12 November 2010


The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. 


  1. Cicero -- the original Tory scumbag?

    As for the image, it is a Paghman Mountain salamander, from the EDGE of Existence site that Dot told us about yesterday. I defy you to tell me that that is not one incredibly cute and cuddly amphibian. Fur? FUR?? We don't need no stinking fur!!

  2. Long day yesterday, so still just catching up on yesterday's new. Looking at the issue of the poppy burning protest, I noticed a rather interesting quirk in the Mail report on it. (Apologies for the link, you might want to have the hot shower ready for the inevitable feeling of grubbiness that follows a visit to the Mail site.)

    {a href="URL") http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328703/The-boy-brimming-pride-fanatics-burning-hate--faces-Armistice-Day.html?ito=feeds-newsxml (/a)

    There's a clear photo of an EDL supporter there, but no reference to it in the text, and there's no other reports on google news about their presence there. Isn't this a bit of a glaring absence? Surely the presence of the EDL looking for a bit of argy bargy is just as problemmatic as Muslims burning poppies in Kensington?

  3. (Sorry my linky didn't work...)

  4. Chekhov/hevers/Montana - (from late yesterday)....

    I assure you all that I think carpenters are fine, admirable and useful people - I wish I had their skills.

    Twas indeed as interpreted by Montana and hevers - carpenters are a happy break out from what might be seen as a stereotypical public school career path.

    Likewise I'm fairly confident that joining the French CP is not that common either ....but still a grand expression of individuals developing and triumphing over expectations

    No conspiracies either - I just thought it would be a nice romantic touch to find a bank robber plying the trade to get herm kids a wining education

  5. Montana - that cuddly amphibian looks like it could eat your cat. I guess its all in the eye of the beholder...

    a busy day for me so I'm away.

  6. Well, well, well,

    Geert Wilders PVV has been rocked by an MP’s scandal which could (but probably won’t) wipe out the Governments one seat majority.

    Eric Lucassen, a former army instructor was convicted of having sex with two female trainee soldiers as well as receiving cautions between 2006 and 2009 for issuing threats and intimidating neighbours. This is the latest scandal to hit the PVV after PVV MP Hero Brinkman assaulted a barman last year and Dino Graus who was convicted for assaulting his pregnant wife in 2002.

    This is the calibre of politician that the right wing Dutch Government were happy to go into coalition with. Wilders is having emergency talks with his party overnight but I am sure everything will be fine and swept under the carpet.

    Firstly, the MP’s in question are Dutch and white, so therefore any crimes are of much less moral questionability than if the crimes were undertaken by Turks and Moroccans. Secondly, the Government has to keep its wafer thin majority to pass through its dingbat right wing agenda.

    How apt that they require a bunch of thugs, criminals and racists to help them push it through.

  7. Morning Duke, I'm copying that to my Dutch friends who've just returned from holiday here, along with the Princess's link about to be posted .

  8. Morning frog,

    just posting this from the ever excellent ellis on the Kettle thread:

    There is consensus which is that the standard of living must be lowered. Not that of the rich, mind you but that of the working class and most of the population.
    There is massive unemployment. And more to come from the public sector. This will certainly lead to further job losses in the rest of the economy. There is simply no question that this will happen.
    Throughout the economy demand is slackening. Internationally there is no immediate hope: North America is losing jobs and demand is falling here too. Across Europe one country after another is being frogmarched into depression.

    And, the response, from the neo-liberal triarchy, to this crisis in unemployment is to penalise the unemployed. Benefits are to be cut (further lowering demand) and the jobless will be forced to work.
    The question is where? And at what? But these are minor matters: the object is to browbeat people to compete with Bangla Desh and Bangalore.

    Who knows? If the plan works Apple might switch its manufacturing plants to the north of England. The wages would be abysmal but at least it would put an end to the wave of unofficial union organising now sweeping China.
    The "We" of "We're all in this together" are the sweatshop owners and environmental criminals of the world.

    The roles being played by Kettle, Jackie Ashley and Polly Toynbee, preaching non-resistance and turning the other cheek, are in the grand tradition of Britain's liberal intelligentsia, which came into existence and waxed fat urging patience on those about to be devoured.

    Everything this government does is designed to breed inequality and impoverish the great majority of people. It would be impossible without the confusion being created by Labour and the TUC, for whom Kettle et al speak and write.

  9. Wybourne

    Just a quick drive-by connected with your post and perhaps others can expand on this.

    I heard in passing something on the wireless a day or two ago where they were saying that various MEPs have been found to be doing things like running brothels and illegal immigration rings.

    When found out, the general trend is that they are politely asked either to stop doing it - if they wouldn't mind and entirely when they are ready, if it's not too much trouble - or at least to keep it under wraps, to save embarrassment.

    You know about the Scottish MP involved in drugs and general thuggery and how that never quite managed to make it into the news.

    Boris on a Bike had to run through various deputies before he could find one who was not riddled with corruption.

    Not sure whether anyone can add to the MEP thing. I have no time now.

    We seem to be seeing the last lock-down of politics, whereby there is no level of corruption or criminality or blatant unfitness to govern which cannot be blithely laughed off and stamped with a smeared seal of approval.

    It is not that we thought we were governed by decent people. We always knew they were utter shits and filthy fucking bastards.

    It's just that now, they couldn't care less that we know.

    They are basically saying: "Yeah - so what? What are you going to do about it, scum? Eh? What's that? Nothing! Yeah, thought so. Now fuck off!"

  10. deano-- had a coupla beers last night with frog5 the carpenter :) He also has a degree in maths & computing .

    Great discussions yesterday, all of you, and to see PrincessCC back again. PCC on the macro-economy. at 00.46

    I googled PCC's reference, and found ' The Quiet Coup' article by Simon Johnson in the Atlantic Magazine 2009.

    This quote is about emerging states early 90's , but applies equally to us.

    "Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique—the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large."

    "recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time."

    I recommend reading all four pages . The article is specifically about the USA, written in 2009 , but the analysis applies to Europe as well .

    GolemXIV worth a look, as usual.

  11. Morning everyone. Not been posting here, on CiF or anywhere for a couple of months or so: combo of professional/work pressures (fighting to keep some MH services going as they are desperately needed),relationship/marital ups'n'downs (mea culpa for being an arse) and some health/medical stuff (both me and the Mrs).Oh, and disaffection with the wider blogosphere and the obnoxious (and frankly stupid,blinkered & destructively short-sighted) "de haut en bas" ConDem posters and 'liberal' corporatist sympathisers.
    Anyhow, thought I'd let folk know, as some had asked a while back, that at 01.59hrs, 11/11/10 a little boy entered the world. Mum and baby doing well. dad awe-struck.

  12. Atomboy,

    spot on:

    - Berlusconi in Italy
    - Sarkozy funding scandal in France
    - the undemocratic thugs of the PVV in the Netherlands
    - MP's expenses scandal in the UK

    etc etc.

    They're all above the law as long as they keep the neo-liberal bandwagon on course.

  13. Alisdair!

    congratulations, great to hear the wee fella has arrived safe and sound and that you're back.

    Although I daresay you'll not be round that much with paternal duties......

    Very many congratulations.

  14. Alisdair


    Congratulations! To you and your wife.

    Welcome to the world! To your little boy.

    Good to see you back, but that will probably be fleeting as you will be, er, busy and sleepless for a bit now.

    Very best wishes to you and yours and enjoy your happiness.

  15. Really have to skedaddle now, but that's been a good start to the day.

  16. Hi Alisdair. Don't know you, but the birth of a baby is always a good thing. Many congratulations. Awe struck is a good way to be.

  17. Re-post from waddya here on the Oligarchs' 'lifestyle' ...

    eldorado99 7 November 2010 9:39PM

    @Angie124 & BenCaute
    I don't really understand how the bonuses are acceptable, because at some gut level (it's the only level I have, when it comes to numbers) it feels like a case of the fox guarding the chickens. Or something like that.

    I worked briefly as a subcontractor (of sorts) in the HSBC tower in Canary Wharf. We were talking to the staff about the idea of trust - in between promoting the fact that HSBC had not received any bailout cash, the staff were keen to say how much they felt the bank trusted them. Whether or not it was true was hard to say - they had of course, being told to say this - it was part of a marketing exercise, and most of the people we spoke to were on well over £100,000 before bonuses.

    Getting into the building was the normal rigmarole of alerting certain people to our presence and assigning access keys. But the greater challenge was moving between any two areas within the building, even for the staff we were with. That paled however, with the moment when one of our group stood back, and quite lightly bumped one of the pieces of modern art that Ben referred to.

    In less than 60 seconds, two security guards appeared, demanding to know who had touched the art. It turns out, every piece of art, in every room of every one of the 45 floors was discretely alarmed to detect movement. Off hand remarks by the security guards, kitchen staff, and porters, many of whom we had met on our way through the building made reference to the feeling of being the subject of surveillance, or to the many ways (and places in the building) in which they felt anything but trusted by the company they worked for. I think many people who've worked in such buildings are aware of the divide between certain categories of staff.
    Back to the 'trusted' executives... One person's story was that of having been a tradesman previously. He'd done extensive work on one of the properties of another executive, and they came to become good friends. Eventually the tradesman was offered an post at the bank - asked if he would like to 'join the club', as he put it. At a salary of £100,000+, no experience in banking, and tutored training to be given as he went, he said he'd never felt so trusted. We didn't doubt him - at least, that he felt that way.

    cont ...

  18. After one of the sessions in the afternoon, we were taken up to a communal staff area/bar/cafe for a break, and a look at the view. It was stunning - 40 floors above London, with the Millenium Dome beneath, and the Thames stretching out to the east. One of my colleague began to titter, and then another. As we all turned around it turned out to be the decor that was of some amusement. Along one wall were booths of rather tacky decor and configuration, complete with soft pink lighting, and spangly (!) privacy curtains across each one - so you could see whether someone was in there, but not who it was.

