13 November 2010


I worry that the person who thought of muzak might be thinking of something else.
-Lily Tomlin


  1. Borrowing today's image from AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. I used to look at it almost every day but haven't for awhile. Perhaps I'm a simpleton, perhaps I'm just cruel, but I love it.

  2. bloody hell, montana, that was a nasty shock to wake up to! what on earth is going on with those chaps' trousers?


  3. Ewww.

    Philippa, the chaps are wearing, er, chaps.

  4. plus, just the one hairstyle between the four of them.



  5. Morning all, just catching up on the Arec thread. I then saw this by @LeopardPrint

    But the majority of the unemployed, and probably the majority on disability, are to blame for their own condition.

    @MAM, yeah I altered my DNA just for shits and giggles.

    and split my sides laughing. I love the one liner put-down for MAM who writes 10,000 word epistles.

  6. started reading the lead article but got too depressed.


    it did remind me how much the VAT rise has been 'forgotten' in the press coverage, while all the other arse-wipery goes on.


  7. IanG, I saw that and just loved it - was it LP who suggested MAM is paid by the word?

  8. [shudder] *cough* [sigh] [siiiiiiigh]


    [snigger] [duh] [sigh] : )

    Um, er, [doh!] [sigh] : (

    Scratch backside, adjust testicles

    [sigh] [snigger] [duh]


    ...off to the shops.

  9. @PhilipaB, take a look at @LP's comments here , very perceptive and witty.

  10. Ben Caute posted this yesterday - a better bet for Christmas No.1 than John Cage?

    Liar Liar.

  11. That 'Liar Liar' song is great - there is, of course, a facebook group for it...

  12. anon said of Redminer, whose increasingly sounding like a caricature of a Monty Python character:

    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?

    As it happens here's what I posted about the gushing uncritical response to RedMiner's hyperbole:

    RedMiner writes populist hyperbole which I suggest his "ancestors" would dismiss as such. It is a measure of the ignorance of life in twentieth century Britain that it has attracted such an uncritical following.

    1. The minimum wage never did and never will represent slave labour wages. The minimum wage was a major advance for millions of working women and to a lesser extent working men and should not be dismissed so contemptuously.

    2. In "the last century" the working week has been progressively reduced and holiday entitlement increased, largely through trade union activity. The "masses" you refer to have far more leisure time now that they did one hundred years ago. It will be the same trade unions, the ones you fail even to mention, whose actions will ameliorate the worst of the measures the current government proposes to introduce.

    3. If the retirement age had kept pace with life expectancy since the state pension was introduced in 1948, retirement age for men would now be over 74. It isn't and you propose nothing by way of funding its continuation at its present age.

    4. The betrayal of those people "who vanquished the landowners and the factory and coal owners", is historical nonsense. The 1945 election was not a socialist revolution, it was a majority general election vote for a Labour Government, against the social attutudes of pre-war Britain, by people who had suffered first the deprivation of the depression of the thirties and then six years of war. With some unfortuate setbacks it was followed by the longest most sustained period of economic prosperity known to the people of Britain. Most people writing here are a living testament to that.

    5. Again on the question of "slave labour", which successful business would willingly employ a resentful long-term unemployed person with no desire to contribute to their business? Which manager or supervisor in the public or private sector would want to take on that responsibility, especially when in a period of rising unemployment, there are those who are both talented and well motivated who are seeking employment?

    6. As for the public display of foul langauge in your closing sentence, I'm sure your ancestors would be turning in their graves far more at this, than your historical misrepresentation of the 20th century.

    So six months of a Tory government induces collective amnesia about 100 years of social progress.

  13. La Ritournelle said...

    Bitey.... give it a rest.... it must be exhausting waging such a singularly boring personal vendetta. What's your solution to the problems we all face? Ah, yes, Fill our universities with the fat, over-privileged kids of the Honk Kong Chinese and Russian oligarchs waving wads of cash buying degrees?
    11 November, 2010 08:18

    Your ignorance LaRitournelle knows no bounds. Most Chinese students here in the UK have parents who have saved for a lifetime to give them the kind of opportunity a western higher education will provide. There was a time when such behaviour would have been praised. So what happened to you to produce such cynicism? Ah yes of course, your limited personal experience encompasses the entire range of scientific study on overseas students in the UK doesn't it.

    Without the fees from overseas students many of the poorest home based students would not get their highly subsidised places and many university staff would be out of their jobs. But why let that get in the way of your attempt at cheap point scoring?

    And one of the solutions about which you in your ignorance scoff so loudly, is to increase the attraction and attractiveness of our world class universities - 29 in the 2010/11 Times Higher Educational Supplement World top 200 so that even more overseas cash flows in to support them and the teaching and research they undertake.

  14. Good morning.

    Beautiful morning here in Yorkshire.

  15. Morning

    That picture Montana - what can I say?....:-))

    Gorgeous cold, clear blue day here - must get backside into gear and do something.


    Redminer doesn't post here - I suggest you nip over to waddya and put your ramblings up there.

  16. Morning all. (well, nearly all). Had a quick look in last night, Bracken seemed to have pissed some people off on Waddya

    Took a look and copied this response from Redminer, because there was just no way it was going to last (and I was right):

    12 November 2010 10:03PM

    'you even alerted the world to your loss, as if to authenticate your credentials.'

    I was just back from the hospital, it slipped out in an emotional flood of writing responding to what I considered an odious article from someone, for all his wealth and privilege, is not fit to clean my father's shoes.

    I regretted mentioning it, but I was genuinely touched by many of the comments and condolences, none at my instigation, and I tried to thank everyone en masse rather than take over the whole thread with individual thanks, which is what I would really have preferred to do, because I appreciated every one of them.

    So now we've established your level of debate, perhaps you'd like to help me establish your ability to back it up.

    Huh? How about it, you red faced cunt?"

  17. Morning

    Weather perfect here to.

    Just found Arec's piece - too late to comment .He exposes the blind stupidity of the system very well.

  18. Too - Too - Too.

    Must check before posting. Don't want the lurkers to think we are an ignorant, untutored lot here.

  19. week in westminster - the big question is asked - "if you do take away benefits for three years, how do they eat?"

    answer - "nobody is going to turn down three jobs if they know that's going to happen"

    but to make sure you don't get offered a job you can't do (to avoid having to refuse it and get benefits taken away) you have to only apply for those jobs that suit, and I can't see the jobcentres accepting that. when i was briefly on the dole (1998?) i was told to apply for anything even vaguely appropriate or i would not get any money. imagine things have only got worse since then...

  20. Redminer has responded to bitey's post above on waddya. I wish he'd join us on the UT.

  21. Thought of this late on Arec's thread and I'm not sure if it counts as a standard rebuttal of a right-wing myth, but anyway:


    And yet the evidence that the millions of people on benefits, some literally for generations, have contributed anything to Britain is what precisely?

    Most of the bands that have later become household names, MaM. When New Labour started changing the benefits system, a whole load of successful groups pointed out that they could never have made it without benefits. But perhaps you don't care for this nasty modern music?

    Of course, you get some bastards who go into tax exile, but most have stayed in the UK and paid taxes when they've become successful. Since they pay lots of tax, I expect you'll be keen to listen to what they have to say, MaM.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. @3p4

    You missed my "Excellent article" at 7.14 pm on Arec's thread. (backtothepoint)

  24. Martyn In Europe

    Word of advice...if you haven't got the sense to stop inadvertently dropping big fuckin clues about your narrow-minded, petty nationalist bigotry...just stop fighting it...embrace it ...just like Kermit does with his equally deluded devotion to English cultural supremacy

    Stand up..loud and proud, look the world in the eye and state unequivocally.."I am a nasty little bigot and I'm proud of it"

    I don't think there would be much controversy or even surprise...remember when Boy George came out?...course you fuckin don't..it was hardly scoop of the century...not even a ripple..

    ...might embarrass Jessica, mind...two of her top waddaya lapdogs both turning out to carry crypto-fascist leanings...bit of an own goal for the World's leading liberal voice..hosting a chat board for fuckwit middle-aged xenophobes

  25. RedMiner

    Since it's now apparent that you peruse these pages from time to time, can we tempt you into joining us at our next Sheffield get-together (whenever that may be)?

