private' contractor is more 'efficient', specialised, knowledgable etc and therefore, likely to be able to provide the same level of service/results, for cheaper.

    Thus, when a government, big and stoopid, and generally incompetent, provides a service, it may cost, let's say 750 million, given that there is no incentive for it to be efficient (endless funds if necessary), and encourage sloth, corruption etc, especially as there is no competition etc.

    If you then say to a private company, we'll give you 500 million, and if you can cut the cost down to below that, we'll let you keep the profit, the government, on paper, anyway, has saved 250 million.

    Obviously, this is a very simplistic way of looking at it, and the 250 million 'saved' is, especially in the case of ATOS, likely to be spent in other areas as a result of ATOS' own practices, because they can push those costs back onto the state without it affecting their own profit.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Jen30 -- I am strictly rationing my posting to CiF, it makes sense ;) X!

    ReplyDelete
  65. BB:

    "I agree. I want to see the police being as harsh on the Nazi fuckers as they were on the Climate Camp hippies though."

    If I was to make a guess about this disparity, I would probably be moved to suggest it was something to do with the Nazi fuckers getting on with the thing they are there to 'protest', while the hippies seem to spend rather a lot more time engaged in provoking reaction from the police. That doesn't excuse the fact that the police allow themselves to be provoked, and exact petty revenges on the people who goad them and film them of course, and by the same token the police only have themselves to blame when they actually do get filmed doing something vindictive.

    However, call me a fascist if you will, but there is something deeply irksome about some plummy, Home Counties twat waving a Blackberry I my face and bleating about how I'm trampling on his constitutionally protected right to commit a obstruction offence on a main arterial route at rush-hour. I've met the type a zillion times. Many of them are Porter's little groupies. They love to provoke the police to do or say things they might regret. It provides them with a war-story with which to seduce impressionable, second-year sociology students, about the time they 'stuck it to the man'. It's something that the police's regular 'client base' are not above doing on occasions of course, but it somehow never seems to get up my nose half as much. I guess it just fucks me off when people who are educated and had every advantage in life decide to play criminal justice tourism to make themselves feel better about the ideologically compromised lives they're all inevitably going to end up leading.

    There, I've said it. Can't speak for all police officers of course, but I wouldn't mind betting all that bollocks isn't at least part of the reason for the disparity. It does all rather lead to the slightly horrifying vista of the police identifying more with the bluff, working class EDL fucknuts, but I think that has more to do with the attitudes of the Climate Campers and their ilk than anything. It's not an ideological thing in the main. Like I say, I'd happily stick them all in a field together with some knuckledusters and see who the last man standing is...

    Then we can arrest him!

    ReplyDelete
  66. (Following on from my last...)


    Thus, things like ATOS, while on paper, provide savings, they do so, at best, in a short-term way, and in only one area, thus making it a political, rather than economical solution.

    The long term fiscal and social impact of stuff like ATOS is likely to be considerably more than the 250 million theoretically saved, but, by that time, ATOS will be rich, and this government (and many of those in the last) will have probably already fucked off to their ATOS 'directorships' in the Caribbean islands....

    ReplyDelete
  67. James

    The theory, I believe however, is that the 'private' contractor is more 'efficient', specialised, knowledgable etc and therefore, likely to be able to provide the same level of service/results, for cheaper.

    *hollow laugh*

    As someone who has worked for private companies all my working life, let me just say that the idea that they are in any way more efficient is total bollocks (as you know).

    What they are very good at is negotiating contracts so that their extra waste and inefficiency is billable.

    Outsourcing of IT is very popular in the private sector and has proved to be disastrous in terms of delivery, efficiency, quality and cost.

    But the outsourcing comes out of a different budget and gets written off for tax purposes as well as protecting those who made the decision to outsource.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thaum

    Haha - Absolutely.

    I don't, for a second, believe the privatisation bollocks, was just, sharing the neo-liberal argument, as paper thin as it may be!!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Having said that, there are a few companies to which outsourcing isn't so bad. These are companies who are very knowledgeable about the business in hand, and who have staff who are well-paid. They are also expensive, but tend to be worth it.

    Most are smaller, specialist companies, but a few are largish to very large - but the very large have specialist divisions to tackle the disipline at hand (eg engineering or design).

    But the companies that promise to be all things to all people at a ridiculously low cost are charlatans. Their employees are underpaid, underqualified and have no idea how to do the job in question. That is not the employees' fault, but the company's.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Evening everyone.

    Speedy

    Re: tomorrow evening - I probably won't get to the pub early either. And I'm sure sheff won't go anywhere without us :)

    thauma & BW - will miss you both termorrer.

    ReplyDelete
  71. James - I know you don't; was just using your post as a launching pad for one of my favourite hobby-horses. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  72. MsChin - am even more gutted now that I find that SK is going (despite his dubious previous post*).

    *Am still working out what to think about that. Accept you have experience and that Blackberry-waving middle-class twats can be intensely annoying, but still....

    ReplyDelete
  73. I agree that the private sector does perform better in many areas, but privatisation is not a panacea, and it never will be, especially when the service is offered to the 'lowest bidder', friendly companies, or those promising the moon on a stick!

    The ATOS thing is an almost textbook example.

    Although it can, perhaps, provide an initial service at a slightly lower cost, it has no interest in what happens after that initial service is 'provided'.

    Indeed, if the costs of not doing a job properly are deferred elsewhere, then they have every incentive to be shit at their 'job' while they are only liable for 'phase one'.

    Therefore, I too would like to see a very in-depth look at their practices, accounts and bonus structure etc, because it sure as shit smells like a con to me....