    The staff member who was guiding us around smiled awkwardly. "You're not the first ones to react that way" she said "but it's best we keep out voices down, it's a sensitive subject". Sensitive subject indeed, having a section of a staff room that is indistinguishable from a lap dancing club. We did quieten down, later all reflecting the same thought - how the hell is it possible for a woman to feel comfortable working in that kind of environment?

    I guess it wasn't shocking so much, as shockingly obvious. And this was not the 'grande salle' - apparently a few floors further up, was the real excess.

    For my own part, I wanted to know, and still want to know - are the high salaries and bonuses in banking really because these people are more intelligent/clever/sharp-witted/hardworking/talented than everyone else? More than all the lawyers and politicians? More than teachers and police? More than any of the nurses or doctors. More clever and talented than all the engineers, biochemists, geneticists, and astrophysicists?

    Or is it really because they are the ones looking after the money (not their money, but the nation's money - our money). Is the real reason they need to be paid that much so as to discourage attempts to, bluntly put, steal the 'chickens' they are supposedly there to protect.

    I think there's an element of that. But on the whole, I walked away with the impression that the whole pantomine of the financial industry was really about one thing - protecting the foxes. The place was a fortress, and within these walls was a culture completely alien to the outside world. The impression was, from the interviews done, was that the closer you got to the money, the more you were allowed to jam into your pockets...

    The glassy towers, the modern art, and the unbridled greed turned out to the largest organised crime syndicate on the planet. Full of highly 'trusted' people.

    As I said, subjects involving numbers are not my strong point.

    It's is just my gut feeling link

  19. Alisdair - congratulations! bless...lovely to 'see' you again.

  20. Alisdair - fantastic news. Congrats to you and yours.

    Best bit of my life being a dad, takes a bit of getting used to though.

    Odd that just before I logged off last night I wondered out loud about the date of your expected child. Pleasing to find him arrived safe with this mornings news.

    All the best to him, to you, and to your wife

  21. ...on a more prosaic note, after the discussion yetsreday about oxbridge / public schools, I note from this month's 'Oxford Today' that the lead article is:
    "Prime Ministers: Why has Oxford produced so many?"

    there's some stats about the historical position (26 oxon, 14 cantab, 2 edinburgh, 1 brum, 10 none), the current cabinet (9 oxon, 5 cantab, out of 21) and the general prevalence of ppe. but it's just 'factual', no analysis, no consideration of whether this is a good or bad thing. there's a bit on school background but most of it is way back in the past ("of 19 future pms who attended eton, 13 went to oxford and 9 of those went to christ church"). and argues that the 'eton link' is largely down to geography - simply more convenient to get to than cambridge.

    it seems mainly aimed at getting one over on the tabs ("If the tally of prime ministers morphed into the boat race, oxford would be ahead by several lengths").

    ooh, hang on, is online - here - you want page 26, and for heaven's sake avert your eyes when it first loads, callmedave is the cover star...

  22. Morning all, thanks so much to everyone so far for the serious and thought-provoking posts.... will be reading clips thoroughly at my leisure in a wee while (just skimmed the Silent Coup) one...

    Alisdair!!! Weirdly, was thinking about you yesterday..... CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. A little something to soothe the restless soul... kindly posted by a friend for me on Farcebook ......

    Dicen que por las noches no más se le iba en puro llorar; dicen que no comía, no más se le iba en puro tomar

    Crying is compulsory when listening to this ;)

  24. Philippa,

    could you email 'Oxford Today' and ask them to do a special next month on Oxford alma mater Graun journalists?

  25. Alisdair

    Many congratulations, and best wishes.

  26. yr grace, that will have to wait until i've written my disgusted-of-hertfrod-college letter about them not doing the crossword any more.

    made the listener look like the quick. great fun.

  27. @Alisdair

    Great news, congratulations and best wishes to all of you.

  28. Morning all, congratulations Alisdair, fantastic news and you have been missed.

    Some really good posts over the last couple of days on here and good to see new people.

    Hevers you seem to know a great deal about economics and have a knack of stating things clearly, even I nearly understand most of it and that stuff normally leaves me baffled. ;)

    I was wondering if someone, maybe hevers, philippa or PCC could put together some kind of basic list of how to counter the most often used right wing myths.

    On atheist sites they sometimes have a list of common creationist myths and how to refute them, that's the kind of thing I mean.

  29. It isn't even that Toynbee, Kettle and Ashley are advocating turning the other cheek. It's that they think that the cheek as presented deserves to be slapped, but if Labour did it, it'd be in a caring, loving manner.

    Consider this. Labour introduced workfare. Labour introduced Atos Origin. The problem for the Guardian Miliband Tendency types - and for Miliband - is that they're singing from the same hymn sheet as the coalition.

    People ponder what kind of leader Miliband will turn out to be. The answer seems to be (a) Missing In Action and (b) deeply cycnical.

    How cynical? He appointed Woolas to the Shadow Immigration brief in the full awareness of the impending court case for Woolas and having read the constituency campaign literature. A principled leader would have thought that this immediately excluded him from immigration matters. Miliband thought "No better man." New New Labour is tough on immigration and has the boot boy to prove it.

    Likewise on social welfare. The silence is deafening, because the measures are very much along the same lines as New New Labour are thinking. They look at IDS's tome and note the similarities with their own internal documents and say "Let's not oppose for the sake of opposition." No indeed, because you could look very stupid in the future.

    They're not opposing much, because it's the kind of shit that they want to do themselves - turfing as many people as possible off IB and starving them if they refuse workfare - and are only too happy for the coalition to do their dirty work.

    Miliband also refuses to have anything to do with protests, marches or concrete pledges. He's attempting the same Blair-like tactics that served him well in the leadership race. Say nothing, smile a lot. Optimism. Puppies. Armadillos. Let those voters angered by the government's policies drift your way, without offering them very much of anything in return.

    The problem for those who oppose the public service cuts and welfare changes is that they have an opposition party and leader who refuse to back them up. They are a silent neoliberal receptacle for protest votes. If the coalition were to implode tomorrow, what do you imagine would be New New Labour's assessment of the situation?

    Tax receipts are in the shitter. Too much borrowing or QE and the markets will start upping the cost of borrowing (and you know they're just looking for an excuse to do so). I'll tell what the difference would be. Six months. Six fucking months. As soon as the global (a.k.a. American) economy is back on track, they'll take an axe to public sector jobs - the markets will, ahem, 'demand' it - and trot out the same argument as the coalition about the private sector picking up the slack.

    That's one of the tragedies of the present situation. The Opposition refuses to oppose and if the Tory scum are out, the New New Labour scum get in to enact the same policies. Workers unite, because God knows the political class has.

  30. jen - nice idea (there's a site with the common climate change 'zombie arguments' too) - i'm probably not your best shot at that, though. i can do (some of) the tax stuff, but macro-econ ent my thing, except occasionally by accident...

    let's make james do some work, heheheheheheh.

    because a lot of the time, various economists from history are cited, and i don't know a) their position more generally and b) whether the citation is accurate (his grace's work on the co-opting of beveridge was particularly informative, there).

    so agree that would be nice. economics 101 on UT2? c'mon, peeps, you know you want to...

  31. Congratulations, Alisdair!

  32. jennifera30 11.02 -- that's exactly what they want you to believe, that it is all too complicated for you ! Have you looked at PCC's link I put up above-- intro --

    " The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time."

    Like, the Mafia are writing the laws , the foxes are guarding the henhouse, nothing technical or arcane about that :) frog2 XX

    Golem writes in everyday language too.

  33. Jaw-dropping article by Nesrine Malik on Cif.

    A righteous kicking BTL, the article being staunchly defended only by MartyninWonderland and Jessica Reed. Can't think why. Even the brusselsmuppet was shocked - she has often had her domestic help stealing from her, but has never reported them to the police. What a saint!

  34. Congratulations, Alisdair!

    Eddie - spot on.

  35. Thanks frog I had missed those links.

    You are right of course I assume I won't be able to understand it and so I don't even try, I had the same problem with maths for a long time, I had it in my head that I couldn't do it and so, of course, I couldn't.

    Now, although I still panic a bit at the sight of an equation, I realise I am perfectly able and I have even started to enjoy stats (a bit).

    Time to educate myself. x

  36. anon

    I think you'll find that MarvinInNeverland basically dry humps the imaginary leg of any pretty picture.

    As for the other one, I can sympathise slightly.

    It is always so hard to tell where to place the blame in these things. From the butler to the boot-boy, from the gamekeeper to the chauffeur, they flit across our field of vision almost like real people and the police are so, well, common, aren't they? It's just too too tiresome to get them involved in anything less than a murder.

  37. @anon:

    Jesus, what a stinker that is. And Jessica Reed thinks Nesrine’s been “brave” for writing it. While Nesrine herself is exhorting those criticising it to kindly “step out of your ethnocentric bubble”.

    Makes me want to fucking cry as well, Jessica, but not for the reasons you’ve stated. Actually, on reflection it doesn’t.

    It makes me want to fucking puke.

  38. Eddie,

    excellent post.

    re: the Malik article. Only the Graun could commission an article analysing the Sudan secession through the navel-gazing observations of an impoverished servant by their liberal-leftie employer.

    I hadn't realised there was an Islington in Khartoum.

  39. Conratulations Alisdair.

    One more baby deserving a future. We have to fight for them as well as for ourselves.

    The lack of any opposition from Labour is our biggest problem but I believe new, younger leaders will arise from outside the political club.

    There are people with many skills and talents out there. There are educated and professional people with experience and knowhow and many, many of us have the knowledge and ability to organise and reach out to others.

    There are alternatives which can run paralell to the 'official'economy. the crime syndicate which controls us can be challenged and in some cases bypassed.

