31 July 2010


Four Planet Sunset - Jia Hao

A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.

-Gian Vincenzo Gravina


  1. Meh. This is too early to be up on a Saturday.

    Off to have a look at what everyone got up to last night....

  2. What? No reports from Sheffield? That's not on!

  3. Morning all - hope the meet-up went well!
    And hello Tascia.
    And sorry to hear about the job, Turminder - meh. Best of luck with continuing search...

    Someone yesterday mentioned 'Nu-Tory' (frog2?) which made me think of 'nugatory', a word I've always liked, mainly because it implies a connect with nougat, but wasn't sure what it meant. So checked with Penguin, and he says "trifling, inconsequential, invalid or inoperative". Which does seem to some them up in the greater scheme of things.

    Your grace - after your sterling efforts to bring attention to issues with the history curriculum, I was wracking my brains why 'Niall Ferguson' sounded familiar. Checked the unread shelf, and I've got a copy of 'Empire' in there. Think what people have said about him so far means that I will leave that there, then. Possibly use it to prop up a table leg or something. Ah well...

  4. Oh Christ, the Feminista people are on Today - the summer school people what had a plug on CIF in the week...may have to switch to Radio3 for a bit...

    4 visitors from Portugal? How many of us are on holiday, exactly?

  5. primary issues for feminism today - a handy checklist
    - sex
    - work
    - money
    - power
    (or, as the other interviewee pointed out, "things we're all concerned with")

  6. ...get the feeling I might be the only person up...

  7. Morning Philippa.

    Had a really good time yesterday evening. princess dropped in to say hello, and so did deano + Mungo. sheff will post the obligatory photo later, I imagine.

    I wimped out sometime after 11, leaving hank, monkeyfish and speedkermit debating cinematography. Or something.

  8. Mungo came too! Love dogs in pubs. Was in Sound Station yesterday, watching DB's band, and there was a proper Churchill dog (huuuuuge paws) and a rather svelte female hound, and dear old Churchill was clearly very smitten. When hound and owner departed, he was left gazing adoringly after them for a full ten minutes, and then retired sadly under a table to contemplate lost love. Or sausages, possibly.

    Looking forward to pictures.

  9. What, I missed meeting Mungo as well? Bah.

  10. Mornin all, bit hungover here... Our local has a regular pack of dogs, Ash the lab, Willow the spaniel & Jabba (57 varieties) are the stalwarts. I'd like a dog for the company, but have enough trouble looking after myself and the cat...

  11. Morning thauma.

    Missed you & BW last night. Let's hope the September thing works out. sheff, princess & me are planning to meet up soon, so looking forward to that.

    Mungo is fab, you'll love him.


    Caught the feminism discussion on R4. Still a very middle class pov from the more prominent feminists. Much as I like Kat Banyard, I wish she'd remember the 'ordinary' women who do mundane, low or unpaid work & don't have time to get involved in feminist groups.

  12. Morning....photo from the meet up in the gallery.

    Sorry to hear about the job turm and I'll join you with that hangover. Don't normally down the gin with quite the gusto i did last night.

    Although we failed to hit on a plan to save the world there was an interesting conversation about the relative merits of Raging Bull - Hank and Monkeyfish did not agree. No fights broke out. SpeedKermit is a very decent human being and Mungo a true gent. Everyone on good form.

  13. turminder - my local has canine habitues so loyal that when one of them got separated from owner in town the other day, he didn't go home, but came to the pub, where he was properly fussed over, given water and ham, and could wait in comfort for owner to turn up.

    he's a white spitz (short haired and the size of a lab, not one of the cute fluffy little ones) and veeeery distinguished looking. bit wolfy. very fond of ham.

  14. much as i love the super furries, i think that booking gryff rhys to appear on the radio in the morning is a bad idea...

  15. Glad you boozers had a good time, ( so did i !)and hope everyone got home safely ?

  16. Morning all,

    decided not to take a pill, I had an important darts match last night which we won.

    Philippa- Ferguson's "Empire" is a classic example of Ferguson's use of counter-factual history. His whole thesis lies on the fact that the British Empire was a good thing because the alternatives were worse.

    Therefore it was worth it to have the British Empire. He never asks if it was wrong to colonise people and argues that the British Empire was a good thing because 1. The British were excellent administrators and 2. The British are essentially good people.

    He then makes direct comparisons between the British Empire and contemporary US foreign policy believeving the the US meddling in world affairs is a good thing because Americans are fundamentally good just like the British were.

    He develops this in his next book 'Collosus' where he makes explicit in his introduction:

    "Unlike most of the previous writers who have remarked on this, I have no objection in principle to an American empire. Indeed, a part of my argument is that many parts of the world would benefit from a period of American rule."

    In essence, Ferguson's defence of the British Empire is a defence of contemporary neo-con foreign policy.

    And as usual with a Ferguson book his historical research is suspect, hanging a thesis on one event or individual whilst ignoring any evidence which undermines his thesis.

    I don't have a problem with Ferguson having a role to play in the rewriting of the History curriculum. It's the fact he's doing it singlehandedly which makes it an anti-intellectual, ideologically driven appointment. There is no alternative view to be had which is what History should be about- thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

    And funnily enough, the only two Historians to have come out supporting Ferguson's appointment is the other two Historian Thatcherite wingnuts, Andrew Roberts and Simon Schama.

  17. Thanxfor the good wishes all. It was a shit job, but I was kinda banking on the FT income, I really don't want to stand behind a bar again... Your doggy tale sounds like an arty french film Phillipa : ) I wonder if we could get funding to work it up to a concept?

  18. Absolutely your 13th-ness, what could possibly be wrong with this?

  19. your grace - opened it at random and ended up at 'mathematical' justification for race distinction theory. now, while i realise that he was dealing with thinking as it was then, there didn't seem to be any real contextualisation there...

    turminder - heheheh. are you thinking 'dog loses owner, tours all his favourite haunts, witnessing a series of small dramas, thus giving us an insight into the human condition'?

    A la recherche du chien perdu?

  20. Hey turminder, meant to say sorry about the job. Better luck next time.

  21. frog

    Thanks for that FT article. Reminded me of how intensely grateful I am for having the NHS (despite it's imperfections), and what it'll we like if we lose it.

    I'm having an endoscopy on Monday. It was efficiently and quickly arranged by my GP and not a penny shelled out by me, or any anxieties about how I might pay for it or any subsequent treatment in the future.

    The idea that you could be one illness/accident away from bankruptcy and losing your home is appalling.

    The American Dream - definitely more of a fitful reverie, if that these days

  22. keeping things crossed for Monday, Sheff. always strikes me that there's quite enough anxiety about med tests without having to throw in the fear of how to pay for it as well...

  23. Pixie -- same here in spades for the frog health system . I'm grateful every day for what they did for me.

    My old Ma always wanted me to emigrate to NZ, but last year she said she was glad I hadn't because their NHS has gone down the pan and I'd have had nothing like the help here.

    The 'Draconian' ATOS thread is still going, but now hidden away ... link at WADDDYA, but I see there's an editorial and article on IDS, so the pagehitcounters are happy .

  24. Love it Philippa! B&W natch. Good luck on monday Sheff. Blowing my last pennies on day trip to Embra. Have a good 1 peeps. P x

  25. Nice little piece on cif Off with their graciousness which most posters seemed to have missed the point of.

  26. grrrr, coloc moving out mid august, have to fight with french flatshare website...just when i'd got job situation working so that + rent would see me right...

  27. Morning all

    @sheff-like philippa i,ll be keeping everything crossed for you on monday x

    Occurred to me that as the deskilling of the working classes of Britain continues apace it will only be a matter of time before the toffs start suggesting a return to Domestic Service for those of us 'who should know our place in society'.Could certainly provide a few opportunities for those 'below stairs' to get their own back on those 'above stairs'.For instance i know that if i was reduced to putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush for some bloke that toothbrush would certainly be getting a few 'intimate' little extras from me.

    Enjoy the weekend UT ers!

  28. This film should be worth seeing when it comes out in November

    The Kingdom of Survival

  29. Ferguson is an excellent historian. If you think he became professor of History at Harvard without being one, you're clearly letting prejudice occlude judgement.

    Empire is a superb piece of historical synthesis whether you agree with its conclusions or not.

    And this neo-con charge is just too tedious, as if the label neo-con by itself was alone sufficient to discredit Ferguson. Just because Hobsbawm is a Marxist historian doesn't deny him the insights of a legitimate scholar.

    The assumptions that pass for intelligence on this website are too often borderline infantile. And your diatribes against Ferguson, Duke, are decidedly the wrong side of it.