  26. @RedMiner

    And joining us here too.

    You simply need a Google mail account.

  27. @MaM

    And yet the evidence that the millions of people on benefits, some literally for generations, have contributed anything to Britain is what precisely?

    And I could add at a basic economic level that as they are paid in this country they spend the money locally and that in itself supports local people through spending. However by contrast, when they off-shore (yes it's me on that topic again), a job the money goes to

    a) the South Asia economy and

    b) the off-shore tax haven and will likely end up in the Cayman Islands used to buy Rum & Coke (both kinds ;-) ).

    Just a comment...

  28. Ian

    Good point. I find the whole notion of "contributing" in only an economic sense problematic. Those on benefits bring other contributions to society which are immeasurable - providing care, support for neighbours in times of trouble, supporting local businesses, running community services like toy libraries & lunch clubs.

    Some things are just not about economics.

  29. aung san suu kyi is out.

    hoping tomorrow's meeting at her party HQ turns out well.

  30. That answer to Peter Bracken from RedMiner is topnotch - I actually choked on me coffee a bit.

    Re the answer to the question of are you going to let someone starve for three years. If we follow the US the answer is patently 'yes'. In fact I do wonder if they want to intentionally create - as in the US - ghettos of anject poverty.

    Right now there are some of the unemployed living amongst the well off in London and other places so I suppose the thinking is they might become a bit 'troublesome' if they lose benefits for three years. So instead lets change housing benefit so all the unemployed have to move to the North East, parts of Wales and South Yorkshire, then we will cut off their benefits and they can just turn on one another.

    They are utter fuckers.

    And is it just me or do some of them look increasingly 'wrong'. Don't know any other way to describe it. I am starting to wonder if Osborne is all there. Seriously watch his face at PMQ's. His jaw is slack, his eyes are glazed and his lips move. All the time - like he is muttering stuff. Then there is IDS who is obviously completely mad. And Cameron who worries more about his hair and being photographed in the right light then anything else.

    I watched a programme about Goring the other week - drug addled, vainglorious, incompetent nutter basically. Hhmmm....

  31. Some things are just not about economics.

    Aye MsC - Seems to me 'economics' is a very elastic word and can mean almost anything depending upon who's using it and why.

    The community centre where I used to work was full of the unemployed involved in groups that covered the whole spectrum of community activities - probably being much more useful to themselves and local people than if they were working in some soul stifling job on the NMW - which they're now likely to be forced into as 'volunteers'.

  32. "RedMiner writes populist hyperbole which I suggest his "ancestors" would dismiss as such. It is a measure of the ignorance of life in twentieth century Britain that it has attracted such an uncritical following."

    Oooh, I wasn't aware he was a national figure...

  33. Priess

    I too have grave concerns about the competeny of this lot. They al look curiously alike - featureless faces lacking character lines.

    There is also a disconnect between their various policies - as though each is riding their own hobby horse without reference each to the other.

    IDS model for 'benefir reform' is obviously baed on the delusion that there are jobs out there somewhere if only they could be found. i assume he bases his thinking - a very loose description - on assumption formed in 2002 when it appeared to some that the economy was expanding and Britain ruled the world. Has he looked out ofthe window since ?

    As for Cameron - he defies rational comment other than to wonder about the stability of hs inner world.

  34. That was to Princess - where do the letters go?

  35. princesschipchops,

    So instead lets change housing benefit so all the unemployed have to move to the North East, parts of Wales and South Yorkshire, then we will cut off their benefits and they can just turn on one another.

    Harold MacMillan of all people addressed this during his famous speech to the Lords at the height of the miners strike attacking Thatcherism:

    It breaks my heart to see—and I cannot interfere—what is happening in our country today. This terrible strike, by the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's and Hitler's armies and never gave in. It is pointless and we cannot afford that kind of thing.

    Then there is the growing division of Conservative prosperity in the south and the ailing north and Midlands. We used to have battles and rows but they were quarrels. Now there is a new kind of wicked hatred that has been brought in by different types of people.

    As resonant now as it was in 1985.

  36. john whiting has some nice moments, on tax simplification:
    Millenium gift aid is still on the statue books. Now, unless we're going to wait for the next one...
    Bit of a pity the OTS is not going for revuenue raising, but given the way the cuts programme is going, maybe it's a relief he hasn't been told to find an extra £10b or something, we can imagine what would happen then...

  37. PCC, I saw your comment on CiF about that YouGov survey by Ch4 and whether the questions were framed honestly and of course when it was done is pertinent. The 60% thing I mentioned on here I think a day or so back and I took it at face value, so thanks for the insight. The devil is in the detail as the saying goes.

    Ms Suu Kyi - I may be accused of being parochial here but without distracting from her undoubted significance I sense we will get wall-to-wall TV coverage of this for a good few days when all the while our welfare state is being dismantled around us. Prove me wrong by all means, perhaps we can learn something from her experience but it is thousands of miles away.

    @Leni - the letters are gobbled up by that evil Elf Bill Gates. His dire OS cannot even keep up with manual typing speeds. I type with 2 fingers and my entries get lost too. Back in the day of dumb terminals and Mini-computers you could do the whole login sequence without any characters coming up on screen (as it was too slow to transmit the characters) but it queued them up for you without a hitch. That was 30 years back btw.

  38. That's a good quote your Dukeness.
    Very depressing really all of it.

    Leni - lol I do that all the time with letters. In fact I am writing a right load of rubbish a lot at the moment - keep getting my words wrong, bit worrying really.

    As for that lot - they are really odd. It was my mum who told me to watch Osborne in the house - very strange and his weird little moving lips god knows what he is muttering away to himself.

    Then IDS who looks like the village idiot and who is grinning like a simpleton whilst wrecking everything Beveridge did. Cameron - well as you say don't even go there.

    I see also that the Lib Dems were planning to abolish their promise on fees months before the election. I understand that many party's drop their promises after being elected. And of course they were probably planning to do so before then, however that can never be proved and they can always say that once in office they had to change direction due to x,y,z. However now we have two instances where we know a party knowingly lied to the electorate. Surely this needs to be addressed?

    I mean can we sue 'em or something?

  39. Leni

    That was to Princess - where do the letters go?

    Firstly, they are dropped into open-top carriages rattling along tracks, which drop them into a hopper.

    From there, they are slowly released and go along a conveyor-belt, which drops them into a chute.

    The chute, er, shoots them into an open concrete area, where huge steamrollers run over them and bend them out of shape.

    Bulldozers then push them into heaps at the sides, where they are left to rust and rot for anything from days to months, with occasional rustlers making off with the droppings and leavings.

    Then, an ancient, wheezing and clunking lorry, driven by an asthmatic and semi-blind refugee from Cartoonia arrives and they are picked up by grabs and dropped into his truck, clattering and fracturing and becoming impossibly tangled.

    He takes them to the loading-bay at CiF, at the back of Guardian Towers.

    Then they are just emptied over WADDYA, falling in any order and occasionally, randomly making a pattern which seems to display the intervention of a working mind.

  40. Is it just me or is this site like trying to swim through treacle in an old diving-suit with lead boots?

    And porcupines attached by Velcro.

    With a rope tied to a block of flats.

    And your arms nailed to a railway sleeper?

  41. Leni

    featureless faces lacking character lines


  42. princess

    Can we sue them? Probably not. But we constituents can recall MPs, as the NUS have suggested.

    It's to The Graun's credit that they have published this latest scandal about the Lib Dems, given their pre-election support for them.

  43. Gah. Pah. Fucking tories.

    (Apropro of nothing much.)

  44. Meerkatjie

    Sounds fair enough to me!

  45. Spike said...

    So bitey's new ID on CiF is Phimai.
    13 November, 2010 12:03

    While I was in China and unable to post on this site because of the action of the Chinese censors, Tony Shallcross, aka backtothepoint and spike and also quite partial to a bit of censorship in his own right, posted the following, once on this site, the second time on CiF. Most people see double when they're drunk, Shallcross posts double when he's sober. And as a longtime member of the French Communist Party, he is no stranger to the more pernicious tradition of political censorship.

