16 October 2010


The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
-Samuel Butler


  1. Woohoo!

    Space Cadet meerkat!

  2. Just as a brief comment on some of the exchanges from yesterday evening and the deleted comments from WADDYA this morning by Montana and JimPress, which I just saw before they disappeared forever.

    Frog2 - In an ideal world, there would be no need to pull people up on the way they behave because we would all behave impeccably. It would be the same as seeing people without noticing their colour and not making assumptions about people because they do things which we do not like doing, whether that is swilling tins of Wifebeater and watching the telly smeared with kebabs or stepping over the homeless on the way to the opera.

    The world we inhabit is not ideal and we actually have some kind of duty not to remain silent.

    Within that context there is certainly an argument to be had about degrees and methods.

    Do I think Peter Bracken is so thick-skinned as to be immune from biting comments, as JessicaReed claims? No.

    Do I think NapKar should be protected from commenst because he is young and has had a hard time? No.

    Do I think Martyn Richard Jones is being treated unfairly? No.

    His excuse was that he had taken painkillers from the dentist and had been drinking. Apart from what had gone before, which has been documented here - in vino veritas.

    MartynInEurope could have made an honest, unencumbered apology at the time and chose not to do so. The fact that he is now attempting to mend things and pleading victim status speaks of his real intentions. His first course of action was an attempt to cloud the issue rather than stand up and be counted.

    I take it, when you and BB and Leni and others say they do not like to see animosity and fights that you are being truthful and to sidestep them is your choice, to which you are entitled.

    However, there are some nasty characters around and they do not always wear badges or neon signs to proclaim it to the world.

    So, have fun and stay safe.

    It's a nightmare out there.

  3. Morning all - re drinks in London, 27 or 28 would work for me, looks like 28 is the best pick?

  4. Hang on

    So..if we start excusing Napoleon's arrogance and misanthropy on grounds of arrested development...and forgive Martyn's bloated self-obsession on the grounds of..er..bloated self-obsession...why can't we give MAM a break for 'retarded humanity' or Nick Clegg for an overdeveloped sense of entitlement...in fact why not just forgive every fucker for everything they ever said or did?...or is it just people who we come across on threads we frequent cos it gets rid of that little bit of an awkwardness. Fuck that.

    I don't come on here to provide group therapy for immature little fuck-ups or self-lovin morons..I come on to tell them to fuckin sort themselves out...if they want to have a pop back...so be it...that's the way it is

    And so, as part of my ongoing series of interweb euphemisms and neologisms, I give you No 73...

    "nail the fucking bastard to the wall"

    vt: 1)to press an abuse button repeatedly

    2)to cry a lot when somebody tells you you're a boring waste of space

    example: "I would regard myself as essentially nice yet if someone prods me with a stick, I'll nail the fucking bastard to the wall if I can"

    EnglishPermit waddaya 2010

    Obviously, I can only speak for myself, but I'm fuckin worried. This is clearly one heavy-duty hombre.

  5. Morning all

    Going to Berlin was one of my better decisions. Wish I could have stayed longer. Must be the friendliest capital city I've ever been to. Have put some snaps up.

  6. Sheff,

    Berlin is a cracking city, the locals don't have the same stereotypical 'airs and graces' of other capital city dwellers.

    I'm off there again with my work early next year which I always look forward to.

    Interesting blog post from Craig Murray here regarding the tertiary education 'reforms' (a great euphemism).

    He points out that the Federal Govt in the USA actually spends more on higher education per student than does the UK and that 7 of the top 10 US Uni's are State Universities.

    This is another disaster coming with the future of the country being sacraficed for the benefit of the ruling class.

  7. Thanks for that Duke - bloody good piece well worth the read.

  8. Morning people - Philippa, the 28th is fine by me.

  9. @Phil

    I take it you're busy on the Friday night (29th). Anyway, the 28th would be fine by me. Those nights, I'll be staying with family in Kent so when we decide where and when we're meeting, I'll check out public transport.

  10. marvellous - will be in london fri 28 but have a 6am flight on saturday, so possibly best not to risk that......

    am now trying to think of nice pubs. that aren't v inconvenient for all concerned. so - spike coming in from Kent so that's Charing Cross / London Bridge - BB coming back from, what, Essex? is that Kings Cross terminal? - Shaz, where are you....?

    (my logistics planning, btw, is atrocious. just to warn you)

  11. Parking this comment here from PaulBowes01 calling the Graun out over this article bemoaning the plight of the middle classes:

    I think pretty well everything that needs to be said about the original article and the defensive, patronising follow-up has been said by one commenter or another, but I'll add my widow's mite all the same.

    Assuming that the paper doesn't publish articles like this as a deliberate provocation, it appears that The Guardian has no idea who constitutes its real readership. At a guess, this may be because its market research excludes all the intelligent poor people who can't afford to buy it regularly, but read it online, in public libraries, borrow friends' copies, etc. I'm 53 and unemployed. My weekly income is £128, of which £64 is housing benefit. This winter, if I'm still unemployed, I expect to be unable to heat my single room decently. Pardon me if I am relatively unmoved by the plight of a middle-class household that for the first time in living memory is facing a small cut in its income.