  30. Hope everyone enjoyed myself. I am a bit sluggish. Anyway, I have topped my record for alcohol consumption... one bottle of wine over 3 days- yes that is how much of a lightweight I am.

    Paul and other- the best thin for linking is to use Cif, use the comment box, do the linkery and then copy it out here. It saves typing out the link code, which has a very high certainty of making an error.

    Lazy and miserable (weather) Saturday for me today

  31. Nice one, Paul!

    Sheff - atb on Monday.

  32. Sorry about the outcome turm, perhaps in the best tradition something even better will turn up soon. I hope so friend.

    A warm welcome to the recent lurkers turned posters of the last few days - UT is, for 99% of the time a civilised place to hang out. I hope you enjoy it here as much as most of us do. - If you have a gentle/delicate disposition the secret when the ranting gets too intense is to tune out and return when the smoke and heat has dissipated. Alternatively just join in and rant right back.

    Crisis for America's middle class - Frog's recommended (above) article on the American Dream/Nightmare in the FT is well worth the read.

    A great pity that the FT is so tight fisted with the free access but then their advertisers don't really want the likes of us tuning in.

    ( I once saw a bathtub for £40,000 (taps and plumbing extra) advertised in its Sat magazine. True it was hewn from a a massive piece of solid granite and polished to perfection but £40k? - I suppose that it could have been that I failed to read the small print - perhaps you got a free sex partner to shag in it or they had to reinforce the floor to hold the weight).

    It's official - Hank (notwithstanding his occasional departures from reality) has the potential to develop into a civilised human being......one day. How can I be certain?

    Mungo didn't piss on his shoe (which is always a good sign).

    Sadly I could only stay for an hour or so last night at the Rutland, but it was time well spent and I much enjoyed meeting Scorpio and Fish and our newer UT poster Kermit. They are all accomplished drinkers and lively, informed and friendly company. Who could ask for more?

    It was a delight to see Sheff/Chin/PCC again and I look forward to the next gathering whenever/wherever it might be.

    If all the above, together with thauma/A42/BW/Chekhov (who I met at the last thrash,) were regulars down at my local I think I would be down there all the time. You really do meet some interesting and lively folk on UT.

    One day we all hope that our great hostess Montana will be able to join us. You keep a fine hostelry young miss. It translates from the cyber really well much much better that I would have expected!

    Thus a weekend toast - "here's to UT and all who call by to read, write and rant here"

    Boudican I'm still hoping that you make it over in 2011 I'm looking forward to a meet with you and turm and others in the Border regions.

    (as well being a mostly spo

  33. PeterB

    The assumptions that pass for intelligence on this website are too often borderline infantile.

    I haven't read Ferguson so I can't comment on what kind of historian he is. What I can comment on though, is that whilst His Grace describes/gives reasons why he doesn't rate him you only offer abuse like the above and make no attempt to give a substantive answer. But then, how often do you ever offer substantive replies to those who disagree with you?

  34. (as well being a mostly spo....?????? WTF.

    Hope it goes well on Monday Sheff - you should perhaps rest the gargling with gin for a day or two.


  35. he..he..he.. - keep linking Paul!

  36. Thanks all for good wishes re the endoscopy. I don't think it's anything very serious. Just the result of a lifetimes smoking, drinking and scoffing good food. Result: acid reflux, which is a pain but not life threatening.


    Great to see you and the beast; and yes, you're right about UTers in the flesh - good company all.

  37. Peter B - 'The assumptions that pass for intelligence on this website are too often borderline infantile.'

    Definitely, in my case! :o)

    Hope everyone had a good time last night. Anyone further south fancy meeting up? Getting jealous now!
    Beat wishes for Monday, Sheff.

  38. Peter

    I have always found - online and IRL - the trick is never to claim to be intelligent. This way my stupidity can never be used against me - merely accepted as part of me .

  39. What, sheffpixie, you mean the non-abuse that informs comments like this?

    '"Monsieur, with this hilarious display of unaware ignorance you are really spoiling us"

    Please keep it up.'

    The difference between us is that I don't bleat about the opprobrium heaped on me.

    Your heightened sense of grievance is an ineluctable feature of the precious solidarity that yet fails hopelessly to disguise the collective fantasy that is The Untrusted.

  40. Morning all...


    I'm sure it was quite infantile and/or stoopid, but I responded to some of the (rather simplistic and, in my view, wrong) claims you made yesterday.

    Now, you may have missed it then, but care to set me straight now??

  41. Peter,

    Yet again you tell me Ferguson is an excellent Historian and that my ‘intelligence is borderline infantile’ yet you bring no evidence up to support your claim.

    I’ve given various evidence and opinion as to why I think Ferguson is a poor choice to be put in charge of rewriting the History curriculum alone and yet you miss my point- I never said Ferguson should not have a role to play in rewriting the History curriculum, I said it is wrong that he should be allowed to do it alone.

    We only have to look at Ferguson’s own writings and opinions to realize that his world view is in keeping with the ideology of Britain’s present administration.

    As Ferguson writes in “Colossus” his History of US imperialism he says and I quote:

    “The decline and fall of America’s undeclared empire may be due not to terrorists at the gates or to the rogue regimes that sponsor them, but to a fiscal crisis of the welfare state at home”

    There we have it. If the US must be more successful as an Imperial power, they have to cut welfare at home, the American poor are to blame for the disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Very much in keeping with this Governments policy of ‘undeserving poor’ and benefit cuts.

    Ferguson is an apologist for Imperialism. How can he be anything else when he says:

    "Unlike most of the previous writers who have remarked on this, I have no objection in principle to an American empire. Indeed, a part of my argument is that many parts of the world would benefit from a period of American rule."'

    It runs all the way through his body of work. From arguing that if Britain had not got involved in WWI, Europe would have found her place in the sun under the benevolent eyes of the British Empire and Wilhelmite Germany to arguing that Douglas McArthur should have been allowed to us atomic weapons against China and North Korea in 1951, he believes the British and US empires were not ruthless enough and that they were and are a force for good.

    But here’s the central point which you have failed to acknowledge. I never said Ferguson should not have a part to play in rewriting the History curriculum, I say he should be one of many.

    His Historical viewpoint is one in chime with this current administration- I say dangerous, you say great. That's fine, I have no problem with different viewpoints.

    History becomes dangerous when only one viewpoint is taught and is nothing more than an ideologically driven policy designed to mould impressionable minds. This is why this appointment is dangerous and anti-intellectual.

    So, I will put the question to you again Peter that you didn’t answer two weeks ago. Do you think allowing Niall Ferguson should be allowed single handedly to write the History curriculum? Or like me, the curriculum should be written by a number of Historians to ensure balance, fairness and synthesis?

    And apologies if you feel the question is infantile.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Nugatory ?

    Hi Deano -- the FT does have such a lot of good stuff that I've even considered subscribing...

  44. And please don't come the injured party over "abuse".

    On WADYYA the other day you tried to take the piss over my use of Aristotelian-Marxist dialectical materialist conception of Historical progress.

    With this post you either didn't know what I meant or did know what I meant.

    If you did know what it means then your post was a cheap attempt to get recommends and take the piss which is a shame because I've never had an issue with you really.

    If you didn't know what it meant why did you not ask what it meant rather than try to score cheap points?

    Why is it ok for you to dish it out but not have to take it?

  45. PeterB

    The difference between us is that I don't bleat about the opprobrium heaped on me.

    No one's bleating - but you've done it again!! and proved my point about your failure to respond substantively. I would be interested to hear a rebuttal from you, of His Grace's observations about Ferguson and why he doesn't rate him.

    Simply stating he's a Harvard prof really doesn't cut it. You say he is a great historian. So tell me why you think that. Lets hear something original from you.

  46. your grace - will probably end up reading the book (need historical background for booky purposes) but will bear your comments in mind.

    and completely agree that the curriculum should not be in the hands of one historian (scientist, lit expert, philosopher etc), even if that one was one I agreed with.

  47. I,m like a kid with a new toy! Not sure where the last one went so i,ll try and re post it later.

  48. ooh, tom holland on AQs next week! now there's a historian am very fond of...

  49. Perhaps 'doesn't rate him' is wrong - but doesn't think he should be in sole possession of the national history curriculum.

    and completely agree that the curriculum should not be in the hands of one historian (scientist, lit expert, philosopher etc), even if that one was one I agreed with.

    Agree Phillipa

  50. Honestly, Duke, Sheff...I don't know why you bother. Would you attempt to have a productive discussion of anarcho-syndicalism with your hamster?