    ReplyDelete
  74. Late-a-feckin-gain.
    @ Peter B. I was careful not to cast New labour as totalitarian. They weren't, not by a long chalk. They were authoritarian, from soft authoritarianism (the nanny state stuff) to more insidious stuff, such as the growing and ever-more unified database state, RIPA powers,the original VBS plans, restrictions on free speech (inc protecting religions)free assembly and on protests plus the worsening of the democratic deficit.There were too few safeguards with any of these measures, and taken together they did mark a shift in the relations between the state and the individual.Even if temporary (and there was never any sign from Labour of wishing to cede such powers over the people, or of repeal) it is a perilous path to tread, and set unwelcome precedent.Measures may have been enacted with some good intent as the driver behind them, but they were all so unfocused, lacking oversight and scrutiny,safeguards, protection, and effective means of redress for the individual and the sheer number and extent of them was unparalleled in modern peacetime.Good intentions (and I'm not personally convinced that the intentions were always that good) can't excuse intrusive,overly-applicable and overly-extendible bad laws, laws which if they remain do make wannabe totalitarians' task that much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Above post is just to clarify my position, lest I get called a communist!

    ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  76. Ok, back in, last shot:

    @Alisdair - succinctly put, great post.

    @Anyone going tomorrow - have a great piss up !

    See youse in a few days.

    BW

    ReplyDelete
  77. thaumaturge:

    "Am still working out what to think about that. Accept you have experience and that Blackberry-waving middle-class twats can be intensely annoying, but still...."

    I probably need to point out that I'm more than capable of behaving professionally when confronted with some trust-funded, walking entitlement, but they are still a weapons-grade irritant. I satisfy myself with only doing the bare minimum I'm required to do in law to make their stay a comfortable one. Nice detainees get hot chocolate.

    All of which reminds me of an apocryphal conversation between a constable and a rather witty drunk:

    DRUNK: "If I called you a cunt you'd probably lock me up wouldn't you?"

    COPPER: "Yes, I probably would"

    DRUNK: "But if I just think your a cunt, then there's probably nothing you can do about that is there?"

    COPPER: "No probably not"

    DRUNK: "In that case, I think you're a cunt"

    ReplyDelete
  78. Ah it's the big piss up tomorrow isn't it, I hope you all have a good time.

    Have a great weekend BW.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Wish I was coming.

    Could do with a good night out on the lash. Too much to do though. Mela weekend plus 60th B'day party on Saturday night to go to, plus friends arriving Saturday afternoon.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Speedy

    I heard that apocryphal tale, but about a conversation between Billy Bremner and a referee.

    ('Cept it was what's the difference between dissent and an opinion!!)

    ReplyDelete
  81. When i first discovered who GIYUS was i thought he was a harmless eccentric.Now i just find him bloody irritating.

    Have a good break Bitterweed.Make sure you get to enjoy plenty of 'Perve Cliquot'.

    According to the London Evening Standard the Court of Appeal has ruled divorcing wives who purloin secret files to find out about their husbands hidden wealth have no protection.And that such purloined secret files cannot be submitted in Courts deciding divorce settlements.Right so me ex ain,t gonna get her mitts on my premium bond which i,ve stashed away in Liechtenstein.

    ReplyDelete
  82. I believe you, speedkermit, but unfortuately not all of your colleagues are so gifted. ;-)

    I have a ... friend ... yes, I will call him that, even though he is an an avid Daily Mail reader and espouses all their causes ... who worked on the Birmingham 6 and/or Guildford 4 cases as (I think) a DI. He still believes they were guilty of all charges.

    Luckily for all of us, he is now retired from the force.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Oh let the EDL "protest" all they like, If any of you are in doubt of what they are, just go and watch them, (from a safe distance if you're not white).

    Speedkermit,
    "If I was to make a guess about this disparity, I would probably be moved to suggest it was something to do with the Nazi fuckers getting on with the thing they are there to 'protest', while the hippies seem to spend rather a lot more time engaged in provoking reaction from the police."

    If you're guessing about it and in that way, I would guess you'd never seen it first hand.

    ReplyDelete
  84. JD: I had actually imagined it delivered in a Brian Clough nasal whine...

    ReplyDelete
  85. Evening all

    Speedy

    I won't get to the pub till about 5pm - and will not move on anywhere till you and MsC arrive.

    Last time everyone came back to my place for a knees up - but I'm open to any other suggestions that people have.

    ReplyDelete
  86. well Berlusconi is burning his roman empire....looks like he's throwing out 34 MPs from the lower house and 15 senators who are ex Allianza Nazionale. He's pissed off because their leader Gianfranco Fini has called into question a number of laws such as ones on immigration, wire tapping and linking political motivations into the killing of 2 high profile magistrates (Falcone and Borsellino) in the 90s who were investigating mafia crimes. He has also pushed for the resignations of ministers involved in corruption cases and alleged mafia connections, and the authoritarianism of Berlusconi's leadership. Quite a revelation considering Fini is an ex fascist...maybe he's seen the ills of his youthful ways...
    anyway at least he's brought to fore the filth that is berlusconi and his followers are...surprisingly the left have failed to do this....that's another story though
    well let's see what happens....hopefully the law on internet restrictions and press freedom won't go through now....and berlusconi will eventually disappear.....

    ReplyDelete
  87. Oooh you lot are making me jealous.

    Best wishes for the evening (not that you'll need them).

    Off to bed for a sulk now.

    ReplyDelete
  88. BW

    have a nice time

    sheff you could all come to mine after the pub....;)

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hank.Monkeyfish

    What time do you think you'll get to the pub tomorow?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Just a quick post - everyone here seems to define themselves (and others) by how they relate to Cif - 'good work on thread X', 'isn't it awful that the Guardian does/prints this', 'isn't poster X/Y/Z a terible fascist/sexist/racist'? Is it a prerequisite that UT posters should also be Cif posters? Is it necessary that this blog should be totally dependent on Cif's bullshit and should constantly refer to it? Does Cif set the agenda here? I argued strongly at least a year ago that this blog should be something different and separate. I guess that battle's been lost. This whole blog is now determined by what Cif does and says. I might well be in a minority of one, but I don't give a fuck about Cif and I don't see why this blog should react to their agenda. There are other newspapers and news-sources that cover what's going on in the world. Here it's just what what the Guardian says and what you all think about it. It's very limiting and very boring. And that's why I don't bother posting here any more.