    The Guardian has a reputation as a liberal newspaper. What it really is is a middle-class newspaper - even upper middle-class. The vast majority of its columnists come from those families, received that education, earn in that bracket, lead that lifestyle and hold that class's common assumptions to be facts of nature. I don't think that they are evil people, but there is a degree of unworldliness that is sometimes breathtaking.

    The Guardian's commentators are almost without exception really, really bad at dealing with criticism - they seem to regard it as a species of lèse-majesté.

    And for you in particular, Patrick Collinson: anger is sometimes justified. And if anonymity bothers you, The Guardian could make it a condition that people use their real names. You'll notice that I do, because I'm not ashamed of my views.

    But then those all-important page views would fall, wouldn't they?

  12. Information Requests

    It's often bandied around that Atos have been 'INCENTIVISED' to turn the Incapacity Benefit, and other claimants over,...Anybody got a credible source/reference?

    I imagine the precise contractual clause is improperly protected/hidden as a commercial secret. Although it should be public as part of the tendering process or possibly have emerged in a past freedom of information request??

    BB You any good at drafting FOI requests??

    Still working on and off on that appeal.

    BB - I think I may have confused mesen about the ECHR. On further refresher reading it's become clear to me that all my thinking is/was tied up in/around Artcle 6 Right to fair trial etc.

    In it's own writ: "In determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled..................."

    No doubt they will argue that given the appellate structure .....Tribunal and then Commissioners on Law they have met the requirement... Sure, but in my book that doesn't preclude questioning the stucture/modus operandi in the primary stages in the decsion making and in that regrad they are manifestly and demonstarbly fucking rank. I doubt if they know what the Wednesbury rules are let alone act in accordance with them

    Administrative procedures and law can/have been bought within the orbit. So there's plenty to play for......

    That air raid reference I want is thus still on my list as I said (and you may have missed) if worst comes to worst I may have to visit me daughter in Manchester and root through her cellar were my books have been for last 10 years. Hope your research facilities can unearth it and thus save me a lot of hassle.

    Sheff - you know of any 'decsion makers' in the civil service who have been given training in Human Rights matters following the Human Rights Act bringing ECHR into force in the UK??

    Did the Queens Civil Service produce training materials/guidance etc?

    What are Civil Servant instructed to do if they are faced with Human Rights questions/ challenges in their daily deliberations

    If your 'friend' who workd for the CS was challenged as acting contrary to ECHR what is he/she instructed to do??? or is it supressed as an Official Secret....

  13. Philippa - I'm coming from Kent too, into Victoria (unless they're digging something up).
    Think trains from Essex come into Waterloo?

  14. Deano

    I'll have a look at the guidance when I get back to work next week.

  15. Surprise, surprise ............came across this in a respone to a FOI request:

    "...A copy of the contract between the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos Origin IT Services UK Limited (Atos Healthcare) cannot be provided in its entirety. I have removed from the copy you will receive those parts that contain information exempt under Section 40 (third party personal information where disclosure would breach data protection principles) and 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Where information is exempt under Section 43 this is due to it being commercially sensitive and release of the information would prejudice the interests of Atos Healthcare and the Department’s future dealings with Atos Healthcare or other service providers......

    I guess we should all keep the pressure up, the lass who went after the MP's expenses didn't get there in one request....

  16. Cheers Sheff - glad you had a great time.

  17. Afternoon all

    I will be in my car, so coming home first then coming in from Surrey either to Victoria or London Bridge depending. Trains from Kent come into either Victoria or London Bridge - sometimes Charing Cross too.

  18. can someone release my post which has been spamogrificationalised which I believe the term is. Thanks.

  19. Hi Deano

    The only thing I can think of that remotely falls into an "air raid" reference would be the Hightrees House case, which is the case where Denning invented the concept of promissory estoppel. In other words, if someone makes it clear that they will not be exercising their full legal rights for whatever reason, and someone else takes action on the basis of that promise, the promisor cannot then go back on his word. Or something - long time since I studied it at law school, and hardly something I come across every day.

    Other than that, I would need a bit more detail about what case you want. What point is it, essentially, that you are trying to prove, hon?

  20. Your Grace

    I have admin rights on here, but I have no idea how to release spam comments. Let me go and try.

    If the whole of UT dies, it will be me that has killed it.... :p

  21. Don't trains from Essex come into Liverpool Street any more?

    I've just driven miles and been to seven bloody scrapyards to find an instrument panel for my car. I hope this one works, unlike the last one.

  22. Hello everyone; thanks to whoever posted the link to that article in The New Yorker (I think it was Peter J)on procrastination.
    I've just,(oh the irony!)got around to reading it.

  23. Duke, yes I was reading that article and a satisfyingly lot of articulate rebuttal of the answer to the original (does that make sense?).

