03 October 2010


The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


  1. I was talking to an old dude the other day about marriage, he said

    "Ha! You young guys crack me up. Only today - this morning - I meant to say to my wife "could you pass the butter" and it came out "you fucking bitch you wrecked my life".

  2. Thirteen million
    Londoners have to wake up to this.

    The murder and all-bran
    and rape?

    And I'm sitting in this bloody shack,
    and I can't cope with Withnail.

    I must be out of my mind.

    I must go home at once and
    discuss his problems in

  3. Big thank you to Thauma for putting up a thread yesterday -- I had to be up at an ungodly hour on Saturday to accompany a learning-disabled student at the Middle School to a marching band competition. I'm not much of a morning person & was a bit worried that I would oversleep. Went to bed earlier than normal and just forgot the thread.

    The student I accompanied marches with the MS band with a pair of maracas, but he needs to be kept on task (not wandering around within the band & venturing into the crowd when the mood takes him). Twelve hour day -- trying to keep a kid who's bigger and stronger than I am from hugging complete strangers all day.

    Parade in the morning and sitting on a hillside watching the high school marching bands' field competition in the afternoon. Sunburnt & exhausted and I have a feeling I'll wake up feeling like I've been hit by a train in the morning.


    I did not say that smokers are scum. I said that smokers are not an oppressed minority. There is a huge difference.

    Smoking is a choice and a totally unnecessary activity. Your right to smoke ends whenever and wherever it impinges on my right to breathe smoke-free air, except within your own home or the home of someone who doesn't have a problem with your smoking.

    The problem with these "smoke breaks" is that, in every office I've ever worked in, smokers were allowed to leave their work stations whenever they wanted to go have a cigarette, but non-smokers did not have a corresponding right to get up and go outside for a "fresh air" break whenever they felt like it.

    And it was my understanding from the piece is that the problem is smoke breaks that were being taken on top of the normal 10 minute (15 in the US) breaks that are mandated for working a certain amount of time (it's 4 hours here).

    If the article had been arguing for more flexible workplaces for everyone, I'd have been happy to agree. That wasn't what the article was arguing, however. It was nothing but a whinge about "poor" smokers being mistreated because they couldn't walk off for a fag whenever they felt like it.

    As I said on that thread, the really simple solution if you don't like having to stand outside or having to clock off to have a cigarette is to quit smoking.

  4. "The problem with these "smoke breaks" is that, in every office I've ever worked in, smokers were allowed to leave their work stations whenever they wanted to go have a cigarette, but non-smokers did not have a corresponding right to get up and go outside for a "fresh air" break whenever they felt like it."

    Why ? I packed up smoking a few years back and no one batted an eyelid when I took a break.

    Besides, if you standardise absolute smoking bans, aren't the stakeholders/shareholders going to pretty sharply start questioning why everyone needs seventeen shits a day ?

  5. This is funny


  6. Great night peeps, that was some kind of party. I'm off to bed now. For appraisal or litigation contact



  7. Woohoo! Meerkats!

    Hope everyone had a brilliant time and, until the photos get put up (remember, no photographic evidence and it simply never happened) just a couple of simple thoughts.

    1. Bitterweed is declared the winner. (Subject to anyone else providing proof that they stayed up later or longer).

    2. I trust P-Brax arrived on his throbbing machine with his linen suit encrusted with splattered insects which had sought simply to die in the act of giving his magnificence a high-speed, suicidal hug.

  8. Atomboy
    P Brax showed up in an old Cortina, but still got the beers in like gent.

  9. Montana you are right I was being a bit dramatic there, you never said smokers were scum. ;)

    I still think the tone of a lot of those comments were very childish though.

    Bitterweed you are a legend.

  10. Morning all


    Agree with you about smoking breaks.If there isn't a quid quo pro for non smokers it is not only unfair but likely to cause resentment.Hope your son's better.


    You dirty stopout! Sounds like you all had a good time.Hope i'll be able to make the next one.

  11. Paul

    For the last 10 years or so I have worked in a job that took no account of the usual holidays, were open every weekend, every bank holiday and basically closed two days a year (good Friday and Christmas Day).

    I, and every other childless employee, had to cover the times that those with children had to take off, either because of childminding problems or just because parents have to spend certain times of the year with their children (not to mention illness of said children etc).

    Did I get a bit annoyed at having to work every bank holiday and Christmas Eve/Boxing day?

    Well to be honest, yes a bit but I realised that sometimes you have to suck it up and not only think about yourself, there are a million reasons why you may not get exactly the same working conditions as your colleagues and sometimes life isn't fair.

    On that basis I think that me nipping outside for a fag now and again is pretty small beer.

  12. Many thanks to BW for throwing a magnificent bash!

  13. Have you got a bad head Thauma?

    I think we were promised pictures.

  14. Not too bad, thanks, Jen! The coffee is working.

    Sheff's in charge of photographical wizardry.