    You can't even get the mealy-mouthed PB (Mr. Truth, Justice and the American Way of Torture) to confirm (or deny) that he's the same PB convicted of insider trading and fined £15 grand. Mind you, his unwillingness to answer is an answer in itself, isn't it? Of course he is. How very New Labour.

    Face it: the man's a shyster, a crook and a neo-liberal shill. Ignore him.

    BTW, the vile Alan Dershowitz is a Harvard Professor (Law School) as well. So what? He's still an unspeakable, amoral shit. Presumably, Bracken thinks Harvard is not quite of this world. A place of ethereal and unbiased judgements.

    Believe me, it is as petty and spiteful an arena of small minds and damaged personalities as...oh, I dunno...the world of equities trading. And unlike Bracken I actually know what I'm talking about...(vis a vis Harvard).

  51. Gandolpho

    Have you heard of this Italian campaigning org? The Everyone Group. They were really helpful when we were campaigning for an Iranian asylum seeker a couple of years ago.

  52. It was great seeing all last night even if only for an hour. Loveky to meet Hank and Monkeyfish - two great posters - and great to meet if only briefly SK. Of course the honour of the evening goes to meeting Mungo! What a gent.

    I feel bad however as I have to warn you all I think I have the flu. When I went to docs yesterday she told me that I had worsened allergies and that my asthma was playing up and prescribed a different inhaler. I often feel 'fluey' anyway so just thought my ME was playing up and hard worse asthma - hence the cough.

    About two hours after getting in I just went really ill - have a temperature and my nose, eyes streaming and every single bit of my body hurting. Plus getting really scary palpitations everytime I move. Anyway a friend rang this morning that I saw a few days ago and she is the same and has been told is probs the flu. I wouldn't have come out if I thought I was infectious rather than just feeling crap as usual. Maybe some vit C and echinachea is in order for those who came along!

    Sheff - good luck on monday let us know how it goes.

  53. princess

    Sorry you,re not feeling well.Sounds like you,ve got the same bug as me.Mine has begun to ease a bit so hopefully you,ll be in 'recovery mode' in a few days.Take care :-)

  54. Hi Princess - just saw you at ATOS , is that oldestrocker 100% troll, or some possible explanation of him ?

    Hope you can get that flu under control fast XX

  55. But I'm not coming the injured party over abuse, Duke; that's my point. I take it, I give it. End of.

    As to your question vis Ferguson. No, I don't think any single person should be the arbiter of schools' history curriculum. And I'd be surprised if that was the case. I'll do some digging and get back, if I may.

    alias aka alias artfarmer: I'm confronted with skunk's questions such as yours daily on CiF. Forgive me if I can't abide noxious the stench.

    Still, I may be obliged to corroborate your view of Harvard as a petty, spiteful arena of small minds and damaged personalities if you're a graduate of it.

  56. poor princess! hope you feel better soon...

    (Paul - you better? hope so)

  57. princess

    Sorry to hear about the flu....just what you don't need at the moment!! Take care and will email soon.

  58. Sheff - could luck for Monday - I've two of those it was fine and everything was deemed to be OK.

    Good luck with yours, you so right its enough worrying about the proceedure without having to worry about the bill!

  59. Sympathies to all sick and injured comrades. What would we do without the NHS?

    My Grandad paid into the penny in the pound scheme - I don't know much about it. What happened to the Friendly Societies ? Eaten up by the banks. The history of the people who struggled towards a better world is being dismissed and submerged beneath a new narrative. No - not a new one - but the rebirth of the ancient demonisation of the poor.

    There is a twisting of the idea of entitlement which says this yet again belongs to the few to the detriment of the many.

    This cold hearted approach to suffering will create further divisions and alienation - something the self satisfied, smug and self seeking are either too stupid or too greedy to recognise.

    The battering ram of my patience is weakening - I feel a last attempt shriek of fury coming on.

  60. A clip of my much older deranged sister having a right old go at Habib,s much younger brother after catching him having a cheeky fag in a no-smoking zone.

  61. Hope you're feeling better when you read this, Princess.

    Have just finished work - total disaster - more tomorrow, which wasn't in the original plan.

    (I hasten to add that my bit works perfectly!)

    Having lived under the nightmare of US "health care", I very much sympathise with anyone who has to. As someone said, the last thing you need when you're sick is worrying about the bills. An ambulance ride costs $1000s, let alone what happens after that.

    I could tell a horror story or two - one in particular is very, very bad; the worst - but I won't drag you all down on the weekend.

  62. That's a class clip Paul - I loved it. She is a fucking star.

    I think strong ladies with a convinced POV are pure gold. I'd love to see the lady given the microphone and allowed to challenge Clegg/Cameron on matters of concern. I'm sure they'd only agree to appear if they were allowed brown trousers.

    Hope the nasty responds to a glass of something agreeable PCC. BTW it's a definite promise - I'll be delighted to stand you and your fine fellow of a husband a lunch in my local if you pass this way on your hol's. Drop me an email via Montana when your ready.

    If perchance it's too far South of your planned route/destination to call in I could always take Mungo for a seaside hike and swim and drop in and stand you both some fine east coast fish and chips when you get to your resort.

    "the FT does have such a lot of good stuff that I've even considered subscribing..." - me too frog. I often buy the Saturday edition it provides good reading.

    If Bracken were a decent sort he would give UT access to his subscription password/details.......and then we could all perhaps read for free.

  63. Hello everyone: just parking this, in case anyone missed it from the Iain Duncan Smith thread.
    Posted by "Roma"

    This is totally insane. The man is possessed. I am amazed that the author of the article considers that Ian Duncan Smith has a good grasp of poverty. He certainly doesn't understand anything or wish to consider the state of the current labour market !!!!

    I am educated to Doctoral level with 10 years professional experience, I am unemployed and cannot despite sustained efforts find employment.. I am applying for a wide range of positions having considered different avenues and strategies using my transferable knowledge and skills... Some jobs are contracts for work as short as 2 months... I cannot get a job. I was referred to Flexible New Deal after 12 months which is a complete waste of resources. Totally... The 'adviser' has nothing to offer. So I basically sign on at Job Centre Plus and simply sign on with the Flexible New Deal provider. Another 6 months has gone by watched over by FND. It is obvious that barriers to returning to work are a lot more complex and even not just an issue of formal education and skills!!

    I have sent my CV to two of the Tories speaking in favour of these reforms. I can assure you that nobody addressed or responded to my questions !!!
    This is basically a repressive, punitive regime. It will put the sick and disabled under tremendous pressure.

    No-one considers that low pay is what enables companies to make profits and maintaining a downward pressure on wages, helps them increase or maintain their profits. This is what we are protecting. Who care about ordinary people!!! Tax payers' money is subsidizing profits via benefit payments (such as tax credits). This COMPENSATE for the fact that working people are not being paid a living wage by companies who are making money from their work... . You have to look at this differently.

    This system is bankrupt indeed, because it is one that is making a clear choice to protect privilege, wealth creation for the fiew (and wait for a few years we will revisit statistics on poverty, growing inequalities!!!), by penalising and stripping working people bare, making them pay in every possible way for the mess left in the trail of the disaster of having to bail out the banks. We are being given a system of 'conditionality' for entitlement to welfare to make sure that those who have lost their jobs accept breadline wages. It is all about SANCTIONS and SAVINGS... not carrots.. Just a bunch of sticks.

    Benefit subsidies have been growing to maintain low wages compared to rising cost of living (partly through speculative property prices).. in order to enable private sector companies to continue to make and increase profit growth.... But this is not sustainable indeed!!! We cannot continue to finance a welfare system, that takes on the responsibility for the remnants of former layers of structural unemployment (some dating back for the 80s)...translated into generational deprivation...

    So what has Ian Duncan Smith come up with to remedy to the mounting cost of subsidies to compensate for low wages and mounting cost of living for the workforce... and the cost of the historical legacy of impoverished communities..... well sanctions.......... a system of 'conditionality' ...... The master piece!!! ........ put pressure on this work shy, lazy people who have lost touch with the 'work ethic' ... Industry needs a low waged, flexible workforce prepared to work even a few hours a week. It is a fine balancing act indeed. We cannot 'starve them too much'.. They might just rebel indeed. And we need to save now to pay back for the mess left by the financial sector!.....Caring capitalism indeed!! An massive ideological and political fraud, a disgrace and insult to people's intelligence.

    Have to send in two parts (max 4,096 characters apparently)

  64. Can't copy the last couple of paras for some reason. I'll have another go later.

  65. Now they are attacking Farm workers - scrapping the wages board.

    Who next I wonder. The cobblers and key cutters have so far escaped their notice.

