02 September 2010


Thanksgiving for a National Victory

Ye hypocrites! are these your pranks?
To murder men and give God thanks!
Desist, for shame!--proceed no further;
God won't accept your thanks for Murther!
-Robert Burns


  1. I've forgotten who mentioned to "To a Mouse" yesterday, but it made me think of this. Since Tuesday was the "official cessation" of the Iraq War, I thought it appropriate and timely.

  2. Montana

    Nice quote.

    Interesting to see how protest songs haven't changed much in 200 years - that could as easily be Guthrie or Dylan as Burns.

  3. Can't have too much Burns. Ludicrously overlooked (or denigrated) in England, much celebrated elsewhere, including Russia, where he was very popular with the peasantry in Imperial times.

  4. Speaking of Woody Guthrie, I was sorely tempted by these.

  5. They were flagged up on Boing Boing or somewhere weren't they, PeterJ? Tempting, I agree, but couldn't help but wonder if they didn't smack slightly of hipster insincerity and posing/appropriation.

  6. @Alisdair

    Yes, I can't remember exactly where I saw the link first. Perhaps they would be a bit dickish in real life, but how about if I never actually showed them to anyone?

  7. @ PeterJ. It's the old making money out of revolution argument.FWIW, if it's an object that pleases you, and reminds you of Woody's work, go for it. If it's for ostentatious display in a tricked-out Clerkenwell live/work space populated by preening pseuds and posers then forget it.

  8. Anyone got Bragg's album of Guthrie "covers" ?

    The lyrics were all written by Guthrie; the tunes were latterly recorded and written (1998) by Bragg with Wilco - with the Guthrie family's blessing.

    - Mermaid Avenue - good stuff. Old Billy can barely hold a tune half the time bless him, but a lot of this album works a treat.


  9. This is very different, from the same album - but one of my favourites


  10. This permanent ad in the G I really love -

    Expat Living In France?
    Have You Got £60K+ in UK Pensions? Free Guide To QROPS & Expert Advice

    I'll soon find out what my long-ago five years' worth of basic UK contributions gives me ; I do not have the foggiest idea how much . So if PhilippaB or someone could tell me if it's as much as £10 a week, a 1/120th of the above, I'd love to know . I'm well-equipped with tools, from little old tractors right down to a hole-punching thingy, quite useful for making new ones in my belt, hehe.

    Lovely day again .

  11. Hey dave from france any chance you could nip over and stick a bradawl up Dave Milliband's arse ?


  12. dave from france said...

    or someone could tell me if it's as much as £10 a week,

    I think my UK state pension means that eventually I could even buy the occasional copy of The Guardian with it, but little else. 3.20 for the Graun here, how much do they ask for in France? In Gibraltar it's just over a pound. They really do take the piss.

  13. BW I've got four chainsaws too but a bit messy ...

  14. Martyn the only one not stocked in my shop,
    but they have the Daily Star !

    What was that about retired expats in Spain getting the Winter Fuel Allowance ...

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Morning...

    Very sobering and poignant picture Montana and the quote is very apt too. Thanks Alisdair for the link to the 'wee, tim'rous beastie' pome last night ;)

    I sing a lovely setting of a Burn's poem by Mendelsohnn (duets) Volkslied - unfortunately I can't find the translation so here's a beautiful version with Barabra Bonny and Angelika Kirshclager singing


  17. BW Why just the one Millipede ?

    Dave Your Power tools are impressive. If it helps i've got me 17" Stihl. I can go for the arms and legs - you get the torso. We'll have em all bagged up and back in their respective flat's in no time. Or just in time for MI6 to turn up and declare nothing suspicious here boys - move along.

  18. dave from france...

    Martyn the only one not stocked in my shop,
    but they have the Daily Star !

    Luvvly jubbly!

    What was that about retired expats in Spain getting the Winter Fuel Allowance ...

    I don't have a scooby. I have been an immigrant here for more than twenty five years - still, people assume that I am retired, and spend most of my time swanning around the swimming pool of my large but tasteful Balearic villa with, Robert Graves style, composing Homeric works of experimental jazz. I really don't know about the expat community or what benefits they claim from their respective governments.

  19. tascia shh enough ! Daily Hate over !

    La Rit -- lovely song .

  20. In addition to much rage which ensued from the whole Blair memoir's yesterday, the coverage of the so-called'Peace Talks' between Israel and the Palestinian 'leadership' which still hasn't included Gaza and Hamas has filled me with rage.

    The BBC doesn't even bother to offer 'balance' any longer - the coverage on the lunchtime news was particulalry vomit-inducing. Illegal settlers and settlements have become - Jewish settlers with "an ancient claim to the land" who are painted as 'victims' who could be "thrown out" at any time, shamelessly invoking images of purges and persecution - no connection to any historical context is given.

    the BBC has become Fox news to all intents and purposes...

  21. Martyn 'expats' know all about these things, immigrants don't have a clue .

  22. La Rit -- the "OFF" button is what i use :)

  23. La Ritournelle said...

    In addition to much rage which ensued from the whole Blair memoir's yesterday, the coverage of the so-called'Peace Talks' between Israel and the Palestinian 'leadership' which still hasn't included Gaza and Hamas has filled me with rage.

    The BBC doesn't even bother to offer 'balance' any longer - the coverage on the lunchtime news was particulalry vomit-inducing. Illegal settlers and settlements have become - Jewish settlers with "an ancient claim to the land" who are painted as 'victims' who could be "thrown out" at any time, shamelessly invoking images of purges and persecution - no connection to any historical context is given.

    the BBC has become Fox news to all intents and purposes...

    Well, considering the three decades of bludgeoning it has received from various Thatcherite governments, with the support of the other media/capitalist organisations, and also the criticism of a lot of voters, I'm surprised it's still alive. I mean, it always was establishment/established order in some senses, but at least it had a nice veneer of respectability and impartiality, and it's satire included some more outspoken characters.

  24. @La Rit

    That was to be expected with the revolting, spineless Mark Thompson in charge and it's going to get worse.

    I hope that the British people will defend the BBC, which is in the greatest danger in its history, but I'm very worried it won't.

  25. OK daily rant over!

    Dave from up France - glad you liked it - driving me mad that I can't find the translation to the Burns poem....

  26. Somke real fuckwits on the Hawekings thread today.

    Ho hum. Off to my back garden and some recouperation time .