  15. Glad a good nite was had by all. Gossip and photos please.

    Very depressed this morning reading about the coalitions plans. And HOW are they going to bring this universal benefit in in one year?? Don't they have to do consultations on it? Put it through parliament etc? Or can they just do what the hell they like when the hell they like now??

  16. I'll second that thauma...excellent night. Bitters is a great host! Will put up a couple of pics.

    PBrax has a sense of humour and is surprisingly civilised. He also knows how to speak in words of two syllables. I think at some point in the early hours we solved the Balkan problem and cleared up the meaning of life but can't now remember how we did it.

    Can remember that we thought a UT trip to Spike's L'Humanite fete next September would be a good idea - that is if Bitters band can get a gig there. MsC will drive the minibus, thauma will knit the yurt (camping, what fun!) and I'll take the bookings.

    Needless to say the music was superb and so was the company.

  17. Princess

    It is depressing but from what I have been told, by those who are working in benefits, at the moment they are simply going to have one named benefit with a million different rates and qualifications, i.e. they are just renaming and rebranding (which will cost a fortune whilst changing nothing).

    I wonder what they will call it, scroungers aid maybe.

  18. Morning all.

    Fab night last night. No gossip - that's the rule - but photos from sheff later. She did try to upload some pics last night but bitters' computer wasn't having any of it.


    Haven't really looked at the coalition's plans in detail yet.

    Oh wait, there is no detail about implementation, as with pretty much everything else that they say they are going to do.

  19. Jesus has anyone read the Barbara Ellen column this morning?

    What a waste of oxygen that woman is.

  20. Couple of pics up. Some faces visible. If anyones not happy about that I'll take it down.

  21. MsChin - I forgot about the gossip rule. Glad a good time was had by all. Hope heads are not too sore!

    It is not just JSA and incap that the coalition want to get rid of and amalgamate but also DLA and carers allowance. Carer watch have a campaign about it and they are very concerned about what could happen to the most vulnerable.

    I know someone whose husband has had a stroke and is totally bed bound - she cares for him full time but can afford a nurse to come in for two hours every day to lift and clean him - if these sorts of benefits go he will have to go into care as she couldn't afford to do it and she is in her seventies and has her own health issues so cant lift. So not only would that be heartbreaking for them but it would cost the state a ton more!

    It makes no sense. And all these cuts keep happening and yet we are on the edge by all accounts of more QE - which is nothing more than a way of keeping assets inflated. So basically it is absolute daylight robbery of the tax and NI system to support the assets of the wealthy at the cost of services, dignity and lives of the poorest.

    The carer watch campaign can be found here: http://carerwatch.com/cuts/

  22. Princess

    Did you read the article on Cif written by an 80 year old carer?

    It was so well written but heartbreaking.

    Some of the comments made me literally want to kill, an 80 year old woman poured her heart out about the trials of looking after her equally aged very unwell partner (I think they were partners rather than friends) and all some people could come up with was that the partner would be better off in care.

    It amazes me that some people seem to think that quality of life only applies to themselves.

    Old, unwell then you shouldn't expect the same rights that we all take for granted.

    Some days I honestly hate humanity.

  23. Yes! - I've solved the problem of the leaking roof (resulting from rain driven by a harsh gusting southerly)..A technically brilliant innovation, if I do say so myself (internal guttering to catch the drips and channel them back outside). Heath deano strikes again!

    Glad to read that a good time was had by our friends and comrades from UT. I was expecting non other. Good to read that BW had noted that Kraken had at least observed the Commandments associated with civilised drinking and remembered that his wallet had uses beyond personal aggrandisement....

    Sheff somebody else should take the pics next time else we shall all be wondering about your shyness....

    PCC - no apology necessary. I'll catch you next time. The offer of lunch at my local still stands for you and yours. If your feeling a bit better one day when your man has a day off have a day out in Beverley and call by.

    Been reading some good stuff from you on economic matters of late. I agree with you about QE - King was asleep on his watch and carries on with the same indifference to critical thinking about anything save preservation/promotion of asset prices.

    The average Irish household is now required to burden a debt of £35,612 (Indie on Sunday) to bail out their banks! FFS it don't seem that long since you could buy a pleasant property in Eire for about £35k.

    I must be away to start thinking about helping my friend with an appeal against the expected Incapicity B decsion which has arrived.

    Paul lots of info is starting to come through about the much more difficult ESA tests... will try to post some details in due course

    Jen - "Some days I honestly hate humanity.". I know what you mean but for the sake of your own sanity it is sometimes better to think......"some days I honestly hate the lack of humanity"

  24. Right, I'm back, computer running smoothly and fully installed.


    Thanks for the post yesterday. Yes, it was exactly that. With the update to SP3, it started working smoothly without re-running the Paragon alignment. The computer shop guy should have warned me when he sold me the advanced HDD, we'd discussed the motherboard so he knew I was on XP. Still, I've learnt all about 4K sector technology.