  66. Peter,

    No, I don't think any single person should be the arbiter of schools' history curriculum. And I'd be surprised if that was the case. I'll do some digging and get back, if I may.

    Excellent, a convergence of views. So much for the infantile level of debate on here then...

    I erroneously said Ferguson was single handedly reviewing the History curriculum- he's actually being helped by Andrew Roberts, Schama and Sebag-Montefiore which means the History curriculum will reflect a whole rainbow of political colours ranging from Conservative via hard right to swivel eyed hard right.

    As Gove himself says, he's a traditionalist, Britain's History should be celebrated and that:

    “Guilt about Britain’s past is misplaced.”

    Absolutely. So we already have the agenda. The Education Secretary has made it explicit that Britain's imperial role was a positive thing.

    And there was me thinking that History was not 'a celebration' but a study of the legacy of the past.

    Gove's agenda is in safe hands with Ferguson and Roberts.

    Ferguson never stops highlighting the disastrous agrarian policies of Stalin and Mao that killed millions (he had a whole Ch4 series on it) yet curiously Britain's policy of mass starvation of Indians from the 1870's to 1890's is merely termed by Ferguson a "drawback".

    If we are talking crude numbers, then the 29 million killed in India by mass starvation under British rule certainly puts Britain up there with Stalin and Mao.

    The great famines began due to natural conditions but it is the British reaction that is key. The laissez faire economic policy followed by Britain in India meant that even at the height of famine, Lord Lytton, the Viceroy said that the grain supply from India to Britain must continue, by force if necessary.

    Lytton then declared all relief efforts illegal. During the mass famines an English journalist, William Digby, who witnessed it first hand said:

    “the part played by the British empire in the nineteenth century is regarded by the historian fifty years hence, the unnecessary deaths of millions of Indians would be its principal and most notorious monument.”

    Yet this entire period gets six lines in "Empire" whilst Ferguson presents an entire channel 4 series on the horros of 20th Century totalitarianism!

    If the agrarian policies of the USSR and China caused the deaths of millions, the economic and laissez faire policies of the British Empire led the way in producing millions of corpses.

    And Britain's per capita output increased 347% in its time in India whilst India's per capita stayed static.

    The benefits of empire right enough Mr Gove and Ferguson.

    As for Roberts, well I can leave that for another time.

    Sorry to bore everyone but it's a dreadful decision to allow Children to be brainwashed imperialist bollocks.

  67. Last bit, from above:

    The prospect for a return to anything near like full-employment is pretty slim currently given the budget cuts and the risk of a double-dip depression. Job losses are quite clearly inevitable on a pretty grand scale. This is perverse.

    How can the public be prepared to buy into this brainwashing and repressive reactionary government? The analysis doesn't even hold. The contradictions are endless that reveals their true purpose.

    How can you say that this man understand anything to poverty when the government he belongs to, is just about to create another layer of structural unemployment, by laying off a vast number of civil servants... All these people are unlikely to be absorbed by some hypothetical miraculous job creation 'tour de force' from the private sector. And even if (and this is a big IF) jobs are created in the private sector, it is likely to be part-time, low paid jobs, more 'flexibility' to serve profit making goals... Job lost will not be translated into people finding necessarily jobs in the private sector for which their 'profile' (knowledge and skills) will be consider suitable.

    Wake up people. Stand and be counted.

  68. I do hope that here in Wales, where we actually have a Welsh Labour government (not wonderful but better than Nulabour) we shall be able to avoid this new history curriculum.

    I suppose this guy thinks that the Wales Act of 1536, when the (then) largely Welsh speaking people were denied their right to an audience in court in their own language was a good thing as well!

    That wouldn't go down well with the Welsh! The Welsh Language Society would go nuts!

  69. Someone please sedate me if I ever respond to Happhazard again.

  70. The Duke - " the History curriculum will reflect a whole rainbow of political colours ranging from Conservative via hard right to swivel eyed hard right."

    Very lucky my mouth was not full when I came to that !

    Off to 'town' to see what day's FT they have in -- most stuff a day late here.

    PS Duke --Not boring at all, very good to know .They've tried similar here, but teachers tend to be a lot less cowed ( cowardly ? ) than the brit ones. Even saw some commenter yesterday , a Teaching Assistant called Urism, who had their pay cut by the Local Authority , and the bloody teachers didn't say a word. Nor the union , unison I think.

    Hells teeth.

    Leni-- if you're in, just wanted a second opinion , wasn't sure if a troll.

  71. Charles

    Just watched The Last Station about the last few months of Tolstoy's life. It has a good cast and I think you'd enjoy it, (if you haven't already seen it). You can get it on DVD from your local library I should think.


    Just seen that piece on the AWB. Ministers have been talking about this for quite a while and now it is coming to pass. Mind you the AWB have always been pretty backward in coming forward with enforcement.

    It took the Gangmasters Licensing Authority coming on the scene before any real inroads on worker exploitation in agriculture were made. Now the unscrupulous labour providers are moving into other industries not covered by the GLA like construction and food processing.

  72. Leni

    Someone please sedate me if I ever respond to Happhazard again.

    Ditto re that little shit SteveHill.

  73. leni -- I left him strictly alone, nothing they dislike more :)
    Now oldestrocker 's story seems to move over time ... while HappHazzard is just consistently a thug...

  74. If anyone's interested in looking at this period of 'celebration' in British Imperialism and the Indian famines here's an excellent book. Luckily it's on google books.

    Late Victorian holocausts- Mike Davis

    Davis explains at the start of the famine, an administrator Sir Richard Temple, diverted grain supplies from Burma which were bound for London to his district of India. He was reprimanded for his "extravagance" and The Economist savaged him for promoting the theory that Indians should think:

    “it is the duty of the Government to keep them alive

    Taxes were actually raised on Indians and they were continually blamed for their own plight by the British authorities- "Indolent" and "unused to work".

    Sound familiar?

    Temple then went on to conduct experiments on how little calories Indians could exist on. As the famines continued one civil servant noted:

    “Scores of corpses were tumbled into old wells, because the deaths were too numerous for the miserable relatives to perform the usually funeral rites. Mothers sold their children for a single scanty meal. Husbands flung their wives into ponds, to escape the torment of seeing them perish by the lingering agonies of hunger. Amid these scenes of death the Government of India kept its serenity and cheerfulness unimpaired. The [newspapers] of the North-West were persuaded into silence. Strict orders were given to civilians under no circumstances to countenance the pretence that civilians were dying of hunger.”

    All the while, Indian grain was being exported to Britain.

    Davis measures the death toll of the famines at 29 million but says due to lack of records it was probably more.

    Ferguson buries this away in his hagiography of the British Empire, yet pontificates on the totalitarian disasters of USSR and Chines agrarian policies on his own TV series.

  75. Frog

    I think oldestrocker is a troll - always on the windup with nothing of value to say.

    Even when I disagree with someone I can find their posts interesting and worth replying to - oldestrocker I ignore.

    I thought, until I looked just now - he was old stroker - I assumed it was tribute to his masturbatory thinking.

  76. Ferguson never stops highlighting the disastrous agrarian policies of Stalin and Mao that killed millions (he had a whole Ch4 series on it) yet curiously Britain's policy of mass starvation of Indians from the 1870's to 1890's is merely termed by Ferguson a "drawback".

    If we are talking crude numbers, then the 29 million killed in India by mass starvation under British rule certainly puts Britain up there with Stalin and Mao..

    Not boring at all Yr Grace - 29 million!?! A mere drawback? interesting and very enlightening.

  77. Taxes were actually raised on Indians and they were continually blamed for their own plight by the British authorities- "Indolent" and "unused to work".

    Weren't the irish also blamed in a similar way for the potato famine? And wasn't food also being exported to England whilst the Irish poor starved? Seems they had quite a system going in the Empire.

  78. Sheff

    The indolent unused to work attitude is being applied to the sick and poor here.

    It is a sop to a conscience that does unspeakable things in the name of any ideology which proclaims the few as superior. Just a cover for theft and repression.

    It can easily be remodelled for racist or classist policies. A useful tool in the toolbox of every politician.

  79. Sheff,

    absolutely, the British had form. But you know, let's forget the Irish famine and the Indian famines, as Gove says, British guilt is misplaced. It was just unpleasant more than anything else. The British Empire gave India railways and telecommunications.. which actually sped up the process of extricating India's food to Britain.

