12 August 2010



Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
-John F. Kennedy


  1. morning all!

    CIF seems to have moved to the radio waves. there's an american academic on Today arguing that Disco was a social force with an economic, gay rights and feminist outlook, and that she would like a whole conference on Donna Summer.

    Interesting stuff...

  2. It took me more than 40 minutes to get this thread up today. Just as I started to try to get it together, my connection went all s l o w. Painfully slow. Now, all of a sudden, it's fine again. Arrggh!

    Now I'm going to have to go away and ponder the feminist outlook.

    Thanks, Phil.

  3. Sheff - glad to hear that you have the problem identified, and that it is (understand) reasonably easy to treat. might be a bit dull for a while, but hope not too dull...
    (if stress is a cause, maybe best pretent Andrew Brown just doesn't exist - his pieces always get my blood pressure in a tizzy)
    and well done to the welsh contingent - a friend's facebook status is currently "Rosa Luxembourg - your boys took a hell of a beating tonight..."

    Nap / Charles - agree with people saying, don't cut yourself off. we may be a raggle-taggle bunch working in a virtual record shop but having somewhere to connect can be very helpful. and as someone said, many of us here have had the glums for a variety of different reasons and in a variety of different ways, so while nobody's experiences are exactly the same, there's a crew here with a decent understanding if not of where you are, but how you feel about it...

  4. montana - thought my 'puter was showing its age (the radio is cutting out every time I change page) but maybe it's a glitch...

    (am currently drafting my next ATL offering, drawing parallels between the industrial revolution and Krautrock, specifically as to the mascu-centric aspect being masked by the fundamental reordering of received assumptions about production)


  5. Morning Philippa, morning Montana!

    Love those Caracals Montana and yesterday's pic reminded me of North by Northwest ;0)

    Little bit of a sore head today, but otherwise fine. I heard that programme about Disco - think I might try and get the book. Far more positive image of women in the bloody 70's and early 80's than we have today. Disco was a tour de force and I still love it!

    there's a crew here with a decent understanding if not of where you are, but how you feel about it...

    Bang on....

  6. Philippa - I love Krautrock! Faust - one of my faves! Saw them at the RFH about 10 years ago and a fight broke out in the front rows!

  7. Feel a little bit sad for David Beckham and Fabio Capello's less than subtle dropping of him as England Captain.... you forget that he's actually a footie player rather than a multi-millionaire with a global 'brand'.

  8. I'm glad that my posts and Clunie's posts towards the end of the Jimmy Reid thread were removed - I think we were discussing PB's 'looks'!!! heheheh

  9. Bonjour PhilippaB
    I missed yesterday's print front page headline of the FT- Big Sums on Offer to Wall Street Informants but nice to see bounty-hunting can work both ways :)

    How would you translate "Sarkozy, Voyou de la République" , headline in Marianne magazine this week ? Creating quite a stir, with talk of legal action.

    Montana and La Rit -- I should have a sore head too , animated time down the pub last night.

    Our JobCentres are playing fast and loose on cutting two months benefits to unemployed who miss a personal or telephone interview, and that can be very much more than a measly £60pw. The major discussion was on the handful of top journalists, including Laurent Joffrin at Libé and Jean-François Kahn at Marianne, who have the balls to take on Sarkozy.

    Looks like a 'warm' Autumn !

  10. Morning - No time to post yesterday doing moving out phase one today - Got peop;e clearing out all the stuff I no longer want/ have no room for in new place. All the stuff 'to go' has post it notes stuck on it.

    Next stage is the final packing but I don't think I'll do much of that today! ordinary things like cooking and washing presently seem so restful!

    Sheff so glad your problem is not serious. What medication are you on? I'm on Omeprazole to stop all my other meds from damaging my stomach, it reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach.

    Charles sorry to hear you are so low, can only repeat what others said, hang on in there and pay us a visit when you can, social contact via the internet isn't as good as the real thing but like many older people I do face loneliness myself and I find it helps a lot.

    Take care x

  11. Bonjour Frog!

    I'm working my way up to eating breakfast - had my customary 2 cups of tea which have helped (Yorkshire of course!) Of course, up France, the quality of the booze is much better in the pubs!!!

    Weather dreary here - no chance of seeing the meteor shower tonight or tomorrow .... clouds n rain :( Hope we get an Indina Summer to make up for a crappy August.

  12. 'ight frog - the hachette (Penguin is no help at all on this kind of thing, which makes him sulk) says "lout, yobbo, hoodlum" - glad Marianne is still kicking up dust (have their 'summer special' on the W/B affair, which I am slowly working through) - the article is up on their website for free - here for the frankyphones, will have a read.

    on a connected note, this makes sense of hearing 'youvou' (ish) in that funny backwards slang thing (says the meff), which seems to be used by stoner friends to describe people who get angry drunk rather than happy drunk.

  13. Anne:

    Oh the packing - it's hideous..... unfortunately prising Mr LaRit away from his hording habits is tough.... we will need a bigger flat if he buys anymore records though!

  14. La Rit -- I've been missing the best english beers for 30+ years tho ! My pub has Pelforth which is OK, but the most important is the atmosphere, visiting brits and and 99% of others feel very much at home.

  15. "La République est aux mains d’un président qui ne s’encombre d’aucune espèce de morale. Sa priorité absolue devant des sondages désastreux : rester au pouvoir. Démagogie, outrance, provocation sont ses armes favorites. Première victime : l’égalité républicaine."
    Blimey, that's a hell of a start to an article. Erm:
    "The republic is in the hands of a president unencumbered with any shred of morality. His only priority in the face of disastrous polling - stay in power. Demagoguery, excess and provocation are his weapons of choice. The first victim - equality."

    will continue reading with interest...

  16. @Philippa:

    God, you've reminded me of that "verlan" thing - "Ripas" for "Paris" and all that... are they still doing that in France?

    A propos of nothing, on the site we were staying at in Brittany recently, I was startled one morning on the way back from the boulangerie to see this massive hulk in wet suit leggings emerging from his tent, daggers attached to calves, hair en brosse, proudly sporting his RICM Troupe de Marines t-shirt... Christ, he was fucking huge, I was very glad I wasn’t a Rif up to no good…

  17. swifty - aye, it turns up a bit in conversation and it's bloody confusing! DB keeps nagging me to join in 'regular' french conversations more (instead of just chatting to her, or one-on-one with teacher, or at work) - have had to point out repeatedly that it's a bit difficult to follow when every tenth word is backwards, for crying out loud...

    can be fun, though - have heard Freche (local off-the-scale pol) described as 'sariste', which I assumed was 'Tsarist' (which describes him nicely) but of course referred mainly to his views on certain social issues.

    so, celui-la marche a quelques vineaus, or something...

  18. Montana,

    Just passing on my congratulations for using the Glaswegian sweary term 'bawbag' last night.

    Hearing an American saying it gives me such a feeling of validation.

    If you need to know any more, just let me know ;)

  19. Frog:

    Been missing the best english beers....

    It's funny isn't it? The things we miss when we've upped sticks.... but am glad your pub goes some way to making you feel at home!!!

    My Mum and Dad were desperate to get back up North for years after we moved to Somerset, but when they went back, it was only then they realised that they had spent almost as long down South as they had in Liverpool and that was where their life was, for good or for bad. I'm very proud of my Liverpool/Irish identity and heritage and will defend it to the death, but I am equally proud of my Somerset identity .... makes for a funny old mix as I've now been in London as long as I lived in the North West and Somerset combined..... yet I still feel like an 'immigrant' in this City!!!!

  20. miss most - a decent curry, and fish and chips.
    (am not a beer drinker)
    really, get a bunch of expats together, one of them mentions food, and we're off...

    french friends find this hilarious.

    so, you mix beer and flour? and put this on fish? and fry it in...droppings? you craaaaazy english...

  21. Philippa/Swifty -apart from teufe for fête I know very little verlan, and just ask for translation when completely lost!

    Philippa 09.29-- thanks vm for the link, I printed it out for our pub landlady as promised at midnight, as it is sold-out now. Eight pages appears long but it is extremely well-written, and above all accurate . Recommended to all who can read french !