  25. Jenn

    Can't find that carer article you mentioned. Can you link to it? Ta

  26. Sorry Sheff not sure how to do links (I shall ask Chekhov;) ) but it was on the 27th of September and the author was Grace Richards.

  27. Nice photos by the way Sheff (if that is you taking them) you have very lovely hair.

    Who is the man wearing shades in Northampton in October though?

  28. Jen

    Found it- thanks. The struggles some people live through!

    No, the woman with the nice hair isn't me - I was behind her taking the snap.

    As for the bloke in the shades (it was miraculously sunny at the time), You'll meet him if you come down to Leamington in November and very good company he is too.

  29. Morning all,

    Who's the guy in the grey Cardigan, and how much is he BPing?? He's massive.

    (I'd like to know so that, from now on, I make sure I'm in total agreement with everything he says.....)

  30. BIG Hello to Sheff + MsChin.

    I do hope we will meet up again on a UT get together. Hopefully in November when my exemplary Dog sitting duties won't be needed !. Our last acquaintance was certainly brief !

    Jenn it's obvious...

    BW is the one standing - showing us his arse. (Long hair - Rock n Roll).
    Thaum has the shades on (Cool rock chick look)
    MF is hiding his face - (Already on the G+T's at that early hour !)
    MsChin looking cool at the back.
    I have to let you work out PB and Checkov by yourself. I know it's difficult as PB has changed so much from his earlier pictures.

  31. Hehe that is mean tascia, I think Peter looks fine.

  32. You've got it wrong, Tascia, I'm the one who bench-presses monster trucks every morning.

  33. Btw, brilliant solution to your leaking roof, Deano!

  34. Fucking hell I am not even going to read the Hutton article.

    I cannot believe that the Guardian would publish an article with the title 'University fees are going to rise, they have to, to be fair to the poor'.

    Black is white and up is down.

  35. Arrgggh so I mistakenly clicked on the Blond article instead, my brain is screaming and vomiting.

  36. Jen,

    It's at least the second time The Guardian's done one of those.

    Last time it was Mr Jenkins pushing the 'raising tuition fees will actually help the poor' schtick!!

  37. James (hi)

    It makes me so angry that I just can't even explain why it is so horrific and wrong.

    I should have probably gone to a good university and studied PPE so I could explain myself.

    Except I couldn't have gone to a good university because etc etc grrr

    I am fuming.

  38. Jen (hello),

    Well, I did Pol/IR, and there's so much wrong with it that I'd have a hard time writing it all down too.

  39. (I didn't do it at a good university though, and I wasn't suggesting I'm in any way smart either. Just for the record!)

  40. James I think you are the only person I have ever met (ie spoken to online) who has worse self esteem than me.

    Fancy a date. ;)

  41. Haha!

    I think I'm just acutely aware of my limitations.

    I actually did ok at uni, but it was mostly because I worked my ass off, rather than because of any kind of 'natural talent'.

    (Having said that, I do think you could probably do better than me!!)


  42. Tascia

    Really hope you do make the Leamington gig as BW's band is playing so it should be a good night. And it's about time you got a break from the dog sitting and came out to play!

  43. So that is a no then. ;

  44. James + Jenni

    Just 'done' the Blond thing ? Asked - yet again - what the BS s all about - some details.

    blond is a Christian - former theologian I think. More money for coops , community groups etc would be good - money to fund advice centres for the unemployed and the sick would be good too. CAB have had their budgets cut !

    I am hoping for a grant to run corrective institutions for the feckless .

    The last 4 months seems to have produced more polital waffle than the whole of history put together. Is there anybody at all who has the vaguest idea of what is actually about to happen- apart from the fact that millions are about to suffer from 'austerity', a disease it seems for which there is no cure other than driving millions of the impoverished into the sea leaving the spoils for the privileged few.

  45. Haha!!

    Think of it as dodging a bullet!!

  46. (above to Jen)


    Indeed. The last few months have reminded me of bunch of car salesmen explaining why it's in our best interests to hand over the keys to our old banger, in exchange for a dead donkey!!

  47. Leni it is very worrying, no one seems to know what is happening.

    There is nothing to aim at, this is from a coalition point of view, it is as if they see the cuts as an achievment in themself, there is nothing beyond them.

    I have no idea what they think will happen when the cuts take hold.

  48. The last few months have reminded me of bunch of car salesmen explaining why it's in our best interests to hand over the keys to our old banger, in exchange for a dead donkey!!

    All pundits may now retire. That is the best description of this govt ever made!

  49. I have been over into the future and it works.

    Well, it works very nicely if you are a multinational corporation or one of its legions of lackeys and Kapos.

    If you are an ordinary person, the future is not quite so bright.