    Anyway, I was also diving into the
    Cif Readers on salaries and the eye watering pay some people get and they generally think they are worth every last penny! In my mind I cannot see how someone who 'earns' 1/2 mil per year is justified. To me it is a zero sum game. If he makes a packet then others are losing, albeit salami slicing where 10 million people phoning a help-line pay 10p more. It is still unjustified. This individual 'antifrank' is some kind of lawyer saves companies from the brink and so on but 1/2 mil? I receive mid 20s for a civil service job at approx higher exec office pay band and the guys at the top get over 130k.

  24. Afternoon, all. PaulBowes01, superb!

    I've known a fair few people on daft amounts of pay. Not one of them was worth it. Their worth seemed to be as inflated as their house prices. Come the glorious revolution... or the glorious asteroid...

    Anyhoo, there's something about this youtube clip that makes me want to be a child playing with toys again.

  25. BB - at this very early stage in the proceedings I'm not trying to 'prove' any point.

    More a matter of:

    i) firing a mischievous warning shot;

    ii) providing a little learning/ammunition/discussion for civil servants who maybe/could be being oppressed/constrained by superiors to make shitty decisions via misguidedly/ill-considered procedures/rules;

    iii) laying down a marker for future reference/development. (I have been stitched in the past for trying to raise issue x at point Y only to be told I should have raised it earlier in the proceedings eg at Y-n+2.).

    (The Civil Service has lots of decent guys like Sheff who want to do a good job and act fairly but are sometimes in practice hogtied by procedure or rank. Anything I do that helps them consider their own position and/or argue the contrary and consider the complex questions of duty/morality/decency is always likely to a public good...said the pompous arse)

    Before I became a retired tramp I used to plague my local council with points and questions (about this and that) and if they didn't respond decently/reasonably I used to get angry and involve the District Audit in esoteric debate) In my defence I also used to amuse myself by playing darts with me mates.

    On more than one occasion I exercised my ratepayer rights and prevented the County's Accounts being signed off (in one case for almost two years) by The DA until I got the information I wanted. I think my wild interventions did sometimes help them sharpen up their thinking/procedures and thereby treat people more reasonably/fairly.

    When writing letters to public bodies I always try to aim for a result which as a minimum involves at least a sectional/departmental meeting before it can be replied to. With luck you can sometimes prompt a whole series of meetings right up to a senior level.

    There is a bit of this kind of silly altruistic thinking in what I do and seek...

    I'm fondly hoping that cos lawyers (your good and kindly self excluded) have ripped so much cash from the public purse that by now they will have got access to specialist legal databases/search engines to do most of their work for them....I wouldn't want to put a working lady like your good self to a lot of work you understand.

    On my laypersons understanding:

    All of the Wednesbury family of cases are essentially about administrative decision making and what to a greater or lesser extent can be deemed reasonable or unreasonable in the process. Quite a few are about what is relevant and what irrelevant and about improperly restricting one's self in discretionary and non discretionary decision making by public bodies.

    The air raid shelter case (IMHO) sits at the pinnacle because if I remember it rightly it's about the proper conduct that is to be expected from public servants (in the public interest) if they find themselves in muddy water. It's a lofty tale of morality that can sometimes encourage tossers to rethink the absurdity of their positions. Failing that it might enter the subconscious and give the bastards the night sweats.

    Kind regrads me super learned friend - as yous knows I is only a barrack room lawyer (at least that always gets up their tits)

    My friend will be in protected writing mode in his correspondence with DWP and it will be littered and constantly qualified with......"I am advised.........I have been advised.... I am taking further advice on.....etc

    As he says the bastards may well turn him over but he ain't going quitely

  26. Guess I'm not surprised that my comment to JimPress was deleted, but I just couldn't leave his unreplied to and am glad to read that they deleted his, too. It was sick-making, really. Basically boiled down to JP telling MiE that he was a saintly victim of some vicious bullies and that he shouldn't worry his pretty little head over the nasties -- that he was still beloved by all who matter.

    I'm not meaning to prolong this whole thing, but am I really the only person who has never liked him (MiE -- don't remember seeing JimPress until fairly recently)? He always did strike me as being pretentious, mostly incoherent, and with an ugly right-wing streak percolating just beneath the "I'm a communist" veneer. I'm actually rather surprised that anyone could see his recent nastiness as out of character.

    Hmmph. Go figure.

  27. Montana

    I'm with you. I can't ever recall considering him other than a preening fucknut.

  28. Thanks, MF. I was beginning to think maybe it was me.

  29. @Duke

    That Patrick Collison piece you link to (with the PaulBowes01 comment) is another demonstration of how badly the Guardian fails to get it. Two pieces by the well-off complaining about child benefit cuts get well-deserved kickings, and all Collison can do is slag off the commenters as a hate-filled anonymous mob while fiddling some London earnings figures in an attempt to justify it. And inevitably receives a well-deserved kicking in his turn.

    He really, really doesn't seem to understand that for those on average earnings facing redundancy, the travails of higher-rate taxpayers don't seem that tough. More, he really really seems to think that £45,000 a year is peanuts, which it may well be for him. The disconnection between writers and readers is nearly complete.

  30. "David Cameron intervention sees George Osborne agree to MoD cuts of 8% over the next four years"

    Amazing what an intervention from our American cousins can achieve in no time flat!