  22. will try to get hold of hard copy later - looks like a total shredding, but as you say, accurate - so legal action, of course, is the natural response for someone anxious to prove the writer's point, hehehehehe.

  23. Brilliant! That weird hippy is back on Cif, this time suggesting that we should live in round houses rather than square ones because they're feminine and nurturing.

    But he's taken off his hat. Which is a shame.

  24. PhilippaB;

    "The republic is in the hands of a president unencumbered with any shred of morality. His only priority in the face of disastrous polling - stay in power. Demagoguery, excess and provocation are his weapons of choice. The first victim - equality."

    That's a great quote. I've always found Sarkozy a distasteful little man. He seems to have been in power for an eternity...

  25. If you need to know any more, just let me know ;)

    Oh, I'm always up for new sweary words. Foul-mouthed harridan -- isn't that what P-Brax called me? One of the things I like about bawbag is that I can utter it here and no one has a clue what is.

    Cuntybollocks is Glaswegian, too, isn't it? I like the way that one trips off the tongue.

    As for things you miss when you've been away from 'home' for a long time: the only two things I ever missed when I was living in Europe were tacos and Dr. Pepper. I would gladly trade them for curry and jaffa cakes, however.

  26. PeterJ,

    is it wyrdtimes, he seems to be a hippie? English feminine nurturing round homes for English people?

    For too long, Scots and Welsh have enjoyed round, feminine nurturing homes at the expense of the English taxpayer. The English taxpayer condemned to a life of erm, 'unnurtement' whilst the Celts suck like parasites on the teat of Anglo-Saxon mothers milk?

  27. BTW -- glad you're liking the pictures, LaRit. Found a website with loads of really nice photographs that are, apparently, not copyrighted. None of them are credited to anyone.

  28. Nurturing, round feminine homes? That must be what's wrong with the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave™, then -- too many of us living in boxy, heartless masculine houses.

  29. Montana,

    it is in fact 'cuntybaws'. I believe 'bollocks' originates with our cousins south of the border.

  30. La Rit - Invited out to a small resaurant in our tiny market-town yesterday, run by an 'integrated' brit couple, my Australienne friend had ... fish and chips . Always busy with expat and holiday brits, but also the local artisans and their workers having the menu ouvrier. The mayor and councillors have meals there too .

    On 'funny old mixes' I left UK in 1976, so my identity is now rural Basse Normandie cider-maker and general peasant, rural Glos and Essex, various 'Cities', and of course I feel really at home in the Far North of NZ .

  31. And just one other thing: James and Medve. Did I miss announcements of holidays or something? Seems like they've both been absent far too long.

  32. Duke - am pleased to report you have 125 recs for your first comment on the Jimmy reid thread!!!

    Also talking of Glaswegians.....

    Expatscotsman also posted this in the same thread...

    In the words of Rab C. Nesbitt (citation required

    "Disney Land - disney matter and disney vote tory"

  33. @Duke:

    Ah. Must've been a Brummie friend that amended it to 'cuntybollocks'.

  34. In a boxing match with a civilised opponent Sarko uses his feet and is wearing knuckledusters ...

  35. La Rit and 13th Duke - good posts on the Jimmy Read thread!

  36. Frog2:

    ah zee eevil Fish and Chips!!! as Philippa said - the French don't understand it at all. I'm always on the hunt for the best chippy - London does have a mixed bag but I've found that the further into South london - the better the chippies.... of course, nothing can compete with chippes in Liverpool.... in fact, would kill for a Brown Split (Chips, mushy peas and gravy) right now!!

    my identity is now rural Basse Normandie cider-maker and general peasant

    Sounds great! I'm just a willing/unwilling city dweller ;( but I always secretly crave the countryside, but not in the UK I don't think. It's all changed since the 70's - full of 'Lifestyle-seeking' rich folk ...

    As for the far north of NZ - would love to go there - I do think at heart I am a wilderness person - lands of ice and snow and also deserts.... don't know why.


    They really are great photos - you lucked out there with that website!

  37. Ok a bath beckons and I must off to werk..... at least it's in leafy Barnes today.... near the river, lots of greenery.... and hopefully lots of nice rich folk who also want to sponsor a Guide Dog Puppy!!!!

  38. peterj - oh, that's brilliant, has cheered me right up. have weighed in. hope calling him a 'fascist' won't get me modded...

    (am waiting for someone to take the bait, like on the sandwich pieece I did. where I did in fact mention that sandwiches have a masculine aspect being based on a square - even if cut into a triangle, giving a 'grail' shape, per Dr Dan Brown - and it would be the most feminie approach to cut sandwiches out using a biscuit cutter to get a more feminine round shape, but for some reason that was edited out as being just too weird, or something...)

  39. PhilippaB:

    Your post on the Round houses thread is fookin' 'ilarious ;)))

  40. OK - really must go.... laters all....

  41. Why should companies be allowed to sue for libel?

    Corporate entities' right to use this intimidating weapon in Britain should be limited: they already have enough protections

    Nice one 'ere hidden away on Liberty Central.
    The " WatchingA4E" site exists already, but I want an "ATOSWatch" too ! I know that many have been scared off doing similar for fear of prosecution .

    I'd like to see that on the frontpage of CiF Jessica

  42. Nice one, Philippa!

    Also like this bit by Ratb0y:

    By your interpretation Mongolian culture is clearly dominated by the feminine as they live in circular yurts. Although thinking of Genghis Khan as a proto-feminist wiping the scourge of patriarchal societies from the face of the earth has a certain appeal. I dread the thought of Bidisha with a horde of horse archers at her beck and call ;-)

  43. '...of course, nothing can compete with chippies in Liverpool...'

    Sorry, LaRit, but everyone knows that the best fish and chips anywhere are found in Grimsby... (or Cleethorpes, at a push) :o)

  44. Woop woop, I did bold and italics!!

  45. Want to grow vegetables? No garden?

    No problem...

  46. Glaswegian - now there's a language that is nearly as difficult to learn as Welsh. It took me nearly 2 years of daily conversations with loads of great characters, who used to work in the Scottish Silicon Glen, to finally understand 95% of what was being said.

    Once went on Hols with me X missus and got chatting one night to a couple from Glasgow. In the room later, missus said 'Didn't understand a fucking word said tonight'. Still puts a smile on me face !

  47. No way Shaz, the best Chippie is in Hartlepool, after all:

    "Hartlepool is famous as the place where Peter Mandelson, campaigning in a fish and chip shop, reportedly mistook mushy peas for guacamole."

    That's class !!

  48. R Buckminster Fuller is my hero! He said 'I thought about going into politics, but decided I wanted to make a difference' - classic!

    The roundhouses one gave many lols.Inspired rabbiting-on !

  49. "Sarkozy, the Delinquent of the Republic", perhaps.


    Evidemment, les meufs et les keums causent toujours verlan! Si tu piges pas, on va croire que t'es teubé comme une teub.

    (Of course women and blokes still speak Verlan! If you don't get it, people will think you're thick as a prick.)


    I would have thought raciste would be sistra. I'll ask my republicdaughter when she emerges from her pit (having watched The Tudors until seven in the morning as usual - my laptop is working overtime down here!).

  50. Spike - obviously a special dispensation on verlan for the aged,or maybe the yoof around here are more tolerant!

  51. @Spike:

    Dis donc… well, if you say so, mon pote – I thought it was only kids and adolescents who used it. And if they reckon not speaking verlan makes me “thick as a prick”, I’ll get that phrase made into a badge and wear it with pride, frankly.

  52. Doh! I've just twigged why it's called 'verlan'.

    I would not be any good at it.

    Roundhouse thread is v amusing.

  53. They may have hidden the picture of the roundhouse hippy wearing his hat, but I have rediscovered it. That's better.


    I saw this collection of colour photos yesterday, showing scenes of central Europe in the early 1900s. Maybe worth a dip sometime in the future?