    We are looking at bonded labour and simple, barefaced slavery.

    Under Mrs Thatcher, we had documentaries like Breadline Britain and people said that her government wanted to make Britain "the sweatshop of Europe."

    Luckily, thanks to the benefits of globalisation, we do not have to compete on such a tight, parochial market any more.

    Now, if we cannot beat the slave-prison-factories of China for labour rates, conditions and production volume, what can we do?

    We may as well volunteer to become a food ingredient for the jaded palates of the rich and simply jump into giant blenders.

    We are no longer people, but commodities

    PS Was the bottom pointing to camera in the picture of the meet-up a political statement?

  50. James

    Indeed. The last few months have reminded me of bunch of car salesmen explaining why it's in our best interests to hand over the keys to our old banger, in exchange for a dead donkey!!

    Like it :-)

  51. Hehe!

    Cheers Thauma!!


    Amen to that!
    The trick now is how many people they can convince that they're part of the 'us', as opposed to the 'them'!!

  52. AB

    I have it from good authority that the 'Arse Inclination' was indeed a political statement. !

    BTW those Raccoons sure do a good impression of Meerkats - (American accent) simples !!

  53. Paul,


    (I'm officially retiring now...)

  54. That is the sad part James, it takes almost no convincing to persuade people that they are part of the us.

    Hating the them is the only way some people get by.

  55. Jen,

    exactly, our 'class aspiration' bullshit is, for me, the British version of the insidious 'American Dream' which so often makes people forsake their own interests and allies in favour of the 'masters'!!

  56. Mmmmmmm

    Is there anything better than mopping up the leftover yorkies in the blood that's drained off from the roast?

    - spake the vegan

  57. Thaumaturge - leftover yorkies? Not in this house...

  58. An exhausting week of geriatric problems – hardly able to read, let alone manage composition; but seeing some comments above... If someone doesn’t have money and they need high-dependency care, then if they haven’t got good (fitter or younger) family or neighbours or friends (or often a combination) who will hang in there, often without pay, or some piffling amount; then they are probably going to end up in care and costing the State far more than if they gave someone the necessary benefits.

    The completely-out-of-touch proclamations from the millionaires of our Coalition Government about the Big Society we should be having, overlook the reality that there have always continued to be many people who look out for each other, without thought of reward; and not necessarily in more refined areas or by persons they would consider worthy. Give me an honest rogue any day.

    Are these government ministers about to give service without rewards then?

    Contrary to those with such high opinion of their own abilities – as if they know better than the ‘peasants’ - the further up the social scale the less application of intelligence that seems to be going on. Let’s cut everything we can that assists the most vulnerable of our citizens, and boast of it, and not attempt to think through - that it’ll lead to far higher costs of care, and of all the other end results of social disintegration that we're implementing. What’s that matter anyway, if we can get good headlines about cutting benefits?

    I believe in choices. If someone chooses to go into a home - for themselves, that’s okay; but for all those terrified of being removed from their homes and falling into the clutches of ‘the social’, whenever they end their lives wretchedly in an alien environment, I consider that to be cruel and wrong, and a failure of all of us as a society. It’s also wrong that too many people find themselves feeling that they have no real choices about having to do that to a member of their family. And then – let’s cut the funding that allows the few good homes to continue.

    The problems of incapacity in old age can happen to any of us eventually (I’ve seen Beachy Head mentioned here as an avoidance technique - however, most won’t choose that route)– it can happen to a member of our family – it may already be doing so, or has done so, or someone about whom we care. Also, any of us can fall ill at any time – we know that here.

    We're all vulnerable, so why not put into place a universal support system? Oh - that's what we did attempt to do... So - we'll tell them dismantling it is in order to help the poor become better off and have equal opportunities - we'll tell them this is better for everyone - we'll tell them any nonsense that comes out - and we'll keep saying it like it's real.

  59. Anyone can lose their job, although - there are a few who are in a position to sell contracts to ensure they should always then have an advisory role hereafter - like advising how to assist those from whom their policies removed their benefits/jobs, or - maybe those involved with care.

    For those who can't fund their own care, there are free assistance programmes – where a carer dashes in on the way to others (there are reports of some employers not giving allowance for travel times), and does certain basics – often not too focused on the overall needs of the individual – often tending not to be a happy situation for either side, as agency carers can also be treated neglectfully. It needs far more flexibility. Why not allow flexibility then? (I know – I’m daft.)

    I’ve also known too many elderly persons saying that they mustn’t be a nuisance to their family (or anyone else), and I always say why the heck not? Didn’t you go through a lot of big nuisances from others all of your life, especially from those when young? Why is it all right until you get old, when you should meekily disappear from society - to somewhere that makes you unhappy?

    Those in government and advisory positions however are permitted to continue to be a nuisance to society indefinitely, and they don't think they should ever cease to trouble others.