    Sorry, guys, most of you are good people with your hearts in the right place, but you'e just going round in circles, reaffirming each other's dubious socialist credentials (although there are many dyed-in-the-wool 'LibDems' here). Dissent is not tolerated here, and alternative views (eg Peter Bracken) are not discussed but just trashed and insulted in a way that is almost totalitarian.

    Anyway, carry on if you gives you that fuzzy feeling, but perhaps you should also think about things a bit more.

    Love and kisses, love her madly

    ReplyDelete
  91. Oh yes and all those making the Sheffield piss up tomorrow have a great time.And have a drink or six for us 'southerners' who can,t make it.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I looked into prices to get to Sheffield (for the next time everyone meets up) and discovered an amazing thing, to get to London costs £7 but to get to Sheffield costs £12.

    You might be thinking that this is because London is a more popular destination etc but this is on the same bus so if I come down there I will buy a ticket to London but jump off at Sheffield.

    I really wouldn't do very well in business because this seems stupid to me.

    ReplyDelete
  93. scherfig

    FFS change the record mate!

    ReplyDelete
  94. That's an interesting bit of news, Paul.

    The "Hildebrand" rules, as they were known, meant that even if someone broke into their ex-partner's house to steal documents and photocopy them for divorce proceedings, the worst they would face is having to pay their legal costs at the end of it. Which in a multi-million pound settlement was probably relative peanuts.

    But they could still use what they had stolen.

    ReplyDelete
  95. "If you're guessing about it and in that way, I would guess you'd never seen it first hand."

    Not the EDL Habib, no. Met plenty of climate-changers/anti-globalisation activists when I policed the G8 in Sheff about four years ago though. Most were quite friendly to be fair, and we were friendly back, but there was a significant cohort who were determined to be a pain in the arse. That's who I had in mind, and individuals I deal with during routine duties who never hesitate to tell you about their involvement in protests (whether relevant or not). I've never heard of a police unit getting that much grief at a fascist march - people get locked up, but not for anything directed at us. It's not something that comes out at training days like it does with the climate lot.

    ReplyDelete
  96. scherf

    This place was set up with the specific intent of discussing threads that had been closed down. Whence the url of the blog.

    As regards PeterB - when he learns to stop being such a pompous arse, I will discuss his views with him. But since day one he has posted opinion, as I said earlier he has made bald assertions without fleshing them out with any examples or authorities to back them up, and if anyone disagrees with him, he insults them.

    It gets very boring very quickly.

    You pop up once or twice a week, have a moan then disappear again. Up to you, of course, but that also gets very boring very quickly.

    There are sufficient discussions on here that don't relate to the Graun to enable you to contribute without feeling you have sullied your fingers. Such a pity you don't.

    ReplyDelete
  97. scherfig:

    "And that's why I don't bother posting here any more."

    Eh?

    ReplyDelete
  98. Alisdair: government by definition imposes restrictions on our actions, and makes decisions on our behalf that most among us (from time to time) will bridle against.

    For every civil rights campaigner four square opposed to CCTV you'll have someone else who welcomes it. We can debate the nuances of a free society till the cows come home, but that wouldn't advance or detract from my main point: that the UK is a free society, one which upholds every democratic principle the West has fought hard to enshrine in law.

    I didn't like Labour's genuflecting to religion, I recognise that poverty is - in a manner of speaking - disenfranchising. But the idea that the UK is an illiberal hothouse is just too fantastical to be taken seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Scherfig

    To be fair though, the http is cifthreadrefugee.blogspot, and as I understand it, the place was initially set up to continue discussions started on cif, but out of the reach of the moderators!

    How did you end up posting on the UT, Scherfig?

    But yes, today there's been a bit of it, but that's largely because the ATOS thing has been a topic of discussion on here for quite a while.

    I'm sure you could even find UT threads with more references to cif, but selectively pointing out that x has happened on a particular day doesn't prove a trend.

    ReplyDelete
  100. SK lol

    He is posting here (yet again) to let everyone know that he wouldn't waste his time posting here.

    ReplyDelete
  101. I've posted a round-up of some of the web content that has interested me most over the past week, including three CiF threads.

    (some of you might remember me as QuestionThat - The Hand & Mouse is my new blog)

    ReplyDelete
  102. Speedy

    If you policed the G8 in Sheffield then we've probably already met, although not formally introduced. I was one of the bunch who were ensconced in the Matilda building which was resistance HQ.

    PS: The old bag with the hat and the camera. You guys must have acres of footage of us.

    everyone here seems to define themselves (and others) by how they relate to Cif

    Not all of us scherf.

    ReplyDelete
  103. sheff

    I was aiming for 4ish...got no problem sticking around till whenever though.

    ReplyDelete
  104. PeterB

    ... apart from key aspects of the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights 1689

    ReplyDelete
  105. #everyone here seems to define themselves (and others) by how they relate to Cif#

    yeah, I can identify with that; I'm the six fingered third cousin who lives in the attic and we don't talk about when there's company...which is a right fuckin letdown as I fancied the Jack Nicholson Shining role.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Scherf

    we could do with some of your straight talking on the ATOS thread. Many of us hee have followed this topic for several weeks - in my case because it is a obvious signifier of te way this current GVT intends taking us.

    I see it as very damaging and a direct ideological attack on the welfare state. Let this through unopposed and worse things will follow.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Ok folks - time for bed. School tomorrow. xx

    ReplyDelete
  108. Looks like it'll be a small but intense group MF. Am anticpating and interesting evening - so I hope you'll turn up speedy.

    chekhov - are you coming? offer still stands for floor and/or hammock space.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Leni

    You have hit the nail exactly on the head, this attack on benefit claimants is obviously one that is close to my heart (being one myself) but personally I will get by because I have family who would never see me suffer because of it.