    Two aircraft carriers and Trident are just what good sense dictates the poor and ordinary folk of these Islands need to defend their lacklustre pensions and minimum wages. Quite who the fuck they are being defended from is another question.

    The absurdity of contemporary politics is now blatant and yet so many persist in believing in the smoke and mirrors. Pass me a jaffa cake.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Re MIE: I've never paid much attention to his comments as I've never been able to understand what exactly he's trying to say. It's just a lot of words that don't mean anything.

    Until the 'house boy' comment, of course.

  33. @thauma

    That was my view too. The bits he says that I do understand don't seem worth saying in any case. So they pass by me as the idle wind, which I respect not.

  34. Ian/Peter,

    a risible article summed up more eloquently by that post I stuck on above.

    What I will say is the laughable outrage about 'rudeness'.

    Apparently people were simply beastly on the original thread he is referring to. It doesn't matter that millions are unemployed as a result of thirty years of political pandering to "middle england". That a third of British kids live on or are under the poverty line, that what little welfare safety net there is is being dismantled, that higher education is soon to be no longer an option for working class kids, that the next generations future is being sold out to pay the next bankers bonus......

    People should just stop being so beastly. We have manners you know. It was the same at the Conservative Party conference, various delegates were outraged that they were called nasty names by protesters...whilst cheerleading the most disgusting assault on what is left of civil society.

    Bourgeois 'manners' make me sick.

  35. Idle wind is a great way of putting it.

    These days I mostly only read those I have come to respect, or who those who catch the eye, and thus the comments, of other UT's I respect.

    Paul - it's your call my friend and nobody requires an explantion from you. You captured the high ground by your dignified response. Always good to try new approaches though, it makes the business of human communication more worthwhile and interesting.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Great corrections and typos of our time.

    A) A startling erratum from Amanda Hess.

    B) An unfortunate election-day error in Chicago.

  38. I've been reading through some of Charlie Brooker's screen burn columns which for a while was the only reason I bought the Graun on a saturday. He's jacked it in so there's a best of over in the culture section. I'd forgotten just how funny he was at times.

    This one about 'Jamie's school dinners' is apposite considering what we've just been discussing:

    "I didn't make up my mind until I caught wind of the outpouring of middle-class smug-o-wank surrounding his School Dinners series, which gave despicable 4x4-driving parents something to feel all superior about: they could tut at the McNugget-wolfing pauper kids while simultaneously shovelling chargrilled asparagus and parmesan shavings down their own spoilt shitbag childrens' throats."

  39. Hi All

    Montana-I've twice engaged with MIE in a nonconfrontational way, one of them being the night of his assault on Paul. The responses were uncharitable, to say the least, so I do agree with you on this. Will scroll on by in future. Fool me once and all that. ( I won't use the Bush version.)

    Spike--What the hell is up with ManU? Sloppy at the back and lacking cohesion throughout. It's early, but they cannot afford to lose sight of Chelsea, even if they perform well in their typical post-new year run in. James Dixon will be surely pleased though.

    Anyone heard from medve lately? Hope all is well with him, given the ugly mess in Hungary.

  40. I enjoyed those PeterJ

    .....back to work

    laters all.

  41. @Paul:

    Not to speak for Habib here, but it's safe to say that he meant no criticism of you whatsoever.

  42. Boudican - only one quick (no distress) post from Medve the other day/week (after a long silence) and then nothing. Hope he's well and will rejoin us in due course.

    Fuck ManU - may they choke on their jockstraps, precious egotistical tossers that they are.

    Murdoch running dogs are what they deserve to be condemned as. They are right up there with Paris Hilton in the crud stakes in my book.

  43. Just clocked this in "The Eye":

    Council workmen in Salford have been stencilling notices on "tinned up" empty houses awaiting demolition. "All materials of value have been removed." they sternly warn potential thieves in large black letters. And then underneath, in the same typeface: "So fuck off."
    The Eye asked the council to confirm that this was, of course, the work of pranksters rather than council workers. The council's spokesperson said: "Once (we were) aware of the graffiti it was removed"-which does not exactly answer the question. Perhaps it's the only language they understand.

  44. Thanks everyone for affirmation of my sanity/memory/reading comprehension skills re: MiE.


    I miss Brooker. I don't think being in lurve is doing much for him, to be honest.


    Medve had one brief comment a week or so ago. I'll e-mail him to let him know we're worried & missing him.

  45. deano--That's my team! Spike's too. I do understand the vitriol though.(-; BTW, I feel the same about the NY Yankees.

    Watching Bill Maher on HBO last night and one of his guests was saying that corporate biggies in Hungary had been charged and jailed for this toxic and lethal mess. Anyone know more about this? Have to condone prison terms for these people. May be the only way to make them think seriously about consequences of their actions. Bhopal and the BP situation come to mind as strong examples where corporate malfeasance has destroyed lives.

  46. Montana,

    Brooker's 'newswipe' series was superb but I've given up reading his CiF columns.

  47. @Boudican

    I have no idea. I only saw the second half. Who was that bloke in goal and what has he done with Van der Sar? And when's Rooney's long-awaited return to form coming? Depressing.