    To give you an idea of where Ferguson places the importance of the famines in his book. He gives almost the same amount of lines to the famines as he does describing a splendid statue of the Prince of Wales made out of butter.

    I just cannot believe that in 2010, the History curriculum is in the hands of Historians who at best have misplaced analyses of British Imperialism at worst positively celebrate the exploitation and carnage.

  80. Duke

    It is part of creating a new national 'mind set' which can then be put to very good use in furthering a certain agenda. It is deliberate.

  81. Leni,

    precisely. The teaching of History shouldn't have an 'agenda'. Gove could not be clearer that he wants History to have an agenda. And that is what Schools History is going to get. In line with other Govt policies in what Francis Maude called today 'more radical than Thatcher'.

  82. Yr Grace
    So we can look forward to a future of right wing revisionism....how unutterably depressing.

    I remember my mothers shock and disbelief when she was watching a prog about British concentration camps in the Boer War. She simply could not believe the Brits would have done such a thing. It was an historical fact that had simply passed her by, largely because it had been air brushed out of history curricula.

    Its only relatively recently that the subject has been dealt with outside a fairly narrow academic field

  83. Duke,

    I think your comment owes a lot to a ragged piece of journalism by Johann Hari or some other hack whose name escapes me, but in truth I can't be sure so iI'll let it stand as is.

    I'm not for one minute going to exonerate the callousness of Lytton; I don't think any historian has. But to compare the British Raj with the rule of Stalin or Mao is absurd.

    We both know that the primary cause of famine in India was - and always has been - drought. To compare the tragedy in India in the late 19 Century, exacerbated though it was by culpably negligent colonial rule, to the 10 million lost to the Great Terror amounts to ahistorical complacency on a colossal scale.

    The scorecard regarding empire remains hotly debated, of course. But Stalin was an unmitigated disaster, pure and simple.

    Let's agree on that, at least.

  84. Duke at the risk of appearing as a back slapping groupie I have to say I've enjoyed your post today. I just knew that I didn't like the bastard Niall and you've happily explained why...

    As author of 'acclaimed' works on the Rothschild family I wouldn't be surprised to see Ferguson appointed official historian to the Bilderberg Group. They probably nominated him for the Chairs at Harvard....

  85. As I understand it there are quite a few Russians who think that in comparison with the thieving Oligarchs old Joe was a saint.

  86. Deano

    i believe there's a movement afoot in Russia to re-instate the reputation of the murdering old bastard.

  87. Peter

    The cause of the famine is never ever drought - certainly not in modern times.

    Drought causes crops to fail. Indifference and a failure to respond to the plight of the people causes the famine.

    How many richmen die in the great modern day famines ? There is always food if you can pay the going price.

  88. Sheff,

    I remember my mothers shock and disbelief when she was watching a prog about British concentration camps in the Boer War. She simply could not believe the Brits would have done such a thing. It was an historical fact that had simply passed her by, largely because it had been air brushed out of history curricula.

    And that brings us on nicely to Andrew Roberts. Roberts who cheerfully describes himself as "extremely right wing" and a "reactionary" wrote a book called "A History of the English Speaking Peoples since 1900.

    In this book he defends the Boer concentration camps ordered by his Political hero Lord Salisbury as being constructed for the "Boer's Protection". The 34,000 who died of dysentry hunger and disease died because in Roberts words:

    they didn't know how to take medicine or treat disease, and deliberately spread lice.

    Roberts evidence is the testimony of one Doctor. Imagine a defence of the Nazi concentration camps being based on the evidence of one Nazi doctor? As Mike Davis (author of the book I linked to) says:

    "His arguments about the Boer concentration camps are similar to the arguments of the apologists about the Nazi camps."

    However, our bold Andrew has close links with South Africa, especially the Springbok club- a racist group which considers itself the real Govt of white South Africa. The British High Commission in South Africa has criticised this group for spreading 'hate literature'. As the leader of the Springbok club says:

    "In a nutshell our policy can be summed up in one sentence: we want our countries back, and believe this can now only come about by the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent."

    He spoke last year at the Springbok club on the 36th anniversary of the secession of white supremacist Rhodesia and ended his speech with a toast to the Springbok club who he said were the heirs to the Imperialist tradition.

    These are the people in charge of English school children's History.

  89. Peter

    The Brits didn't just nick the food from places like India. Surely you know the story of the indentured labour scam invented to circumvent the abolition of slavery.

    How do you think all those guys from the subcontinent finished up in places like Fiji and Uganda and the British Sugar plantations all over the world.

    Uncle Joe had plenty of examples of British excess to copy, he didn't invent slave labour or banished people. He didn't invent concentration camps either.

  90. Duke - you beat me to our concentration camp history!

  91. they didn't know how to take medicine or treat disease, and deliberately spread lice.

    Part of the 'it's all their own fault' litany.

    The concentation camps for Boers were filled mainly by women and children.

  92. Hello fellow funsters ;0) been a bit quiet of late - not really been 100% since returning from Womad and it all coincided with my dad's 10th anniversary, so been a bit jumbled and not really engaged fully.

    However, am glad to hear the meet up was good - sorry I missed it. There is talk of a September posse? I'd like to try and make that one!

    Deano - really good to see you back - hope you're feeling a bit better and more like you old self?

    Does anyone know who 'unbanned' is on CiF? He made a reference to me and to BB t'other day...

  93. Not sure what you're trying to say, deano.

    Are you asking me to acknowledge that the British have subjected its own people or its former colonial subjects to a regime the same in all but name to Stalin's?

    Is that your point? Because if it is you're completely, irredeemably fuckin' lost.

  94. What about The Forgotten Holocaust - Gideon Polya ?

    By which I mean the Bengal Famine of 1943/44 .

    A little closer in time than Lord Lytton.

  95. Peter

    Perhaps the fact that the empire spanned several centuries makes it look better than the shorter Stalinist regime - diluted it slightly shall we say?

  96. peterB

    Just leaping in here but have to add in something...

    "But to compare the British Raj with the rule of Stalin or Mao is absurd"

    Why? because the raj was made up of genteel upper class english folk who spoke the Queen's English?

    "We both know that the primary cause of famine in India was - and always has been - drought"

    Yes and Potato Blight was the cause of the potato famine in Ireland and not the inhuman rule by those nice genteel upper class English people who shipped food out of Ireland whilst everyone starved.

    Peter - it's hard but you really need to reject all those comforting myths and excuses.

    It's like the first time you see a nice cuddly animal rip another, weaker one to shreds - once you get it, you never go back to looking at that cuddly creature in the same light again.

  97. Duke

    "These are the people in charge of English school children's History"

    And god help us - half the fucking population already think that people on Benefits live in palatial homes and are scamming in one way or another.

    We've been fucking snookered.

  98. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!

    Does anyone mind if I come out of self-imposed retreat and jump back on the sinking internet ship?

    You know, after - what has it been? - two days in the shark-infested waters after I jumped overboard.

    Obviously, I'm going to get cleaned up, have some dinner and watch a film, so I won't actually be doing anything useful here this evening.

    Something Better Change.

  99. LaRit

    I have argued this a thousand times. Neither draught nor Blight cause famine - failure to respond to need does.

    So many people still stick to the myth that the rulers were helpless in the face of a natural disaster - some can't see further than the end of their noses.

    Such limited thinking seems to come attached to their entitlement thinking. That they may have a little less so those with nothing may have some does not enter their heads.

  100. Helloee Atoms

    You sound as though you need to talk about it .

    Good to see you back.

  101. Leni - maybe check out the links above for more recent detail.x

  102. AtomboyEEEE!

    hello ;0)

    Love the return with the Stranglers - fookin' fab!

  103. Leni


    Not talk. Like you said earlier, we need to start shouting and screaming and making a fucking great noise.

    Anyway, I actually do have to get moving now, so thanks again and see you later.

    PS Hope the boozers enjoyed themselves yesterday evening.

  104. Duke

    Ferguson never stops highlighting the disastrous agrarian policies of Stalin and Mao that killed millions (he had a whole Ch4 series on it) yet curiously Britain's policy of mass starvation of Indians from the 1870's to 1890's is merely termed by Ferguson a "drawback".

    If we are talking crude numbers, then the 29 million killed in India by mass starvation under British rule certainly puts Britain up there with Stalin and Mao.

    The great famines began due to natural conditions but it is the British reaction that is key. The laissez faire economic policy followed by Britain in India meant that even at the height of famine, Lord Lytton, the Viceroy said that the grain supply from India to Britain must continue, by force if necessary.

    I'm ashamed to say I did not know about this.

    Was going to make the comparison with Ireland but I see you and Sheff have already got there.