  54. @Swift & Frog

    Sorry, I was just giving an example of Verlan, not a social commentary; they won't think that. It's a bit like rhyming slang: it's used by all generations from certain cultural backgrounds. A lot of words - such as keum, keuf, meuf, beurre, teuf, ouf (mec, flic, femme, arabe, fête, fou) - are understood by everyone and in general use by some.

    The new slang involves quite a few Arab words, such as "kiffer", meaning to love, adore.

    I was recently told by a yoof that I was too old to say "cool". :-)


    Confirmation from my republicdaughter: raciste is sistra or sisra.

  55. @spike:

    Oh that’s OK then. I was girding my loins to tell them to “kuff” off.

  56. CiF has some of its own language too: cnut,fcuk,and of course fickwut.

  57. (two posts, because blogger's just buggered me around)
    Afternoon. @ Duke re:Wyrdtimes. He is weird,isn't he but not in a good ArecBalrin way, nor in a hats-off-for-endurance-and-innumerable-usernames Giyus way.Wonder what he'd do if there was an English parliament? Next thing, it'd be "those damn Scousers, sucking the good people of Stoke Poges dry with their unwarranted subsidies and say over Pogian matters.Let the good citizens of Slough and its environs with our proud history and unique customs be freed from the Toxteth tax-drainers" (or summat).

  58. Good post on the Francis Maude thread (by GlobalCultofMe)
    "A lovely, breathless, rip-roaring, up-and-at-'em propaganda piece, which is heartening because it shows that CiF is still the house-journal or parish magazine of whichever party (or coalition) happens to be in power.

    New Labour's grand plan was that you could not expect the state to finance things which cost more than a good dinner for yourself and your chums at taxpayers' expense, so you had to involve the private sector when you wanted to build hospitals or bits of railways or schools or anything bigger than a lean-to greenhouse.

    That spawned the brilliant wheeze of PFI, which simply meant that private companies ended up making vastly more money than they could ever have dreamed possible, by charging everything beyond the letter of the contract (drawn up so loosely that an inebriated and crippled slug could jump gymnastically through the loopholes) at eye-burstingly astronomical rates.

    Still, never mind, eh? The idiot taxpayers would just have to pay in the end, like they did when the banks brought armageddon on the world.

    Now we have the government saying, you cannot expect us to provide for the sick or the poor or the needy or those casualties and catastrophes caused by the juggernaut of unbridled capitalism mowing people down in swathes, even if that is what you think your tax money is supposed to do.

    We, the ConDems, would far rather see your tax money siphoned into the pockets of big business.
    After all, you are simply there to be exploited and looted. You are a resource, on the back of which someone has to make a fast buck. If you are not getting and spending because you are too sick, you have ceased to have a value.

    It sounds good, just the way it is supposed to. People helping each other.
    Just another racket to flog the only thing which will really be left in a few years which has not already been filched and transferred from public to private hands by the government, acting as facilitators to the rich - the people.
    Now, I would like to operate as a gang-master and slave-trader, obviously for the good of the idle, stupid, feckless poor.Where do I collect my lapel-badge and publicity brochure?"

    Excellent work, BTW La Rit and Duke on the Reid thread. Cracking comments by many.all about a truly great man. Bloody frustrating to see the ill-informed weighing in, ignorant of the fact that he most famously led a work-in, not a strike, and that yup, in fact he did have a wholly coherent social vision too: his whole fecking Rectorial address that the Duke quoted in part stands testimony to that.
    That round houses thing, very funny posts, but the ATL piece isn't entirely serious is it?There again the author self-describes himself as a "healer". Look, pal, unless you're a medically-qualified clinician, you fucking ain't a healer, you're either a shyster charlatan, or someone who also believes in fairies at the bottom of the graden. I'd really fear for anyone with anything serious or complicated who got his 'healing'. Most such healers shout success, when the ailments are self-limiting/healing anyhow, or not ailments at all . Like the old line about St Patrick, getting sainthood for clearing Ireland of snakes. Great except there weren't any anyhow.Can I become St Alisdair for clearing the North East of wildebeests? Are you a healer, if you folk would have got better in any sodding event? If he calls himself a healer, I'm going to call myself an architect on the basis I drew a picture of our house at school. Of course it didn't get built (er, it was already standing, albeit with phallocentric right angles and sides), but y'know, I mean well.

  59. some great wor on the round-houses thread, indeed...am disappointed hatty-man is not engaging with my hobbit theory, would have thought he was a bit of a tolkien fan. hanyoo.

    good verlan too! am learning a lot. like there seem to be regional variations, as down here it seems more 'invert the consonants' than 'invert the word'. DB was telling me about 'javanaise' the other day, and how gainsbourg got blamed for it being 'outed', although his song was not actually in javanaise, but used words that sounded like they were. or something.

  60. "fickwut"
    am having that.

  61. It's my very own, phil, but always glad to share!

    Following on the article in Liberty Central I just read this on the McLibel case, twenty years' litigation overall.

    "In June 1995, McDonald's offered to settle the case (which "was coming up to its first anniversary in court"[14]) by donating a large sum of money to a charity chosen by the two. They further specified that they would drop the case if Steel and Morris agreed to "stop criticising McDonald's".[14] Steel and Morris secretly recorded the meeting; McDonald's said the pair could criticise McDonald's privately to friends but must cease talking to the media or distributing leaflets. Steel and Morris wrote a letter in response saying they would agree to the terms if McDonald's ceased advertising its products and instead only recommended the restaurant privately to friends. Lol.

  62. Afternoon all

    Have beeen browsing a lot of sites recently where people have been describing their experiences of these infamous medicals that ATOS are conducting for people claiming ESA.Makes for extremely grim reading.

    Came a little bit closer to home earlier when me other half was telling me about the experience of a work colleague of hers whose daughter had been summoned to an ATOS examination centre.The daughter is in her early 20,s and suffers from some sort of anxiety disorder which keeps her housebound for much of the time.Yet as far as ATOS were concerned this young woman didn,t score enough points in her medical and since then the DWP have stopped her benefit and advised her to apply for JSA.She is going to appeal and her GP will support the appeal.Plus she,s still living at home so she won,t starve in the interim period when she,s being left without any income.But what a disgrace.

    Also this woman told my partner about the attitude of the ATOS staff which she said was cold,brisk and indifferent.Plus she said something of some of the other people who were in the waiting room waiting to be examined.A woman who clearly had back problems and couldn,t get up when she was called.Who was reduced to tears by the pain she was in and whose husband was forced to remonstrate with the nurse who was unsympathetic to her plight and did nothing to either help or reassure her.Another woman who was both deaf and dumb and who was abandoned at the examination centre by her carer.And was therefore unable to respond when her name was called.And it was left to the other people in the waiting room g to intervene and explain her circumstances to the stroppy receptionist who apparently been made aware of her condition but who had 'forgotten'.A man who had some sort of fit in the waiting room followed by a profuse nosebleed.And a young man who had clearly had some sort of accident and was wearing a neck brace as well as having an arm and a leg in plaster.

    We don,t know whether any of these other people were also declared fit for work by ATOS but it,s clearly outrageous that they were summoned in the first place.And in all probability there are ATOS waiting rooms all over Britain with a similar collection of sick,vulnerable people who have enough to worry about without being put through this added humiliation.

    What i have described will almost certainly become more commonplace as those currently on IB are summoned by ATOS to see if they are eligible for the new ESA benefit.And it makes my blood boil that so many people seem unaware of what,s going on.And that the Guardian is still nowhere near wholeheartedly joining the fight to get these barbaric ATOS medicals stopped.

  63. cotton prices set to rise due to pakistan floods.
    this is 'unhelpful' and comes at an 'unhelpful time'.
    i realise that it is important to look beyond the immediate tragedy and chaos (for example, the piece about african farmers and farmworkers being affected by the volcano-flightban), but i would be spitting less about the economic analyst talking about this if he had once mentioned the cotton-farmers in pakistan, and the local people whose livelihoods and jobs may have gone the same way as their homes.

    but no. tis all about 'us', and the effect on the market, and the impact this could have on us being able to buy vest-tops for 40p at primark.