    The very idea of an ATOS medical sends my stress levels sky high but my big worry is that if these measures go through with no bother worse will be hard on their heels.

    This could be a huge turning point for this country and I honestly live in dread about the way we are heading.

    ReplyDelete
  110. '.. apart from key aspects of the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights 1689.'

    You see, BB, this is precisely the ahistorical tosh that winds me up.

    You invoke references to centuries old documents with no sense of how they have been superseded by laws democratically legitimated. Name me a freedom extant 800 years ago that does not prevail today, save the freedom of Monarchs to abuse their subjects.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Sheffpixie:

    "If you policed the G8 in Sheffield then we've probably already met, although not formally introduced. I was one of the bunch who were ensconced in the Matilda building which was resistance HQ."

    PS: The old bag with the hat and the camera. You guys must have acres of footage of us.

    Ho Ho! I was actually one of the evidence gatherers (camera operators) for that gig, although I spent most of my time outside the Swallow Hotel. I ended up doing that for two days because I used to do the same thing at Hillsborough matches. If I don't remember you though, it's probably because I've slept since then ;)

    ReplyDelete
  112. Amen to that Jen!

    It's very much a 'pick at the weakest periphery of society' approach, with the aim of continuing inwards in ever decreasing circles....

    ReplyDelete
  113. Sorry, Leni but I no longer feel that saying anything on Cif makes any difference at all to anything. I actually believe that contributing to Cif is contra-productive in that it creates a false narrative that 1. the Guardian gives a fuck about society and poor people, and 2. what you say on Cif matters.

    If you want to make a difference, then wasting your time on a neo-liberal LibDem apology for a newspaper is not really the way to go (my hunmble opinion). I really don't know how much difference it would make, but I have come to the somewhat idealistic conclusion that not reading or commenting on the Guardian's 'free' web offerings might just be a way to shut them down. (No page-hits, no advertising revenue.) They are no longer left wing or fit for purpose - fuck them.

    ReplyDelete
  114. "Looks like it'll be a small but intense group MF."

    "Intense". Heh heh.

    ReplyDelete
  115. "Most were quite friendly to be fair, and we were friendly back, but there was a significant cohort who were determined to be a pain in the arse."
    Aye Speedkermit, there are alyways those. I hold it it to be true, still, that hippies don't cause as much havoc as fascist do.

    ReplyDelete
  116. He..He..He.. speedy - we'll have to compare snaps! I do have some pics of a rather 'rough' arrest of a youth outside TJ Hughes. They weren't local polis and got a bit agitated as they didn't know the ground.

    btw - I used to live opposite the Swallow and actually worked as a breakfast cook there back in the 70's for a year or so. it was full of business men.

    I particularly remember a bunch of Russians who solemnly ate their way through the entire breakfast menu starting with porridge (I make porridge to die for) and several glasses of fruit juice; then the full English, followed by haddock and poached eggs, toast etc...they were insatiable scoffers.

    Had to give it up eventually as the 6am starts ruined my social life. It was a great job though.

    ReplyDelete
  117. scherfig:

    "If you want to make a difference, then wasting your time on a neo-liberal LibDem apology for a newspaper is not really the way to go (my hunmble opinion). I really don't know how much difference it would make, but I have come to the somewhat idealistic conclusion that not reading or commenting on the Guardian's 'free' web offerings might just be a way to shut them down. (No page-hits, no advertising revenue.) They are no longer left wing or fit for purpose - fuck them."

    There came a point where BTL comment started to matter more than ATL. That is why, if you have something worth saying, then you have a duty to get in there and counter the bullshit they are feeding to people. It's as much about the mugs who give of their time freely as it is the stuffed-shirt establishmentarians they wheel out for our delectation and derision. I've had long-held opinions changed by stuff I've read on CiF, I don't see why anyone else would be that much different. If you feel no-one is listening then maybe you aren't saying it right.

    ReplyDelete
  118. I know how this Bradford march is going to go - little boys who know nothing of the faith they are "defending", fighting against white racist people. They'll do what they do, more out of a sence of machismo than anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  119. heyhabib:

    "Aye Speedkermit, there are alyways those. I hold it it to be true, still, that hippies don't cause as much havoc as fascist do."

    If the hippies ever get into power, we'll have our comparison! I suspect you're right though...

    ReplyDelete
  120. Habib

    I hold it it to be true, still, that hippies don't cause as much havoc as fascist do.

    No we don't 'cos we're devoted to non violent direct action. At the G8 we also had the insurgent, rebel clown army who can be very funny too.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Hello everyone, just copied this from Peter Bracken on the "wadya" thread:

    "For example, whilst I cannot say categorically that oak is a better wood than pine, I can say (because the knowledge factor permits me) that oak has properties that make it more suitable than pine for building pitched roofs. The carpenter that tries to persuade me otherwise is either a cowboy or misguided or both."

    Really? Who told you that? What properties?


    "Even more complexity is involved in a qualitative judgement about the merits of, say, Catherine Cookson compared to the plays of Shakespeare. But even here objectivity is not compromised. It is still possible to arrive at truthful and untruthful judgements about the intrinsic worth of either that forbids our hiding behind some woolly and dangerous notion of relativity. In other words, it won’t do to say that ‘in my opinion the novels of Cookson are better than the plays of Shakespeare’, and let that rest as a valid, subjective judgement. On any measure that defines art – the power of its insight into the human condition, the tangle of emotions that define us, and the relationships that by turn frustrate and fulfill us – Shakespeare is infinitely superior. Again, the knowledge factor permits me to say this."

    No it doesn't. You have made a value judgement that Shakespeare is superior to Catherine Cookson based on a spurious claim to know that one is better than the other.
    That isn't a "knowledge factor", it's an opinion and one which you have every to but it's not evidence of a universal truth.