    Credit Unions and barter systems are two examples. To provide the basic necessities millions are in debt to banks - their homes are threatened along with their jobs.
    Skills exchanges can provide basic training for youngsters in many trades, literacy and undersanding can be improved and pooling resources for buying materials for upgrading homes in eed of repair can cut costs.

    It is the dependency of the poor which makes them vulnerable. They are manipulated through fear - paralysed and made to feel helpless. We are not helpless.

    We need to strengthen and rebuild our communities through our own actions - the labourer is no more afraid of losing his job than the professional. We need to support each other - not 'volunteer' at the behest of our 'betters'.

    we need to build our challenge through strength and cohesion not through fear born of a sense of helplesness. We have to stop believing that 'they' are cleverer or more able than we .

    i am so frustrated and angry - there is a danger that this anger and frustration will destroy us unless we use it constructively.

    Breaking windows will strengthen the determination of the forces ranged against us - heads will be broken with nothing achieved.

  40. OMFG

    I've just read that Nesrine Malik article and I am just shocked to bits, when Pairubu and MAM are disgusted by an article you know it is something special.

    What on earth possessed her to write and offer it for publication, it doesn't even have anything to say about the actual question asked in the title, it makes her look like an idiot.

    They made him sleep with the pets, I don't know if I want to laugh or cry.

  41. jen - to be fair, we don't know if they made him sleep with the animals. he may ust have decided that the standard of conversation would be higher from the rabbits.

    (on maths / stats, i am having a ball playing with the thingy at new job - having a visual mind, putting things onto graphs / diagrams is making much more sense to me. you can download openoffice for free and that means you can use excel / compaitble files, and then you can download datasets and make them into barcharts and stuff, i find that helps.)

  42. just read back that last onee and my word, i'm nerdy...

  43. I think the article was clumsy rather than bad as such. She should have been clearer about what she was saying and especially put "house boy" into context.

    The fact is, she grew up in a family that had servants and treated them poorly, like most other families in their situation around the world (and plenty in Surrey, etc.). That's not her fault. It's her attitudes now that matter.

    But she laid herself open to the kicking she's taken by leaving a certain ambiguity. IMO, she's been clearer BTL.

    And I wonder about the motives of some of those queuing up to give her that kicking. "Oh, you Sudanese are so barbaric, you have a tradition of slavery". It's as if the West had never set foot in Africa.

  44. incidentally - there is a free version of the work thingy, which allows you to make things and then save them as static images (rather than all the twinkly online publishing stuff). can be found here - you get a trial of the top-level version but can then downgrade (or give up) at the end - could be fun to play with (or have a UT account, on the free version, and pdf the results and use them for UT2). don't worry, as I'm the person who contacts UK sign-ups, i can guarantee there will be no hard-sell...although would of course be happy to explain anything you need...

    speaking of which - work calls. enjoy your fridays.

  45. Spike, you're being much too generous to a privileged moron. Attempting to deflect valid BTL criticism of an appalling article by referring to assumed 'motives' and referring to the historic role of the West in Africa is frankly ridiculous.

    It speaks volumes for Malik's mindset, assumptions, sense of priviledge, and lack of self-awareness that she could even conceive of such an offensive article, never mind write it. And it speaks volumes for Cif that they could print it, and then that Brian Whittaker and Jessica Reed (it made her cry...again), should try to defend it.

    Get a fucking grip, man.

  46. Hi all, day off today, woohoo! (off for a long weekend later). Thanks again all for your support of EDGE, especially the pic Montana, you'd get on well with my colleague who thinks crayfish are pretty!

    I had to stop halfway through that Malik article, bleerggh!

    Philippa, you tried the graphics in R?, also free software, I use it for stats but I'm told the graphics are spectacular!

  47. Spike

    I think you are wrong on this one, I was astounded at the tone of the article and I am astounded at her defensiveness BTL.

    As someone pointed out she said 'It happens, people have domestic staff' not 'Some people employ others to do domestic work' implying that the staff aren't even people, that may be splitting hairs but she is a professional writer publishing an article in an international forum.

    Unless she is just a terrible writer her indifference to Marcos plight and that of others like him is staggering.

    BTL she seems to be saying stop picking on me, this was such a hard thing for me to write, I am suffering so badly, boo hoo, at no point does she actually say that she or her family behaved badly, self indulgent crap from start to finish.

  48. @anon

    I disagree. As I said, I think she was clumsy in assuming that people would read condemnation between the lines. And as for assumed "motives", do you think the likes of MAM would have been so keen to get stuck in there if it had been written by a white South African, for instance?

    I tend to agree with Iruka:

    One or two words of clear regret towards the end would have completely transformed the piece -- I assume there is some sort of implicit regret, and that the account is written in these starkly neutral terms for effect....? And trying to connect it to the consequences of the referendum, rather than simply offering it as a slice of life to chew on, didn't really work -- there's a impression that Nesrine Malik's feelings about the issue of independence, which I get the impression are stronger than she lets on here, are colouring her account.

    But I wish I could believe that all of the people slagging Nesrine really are affronted on Marco's behalf.

  49. Just read the rest of the article, and some of the comments, agree with Jenn: Malik's a professional journalist, she should know better!

  50. Great news Alisdair!! So glad all went well.

    I hadn't realised there was an Islington in Khartoum

    Yr Grace - you'd be surprised at what you can find in Khartoum! One thing I enjoyed when i was there, was being escorted round their ethnographic museum by a young Sudanese chap who told me that before, the building (rather nice - but faded), had been the British Officers club back in the day. Only Sudanese allowed across the threshold in those days were the servants. Lovely people I met there - they were very kind to me.

    Like Spike, I kind of get what Nesrine M is trying to say but she's made a big mistake pitching it the way she has as it exposes all her own unthought through attitudes - and the huge divide between what she 'still' appears to think is an OK way to discuss your 'servants' and what will be thought on a groan blog site. Big fail on her part

  51. @jenn

    Well, perhaps I like to think the best of people too much sometimes. It was clumsy, as I said. What I got from her posts BTL was that she was genuinely surprised that anyone might think she wasn't denouncing what she was talking about. You're right, her posts do come across as a bit self-pitying, though. Clumsy again.

  52. Spike, I am sure that Nesrine Malik has solid liberal creds and if you asked her outright about slavery (and that is pretty much what it is) she would have all the right answers, it is the unconsious attitude that seeps out of that article that I object to, it seems as if she has a lot of self examination about her past to do, that is if she can get over her (natural) defensiveness.

    I am again left to marvel at the way the Graun hangs its contributors out to dry, it was a badly misjudged article and at some point someone should have had a word with her, it might have come as a shock to her that it has been received so badly (which means she is either woefully naive or cluelessly priviledged) but someone there knew what would happen and no doubt is rubbing their hands gleefully at the resulting site hits.

  53. Spike

    It was clumsy, as I said. What I got from her posts BTL was that she was genuinely surprised that anyone might think she wasn't denouncing what she was talking about.

    I find attitudes like hers quite common amongst the, on the whole, very civilised people I know from cultures where people on quite modest incomes can still afford servants. Not saying its right but even teacup demonstrated that on the thread and she's pretty civilised.

  54. Jenn

    but someone there knew what would happen and no doubt is rubbing their hands gleefully at the resulting site hits.

    you devious minx you - but you may well be right.

  55. Hi folks, hope you're all well.

    Just read the Malik piece. Fucking disgraceful. By a happy accident an Email exchange on Nesrine's pitch to Jessica ended up in my gmail.

    NM: Jess, fancy a piece on independence for South Sudan? I'm Sudanese myself, and I've got a great personal take on the issue. It involves one of our houseboys and my pet rabbits.
    JR: Sounds great! Will it make me cry?
    NM: Sure will! You'll be blubbing like a bourgeois liberal, ha ha! My dad reported some houseboy (that we had had for ten years) for nicking a few pots and some shirts. The cops came and took him away to some Khartoum hell-hole, and we never heard of him again!
    JR: Sounds a bit of a downer. I imagine that the houseboy was black and probably Christian - you won't mention that, will you?
    NM: No way, Jess. The article is all about me.
    JR: OK. And you won't actually say anything about racism in Sudan or the North exploiting the South's resources or anything? In fact, you won't really say anything at all about the referendum or independence, will you? Promise?
    NM: Cross my heart and hope to die, sweetie. No way I'd get involved in that shit.
    JR: OK, Nessie - you're on. You write it and I'll publish it! If it goes down badly, me and Brian will stick up for you. And that arse-licker Marty will probably weigh in too, so it can't possibly go wrong. See you Sat?
    NM: thx Jess, see you Sat!

  56. Hi DavefromFrance - thanks for putting that link up. I think that article is excellent - and the writer is an ex IMF banker - hardly a Marxist agitator! It shows just how disastrous the neo-liberal policy has been.

    And on top of it all we probably have a very serious currency and trade war kicking off as we speak. Wonderful times for all.

  57. Congratulations Alisdair and it's good to see you back.

  58. @scherfig



    It's a whole different world and any change in mentalities would take a long time. Back in the 80s, my Lebanese mother-in-law had domestic staff in Cairo. When I was there and I got myself a Coke from the fridge or took dirty plates out to the kitchen after a meal, my in-laws didn't care, but the house staff were genuinely shocked and rather disapproving. I imagine they were thinking that if the whole family started doing things for themselves, they'd be out of a job. I always felt a bit weird having someone waiting on me in a private home, but not in a restaurant. Not quite sure what the logic is behind that.

  59. Brilliant Scherf, love it when the e-mail system goes wrong! Got any from Jess re: goings on on WADDYA?

  60. Malik ?
    Hmmm... pretty clumsy and third rate really. But then, I fucking hate this first person confessional approach to dealing with issues on CiF; as if it affords some insight unavailable from rigourous analysis and journalistic standards regarding the region. It's all me me me, and most of the time it just clouds the issue. Her next error (after agreeing to such a lame approach) was to hitch a pretty commonplace but unenlightening personal experience (richer africans fuck over poorer africans - who knew ??)to some sort of limp-wristed, wistful hope that South Sudan will secede (and thereby heal itself). She then compounds the issue further by failing to observe that - complicit or not - those circumstances are unbelievably stark, yet as JimPress points out, they are miserable circumstances set to visit themselves on millions more very shortly, thanks to criminal acts of the ruling elites - and many people find it abhorrent that it shouldn't at least be... remorsed over.