  27. Dave/MIE/Spike:

    Can't stand the bloody presenters either. Anyone with a shred of decency and respect for Journalism is buried in a back-water somewhere in favour of a coeterie of skeletal Stepford Wives from public school and Oxf/Camb.

    Yes, the OFF button is frequently used!

    To be honest, I think the Beeb's days as a publically-funded organisation are numbered.

  28. tascia
    Quite simply because I thought of him first - must have been that lingering mug-shot from a Sunday supplement.

    All five of them want chucking in a skip and filling with concrete I'm afraid...

    The BBC doesn't even bother to offer 'balance' any longer

    I'm getting racked off with Today. All this shite about Blair's book, and Hague being a chuntey ferret - it's all so self-referential. Hmm we're in the elite of the British media, let's talk to someone eles who's in the media, followed by someone else, er - in the media !

    They're all part of the same coin...

    As for the Israel thing, nowt more to add Martyn / La Rit... it goes on and on and on. A couple of years back I heard a group of well-educated, rich New Yorkers, some born in the US, now in their twenties and thirties vehemently declaring it's their "right" to set up home in the "settled" areas.

  29. BW:

    "Hmm we're in the elite of the British media, let's talk to someone eles who's in the media, followed by someone else, er - in the media !"

    I know. It just makes me furious. As for the rich New Yoirker's banging on about their 'rights' to settle there, well, you just couldn't make it up.

  30. Indeed.

    La Rit, saw your message yesterday by the way !

    I'm thinking potentially Oct 2nd for a UT piss up. Northampton. All welcome natch, details to follow (still trying to identify the best hostelry).

    Back laters...

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. La Rit

    The BBC knows it is going to be under attack from both Murdoch and the government. What will it do? Obviously, the only answer is to become more commercial and join the headlong race to the bottom.

    Most television news has been going downhill for a long time. A lot of this seems to be to do with the need to place everything within the context of how events make us feel.

    So, with the BA strike a month or two back, a reporter is sent out to poke a microphone into a holidaymaker's face.

    "Mrs Jones, you were expecting to go on holiday to American Disneydom, weren't you? What do you think will happen now?"

    "Well, we won't be able to go, will we? I promised the kids it would be the holiday of a lifetime and now we will just have to go back to sniffing glue and setting light to the cat for two weeks. It's just not fair."

    "So, there you have it. These strikers are ruining the lives of millions and shattering the dreams of innocent children. Back to the studio."

    News is a much an entertainment commodity as Big Brother or The X-Factor.

    We want to see people we can laugh at or cry over.

    Otherwise, what is the point in watching?

  33. afternoon all

    Had probs with disappearing posts yesterday....so don't know whether this'll work.

    New book out that might be worth a read:

    Live working or Die fighting: The global Working class

    Live Working or Die Fighting is a two-hundred year story of the global working class and its many struggles for justice.

  34. Hi Sheff, they prob got dumped in the spam filter. I'll have a look.

  35. Yep, about 4 from you and a few others from yesterday and one from the day before.

    For no apparent reason.

    They're back now.

  36. thaum

    any idea why posts are suddenly being dumped in the spam folder? It didn't used to happen.

  37. BW - cool. 2nd sounds good to me!

    Just another point. I've never seen the point of (however tenuously) claiming your 'right' to take up a post in your 'historic homeland' when you've never been there, only have some vague, 2,500 biblical connection to go on, you have an extremely comfortable life in NYC and then have the bloody nerve to complain when you get shot at by the natives whose land you're occupying by force.

    If I stood in the middle of the M1 (as is my right to do so) I would have no grounds to complain when I'm run over by a lorry.


    You're right. No context, no analysis, just the 'personal' touch about how it's affecting some anonymous holiday-maker who has been inconvenienced (like I give a shit?) I'm sure this encourages people's sense of individual 'entitlement'. "I'm on my holiday and all I care about is my holiday and don't understand why these killjoy unions are spoiling my fun, how dare they, I work, I pay my taxes.... on and on".


    I think the coalition of uber-liberalising henchmen has the BBC well in its sights... but not just yet - we'll be so besieged by the fallout from the draconian cuts that are coming and fighting the bastards from every angle, when they do go after it, it will be a battle I can't see too many people will be willing, or having the energy to fight.

    What get's me is the endless repetition on the hour, every hour of the same snapshot headline, which leaves very little room for open, honest, in-depth debate. How many times do we hear - "I'm sorry we're running out of time, I'll have to hurry you" from a presenter on the Radio? Just when the comversation is getting going?


  38. On the Hawking thread, DuckDestructor talks about Hawking's "narrow minded brain".

    Heheh. I do enjoy a good idiot with an irony bypass.

  39. SheffP

    Thanks for the link. In light of the BBC coverage, I would have thought this glaring omission of the facts says it all...

    "it is not at all surprising that Mahmoud Abbas, speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, comes forward and declares that the PLO has accepted such talks when they haven't. And declares that the Palestinian people are welcoming such talks when they are not. And has the audacity to speak on behalf of Palestine and the Palestinians when he is neither elected nor legitimate any longer, and has not even bothered to ascertain the opinion of other organizations, other factions that are members of the PLO"

  40. Sheff - I think it's a new 'feature'.

  41. Sheff - this was sent to me this morning:

    apols all for the posting complete article.

    Chris Floyd

    Empire Burlesque
    Mon, 30 Aug 2010 00:52 CDT

    We hear a lot about barbarism and backwardness and bloodthirstiness among the nations of the Middle East, where violent religious extremists are praised and supported -- and often hold state power. A lot of this is hype and misinformation, of course, but sometimes it's all too true. From the Guardian:

    An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. ...

    The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

    The manner of Iman's killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.

    ... The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident. ...

    The army's official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.

    A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.
    In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post's operations room and describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death". After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot. ....

    Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.

    On the tape, Capt R then "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."

    At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.

    Well, at least they didn't stone her, did they? After all, Israel is a "bastion of Western civilization" in the midst of all those swarthy savages, isn't it? I mean, can there possibly be a clearer expression of civilization -- especially its ultra-modern Western version -- than Captain R's Aristotelian formulation? It bears repeating -- nay, memorizing, searing deeply into the brain and heart -- for it is clearly the guiding principle of all our glorious terror-fighting democracies today, not only plucky little Israel but also its patron and paymaster, the United States (and the lackey Limeys who trot along at Washington's heels):

    Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed.

    Even if it's a three-year-old.