  64. Paul - christ. some horror stories there.

    bit of a swiftian suggestion, this, but...

    as you say, just getting these people in to a test centre could be very problematic. so why don't the testers go to them? cut costs in an instant. no premises costs. have the admin staff working at home - they'll have to have a hefty IT system anyway, couldn't cost much more to throw in secure remote access - and all the testers using their own cars (mileage costs much less than facilities).

    cut stress to claimants, give them a bit of a leveller what with being on 'home turf', hopefully make them a bit more confident and able to better tell the tester where to stick it as appropriate. and cut costs. and free up property that, if owned, could then be rented out, generatingmoney.


  65. philippa

    Like home visits by your GP a home visit by an ATOS doctor/nurse would also be time-consuming.And let,s not forget that 'Time is Money' as far as ATOS is concerned.Plus having browsed through a number of sites it would appear that claimants are advised against asking for home visits.For the attitude of the visiting medic is seemingly worse than the attitude of those doing the governments dirty work at the examination centres.

    Makes me blood boil tbh.

  66. the babar ahmad case
    originally, cps said 'no prospect of a meaningful conviction'
    now, "there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge four of the officers involved in the arrest of Mr Ahmad with causing actual bodily harm to him"
    hope the legal advisers of ian tomlinson's relatives are making notes...

  67. paul - ho hum

    [back to drawing board]

  68. Philippa

    Am off to read Peter B,s blog on bikes/biking.
    Wonder if it will generate a similar level of hits as 'The Deluded Left' did?.That must have been a near record.

  69. Paul - could you stick that up on Waddya, to keep up awareness ?

    &Philippa - I can't remember a definite answer on whether people are allowed to record their ATOS interviews ? I'd go wired at any rate. The Surveillance Society can and should work both ways.

    A bit more on Libel law progress here.

  70. ermmm...

    think the sub-heading on peter bracken's latest suggests that the subs are having a bit of a laugh today...

  71. no, actually, have read the article, and it's pretty accurate.

  72. Philipa

    I think our MrB is pretty bullet proof.And in the pantomime that is Cif he,s taken to his status as 'Panto Villain'like a duck takes to water.

  73. Hi all, it's nice to see so many people whose contributions I enjoy reading on CiF.
    I'm currently aiming to get back into the swing of blogging after a few months of apathy and I was lucky enough to stumble across this fine blog via the brilliant Neo-Beveridge Report.

    RE: ESA and ATOS
    I work for an organisation that advises and represents people in ESA appeals (no prizes for guessing which one:-)and the disgraceful stories highlighted by Paul will come as no surprise to anybody familiar with ATOS Healthcare's disgusting treatment of ESA claimants.
    Phillipa those are some good suggestions but I think the real problem is that the current system does not intend to reduce the stress on claimants or even save money. As things stand ATOS have a vested interest in finding as many people fit for work as possible. On the face of it it seems like a way for the state to save money on benefit claimants. However by introducing a private business into the equation severe difficulties with even this rational arise. As ATOS only care about the number of people they find unfit for work they are not effected by the high number of claimants that appeal. They are not concerned with the additional strain this puts onto the Appeals Service, which is currently in meltdown. I would very much like to find the increased costs incurred by the Appeals Service since ATOS started administrating the WCA.
    Now maybe if ATOS were effectively fined for every claimant that was successful at appeal they may be tempted to perform their role with more competence.

    Apologies for the essay :D

  74. hello ratboy!

    (and was aware that good sense or any level of care is not really in the ATOS manual. but when the going get's tough, I get silly. it's sort off all i have, sometimes...)

  75. Hiya ratb0y, and thx for the Bidisha comment quoted above - made me larf!

    Some stunning posts on the bike thread. Reilly has just had a blinder.

  76. jay has indeed just pwned that whole thread.

    unfortunately i have got trapped in a grammar / counting thingy and may therefore be randomly italicising things for the rest of the day...

  77. Fuck me,

    I really have had to stifle the chuckles at my workdesk the last couple of hours. Between the new age round houses and Peter 'Fonda' Bracken's update of 'on the road' it's been vintage BTL.

    Jay, if you're reading, have you discovered an online Bracken phrase generator?

    Hello and welcome ratboy.


    you may find this useful- the Glasgow Ned Alfabet


    there appears to be a new blog up called benefit watch which keeps an eye on press coverage of welfare and benefits.

  78. bracken's now turned up on the biker thread. this could turn very very nasty (and those are not the kind of italics i mentioned before...)

  79. For anyone with no time to read the whole lolling thread, post of the day is JayReilly, 3.33PM on the peterbracken biker article .

  80. unexceptional's come back with a rival post of some genius...

    "It was in 1975 when I first scarpered past the trenches of my lady's defences..."

  81. Jay

    Hope you read this because i just wanted to say your post on the PeterB thread today was pure class.Nice one!

  82. Duke -- "benefit watch" is a dud link.

    While hunting it found an org called RADAR but no idea what they're worth as campaigners .

    Ratboy --welcome too ! your organisation is better placed to find more on Appeals Tribunals costs ?

    I'd still like to know if bonuses are paid by ATOS, and what targets are used ...

  83. crinklyoldgit's done rather well too...!

  84. Ratboy - hi there. That is a very good suggestion re fining Atos for every succesfull appeal. Very good indeed. They are an awful company. I read somewhere (might have been on Cif) that someone was found unfit for work when undergoing a private medical arranged by their company with Atos so were signed off. Then they failed the DWP medical with Atos and were found fit for work. That is just mad - you couldn't make it up!

    Hi Montana - I had noticed Medve and James absence too.

    La Rit - do you get to take a cute Lab puppy with you when you fund raise? Do you go on your own or is there a group of you? There is a disabled dogs charity near me and I have thought about volunteering for them when a bit better and able to do more. Meant to have started my first day volunteering today but been ill - yet again. Cannot shake this bug off - know a few people who have had it and they are all the same.

    How you doing Paul?

    Anne - congrats on the house and good luck with the move!

  85. Thanks for the welcomes.

    Thaum - I found the round house article highly amusing. The worrying thing is when professional archaeologists spout this kind of nonsense. I'm glad you enjoyed my Bidisha Khan comment.

    Frog - My understanding is that ATOS are not paid bonus' per se but have contractual targets to meet for the number of claimants found fit for work. I've forgotten where I found this information but I'll research it tomorrow. With regard to tribunal appeal costs due to the decentralised way in which this organisation is structured (a good thing overall imo)it can be difficult for us grunts on the ground to know what aspects of public policy are being researched and reported on. Although I will make a few enquiries in the next two weeks as I'm actually leaving here at the end of August.

    I concur that the Peter B thread is rather lol worthy. JayReilley had me failing to suppress laughter at my desk. Brilliant post.

  86. Hello, ratb0y. Etiquette question:when pwned online by a pointed,witty and well-written rejoinder, is it better to take it on the chin manfully, or to resort to the cheap shot?

  87. Hello All - Hello Ratboy


    Re mutualisation. Have left question on thread about about proposed model, funding etc . Cannot understand what Maude is proposing. Any ideas ?

    Flying visit - love to all. Nap - stick around.

  88. Paul

    ill post reminder re ATOS on waddya later - need to keep up pressure. Reaching point where I am reaching for big stick.

  89. Hi Alisdair.

    Interesting question. The ideal response would be to appear to take it on the chin with good grace, while delivering a cheap shot. Does that not show dignity and wit?

  90. ratboy - looking forward to hearing that on the ATOS contractual targets. No time to check this now, but mikebach has a lot on it -- here .

    Leni -- I thought of someone posting most of Paul's one here if he can't do it himself ?

    Duke -- nice when people read the links :)

    Urgent gardening, must go !

  91. Ratboy

    Perhaps i,m being a tad too idealistic here but one of the many things that leaves a bad taste in the mouth regarding ATOS is the fact that doctors and nurses are unqustioningly carrying out medicals that they must be aware are flawed.That they are finding as 'fit for work'people they must know are unemployable.And that the stress of losing their benefits may drive sick,vulnerable claimants to an early grave.For my understanding is at present it takes between 6-8 months for an Appeal to be heard.