    BTW: I'm really hacked off because I can't get to the bunfight in Sheffield tomorrow but the chain reaction and domino effect of this con job by the snake oil selling charlatans is starting to bite.
    I did some work a few months ago and already the terms of payment are being stretched to the limit.
    There are people in my trade (construction) who would rather just sit at home (if they can afford it ) rather than go out to work knowing they having to wait for months to get paid or even worse risk not getting paid at all as the bankruptcies kick in.
    I've had one go bust on me already. Not their fault but I would be in Sheffield tomorrow if that job paid out.
    Welcome to the "coal face" Peter!

    ReplyDelete
  122. How will I recognise you tomorrow Sheff? Will you be carrying a rolled-up copy of the Times?

    In all likelihood I'll be wearing a red-striped polo shirt, although I don't want to clash with Hank's beret. Hoping for some sun btw, so we can get a bit of beergarden action.

    ReplyDelete
  123. chekhov

    Could you take the people who owe you money to Small Claims Court? Won,t cost you anything if you represent yourself.If you need advice on how to do it get an appointment at your Citizens Advice Bureau.Better still a Law Centre if you,re lucky enough to have access to one.In fact some Law Centres offer advice over the phone but i think only deal in theory with people who live or work in their catchment area.So you may have to lie to get advice.If you don,t want to do that the CAB should suffice.

    ReplyDelete
  124. chekhov

    Actually i think there is a fee to pay at Small Claims Court.Dunno if there are exemptions for people who can,t afford it.But the CAB should be able to clarify that for you,

    ReplyDelete
  125. chekhov

    sorry you are having the ever present 'cash flow' blues.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Would love to be able to go to Sheffield, but have to go to a wedding on Sat, and the ever-expanding Mrs is also putting her foot down.
    @ Peter Bracken. Peter, you still haven't addressed the core of what I wrote, and instead argue against an opinion I didn't put forward. I simply don't share your Panglossian view of New labour's legislative legacy. The UK is a relatively democratic free society, but one in which a framework has been erected that could be used in ever more authoritarian, tipping into totalitarian ways. This is a construction that consistently amazes Americans, for example. Why erect such a framework? I’d suggest that it’s because New labour failed to appreciate the delicacy of the balance between positive and negative liberty in a democracy, and went way,way too far down the positive liberty angle, forgetting that the edifices they created are eminently convertible to a positive liberty they didn’t envisage. That’s besides the issue of whether Labour actually had any coherent notion of liberty or were making things up on the hoof. Positive liberty can be beneficial in containable doses (eg social programmes/initiatives), but is a poor precept for criminal legislation with drastic sanctions attached affecting the entirety of a nation.

    ReplyDelete
  127. @Paul:thanks for the advice but this sort of shit is nothing new to me.
    You just have to weigh up the pros and cons.
    I took my bank to court and they coughed up 16 hundred quid to re-imburse me for unfair charges and fines. That tells you all you need to know about the banking scam.
    I still have an ongoing case under investigation by the financial ombudsman about a similar con with regard to "PPI" (payment protection insurance) which they knew fine well they wouldn't have to pay out on since I'm self-employed.
    Bastards!

    ReplyDelete
  128. "I simply don't share your Panglossian view of New labour's legislative legacy."
    ha ha, alisdair, why don't you just call him a dick, like we all do?"

    ReplyDelete
  129. Btw: if anyone else thinks they have an issue with their bank over disputed or unfair charges, check out Martin Lewis's website "Moneysavings Expert"
    You don't need any expertise either as a lawyer or a financial expert.

    ReplyDelete
  130. habib

    He is a dick isn't he? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  131. Oh. I forgot to say it doesn't cost you anything either!

    ReplyDelete
  132. chekhov

    Sounds like you know more about it than me.Think i,ll come to you for advice in future:-)

    @Hi Leni

    ReplyDelete
  133. I dunno, Jen, calling him one and saying he is one... legal issues... I guess it just depends on what we think as individuals.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Standing up in a court of law and trying to prove he is a dick would be fun, though, even if one lost.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Well good evening everyone, forgive me for feeling a tad exuberant but finally my summer holidays can begin, ie going back to looking for minimum wage jobs. Just submitted some of my OU assessments, high as a kite, I have been waiting for the 29/30th of July for ages.

    Anyway, onto serious points. Of course there were good articles today and over the past few days that I missed. Atos article, and today we had a treat of an article by Dorothy Rowe, and another one about psychiatry tonight, by a 'Freudian' as I affectionately referred to all 'psychobabblers' when I had a counsellor.

    Tomorrow a lot of you are meeting up in Sheffield. Enjoy yourselves. Now, I was thinking, for folk that cannot be in a certain place, have you ever considered talking over Skype with webcams. Obviously this site is not particularly a social hangout but seeing and talking to each other face to face might be quite fun, although of course more personal than text.

    But, anyway, enjoy yourselves the morrow.

    ReplyDelete
  136. habib

    How about if I just said 'I think he is a dick'
    nothing libellous about that.

    Nap well done for getting all your stuff off on time, enjoy your freedom.

    ReplyDelete
  137. @Paul: I don't much about anything but I do know when I'm being "taken for ride"!

    ReplyDelete
  138. Hello Nap: I was at the last bunfight in Sheffield and there was plenty of opportunity for those geographically or economically excluded to contribute in cyberspace!
    BTW: I've just finished reading "Brave New World" and "1984" back to back; not sure what my conclusion is yet but I'll post something on your blog about it soon.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Brave new world is a very good book. My blog has been a bit tumbleweedish lately- although I wrote a 'piece', well a summary really, on the issue of higher education in Britain. We have had lots of threads on universities, degrees and graduates on cif in the past few weeks- if you have read them you will know I have been active on them.

    There is also an excellent radio 4 programme by the occasion cif controbutor Sarfranz Manzoor, where he was going around interviwieng recent graduates. We had graduates in things like neuroscience wanting to work in marketing and sales- what is the fucking point of that?