    Even if it -- this thing, this object, this Other, this creature, this piece of shit -- is a three-year-old.

    Kill it. It needs to be killed. Kill it. You need to kill it. A three-year-old? Kill it. It needs to be killed.

    Now that, my friends, is civilization.


  42. Got to get my sorry arse into gear....

    back later ;)

  43. La Ritournelle
    I know. It is fucking infuriating. "My ancestors may or may not have come here once - so I'm bulldoszong some homes and building a luxury house. Fuck the arabs and get the
    white phosphorous ready if they get shitty."

  44. Spike
    that thread's full of some militant, absolutist stupidity...

  45. @Sheff, LaRit

    Interesting article, although it has one of the most amusingly-leading opening questions I've ever seen in an interview!

    But combining this with Ghada Karmi's piece on Cif yesterday, which also expects failure before talks have even begun, it's hard to see where else the Palestinians can go. According to Buttu, negotiations are finished for all time. So what is the alternative in her view? She doesn't say.

  46. @BW

    Those militant US settlers are a pain in the arse. Although there are some parallels with parts of the Palestinian diaspora. BDS leader Omar Barghouti, for example - born in Qatar, raised in Egypt. His ancestors may or may not have been in Palestine once.

  47. La Rit

    One of the biggest culprits is that baldy bloke with plastic-framed glasses on BBC news, who seems to actually live in the road at Downing Street, the political editor or whatever.

    There used to be a time when he would at least try to outline the "facts" without comment at the start of the report and then the newsreader (usually George "I am reading the news in the hope of winning an Oscar for my dramatic delivery" Alagiah)would say something like: "What do you think this all means?"

    This was the signal for Nick Robinson - his name comes back to me now - to start pulling faces and waving his arms around and behaving like an escapee from the psych ward of the local hospital.

    Basically, everything was going to make Broken Britain explode or melt or drift out to sea and everyone would grow two heads or float into space or eat each other.

    News can no longer be: "Yeah, well, shit happens." It has to be dramatic. It has to place us as actors in a huge drama, which is always spectacular and heart-wrenching and terrifying, but never moderate.

    The problem is, we are never told the details, the finer points, the purpose. Or even our lines. Or whether we are the good guys or the bad guys or if we survive to the happy ending which is the only thing we are supposed to be certain of, as long as the director isn't drugged off his face again and wheezing into a puddle of his own vomit.

    Maybe we should just have bulletins when something happens which is really big and not that some grinning cunt has written a book or some bloke in a baseball cap may or may not fantasise about willies.

    Maybe we should just stop watching.

    It isn't as if knowing rather than guessing would change what we do anyway.

  48. Good post by alisdaircameron on the I ♡ Ed thread

    2 Sep 2010, 1:07PM

    "Until this May I had lived my entire adult life under a Labour government"

    Sorry, Sam, but you hadn't. You'd lived your entire adult life under a New Labour government. Big, big, difference. Both Milibands are deeply complicit in the shameful sell-outs and sell-offs, the weasel-words and the cliquish nest-feathering, the venality and duplicity,the authoritarianism and superciliousness and the shallow,unprincipled marketing exercise that is/was New Labour.And that's without mentioning foreign policy... Ed is preferable to David, but that's like saying salmonella on balance is preferable to botulism.

  49. PeterJ
    Yeh, there are always parallels - but the greed always seems to fall on one side of the equation...

  50. David Mitchell has a new piece at the G. It's no big deal, but, I just don't get his humour, one little bit.

  51. any idea why posts are suddenly being dumped in the spam folder? It didn't used to happen.

    Because there didn't used to be a spam folder. Not sure why we've been fortunate enough to avoid spambots (perhaps because we don't have ads?), but I don't think we need a spam folder. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be an option.

    Another new feature appeared for admins a couple of days ago -- stats. Shows where viewers have come from, how many there have been at different times, what browsers viewers have been using and stuff like that. The "all time" stats only seem to go back to 1 July, 2010, and it only shows the top 10 countries for number of page hits, but it's still kind of interesting. More than 106,000 page hits since 1 July.

    Home from work today -- thought I was going to have to go to the ER because of my asthma in the middle of the night. Did 3 nebuliser treatments in an hour. Decided I was breathing well enough to avoid the ER for the night, but my breathing's still harder than it should be and I feel like I've been hit by a train. Hoping that a day on the sofa & a couple more nebuliser treatments take care of it.


    I love David Mitchell and I would want to have his babies if having babies were still an option for me.

  52. Montana Wildhack


    I love David Mitchell and I would want to have his babies if having babies were still an option for me.

    I probably have a very peculiar sense of humour. Some very popular comedians I don't find funny at all. On the other hand, Dave Chappelle, Stewart Lee or Mark Steel, I could listen to all day.

  53. Hi all.

    Well, I reckon that the Coalition's "reforms" have officially begun. The volunteer that was supposed to come in for an interview on Monday just turned up. He is a bewildered, dishevelled guy with what looks like a deep machete scar on his head.

    Minimal English (Somali at a guess), his address is a notorious hostel for alcoholics and homeless men. The have cubicles instead of dorms now, I believe, but it is still where you end up at the bottom of the pile.

    He had trouble explaining what he wanted, as he seemed to think he had to come here to do "office work." But eventually we worked out that the Job Centre had sent him along to waste my time and his.

    So I wrote him a nice letter to say he had enquired about working for us but we currently did not have any vacancies. Hope it keeps the bastards off his back for a bit.

    I have a feeling that I am going to be seeing a lot more like that before long.

  54. @Martyn David Mitchell cracks me up.

  55. Morning all,


    Hope you feel better soon.

    (not being able to breathe properly strikes me as being pretty fucking awful...)


    How do you think this whole 'big society'/work at all costs malarky is going to effect the CRB/vulnerable people type protections and whatnot....??

    (As much as I despised the attempts of the last government to make potential volunteers jump through kafkaesque hoops and the like, I have a feeling that the current lot may put many people at risk in their ideological fervor..)

  56. Hi James.

    I don't know is the short answer. CIF asked me to do a piece on the big society and how it is affecting us but I said it is too soon to tell.

    I don't imagine that they will actually get people working with vulnerable people without being properly checked out though. My guess is that loads of schemes will be proposed and then crash against a wall of reality.

    That happens already but I expect much more of it.

    As for the suspension of the vetting and barring scheme I am all for it. But it is a suspension not a cancellation and at the moment no one knows what is going to happen.