    Who is it you support?

  48. Leni/Paul/Moonshine/anybody with an interest in Atos

    The following is interesting: (abstracted from a FIO request to Dept Work Pensions)

    "In reply to Q3 I can advise that The Appeals Tribunal may overturn a decision for any number of reasons. It does not necessarily mean that the original medical report and advice was incorrect, as additional medical evidence may have been available at the Appeal.

    The President of the appeal tribunal compiles and publishes an annual report on the standards of decision-making by the Secretary of State. Through the course of the year the President also provides the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with quarterly interim reports in order that early action can be taken to address any problems brought to his attention. The quality and standards of medical reports used in decision-making are assessed in the sample of cases forming the basis of the reports. Medically qualified panel members report on areas such as how well issues were addressed in the medical report, how consistent the advice in the medical report was and how adequately that advice was justified. The estimate of the severity of the disability in question is also looked at together with the use of that medical evidence by the decision-maker. If a medical report is produced which, in the opinion of the medically qualified panel member, falls substantially below the professional standards expected, and gives cause for concern the report is referred to the Department’s Chief Medical Adviser. The issue is then raised through Atos Healthcare with the HCP concerned and remedial action taken where this is considered necessary.

    The Commercial Management of Medical Services Team (CMMS), on behalf of the Department, centrally manages all aspects of Atos Healthcare’s performance and service delivery. CMMS can be contacted at Room 306, Block 3, North Fylde Central Office, Norcross, Blackpool, FY5 3TA. (deano's bold)

    In response to Q4 Decisions on entitlement to ESA rest solely with the DWP Decision Makers (DM) not HCPs. In order to make a decision on benefit entitlement the DM considers all the available evidence not just the reports received from Atos Healthcare. Other evidence may include the customer’s ‘self assessment’, reports from GPs, hospital doctors and HCPs.

    The role of Atos Healthcare’s HCPs is to provide an independent, impartial assessment of the customer’s ability to perform activities within each of the functional areas by choosing the descriptors that they consider appropriate on the medical report they complete, unlike the more widely known type of examination, the assessment is not concerned unlike the GP with diagnosis or decisions about treatment.

    HCP’s are fully trained in Disability Assessment Medicine. Expertise in this field qualifies the HCP to give an impartial, independent assessment on the way in which a customer’s illness or disability affects them in carrying out of a range of everyday work-related activities. Training includes the assessment of the effects of specific conditions, for example mental health, or where a condition may fluctuate. Emphasis is always placed on the differing circumstances of each individual customer. This opinion is based on interview with the customer, observations and an appropriate clinical examination..."

    Lying bastards - you cannot assess how problematic an enlarged prostate is by asking questions from a computer screen. The usual practice is to put a gloved finger up the arse and feel it.(Not done)

    You cannot assess if an optic nerve is severed or not without the use of an ophthalmoscope.)(Not done)

    Still the answer provided does give the address of the Conytract Compliance crew at Blackpool!

    Folk should be encouraged to send complaints there with a copy to their MP's. Me mate will be doing that .

  49. Another great post on the Patrick Collinson thread by EuroJohn, here.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. Boudican/Spike as a lad and until the Sky/Premiership nonsense took off I supported a team Chekhov's dad played for - Leeds Utd.

    These days I'm more interested in PeterJ's curry house league in Halifax.

    I use working mens interest in televised footy as a weathervane for the level of political economic ignorance going around. All helps distract attention away from pressing questions. Like you guys I'd really like to see the game back in the hands of the fans.

    I'd like the half time to be used for the public castration of the likes of the uber creep Mandelson. Of course there would be some floggings too in the run up top the castration.

    I'm not sexist though and I would have had Thatcher swinging through a barbed hook through her tit end. I like value for money sport and modern day footy don't do it for me I'm sorry to say.

    I seem to recall Scherf's MU too - kinda amazes me how three otherwise decent grown up and informed individuals find their flags nailed on a tossers mast. No accounting for taste I suppose.

    The Carbide/Bhopal disaster was in a league of its own for disgraceful Corporate behaviour. Still serves as a nasty nasty example of special pleading and hiding by USA business interests.

    Amazing that more folk couldn't immediately see the hypocrisy when Obahma started out after BP

  52. evening all just flying past...

    I've always thought MIE was a tosser...'nough said......

    congrats to exam passers and job finders...!!

  53. Hi Deano!

    "The Carbide/Bhopal disaster was in a league of its own for disgraceful Corporate behaviour. Still serves as a nasty nasty example of special pleading and hiding by USA business interests"

    and of course complicity by the Indian government who at the best of times don't really give a damm, from the Bhopal justice page:

    "The government of India got the ball rolling in Bhopal b pursuing "green revolution" tactics for increased agricultural yield and industrialization. This gave an open invitation for any interested multi-national corporation (MNC) to exploit and victimize the people of Bhopal. By not having appropriate laws in place, and by not monitoring the activities on MNC's within their borders, these companies were allowed to get away with murder.