    Anyway my piece deals with what I think is wrong with the growth in higher education in Britain- it is merely as a rite of passage, and creates a tiered workforce. The worst thing undoubtedly is the 'graduate jobs' bollocks. Essentially univeristies are allies of the neoliberal dystopia we are in, whether they realise it or not.

    ReplyDelete
  140. @James:

    Thanks! An explanation that even I could understand and I guess it's what I suspected the theory behind it was. The notion that employees of a private company are more efficient than government employees is just laughable.

    If I'm, say, a social worker working for a government agency or non-profit and I know that by saving my employer money, there will be more money available to provide services for the people we're trying to help -- I'm going to try to save money. However, if I'm doing the same job, trying to provide the same services, but for a profit-making corporation and I know that any savings I generate would just end up in bigger dividend checks for the stockholders -- I've got no incentive to try.

    I don't think I'm the only person whose mind works that way, either.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Montana: Yep; I don't think I'm the only person whose mind works that way either!

    ReplyDelete
  142. Montana/chekhov

    My mind ain,t working at all at the moment.So on that 'happy' note i,ll say goodnight.

    ReplyDelete
  143. @scherfig - we've had this conversation before. It's inevitable that the discussion on here will turn mostly on what's been said on Cif because that's where most of us "met up". Like it or not, the Untrusted was a forum for those who felt that their voices were silenced, momentarily or permanently, to carry on ranting into the void.

    You've said more than once that the Untrusted could be something different, something wholly independent from Cif, but you've never explained how. You've admitted that many of the posters on here are natural LibDems, and those who aren't aren't socialists worthy of the name.

    I'm not sure what purpose this place serves tbh. I recall Atomboy trying to energise people into something more worthwhile but that died a death because most of us who post on here are too old, too busy, too lazy or too distracted to do anything worthwhile.

    So, in the end, this place has become, like Cif, a place to let off steam as opposed to a forum from which the revolution will spring.

    It's a place for comfortable middle aged wadicals to kick against the pricks of Cif moderation, and kid themselves that, in doing so, they're still in touch with the less compromised ideals of their youth.

    But in the absence of anything else, that's the best we've got. It's an accommodation we all have to reach, unless we're prepared to sign up for something completely different.

    I'm open to the idea of something completely different. But the only different idea, the only approach which has really challenged the neo-liberal status quo in the last 30 years, has been the emergence of the suicide bomber.

    And that's not a coherent political strategy.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Depends Montana, in my hometown there is serious issue with council bloatedness and the general hypothesis (by those better versed in economics/accounting than you or me) is that using private sector for contracts and one off comissions, like IT, would be vastly cheaper.

    Of course this is a remote island of Scotland where community spirit is strong, private sector represents indivudals and small family businesses, not faceless entities like stab in the back corporate America, but still.

    ReplyDelete
  145. "But the only different idea, the only approach which has really challenged the neo-liberal status quo in the last 30 years, has been the emergence of the suicide bomber.

    And that's not a coherent political strategy."

    Should have added -

    And that's the real challenge facing the Left these days. How is it possible to confront the neo-liberal ascendancy in politics, finance and the media?

    In the era of free movement of capital, offshoring of labour, anti-union legislation and the hijacking of working class parties by fascists or by middle class single-issue fanatics, how is it possible to confront an enemy which has a far more coherent and appealing message - "selfishness works for me".

    ReplyDelete
  146. Well the ATOS thread is still rumbling on, with yet more harrowing testimony coming in .It's getting close to the bone with more and more people calling for an investigation of ATOS. One particularly good post about BONUSES for doctors failing applicants...

    NOW that could be very profitable indeed . And when I say 'profitable ' I'm refering to the Hypocratic Oath and the GMC -- General Medical Council.

    Doctors obeying orders reminds me of Dr Mengele ...

    I'm hoping that all you celebrationists tomorrow night will not talk too much about bloody football or the intricacies of popmusak , and have some time left over for praktical political positive creative thinking !

    XXX!

    ReplyDelete
  147. @Hank: So what do we do, short of mixing "Molotov Cocktails"?
    We all know we have been stitched up!
    When does the "tipping point" come?

    ReplyDelete
  148. @James/Montana/Charles - you're all over-complicating the issue.

    Contracting out is not efficient, and the private sector is not, by definition, more efficient than the public provider. But...

    ...and here's the really simple bit...

    ...the privatisation of public services is the most useful conduit by which to legally redistribute wealth upwards.

    Those who talk of "inefficiency" or of "bloated" public sectors are either gullible or self-serving liars.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Interesting Hank- I have no idea. Violence, doe not work.

    I think realistically, the UK will simply break up. The neoliberal ideologues tend to be southern based. Scotland and Wales have strong national identities and could use these as a base to form a coherent identity an body politic to reject neoliberalism. God knows about the English provinces though.

    I used to be hostile to Scottish independance. Now I reluctantly am open to it, based simply on the fact that it would protect us from the neoliberal dystopia and be much more human centred.

    How ironic that nationalism, often considered the most hated thing by the left, could be the thing that protects the vulnerable from the train wreck of neoliberalism.

    ReplyDelete
  150. frog 2

    I too have real concerns at the role doctors and nurses working for ATOS are playing in trying to do the governments dirty work for them.And why aren,t the professional bodies representing these doctors and nurses speaking out? The irony of course is that doctors and nurses working for the NHS are the ones who are going to have to pick up the pieces for those whose claims for ESA are turned down.And whose health suffers as a result.

    @Evening Hank

    Right really have got to bugger off now!

    ReplyDelete
  151. Paul

    Many ATOS employees (part time) are also employed in NHS.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Haven't a clue, chekhov. Neither does scherfig, or anyone else on here or on the Left generally.

    The answer certainly doesn't lie in Scottish autarky, as NK is suggesting. The problem with NK's thesis is that it ignores the realities of global capitalism. For good or for ill, Scotland and Wales do not have enough natural wealth and export capacity to sustain both the "good life" that the better off expect and the welfare state that the majority have become used to.