    I feel there is an ethical issue here.For surely the well being of the patient should always be the primary concern of any doctor or nurse.Yet that clearly isn,t the case with those who are working for ATOS.So shouldn,t the bodies that represent all doctors and nurses in this country, like the GMC and the RCN,also be questioning the role of their members in conducting these inhumane medicals.Especially as those of their members working for the NHS will be the ones picking up the pieces when the mental and physical health of claimants deteriorates further when ATOS wrongly declare them to be 'fit for work'.

    @Hi Princess:-)

  92. Hi Leni

    Was planning to take up the cudgels again on CIF next week.But as i think we,ve both said before it,s getting the powers that be further up the greasy pole at Guardian Towers to take up the fight is the problem at the moment.

  93. roundhousehippyman has come on the thread and it turns out that my earlier post is scarily close to what he seems to genuinely believe.

    he even said 'his-story' in an unironic stylee.

    am now concerned people might think i agree with him.

  94. oh ffs, i hate google.

    [stomps off to sign out of googledocs under work email to get proper name and little piccy back]

  95. @ ratboy. Well, the ideal response would be even wittier than the take-down, while nobly acknowledging its merits,and also displaying an element of humility.Not to knock cheap shots, but if you do use cheap shots, then you cannot ever complain at being on the receiving end of 'em, nor can you use them as an insulting descriptor of others' posts without looking rather like a hypocrite or a snidey arse.

    @ Leni. One theory I've heard and it carries a lot of weight, is that there is absolutely no sincerity to the bullish bullshit from the Govt on "social enterprises". I know and have worked with a guy who runs a long-standing SE (a first wave CIC)and they maintain it makes no bloody difference whether you're an SE or a vol/com provider.What we're headed towards is the incompatible twin policies of marketisation and large scale cuts. To 'create', grow a market, indeed for a market to exist, there has to be surplus provision by multiple providers, so that a user can pick.
    Then we have personalisation/personal budgets/SDS/IBs in social care and also being piloted in certain areas, and certain specialisms for health.
    Via my mate's SE business partner's blog:
    In theory, this should mean that social enterprises are more likely to be able to provide services that people will want to use their personal budgets to buy. But is this the reality? And if it’s true that social enterprises know what services people want and the right ways to provide them, will they be in a position to enter these new markets?

    In the absence of either ongoing grants or government agencies commissioning defined chunks of service provision social enterprises (and other small grassroots groups who don’t regard themselves as social enterprises) will have to:

    (a) adapt their current models of working to be able to sell services to individuals for a fee that enables them to cover their costs

    AND (and this is the capacity issue) (b) finance the bulk of the ongoing costs of providing services on the basis that they won’t necessarily be able to sell those services.

    To what extent will this work? (a) will be possible if either central government or local agencies pay for it to happen once – with one-off grants (or loans) funding the development of the market. (b) is more of a problem. How many small local organisations will ever be able to provide surplus capacity if there isn’t any funding to pay for it? How many will want to take the risk?

    Unlike straight business where investors finance goods or services that may not be sold on the basis that, if these goods and services are sold, they make profits, people running local social enterprises and community groups are risking not getting paid a relatively low wage for doing a difficult full time job, with the winning scenario being that they get paid a relatively low wage for doing a difficult full time job.

    It’s true that organisations can spread their risk by scaling-up and offering more services across a wider geographical area but what about those that can’t or don’t want to?

    These concerns don’t amount to against an argument against personal budgets – frustration with services that are ‘just there’ and don’t offer anything useful to anyone is one of the key drivers for people to start social enterprises – but both central government and local funding agencies need to think carefully about how to deliver personalisation in a way that creates the market that people want. The big danger is that if ways aren’t found to fund (the most effective) small local organisations remaining in the market, people using services will be left with a purer method of exercising an equally limited or even more limited choice.

    (more to come: blogger playing up again)

  96. bracken moderated on his own thread.

    that's got to be some sort of record...

  97. philippa

    Will be even funnier if PeterB has been put in the sin bin.If so his btl responses will appear sometime tomorrow no doubt.

  98. Alisdair

    Your reply covers my 3 important questions - initial funding - will orgs have to rely on trading income to continue - access to service for users ?

    Genuine SEs and vol sector is coming under atteck - moving control to major funders. Much of the money here comes from ERDF.

    Snippet from Wales

    Welsh NHS bosses have a "salary protection scheme".

    Merger of Health Boards left 100+ top execs with no job. Salary guaranteed for 10 years, The Assembly gvt, claims to have moved this people to other jobs to "retain their skills" . These jobs not specified.

    Those of us who think about these things are wondering how these 100 jobs have not been advertised - what they are and who these protected people are.
    The merger was said to be in the interests of saving money.

  99. paul - now that is just a glorious thought...

  100. heheheheh. i've been memory-holed for even mentioning it. pfffffffff.

  101. was going to suggest to the mods that they think of him as Andrew Brown for the day, but thought that might get me into trouble.

    besides, they've cut the thread on the infamous 'slanderson' article, so you can't see AB's snitty little digs sitting, lonely and sad, in a sea of deleted posts pointing out just how wrong he was...

  102. Evening all!

    Seconding the props to Jay for that post on the bike thread. Pity they deleted some of Bracken's responses though - he ought to at least have the right of reply.

    Haven't had a chance to look at much else.

  103. BB -- article on Libel Law reform stuck away on Liberty Central at the G.

    Beach !

  104. @ Leni. Some more thoughts. I know of long-serving(increasingly desperate) folk in one of our PCTs who are trying to spin an SE out, just before they get offered vol redundancy, or given the death-watch duty, siiting in a ghost ship until the PCT goes forever. Govt would love it if they did: no redundancy package if they jump soon, watch the NHS pension rights ebb away, and service failure and/or cuts can be laid at their feet.
    I sometimes feel that Social enterprises is but a label for the private sector appropriating the goodwill and affection built up the charities over hundreds of years.Their underlying ethos and methods are those of private business based on profit first, often with little more than lip-service paid to charitable aims and objectives.Put simply, social enterprises are an unhappy and unworkable hybrid: those that 'succeed' just become in essence private concerns which make money, those that don't merely revert to being charities in all but name, reliant upon grant aid, statutory sector funding, donations and hand-outs.So, they go one of two ways, but in truth, can never really stay in the middle ground.Just because New Labour and now the Tories assert that there is a mystical, magical "Third way", doesn't mean that in practice one exists.
    What's pernicious is all the crap that's being smuggled in under the happy-clappy social entrepreneur shtick: our local authority wants all current community groups and providers to be SEs, ignoring the inconvenient fact that there isn't business/money to be made in some areas (eg mental health, asylum seekers, drug'n'alcohol)beyond Govt money. They are unsexy, stigmatised areas where the only funding ever comes (directly or indirectly) from the public purse: you just don't get public donations, or very many folk interested who haven't been directly affected.All such groups locally feel that the council somehow hopes that the groups will magically become self-funding by becoming SEs, and thus they'll get services (for which they will claim credit) for free. Trouble is that, business-wise it doesn't stack up.For example, one drug'n'alcohol group I know can and does earn income from delivering training. Remove the statutory funding for their drop-in, and business-wise, they would have to just deliver training: why should they provide a drop-in for the council for free, when to survive and pay the bills, it's training that they have to be delivering. It's a very rapid way to dissipate goodwill and civic-mindedness,taking it for granted, and using it supplant paid-for services. Very "Big Society",though.

    Re: your local set-up. There are golden circles in public services 9usually well-connected politically, and/or with handy social connections outside work.I'll also wager q a lot subscribe to very similar neo-liberal political views, maybe done a Common Purpose course or two (not that sinister, but shockingly,dismally partisan in the info it presses on participants-only one outlook allowed). Not outright conspiracy,or corruption: simply the preservation of power 9and public salaries) for "people like us". They believe, despite a tremendous weight of evidence to the contrary that they are worth it, worth more than anyone who actually does anything productive, or anyone with any knowledge or experience in the often specialised services over which they preside. In our neck of the woods, all the good guys (inc the senior ones) are retiring, leaving just the ignorant, technocratic, managerialist 6 Sigma-ers behind.