  57. Hi Montana

    Sorry you had a rough night.Hope you feel better soon.I don't know if you,ve heard but apple juice is supposed to help alleviate the symptoms for people who suffer from asthma.Will dig out the research later if you want.Take care.

  58. Good article in the Eye today about CDC/Actis. Another perfect New Labour 'triumph' of pursuing free market over international development.

    Do people really need reminding what a shower of bastards this lot were only four months after we got rid of them ?

  59. A bit more...

    At the moment there is chaos. We just got a new CRB form and you can't use the old one any more. But the new one has lots of bits that if you fill them in will invalidate the form completely.

    Talk about Kafkaesque. I did training on it last week. There would have been zero chance of me (who has been filling in the old forms for years) being able to complete a new form correctly without special training. You simply could not guess or work out from the form how to do it.

    So one question is what is the effect of this going to be? I would guess that for all the Big Society rhetoric you will see a dip in volunteer numbers in the short term as everyone pulls their hair out trying to work out how to fill the new forms (that is, if you can get hold of them!).


  60. Spencer


    I've said before that it strikes me that the coalition seem to be taking the whole 'no such thing as a bad idea during a brainstorming session' approach, and applying it all the way up to and including actual policy, and one can't help but suspect there's going to be a hell of a lot of 'unintended consequences' somewhere down the line....

    (But I agree that it's probably too early to tell for sure though!!)

  61. I suspect you might be all too horribly right, James.

    My cynical guess, which I hope is wrong, is that lots of projects like ours which work and have been going a long time, have built up relationships with "service users" got experienced staff and volunteers etc etc, will get cut.

    And then people like A4E will be commissioned to try and replace the projects that have been culled with frog-marched jobless "volunteers" and they will make a complete pigs ear of it.

    As it happens I have a couple of big meetings coming up that might shed some light. One is about the Big Society from the point of view of voluntary groups in the area and the other one is about the spending review of the council that funds us.

    So I might have a bit more of a clue in a couple of weeks time.

  62. Anyway, I am supposed to be working and what I am doing is thinking of suggestions for things to do for our day trip programme as we have a "member forum" next week.

    Anyone got any ideas of good things to do for the day in London and the South East in October/November? Has to be suitable for elderly people and wheel chair users.

    I have been doing this a long time so we might well have done anything that is suggested, but you never know, someone might have an idea that hasn't already occurred or know of some hidden treasure I am unaware of.

  63. Spencer

    "My cynical guess, which I hope is wrong, is that lots of projects like ours which work and have been going a long time, have built up relationships with "service users" got experienced staff and volunteers etc etc, will get cut.

    And then people like A4E will be commissioned to try and replace the projects that have been culled with frog-marched jobless "volunteers" and they will make a complete pigs ear of it."

    Well, that's my guess too.

    It's looking increasingly like the 'corporatisation' of the voluntary sector is a distinct priority/policy goal for the coalition (finally finishing off the work started by the last lot, obviously).

    (And no suggestions for activities, I'm afraid - I'm a Northerner!!)

  64. Hi Spencer and James(

    I think the Big Society is all about cost-cutting.Driving service functions that should be performed by the public sector into the private,voluntary and even informal sectors.

    Regarding your OldFolks outing in the autumn how about Kew Gardens?

  65. Are background checks required of anyone in Britain who wants to do any sort of volunteer work, or just certain types? We don't even require background checks of people who do volunteer work at our school. (It's up to each organisation whether they want background checks or not.) Volunteers are never in a position where they are alone with a child in an area where they can't be seen, so background checks aren't considered necessary.


    I am strangely fond of breathing, I must confess. Fortunately, for me this is just a sometimes thing. I can't imagine what life is like for people with conditions like COPD where impaired breathing is their reality every day.


    Apple juice? Never heard that before. Strong coffee (well, large amounts of caffeine) is supposed to help in a light attack, but I've never heard that apple juice helps asthma.

    From time to time there are reports that kids who don't have asthma will nick inhalers to get a high off of them. Can't say as that I've ever gotten a high off my inhaler. The ones that we have now that CFCs aren't allowed are next to useless -- half the time they don't dispense any medicine at all. I wan't the old ones back. I can't imagine that all the CFC-containing inhalers in the world could've done much damage to the ozone layer.

  66. I wan't the old ones back.

    As god is my witness, I don't know how that apostrophe got in there.

  67. @montana It is not a legal prohibition yet, and would only affect volunteering with certain groups (children and vulnerable adults).

    It is mandatory for us with people who work unsupervised because the council that pay my wages say so, not because of any legal requirement.

    But when the new scheme starts (if it does, Theresa May has suspended it) it becomes a criminal offence for me to let an unchecked person work with a vulnerable adult. An imprisonable offence, in fact.

    There is some wiggle room for supervised access. It was unless it is "regular" or "frequent." Frequent was defined as more than three times a month but the last government was easing that, and now the new government has suspended the whole thing.

    It was supposed to come into effect for new workers/volunteers in November. But now no one seems to know what is happening.

  68. Paul


    I think you're probably right, but it's going to go further than that, I think.

    The public > private takeover thing seems to have been largely completed already, but, if it's possible, the voluntary > private thing is even more disgusting and insidious.

    Replacing voluntary and successful charities/community groups etc with for-profit private sector providers will not only have the opposite effect of creating anything like 'society', but will be the final nail in the coffin Fraulein Fucking Thatcher started building 30 years ago.


    Haha - check you with your bourgeois need for oxygen and that....

    And, as I remember, CRB checks are required for any kind of work where 'vulnerable' people are involved.

    The system admittedly got a bit daft recently, and now if you're going to be within 100 square miles of anyone who fits that description, you'll likely need one.

    Plus they're often only applicable in a restricted geographical location etc, so, when I did a few projects in different parts of the country one summer, I needed four separate CRB checks, as opposed to just the one.

    Which, at £65 quid a pop, made that summer a bit of a ball ache!!

  69. OK, scratch that!!

    Spencer got their first, and knows more about it than me!!

  70. Hi Paul. I saw what you were writing last night about black people in the countryside.

    I am currently walking through pretty much the whole of Britain (from London to the Outer Hebrides) in bits and the division is very stark.

    I was already aware of it in places like the Lake District, what you might call the walking honey pots, but going through the Midlands it was really dramatic. All these villages that were completely white and then I would walk into a big town and it would change dramatically.