    The only way to square the circle is to raise taxes on those in work or to cut benefits for those out of work. And in the modern era, that will lead to a Celtic flood into a more fiscally-hospitable England.

    The only answer, as I've long argued, is for international harmonisation of tax rates and the abolition of tax havens.

    And we could make a start on fairness by treating tax cheats as punitively as we do benefit cheats.

    Breaking up the cosy cartel of the Big 4 accountancy firms wouldn't hurt either. I was at a meeting the other week with a taxpayer who was being charged a grand an hour by one of the famous firms for the mediocre advice he was given for three straight hours.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Leni

    Jeez i really didn,t know that.Makes it even worse.Whatever happened to medical professionals putting the needs of their patients first?

    ReplyDelete
  154. @Hank:"fairness" as if that is ever going to happen!

    ReplyDelete
  155. You'd be surprised Hank. Scotland has an amazing tradition of granting education to all regardless of family background, and this is why Scotland has such an illustrious history of inventors and inventions (even if many had already left Scotland)and why you will find many Scottish proffesionals in England and of course all round the globe.

    Scotland may not have the resources, but it certainly has the human capital.

    frankly I agree about tax havens. Fucking bastards. Especially the channel islands. Jumped up twats. Is it the Barclay brothers that own Sark? There was an amusing story in private eye recently, I recall.
    Paying tax is a social duty. If ever (ie almost never) I got the privelige of getting a high income, of course I would pay tax.

    The proffessor plums'es and Happhazards of the world talk personally about it as if one person at the dole queue is personally robbing him of money. Jumped up twats.

    ReplyDelete
  156. Anyway, I am going to bed.

    ReplyDelete
  157. ...the privatisation of public services is the most useful conduit by which to legally redistribute wealth upwards.

    Oh, I know that that's the ultimate aim. I guess I've just never understood how they manage to make anyone else believe that it could possibly work.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Fairness is only ever likely to happen, chekhov, when people are better informed about the extent to which society is unfair.

    Unfortunately, there are very few media outlets concerned with fairness.

    And as a result, very little light is shone on the issues which might make people angry.

    For as long as Cif can run threads on the emergence of "ugly people" in the media, and fail to run discussion pieces on "nepotism" or "ugly middle class blandness and hypocrisy" in the media, comment will never be free, nor will the discussion about our future ever be truly informed and open.

    ReplyDelete
  159. @Hank: nowt to argue about there. I don't disagree with you!

    ReplyDelete
  160. Leni

    Can,t sleep.Actually feel better sitting up.When one of us is sick we tend to sleep apart so yours truly is confined to the spare room right now whilst partner and cat sleep.

    Anyway according to the latest population projections the UK population is now predicted to peak at 80 million compared to 62 million today.Making us the most populous country in Europe as the German population is projected to decline and French population growth is lower.Worst of all most of the population increase will take place in England which is already more densely population than the Netherlands.

    Can you imagine what the quality of life will be like here if these population projections turn out to be true.Plus of course the greater vulnerability of the population due to increased dependancy on food imports.At present we produce about 60% of our food but that % is declining as the population increases.

    When is there gonna be the political will to look at population control in this country.Or are we destined to become so fucking over-crowded we,ll burst.

    Methinks i,ll migrate to Ireland.As i have an Irish -born mother i automatically qualify for citizenship there.And despite their economic problems one thing the Irish Republic doesn,t lack is space.

    This country is well and truly fucked!

    ReplyDelete
  161. "I guess I've just never understood how they manage to make anyone else believe that it could possibly work."

    You think "anyone else" spends much time thinking about how it could possibly work? How many people care enough to think about it?

    That's the key to their ongoing success, and why the 0.01% of us who care enough to speak our brains on here or on Cif are wasting our fucking time.

    As I said, we're just letting off steam. None of this is ever gonna change anything.

    The best I ever hoped for was changing the minds of a few idiot trolls on Cif or exposing the hypocrisy of the middle class liberals above the line posing as radicals.

    As you're well aware, I got banned for exposing the hypocrisy of Cif. And as for changing the minds of the idiot trolls, I haven't bothered with a new alias since Election Day.

    The question scherfig posed was, in a nutshell, what's the point of the Untrusted.

    The bigger question is, what's the point of any online discussion anymore?

    ReplyDelete
  162. Good point Hank: there must be millions of websites all over the world just like this one whose participants think they can take over the World because they have access to the Internet.
    TBh none of us knows how the Internet will pan out!

    ReplyDelete
  163. Hank,

    I do sometimes, maybe, get the impression that things are, perhaps, changing.
    Possibly!?

    There seems to be more and more people willing to stand up against the 'consensus' or conventional wisdom, and, importantly, they're reaching a wider, more receptive audience.

    Neo-liberal, Chicago school, Washington consensus type shitethink has been effectively and eloquently rebuked by an increasingly vocal and prominent group of scholars, authors and, sometimes, journalists.

    Obviously, it's not nearly enough, but it's arguably a better start.

    Also, the political and economic left here in Latin America is, at least to some extent, providing a potential point of hope/optimism....

    Maybe....

    ReplyDelete
  164. Hank

    No small discussion group - IRLr on line - will change the world. Very few realise the challenge faced by millions. They are unaware of let alone comprehend the forces that control us. Most settle for the best they can manage within the existing system.

    we all settle for it to some extent simply because we have to go on living. We may see the flaws, the narrowing horizons but we can do little other than vent our ange and frustration.

    Power structures develop and transmute, social and economic analyses which are pertinent in one age are irrelevant in the next.

    apart from recognising that top down power structurs have always existed - and complaining about them - nothing in terms of real change has ever happened. We no longer burn people on bonfires but we still kill them slowly - all their - and our own - hopes and ambitions.

    Different system have been attempted but always the few have risen to the top dragging wealth and power with them.