    During the Irish famine, they tried, belatedly, to import Indian corn to feed the people, but there was no distribution system and also no-one had any means of milling or cooking it, it being foreign.

  105. La Rit

    Thanks as well.

    Might submerge in Spotify later.

    Gotta g

  106. Leni

    "So many people still stick to the myth that the rulers were helpless in the face of a natural disaster - some can't see further than the end of their noses"

    It's hard to break out of it. I remember when I was kid pleading with my Mum for the life of 'Ignorance is Bliss' - but once you cross over to the other side of course, there is no going back. Peter is stuck in the middle - a very uncomfortable place to be - he sees it - he just won't acknowledge it.

  107. There are ultimate and proximate causes, Leni. It serves no purpose to confuse them.

  108. Atomboy

    You're welcome and Good luck!

    We are being raliroaded n run over by a bunch of vicious nincompoops with brains the size of fucking half a walnut. Starting with facist-in-waiting Michael Gove.....

    See ya later ;0)

  109. Re the Irish famine, I can remember seeing a play about it (in the 70's or early 80's I think) where it was very clearly shown that the absentee landlords actually refused to send aid - blaming the blight on the 'indolence of the Irish peasant'.

    Plus ca change...

  110. Peter,

    regarding Ferguson- I know of the Hari v Ferguson ding dong but Mike Davis, Priyamvada Gopal, Nicholas Dirks and Amartya Sen are my prime sources.

    I must admit to a professional interest as my job involves History (although I'm not a teacher or lecturer) hence the amount of sources at my disposal and interest in the subject.

    We both know that the primary cause of famine in India was - and always has been - drought. To compare the tragedy in India in the late 19 Century, exacerbated though it was by culpably negligent colonial rule, to the 10 million lost to the Great Terror amounts to ahistorical complacency on a colossal scale.

    Is it ahistorical complacency? Why did the British still extract grain from the country at the same rate as when there was no famine? Why did they purposely stop aid?

    I did point out that the famine was caused by natural phenomena but the British reaction is key. From laissez faire economics to actively stopping aid (as typified by Lytton found in Davis above) their agrarian policies in India led to the deaths of millions.

    British agrarian policy in Ireland and India led to the death of millions, Soviet agrarian policy led to the death of millions and Maoist agrarian policy led to the death of millions.

    It's interesting that I can condemn all three yet you feel the need to defend British policy despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    I urge you to read Davis book which reveals in categorical detail the steps taken by the British in which they consciously decided to starve the local population for economic reasons.

    Imperialism is an appalling doctrine (like Stalinism and like Maoism) which involved exploitation, brutality, torture, slavery and the forceful imposition of ones will on others. This doctrine is now fashionable to defend despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the whole doctrine hanging on the dubious claim that the British 'are decent'.

  111. peter

    It's a lot easier if you just give in to it and accept the reality, why else are you here? I won't shout at you, at all(I felt bad enough about losing it with Spike a few weeks back) but I think you know why you're on here. Stop the slagging off and start listening to what's in your heart and to what's being said - you might be plesantly surprised.

    It's not a 'cult' and it doesn't represent a loss of face to show understanding.

    And stop trying to be such a fucking clever-dick, it doesn't suit you.

  112. thauma- you can check out 1943/44 too ;)

    Always fascinating the bits of History people just do not 'know about' at all . VE Day 8th May was vicory over Nazi germany, but many North African descent people in france remember the french army massacres in Setif .

  113. "There are ultimate and proximate causes"

    No, there's only one cause of starvation and degradation for poor people - it's called Capitalism.

    When ever, did you hear of a rich person satrving to death because of 'famine'?

    Name me one instance.

  114. #If we are talking crude numbers, then the 29 million killed in India by mass starvation under British rule certainly puts Britain up there with Stalin and Mao.

    The great famines began due to natural conditions but it is the British reaction that is key. The laissez faire economic policy followed by Britain in India meant that even at the height of famine, Lord Lytton, the Viceroy said that the grain supply from India to Britain must continue, by force if necessary.#

    I'm not sure it was mismanagement. I think it was intentional..I don't mean a deliberate policy of starvation but the British reaction to famines had already been considered and decided. The professor of Political Economy at the East India Company's College through which would have passed all future administrator's was Thomas Malthus. His star pupil was Charles Trevelyan who did his stint overseeing starving Indians before achieving even greater renown in Ireland. I don't know for sure but I think it's fair to assume that most colonial administrators at the time had all the tenets of basic Malthusian lore drummed into them during an early and formative part of their careers..particularly concerning 'overpopulation' and the 'necessary remedy'.

    had a good night last night btw..good to put faces to the text etc.

  115. Frog2

    Great link earlier - saw it on the IDS editorial thread....

    Also, that picture of the Indian men being executed by cannon - I think the specialty mode of execution for the Irish upstarts was tying them to the wheels of a train and rolling them down the track.

    Equally shocking.

    So kind our rulers, so civilised, so cultured - I really am in awe.

  116. Peter

    I am quite capable of arguing semantics but am more interested in outcomes from actions - or failure to act.

    It is always possible to remove responsibility for a disaster from those actually responsible by arguing backwards to a long line of possible causations.

    When faced with crop failure - here before your eyes - do you respond to the needs of the about to die of starvation or do you argue weather patterns, local social structures or even the will of God?

    Or alternatively do you think Hell there's a huge problem here,crops wiped out, millions facing starvation and call a halt to food exports and redirect them to the hungry ?

    It's not a difficult question.

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. Duke:

    It's not your condemnation of empire that bothers me - not in the slightest. I take a different view on the effects of colonial rule than you, but that simply reflects the competing perspectives that prevail.

    What bothers me is your - I have to say it - careless parallels with intentionally genocidal regimes. Distinctions are important in history - indeed in any walk of life. Few have been on show here today.

  119. Peter

    Genocide by intention or genocide by indifference.

    Is one somehow better or less blameworthy than the other ?

  120. monkeyfish,

    of course, Malthus was an adviser to the East India Company wasn't he? And Trevelyan was one of his 'pupils'

    Whilst in charge of famine relief in Ireland he came away with this cracker that the famine was a:

    "mechanism for reducing surplus population".

    How Malthusian. Going on to say

    "The judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people".

    Here we go again- it's your own fault you're starving..............It's moral deficiency you can't get a job, it's your own fault you're poor, don't expect us to help.........

    Incredible that the same old mendacious bullshit weasel words are still used to keep people in their place isn't it?

  121. Actually this track of Golden Brown is better.

  122. Someone mentioned Malthus - sorry can't immediately find post.

    Good old Malthus is currently enjoying a second life on Cif - people seem unaware - or perhaps don't care - that he was targetting the rural poor.

    He was another one who gave people a ready made excuse for allowing millions to die to carry round in a little box until needed.

    All these things we are now talking about and many more are reasons for history being taught properly and truthfully - with full evaluations of outcomes beyond who 'won' and got to wear the diadem of Empire.

  123. Leni:

    Droughts cause famine. It's obtuse of you to deny the fact.

    But anyway, having acknowledged that the British response to starvation in India was callous and inadequate, the primary focus of my comments has been to question the lazy comparisons people have made between colonial rule and the totalitarian regimes of the 20th Century.

  124. La Rit - I am a bit of a 'great link'-man,actually my long-ago last job in the money-markets too. Fluent lying innocence down five telephones to london while filling the boots of number six with all the hundreds of millions of spondoolicks he could take. Great fun being paid rather well even as a small cog in a big global machine.

    The difference between a bullshitter and a liar is interesting. The former just does not even care what the truth is-- think of Tony Blair and whoever else comes to mind -- some interesting Wiki articles reffing philosophers on that, while the liar knows very well what he is doing.

  125. No Peter

    Draughts cause the causes of famine - the problem can be adressed by providing food from alternative sources and thereby avoiding the famine.

    I/m not obtuse - rather thin and pointy actually and at times quite acute x

  126. Bracken - go and read Cecil Woodham-Smith's The Great Hunger and then tell us that the Irish famine was a mere sin of omission.

    It was a deliberate policy closely related to today's bliss of free-market capitalism.

  127. Peter,

    Imperialism as defined by The Dictionary of Human Geography is:

    "the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination."

    What you appear to be suggesting is that Empire builders were benevolent, they went in with the natives best intentions, that they were not going to exploit but to teach the Natives the love of Christ.

    As Cecil Rhodes, the Father of British Imperialism said:

    "I contend that we are the first race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race."

    This mode of thinking has been inherent in European Imperialism from the Conquistadores to the Belgian Congo. But because they weren't British, the Spanish and Belgians weren't decent enough?