    Can someone tell me why bitethehand was banned?
    27 September, 2010 14:28


    Free speech isn't a licence to smear, lie and libel, bitethehand, and you have plenty of previous form.
    27 September 2010 3:32PM

    Actually it is exactly that and of course those who want free speech also have to accept the consequences of their actions.

    But people like you who promote censorship are the scum on whom the libel tourists like Murdoch rely for support.

    Or as J S Mill said in "On Liberty" in 1859:

    We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.

  46. Re the libdems, I do worry that we're buying into tory plans by engaging too much in the practice of shrieking loudly every time the libdems violate one of their electoral promises. Yes, we know they lied. Perhaps it's time to let it go now, and focus on the real problem.

    I think the conservatives are playing a clever tactical game at the moment. They regularly allow the libdems to absorb all the criticism on their policies. They have even stopped sending representatives to debate fora like Question Time lately, allowing libdems to defend coalition policy visibly. The effect of this effectively is to distract the electorate from the reality that it is they who are pushing the bulk of this hideous policy through. It is they who are the architects of it, even if the libdems are their willing accomplices.

    Come the next election, I believe the game the tories are playing is one where former libdem voters and floating voters, disenchanted with 'libdem lies' will turn blue. The tories are going for an overall majority next time around, with the libdems their happy sacrificial lambs to that outcome.

  47. I keep meaning to ask this and keep forgetting.

    Some months ago, when I was not posting here or anywhere much, we had someone called RatBoy[?] or WolfBoy[?] who was connected with an A4E or Atos-style government-sponsored-semi-criminal-filching-operation and he was going to supply some information on their methods of mugging the poor in order to claim benefits from the state in the form of taxpayer-funded government handouts.

    Did anything come of it in the end?

  48. Atomboy - I too read something about that, and that was many months ago, well before I discovered UT. Was he not a whistleblower of some sort, who was going to post some things on the Guardian? It is tickling my memory banks, but I can't access detail (filing system is a bit shot!)

  49. Meerkatjie

    Yes, that is a good and valid point.

    Perhaps many people feel that if you can keep some pressure of any kind on what is perceived as the weakest point, the balloon will burst.

    Add to that, many people voted for the LibDems as a method of ensuring that the Neo Nasties would not get into power in their constituencies (if the difference between them was slight) and there is a reasonable feeling of being let down.

    Perhaps the thing would be to start a campaign to persuade people not to vote for any MP who is holding or has held office.

    Or simply don't vote for any major party, since their channels to their money-masters are too defined and secure anyway.

    Vote ConDemLab - get big business and bankers.

  50. Meerkatjie

    You are right - it's all smokescreen to distract from the real agenda of a Tory government, which is to dismantle the welfare state.

    Most of the councils in England are Tory. Hence the shift to localism which will implicitly reflect the values of the government.

  51. timboktutu

    I cannot remember the exact details, as I was either on retreat or in a huff or sailing somewhere in the clouds at the time.

    I think it was broadly as you say, though.

    He was trying to get the information to blow some kind of lid off.

    Whether that was small or large, I cannot say.

  52. The Lib Dems have become the Tories Meat Shields, until the Lib Dems themselves say "hey, you are using me like a Meat Shield" or Joe Public cottons on, then the Tories are getting away with a lot by using them them, it's noteworthy how stupid(or in love with power) the Lib Dems are not to notice it.

  53. RatBoy was involved with the CAB, IIRC.

  54. Think it was ratb0y on Cif, and I seem to remember he also came over here (maybe not).

    Oh, and fuck off, Bitey.

  55. meerkatjie - agreed. apart from freud, there do seem to be rather more libdem voices having to defend the indefensible than tories...

    "meat shields" just sounds wrong, though...

  56. I cringe at the term 'meat shield' too. I know it's apt, and I know that the tories are letting the libdems absorb their political bullets, but even so.... Ugh.

  57. It's a horrid term I admit, but quite apt. I've never seen it done quite like this before, and the horror of how the Tories are using the Libs is something else.

  58. I really don't think any former Lib Dem voters who are angry about what they're doing are going to vote for their Tory masters.

  59. RedMiner says this on WADDYA:

    I've also had about enough of the online world. Too much hate-speech against the vulnerable, and endlessly posting rebuttals and replies is getting nowhere. They repost the same trash in the next thread.

    I think we've entered the next stage. Time to move away from computers. I think the Government would be quite happy for us to spend our time protesting online.

    Many people here will know I have said the same thing quite a few times.

    In a year or two, we will be stepping over the casualties of the ConDem policies as we leave the industrial estate hangars of Asbo and Tesco and still be wondering whether the quips and catcalls we casually drop on CiF are making any difference in the real world.

    The government should really make WADDYA compulsory for everyone of voting age.

    Double club-card points and a note of approval from JezzaBella before you can plant your spastic little cross on the ballot paper.

  60. Afternoon, folks. I see that that the Malik thread has not been re-opened for comment. In fact, it's as if it never ever existed.

    Gotta love the integrity of Cif. They commission, vet, edit and then publish an atrocious offensive piece. When it gets some well-deserved stick (none of it personally abusive towards Malik) they get a few Cif hacks like Reed and Whittaker to go BTL to defend it. When this doesn't work they just disappear it.

    Journalistic standards at their finest. With this sort of rubbish, which is becoming more and more common, and their apparent tacit acceptance/condoning of the coalition's policies it's no wonder that the Guardian has now become a laughing-stock to so many people.

  61. thaumaturge said...( 19 October, 2010)

    "In other news, Matty Boy's been taken in by what I presume is Bitey's new identity on the Tea Party Loony thread. Heh."

    "Here it is in all its beauty:"

    "@ Kafocin:

    "For years cohorts of left wing Guardian men have been denigrating left of centre feminists like Julie Bindel, Bidisha, Barbara Ellen, Libby Brooks and other less well known ones who post below the line and now having failed to see off their original foe with slights and insults, they wonder why some women have turned to the right for political solutions.

    "Interesting remark, K, thanks. Definitely food for thought."

    So my remarks to Tony Shallcross about playing the censor apply to you too thaumaturge. Why should you feel it necessary to identify Kafocin as Bitethehand, other than to be the censor?

    And why should that be a surprise to anyone? Your contributions here and on CiF are not exactly earth shattering. Telling tales is about as good as it gets for you.

    What's more interesting is that you couldn't even bring yourself to respond to the observation I recorded about Tea Party membership, and your only reason for posting was to show off to your Untrusted comrades what a great censor you too are. But then looking at the content of the vast majority of your posts, here and on CiF, you do seem to specialise in the inconsequential.

  62. Atomboy

    Yes, RedMiner's point about the ineffectiveness of CiF etc in political change has been made before - hankscorpio, monkeyfish, andysays and your good self included.

    But the internet is still potentially a good platform for those who have been traditionally excluded to air their views for the first time eg: disabled people and elderly people.

  63. Afternoon all.

    It seems to me that both sides are getting a bit over-excited about IDS's proposals for the unemployed. I don't think that people are getting overexcited about the situation of the disabled or of poorer people (working or not) who need housing benefit to stay in their communities.

    And time may prove me wrong about this.

    But it seems to me that we have been here so many times before and the reality, rather than the spin, is that in my experience the easiest and most comfortable time to be on the dole was under Thatcher and that it had been much harder under Callahan.

    I was only dependent on benefits briefly at the start of the Blair era but I have friends who have been the whole time, mostly on incapacity benefit which so many people were eased onto to massage the unemployment figures.

    The reason that it was easier through the Thatcher years than the Callahan government was obviously not any tenderness towards the unemployed on the part of the Tories, but the fact that mass unemployment made it impossible for them to realistically carry out the threats that they made in public so frequently.

    And what we are looking at now is a sharp increase in unemployment, unless the Tories wishful thinking about the magic of the market actually comes to pass. So it seems bonkers to try to put these policies into place at this time. But then IDS, it seems to me, is a very dim man.

    I don't wish to discount the distress that individuals are going to face. And I am not looking at this from some lofty height, my own job is only funded until April and it will be a minor miracle if we get our grant renewed from the local authority then, things being as they are.

    But I do think those right wingers who are rubbing their hands with glee are going to be woefully disapointed with the results of IDS's "revolution."