    The most we can do is try to stop the worst excesses damaging the most vulnerable and helping those we can see and touch. The rest is theory.

    Within our work areas, where we may have a little influence, we can try to change some things from within. Even there we may be but passing influences or fail completely.

    Waste of time or otherwise - i feel the need to at least speak out - even when I know it is shouting into the abyss. My own humanity and sense of my own frailty and that of others demands it of me.

    Perhaps I am a fool - who knows ?

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  165. Does there have to be a point? What's wrong with people just enjoying each other's company -- even if it is online rather than face-to-face?

    Anyone who doesn't like the site is free to stop reading & posting here. If it turns out that everyone stops reading & posting after awhile, them's the breaks. The place has already had a decent run, as far as I'm concerned. I'd miss people. I'd hope that I'd maintain friendships with at least some of the people here -- but I couldn't possibly feel disappointed that the place somehow didn't fulfill an important role in my life at exactly the time when I needed it.

    What's wrong with that? Why isn't that enough?

    ReplyDelete
  166. Paul

    I have seen varius population forecasts. I am always reluctant to get into the Malthusian argument because it inevitably gets into the reproduction rates of various groups deemed unworthy.

    It becomes like Crufts or bloodline discussions around what constitutes a full Arabian horse. SElective breeding for worthwhile characteristics. We call it eugenics.

    There is a discussion around the human carrying capacity of Britain - I see it more in terms of how we provide for people rather than how can we stop people having more children.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Montana

    Chatting to people, discussing all sorts and everything, music and silliness. All part of life. Thee is nothing wrong with the site. I/m happy here.

    I don't think anybody really expected to change th world. That would be somewhat arrogant I think.

    ReplyDelete
  168. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  169. James

    The change will come as a result of a shift in control of energy resources. Let's be honest, that's been at the heart of every single international crisis since the fall of Saigon.

    In the early 70s, and especially after the "oil shock" arising from the Yom Kippur War and the muscle-flexing of OPEC, Kissinger and Brzezinski realised that the great threat to the hegemony of American capitalism wasn't communism so much as the dependence of the Western way of life on oil, which is why the theatre of war shifted to the Middle East.

    That explains in part why we are no longer at war with Eastasia and have never been at war with Eastasia. Eurasia is our enemy and has always been our enemy.

    More pertinently, as far as your point is concerned, there is a real chance that the likes of Chavez and Morales can exploit their mineral wealth for all it's worth.

    And, let's hope, they can exploit it for the good of the people they represent, rather than, as the Arab sheikhs did, use it for the enrichment of a tiny elite in both the Gulf and in Texas.

    So, globally, there's a good chance that your optimistic outlook will be borne out.

    As for the UK, the time has passed, the money has been offshored, the communities have been gated, and there are no credible and legal vehicles to protest against that or to redress the position.

    The damage has been done here, and I think it's pretty much irretrievable unless something extraordinary happens.

    ReplyDelete
  170. James

    if a fairer and more distributive system can take hold it may reach a position where it can challenge the older , more deeply ingrained power systems. If the economic initiative falls to them they have the same choices the powerful nations have always had.

    They can either be supportive of all nations or develope their economies to their own advantage by exploiting others.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Leni

    Fair enough.But if we agree that any substantial increase in population is likely to have more negative than positive effects then don,t we need to face up to that.And don,t we need to have a debate as to what the optimum population of this country should be.And of course how we achieve and maintain it at that optimum level.

    ReplyDelete
  172. Hank and Leni

    I'd really like to respond to your comments in more detail than an iPod/fat fingers/dodgy wireless combination will allow, so if it's ok, I'll do so tomorrow when I'm on a proper computer.

    Apologies, but it would literally take me hours using this....

    Goodnight (all)...

    ReplyDelete
  173. @Montana

    "Does there have to be a point?"

    Well, yeh, I always thought that there was a point to this place initially. We might disagree about what the point was, and I know that you set it up as a place where you could carry on conversations which were cut short by Cif when you wanted those debates to carry on.

    That's a point, isn't it?

    If you thought that this was just a place to "enjoy each other's company", why were you complicit in purging this site of those who were happy to enjoy your company talking about shopping and opera and had no interest in left-liberal politics?

    FWIW, I like this site. I like what it's become. But part of the reason why it's a worthwhile site is because the likes of scherfig, and MF, and me, have challenged people from time to time, have asked what this site was meant to be for, have chased away the airheads and have attracted the more interesting posters.

    There's a bone for the little terriers to gnaw on.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Paul

    Yes there is a discussion there - however as Britain slowly sinks below the waves and jobs disappear there will be fewer people wanting to come here and more wanting to leave.

    Already the move tostop nonEU immigrants has been condemned by employers as we are not producing enough people educated and able to work in the desired aeas.
    It is a very complex debate. Not just about numbers - it is about education, drection we are taking socially and politically, how much food we can produce and a myriad other things.

    Anyway - it's past my bed time.

    Nightynight x

    ReplyDelete
  175. PeterBracken: "Government, by definition, restricts our actions..."

    Stupid. How the hell was the right to vote gradually extended other than by government? Whose actions did those government measures restrict? If nobody's, then explain your reasoning, Bracken Minor.

    PeterBracken: "Name me a freedom extant 800 years ago that does not prevail today."

    The rule of thumb. A freedom for wife-beating husbands.

    Not to mention serfdom, or droit-de-seigneur. Both of which were freedoms of the rich and powerful to exploit the poor and weak.

    You're an idiot, Bracken. A privately-educated New Labour idiot who would struggle to find a street corner to beg on if you had to live by the dogma you preach.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Complicit in a purge? Kiz and Bru left of their own volition. How could I be complicit in something that never happened?

    And I don't see any little terriers here, myself. But maybe that's because the view is being blocked by a couple of massive egos that seem to believe that the place couldn't carry on without their antagonism.

    ReplyDelete