    Her stunningly righ-on coup de grace though was ascribing the epithet "ethnocentric" to a couple of her critics.

    But ultimately this is just the kind of intellectual drabness and ethical confusion which drove me to pack the whole CiF game in. Or at least get to the point when they didn't invite me anymore, because it used to wind me up so much. Just so much blether really.

    Any way, fuck all that. Alisdair - congratulations !

  61. Hi, dott! Obviously I can't even allude to 'hacking' the Graun's server here, as the cyberoverlords of the hermit empire are constantly monitoring this dangerous space, and would send orcs round to my flat to eat my legs. But.....if I'm really lucky, then an unstable space-time continuum might warp a convenient IPS address into my system through a wormhole, and then all will be revealed. Watch this space!

  62. scherfig
    - 10 times better than my effort and a whole lot funnier ! Ace.

  63. Understood Scherf, I'll offer up a little prayer to the cyber-gods that another "accident" happens...

  64. Afternoon all - flying visit for now as still working (well I'm skiving at the moment, obv,) but just wanted to say congrats to Alisdair and his wife and welcome, baby.

    Catch up later - looking forward to the Malik article and any other emails Sherf might have... :o)

  65. People on CIF getting their knickers in a knot about the Malik article seem to be blissfully unaware of the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers -many of them immigrants-that's going on in their own backyard here in the UK.Domestic Service is one of the few areas liklely to show employment growth in this country in the immediate future.Would be great if domestic workers could be unionised but that would be easier said than done given the % working in private households/illegally etc.


    Liked your earlier comment about Kettle,Toynbee et al.Thought it was spot on.Don't know if you read the latest Toynbee offering about Welfare Reform on CIF where she informed us that it was just a taster for her main article on saturday.For in the interim period she needed to gather her thoughts.-a process which may well be helped along by a glass or two of chianti served by her housekeeper in Tuscany.Says it all really!

  66. Paul
    Yep they've jumped on her pretty good, but fuck it. She's done nothing to convince me she's not carved out her own set of priviledges along the way at others' expense, and with her own "otherness" as her alibi.

  67. jennifera30 said...

    Hevers you seem to know a great deal about economics and have a knack of stating things clearly, even I nearly understand most of it and that stuff normally leaves me baffled. ;)

    I was wondering if someone, maybe hevers, philippa or PCC could put together some kind of basic list of how to counter the most often used right wing myths.

    Thanks muchly, Jenn, and I have to say, that yeah I do try and make a effort to make what I write clear and concise, partly because I have always found it handy when people do it for me, and it's something of a challenge. Hence my interest in Sipech's layman's guide to Relativity thing on Waddya.

    And yes, also because it's more efficient when dealing with the right-wingers, who wriggle shamelessly at every available opportunity. And even, frankly, when there is no opportunity.

    As it happens, I have actually put together lists of "counters" before now, most notably in some of the Spirit Level threads, where I posted a great big list at the top of the thread of the typical arguments put forward by the right and why they are so utterly risile, though it did have a tendency to kill the thread a little bit.

    The think tanks got beat up so badly by us in those threads that one of them felt they had to come back and do another thread, basically saying "We're not that bad really, honest".

    Meanwhile the right-wingers accused me of being one of the authors of the book in disguise. So yeah, there is something rather satisfying in delivering a huge, great, multiple-warhead, rocket of fuck up the arses right-wingers at the top of a thread.

    I've done a bit of it on some economics threads but it's trickier on the counters front, because much broader, but yeah, they're useful indeed. Maybe we should do a "Neoliberalism is a huge great pile of wank because..."

    ... and everyone could contribute their favourite counters.

  68. @princesschipchops (from yesterday)

    Re IDS three strikes - its vile. And it will make the UK much less safe. Can you really think it is okay to stop someones benefits for three years? You do know this may mean people starve

    Sorry that just sounds like hyperbole - they’d be more likely to accept one of the 3 offers of work than starve, no? If they genuinely couldn’t then that could be demonstrated, and if there’s a time-lag for an appeals process there will still be emergency loans and such available.

    the myth goes that the private sector 'creates wealth'. Sure it does - sometimes, it also destroys wealth. And a couple of years ago it managed to destroy wealth on a scale never seen before.

    That’s very true, but I’m not seeing that the alternative is exactly risk-free either. If we continue printing money, the risk is that we’ll become unattractive as a place to invest and do business, so we’d lose the only means we actually have of creating wealth. The state can’t do it, they can only artificially create an environment where the private sector creates wealth - if that fails, we’re equally screwed and even more in the red. Like you I don’t actually have the answers, but it’s not clear cut - there’s perils in both approaches.

    I haven’t read the silent coup but I’ll google it this evening, I have to post & run at the moment unfortunately.

  69. People on CIF getting their knickers in a knot about the Malik article seem to be blissfully unaware of the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers -many of them immigrants-that's going on in their own backyard here in the UK.

    Any evidence for this assumption that they are unaware, Paul? Have you any figures for the number of 'domestics' in the UK who live in a shack on a roof with the family pets? It's a reasonable point that many immigrants/illegals work in service industries in the UK without adequate protection or living wage. But to conflate this with Marco and Malik's situation in Sudan is patently ridiculous.

    btw,the people who write for the Guardian about their Lithuanian/Alabanian nannies (remember that fine piece?) - they and people like them are no different from Malik. Same sense of entitlement, same lack of self-awareness, same faux-liberal sensibilities. Same hypocrisy.

  70. I'll kick off if you like.

    Myth: We have to work longer because we live longer and there'll be no money to pay pensions if we don't work more.

    Answer: Well, when there's a job for everyone, we can talk about working longer. But with millions of unemployed, where are the jobs for these years of extra work supposed to come from? Unless your intention is just to keep people unemployed for longer and pay them less than than the pension they would get. In which case, say so.

  71. Hevers - Yeah that Spirit Level thread was great. The think tank slate their research and then do their own - very, very dodgy - redo where they used very flawed techniques. Hilarious. And they got a good kicking.

    Vizzo - they are not 'offered three jobs' that is not how it works. The DWP staff will say think a person is 'not looking hard enough' so they will say to them strike one. Then they badger person that they still are not doing enough - strike two. It is easy to get those three strikes. It is not that a person will sit down and say 'I refuse to do this job' its much less cut and dried a process than you make out.

    Anyway the point is to me it is not kay the state threatening to remove ANY form of support from a person for three years!! And I would also imagine it is illegal? Especially for family's - I mean I don't imagine it is okay to let family's be made homeless and for them to starve.

    The whole tone of these reforms is just nasty and it creates a lot of fear for the vast majority of genuine claimants.

    That the UK public support them as strongly as they do is cause for despair not celebration.

    And actually I think when the reality hits home and we start to have a society that more resembles the US I don't think that support will last.

  72. Bitterweed

    Yeah i see where you're coming from.Brain matter this end has been in a state of malfunction over the last few days so i'm avoiding anything too heavy.Admit i was tempted to dive into the Malik thread feet first but thought better of it.

    But i've no time for Black and Asian people in this country who hide behind political correctness and cultural relativism to justify the unjustifiable.And i've even less time for White people with power who allow them to do so.

    Malik is an extremely privileged middle class Black woman who in the overall scheme of things shouldn't be allowed to score more 'brownie points' than say someone who is white and working class.

    I remember once clashing with Joseph Harker when he intimated that the largely working class Black electorate in Hackney didn't have the same issues with Diane Abbott-another privileged middle class Black woman-than the White electorate in her consituency.Well that's bollox of the first degree.

    Anyways enough of that. I glad your gig went well:-)

  73. Spike nice one.

    How about: ''The public sector is just a drain and needs cutting so the only wealth producer, the private sector, can flourish.''

    Answer: Just 25p in every tax pound is spent on public sector staff while 38p goes to the private sector. Many private sector industry's get huge state subsidies as they are not viable without them. The most famous being the finance sector of course.

    The line between what is the public and what is the private sector is increasingly blurred and many jobs are dependent on the public sector in ways that are not always directly obvious.

  74. I to the Vizzo said...

    Sorry that just sounds like hyperbole - they’d be more likely to accept one of the 3 offers of work than starve, no? If they genuinely couldn’t then that could be demonstrated, and if there’s a time-lag for an appeals process there will still be emergency loans and such available.

    If you think that the Tories are inevitably going to make this a watertight process in their efforts to slash provision and that no one will suffer as a consequence, then I have got just four words for you:

    Care in the Community.

    Actually, here's another one: "If it's not hurting, it isn't working".

    Cos it worked really well in the North.

  75. @hevers and princess

    Regardless of what you say, there are problems with the Spirit Level hypothesis which I remember arguing with hevers, at least, on some thread or other.

  76. Myth: Printing money is no solution because it leads to inflation!! More money sloshing around the economy chasing the same number of goods will force their prices up.

    Answer: you are a hopeless bucket of jizz because you cannot see that there won't be much inflation when the economy is depressed, and to the extent there will be that is the whole fucking point. To reinflate the economy.

    Also, the government can remove the excess through taxation as the economy heats up, so you're not even worth a bucket of jizz.

  77. A personal bugbear of mine.

    Myth: Why should I be forced to pay for the BBC? I'm not forced to pay for ITV or Sky.

    Answer: You pay for ITV, Sky, newspapers, commercial radio, etc. every time you buy a product advertised on those media. If Jonathan Ross turns up on ITV, you'll still be paying for him, but through a stealth tax imposed by Sainsbury's, Morrison's, car manufacturers, etc. rather than through the licence fee, over which you at least have theoretical control.