    Whenever an elderly person in the last chapter of their life isn’t given as much care as those we expect to be in the first chapter, then we have failed as a community; as much as when those in the first chapter don’t receive that care.

    It can (I do know) be very difficult, but it can be done with the right will - especially not to judge worth by means of individual econimic units. While we have a growing and scarcely addressed dementia problem, and where’s the help? We’ll give you advise – no, we need help - real practical help – someone who’ll turn up and do something that’s actually useful and helps... We can pay people to tell you what you can do, but come and do anything about it? - sorry. Thanks a lot – as it seems we’re meant to be thankful for all of this input of non-help.

    My choice – pay people to do something useful – get rid of the rest of no-doing jobs. Then give good wages to those who do the jobs that really matter – that make a good and positive difference... (Yes, okay - just fantasising.)

  60. Then, after all they do - they’ve wanted to treat carers as if they were also benefit scum – intended to have them sent to be on JSA as if they were also (considered to be) layabouts (and I’m not saying that that applies to most on JSA, as I know it doesn’t).

    These people are working – often huge hours - often with no days off – saving the taxpayer hundreds of pounds of week – grudgingly given maybe one bit of benefit, and otherwise treated as if they are a drain on the economy – unsuccessful economic units – we can’t encourage that sort of thing.

    Then there are those on Disability Living Allowance – often allowing that person still to contribute or work, or just about manage – so they’re looking at how to get that removed. There’s no joined up thinking at all.

    And for those teetering on the brink - how much is it going to cost in extra prison places for those who have had taken from them the bit of support that they had? How much extra for the problems caused by the rise in homelessness and despair? How much extra from all of those losing their jobs for those on JSA (or even community Payback) to be forced to do for no wage? Etc.

    It appears that our Big Society is to be based on how much Big Despair can be caused to the most vulnerable of our society, and those who care for them or in some way support them; and then, even more cleverly, to spread it to those who were doing fine until Whoever Really Reigns Over Us (no, not the Queen – not the government – persons usually not known by name – employing persons like Murdoch as their mouthpiece propoganda machine) decided to remove their wage security – let’s get rid of workers’ rights too – we’ll call them all commies, even if we don’t really know what that means – that’ll do it.

    This is of course to help us all … but then this is Alice-Kafka-land, so it won’t make any sense, but they’ll keep saying it anyway.

    While, of course, even bigger payouts will go to those private outfits brought in to ‘help’ these people.

    SyFy Alice

  61. Moonwave

    "We're all vulnerable, so why not put into place a universal support system? Oh - that's what we did attempt to do... So - we'll tell them dismantling it is in order to help the poor become better off and have equal opportunities - we'll tell them this is better for everyone - we'll tell them any nonsense that comes out - and we'll keep saying it like it's real".


    The problem is though, while there's a distinct absence of anyone really offering an alternative narrative, it largely is, by default!

  62. Shaz - well, there aren't any more now!

    Just seen the highlights of Leinster/Munster on Scrum V - looks like it was a great match. Stands were packed - 50,000 for a club match!


    pay people to do something useful – get rid of the rest of no-doing jobs. Then give good wages to those who do the jobs that really matter – that make a good and positive difference...

    It may be a fantasy, but it's a nice one.

  63. Actually, has Steve Bell got it slightly wrong? Perhaps EdMili is more of a raccoon than a panda.

  64. Hi all

    Only just finished work, believe it or not. Bah.

    Sounds like you had a fab night last night and I was really sorry to have missed it. I am going to make sure that I book a free weekend well in advance - no last minute "can you just look at this?" rubbish - and get to the Leam meet-up in November.

    Although everytime I think of Leamington I remember "Death in Leamington" by John Betcheman "All chintzy chintzy cheeriness, half dead and half alive". Hehehehe.

    I will pop over and look at the pix now, see if I can work out who's who... :o)

  65. Hello folks!

    Am thoroughly depressed that I missed the celebrations last night. Bitterweed knows how gutted I was that I'd fallen badly off me pushbike and injured myself and was too tired and fragile to get on the train let alone partake in a legendary drinking session and survive in one piece!!

    Glad you all had a good time - am impressed that PB turned up and that there were no fistycuffs ;-) If he's driving a Cortina then he needs to listen to the Fall.... hehehe!

    Am off for training for a new job tomorrow so fingers crossed things are looking up soon.

    Any chance of a meet up before Chrimbo?

    Big hugs all,


    (normal service will be resumed from now on!)

  66. Jen,

    I haven't read that article - I don't know if I should right now due to the dark mood I am in of late. Think - like with your good self - some of the comments might make me want to kill with my bare hands!