    It was a right wing Tory government that created structural, institutional unemployed, dependent on benefits for life.

    Let's not forget that.

  64. United are playing crap. 2-0 down.

    I'm in a curious position this season. When MU win, well, I'm a supporter. When we lose, I can comfort myself with the fact this if we don't get any silverware this year, it'll make life difficult for the Glazer scum and perhaps force them to sell (fingers crossed).

    Ah... 2-1. Macheda.

  65. Bloody hell. 2-2. Vidic. They've woken up.

    Should I have put Spoiler Alert at the beginning of these posts? Hope no-one was waiting for the highlights on MOTD.

  66. @Spike

    This isn't the Likely Lads! There is this thing called the internet these days.

  67. MsChin

    Yes, completely true.

    However, there is a difference between the appearance of having a voice and actually being heard.

    There is then another disparity between being heard and the message being acted upon.

    Unfortunately, none of it is the same as having real power.


    Yes, there is a gulf between what any politician says now in order to get his face smeared across the television and work his perceived constituents into a frenzy and what actually happens as the confident proclamation unravels in all its clumsy nastiness.

    To repeat something else which I have said before:

    A thousand and one daily acts of minor sabotage.

  68. Spencer

    You say

    It seems to me that both sides are getting a bit over-excited about IDS's proposals for the unemployed.

    later on you say

    And what we are looking at now is a sharp increase in unemployment, unless the Tories wishful thinking about the magic of the market actually comes to pass. So it seems bonkers to try to put these policies into place at this time...

    ...I don't wish to discount the distress that individuals are going to face

    Is it unreasonable to be bloody furious about government policies that drive people into unemployment then punish them for being unemployed by making them 'volunteer' for jobs that they should be getting properly paid for?

  69. @Spencer

    You've lost me there.

  70. Atomboy

    OK, that's all true, but (to quote deano), I travel in hope.

  71. Atomboy

    The thing is, that despite the fears of the Liberal and/or Left and the glee of the suppurating Right, we live in a country dominated by the media. And were the changes to have their logical consequences: large numbers of people homeless on the streets, begging and stealing, masses of children taken into care, etc, you can be sure that there will be lots of exposure and the politicians will take fright.

    Also, companies like A4E, or whoever is being paid to administer the system will connive in letting people avoid being struck off benefits because once someone is really cut loose no one will be making any money out of them.

    Certainly that was my experience of them in the 80s and 90s. I think it was Kimberly Clark (the toilet paper people) who ran the Job Club I got sent to and it was a total joke. I just used to go to nick the stamps.

  72. Spencer

    In a way I agree, what IDS is saying is not a great deal different to what already happens to those on benefits which is why I wonder what they are planning.

    The constant villification and denigration of those on benefits seems to be part of a softening up process, people on the New Deal (whoever gave it that name wants a good kicking) already have to do everything that people have been talking about, in fact some are expected to do 13 week courses rather than the 4 week workfare proposed.

    The only difference that I can see is the fact that they are boldly stating that people will have to work for benefits, no couching it in terms of training etc

    I can only think that they are testing the water, if they can get the public to swallow the idea that people will have to do proper physical full time jobs at way below minimum wage, if only for a month a year, in order to get benefits then the next step is easier and before you know it we have government sanctioned slave labour.

    That might sound a bit far fetched but I really don't think it is.

    The housing benefit cuts are equally as important but it is all tied together and I think people are right to be fearful.

    That isn't taking the whole kicking people off ESA and DLA into account, it all might come to nothing but a lot of people are already suffering from the stress of not knowing what is going to happen to them, it isn't just about money, it is about quality of life as well.

  73. Also Spencer it really has all changed since the 80s and 90s.

  74. Spencer

    There was a programme on Channel 4 the other evening about sweatshops in the UK, making clothes for New Look and the various components of Philip Green's tacky empire.

    It was mainly done with secret filming.

    Why has nobody been set up to do this for an A4E interview?

    I do not think, though, that conventional media will be much cop at this, but we shall see.

    In the programme mentioned, the man pretending to work in the factory was sewing trousers together. The voiceover said, in an appalled way: "As soon as he has finished sewing these clothes, a new pile is dumped for him to start on."

    Obviously, not made by anyone who has actually worked in a production environment.

    Presumably, in the world of film-makers, once you have handed in the goods, you have a party, everyone air-kisses and back-slaps and you go on holiday for three weeks.

  75. Since the 80s, the gap between rich and poor has been constantly widening. Will this new offensive to make the poor poorer and the rich richer finally push people to their breaking point?

  76. Afternoon all

    In the middle of some work but having a little skive before I make myself a sixth cup of tea and get back to it again.

    It really does seem like every day there is another spiffing wheeze coming out of ConDem HQ for us to be seriously concerned about. I am running out of energy. Still going to the CRAC meeting on the 28th though, although I wonder how much support they will attract in leafy Surrey... (actually, good job it is not the Kent meeting otherwise it would be CRACK)

    Onwards and upwards.

    Meerkatjie - I think it is nice just to post that now and again. Lets it all out.

    Oh and Bitey - fuck off.

  77. Ratb0y comment list here. No particular news though.

  78. Jenni "The constant villification and denigration of those on benefits seems to be part of a softening up process, people on the New Deal (whoever gave it that name wants a good kicking) already have to do everything that people have been talking about, in fact some are expected to do 13 week courses rather than the 4 week workfare proposed."

    Exactly. But though the vilification is nasty you don't actually need a sinister objective. I think you give these fools far too much credit.

    Dole scroungers and cheats are traditional objects for politician's vilification, along with illegal immigrants. Not groups that vote much, regular providers of shocked headlines for the Mail and Express (if someone is a benefit fraudster and immigrant, so much the better!). It is cheap point scoring.

    Montana posted that quote from Cicero the other day and suggested it showed him for a Tory, but I think the lesson from that quote is rather different.

    These issues are intractable. So intractable that no developed country is without a welfare system and even the Romans, who were brutal enough to enjoy watching people thrown to wild beasts and forced to fight each other to death, found it impossible in government to do the things that Cicero is bemoaning.

    If you think I am over optimistic, I don't think so. I think things might really get bad before long. The fact that the banks have not been reigned in but have been given a get out of jail free card to carry on as before seems to me to be insanity.

    So I can see an economic collapse coming on a scale well beyond what has happened so far.

    But I think that this government's "revolution" on benefits and benefits culture is going to turn out to be another damp squib. One with individual victims, certainly, but nothing like as bad as people fear or hope, overall.

  79. @Spencer

    "Benefit scroungers" are the new "enemy within". The public is being asked to denounce neighbours who may be "scroungers". Everyone claiming benefits is having rights withdrawn and is viewed with suspicion.

    Remind you of anything?

  80. Jenni "Also Spencer it really has all changed since the 80s and 90s"

    Well, I do accept that my first hand knowledge is of longer ago but in a way that supports my original point. Since the 80s and 90s we have had a "Labour" government and much lower levels of unemployment.

    So if it became tougher to survive as long term unemployed in those years that would fit the pattern.

    And IDS is introducing his changes just as unemployment seems certain to rocket....

  81. Spike Remind you of anything?

    Well, actually, it reminds me of last year and the year before that and the year before that.

    Under Labour there used to be lots of posters at bus stops encouraging people to shop benefits cheats.

    The photos that went with them were all of poor, chavvy looking people who if they were cheating the system (they were actors but let's pretend) were obviously not doing so very successfully.

    And I can remember back before the minimum wage a DSS video about shopping people who were picking potatoes whilst signing on (though in those days there can have scarcely been any pickers who were not as the pay was not enough to survive on and it was before Eastern Europeans were available in large numbers).

  82. Atomboy "Presumably, in the world of film-makers, once you have handed in the goods, you have a party, everyone air-kisses and back-slaps and you go on holiday for three weeks."

    When I first got my job I was a bit lacking in confidence in my admin skills (which to be fair are still shit) and more to the point I had not learned the hard way how pointless most "training" is, so I persuaded my boss to pay for me to do some Time Management training.

    Naturally someone was bound to be late but the latest, was this really camp guy who came in about an hour late, flapping about. He was a hoot, really made the day bearable.