    The bus between Northampton and Bedford struck me as a sort of extension of the urban system. Plenty of black and asian people and a few poorer, older, white people, shuttling between these big, ethnically mixed, towns through a countryside very nearly entirely populated by middle class white people.

    Two worlds passing each other by, hardly even aware of each other. Or at least that was how it seemed to me at the time.

  71. James "Plus they're often only applicable in a restricted geographical location etc, so, when I did a few projects in different parts of the country one summer, I needed four separate CRB checks, as opposed to just the one."

    Well unless you were working in Scotland and Northern Ireland that isn't quite right. CRB's cover the whole of England but a lot HR departments insist on getting their own one done even if you have one from a week ago from someone else.


    Because they are raving mad!!!!!

  72. @ Spencer
    "My cynical guess, which I hope is wrong, is that lots of projects like ours which work and have been going a long time, have built up relationships with "service users" got experienced staff and volunteers etc etc, will get cut.

    And then people like A4E will be commissioned to try and replace the projects that have been culled with frog-marched jobless "volunteers" and they will make a complete pigs ear of it."

    Been facing that with one of my projects at work (mental health, community based one). have categorically said, because there have been ominous noises, that if we get cut to zero, or untenable levels, then it's a scorched earth policy. No contacts,no goodwill,no database, nothing to be transferred over to the generic,witless private sector who are sniffing around. Have checked the SLA and our position. Turns out our strongest asset is our goodwill,contacts and staff, and we can't and won't hand them over (can't hand over contacts anyhow: data protection. Folk didn't want to give their info to authority, but they would to us.Damned if authority's going to get them to give to know-nothing shysters)

  73. Re the above, it's like the LA are suckered by the allure of the private sector. Well, if that's so, we'll play by private sector hardball rules to survive. A private firm wouldn't hand over a list of its customers to a looming competitor, nor any of its intellectual property.

  74. Spencer

    I think it was a combination of the fact that we were working with several different LMO's, in different parts of the country (different Police Authorities, maybe??), and the fact that, like you say, some people are a wee bit daft in the head!!

    All in all though, it made that particular summer a little more expensive than it had to be.....

  75. Spencer

    @Martyn David Mitchell cracks me up.

    I'm sure. The first sketch I saw of his, was the "are we the baddies" one, which I did like. But the CiF "bulldog breath" ones, well, they just irritate me, maybe it's his nasally southern accent. Although I can listen to Mark Steel all day, innit!

  76. Hi there

    CRB checks - they are required for those working closely with children & young people as well as vulnerable adults. It's the responsibility of the employer, not the employee to do the CRB checks. There are 2 levels of disclosure - the basic one reveals any convictions, the enhanced one covers any occasion when you may have come to the attention of the police, whether through intelligence gathered; arrest for a complaint made against you; convictions for offences etc. While it's true that you can't transfer your CRB check from one employer to another, the rationale behind that is that you may have been suspected / convicted of a relevant offence since your last CRB check.

    Once found myself in a situation where a known child abuser (just released from a stretch in prison) wanted to return to the project as they had previously volunteered there. Project managers put the case for a volunteer policy which included CRB checks all to the volunteers- without letting them know about the sex offender, of course. The volunteers voted unanimously for the policy & CRB checks.

  77. @MsChin

    Sure, if there has been a period of time. But I have been made to get one just after another had arrived because that HR department wanted its "own" check. This just seems daft to me as the same information will come up - unless, as you say, they have been convicted of something since the previous one.

    One of the only positive things I could see about the ISA vetting and barring scheme was that this would be got rid of. Theoretically, the ISA would update the info and if someone applied for a new job once their initial CRB and ISA vetting had taken place, then they would not need to do a new CRB. The ISA would just say this person is vetted or that they are barred.

    But I went to a briefing about it a few months ago and was told that they (a local volunteer bureau) feared that many HR departments would still insist on people getting new CRB disclosures.

    Which is truly crazy and defeats one of the stated objects of the new system.

  78. spencer

    'It is mandatory for us with people who work unsupervised because the council that pay my wages say so, not because of any legal requirement'.

    I disagree. Public bodies have a statutory duty to safeguard children under the Children Act, which established local Safeguarding Children Boards; if you are funded by a public body, then you are also bound by that duty. There is no duty re: safeguarding vulnerable adults, but public authorities will apply the same standard to this group as human rights obligations will apply to vulnerable adults.

    I know the Home Office is looking at people being able to have one CRB check for all their employment roles. Until the powers that be decide what's going to happen with the 'vetting & barring scheme', my guess is that public sector employers will still want CRB checks because no-one will risk being sued for endangering children.

  79. Spencer

    Cross-posted there, but I agree, it's burdensome for everyone and very expensive. Especially for charities which have to foot the bill.

    Also, I'm much more concerned about those who haven't felt the longer of the law getting clear CRB checks, because no complaint has been made against them.

  80. Yes, very interesting conversation about CRB checks. I have had to have one and it will take 10 weeks to process. I can still volunteer in the meantime, but under supervision. It is with a charity.

  81. MsChin/Spencer

    Interestingly, when I had to apply for my visa for Brazil, I had to get a different kind of 'police check', which, if I remember correctly, was like a third of the price, came in less than 10 days, and seemed to have all the same information on it!!


  82. Hi Montana,

    Hope you're feeling better! x

  83. Interesting new books seem to be pouring out of people these days.

    Just been sent this article about Ha- Joon Chang's new book

    23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

    post-recession, we should be rebuilding our country in a "moral" way – by acknowledging the social consequences of economic choices such as benefit cuts and job losses

  84. MSChin Well maybe I could have phrased that better, but I work with vulnerable adults, not children.

    And I am not objecting to CRBs per se, though I think that their main use to us is to ward off dodgy people who know that their convictions will show. On the other hand, how many people who would make fine volunteers are scared off because they know a conviction for possessing cannabis when they were a teenager is going to show up?

  85. Thanks for that Sheff, shall keep a look out for it at the local book shop!!

  86. Sorry, I cross posted there. Started to post and then an old mate phoned up

    (another East London Acid casualty so I was telling him about last night's discussion!)

  87. Spencer

    'On the other hand, how many people who would make fine volunteers are scared off because they know a conviction for possessing cannabis when they were a teenager is going to show up?'

    Yes, I agree, but it wouldn't necessarily go against them if it's a long time ago or a non-violent offence, for example - it's just that most folk don't know that, more's the pity.