  105. evening everyone

    Hello Ratboy - and welcome to the UT.

    Just been to see Ajami - excellent film directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, so head still in another place.

    Has bracken got another atl piece then? Suppose I'd better wander over to cif and peruse his deathless prose. Do you think he's angling for a job on the groan?

  106. sheff, trust me, 'deathless' is not actually how it's panned out...

  107. Alisdair - ooh, 6Sigma. Evil personified.

    LOL @Philippa - you are on one of your rolls today, thank you!

  108. Documentary on ATOS etc coming up on Radio 4 at 20:00, for those who can get it where they are.

  109. @Alisdair
    Admittedly I do have a fondness for cheap shots, either for or against me, maybe this displays my weakness for puerile humour. Of course you are quite correct in saying it is better to be even wittier and naturally if you do resort to being cheap you can't complain when the position is reversed.

    It's interesting that you raise the ethical concerns about ATOS as it's similar to something I was saying in my office a few weeks back. As the Health Care Professional carrying out the 'examination' (although frequently it can be more like a questionnaire) must be registered by the GMC is their not some merit in making complaints about sub-standard medicals to the GMC and not just to ATOS?

    I have no doubt that the systematic failings within examinations are due to ATOS policies but if enough 'Health Care Professionals' are reported to and investigated by the GMC could this be a good strategy for tackling ATOS as a whole?

    Hello and thanks - I wouldn't use the term deathless prose for Bracken's latest master piece. More like bike pr0n prose. It's also contagious. On the roundhousehippy thread I almost used the phrase. "I'm tempted to whip out my 6" trowel and get down and dirty with gender relations"...

  110. Paul + Ratboy

    The ethics of ATOS - I have several times queried the ethics of NHS staff being paid twice - one to diagnose and care for patients and then again to deprive them of a living income.

    Part of the Hippocratic oath centres around being aware that ill health can impact on earnings ability and the economic well being of patients and families.

    This is the way to go I think - the GMC should be asked to investigate. I am srill trying to find stats for ATOS examiners who have most decisions over ruled on appeal.

  111. heh..heh..heh - just read Brackens piece...oh gawd...does that guy overwrite or what?

    Loved the café in Tours bit - Prétentieux, lui ? Évidemment non!

  112. Peterb is either into serious image building or is being deliberatly crass.

    Either ensures the ocassional extra £85 to pay for his petrol and wine.

    Best ignored - or at least certainly not to be taken seriously.

  113. @ ratboy. Hey, puerile is good, not cheap.Cheap to me is when you get disproportionately nasty,often used a tired old phrase, and the humour gets left behind in the attack.

  114. Just read that PB thread. Jays post was just superb - top stuff. Got to admit though Ihave a bit of respect for PB - very grudging though it is - for his ability to take the stick. I wonder if he got deleted for calling people 'prized fuckwits'?

    Leni - ''Part of the Hippocratic oath centres around being aware that ill health can impact on earnings ability and the economic well being of patients and families.'' That is a good angle to approach it from. Maybe if more people were facing investigation for their work for Atos they would stop doing it!

  115. @Leni
    I know ATOS won't keep stats for appeals as they aren't informed about whether an examination is overturned on appeal. I'm not sure as to whether the DWP will keep records on individual examiners.
    However all may not be lost. Where I work we are now keeping the exact kind of stats you are talking about for our local area. If this becomes a nation wide initiative it could become enormously helpful.

    Thank you for the information on the Radio 4 documentary. Very interesting so far. How disgusting are the bureaucrats supporting the WCA? The moral and ethical repercussions of their plans do not even enter the picture.

  116. Ratboy
    I know ATOS won't keep stats for appeals as they aren't informed about whether an examination is overturned on appeal. I'm not sure as to whether the DWP will keep records on individual examiners.
    However all may not be lost. Where I work we are now keeping the exact kind of stats you are talking about for our local area. If this becomes a nation wide initiative it could become enormously helpful.


    This is essential area to investigate - lack of "paper trail " leads to loss of accountability and responsibility of individuals and orgs.

  117. Was considering penning my own deathless prose response to Peter's article re riding my stallion and feeling that throbbing power of the possible trembling through my taut thighs ... but I can't be arsed.

    Re ATOS: friend of mine had bowel cancer. He had chemo and radiation, then an operation to remove part of his bowel whereupon he had to rely on a bag. After a few months, he had a second operation to restore the bits they'd taken out. Multi-hour operation, and the recovery not brilliant.

    Two weeks later, he had a "medical" review. His GP said he was unfit for work. His consultant said he was unfit for work. His fucking work said he was unfit for work.

    What do you think the result of the review was?

    Yeah - he could lift his arms over his head.

  118. Thauma

    Awful but typical story.

    the qestion then arises - are NHS specialists so useless, inadequate and lacking in expertise that their considered professional opinions count for nothing ?

  119. Leni/Thauma

    ''are NHS specialists so useless, inadequate and lacking in expertise that their considered professional opinions count for nothing ? ''

    But that,s exactly the problem.The views of the NHS specialists treating claimants aren,t taken into account until the Appeal Stage- unless the claimant belongs to one of the limited categories who are automatically exempt from the ATOS medical.eg they're on a life support machine or something similar.

    Anyway here,s another OLDIE to cheer everyone up.

  120. Leni - as Paul said, I don't think the opinions of the medical experts were even asked. It was a box-ticking questionnaire type of thing.

    I believe he's won his appeal, but in the meantime his work gave him early retirement so he's been lucky. Many others won't be nearly as lucky, either through less sympathetic employers, or the wrong age, or both.

  121. All right, I must park this classic contribution to the Bracken thread before it gets deleted?

    12 Aug 2010, 8:57PM
    'The Deluded left by motorcycle'

    chuckled the cynic

    'Born to be Reviled.....'

    I suspect we're at the fag end of the thread, so a personal statement.

    An indifferent effort is made to describe a personal pleasure and 80 percent of the comments read like a homage to vindictiveness. What's with the bile, the belittling, the gratuitous scorn? Fine the language is overblown, but that's no crime. For once, I wrote something with no axe to grind.

    sob.... tears......

    'Those that live by the s(pam-)word..........'

    posed the wise fool

    'are destined to be trivialised in their own turn?

    ... Get over it...'

  122. scherfig said...

    Don't flatter yourself, BB. It's true that I don't like your online persona, but I very rarely comment on your 'typing' here (where I can) and never on Cif (where I cannot). You attribute an importance to yourself which I don't share. I do think that you are an egotist who needs affirmation from anonymous people on the internet. I do think that you spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet seeking both adoration and hatred. I think you define yourself by the attention you get. I think you should spend more time with your family and less with your netbook.

    I allow myself to say these things to you only because you called me a 'miserable fucker', and this could not be further from the truth. I'm OK in the real world, and this stuff is just a bit of a hobby for me. If you take it too seriously, then it can be a problem. Maybe you should think about that. If being queenbee on UT and being a big name on Cif is what you aspire to, then I feel sorry for you.
    01 August, 2010 22:03

    BeautifulBurnout said...

    God, Sherfig, you sound like Bitey. Get over yourself.

    Not going to give you the pleasure of responding further than that.
    01 August, 2010 22:08

    'scherfig said...
    God, Sherfig, you sound like Bitey. Get over yourself.

    Well, no, BB. That's a terrible thing to say! I'm offended. I only dislike your dishonesty and your hypocrisy, I don't hate you as a person (I don't even know you). Bitey is a fruitcake, and as you know, I have defended you against him many times (sometimes practically).
    01 August, 2010 22:29

    BeautifulBurnout said...

    Truce it is. :o)'

    scherfig said:

    'btw, on the ad hom thing, I will defend you to the death against real ad homs. Don't conflate what I say with the likes of Bitey. I deleted a lot of his comments here a while back, and also (probably) got him banned from Cif as jiasa. I make no apologies for that - freedom of speech? Censorship? Fuck him.'