    We had to talk about why we were there, what our issues were with time management. He said he didn't have any. He didn't really do any work for most of the week, because he was an accountant at a theatre and until the production had sent in all its final invoices etc he couldn't do anything. So he just hung around until the last minute and then did the work in a few hours.

    So why was he there?

    Oh, my boss thought it would be something for me to do!

    So we got onto meetings and I really hate meetings so I went on a bit and some others had a moan. Then it was his turn.

    Oh, I love meetings! He said. Mind you, we always have champagne at ours! We had one the other day because they laid a new bit of carpet!

    I won't name the theatre because he made my day bearable, but it is a very well known and heavily publicly funded one.

    So I am not entirely sure that there was no fat to be cut from the Arts budget!

  83. There's a good piece by Don Paskini here pointing out some major areas, like housing and childcare, where the proposed Universal Credit system has apparently not been thought through at all.

  84. Spencer, there is usually fat that could be cut from any budget but it is also quite possible that your brief and one-sided encounter with that theatre accountant wasn't a true picture of his employment situation.

    I think you're being either incredibly naïve, overly optimistic or both to think that the proposed changes and cuts won't be as bad as people are fearing.

    They do seem to be hell-bent on creating a US-style welfare system -- though the one they're creating would, in som respects, be even worse than the US system. People receiving unemployment benefit here are not required to do any "voluntary" work, they are only required to apply for at least 2 jobs per week.

    I see two huge problems with this:

    1. I don't think that people in the UK realise how much abject poverty there is in the US. For one thing, the poverty is fairly well hidden, even from Americans who are doing fairly well for themselves. Even small towns like mine (pop. @ 7000) are pretty ghettoised and it's possible for those who are doing well to be oblivious to the conditions that some people are living in.

    Many poor areas in the US have life expectancy, child mortality rates and health statistics that are worse than those of some "third world" countries.

    2. The size and availability of raw materials in the US will probably always mitigate, to some extent, the effects of globalisation on our economy. Our size and varied climates mean that we will always produce more of our own food supply than Britain, therefore more people will have employment opportunities in agriculture and food processing.

    If you think that these people have any conscience whatsoever about people not suffering, about children not going to bed hungry at night, you are hopelessly naïve. As long as they've got theirs, they really don't care what happens to anyone else.

  85. Just a quick post.... This letter from the Guardian today....

    "Those discussing welfare reform should learn some basic economics (Hardship payments to be scrapped, 12 November). The main reason there is high unemployment is that there is insufficient aggregate demand. A second reason is that a market economy needs some unemployment, for efficiency and anti-inflationary reasons. The move to therapy for the unemployed, which Labour pushed, and the workfare scheme of the coalition government, treat unemployment as mainly due to behavioural deficiencies by the unemployed. This is nonsense.

    Workfare rests unashamedly on the view, stated by the government's American adviser, Lawrence Mead, that welfare should be made so unattractive that the claimants will take any job and that they should be encouraged to "blame" themselves. There are many reasons for believing workfare is misguided and ultimately vicious. I have reviewed the evidence in several books, and years ago predicted that this is where the neoliberal state would end.

    The objections to the government's scheme and to the Labour party's current position include cost. Workfare has proved extremely expensive, and it only manages to be less so because it drives people off welfare and out of the labour market, not into jobs. Guaranteeing the unemployed a job for four weeks is a sleight of hand. What jobs? The likelihood is that they will be "make work" schemes, scarcely of the type to motivate people. They will disrupt any search for meaningful activity, and could intensify any adverse attitude to jobs. If they were real jobs they would lower the opportunity and wages of others already doing or hoping to do such jobs.

    But worst of all, coercion will be advanced. There is no evidence that vast numbers of people are suffering from a "habit of worklessness". Many of those not in jobs work hard, caring for frail relatives or children, dealing with episodic disabilities, and generally working. Building social policy on the basis of a tiny minority being "scroungers" or "lazy" is expensive illiberal folly. Much better would be to go in the other direction, delinking basic income security from jobs and then improving incentives for work of all kinds."

    Guy Standing

    Professor of economic security, University of Bath

  86. www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/13/workfare-and-costs-of-benefits

  87. We were talking about anecdotes a while back, and how useful they are in forming opinion - Spencer's posts show how they can be used to support absolutely any position. ArecBalrin's piece is one long anecdote, but it says something true about the welfare system. Spencer's encounter with the theatre accountant says something equally true about cutting waste.

    Arguments supported anecdotally aren't worth the bandwidth they're written on, all they tell you is that all sorts of stuff happens all over the place and it all has some consequence or other.

  88. Montana "If you think that these people have any conscience whatsoever about people not suffering, about children not going to bed hungry at night, you are hopelessly naïve. As long as they've got theirs, they really don't care what happens to anyone else."

    Well whether or not I agree with that, and I don't by the way, it was not what I was saying.

    It doesn't matter if they have consciences or not, what matters is that they have a well developed sense of self preservation.

    You have to remember that the Tories took over a decade to shed the image of "The Nasty Party" that had made them unelectable.

    For all the right wing trolls on CIF elsewhere, we are not the US. Not yet at any rate.

    And already the coalition is getting flak from Tory papers.

    The UK is much less ghettoised than the US. For example, where I work, young professionals on good salaries live next to, often in the same houses (divided into flats) with council tenants.

    There are wealthy suburbs and sink estates, of course, which are homogoneous. But much of the UK just is not divided up so clearly. This is, of course, part of the reason that the Tories are so outraged about housing benefit levels.

    I live in a Peabody flat, a housing association and they have blocks in Pimlico and Westminster, just behind the houses of Parliament, which I am sure some MP's are salivating about getting their hands on. Not that they will in the forseeable future.

    And why do you think they will manage to create a US style system? These fuckers have been coming out with this stuff for forty years, more probably.

    Maybe this is the time that it won't run into the sands. But history is not on their side. That is all I am saying.

  89. Spencer, I said myself that the UK is less ghettoised than the US (actually, I said that the US is more ghettoised than the UK, but...)

    I think that they will manage to creat a US-style system because they want to create a US-style system. They haven't succeeded yet because you simply cannot undo overnight the hard-won progress of a couple of generations. But they're chipping away and they will succeed as long as there are people like you who refuse to see just what greedy motherfuckers they are.

    Hank is right about people like you -- you are far more the problem than scum like Cameron.

  90. Revealing interview with Peter Edelman on The World Tonight recently about how Clinton's Workfare program actually worked in the US (from 13.25 on). btw Edelman resigned in protest at the time. The rest of the discussion is interesting too.


  91. Arguments supported anecdotally aren't worth the bandwidth they're written on, all they tell you is that all sorts of stuff happens all over the place and it all has some consequence or other.

    Perhaps, but the reason for writing anything is to convey ideas, a process which may be done simply by data but which normally is done by mixing that data in with something which makes it have some grounding and applicability in the real world of palpable experience.

    There is also an element of time and how we absorb information.

    If someone simply quoted figures and we all then scurried away to find other figures from other sources, the online conversation would be stilted and stuttering and, ultimately, as boring as shit.

    Plus the fact that the government and everyone else are selective in the data they supply and frequently manipulate it to their own advantage.

    If the internet has any use, it is as a counter-propaganda tool.

    The problem is, Dave has The Sun and, usually, The Daily Mail etc. Not exactly bastions of empirical truth.

  92. Actually my anecdote was not trying to make any sort of argument. Just a response to Atomboy's post about the filmakers who were removed from reality.

    Just rambling really. I certainly was not trying to suggest that the cuts were justified because some bits of the Arts budget might get spent on champagne.

  93. Arec wasn't purely anecdotal. He provided some stats. He simply provided his experience as a means of helping to explain the stats. What is the success rate Arec cited of the company supposed to be helping him find work, Vizzo?

    As for stats regarding benefits, is it "anecdotal" that they plan to lop 18 Billion off the budget? Plus swingeing cuts to councils providing much needed services to the vulnerable.

    I dunno that Thatch had real issues with the poor and unemployed perhaps because she was a grocer's daughter. Her beef was with the unions and nationalised industry, and unemployment was a price worth paying to her, but she didn't mind us paying the associated welfare costs. This lot, appear to be a bit different.