    Once the leak occurred, the government immediately began suppressing the facts, afraid that any escaped information would be damaging to their industrialization aims. Sad to hear of the largest democracy on the planet. All investigation on the technical and managerial causes of the leak were prematurely terminated, and all information gathered by the government is classifies to this day.

    "After half-heartedly taking Union Carbide to court in a civil case, the government sold-out their people and settled for a pittance of the original US$3 billion, a mere US$470 million. Among the other injustices to their people, the Indian government fails to address employment constraints of those affected by the leak, fails to provide adequate medical care for those affected, and has squandered much of the money settled on for compensation by Union Carbide."

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  55. Paul

    Fair play to you for accepting his apology..I can't wait for mine though...

    "Someone had spiked my drink with acid and I thought maybe you'd sprung fully formed from the forehead of Zeus..it never occurred to me that you might actually have a mother...not at the precise time that I told you to fuck her, at least...and of course, when I wished bowel cancer upon you, I'd just emerged-barely alive-from a helicopter crash in which I'd sustained severe concussion. I was subject to a delusional fantasy in which we'd all been transposed to a 27th century techno-utopia where medical science had evolved to such an extent that:'hope you get bowel cancer' would be the contemporary equivalent of 'hope you catch your dick in your zip"

    ..and I'll go: "That took real guts Martyn; dignity and credibility re-established"

  56. Evening all

    Haven't read back through it all yet

    Deano - ah, ok, so we are looking at probably a high court case then, dating from around the time of the war? I was just trying to narrow the research field. I will see if there is anything I can dig up.

    Montana - I read Jim Press's comment last night and, perhaps it was just the mood I was in, but I read it as extreme sarcasm, taking the piss. I might well have been wrong but that is how it came across to me...

    Gandolfo - the Bhopal atrocity still makes my blood boil all this time later. Good point about the "green revolution" too. "Buy all these chemicals year in year out and you will never be starving again" . Yep. Same song being sung about GMOs and terminator seeds now, too.

  57. deano-" three otherwise decent grown up and informed individuals find their flags nailed on a tossers mast" Haha. In my case it was meeting Denis Law at the age of 10 that did it for me. His brother Charlie worked with my dad,both millwrights, and it was a natural thing to then follow the fortunes of United. Not always good since the mid sixties either, but that's my story.

    Re these corporate disasters; can't let this go without mentioning governmental regulatory laxity and complicity. They also must shoulder some blame too. The Bhopal travesty is most definitely still directly affecting lives today.

    Hi gandolfo, long time no see.

  58. BB and boudican hi!!
    Monsanto are doing the same in Haiti.....

    Monsanto will be dumping 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds on Haiti, seeds doused with highly toxic fungicides such as thiram, known to be extremely dangerous to farm workers. Hybrid seeds, like GMO seeds (in contrast to Creole heirloom or organic seeds) require lots of water, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. In addition, if a small farmer tries to save hybrid seeds after harvest, hybrid seeds usually do not "breed true" or grow very well in the second season, forcing the now-indentured peasant to buy seeds from Monsanto or one of the other hybrid/GMO seed monopolies in perpetuity. Monsanto wanted initially to dump GMO seeds on Haiti, but even the corrupt Haitian government knew that this would spark a rebellion, so Monsanto cleverly decided to dump hybrid seeds instead. The Haitian small farmers organization has committed to burning Monsanto's seeds, and has called for a march to protest the corporation's presence in Haiti on June 4, for World Environment Day.


  59. It's a fucking disgrace, gandolpho

  60. gandolfo--With very few exceptions, most of the crops planted in North America are from genetically engineered seeds. When farmers try to opt out of Monsanto's 'seed program' huge pressure is brought to bear on them from the corporation's legal division. Fucking disgusting and harmful corporate power. Many plants native to Mexico are being lost due to the pervasive nature of these mutant strains. We try and buy local organics when possible but not everyone can do this as the continent is swamped with this ugly business.

  61. BB if you haven't read naomi klein's "shock doctrine" you should.......may throw you into deep depression but at least you know what we're up against.......

    monsanto is a company full of low life scum criminals how about this from their PR:

    "If there were one word to explain what Monsanto is about, it would have to be farmers.

    Billions of people depend upon what farmers do. And so will billions more. In the next few decades, farmers will have to grow as much food as they have in the past 10,000 years – combined.

    It is our purpose to help farmers do exactly that.

    To produce more food.

    To produce more with less, conserving resources like soil and water.

    And to improve lives.

    We do this by selling seeds, traits developed through biotechnology, and crop protection chemicals.

    someone in their PR dept is really taking the piss at least the Haitians burnt the ffing seeds.....

  62. boudican

    here in italy there was organised destruction of an illegal OGM maize field in Fruili....the owner was condemed last month and fined 25,000 euro and order to destroy any remaining crops or stores it was of course monsanto seeds......

    i think in haiti the local production of food had already declined dramatically before the earthquake which meant that a country that had previously produced enough for its needs has to now import the impact of the earthquake has further aggravated the situation, a prime example of making a country and its people dependent on MNCs, rather than being self sufficient......