  88. Believe it or not, there's a piece by Simon Jenkins that's quite interesting over at the Guardian!!

    (probably need a shower now, after typing that)

  89. MsChin "it wouldn't necessarily go against them if it's a long time ago or a non-violent offence, for example - it's just that most folk don't know that, more's the pity."


    Charles, good luck with the volunteering. Are they estimating 10 weeks?

    The new form is a nightmare. You could not make some of it up.

    Example. There is a bit when it asks what job it is for. CAPITA used to do ours and if you put "volunteer" they wouldn't accept it, so we had to put something like "Volunteer befriender of the elderly," they wanted something that specific.

    Now on the new form there are two rows of the boxes you have to put each letter in (every letter has to go in its own little box so that the computer can read it).

    No problem, you think. They have helpfully put two rows of boxes for you to put the job name in.

    Only, if you put anything in the lower of the the two rows, that invalidates the form and they send it back!

    There is no way to guess this from the form. It is as if they have done it especially to trap you.

    Then there are all the sections about vetting and barring. If you fill any of them in you invalidate the form.

    It is a bit different in Scotland though so I don't know what the system is like there.

  90. is there something really good on telly tonight or something?

  91. @James Dixon
    Read it. He's still a tedious minor-aristo bastard in favour of the establishment.

    Just prefers to position himself as above it all.

    C@nt, basically.

  92. Right. Off for me dinner. No offence JD.

  93. Bitterweed

    I tend to agree with you about Jenkins, but he was fairly accurate with some of his analysis though. For once.

    (Perhaps the fact that he's a c@nt writing about another c@nt gives his work a bit more gravitas or something??)

  94. BW - you are right, but his writing style is beautiful. I get seduced by it, then I realise that what he's actually said is either bollocks, vile or both.

    Me, I'm still obsessing over tascia's 17" tool. ;-)

  95. I quite like Simon Jenkins. I mean, I know he talks a lot of crap and is right wing in general but he is his own sort of right wing.

    I usually find his articles worth a read and find myself agreeing with him more often that I would like. This one is a case in point. Of course, he seems to think Blair being a Thatcherite was a good thing, but apart from that it is spot on.

  96. Oh dear. I just outed myself as a writer of porn on CIF.

    Just couldn't resist as this woman was moaning about the covers of her books. She thinks she has problems. Nexus made me have some awful Skin Two Rubber models gurning away on a couple of mine.

    Oh well, who wants a straight job anyway!

  97. FWIW (Not a lot I Suppoe) I think Simon Jenkins is one of the better mainstream journalists, even when I disagree with him - sometimes vehemently. He's a very good writer IMHO and there aren't so many good writers around, even if there is bigger surfeit of people who write than at any other time in history.

  98. Nice, James, I love Bert.

    Spencer - where was that?

  99. Spencer

    I read the Shriver piece, and decided to back out of the room slowly...

  100. Spencer

    Oh dear. I just outed myself as a writer of porn on CIF.

    I once told my partner that I had decided to make my fortune writing porn. She said a) "You don't want to do that, you'll get a bad reputation", and what was probably worse b) "anyway, you really don't know much about it."

  101. Thanks for saving me the hassle of fucking around with that thingummy, James.

  102. Just out of interest, Spencer, were you persuaded to use a female nom de plume (because of the genre), or did you choose to?

  103. Thanks, James, and ha! Spencer, let us know a bit more about your writing....

    Song for you: Way I feel most mornings.

  104. Nice choon, Thauma. Haven't heard that for a while....

  105. James. I originally wanted to be Amanita Virosa which I thought sounded sort of female but hard to pin down.

    The first book I did for Virgin was called Angel of Death and amanita virosa is a toadstool called The Destroying Angel.

    But I made the crucial error of telling the editor what it meant. And that meant a sense of humour failure so I ended up being something so boring I don't recall it.

    Then I did do a few under Amanita for another truly terrible publisher.

    Then I started writing for Virgin again but this time for Nexus their male oriented erotica imprint. They more or less insist on female names. Funny that as Black Lace which was their female oriented imprint also all have female names.

    But the Black Lace writers really were all women even if they are mostly using pseudonyms. Kerry, the editor was very feminist in her own way and insisted on that.

    So I needed a new name. I wanted to be Cassandra Wagstaffe, taking Cassandra because it is the name of Jane Austen's beloved sister. But Paul, the editor at the time, said "You are not going to wag that staff at me!"

    Having failed to get any name that appealed to me, I ended up abrogating all responsibility and just let them choose it.

  106. Had the very great pleasure of seeing Pentangle some years back in a small, "intimate", acoustically excellent theatre: fantastic.

  107. God, Spencer, what a nightmare! Yet great to get published. Any still in print? Should the fainting maiden avert her eyes?

  108. Any still in print?

    God, that sounds awful. Apologies. IOW, can we find your books somewhere?

    (In my defence, some relations of mine have had books published and staying in print seems to be an issue.)

  109. Cheers Spencer

    I always kind of wondered about the female pseudonym thing, whether it was a choice or a convention or whatever.

    (well, I say always, but really it's been since Phil Daniels got outed for writing erotic fiction in Neighbours...)

  110. Please don't read any of my books unless you are genuinely into SM porn (because that is what they are). And please don't read any of the Chimera ones even if you are genuinely into SM porn (because the idiot editor chopped my deathless prose into drivel as he did with everyone to make it conform to a "house style").

    I want the luxury of being able to boast of being a published author without the embarrassment of people reading, what might be construed to be, all my most perverse fantasies.

    Is that too much to ask?

  111. I was reading some George Orwell essays in bed the other night (as you do), and came across one about James Burnham's theory of managerialism as a successor to capitalism and socialism.

    An excerpt:

    "Capitalism is disappearing, but Socialism is not replacing it. What is now arising is a new kind of planned, centralised society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic.

    The rulers of this new society will be the people who effectively control the means of production: that is, business executives, technicians, bureaucrats and soldiers, lumped together by Burnham, under the name of "managers". These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organise society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new "managerial" societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom."

    And another:

    "The real question is not whether the people who wipe their boots on us during the next fifty years are to be called managers, bureaucrats, or politicians: the question is whether capitalism, now obviously doomed, is to give way to oligarchy or to true democracy."

    It's an interesting read, with some intriguing echoes of today's corporate tendencies towards a form of totalitarianism with a human face.

  112. Evening all

    Nowt interesting to say so here's a tune instead.