  78. @ hevers, a bucket, really, a bucket? That'll take a while, or a whole lot of wankers.. oh, wait a sec, as you were...

    ALISDAIR! Congratulations! All the very best to the three of you : D

  79. @PeterJ

    I have already said, to you and on the threads, that one may take issue with the book in various ways.

    The point is, that many of the think-wank arguments are spurious

  80. princesschipchops said...
    Hevers - Yeah that Spirit Level thread was great. The think tank slate their research and then do their own - very, very dodgy - redo where they used very flawed techniques. Hilarious. And they got a good kicking.

    It was especially comical in that many of those being critical had not actually read the book, and were relying on the think tank arguments and tying themselves in knots in the process.

    "I have not read the book, but I am going to talk complete bollocks about it anyway!!"

  81. deano30 said...
    Chekhov/hevers/Montana - (from late yesterday)....

    No conspiracies either - I just thought it would be a nice romantic touch to find a bank robber plying the trade to get herm kids a wining education

    Just so you know, Deano, on this planet of ours, when someone says something along the lines of "blimey, what did you do, rob a bank? Win the pools??"

    ... they are generally taken as expressing incredulity that you might have been able to afford it by more normal means.

    And in any event, I think it's more heartwarming, romantic even, that we managed to do it without having to resort to such measures. Though Mum was also rather canny about it all, though I didn't spot it at the time.

    It's also worth considering that some staff and Heads at Public School don't really like the fees thing and would rather like to widen access. To some extent they may charge high fees to the rich so they can sponsor more of the less wedged.

  82. Princess, dunno - the white paper makes it sound like they'll actually have to refuse offers of work before penalties come in. I don't for a minute think that the system will be watertight, but no system ever is.

    The problem is that we're all working on general estimates, plus a dollop of ideology, when it comes to benefit claimants. I'm sure that some people will fall through the cracks, and that's a tragedy whenever it happens, and I'm equally sure that some people will be jolted out of a workless routine, and will ultimately benefit from this. Whether you emphasise one or the other is at the moment all a bit academic, since none of us can know what the numbers are either way. Which is why I'm personally still fence-sitting, a wait-and-see type thing.

  83. Hevers
    (BB here in disguise)

    I remember your brilliant posts on the Spirit Level. And yes, what a bloody uphill struggle it was, and much shite spoken thereof.

  84. @Spike:

    One point there, mate… Sky could ditch their multi-million pound advertising sales house tomorrow and still be a hugely profitable company. They’re a volume subscription business.

    It’s a smart model, as it goes – hardware owner (the “Sky box”), broadcaster (e.g. Sky Sports), and media owner (the “platform”). The system is of course open to third-parties willing to pay to get on it (not every channel on Sky is wholly-owned, far from it) but still, it’s a bit like Microsoft selling their own branded PCs while controlling the internet and owning the sites on it that people want to watch.

  85. Alisdiar congratulations by the way!!

    Just off to work now, but - Jen - re the maths fear - I totally get that. I spent my life being terrified of maths.

    I was told at school that I was good at history, English, sociology etc but 'hopless' at maths and sciences.

    So for years my belief was I couldn't 'do' maths. When I got my first finance job (a basic admin job) I even flunked the pretty simple maths test they gave us and was only employed because the managers overruled HR because they liked me.

    When I got promoted to invesmtent and pensions consultancy work I spent years thinking 'they're going to find me out'. I was fine at the theoretical stuff, I could understand differences between investment types, why you would put money in a unit trust instead of a bond or vice versa but if an IFA rang me up and asked me to calculate the top slicing on a clients bond or to do a carry back carry forward pensions calculation I would panic.

    But here's the thing - all these guys - the IFA's were meant to be the experts but they couldn't do it either,so would ring me to work it out. And really complex stuff I would just pass on to the pensions analysts. Or to actuarial etc. There was always someone else to pass it onto once it got complicated. And most people only had that really analytical in-depth knowledge of one area. So someone who was shit hot on pensions wouldn't be able to work out unit trusts etc. Because just understanding a really complex company pension scheme is a bloody job in itself.

    My mate works for one of the big ten corporate law firms as a pensions specialist and it can take teams and teams of people from the lawyers, the insurance company, the company who set up the scheme, the trustees, etc just to work out the rules and pay outs etc on one pension scheme. And that is a sign of just how complex and mad the whole thing is because that is hardly 'high finance' it's meant to be the nuts and bolts stuff.

    I bet a lot of these guys in the investment banks didn't even really understand the instruments they were using every day! I would bet they certainly didn't understand how it all fit together.

    So I would say don't ever be intimidated by finance nor by economics, which is not the black and white scientific discipline some think it is anyway. its all just a matter of opinion.

  86. @hevers

    That's a great idea. A school where there are rich and poor kids and the parents pay according to their means. We could call it a "comprehensive".

    My parents were lower middle-class snobs who paid for me to have a private education where I could be patronised by kids from richer families and beaten by sadistic masters.

    Huh, that's a cheap watch, Spike. Can't your people afford anything decent? No, you can't have one of my sweets from my tuck box full. You'll have to wait until you get your shilling pocket money at the end of the week. Your mother's car is really crap, by the way. My dad's got a Rolls and mum has a Rover.

    Just the thing to end up burningly resentful with a huge chip on your shoulder.

  87. @Swift

    Sure, Sky's a rather special case, but mainly based on their monopoly of the footie. I wonder how successful they'd be without the Premiership now that Freeview's available.

  88. Ivo
    the designers of these systems have no idea of the numbers likely to be impacted either.

    They have come up with ideas based on ideology rather than research.

    they do not know how many jobs there will be, in which areas they will be or the type of jobs and the skills needed to do them.

    Do they even have an upto date skills audit for each area? Have they assessed infrastructure and public transport networks or dormant industrial units/developments in various areas?

    Have they fully assesed and analysed social need - this too varies from area to area. They certainly have failed to understand existing vol networks and the damage that withdrawing funding from them will cause.

    Many people protesting are neither unemployed nor disabled but do have quite detailed knowledge of their own areas and understand the possible impacts. These people are intelligent enough to understand that their area is a microcosm of the country.

    The uncertainty for claimants is the main source of fear.

  89. Vizzo,

    Oops, Just so you know, the comment about printing money was not aimed at you. I hadn't seen your comment when I posted it. Apologies and all that.

  90. @Spike

    I wasn't arguing for that model of public school funding.

    I was just explaining to Deano who had queried it, how it is that people who can't necessarily afford the fees might manage it nonetheless.

  91. I to the Vizzo said...

    That’s very true, but I’m not seeing that the alternative is exactly risk-free either. If we continue printing money, the risk is that we’ll become unattractive as a place to invest and do business, so we’d lose the only means we actually have of creating wealth. The state can’t do it, they can only artificially create an environment where the private sector creates wealth - if that fails, we’re equally screwed and even more in the red. Like you I don’t actually have the answers, but it’s not clear cut - there’s perils in both approaches.

    The state can create wealth as well, Vizzo, through research, funding the development of longer term technologies like the internet, actually seeding new industry as the Germans are doing with solar, etc.

    In addition to creating a better environment.

  92. @Spike:

    ”…I wonder how successful they'd be without the Premiership now that Freeview's available…”

    Still hugely successful and profitable, mate, I’d imagine. Think about this – BT spent three years arguing with OFCOM that Sky should wholesale its “crown jewels” channels to the BT Vision service, they won, they’ve spent £6.3m to date on advertising the fact they’ve now got the Premiership, and… despite charging £6.99 a month for Sky Sports, and basically cutting their own throats… they’ve managed to sign up 50,000 subscribers. Works out at £126 spent on acquiring each new subscriber. They can’t sustain that, and they won’t.

    As for Freeview – Sky don’t compete with Freeview (unless you count FreeSat, which is probably not even available any more). They don't need to - totally different services.

  93. @hevers

    Yeah, I realise that. I just found the idea of public-school headmasters going in for egalitarianism deliciously ironic.

    Of course, public schools have always handed out scholarships. I got a partial one myself (covering tuition but not boarding), which they must have regretted giving me :-). Scholarships enable them to cream off some of the talent from the lower classes and improve exam results to "prove" how much better a private education is.

  94. @Swift

    Oh, Freesat is certainly still available. How do you think I watch the BBC in France? Sky tried to make me buy a new viewing card last year, but if you use a non-subsidised digibox and take out the viewing card altogether, you've still got BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4, ITV 1, 2, 3 and 4, Channel Four, the news channels, Film 4 and others. I manage to survive without Sky 3 and Five ;-).

  95. We, the People.... said...
    (BB here in disguise)

    I remember your brilliant posts on the Spirit Level. And yes, what a bloody uphill struggle it was, and much shite spoken thereof.
    12 November, 2010 15:39

    Hey BB, and thanks. Those debates were a classic example of neolibs not wanting to cede ANYTHING. Not to give ground on anything. But it was funny at the same time.

  96. @Spike:

    Those are all “free to air” channels which Sky are obliged to carry and which don’t need the NDS conditional access which the Sky card enables (although there was a time when you couldn’t receive ITV through a digibox “free to air” as well, remember?). Anyway, there was another Freesat, the one I was talking about, which was a Sky product they used to push – you needed the card because, on top of the free to air, unencrypted channels, there was another raft of “free to view” channels, which were encrypted and which the software in the STB decrypted.

    You didn’t pay for it, got the standard Sky installation for the usual subsidised price etc. The rationale behind it was that once viewers had the hardware in the living room, and the dish on the wall outside, it would only be a matter of time before they upgraded to a pay per view channel.

    Dunno if that marketing strategy worked though.

  97. @spike

    Yeah, I never intended what I posted as a defence of the public school system. I've been pretty clear it can artificially enhance the prospects of the already privileged, which cannot be considered a good thing.