  63. gandolfo--Yes, I did read that book, and others from her. The lady has brass and intellect in abundance. Not looked upon kindly by the corporate establishment, which we can take as a positive sign that she is getting to them. Good for her, and us.

  64. It was the maize issues in Mexico that really piqued my interest in this sham. They have dozens of varieties and many are being lost. Unique strains important to the different regions will be gone or changed for the worse.

  65. Out of curiosity, one wonders what Mr. Bracken's take on this avenue of capitalistic endeavor might be.

    Anyway, lovely sunny day here so out with the dog. Later all.

  66. they are destroying biodiversity and fucking up the ecosystem.........to line their pockets.....

  67. "Confessions of an Economic HiT Man" by John Perkins is essential reading for anyone interested in how highly paid professionals cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.
    The mainstream press are useless at uncovering bribery and corruption.
    If you want to find out what is really going on you need to dig a bit deeper.
    It's a thankless task 'cos you will be branded a "conspiracy theorist" if you indulge in it but so what? Call me a "conspiracy theorist" if you like. I don't believe in conspiracy theories only in conspiracy facts.
    I am well aware that differentiating between the two requires some mental acrobatics which don't make sense.
    However on the basis that you don't need to know how electricity works in order to be able to use it; the same rule applies to politics and economics. You don't need a Phd in economics to know when some one is taking the piss!
    I'm boring myself already since I've made the same point several times over!
    Some one just tell me to STFU and I can choose another site to embarrass myself with my witterings!

  68. @PeterJ: mathematics fascinate me only in the way that confronted with a page of numbers brings me out in a cold sweat!

  69. Chekov - Bribery and corruption are often re-described/repackaged as marketing and lobbying these days.

    It's a matter of regret that so many capable and creative minds find employment in anti social professions like tax avoidance/evasion, management consultancy, accountancy etc.

    The practice and purpose of all these professions never seems to be about throwing light or illuminating things so much as to obscurate and confuse and thwart the wider public interest.

    I very much agree with you a PhD is not a prerequisite for knowing the difference 'tween an honest hand and light fingered crook. As you get older you can smell the bastards.

    A little cynicism is healthy. If you don't think that the rich and powerful would enter into a conspiracy to stay rich and powerful than your soft in the fucking head.

  70. PeterJ - didn't get round to asking you what you thought odd about the stats on me G'dads regiment the York & Lancaster Regt

    I've no knowledge of these things and just quoted the Wiki piece above.

  71. "A little cynicism is healthy. If you don't think that the rich and powerful would enter into a conspiracy to stay rich and powerful than your soft in the fucking head."
    I think that was the point I was trying to make,
    You made it much better!

  72. *Sigh* Internet connection frustrating the hell out of me. I keep getting kicked offline just long enough to have to log back into Messenger & lose the odd comment. Occasionally a page doesn't load, etc. But it's literally only for seconds. The lights on the modem continue to be lit the way they're supposed to be lit. I'm not offline long enough to try to call their automated troubleshooting line and getting through to a live body to try to describe to them what's happening is next to impossible.



    JimPress has been Angie124's biggest cheerleader for quite awhile now, which is why I took his comment to MiE at face value.

  73. @deano

    It wasn't anything terrible. It was just that the regiment raised 22 battalions in WW1, which would amount to a total strength of around 20,000 men. If those battalions were kept up to strength as casualties occurred, then you'd expect the casualty and total serving numbers to be further apart than the numbers you quoted.

    Thinking about it later - although without looking it up in detail - it's possible that some battalions were disbanded (at least one from the regiment was after the Somme first-day debacle) and some amalgamated, as happened in early 1918. So the figures could be correct.

    It was just one of those "hang on, that doesn't look right, does it?" moments.

  74. Cheers Peter I just read the numbers in layman terms and thought - holy shit I'm glad I wasn't there, around 72% of me mates dead or wounded!

  75. @deano

    Thinking about it even further, it could be even worse than that. Some of the battalions were home service only, and at least one was a labour battalion, so the percentage casualties for the front line units could be even higher.

    It would take a lot of work with the battalion war diaries to work it out in full, though!

  76. Btw: I don't know bugger all so don't expect any wisdom from me!

  77. "I don't know bugger all"
    Double negative!
    So come on, Chekhov, tell us -

    Does Nessie exist?
    Are there flying saucers?
    Does Martyn have integrity?

  78. @heyhabib: I would not presume to know anything about anything. In the Grand scheme of things I know fuck all. Same as most people really!

  79. habib; checkhov
    Just had a jam with this fucker in Orkney a few weeks ago.



  80. Dear, dear. Tony Juniper comes out with a 'we're all doomed' piece, and EnglishFuckwit comes out as a genocidaire.

    "The only solution that I can see is brutal, harsh and cruel. It means identifying those who cannot or will not change and when the time comes, exterminating them. When the survival of the human race is at stake, it will have to be done."

  81. PeterJ
    Agreed, it's dispicable shite, but why are you bothering crawling through the sewers when you could be going for a perfectly good stroll with your missus ? Why waste your time ?