  113. @James Oh, I have been missing out by not watching Neighbours eh?

    Most erotica aimed at heterosexual men (and that aimed at women, and both) is written from a female point of view. This is quite an interesting thing IMO.

    But anyway, that is the reason. It may be first person or third person but the POV is predominantly female so if you have a male psuedonym it will produce a certain cognitive dissonance. So female names are the norm.

  114. Bloody hell, Spencer, the editor "unzipped" your prose?

    My small-time successful novel-writing relation had the misfortune to have one of his books made into a film. The film became a cult classic but you couldn't speak its name in front of him for fear of causing a fit of apoplexy as they tampered with ... well, just about everything.

    And he made sod all off it as he sold the rights for nothing, thinking the film would never actually get made.

  115. A quality tune (and increasingly important question) from Mr Seeger.......

  116. Yeah, that guy just wanted everything the same, so he got a sub-editor to go through it and hack it into the house style. It isn't just me. My freind Pete who must be the best selling erotica writer in the UK wrote for the same company and got exactly the same treatment. He was notorious.

    Pete has about five or six pseudonyms for Nexus and they are all female.

  117. PeterJ

    Yeah, I read that about a year ago, and remember having the 'hang on a minute...' moment too!!


    "Oh, I have been missing out by not watching Neighbours eh?"

    It was about 15 years ago, and was the first and last of any 'got me thinking...' type scenarios generated by the Ramsey Street massive!!

    Is it even still on?



    Nice tune, although, I expect I'll be doing bad sax noises all night now though....

  118. PeterJ - Obviously, most of that has already happened, except the abolition of private property. But that's about to be priced out of most people's hands - well, in fact it already has, come to think of it.

  119. PeterJ it sounds spookily prescient.

  120. Spencer

    James. I originally wanted to be Amanita Virosa which I thought sounded sort of female but hard to pin down.

    Fascinating. Personally, I think a writer who can't do porn/erotica is like an artist who can't draw people. But then again, probably I have peculiar tastes.

    My favourite porn/erotic book of all times is by Almudena Grandes. Spain doesn't have a large quality market in porn/erotic prose, although some of it is really good IMHO

  121. I think teh Spanish definition of what is not porn goes along the lines of .. if it's not explicit, if it's not graphic, if it's not in your face, if it doesn't seem real, and if there multiple interpretations, then it isn't porn, maybe just erotica. :-)

  122. @Spencer, James, thauma

    It is just echoes you get from reading it, as at the time it was written it seemed that fascist totalitarianism of left or right was the only alternative to laissez-faire capitalism or real socialism. It didn't foresee that the great powers would be huge corporations clustering around cheap manufacturing centres run along near-slavery lines.

    There's another one I'll check out tonight, with similar echoes, about the birth of the Cold War and how it was likely to turn out. Written in 1946 or 47, before the USSR had the bomb and while international negotiations were under way to outlaw atomic weapons.

  123. "But that's about to be priced out of most people's hands - well, in fact it already has, come to think of it."


    'Rich man took my home and drove me from my door'!

  124. All this talk about erotica is giving me a fit of the vapours! So I'm off to bed now .. with my Rabbit.

  125. Here's a class (in both senses) song by the great Rubén Blades.

    De noche, la clase alta conspira, "jaibol" en la mano, tramando.
    La clase media descansa, estropeada, la televisión mirando.
    La clase baja sigue abajo, el día del cambio esperando.

    Martyn, p'raps you can give us a decent translation as my Spanish is not great.

    Oh, and on the subject of porn/erotica, clearly Blair is not one of those artists who can't draw people as the extracts of his, er, evenings with Cherie are possibly the most horrifying things I've read.

  126. Martyn

    "Spain doesn't have a large quality market in porn/erotic prose, although some of it is really good IMHO"

    Could it be that you're just not looking in the right place?

    I noticed a lack of it in the main bookshops here too, and happened to mention it* to my friend, who then took me to an entirely different shop where there was shed-loads of it.

    *I didn't want any, was just wondering whether it was a 'catholic country' thing!!

  127. "All this talk about erotica is giving me a fit of the vapours! So I'm off to bed now .. with my Rabbit."


  128. MsChin - lol!

    Am likewise off to bed.

    Er, I mean ... I'm also off to bed.

  129. Goodnight ladies... ladies goodnight...

  130. Well I'm off too. Night anyone still around.

  131. Disgraceful behavior on this thread tonight.Here's a tune to cool you all down.Failing that have a cold shower!

  132. Night, Spencer.

    Right, who's still around?

  133. Night Spencer

    Paul - Chuckle


    Just about still around....

  134. James Dixon

    Could it be that you're just not looking in the right place?

    Could be. I mean, there's plenty of graphic porn, mags and DVDs, even porn on C+, of a Friday (don't have it, it's a pay channel).

    But novels, that sort of thing? There's a small AG collection, but not an awful lot else, AFAIK

  135. Oh - Just back from the pub. Seems UT has gone all erotica !. Hope it wasn't my 17" Chainsaw that started all this (Thauma). It's only good for cutting logs and the odd Labour leader contender.

    BW - before you pour in the concrete can I just make a little cut, you know, just a nick, well maybe more than a 'just a nick'. Please... Please....

  136. I like a well written erotic story, I think they tell us a lot about ourselves and other people; ourselves and the author, and the appreciation and representation of a very important aspect of the world in which we live i.e. Sex and desire, in all their manifestations.

  137. tascia said...

    You know the Velvet Undergound's song The Gift (or was it The Present), I am bad with names (I would have said lousy with names, more Welsh, but someone might think I'm too boring).

  138. To be honest, I've never read anything that could be considered erotic fiction.

    The idea's never really appealed to me (I mean, we've got the internet and that these days, innit!).

    I may have to have a crack at one now, though.

    So to speak, obviously!

  139. And now, having dragged the town down, it's good night from me!

  140. *tone down.

    (I'm pretty sure Sao Paulo doesn't give a f@ck!)


  141. I heard a certain someone from Scunthorpe is currently wring an erotic novel.I thinks it's to be called The Return of the TrannyBusters.Could well be a bestseller and may eventually even become a Hollywood Blockbuster.

  142. Keeping with the theme tonight:

    Beuna Vista Amor de Loca Juventud

    "Dead are the dreams of days past
    which i fulfilled with lustful love
    and dead is also with its cruel promises
    the inspiration which once i offered her.
    Innocently i gave away my soul to her
    intending to consacrate our love
    without realizing that what she
    was looking for in me
    was the love of crazy youth."