    If you asked a Stalinist why he was doing what he was doing he would have replied "to build the perfect society", if you asked the Maoist he would say the same. If you asked the British Imperialist he would have said exactly the same as evidence by Cecil Rhodes quote.

    And all three base their beliefs on the forced subjugation and misery of others.

    I'm not naive enough to suggest their are direct parallels with Stalinism and Imperialism but what I can do is condemn both absolutely for the misery they brough millions through exploitation, starvation and subjugation.

    It is a pity you cannot do the same.

  128. The judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people".

    Could this be a very convenient cover for the 'intentionality' that PeterB is so resistant to acknowledging as a possibility, a sop to conscience?

  129. Right,

    I've overstayed my welcome by several hours today so I'm off.


    it may be an unpopular view, I'm not sure, but keep posting here. I couldn't disagree with you more on almost everything at any time if I tried but you appear to have the hide of a rhinoceros wearing a bulletproof vest.

    It's good to have someone with a different point of view posting.

    See you all later.

  130. Sheff - so close to the propaganda we're getting today about 'workshy, feckless scum' who deserve to be kicked off benefits.

  131. Peter

    it is the abuse of power - totalitarian or imperialist. Millions starved in china - untold numbers during Mao's great canal building exercise. Millions across the British and other empires and now millions more as a result of free-market capitalism.

    Most of the people involved in all these disastrous enterprises were hirelings - willing to close their eyes in order to hang onto their advantage.

    there were, and are, the few willing to speak out and recognise that they are supporting a system which is inherently dishonest.

    Many of course are simply trapped because the alternative is to enter the ranks of the dispossessed.

  132. Duke

    I've overstayed my welcome by several hours today so I'm off.

    No you haven't.

    I thought the same as you about Peter a while ago, but he doesn't respond to any actual arguments other than to label people as, oh, prize fuckwits, for example.

  133. Peter B

    Not up to joining in this interesting discussion but like Duke i hope you continue posting here.As i,ve said before i don,t often agree with you but opposing views can and do make online discussions that much more stimulating.

  134. FYI- here's one of Andrew Roberts' more recent ventures -
    UK Launch of “Friends of Israel Initiative" FII has an intial working budget of £1m a year (private donors, naturally).

    It's an interesting panel - alongside Roberts was Jose Maria Aznar (ex-Spanish PM, falangist and student member of the fascist FES), Marcello Pera (ex-Forza Italia senator and Berlusconi side-kick), and Anthony Julius (lawyer to Princess Diana and Heather Mills.)

  135. Thaum

    Peter will stay I hope - he provides a frame for my thoughts. There must be some common ground somewhere. Persistence will unearth it.

  136. Scherf

    i read about that - not a peace organisation but one aimed at 'countering anti-Israel propaganda' - or delegitimisation as they now call it.

    They have an online sign up - thousands of followers.

  137. Thauma

    Have to agree with you about PeterB. I'd have a lot more respect for him if, given the obvious strength of his beliefs, he would take the trouble of defending them with some actual evidence as His Grace does.

    Its been an interesting and enlightening day on here.

  138. Leni-Most of the people involved in all these disastrous enterprises were hirelings - willing to close their eyes in order to hang onto their advantage

    That was Imogen's argument on the Unemployment Panel for JobCentre staff to do their dirty work and not revolt. They had mortgages etc she said.

    Definite lack of solidarité in british society.

  139. A tune to put everyone in a saturday night mood.


  140. frog

    Can we call it complicity is the question - when the over arching system demands obedience and compliance or exile many feel they have no choice.

    I've always been a bit Bolshi - willing to cut off my nose to spite my face as my mother once said in despair.

    Until the majority are willing to challenge the system then it will prevail - at least for as long as its natural life.

    Solidarity in action comes from hope, I think, not from fear. For as long as the outcasts and rejects of the prevailing system are kept in full view fear will reign.

    We now only metaphorically stick rebellious heads on spikes - but the warning remains. Transgress and accept the consequences.

  141. Paul

    Since you discovered the joys of linking you have become some sort of back room boy.

  142. "Since then,with hindsight,we do see that perhaps the thing is they hadn't gone as far as they had done,that the early stage of dealing with weapons of mass destruction had been effectively dealt with,but at that stage they are saying it's still an active part."
    (John Prescott) at the Chilcot inquiry.

    Talk about "give 'em enough rope"!

    Good article in todays Indy by John Kampfner, not that it reveals anything we didn't know already!

    BTW: I'm with Thauma on this, not a peep from Sheffield yesterday. Totally out of order!;o)

  143. @Paul: how do you do your links?
    I've tried various methods with equally varied degrees of success. I'm still trying to work out the easiest obviously.

  144. I'm off out drinking.


  145. This comment has been removed by the author.

  146. thauma - thanks a bundle for that page vierge !

    I just wrote a quite genteel screed to our dearly beloved mixed-up fabulating and bullshitting extremely clever and actually talented semi-troll peter bracken, but may not post ever.

    I hope when I come back from the pub ALL you young people will have, however briefly, done a very quick look of my 19.42 links on the British Empire's Bengal Famine of 1943/4.

    The more you know, the less surprised you can be ..

    Chekov --- I now always do my links by hand -- <a href= etc and haven't had a failure yet !

  147. Well I haven't looked at Cif all day and I absolutely haven't missed it (although now I've said that I started thinking I might have a quick peek).

    I don't think I will though, I think I can rely on the people here to flag up anything really interesting.

    I am glad everyone had a good day in Sheffield yesterday and get well soon PCC.

    I am with Thauma and Sheff on the Peter Bracken question, he never engages except to call people names and never gives any reasoning for his bold claims, I scroll on by his posts and don't feel like I am missing out.

    I am normally terrible for having to react to something posted that I think is either stupid or offensive but slowly I am realising that either not reading those posts or ignoring them when I do is a more sensible than getting upset, plus nothing winds up some know it alls more than no reaction to their bullshit.

  148. @jenn

    Did you catch the Radio 4 documentary on Redcar/Middlesbrough tonight? Thought of you while it was on. Well worth a listen on iPlayer.

  149. I didn't Peter, do you have a link?

    I probably could find it but I have had a few drinks (celebration for finishing my assignment nearly 3 weeks before it is due in).

  150. jen30 -- he's on my ignore list excpt I love to treasure the gems when he takes liberties with the language ;)

    Enough fulsome derision, i'm down t'pub.

  151. @jenn

    The iPlayer link is here.

    Well done on the assignment - I'll raise a glass here too.

  152. Note on the bloody OU again, one of the questions in the assignment was to prepare a strategy to bioremediate a brownfield site that was heavily polluted with naphthalene, please give in your answer how you monitor the effectiveness of the bioremidation considering that actually testing for levels of naphthalene is out of your price range, the site will support the growth of pseudomonads and the pH of the soil is 5, no genetically modified organisms can be used.

    An interesting question and it would make a good essay (with a word limit of about 2000) but I was supposed to answer it in no more than 250 words.

    What a joke.

  153. Thanks Peter. :)

    Good point Turm, I may start reading them again just to take comfort in the fact that someone out there mangles the english language as badly as I do. ;)

  154. Frog

    If you come back tonight -
    I have been looking for how far down the chain of command guilt and responsibility were proven in the Nazi trials.

    My own view is that I would not work for a system which oppresses people - would not be party to it (AN aside here - I have never lived under a system which threatened my life directly or that of my family )

    The medical professionals in ATOS knowingly damage lives - they are aware of the consequences of their decisions and take the betrayers coin.

    ATOS managers of course are guilty - no question. They would say they are exploiting a commercial opportunity - not people.

    Job centre clerks ? They are enforcers of a system - many have probably been unemployed at some time. Impossible to generalise. When small Job Centre in valley closed people lost jobs. One at least makes 13 mile treck to sign on and now sees system in new light.

    there is a peculiar lack of awareness at the moment of what these changes will mean - denial perhaps - we are in a transition phase both politically and socially. Transition to what is the question.

    No-body is really coming up with an alternative. At which point it started to change is difficult to pinpoint - it is even more difficult to say say what the precipitating factor for resistance will be.

    Read the articles you linked to - very sobering. Reading about Cicero at the moment - the use of the combined - and sometimes conflicting - forces of army and 'mob' shows that little changes.

  155. grenouille deux

    How very dare you call me une vièrge? ;-)

    Fraid I haven't looked at your link yet ... it is Saturday night, I have been sat on me arse working all day, have to work tomorrow, so therefore I have been dancing.