    Moonwave - ''Whenever an elderly person in the last chapter of their life isn’t given as much care as those we expect to be in the first chapter, then we have failed as a community;''

    So brilliantly put and very true. One of the things that really distresses me about our society is the way we care for the elderly. I remember watching that guy who played Baldrick (name gone out of mind right now) in a documentary about the care of the elderly and he said future generations will look back with horror at how we treat our old just as we now look upon child labour with horror (or salivating mouths at the idea of it - if we are in the con-dems).

  67. Good luck with the new job la Rit! Deano - that sounds great I will do so - and vice versa if you ever fancy a day out in sunny Sheff!

  68. Ah. Time to open a decent bottle and watch George Gently...

  69. "... am impressed that PB turned up and that there were no fistycuffs ;-) If he's driving a Cortina...."

    Ah the old moral dilemma LaRit. The UT golden rule is ....what happens in? or @ the UT meetups stays confidential to those present means that we the non attenders have to read between the lines.

    .....the Kraken could be true to his image but discretion would require a veil be drawn over it by those whose judgements/opinions I have a lot of respect for. (viz all the others present in Northants)

    We ain't heard from Fish or Chekhov yet, so let's not jump to attention ...

    I'm always willing to think well of folk, so I'm happy to give him some credit and think that Kraken turned up in a Cortina that wasn't for once stolen. At least he appears to have bought a round so that's two things potentially to his credit....

    btw Good luck with the audition/training thing and sorry to read you came off your bike.

  70. Actually, it wasn't a cortina. He was a gent though.
    MF and Chekhov excellent value, likewise all the ladies. Good chat. Good booze. Good curry (I've just finished the madras).

    I'm goin gack to bed coz I is fucked.


  71. Good luck with the audition, LaRit - I am sure you'll ace it!

    Hi MsChin and Deano

    I am all of a fidget here because my lad is out with his band doing an "open mike" night at the cultural centre in the next town, but we have been banned from attending. I want to sneak in at the back and watch, but if he spotted me, it would put him off... argh.

    I hope someone has the common sense to video it on their phone or something...

  72. BB

    If I were you I'd be chuffed to little mint balls that the lad felt he could perform without the need for my encouragement - he's showing maturity, let him fly.


    I crashed out on the sofa for a couple of hours late afternoon but still feel like a limp rag! 'Twas a very good night though, and thanks for the hospitality.


    Kudos to Peter B. for joining us. Agree with Bitters that Pete was a gent.


    Very moving posts from you.

  73. BB my lovely I need to run a couple of quickies past you as I prepare to help my friend with his Incapacity Benefit appeal.

    (sorry when you've had a hard working weekend etc but not desperately urgent at this stage so you can always leave it till later in the week or pretend you didn't see my enquiry)

    My early layman's reading suggests that the machinery for appeal is much like all others... thus appeal beyond the first tribunal to 'the Commissioners' is only on a point of law......thus I'm trying to think ahead

    I have hazy recollection that somewhere in my career as a member of the awkward squad I came across the notion of 'legal perversity'...in the sense of making a decision that is so unreasonable that no reasonable person could ever had made it.

    I think/imagine the notion involves a (public servant) decision maker taking into account matters that are irrelevant and/or failing to take into account matters that are germane/relevant......

    If it's not all a figment of my imagination the case law may have been developed in the area of the District Audit versus some local authority or other....

    Qustion 1 - is there to your knowledge a developed legal idea of 'perversity' in decision making?? or did I imagine it?

    (If your familiar with it, it would save me hours of work and having to renew my law library subscriptions)

    I have some complex unresolved ideas about the nature of 'evidence' in this benefits area that I'm still thinking through. In the meantime....

    Q2 - a sworn affidavit is akin to evidence given under oath Y/N?? Q3(do you pay to swear an affidavit before an officer of the local court ?? I know you do before fucking thieving.

    At this stage I'm just thinking of adding a couple of arguments with some potential for a further appeal if necessary....

    I'm no expert in Social Security claims/appeals but my friend is willing to go for it - if only to make work for the bastards and to occupy a few of them and distract them from giving others a hard time.

    I appreciate that this may not be your area or that you think it inappropriate to comment here.Worry not if you can't help/comment I won't be stalking you .....your not a lady librarian so you are safe in my affections!

  74. This made me titter. Got a proper slagging in the guardian yesterday...


  75. Deano

    There is very much indeed a notion of legal perversity - it is called Wednesbury unreasonableness, where a public body makes a decision so daft that no right-thinking person could have arrived at the decision.

    However it is not a ground of appeal, but a ground of Judicial Review, which means the best a judge can do is to quash the decision, send them away with a flea in their ear and an order to think about it again which doeasn't guarantee that they will change their decision, although it usual does make them change their minds.

    Generally, though, Tribunals want to see people give evidence rather than have sworn statements. You don't give evidence under oath but make a statement with a paragraph saying that the contents are true to the best of your knowledge and belief, then at the hearing, that will be adopted as your evidence in chief. Some judges/adjudicators are a bit arsey about other questions in chief after that, so it is important that the statement contains as much information as possible and addresses every point raised by the DWP in their refusal/rejection.