  94. Atomboy 14.58
    "It was mainly done with secret filming.
    Why has nobody been set up to do this for an A4E interview?"

    I've been on about that since I arrived here, since we're all pretty tooled-up with various recording and vidding equipment these days. , and you'll remember we did talk about an AtosWatch site . There is a lot of interesting stuff in the archive at WatchingA4e including this from last July --

    " In 2008 I set up a website to keep watch on the Sheffield-based company A4e. On 14 July 2009 they got it banned as "defamatory". To them, the truth is too uncomfortable. But truth is not so easily suppressed."

    Well it's still going ... so he passed that hurdle ... a useful resource ... at least. Way back I did post a link to an Edinburgh mob who occupied an A4e office there, nice bit of disruption and Publicity.

  95. I live a spit and a shove from A4E's HQ I think.....just saying.

  96. Parking this here, just in case:


    13 November 2010 5:42PM

    The Bracken's of this world don't seek nourishment from popularity; their lust is for intellectual respect. They're not on Cif to make friends, change minds, or argue policies - one policy is as good as another for them. No, they're here to listen to the gasps of admiration from the cheap seats as lesser mortals thrill to their pilfered theories.

    Gosh, what a powerful brain you have, Peter.

    To paraphrase Bomber Harris: Bracken thinks he's going to bomb everyone else and nobody is going to bomb him. There's barely a poster on Cif he hasn't thrown his hat in the ring with, such is his conceit. I repeat my earlier assertion, if he was half as brilliant as he seems to think he is, he wouldn't need to hang around here mixing it with people who weren't beneficiaries of this superior education he's been known to boast of, whilst simultaneously rubbishing their OU achievements.

    My posts? of course they're populist hyperbole. Do you think you animate people by cutting and pasting lumps of a Harvard professor and passing it off as your own?

    I did some Googling for fun. It turns out my post on the Ashley thread was quite widely circulated by other people, and copies showed up on a number of other forums. The responses were exactly what I would have expected. On a disabled forum, people were heartened that someone was articulating opposition to what they perceive as extremely frightening benefit changes, even if they didn't agree with all of it. That'll do me.

    Right wingers on the other hand got busy pointing out the inconsistencies; their considered opinion being that it was a lot of...populist hyperbole.

    So fucking what?

    Meet me in the city and I'll lob populist hyperbole stink bombs in your general direction.

    As has been said elsewhere today, soon we'll be stepping over the victims of these policies while doing our shopping, and PB and others like him will still be feeding their vanity with small fry. Another conquest. Who's next? Pitiful.

    A tragedy is unfolding in our country. Anne Novis, the respected disability campaigner, has reported that some disabled people have already committed suicide, and many more are seriously contemplating it. And I'm supposed to be devastated because some third rate intellect thinks my writing is mawkish or sentimental or populist hyperbole.

    Look, here's a bit of Bracken's favourite pejorative, tinsel. I'll stick it in my buttonhole like a poppy.

    Here comes Redminer, purveyor of tinsel to the masses.

  97. frog2

    Yes, I know you have mentioned this and we have had a very brief exchange about it.

    The point I was trying to make earlier was that what might be called mainstream media do not seem to be using a process which they have employed successfully before and which might provide something horrendously embarrassing in the case of these particular corporate sucklers on the teat of the state.

    Perhaps it will happen.

    The problem is that one television programme could probably achieve what hundreds of thousands of bloggers could not.

    In this regard, the internet beyond corporate media sites is still very much the junior partner in terms of getting the message across.

  98. Montana
    "They haven't succeeded yet because you simply cannot undo overnight the hard-won progress of a couple of generations"

    totally agree the fact that they haven't succeeded so far doesn't say that they won't now. The conditions are indeed ripe economic super crisis, war and fear if they don't do it now the door of opportunity will close.

    The hope that I have is that people will wake up and realise what this really means, and then really fight back not just sit around and stick their fingers in their ears close their eyes and shout out lalalala
    It doesn't take much to see this is a global phenomenon of super free trade and super capitalism, if anyone thinks the capitalism that we have now is bad just wait and see what they really are capable of........

  99. Benefit Busters on Channel4 last year provides a collection of ace youtubes . I'll have to take one or two and distribute, again.

    Sheff I was thinking that A4e might be close to you an the Sheffield cell ... Oh I forgot to recommend the article this am, but enjoyed Sheffpixie's punchline at 10.17PM on the Felicity Lawrence's "McDonalds,PepsiCo Help Health Policy" thread --

    I thought they were keen on getting people back to work - not actually killing them off...oh wait...perhaps that's it after all.

    The obesity epidemic is arriving in France, transiting through Aistrip One as per normal. But there is more awareness here ,well, a bit at least.

    Repost to the Bitter Truth, this is a 90 minute lecture, but grabs one after the first five minutes. Those murderous Lobbies.
    A not-so-good 8 minute TV thing, but the essentials are there on the deliberately addictive formulation of processed foods --

  100. gandolfo

    The conditions are indeed ripe economic super crisis, war and fear if they don't do it now the door of opportunity will close.

    Yes, there does seem to be an element of panic.

    It is almost like an abusive parent whose child has grown up and is standing large-as-life before him.

    There seems to be a wobbling from foot to foot, an inability to hold the gaze, a need to hide the fear that if this position of dominance cannot be held, the child is actually big enough and strong enough to slap down his tormentor.

    We never seem to appreciate quite how much governments live in fear of the people they nominally govern.

    ...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.

    - George Orwell

  101. Montana - I'm more and more reminded of this Pablo Neruda poem,
    "I'm explaining a few things"

    You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?

    and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
    its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I’ll tell you all the news.

    I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.
    From there you could look out

    over Castille’s dry face:
a leather ocean.

    My house was called

    the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house

    with its dogs and children.

    Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground

    my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!

loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,

    the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue

    like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:

    oil flowed into spoons,

    a deep baying

    of feet and hands swelled in the streets,

    metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,

    stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which

    the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,

    wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

    And one morning all that was burning,

    one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings –
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.

    Bandits with planes and Moors,

    bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,

    bandits with black friars spattering blessings

    came through the sky to kill children

    and the blood of children ran through the streets

    without fuss, like children’s blood.
    Jackals that the jackals would despise,

    stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!
    Face to face with you I have seen the blood

    of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

    see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :

    from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,

    from every socket of Spain

    Spain emerges

    and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,

    and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull’s eye of your hearts.
    And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry

    speak of dreams and leaves

    and the great volcanoes of his native land?
    Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see

    The blood in the streets.

    Come and see the blood

    In the streets!

    trans Nathanial Tarn

  102. Spencer:

    I think you have a point and I do understand what you are trying to say. WRT waste in the Theatre, I worked at ENO for quite some time FOH and behind the bar (shit pay, lovely job and loads of free Opera!) my singing teacher at the time was a long standing member of the ENO chorus and often sang small roles. He told me that the way the whole Arts Council subsidy to Opera was allocated was an exercise in complete wastefulness - the subsidy and funding was hard-fought for but the rule was, they HAD to exhaust the entire budget each year in order for it not to be reduced for the following season.

    This meant that a ridiculous culture of 'waste' prevailed where costumes, which could have been recycled and revamped for a variety of productions, were created from scratch each time. I remember his exasperation regarding shoes "the chorus DO NOT NEED new shoes, they already have about 10 pairs each!!!" But the rules governing the subsidy, demanded a built-in level of waste that really was despicable.

    And no wonder it's elitist, it is run for and by people who seem to have not a clue about careful use of resources funded by another group of elitists who want to keep it that way.

  103. This comment has been removed by the author.

  104. @Atomboy - you're right, there is a place for anecdotes and rhetoric, and it would be a boring place without them. I suppose what I meant to say is that you shouldn't base opinions on that alone, but I came on too strong with it.