    That said, there are some good things about it, and things like the Bullingdon phenomenon are not so commonplace. And the advantages are not necessarily what many may think.

    Can't say I experienced the snobbishness you encountered, but I did get caned a few times at Prep School. Two fours and a six, as it were. They didn't cane at our Public School.

    In may case, I had a considerable "blip" during my education at Public School whereby they could easily have expelled me and numerous teachers thought I would fail A levels. They still stuck with me though, which was something I have to acknowledge.

  98. "The great thing is when you start seeing it in places like China and Afghanistan. It's democracy. We've kind of given democracy back to the world." --Simon Cowell on The X Factor

    The Scene--a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan. The time--now.

    ALI is fiddling with a laptop, attempting to re-establish the satellite uplink. RASOOL enters, leans his AK-47 against the wall and sits down.

    RASOOL: What's up, bud?

    ALI: I'm trying to get this TV program that looks really interesting. Whatcha been up to, guy?

    RASOOL: Oh, you know...same old shit, different day...planting roadside bombs, burning down girls schools, driving the infidels from our rugged but backward homeland...

    ALI: Cool...hang on...got it....yo, check this out, dude...

    RASOOL: whoa...this stuff is the bomb...who is that guy? I love the trouser-waistband-just-below-the-nipples look...it's,like, toadly boss, yo...

    ALI: That's Simon Cowell and this is democracy...

    RASOOL: This is democracy...seriously?...dude, why wasn't I told? Toadly awesome...this stuff is the business. I am, like, toadly up with this shit, yo...

    ALI: I hear you, guy...I mean, like, hello?...what the fuck are we fighting?...this democracy is some seriously cool shit...

    RASOOL: Roger that, dude...say, let's go talk to the infidels, invite them for a barbeque or something...

    ALI: Outta sight, dude....shall we take the AKs?

    RASOOL: Nah...this is a friendly visit...we'll just wear the explosive vests, but in, like, a totally non-threatening way, ya feel me?

    ALI: On it, dude. You think these infidels can introduce me to Cheryl Cole?

    RASOOL: We'll threaten to blow them up if they don't...

    They both laugh and exit.

  99. @hevers

    Still picking bits from yesterday's thread:

    You don't need to tax more to fund government investment, indeed it is rather counterproductive to do so. It is better to BORROW to do it, so that you do not remove money from the economy.

    But the worry there is that borrowing after a certain point starts to make us look unsustainable and over-mortgaged, and could repel private investment - which benefits the economy without pushing us into the red.

    Although I'm in agreement that it's a good idea for the state to invest in seeding new industries and technologies, I'm just a bit agnostic about whether that is the key to recovery, or whether creating conditions for the market to do its thing is preferable.

  100. Are others her sickened by the subscription culture we have become? Essentially, if you took out all the bean counters, marketeers, middle managers, cold callers, re branders and advertising offering adjusters, aren't all the TV, web and mobile services essentially free?

    I know there's a network to maintain, help desks and payment does need to be managed, but...

    I pay about 3p a txt, 20p a min voice.

    The 'Real' costs must be 1/100th of that? It really gets my goat that o2 can give me £150 phone every 18months, because it's niot free, it's paid for many times over by my £15 basic + all the other charges.

    My pay as you go phone has 300 ''free'' txts which I never use for £10 a month. I rarely call, so the ballance is £60 in credit, mostly I give a few quid to a charity if I see something on tv, cos I'm never gonna use it for calls, but top up £10 a month for the txts...

    It's all digital bullshit! If I do a bit of gardening, and get a tenner, then go and get 3 pints and a bag of crisps with it, well thats right and proper. But all the 'big money' is in this fantasy bulshit lala land populated by the Bullington boys, P-Brax and Co. My GF had to have an independent solicitor write a report during access hearings for her kids. There was talk of having a follow up, the Sherif over rulled on the grounds that two 1 hour visits and he first report had cost 16k+. wtf?

    How can so many fiddle (their expenses) while so many more burn?

  101. @turm:

    Actually, for me, it’s “choice”. This notion that “more choice” = “greater happiness all round”. For the great run of people, it clearly doesn’t. I cite pensions as the example usually, but still – I reckon the notion of “choice” is hugely, hugely over-valued and over-rated.

  102. @Vizzo,

    Yeah, clearly we are in a situation now where thirty years of quasi-neoliberalism has screwed up so bad that options are limited.

    The fact tha a lack of investment leaves us in a position where we can no longer afford to invest, is not an argument for not investing in the first place.

    Yes, seeding tech is not a necessarily a great way to get quick recovery, because it is not necessarily quick to bear fruit.

    However, if one invests in ways that stimulate the economy, particularly in ways where the money gets recycled, then you can stimulate growth. You can invest in ramping up tech that already shows promise, backing existing winners, rather than trying to pick them. You can support ailing business through the downturn, like the Americans saved their car industry.

  103. Bloody right Swifty, the 'choice' of train companies, utilities providers, lattemochachinoskinnyfrappe arghh!


  104. john cade

    Nice one! Toadly! :o)

    Turm, also LOLs.

  105. Jimmy Carr:

    Simon Cowell spends half a million pounds a year on security. That's a lot of money. Has he thought of not being a cunt?

    * * *

    I want less choice. I want electricity supplied by a nationalised company at a fair price set by regulation. I don't want to spend days trying to work out whether Boot's or the RSC are offering the best deal for my electricity this week.

  106. @Spike

    Good spot, and a good one to use on the Libertarians. That we were not put on this earth to spend our days trying to work out which refuse collection service to use.

    Then they say... "ah!! but consumers can band together in organisations to share info!!"

    And then you point out that this is a bit ad hoc, unreliable, and of no effing use when companies can change their policy on a whim.

    A restaurant may have a good reputation on cleanliness and absence of food poisoning. But then they change their procedures, and you get food poisoning. If you survive, you might tell some others.

    But it's rather better to have proactive checks in the first place.

  107. Spike,

    "I don't want to spend days trying to work out whether Boot's or the RSC are offering the best deal for my electricity this week."

    It's Boots, but your electric doorbell will play "here come the girls" when your Mum and gran come 'round.

    I recommend the RSC, with them it'll ask "hark, who cometh yonder?"

  108. Not to mention, the buggers keep pricing structures opaque and ever-changing, so it's a moving target.

  109. Hevers, agreed with all of that last post.

  110. @Vizzo


    Have to say, it's not like it's a bed of roses. There are other issues, like EU regulations that can serve to stymie government action. You have to be careful about crowding out.

    It's just that they are not deal breakers, and we are not even trying. Even when we do try, we screw it up.

    We print money, and effectively give it to the banks, buying stuff off them, and instead of them using some of the money to lend to business, they just buy more bonds and stuff. It's taking the piss.

  111. Just going to park one of my posts here because it will be zapped in no time. But I have had enough of the shites, I really have, and I just cannot be fucking bothered to argue with them any more.

    On the Steve Bell thread:

    " taxedtothelimit

    try not to get ill or unemployed


    That was really well put. Because I am so tired of reading that kind of thing on here, so exhausted with trying to argue with the terminally myopic, so cheesed off with trying to reason with those who have none, that my immediate instinct was to type "Ah f**k off you Tory t**t".

    Good job I didn't though, because it would have been modded.


  112. alisdair

    congratulations!!! enjoy i'm sure you will find it a wonderful experience......

    that bloody article by malik is absurdly offensive and the fact that MaM disagreed defines it as yet another low in the flakiness of the graun........


    now you're back in the patria can you eat cheddar cheese and branston pickle for me and as many chocolate oranges as poss---oh and cheese and onion crisps.....ta

  113. Nesrine Malik...*sigh*..her problem is she's thick..always was...and as a result she hasn't worked out she's thick

    couldn't be arsed about commenting...got my houseboy Martyn to post instead...hope the little scamp's behaving himself..gets ideas above his station sometimes

  114. Evening all,

    haven't read the whole thread, got as far down as Philippa's 'let's make James do some work'.

    I'm on holiday!!!!


    I'd actually be happy to do some stuff for UT2, but, I should probably mention that,

    a) Most of my books, papers etc are now 6000 miles away,

    b) I'm not actually an economist, per se, and

    c) that actually, I'm usually at least as confused as most other people by numbers and that, and, am generally, not really the sharpest tool in the box.

    Still, I'll give it a crack.... you know, if you, erm, still want me too!!

    *makes big thumbs up sign*

  115. Gandolfo,


    One step ahead of you!!

    It's been a cheesapalooza since I landed!!

    (before when I came back, my first purchase was always The Guardian. This time, cheese and onion grab bag! That, if I may say so, is the textbook definition of wisdom!!)

  116. Am away for the weekend, without the webularnet, but wanted to share my 'welcome to the new UK in a nutshell' moment from today:

    my local council seem to have adopted every available display space for their new 'shop a bennie cheat/dob on a cash in hander/help us evict HB fraudsters from this community's property' poster campaign, and beneath the largest of these, a small congregation of chuggers for 'shelter' had gathered.

    Still, we're all in this together and whatnot....

  117. james.......all I can is

    enjoy ya bestard.......!

  118. MF

    Malik just doesn't get it. Apparently we can't read her subtlety or something.

    Saying how fucking bad it made her feel now, looking back, would have been a start. And only a dozen words out of the 800 she is paid for, too.

  119. I just came across an interesting quote from Dave Cameron on 19 June 2010 : 'There is no way of dealing with an 11 per cent budget deficit just by hitting either the rich or the welfare scrounger.'

    So, now in November 2010 after the recent budget and welfare measures it seems that the coalition's logic is 'well, if that won't work anyway, we''ll just hammer the 'benefit scrounger' and not bother with the rich. Every little helps, and we're all in this together, right?'

    Gotta love Dave - we know exactly where he's coming from.

  120. Malik thread closed now. Another Cif editorial faux pas down the memoryhole. (A bit like poor Marco, in fact, if his disappearance wasn't a bit more tragic to most people and of less consequence to Malik.)