    Hope this helps, but email me on beautifulburnoutbirdchrome@gmail.com if I can be of any further assistance.

    It is not my area of specialisation, but it wouldn't take me long to get up to speed if your friend needs grounds for appeal or JR, although I wouldn't be up to drafting their statements for them as that is something usually done by a solicitor after they have had the opportunity to meet and discuss it with them.

  76. Montana

    Do you remember some time ago i mentioned that apples/apple juice may help people with asthma? Well i came across this article today and thought you might be interested in it.

    The research i heard of previously was actually to do with apples/apple juice benefitting kids with asthma.You can find it HERE or rather a reference to the research.

    Dunno whether this will be of any use to you .If i see anything more concrete that is specifically relevant to adults i'll post you a link.

  77. BW

    How's the hangover?! :p

    Sounds like you had a cracking night.

    That vid is funny as f00k, largely because the kid looks like Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes...

  78. Chin/BW that's two important votes the bastards got.

    I may have to reconsider my opinion of the guy not that he gives a fuck what I think.

    I was fucked off that I couldn't make it - still you guys have important material for your diaries and have given other UT's an incentive to attend the next one where you might be persuaded to share the beans OTR.

    BB hope you get to see the video. I'm sure there will be one. It's mandatory these days.

    I wish it wasn't. Some bastard took a phone vid of me conducting the massed Western Terraces at Headingley during the Test Match we attended as part of my son's Stag weekend a few years ago. I was shown it a couple of weeks ago much to my cringing embarrassment.

    There I was drunk as Lord standing on me seat facing the crowds and downing pints in one to massed applause......it was just before me and 22 young men dressed in Nurse's uniforms were all asked to leave (thrown out in truth).

    You can make out the terrace crowds chanting "Shipman Shipman ....where's me gran?" (My beard was seized on as an obvious target for the collected wits on the terrace.)

    A fun time but it looks silly on Video...still it might amuse my yet to be born grandkids sometime down the road.

  79. Deano:

    Ahhhh.... I like the confidentiality bit. The air of tantalising mystique around the UT meet-ups is preserved ;-)

    BB - unfortunately, the interview/training is for an entirely conventional, non-musical job, but I'm hoping that it will be much more stable, lucrative (not mega-bucks or anything) and interesting than the bits and bobs I've been trying to scrape by with of late. I came back from the jaunt up France with a renewed vigor though!

  80. @Bitters: wow, that was an awesome piss up!
    Thanks mate. Great to see all the "usual suspects" again and fair play to Peter Bracken for pitching up, (top marks and respect for that, Peter) and thanks again for putting me up Sheff.

  81. BB - someone got your reply to Brusselsexpest removed on whaddya...

  82. BB Cheers babe - that's the one Wednesbury (West Midlands) It comes back to me and rings the bell. I think it was or involved the District Audit service way back when.

    ".. Tribunals want to see people give evidence rather than have sworn statements..." - Yep got that. All the statistics support that. Those attending in person have a much much greater chance of success than those writing and my friend is up for an attendance..

    The affidavit bit is just to make the DWP decision maker uncomfortable/recognise that his clients statements to the ATOS medics are also potentially 'evidence'. Even if they were completely ignored (No wonder the bastards resist taped medical examinations...)

    I have a hazy recollection that a person giving evidence under oath should have a presumption in favour of truth in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary. No doubt another legal fiction but WTF.

    Even if it is a fiction I will encourage me mate to claim it in the first stage of DWP review I like to think that the decision maker will have to at least stop and think or seek an 'opinion' before dismissing us/him.

    Fortunatley me mate is near retirement and quite outraged but not in the straits that many more unfortunates would be, and if the worse comes to it he can survive till 65 without IB. He reckons that if he does no more than draw some flack he will at least offer solidarity with those in a worse position than him

  83. Shaz - I think it was modded because it was in response hers which was modded. As in "replies may also be removed".

  84. Bedtime for me, as the matchstick eyelid props are failing miserably.


  85. deano30
    I now have an idea - how about UT get together at headingly next year... ;-)

    BB, fine now thanks. Chekhov, likewise, excellent company all.

    Here's that site me and MF were talking about by the way. Well worth a look.


  86. BB - just thinking out aloud.....................interesting (arrogant) that the DWP/Atos think that a crude computer programme (which is what the Lima programme/medical assessment used in IB/ESA is) can be elevated to the status of inherently reasonable/unquestionable.........

    Medical matters have by their nature a dynamic about them and crude computer programmes/assessments are somewhat static/pedestrian in their responses and in keeping up with the dynamics

    there is an implicit weakness in the approach since by definition it can't/struggles to accommodate that which is outside the computer algorithm and thus is open to potential criticism for failing to take into account all that is/maybe relevant or that has recently developed.