  105. Vizzo - did you read that article by the former chief economist at the IMF that I recommended to you ?

  106. atomboy

    do you really think governments fear "their people"? I'm not so sure........governments are invariably stronger in the sense that they have weapons and armies and police forces that can counter any attack "on democracy" and of course they have been investing in surveillance for years so they know what's cooking. It's enough to let a few protesters go wild, then they can kick the shit out of them, terrorise them and in some instances kill them (genova 2001)and after justify it with the old card: peaceful protest ok but "violent" protest just isn't on and won't be tolerated. The terror inflicted in many G8 and G20 protests has, to a degree worked, lots of people don't go because they don't want to get beaten they are frightened.
    Governments don't listen to peaceful protest, they don't give a shit they effectively force people to use violence-physical violence against the police and property. What lots of people still don't seem to realise is that they are subject to much more insidious violence every day a violence inflicted by governments a violence that denies them dignity, and respect and treats them as lesser beings.....

  107. Foul-mouthed MrsBootstraps, you must be an absolute delight to your nearest and dearest. I suppose for her sake it's a good job your mother's not around to hear you.

    HankScorpio said...

    Oh blimey, just reading down the "moderation" thread on Cif the other day.

    Some good posts from thauma, but the whole BB v Bitey/yanquapin thing...?

    Jeez, could you be any more self-absorbed, BB?

    Let it fucking go, for Christ's sake.

    Bitey's banned. As has been Bitey 2, 3, 4 and 5, and yet you're still there, BB, getting all self-righteous about the fact that Bitey 1 gave you a hard time.

    You've never been banned, BB, but you spend so much time getting so worked up about a guy who has got banned.

    Do you ever sit back and think that you might be a bit precious?

    Hmm about as precious as a drunken docker.

  108. @LaRit:

    Most grants in the US seem to be structured that way, too -- spend the whole thing, or next year the grant gets reduced. I've been in a couple of workplaces where there was a mad spending frenzy towards the end of the grant cycle, just to get the money spent so that the grant wouldn't be decreased.

    At first blush, it seems wasteful and even unethical, but the problem with a lot of non-profits is that, just because you didn't use the full grant amount this year, doesn't mean that something won't happen next year that causes you to need every penny of it.

  109. Bite the boring hand.....still trolling?

  110. You're a weird geezer, Bitey. When I first 'met' you online, your only contribution seemed to be unconditional support for anything women said about anything. Then you developed this obsession with BB. What's it all about, eh?

  111. Why do you like being loathed and despised so much, bitey? Haven't you ever thought about seeking help?

    You worry me. Not for us here - all you can do is irritate. But I wonder what you do and are capable of doing in real life. You have a poisonous, twisted little mind.

  112. What's it all about BITEY ?

    @BB-Now's the time to remember your own good advice.And i'm saying that as a mate:-)

  113. I don't imagine that many of you read Michael Tomasky's Cif America blog. I don't very often because A) the place is over-run with the sort of right-wing fuckwits that I have to live with and B) I don't like being placed in the position of seeming to defend Obama or the Democratic leadership, who are indefensible to me for the exact opposite reasons than what the right-wingers hate them for.

    I did read one of Tomasky's entries this morning and loved this particular comment, about why the rich should pay taxes:


    12 November 2010 8:12PM

    I'm sorry it seems like I hit a nerve. Allow me to explain, as a private citizen, why I don't believe taxes are theft.

    In America, we subsidize consumption. Food (especially Meat), Energy, Defense, Education, Infrastructure are all areas that are heavily subsidized by taxes, and rightly because at their "natural" prices they would be unaffordable to nearly all Americans, which, putting aside the moral question of a society allowing its people to starve to death, would cripple production and the economy as a whole.

    The rich consume more, and waste more. More energy in their homes and in their vehicles, subsidized by taxpayers. More property for military and police to protect. More taxing of the infrastructure. It is their right to consume, and even to waste, but they should pay for it.

    My personal beliefs have led me to consume less. I don't eat meat, drive a car, have any children to educate and very little property to protect. That's my right. I still pay my taxes, even though I think it's disgusting how much of it is thrown away in Republican military adventures that cost lives and stain the name of my country. I support more education expenditure even though I don't have children because I understand that education makes society richer and safer.

    I don't ask for handouts, but I do believe health care is another area of society that needs to be subsidized, as the private model for health care makes it inefficient and unaffordable to most, and also because I believe society has a moral obligation to take care of its sick. I ask that tax dollars go to fund clean energy because, again it's more efficient, and I don't like my air and water poisoned. I ask that public transit be invested in for a similar reason. Public money should go to the public interest, not as handouts to those who want to merely consume.

    The bottom line is, you ask for the right to unlimited consumption, without paying for it, ignorant of the fact that your consumption is only possible because you live in a society where basic resources are publicly funded. Then you call me a thief for asking you to pay your fair share when, dollar for dollar, my taxes subsidize your lifestyle.

    Tell me what's rich, again?

  114. Some people haven't got the intellectual capacity to understand an argument and respond to it intelligently. So all they can do is copy and paste what other people have said and use it as an ad hom.

    There's another geezer on economics threads who does the same. Rather than simply address the content of a post, they have to show how clever they are by insulting the poster as well.

    So eventually telling them to fuck off is the only reasoned response available, because trying to respond to shite takes up too much valuable time when there are interesting and informative posts to deal with.

  115. As far as using up budgets go I have experience of it.

    Last year I applied for a grant for volunteer expenses. It was up to £5,000 and I thought of everything I possibly could assuming that I might get half what I asked for. To my great surprise I got the lot (not quite the maximum).

    But I am parsimonious by nature (all those years on the dole) plus the local authority decided to give us some things like CRB checking for free, so I needed less. Come the end of the financial year I had spent less than a third.

    But for this year there was no grant available.

    So, I asked if I could use the leftover for this and maybe next year as there seemed to be no provision at all.

    Oh no! You have to use it all up.

    It seems to be that the authority had a bit of cash left over themselves which they bunged into this volunteer grant fund for the next year, which we were then supposed to use up in an orgy of spending despite the fact there was no money for the same need the following year.

    Completely crackers.

    Anyway, I didn't spend it all and am continuing to use it for this year. Shocking, I know. Just keep your fingers crossed that they don't ask for the remainder back at some point.

  116. On the recent student fees threads, I kept asking the question "How many of you tory trolls got a free uni education with a grant? How many only paid a grand a year?"

    Only one person had the balls to reply, and that was a guy who was more or less saying that he disagreed with the increases anyway.

    The hypocrisy of people with loads of money pulling up the ladder behind them is breathtaking and nauseating at the same time. They have benefitted from the golden years of the welfare state in this country, and are now clamouring for others to be denied the very same benefits they, themselved, leeched off the taxpayers.

  117. I actually found myself working on the preparation of an event that had already been held. Totally surrealistic. But if they didn't spend their whole budget by the 31st December, they risked having it reduced the following year. So you get the same sort of insanity in France.

  118. And just as it seems that P-Brax is about to take the nasty sociopath of the internet award from Bitey's pallid sweating paws.

    >>I suppose for her sake it's a good job your mother's
    >>not around to hear you.

    As you were.

  119. Spike

    My ovver arf does fund-raising for a big annual community event and has to struggle a great deal with this kind of madness because it goes against common sense.

    I can remember when I was living in France in that military town I told you about, where one of my acquaintances, who worked at the caserne, was telling me about how much petrol they used to literally burn a year to make sure they got the same ration the following year. FFS.

  120. turm

    My Mum was worth a million biteys. And she would have had the revolting little creep fixed in no time flat, bless her.

  121. there waas an old poster named bitey
    with long standing grudge unrequitey
    a longevity of spleen
    that has seldom been seen
    till he returns to the shores of old blighty

    micheal tomaskys blog is very good,,its another waddya /ut/coronation st,,even has its own bitey
    named jengis,,

  122. Do all blogs have to have a resident troll? Do they appear by some magical process, or are they allocated from some troll birthpool somewhere? Did EH do a 'holiday cover' arrangement with Bitey being behind the bamboo curtain? How can these pricks keep coming back?

  123. Turm

    If you build it, they will come

    If you build a bridge, they will hide under it...

  124. Bitethehand,

    I hope you don’t mind but I was so inspired by the depth of your archival skills I did a bit of research in the CiF archives myself to check you out. It went so swimmingly, I took the liberty of checking the historical archives to check out your ancestors and wow, what do I find but an unprecedented amount of ancestral weirdness and questionable attitudes towards women!