    Copied from a translation on Youtube

    GNight All.

  143. Many people who are fascists, actually don't know that they are fascists.

    It's a funny old world, innit.

  144. Just came across this scathing dissection of the labour leadership circus from a party member. Worth a read, as it has some choice phrases and some good points.

  145. Allo Leni, if you are around:

    Here is a pic of me and Mary Croft, way back when. Great left wing/radical activist in South Wales, and elsewhere.

    Me and Mary Croft

    It's on my web site. Actually it's nowhere else. So, ya know, I thought it would be interesting, but I'm still not in the mood for mardy bastards who think they know it all.

  146. thaumaturge

    Here's a class (in both senses) song by the great Rubén Blades.

    Not an easy one, as it comes with much more than the words - an emotional charge that goes beyond the words, and includes, Ruben, his mental state, the times and the circumstances.

    De noche, la clase alta conspira

    At night, the upper class conspire

    , "jaibol" en la mano, tramando.

    Drink in the hand; plotting

    La clase media descansa,

    The middle class rests



    la televisión mirando.

    Watching TV

    La clase baja sigue abajo, el día del cambio esperando.

    The lower class
    Still there
    Waiting for the day of change

    PS. I love RB's music.

  147. My experimental jazz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE5pAaE2kJc

    ¡Hay que joderse!

  148. Martyn

    I get confused with all your name changes so hope you don't mind if i just stick with Martyn.

    I recently read an interesting article about the exploits of the Spanish Blue Division who fought alongside Germany against Russia in WW2.Spain was officially neutral in that conflict but nevertheless supported the AXIS powers in a number of ways before the tide turned against them.I think the Blue Division were finally withdrawn from Russia at the latter part of 1943.Hitler repeatedly tried to get Spain to officially enter the war against the Allies but the wily Franco kept putting unrealistic conditions on them doing so.An exasperated Hitler apparently was reported as saying that he'd rather have four teeth removed than have another meeting with Franco.

    Anyways here's another tune

  149. Paul,

    Yes, there was the Division Azul. The comment of Hitler came before the "Blue Division" became operational.

    I suppose, if we have free will, we have freedom to think and reason. Right?

    I mean, outside the clique.

    I am old, beligerant and vindictive, but like Dantes, I want to be at peace with people, and just argue the policies and ideas or opinions and not the personal. This isn't a pose, it's just me being me. I have no interest in fighting my own, that's for abstract pricks, cunts and very mazed bastards.

    I would be polite, but if people want a freedom of speech jungle, then so be it. Personally, I think they are fucked up the postmodern swanny.

    I want peace and harmony and reasonable debate. But I will no longer take juvenile shit, from half-assed shitheads.

  150. This comment has been removed by the author.

  151. This comment has been removed by the author.

  152. Martyn

    I was actually referring to the fact that at different times you are MIE,MRJ and now MDC.Trust me i wasn.t being a cunt i was making cyber conversation.

  153. Are you so juvenile that I need to remind you of the basic facts? And are you so needing of direction that you are incapable of independent thought, without hanging out with some rather obnoxious and twisted wasters and losers?


  154. Paul:

    I'm sure you might be a nice person. But just get off my case. I am a very boring left-wing radical. Just don't expect me to support fascist cunts who think they are in the left.

  155. Hello Paul + Martyn

    M - You will have to tell me about Mrs. Croft - her name is not familiar to me.


    Thinking about immigrants settling in cities. I think the origins of this were that many came as merchant seamen and settled in the city ports. Following groups settled where the jobs were.

    We see very few black or Asian people in the valleys. I found that quite odd when I first came here.

    I lived for some years in a village in S Lancs - Liverpool being nearest city. There was always a mix of people there. I worked for about a year in L'pool 8 - more immigrants in some parts than locals - tho many black or brown Were as local as the white having been born there.

    I always find it odd that we categorize people by skin colour - why not by height or the curly hairs or the straights (not forgetting the bald ). I suppose it's cos skin is more obvious - don't really know but I wish we could stop doing it.

  156. Martyn

    M of Cordoba sounds like a medieval knight - or possibly a religious visionary. Good name.

    Which bit of Wales do you come from ?

  157. Martyn

    Sorry you've lost me.I wasn't aware i was ever on your case.All i've ever done is respond to some digs you've made.Nothing more/nothing less.Chill!

    Here's a classic tune from Keith Sweat

  158. Hi you nocturnals.

    Martyn, must say I've been a bit confused with avatar/name changes as well. Hi--no offense.

    Paul, Leni--Bit different here as far as ethnic assimilation goes. Most of the larger cities in Canada have a diverse population, but I have been to many smaller towns where it feels like a mini UN. Immigration being the overriding factor it seems, so new arrivals will go where they know other folk from ' home '. Not to say we don't have racial issues in Canada, we certainly do, with First Nations people often mistreated still.

    Paul--You're very musically prolific these days. Keep it up, always good to hear new (to me ) stuff.

  159. Boudi

    The Brits were of course famous for their seperate compounds in all the countries they colonised.

    seems to be a human 'thing'. A lot to do with culture - food, clothing, music and all things familiar.

    your first nation problem is a difficult one I think. Like the Roma one here in EU. Very different cultures - in both cases the minorities are expected to 'fit in'.

    How much autonomy have FN people in their own teritory ? The Roma, being devoid of territory are hapless here, harried from pillar to post. Those who are settled are, for the most part, very poor. Very few enter politics so lack representation although several, with the support of advocacy groups, are taking cases of discrimination to the European court.

    The demands of modern political systems for uniformity are very damaging .

  160. Frog

    Should you saunter by .

    Saw your waddya comment on tractors.

    Before we came to Wales we gave our old Massey and a Farmall rowcropper to a museum . We bought a small John Deere here - with front loader and back hoe. I sold it when my husband died but miss them all really.

  161. Hi Boudican/Leni/Habib(if ur around)

    Am signing off now.I'll leave you with a track from Lady Day

    Nite x

  162. Back to barely breathing -- on my way to ER. Could someone start a new thread? Thanks.

  163. Hope ER gets you fixed Montana

  164. Montana -- XX !
    Leni -- 'some people' do get attached to them . I am caretaking a little grey fergie ( un petit gris in french )and a MF135. Mostly used for carting firewood back home so far

  165. Fingers crossed here, Montana.