    *We* know its shit

    THEY know it's shit

    Let's call it shit

  82. Ah, BW, you're right. I must try to kick this addiction to the written word and the interpretation thereof.

    It's shit.

  83. PeterJ
    When you look at the potential even within the Observer Review section, or the news analysis, the posibilities thrown up by the internet in favour of something that could have been a cross betweem LRB, Private Eye and New Left Review, yes it IS fucking shite.

    What we end up with, after years of hoping for the best - CiF is insultingly poorly researched and written drek, by and for, cunts.

    Shame. Don't waste your mind - it's no better than Marie fucking Clair.

  84. I wasn't being sarcastic there, BW; I really have had a faith in the written word that's coming under increasing strain from the bell-ends who seem to be producing most of the stuff I see.

    So, bugger it. Here's the Bob Cats.

  85. Thanks for the Bob Cats.

    But - where's the humanity ?

    Do you not feel the whole apparatus has been stolen ? As the Labour Party has been ?

    Do you not feel embarrassed about the self-satisfied, circular, pointless drudgery ?

    The twee little references that pass for wit ?

    The massive omissions of truth; the editorial alibi being that any dissenters who have been silenced, brought it upon themselves ? No matter how erudite ? No matter how patient they have been ?

    The anathema toward justified and well expressed anger; do you not find this problematic ?

    I do. It's fucking abysmal.

    I would no more expect that business entity to stand up for people than Murdoch. That's my challenge - prove me wrong.

    Meanwhile - Here's Martillo's magnificent link from back in 2008. When all the good guys were around and thoroughly taking the piss.


  86. Nice stuff, BW. Good night to you.

  87. Hah, night to you too sir.


  88. Strawman
    Lou Reed.


    We who have so much to you who have so little
    to you who don't have anything at all
    We who have so much more than any one man does need
    and you who don't have anything at all, ah
    Does anybody need another million dollar movie
    does anybody need another million dollar star
    Does anybody need to be told over and over
    spitting in the wind comes back at you twice as hard

    Strawman, going straight to the devil
    Strawman, going straight to hell
    Strawman, going straight to the devil
    Strawman, Strawman
    Strawman, Strawman, yes

    Does anyone really need a billion dollar rocket
    does anyone need a $60,000 car
    Does anyone need another President
    or the sins of Swaggart parts 6, 7, 8, and 9, ah
    Does anyone need another politician
    caught with his pants down money sticking in his hole
    Does anyone need another racist preacher
    spittin' in the wind can only do you harm, wow

    Strawman, going straight to the devil
    Strawman, going straight to hell
    Strawman, going straight to the devil
    Strawman, Strawman
    Strawman, Strawman

    Does anyone need another faulty shuttle
    blasting off to the Moon, Venus or Mars
    Does anyone need another self-righteous rock and roll singer
    whose nose he says has led him straight to God
    Does anyone need yet another blank skyscraper
    If you're like me I'm sure a minor miracle will do
    A flaming sword or maybe a gold ark floating up the Hudson
    When you spit in the wind it comes right back at you

    Strawman, going straight to the devil
    Strawman, going straight to hell
    Strawman, going straight to the devil
    Strawman, Strawman, Strawman
    Strawman, Strawman

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  93. Bitterweed

    Calm down my friend ,i've deleted it.Sorry if it upset you.

  94. Paul.
    Fuck off I'm pissing myself - but Christ !!!! I thought "I" was edgy.

    LOL you fucking psycho !

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  96. That post is for Bitterweed

  97. Bitterweed

    You bastard i thought you were being on the level.Seems i have to self delete most of my posts these days.Shit i really thought i'd upset you :-)

  98. Paul, I'm off MY face for fuck's sake.

    Love the Dan. Love the DAN.

  99. You funny fucker. ;-)
    Going to the kitchen to get another fucking drink; one for you mate ?


  100. Bitterweed

    You probably did me a favour although i did put an official warning on it.And i think it was an apt portrayal of what would happen to those cunts in a head to head.

    Anyways here's some Babylon Sisters for you.

  101. You would not BELEIVE my weekend so far. Shit.

    Proper grief interupted by a proper race-related fight. A&E attendance. Lack of any sleep. Lack of continuity/empathy/common courtesy between people. Lack of just GENERAL FUCKING TALENT HUMANITY AND RESPECT.... yet.. somehow, out of all that shite mye mates were able to maintain some dignity.

    By the way. The Trinidad lad won. He fucking nonced the racist skinhead Irish prick.

  102. Babylon Sisters ??

    My band used to do that one !

    Here's a taster of our Dan stuff


  103. @Bitterweed

    You're not gonna believe this but from what i've heard of SD so far FM is my favourite track.Also like This one.

    btw was that you singing?

  104. "Don't take me alive" Now we're talking ! I used to start that with fuckloads of feedback. Me on "lead" guitar throughout. Fucking good fun those gigs were... Cheers mate !

  105. Ok so you're a lead guitarist.Nice one.That cover of FM was good.I kinda like this track as well.

    Gotta go now bro'.You're forgiven for guilt tripping me earlier :-)

  106. Hah, nite likewise.... Laters.

  107. Later


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