    So actually nothing like BTH who's never sought the banning of anyone from CiF or anywhere else.

  123. Anyhoo ... over and out. Enjoy your various eveningses, my precioussessss.

  124. So actually nothing like BTH who's never sought the banning of anyone from CiF or anywhere else.

    totally,, you probably got different color hair too,,

    hell of a good day to be hooked up to the world,,PB does motorbike,,nicky nutures the round house and MicahWhite does clicktivism,,the last paragraph of which is so
    turgid it requires wellies and shovel to get through,,giyus doesnt get deleted and BTH comes to play "All our yesterdays"

    i could have had the first post on the PB thread
    but i was so gobsmacked by the bubbles and Barbie tone that i got lost in a reverie about
    homeric similes on Ecstacy,, (and Freud)

    when i looked in at 4 am there was 6 canadians on line,,

  125. Hi Leni

    From what i can gather a high % of the doctors working for ATOS and conducting these medicals for ESA are either foreign doctors who,ve only been in the country for a short time or locums -including retired doctors-who for a long time have been removed from practices where they build relationships with their patients.Added to that the ethical issues we discussed earlier plus the fact that some may also be working for the NHS and things start looking even more dodgy than we thought.

    Anyway i,m signing off now so i,ll leave you with a final burst from one of Canada,s finest.

    Nite x

  126. My pub landlady was most impressed when I arrived at 9pm with a printout of the most excoriating and accurate attack on M. Le Président Sarkozy in the print press. Paper copies are unobtainable, because sold out.

    Details upthread of where .

    Relaxing with a DVD !

  127. Paul -- the GMC is a good angle of attack, off for now soon! Yhe important thing is to keep gnawing away looking for new strategies and tactics. Like Jimmy Reid's "work-in" as opposed to a strike.

    You have to take them off-balance, not sure if that's english, but surprise 'em. Get the PRESSURE ON?

  128. mmnnn:some gremlins in the "blogger" access link tonight.
    Anyway get back in a bit with the link!

  129. hi chekhov -- I forwarded your golem link tother day .

  130. BTW: my computer has gone into steam driven mode, so whilst I faff on with putting the link up, has anyone on the Bracken thread mentioned "purple prose" let alone "preposterous hyperbole"!

  131. Hi Frog + chekhov

    So many things to hop about in fury over - I've long run out of feet.

  132. chekhov

    Preposterous hyperbolic purple prose and all variants are exhausted.

  133. Testing, testing...

    hermionegingold is more socialist than me...

    Oh, toto, there's no place like home....

  134. @frog2: yes I noticed and thanks. Actually I don't think I need to link it since most people who are interested have probably book marked that site already.
    Just wanted to point out that a new post has gone up and was interested in whatever anyone thinks about it.
    I don't pretend to understand the stats and percentages but at the risk of repeating myself, you don't need a Phd in economics to know when you are being shafted!

    "Golem's" analysis could be right or wrong, tbh I wouldn't know either way but at least it is well written and appeals to what I think I understand as logic!

  135. Hi leni - no point in being furious. We'all did that yesterday, and the day before.

    Energies henceforth for practical things of strategy and tactics. Being effective.

    NN & XX !

  136. frog

    Agree wholeheartedly - strategy and where now is the game. Still angry tho - in a positive must do something way.

    Night x

  137. "..no point in being furious...."

    Yeh, right. Let's be honest, none of us have the fucking balls to get furious about anything. We're all comfortable and complacent middle class hippies.

    We get snippy if anyone offends our liberal happy-clappy values. We've all been there, arms in the air, when Bob Marley or Curtis Mayfield or Stevie Wonder exhorted us to throw our hands in the air.

    We all love Robbie Williams too, and Kylie when she was going through her fag-hag stage.

    We're fucking great, liberal and inclusive. Let's all hug ourselves tight.

    And we all love footie too. Executive boxes and prawn sandwiches and the jolly old Arsenal.

    Montana thinks that hermione is more of a socialist than me, yeh?

    Like fuck she is.

    Hermione is an idiot cheerleader for a neo-liberal nightmare.

    Montana's sad little love-in with hermione only proves that an isolationist policy benefits both sides.

  138. @Leni - I'm trying to find a middle ground between redundant hippies and old school trade unionists.

    My sympathies are with the workers though. Always have been. It's a helluva shame that this site is snided out, as the post-1968 and the Guardian always have been, with idiot "lefties" who have forgotten that "equality" is about class and economics above all else.

  139. Can't wait for Montana's response - "hermione is more of a socialist than Hank, MF or scherfig...."

    You've lost the plot, Montana.

  140. @Hank: nowt to disagree with there. What's to be done?

  141. Hank

    There are several cross overs - developed over the last few decades. None should reject the other - my sympathies are with the workers too. There is a lot of confusion around.

    Of course it's about economics and class - however you define class - it always has been.

    If you look at Marx's early humanist writings you notice how concerned he is about individual freedom and self expression. The liberation of the individual. He later set this within an economic model - redistribution and common ownership. To some extent Marxism has become just another ideology/false reality - an imagined place.

    We are still up against class systems - we are also trapped by economic models developed post Marx and the global power structures they have created.

    The proposed "mutualisation" of services currently being pushed as an alternative to Welfare state can create a network of small - medium "welfare organisations" which would be ripe pickings for private takeovers. At the moment the "asset lock" on this type of org prevents their privatisation but that can be changed.

    What we lack - at ots simplest - is *politics*. Politics in the real sense - politics which involve large groups discussing situation and pushing for change. First we need to define the problem.

    Its very complicated - more than just "the left is dead". The left remains but lacks not just leaders but a coherent understanding of what we face - and where to start. There is no policy - no cohesive plan because there is no formulated end game.

    to return to identity politics - they were necessary to give equal rights across society - by hijacking and combining these aspirations with universal human rights those who use these *campaigns* for their own ends have obscured basic facts.

    The basic facts are that minorities are also divided across class, income groups and access to privilege. Do we all want to be 'equal' on a run down council estate while our 'betters' enjoy privilege and entitlement to rule and make all the decisions?

    We need to untangle the threads.

  142. BTW: totally off topic and all that but I've spent months digging up my front garden and de-weeding it and I thought it might be a bit of fun to seed a putting green.
    Given that I know bugger all about gardening or green-keeping for that matter, does anyone know how I might go about achieving my objective?

  143. @chekhov

    1. Shut down the tax havens.

    2. Use the OECD to harmonise corporate tax rates.

    3. Hang a few bankers and corporate lawyers "to encourage the others".

    4. Scrap Trident. Pull out of Afghanistan and Iran.

    5. Scrap "PFI" and the use of private contractors to make the public sector more efficient.

    6. Stop fucking about with equal opportunities. If you want to make Britain a more egalitarian country, abolish charitable status for private and public schools, thereby making the fees 40% more expensive than they are at the moment. And scrap private health. If we're all equal, then we should all have equal chances when it comes to living and dieing.

    7. Don't, whatever you do, allow religious fanatics, to have any sort of hand in education. Muslims, Jews, Catholics...fuck the lot of 'em.

    8. Go in hard on benefit cheats. No sympathy for those fuckers. Marx said "from each according to their means, to each according to their needs". Marx had no time for scroungers - the lumpenproletariat - and nor should we.

    9. Divert the money saved from the benefit cheats to enterprise schemes for the jobless. Stipulate that those enterprise schemes should benefit their local community and that part of the profits should be diverted into local community schemes.

    10. Local enterprise and cooperative banks - profits from the nationalised banks should be diverted to local cooperatives.

    11. Under no circumstances give tax relief, govt grants or subsidies to companies which take the piss out of UK plc, either by offshoring their profits in tax havens, or boosting their profits by offshoring their workers, or by being in anyway related to Lord Ashcroft.

    12. ahfuckit-it'sthetemptations

  144. chekhov

    I once helped to design and create an 8 hole golf course - for a group of delinquent kids. Got match funding and a free tractor and gang mowers - tractor from Kubota. How big is your gareden ?