    Bitta suvvern rock: I've gone by the point of caring.

  156. Jenni

    so is school out now for a while ? I raise my orange juice to you.

    My head is spinning - alternting between anger and confusion about just what is going on in Britain. I think I need a break from it - need to see it clearly. It's like being trapped in a thicket.

    I know we need to start shouting - where and at whom is the question. The shout has to be heard and recognised - otherwise might as well bay at the moon.

  157. Leni

    Asking where you draw the line (jobwise) at being complicit in a system that hurts people is a very troubling question, at least for me.

    I have worked most of my life in the so called 'leisure industries', working in a bar or a bookies and whilst they are not intrinsically bad occupations I have felt bad about the results of the job.

  158. Jenni

    Meant to say - in homage to you scientific expertise I will in future call frog - rana.

  159. Frog2, not me Jenn. But i'm moving to the scroll past stage, he's as much a bridge dweller as bitey. Not sure if it's "none so blind", 'only way to live with his actions' or just, They have a cave troll No substance, ignores the critique, can't string a decent sentence together. Expect he'll be education secretary with his tongue welded to Ed Millipede's crack within the decade.

    Perhaps he views us as practice for Any Questions or similar, with a shiny brass neck like that, and a bill clip for a soul how can he fail? NN all, p x

  160. Leni

    I wish school was out for summer but the course doesn't finish until the exam in October, I am trying to get ahead of the assignments because I am off down south to visit my sister next week (my next assignment is a practical one that involves a lot of grating of potatoes).

    Turm, Peter B could never be an MP because although he is great at never answering a question he is rubbish at hiding his agenda. ;)

  161. Hi, everyone interesting debate about Imperialism/Stalinism etc.

    Sheff, glad you enjoyed that film, The last Station. I would like to see it. I though it hadn't been released yet, but it must be a low budget film, not on general release.

    Tolstoy is very interesting to me. I have read most of his works, his novels and his short stories.

  162. Leni you sound like you really need a break, I agree that sometimes howling at the moon feels like the only option but you are better than that, can you not just 'get away from it all' for a couple of days?

  163. Peter B could never be an MP because although he is great at never answering a question he is rubbish at hiding his agenda.

    And that's why you are a genius! No more troll treats from me. Really am off this time, good to see AB back. Sweet dreams.

  164. jenni

    Think I need a break from lots of things - having awful dreams about being trapped. Legs not working properly- very frustrating. Have to make decision about another spinal op.

    Just life really I know but feel I/m boxed in.

  165. Leni,

    As to 'job centre clerks' it can be hit and miss. To call them enforcers of the system is a bit of a misnomer- of course some are very callous obviously.

    The person I spoke to yesterday when I signed on was excellent, very friendly, and boosted my confidence by saying I was intelligent. I was talking about going for jobs like cleaning and shelf stacking, but he advised me to aim higher- my lack of employment experience is a serious issue obviously, but still it would be possible to get in a more advanced employment position. A nice boost to my morale after being rejected by Mcdonalds.......

  166. Leni, thaum, jen , charles

    Caught the tail-end of an intelligent Radio4 on education, which slowed my rush to the pub, then realised had had a little too much rouge, so wised up !

  167. Leni

    That sounds awful, I hope you have someone you can talk to about it in real life. x

  168. On a lighter note

    Savvymum has come out all weapons swinging on the Ramesh thread - angry anti american rant. Trns out she is American. Doesn't seem too keen on the place and seems to think all Americans hate Britain.

  169. Had a qick look on that Savvymum recommendation, rather liked the early rants. You live in a country & see things in some ways better than the natives ..even back against home ..

  170. Savvymum has always confused me, how can you be an agnostic theologian?

    Honestly, I would be dodgy about her for using the word mum in her user name, the same way I avoid people (and they are usually women) who call themselves johnsgirl or sarahsmum or supergranny.

  171. Charlie

    I don't think McDonalds want people who can think.

    Glad you are feeling more confident. Hope your luck is turning.

    I once Knew an old lady. She was Jewish married to non Jewish German. He joined the Nazis and rejected her. She came to Britain just before war - she had to leave her daughter behind. Husband and daughter died in war.

    However - she told me that after many hard years suddenly her luck changed to such an extent that she was almost afraid to think about wanting something - because it always happened.

    Lives can change course quite suddenly. I hope you soon find your niche - or at least the doorway into it.

  172. frog I reckon that savvymum (who told you that you were savvy?) is actually Andrew Browns drag queen name.

  173. Leni

    Time for you to start looking after No1 methinks.Steer clear of all the stressful threads and give yourself a bit of TLC.I don,t know if you like jazz but i find this track helps me wind down when i,m feeling stressed out.


  174. Jenni

    I think theology would make anyone agnostic - confused too I would think.


    I quite enjoyed her rant too.

  175. Thauma are you okay? Because that last song was almost C&W... most concerned about you... ;-)

    Here's a song from a juke box in a country pub that I really miss. We used to play it around this time on a Saturday night.

    Thinking about you, Leni, all the best wishes to you. And well done, Jen!

  176. jen first time I've seen the character ...

    Nap -- could find you the address of the meat-factory where Germain worked, 12 hour shifts with the Poles ... ;)He worked many years delivering pizza hut pizzas on a scooter when he was a student. Now frog 'assistant' in Glasgow.

  177. Paul

    Defiance suits me better than TLC. I was in a wheelchair for the first time when I was 9 - overheard doctor telling my mum I would be there permanently by the time I was about 15.

    Not for me thanks. But thanks for thoughts.

  178. Habib

    I had quite forgotten about the Beatles !

  179. frog

    I am sure that you are glad that your friend found work but personally having done 12 hour shifts in a factory (making knickers not killing pigs) I would not advise anyone to take up that kind of work.

    12 hour physical shifts are a form of torture, I did it for over 2 years and my body never got used to it, I dread to think how bad your friend felt on the odd day he got off.

    Not all work is worth having.

  180. I am now listening to Alice's restaurant - always cheers me up.

  181. jen30 -- respectfully disagree there , for the young particularly ! I think G only did a short time actually, before zooming off for 3 weeks in NY on his savings, then one family week back in Caen. I do agree that being trapped in extremely bad jobs is ghastly, but I've been lucky there.

    I did long shifts in a deepfreeze and normal ones on building sites and farms and canning factories when young, and it shows you what you can do, what life is for many people who you meet close to. Mid December 2002 I went roofing on a temp job, minus 8 the lowest that winter, and it lasted 8 months. Stopped just before my 56th birthday but gave it a good run. After that did 2/3 time gardening and odd building jobs.

    Don't know if Nap ever played cricket, but you've got to break your duck on these things. Jump in ! It's not for ever.

  182. habibi-- merci pour les Beatles-- lightened me up , almost tempted to see if pub still open !

  183. I have decided that ignorance of history is good for ones mental health - human beings are terrifying things.

  184. Was a hoot meeting everyone last night, but I've had the Holy Roman Emperor of all hangovers for much of the day. I was wakened at 6.20am by Child B (11 months) sitting on my head with a full nappy. She then brained me with the alarm clock. I've then gone on to suffer a wifely meltdown over packing the car for a two week camping trip to St Ives, which precipitated a drive to Halfords in Leeds to buy a roofrack that cost more than the holiday. Three hundred fucking quid lighter and last night I was fretting about the cost of a curry!

    Paul, enjoyed your weave-snatching video. I was fondly reminded of my first (and only) visit to Brannigans.

  185. Pas du tout, Selwyn Froggit (I wonder if you remember that wonderful character?) Here's a song for our dear Charles/Nap, based on what you said.

    Leni, it's easy to forget a lot that should be remembered.


    By the way Paul, that was a very tastey bit of Byrd, absolutely loved it.

    And Leni, most human beings are jolly nice. They're just not the one's in charge.

  186. Leni -- it's a burden. Ignorance of current affairs you could definitely say exactly the same. Masochism almost, to be too interested.

    Maybe you can divide up people two ways --Those who blame themselves, for wotever, those who blame others.

    The first lot tend to take the sorrows and problems of other people and the world on their shoulders... too.

    Just the way they're made.

  187. Sppeedkermit -- and there was I worried you were in the cooler for DIC !

    Should you have been ?

  188. Hello Leni: you haven't finally succumbed to love "Big Brother" have you?
    How many fingers am I holding up?
    What does 2+2=?
    That was Winston's problem, wasn't it; once you know something you can't "un-know" it!

  189. And Leni, most human beings are jolly nice. They're just not the one's in charge.

    01 August, 2010 00:44

    Well said that man!