  121. Excellent RedMiner post:

    The Telegraph Manhunt.

    I hope no one is thinking of clogging up their email with ridiculous suggestions.


  122. Evening all, Great posts here from all the usual as well as some new folk. PCC gets a special mention from me.

    I was going to post yesterday after watching CH4 news as they did a survey and nearly 2/3 of respondents think these JSA measures area 'good thing'. I despair I really do. It looks like the red-top press has succeeded in brainwashing the populace. They have swallowed it hook line and sinker. Just let them wait and see what it comes to actually mean. Regarding the penalties for turning down jobs, in my experience that will never happen - you simply won't get offered a job. I know because I tried all the possible jobs on offer and got nowhere after (literally) 2 or 3 hundred applications.

    The 'choice' agenda is also a complete waste of time. I need a day a month to sort out the best saving plan, the insurance that works out cheaper by leaving then re-joining (really!), roll-over BB contracts that mean I have to threaten to leave and get a 1/2 price sweetener in response.....and so it goes on.

    While I am on this topic, the more a product is advertised the worse the actuality. Tiscali took this business model to the limit.

  123. Spike

    I commented yesterday on that Torygraph fiasco, wondering when they had become the News of the World.

    IanG "roll-over BB contracts"

    I say! Steady on, old chap! :o)

  124. Waddya has gone from the refuge of the vacuous to a huge vortex of ravenous black hole, ready to suck any unsuspecting brain cells into its snarling maw.

    With the honourable exception of RedMiner, of course.

    I don't know why I keep reading it, except that occasionally something interesting breaks out.

  125. * Not just RedMiner; but the sensible posts tend to be swallowed up in the froth.

  126. Cheers thauma i've just posted on waddya and there was absolutely nothing sensible about my post.Guilty as charged:-)

  127. Trolls are out on Arec's piece - some comments are truly unbelievable. inevitably that cyborg MAM is holding forth at length as per.

  128. Wotcha thaum

    Did you see - and this is for everyone - I posted a clip of Bitterweed's gig on the flickr photo page?

    I have been too busy ranting at tory twats on Arec Barin's thread to pay much attention to waddya this evening. There are some real twats on there.

    I finally cracked and said "Fuck off you Tory twat" quite directly to some wanker. It was up to about 60 recommends before it got zapped.

  129. Sheff - someone on that thread, can't remember who it was, made me laugh by asking in a one-liner if we couldn't charge MAM by the word... :o)

  130. interesting front page at the mo
    main story: aung san suu kyi
    main feature: sarah palin
    two women who couldn't be further apart, in every possible sense.
    good piece up from arec b, saw it earlier (while waiting for someone to try to break into the online meeting system at work) - has it gone that badly btl? scared to look...

  131. Sorry, Paul, got carried away by a few total inanities. I'm obviously not guiltless myself.

    Just read Arec's piece and down a few comments. Like his description of the editing process; I imagine his original was a lot better.

    BB - wondered what you had said!

    New strapline for UT: Shuddup or I'll make you sniff some more brandy. (Just overheard in human/canine conversation.)

  132. ps Only joking about strapline!

  133. And P-Brax needs his arse kicked on Waddya.

  134. one good thing from the arec thread - imasmadashell is back! my first ever clipping....

  135. Oh and for anyone who has got Alibi+1 on sky or cable, and likes that kind of thing, they have got the episode of Dalziel and Pascoe set around an ex-mining village with flashbacks to the miners strike. Really good story.

  136. and, not meaning to be stereotypical or anything, but the people throwing out straw-figures have just met their match...

  137. Philibee

    There is surprisingly a hell of a lot of supportive voices on Arec's thread, with a handfull of tory fuckwits.

    It's going rather well...

    Human/canine conversation, Thaum? Have you been getting the dog drunk again? :o)

  138. The title wasn't my choice: I was wanting "I didn't go to war and die for rich people to stay warm by burning poor people".

    he needs hiring. really.

  139. Hi again, Alisdair of course congrats! A bit late in the day I know - sorry - but it is Friday, anyway enjoy all the years of them growing up, it passes quick as a flash.

    BB Ha! I did not twig what I had put there, still, food for thought eh? ;-) Glad somebody reads my ramblings anyway.

    I agree about the posts elsewhere, there are some gems (I can only find them by bookmarking the poster who has a rated history) so I don't bother reading through the remaining 400 or so posts.

    Well, on the telly at 9 it is 'The Event' which looks like another 'Flash Forward' AKA Fast Forward (he he), New Tricks which is a bit hackneyed and formulated, House on Sky 1 if I would sink so low as to pay Rupert!. Grrr he has bought up the good stuff so you are well, stuffed if you want quality drama.

    Well probably all from me 2nite, so bi bi.

  140. Hello everyone; just stopping by to add my congrats and best wishes to Alisdair and family.

    off to watch "New Tricks" catch you later.

  141. BB - heh, the mister has returned from Spain with some slightly dodgy brandy. It's a bit, erm, overpowering from the snifter (although it doesn't taste too bad at all!)

    Dog was offered a sniff and was definitely not impressed.

  142. In case anyone just missed it, Peter Bracken just sneered at RedMiner for mentioning the death of his dad.

    MAM is a gentleman in comparison.

  143. I watched the first episode of The Event and found it too "glitchy" to follow properly. I think that will be another one where I will have to wait until the series is on "TV choice" or else get the box set and watch several in a sitting.

    Flash Forward I found less difficult to follow - boy did that start with a doozy of a hook, though! Brilliant!

  144. Choice is illusory anyway. We're positioned to choose - required to choose. Our culture constitutes us as consumer entities - we are raised to be skilled purchasers. But what is the 'real choice' that's available to us? Choices are, in real terms massively constrained by material limits, by the limits that are constructed by discourses of class, gender, ethnicity. We may have 'choice' superficially, but it's also clear what the 'wrong choices' are.

  145. The thing is, RedMiner didn't spread it all over waddya at all. He mentioned it in a post on the Clegg thread, and people picked up on it and started commenting on it on waddya. I don't suppose P-Brax has looked any further than the end of his nose again, and has commented to be "edgy" without thinking about the consequences of what he was saying.

    Either that or he really is an asshole.

    I would prefer to think it was the former.

  146. Talking of TV has anyone watched The Walking Dead on FX, it only started last week but I think it was the best opening episode of a drama I have seen in ages.

    Warning, don't watch it if you have any problems with extreme zombie action. ;)

  147. BB "Either that or he really is an asshole"

    Eh? You seriously think there is some question about the issue?

    You must have a more generous soul than me, is all I can say.

  148. Jenn

    I saw the trailers and that was enough for me... I am a bit of a scaredy about extreme violence. I love Dexter and True Blood but have to shut my eyes at times when there is really gory stuff. But 28 Days Later really upset me, for some reason, so I have given The Walking Dead a miss for now. Couldn't watch it at night, when it's dark out!!

  149. Oops, I didn't refresh before posting - sorry, my comment looked to me like it was following pretty quickly on the tail of a whole lot of other stuff about choice. Now it just looks all adrift and weird. (par for the course for me, realistically).

  150. Spencer

    I try to see the best in people. And P-Brax can be as irritating as fuck, but a lot of it is brinksmanship, imo. This time he has pushed it past the brink and over the edge, though, and he ought to apologise.

  151. Meerkatjie

    Happens to all of us all the time!

  152. Wow.

    Red Miner I am so sorry for your loss. I saw your post, and he'd of been very proud of you!

    I also think Peter Bracken is a total nutjob.

  153. BB I can see that. I can also see that he has cause to be upset as RedMiner's eloquence must have been very bitter for someone with such pretentions to writing style who must know in his heart he could never get close to it. Even putting the politics aside.

    Personally I have just never seen him write anything that suggested a more worthwhile and generous side. But you might be right. I am probably so put off by his tone that I would tend to dismiss any such glimmers of humanity, or miss them altogether.

  154. Evening all

    What was a bit of light-hearted fun on waddya has turned nasty.I'm probably the last person here who's in a position to criticize anyone for losing it online but to say what was said to someone whose just lost his dad has tbh left me gobsmacked.Initially i skimmed quickly over the offending post and didn't pick up on just how nasty it was.Low blow doesn't even describe it!

  155. BB

    The gory bits are very gory but there aren't that many of them and it is actually a very good program.

    It is nice that you are giving Peter the benefit of the doubt but I still remember some of the things he said about Montana and am finding that beyond me.

  156. bloody hell, that was nasty piece of work from a nasty piece of work. you're right, paul, "low blow doesn't even describe it".

    ditto-ing to BB, always try to assume the best, hence responding constructively to that "you'd better watch yourself" comment. which led to an apology.

    unless grovelling apology results in this case, will not be assuming inherent goodness from it any more.

    it won't care, course. but that's not the point.

  157. I'm no fan of peterbracken, but his odious response was to this very personal comment from RedMiner:

    What better fits that description is your lame impression of a big shot high-roller astride the continents.

    Is the casino shut?, is your racing green drophead coupe in for servicing? has your ex spent your plunder on the latest creations from Paris and Milan? Are bleak hermaphrodite dreams stunting your performance in the small hours?

    Such a big shot, such a high roller that you're just forced to spend all day on Cif reading all these posts by your intellectual inferiors.

    How pathetic is that? how juvenile is that?

    Get over yourself, mate. You might think you're a big fish, but it's just that Cif is a very small pond chock full of losers like me. That you need to come here to prove yourself should alert you to a certain inadequacy among the satin bedsheets and gilt mirrors of Bracken Palace.

    A fairly offensive reply to a comment about politics, don't you think? If bitethehand had said something like that about beautifulburnout, what would you all say? I suppose if one is simplistic and partisan enough, then everybody can only either be a saint or a sinner, and the definition of what someone is only depends on where you stand. Double standards rule everywhere. I suppose the trick is pretending that they only ever apply to other people.