    Grass growing is an art in itself. Many different grass seeds. Some kind of roller of you want really flat areas. Just for fun types can be made easily - you can have all grass or put half pipes in for the balls to run along.

    Need to get stones out of soil before you plant - and watch out for moles. Keep grass short - if it grows too tall it yellows underneath.

  145. @Leni: "We need to untangle the threads"

    Indeed we do, Leni, and you are quite right but the "neo-liberal" consensus (in spite of losing the argument)has still won the battle. So far!

    However, as I said to Hank; "a stitch up is a stitch up". What are we supposed to do to thwart what we are faced with, which is nothing more than a re-incarnation of fascism?

  146. @Hank: Ok I'm with you on all of those. You did know I'm on your side didn't you?

  147. Good stuff, Hank, but don't get ahead of the times, -point 4 - It's Iraq, so far, not Iran. And I suspect tax cheats cost the country much more than benefits cheats, but it's just a suspicion.

  148. I particularly like hanging a few bankers; "pour encourager les autres"

  149. Hank

    Agreed for the most part.

    The lumpenproles - this was a problem Marx really failed to address. Thieves and vagabonds have often been created en masse at times of economic collapse. Once created they become a seperate class and difficult to re-incorporate into prevailing economic model prevailing at time - whatever it is. To say bugger them is basically to say "From each according to his ability and to each according to his deserts " - The *deserts* being defined by those in charge.

    Your point 9 - IPSs are already constituted in this way - see my point about asset locks which apply to all mutuals. All community enterprises and coops have this protection.

  150. @leni - where me and you will always differ, as indeed where I always differ from pretty much everyone on here or on Cif, is on the concept of "equal opportunities".

    For me, it's always been about class and money, and an equal distribution of wealth.

    For you, and the Guardianistas, it's been about hijacking the working class movement, using the trade unions and the Labour Party as vehicles by which ambitious careerists could join the middle class.

    I've never understood what's to be celebrated about equal opps for feminists if all it leads to is the Guardian running Hadley Freeman's pieces on the must-have boots or denim skirts.

    I've never understood why the working class movement should be run for the benefit of middle class blacks like Joseph Harker to spit on white working class people.

    I'm fucked if I know why I should keep on buying the Guardian just so that middle-class mediocrities like Bella Rusbridger should get a job just because her mediocre dad says so at the same time as he claims to believe in equality.

    Or when Peter Bracken gets to stand as a Labour MP thanks to the contacts he's acquired through his father-in-law, Martin Bell, the incorruptible, whiter-than-white sainted enemy of the nepotists.

    It's no better over here to be honest. Montana likes to think that she's got principles and postures about free speech but she deletes posts which paint her in a bad light.

  151. @Leni: I like the idea of involving some underground tunnels into my putting green plan.
    I like the idea of "crazy golf".
    Sorry if I'm boring everyone but I've spent months getting my prospective putting green absolutely level and now I'm thinking I might add a few contours here and there and maybe even a bunker to practise sand wedge shots from.

    Leni: it's 5x6 metres which is 30 square metres.

  152. No Hank

    We don't disagree at all. Equal opportunities do not guarantee equal outcomes. They never can. Every society will always have to support some who are able to contribute less than the majority.

    I have not hijacked the wc class movement at all.The privileged members of any group - I keep on saying this - make common cause ocross their class irrespective of their race or sexual orientation. We all know that the not too bright from a privileged background are likely to do better than a bright wc kid.

    Identity politics - which started as small 'revolutions' among the predominantly wc immigrants for instance were certainly hijacked and are still being used as stepping stones by the unscrupulous. D Abbot comes to mind.

    How many W Indians from the Windrush were privileged middle classers? They were a marginalised group within the wc - often marginalised by their own 'comrades'.

  153. "And I suspect that tax cheats cost the country much more than benefit cheats..."

    No doubt about it. Benefit fraud amounts to around £1.5bn a year.

    Tax fraud in all its guises - evasion, avoidance, non-payment, giving it to Cameron and claiming it was a charitable donation etc - amounts to at least £40bn a year.

    That £40Bn is a low-end estimate btw. The truth is that the Treasury eggheads really don't know.

    The sad truth about the Treasury estimates, and the public spending cuts which follow from those estimates, is that the Treasury knows nothing.

    But a Tory chancellor will take a "cigarette-paper calculation" from a Treasury bod if it backs up his idiot chainsaw approach.

  154. Oh and Hank, before you get on your high horse, I'm a working class bloke living on a council estate in Newcastle Upon Tyne, so don't start having a pop because I mentioned golf or putting greens!

  155. chekhov

    A small space is better as crazy golf. You need some challenges otherwise it quickly bores. Put in some uphill ramps too and concave circles with 2 or 3 escape routes. Just use imagination - make it as difficult as possible. Easy things are no fun at all.

  156. Hank

    Isn't part of the problem the fact that nobody actually knows the true picture. Treasury estimates are generally wrong - are constantly adjusted .

    Much of this is geared towards retaining confidence in the markets - as well as an attempt to encourage saving or spending in the general population to stimultate or dampen the economy.

    Gvts, use these false figures to push/hide various ideologies.

  157. oops: sorry Hank, I pre-empted your response. Sorry about that. My mistake and my apologies.

  158. I considered things, Hank, I really tried to let it go, but I can't.

    "I've never understood why the working class movement should be run for the benefit of middle class blacks like Joseph Harker to spit on white working class people"

    That's just bollocks. Middle class black people suppressing working class white people? Stop going to those meetings!

  159. Hi All -Just back from days away.

    chekhov--Leni is correct with her advice, but your base composition for the green needs to be sand and some peat with soil on top. Get it as smooth as you can before seeding. You may want to check with local courses as to best grass mixtures for your area. Try and use a push mower with rollers as this will help keep it smooth and quicker. Good luck.

  160. @'Boudican": thanks for the advice, it is much appreciated!

  161. @Habib - class will always trump gender or race for me.

    That's the difference between being a socialist and a liberal.

    I shouldn't need to explain this really. But nobody ever claimed that you and Montana were the brightest.

  162. I think 'middle class' is the key phrase there Habbib. And if you don't think the Guardian doesn't do middle class in spades you're wrong. I've seen very few working class experiences/views over there, just tourism for the most part.

  163. I'm fed up with posting this but can anyone explain why we faught the second world war to defeat the forces of fascism only to adopt them a few years down the line?
    Didn't George Orwell and Franz Kafka predict this insanity!

  164. Class can come into it, sweet folk, don't see what it's got to do with race, though.

    And Hank, anything you discuss with me always results in mention of Montana, by you, initially. Let it go, people will think you're fixated.

  165. ''Didn't George Orwell and Franz Kafka predict this insanity!''

    Yeah but Orwell was bored and Kafka was even more bored.

    Habbib, its got nothing to do with race whatsoever.

  166. chekhov

    Orwell and Kafka drew from history - added modern tech and systems and projected them. Division between rich and poor, power politics has always been the order of the day. In many 'civilisations' immigrants were not there by choice - they were slaves.

    In medieval England the peasants were subdivided into 3 classes - small landowners, those who rented land and those who owned or rented no land - they too were slaves.

    Nightnight all xx

  167. Fair do's, habib.

    Anything I discuss with you always eventually results in talk of race, religion or betrayal.

    You might think that my father, a white working class bloke, was stupid to work his arse off as a shop steward to get equal rights for Pakistani immigrants.

    At the time, I admired my dad. And admired those he helped.

    Now, well, I still admire my dad.

  168. Ahh, Hank, betrayal is in the eye of the beholder. Respect to your dad for all that he did.

  169. I'll pass the thanks on, habib. He'll be made up. And not the least bit resentful about Islamic gangsters making big money.

  170. Fuck it I'm posting a song seen as there's no-one about. Doesn't mean 'owt.


  171. Sad to say but the horror stories of people attending ATOS medicals being found fit for work are many. In my site I have stories of people coughing up blood, terminally ill and blind being found fit for work.

    These people are profit bound more than caring