    On a less abstract note - hope your lad comes back from the gig full of joy - or at least pondering on what can be learned from the experience. Agree with Chin all credit to the lad.

  87. BW great idea comrade.

    The Cricket is a great day out (even for non fans). The Western Terrace at a Test Match accommodates all kinds and it has great carnival atmosphere and the wits are simply legendary. Bars open from 10 am(ish) you can't fault it.

    ..and when the game is over the pub crawl down the Otley road past the Uni quarter into central Leeds is someting and a half.

    We could have a busy year next year what with trips to France etc......

  88. Sri Lanka are playing England at Headingley July 2nd 2011......

  89. lightacandle has posted this from RedMiner on Waddya - I will repost it here for posterity, and as possibly one of the best posts of the year.


    3 October 2010 5:59PM

    A system that depends on mass unemployment to work properly blames the people it makes unemployed for being workshy and cuts their benefits. Only the gilded middle class, entirely divorced from the reality of post-industrial northern wastelands, could fall for this. We have truly arrived at Orwell's nightmare.

    War is peace. Poverty is a lifestyle choice.

    I'm angry at the stupidity of Guardian journalists. You're supposed to be intelligent and educated and providing analysis and informed commentary. Instead you echo the sentiments of IDS and blandly repeat his spin. Something is very wrong here - can't you get the staff 'these days'? I'm an unemployed ex-miner and I appear to have greater awareness of reality than many Guardian writers!. We've been on dozens of schemes and courses, from ET to Labour's miserable efforts; they are simply used by employers to provide cheap temporary labour. Once a person's time expires, they are replaced with another free worker. The unlucky claimant reacquaints himself with the capricious proclivities of the Ministry of Truth - the DWP.

    Maybe you should get out more. Try coming to Ed's constituency town and telling the people here to their faces that they have opted for £65 as a lifestyle choice, that we shouldn't turn down jobs. Jobs? What fucking jobs? the last thirty years has seen the systematic destruction of jobs in the north.

    I will not leave my family to live down south in a barn with imported labour, sending food parcels home, and paying my friendly farmer most of my minimum wage for 'upkeep'. My relatives did not fight wars, both military and social, in the last century, for the reintroduction of slave labour to be waved through like some kind of economic panacea, when the whole system is rigged to provide that very slave labour, malleable, non-union, exploitable.

    Address that, if you've got the belly for it?

  90. I knew the miner MP who held Doncaster North (Ed Milliband's current seat) before he became...... one of Blair's whips.

    The writer might well have been the 'old' Kevin Hughes (but he died of a brain burst so it can't be) could be one of his family or associates though.

    Great piece though BB thanks for posting it here.

  91. @Deano:love the idea of a UT bash at a Test Match. Since Test Match cricket is the meaning of life it makes perfect sense!

  92. Yea could be fun Chekhov.

    Good to read that you had good time mate, it was a fair old haul for you down to Northampton!

    I was sorry not to get to see you all again. Still there's always next time.

  93. Hello visitor from Argentina!

  94. Melanie Phillips is outraged again.

    But the new respectability of paganism cannot be laid entirely at the Charity Commission’s door. For in recent years, pagan practices have been rapidly multiplying, with an explosion of the occult: witchcraft, parapsychology, séances, telepathy and mind-bending cults.

    Astonishingly, around 100 members of the Armed Forces now classify themselves as pagans, and a further 30 as witches.

    There are thought to be about 500 pagan police officers. A Pagan Police Association has even been set up to represent officers who ‘worship nature and believe in many gods’.

    They have been given the right to take days off to perform rituals, such as leaving food out for the dead, dressing up as ghosts and casting spells, or celebrating the sun god with ‘unabashed sexuality and promiscuity’.

    Britain’s prison authorities are equally hospitable to the occult: under instructions issued to every prison governor, pagan ‘priests’ are allowed to use wine and wands during ceremonies in jails. Inmates practising paganism are allowed a hoodless robe, incense and a piece of religious jewellery among their personal possessions.

    Political correctness gone mad or what? As one disgusted police officer exploded: ‘What has it come to when a cop gets time off so he can sit about making spells or dance around the place drinking honey beer with a wand in his hand?’

    Just what is Britain coming to ? Love the idea of pagan bobbies .

  95. Has "Red Miner" been pre-modded on Wadya as "RedNorth" and posted under a different avatar?
    Good luck to him or her.
    "Comment Is Free! ...my arse...comment is well and truly censored if it doesn't chime with the "neoliberal" consensus.

  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

  97. Watch it before Disney notices; Donald Duck meets Glenn Beck (via Boing Boing and Daring Fireball).

  98. And I missed this the other day; an excellent piece by John Lanchester on what the cuts will really mean. Via Flip Chart Fairy Tales.

  99. Habib

    If you're about here's a treat for you.Enjoy!