  158. Hang on though, anon. As far as I can tell - and I better go back and check - P-Brax was the first to bandy about the "pathetic and juvenile" schtick earlier in the evening. He started the scrap first. RedMiner was responding.

  159. And this has nothing to do with partisanism either. It has to do with overstepping a mark, and I would have shot down anyone in flames who had been crass enough to accuse someone of grandstanding about their father's death.

  160. Yep - I was right. at 4.19 and then again at 6.22

    Like I say - brinksmanship. Upping the ante every time. Only he went too far.

  161. am calling it a night, think.

    tomorrow another day, and all that. good vibes.

  162. anon

    The Bracken has a history of being rather boastful about his lifestyle which is where Redminers comments probably spring from - at least thats how I read it.

    Having met him - thats Bracken, not Redminer, I find him a bit of a conumdrum - more congenial in the flesh than on the boards, where he appears to enjoy humiliating people, or at least attempting to.

    One thing Redminer did get wrong - Bracken doesn;t drive a a racing green drop head coupe - he drives a dark blue jag.

  163. There is something in what Anon says, actually.

    Not that I think that RedMiner was out of order to make that post. It was aimed at Peter's pretentions rather than his family and certainly not comparable to a very recent family tragedy.

    But it was such a well aimed kick in Peter's bollocks that it is perhaps not surprising that he lashed out so furiously in response.

    There is some mitigation, perhaps. RedMiner just got him too well for Peter to be able to respond proportionally.

  164. englishhermit 12 November 2010 8:59PM

    " I thought we might be in for some mild turbulence this evening but Peter Bracken's comment must rank as one of the most despicably vile comments ever posted on Cif. Looks like the flight has just been blown up. "

    I am pretty sure that EH has received a short sharp shock, not impossibly from Guardian Towers, that if he did not cease his totally ridiculous campaign against the UT--- guess the rest.

    He made a very good comment last night on his disabled bro in law , too.

    Night all.

  165. NN all, can't be bothered with P-Brax and his bile. Redminer is a top poster, P-Brax, well...

  166. Yep - I was right. at 4.19 and then again at 6.22

    Actually, beautifulburnout the opening (unprovoked) shot was from from redminer at 2.39:

    When the poor are given a fair deal by the media, come back and see me and I'll up my game to Bracken levels of credulous neoliberal bullshit.

    They both went too far, but if we're going to pretend to deal in facts, then let's get them right. I have a lot more time for redminer than bracken, but they were both at fault.

  167. Is anyone surprised that Bracken's gone into beserk mode again? Everyone who was on UT a couple of months ago knows how unstable he is. I'm sometimes torn between loathing and pity, but then he posts again and I come down firmly on the side of loathing.

    * * *

    It's already been said, but 3 or 4 vomit-inducing trickles of pus from a boil on the backside of humanity on Arec's thread. Fuck, but you pettily hope they're going to lose everything and find themselves homeless and rejected one day as an object lesson.

  168. Anon

    Well I am not going to trawl back through all the waddyas over the past 24 hours, but if RedMiner had something personal to say to Bracken I am pretty sure it was in response to something crass he had said. Because RedMiner doesn't usually do ad hom.

    On the other hand, his father has just died and his emotions will also be all over the fucking shop, so I shall cut him some slack. I cut P-Brax a lot of slack as it is, because I don't believe that, in his heart, he is a nasty person. And would do so to the nth degree if he found himself in the same postion.


    I think that's the fear that kicks in with people. They know that they are only two paycheques away from potential ruin themselves and they are frightened. They would rather point elsewhere and say "look, it's them! They are wasting all the money! You don't need to do things that will cause me to lose my job, I support you, see?"

    Godwinning this out of all proportion here, but there are parallels with the old denouncing the neighbours during the Occupation, because that way the fash are busy elsewhere and not paying any attention to you.

  169. Hello peeps! (and to Jack Cade - top post that!)

    Just swinging by - am absolutely knackered.... just done 10 days on the trot and have a horrible hangover which, by drinking more beer is succeeding in making me a bit pissed but also dazed....will need to sleep a bit tomorrow before pulling the all night dancing ting.....

    Have to say pissed myself laughing at many posts here tonight, I do not have the energy/brain power to construct a detailed response to all the good stuff I've been reading here - however, have sent a 'message' to the name and shame thing on the ToryGraph... who the fuck do they think they are? The fucking Police? I'm thinking of reporting them to the PCC (press complaints commission - not the Princess!) A quick glance at the 'Editors Code of Conduct' seems to suggest that they are in breach.

  170. Stop that ---Eva Wilt and AllyF just provided !

    Smart work .

  171. Gloups ! Sorry for timewasting Spike .

  172. First: Congratulations, Alasdair!!

    Just got home awhile ago and caught up with here, so I haven't seen anything of Cif yet. However, Bracken's SOP on Cif is to sneer at anyone who dares to disagree with him, whereas the comment above is the first time I've ever seen RedMiner get anywhere close to ad hom with another poster.

    I think I'll give the Malik piece a miss (esp. since I won't even be able to leave a disgusted comment). Steeling myself for Arec's.

  173. This comment has been removed by the author.

  174. Fucking chit chat about CiF over here. You want to engage ? Fuck off over there. You have enough threads to spread out over.

    Jesus, If I wanted Peter Alis' golf commentary I'f have fucked off to Bournemouth thirty years ago.

  175. OK I'm going to post something to warm the cockles folks....

    Helpful Hippo

    The Hippo is clearly not a Tory.

  176. Hey LaRit, Montana, BW.

    Bitterweed you git - this is the cifrefugeeblogspot. The clue is in the title.


  177. Here's a nice tune.

    Hell- man! , perhaps we can all get on now.

  178. Nice to see the lovely Eva Wilt making an excellent defence of RedMiner and pillock of Peter B all in one fell swoop...(not that La Bracken is into humble pie)


    I know you love to be an agent provacateur, but accusing redminer of hubris is frankly ridiculous. The man has consistently highlighted the injustices of the last lot's welfare reform and highlighting genuine and heartfelt concerns about the activities of IDS and crew. I've engaged on the injustices of ESA on a no of welfare threads over the past year, but sadly I don't have the energy and ability to keep making the case as redminer (and a few others) have consistently done.

    You've told me off for complaining about MaM (who expresses some unbelievable opinions on mental health and welfare) yet criticise someone who genuinely cares for his fellow man. I really don't get it.

  179. Hello Ms BB ;) That evil freakin' virus is foinally going.... still coughing though. Jesus it has taken it out of me.

    Bitterweed Apols for not engaging recently, been banjaxed :( sorry I missed the last meet up ... hope the gig went well last night.


    Great pic yesterday. There wass something very poignant about that scattering of poppies in the field.

  180. LaRit

    I am at the end of week 5 now and still coughing up chunks of lung. Bloody awful.

  181. BB ;)

    I know, they are such massive and dangerous animals, you kind of don't know what to think... it's so mad!

  182. Dave

    thanks for that link to the Bitter Truth - have had a quick squiz at it and it looks really good - will go back for a proper watch tomorrow.

  183. This comment has been removed by the author.

  184. myfellowprisoners 12 November 2010 7:03PM

    " I suspect there's a lot of dirty little secrets hidden out there, to do with companies contracted to the DWP.

    I know somebody who recently got canned from his job at an A4e-type organisation. The company was hired to take long-term unemployed persons and provide them with 'training', 'job-hunting skills' and placements. Attendance was mandatory and loss of benefit was a sanction used against those who didn't attend the centre for the set weekly hours. Sounds fair so far?
    However, the centre was run by a highly dodgy businessman. It consisted of a crappy rented office with two ancient computers that barely worked. The company received money by handing in time sheets to JobcentrePlus, showing the hours of attendance for each Jobseeker. The problem was that there was nothing to do there.

    No CV help, no functioning internet, and the work placements which the business was meant to supply the Jobseekers with didn't exist.

    My contact got fired because he refused to fiddle the timesheets sent back.
    When he got canned, he checked out his wageslips. NI contributions had been deducted, but no income tax. Oh dear...

    The crazed fetishisation of private business by subsequent administrations as always being able to provide more 'efficiency' and 'dynamism' than the state, leading to mindless contracting out of taxpayers' money to the first Powerpoint-wielding smart alec in a pin-striped suit, is at the core of scandals like this.

    What they totally fail to understand is that businesses are there to make money, not provide a public service. If there is more money to be made by defrauding the customer, and they think they can get away with it (and they mostly can), they will do it.

    I've worked in the private sector and I've worked in the not-for-profit sector. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. An unremitting focus on the bottom line is what makes the most successful private company, but when you start letting them into aspects of government that deal with welfare, you can expect perverse incentives to flourish.

    Some of the board members I was acquainted with from private companies are great chaps, brilliant at profit maximisation. But by God, where money is concerned, they are vicious weasels. Don't let them near services designed to help the poorest and most vulnerable in society. They'll eat them alive, hire a management consultancy to work out the best way to rape the leftovers and charge you a kings ransom for their time."

    From the well-hidden Arec thread.

  185. BB
    You should try coughing up chunks of liver. Or leg, or possibly worn out conrete underpinnings. Lightweight.

    La Rit - Cheers; emailed you anyhoo.

  186. BB

    5 weeks? Does that mean even if I pack the fags in AGAIN, I'll still be coughing like an train?

  187. BW - shall be a-checkin' my inbox!

  188. Shefffpixie -- a good link there indeed, I only received it this week ...
    NN all, new resolution to read whatever you say now -- tomorrow am .

    Should VIZZO turn up, refer himm to my link from the former chief IMF economist right at beginning this morning .

    Other 'economic' discussions are a waste of space until that lot has been 'acquired'.

    XXXX !

  189. BW

    Me? Lightweight?

    That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day.

    Mind you, I have been on threads infested by Tory twats...