    Here’s a taster of what I've found already:

    First letter of St Paul to the Corinthians 17:8

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.......And especially not misogynist stalkers that go by the name of BitetheHandicus.

    Gives me the right creeps he does. Honestly, he accused the Virgin Mary of being a bad mother for giving birth to her son in a manger rather than a hospital and he then claimed she was a drunken lush for asking Jesus to turn water into wine......

    Jottings of William Shakespeare for his 1601 uncompleted tragedy:

    Nathanyell Bitey- Thou pragging toad-spotted canker-blossom wayward pribbling pale-hearted weirdo ratsbane!

    To stalk, or not to stalk, that is the question,
    Whether 'tis creepier in the mind to propagate
    The slings and arrows of outrageous misogyny,
    Or to take arms against imagined internet foes (normally fair maiden)
    And, by opposing, end them. To archive, to lurk
    No more – and by a sleep to say we end
    The boredom and the thousand natural retorts
    That my posts are heir to – ‘tis a complete tedium
    Devoutly full of pish.

    There's more to come, keep tuned!

  125. "holiday cover" was really funny, by the way.

    Changing the subject, I saw an ad that made me cringe last night. Apparently they have released a CD of music inspired by the Broons..

    I don't mean proper scottish dance and light music either - I'm as partial to "Donald Where's Yer Troosers" as the next woman - but hits going back to the fifties and sixties with the occasional bit of Andy Stewart chucked in for good measure.


  126. Dave, sorry no - I don't always read the whole thread and I can't find your link reading back, not sure why...

  127. @13th
    ""Nathanyell Bitey- Thou pragging toad-spotted canker-blossom wayward pribbling pale-hearted weirdo ratsbane!""

    damn your good,,

  128. It's a real dilemma

    The bloke I told to "fuck off you tory twat" last night has just posted somewhere that he is "speaking as someone who has seen someone go down for two years" after trying to stab him and shouting "I'm going to fucking kill you" at him.

    Now I know it would be a one-way ticket to Instabanistan, but the first thing that popped into my head was

    "Yeah, but on the other hand, I can understand why he might have felt that way..."

  129. Duke

    That was fantastic.

    And Turm your holiday cover quip made me laugh as well.

  130. Bravo! Hat tip to the poets & wordsmiths round here.


  131. Thanks all,

    blame it on the beer. I'm three quarters of the way through a 750ml Duvel Tripel Hop and it's like absinthe. Except made out of water, hops, barley and yeast.

  132. Wybourne old bean, the records go farther back still...

    The story's original version in Sanskrit is known as Valmiki HaatBaddhna

    Far Eastern King (of his own dung hill) HaatBaddhna, kidnaped common Sense & Decency. HaatBaddhna sent isitjob, a faceless avatar of his own sickly bile in the form of rantings on the internet, to distract Rama and Lakshman. Then while the men were gone, HaatBaddhna disguised himself as a sannyasi and came into the encampment on the pretense of dryhumping any feminists leg on the boards.

    When Rama found out that HaatBaddhna had kidnapped Sense & Decency, He enlisted HankScorpio (an incarnation of Shiva) and an army of laughing and pointing bloggers to build a bridge from The Untrustedapshanas to HaatBaddhna's cesspit. There, Rama fought a fierce battle and severed all ten of HaatBaddhna's multiple IDs with a single arrow. He rescued Sense & Decency and returned to Untrustedapshanas, His capitol city in the north, to assume his rightful place as king.

  133. fine work turm and duke........

  134. The Untrustedapshanas


  135. @BB Surely not 'The White Heather Club'

    Oh Jesus Christ no! Oh Christ, oh Jesus no, NO! As Edward Woodwood may have said... : )

  136. Saluting the bards here to!!

    Lovely prog on R4 at the moment on JB Priestly and his war time broadcasts that got right up the noses of the high and mighty and right wing newspaper hacks.

  137. personally i'm having an Under Milk Wood moment on WDYWTTA a result of the celtic debate earlier.....

    so bitey Fforeggub........

  138. turm

    The Ramayana is on R4 now....

  139. Spencer

    I can't get that link to work

  140. Hmm... can't get the linky to work, Spencer.

    Wallander is on - although not the swedish version, but the inferior Brannagh version, it is still bloody good anyway, so I shall be back later x

  141. Argh, looks like I messed it up. It is on the front page of the News bit of the Guardian

    "NUS starts campaign to oust leading Lib Dems"

  142. According to the article there are 10,000 students in Sheffield Hallam.

  143. This comment has been removed by the author.

  144. Spencer

    And a considerable amount of constituents who are employed in HE & the public sector.

  145. I mentioned the NUS action a while ago on here. Their president was on PM saying they plan to use recall on the MPs who broke their promise on HE fees, and to field their own candidates for election instead.

  146. from the article

    The move coincides with government-backed attempts to introduce the use of unmanned spy drones throughout UK airspace, facilitating an expansion of covert surveillance that could provide intelligence on future demonstrations.

    Derek Marshall, of the trade body Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS), said that such drones could eventually replace police helicopters.

    He added that military manufacturers had discussed police procurement policies with the government, as forces look to counter an identified threat of civil disobedience from political extremists.

    Meanwhile police sources say they have detected an increase in the criminal intentions of political extremists and are monitoring "extreme leftwing activity" in light of last week's student protest.

    The office of the National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) said it was feeding information to Scotland Yard's National Public Order Intelligence Unit, which holds a database of protest groups. NCDE, which in turn works closely with the Confidential Intelligence Unit that monitors political groups throughout the UK, said it had already recorded a rise in politically motivated disorder.

    Fun times ahead...there'll hardly be anyone left who isn't a 'terrorist' of one sort or another.

  147. BiteThePillow,

    Having just finished thirteen hours of work and therefore being at somewhat of a loose end, I may as well answer your earlier post (14:16).

    I must confess I felt a girlish flush of excitement when I saw that you had committed to memory a post of mine from nearly a month ago. What a thrill!

    Why should you feel it necessary to identify Kafocin as Bitethehand, other than to be the censor?

    No, no, you are completely misreading me. Your fame is so great as Bitey that it would be a shame to hide your oracular light behind inferior bushels. Admittedly, I should have done it on Cif rather than here to buff up your massive iconic status properly, but I am only a woman and therefore weak. Unfortuntely it is therefore unlikely that the Cif crew spotted my post and made the proper attribution.

    What's more interesting is that you couldn't even bring yourself to respond to the observation I recorded about Tea Party membership

    I am so very sorry, but I must have completely overlooked your Tea Party comment. No doubt it's safely saved in your database, so you will be able to re-post it here for my further elucidation.

    But then looking at the content of the vast majority of your posts, here and on CiF, you do seem to specialise in the inconsequential.

    I do apologise profoundly for my lack of consequentiality. Not all of us have the wealth of leisure which allows us (well, you) to spend vast amounts of time collecting data that can later be used against other posters, no matter how tenuous the connection or how sublimely quoted out of context.


  148. Thaum

    Working on a Saturday! I feel your pain

    I only did about 6 hours, mind. Got some more to do in the morning...

  149. Yes, I saw that, Sheff. Depressing but predictable.

    Nothing that I had not assumed that they were doing, anyway.

    When do you think Henry Porter will restart Liberty Central?

  150. turminder,

    I'm now having visions of Hank as an 8 armed Hindu god atop an elephant. This Duvel mixed with your Valmiki HaatBaddhna is quite something.....


    as you're on a Welsh artistic tip at the moment, I came across this(also for Leni)- Richard Burton's eulogy to mining and his home village

    very affecting.

  151. I'm feeling very guilty for not working today, actually. My boss was organising a jumble sale and she came in yesterday and asked if I could help. She is in her 80s and ill with a stomach infection and looked pretty rough.

    The thing is, the only reason that she caught me in was because I had gone in with flu because I needed to do a mail out which would be too late on Monday. And I went to training on Thursday because it was something we had been agitating for for years (quite literaly).

    So having forced myself in two days on the trot with flu I really did not want to go in again today, nor did I want to give my germs to half the esate.

    Anyway, I set up the tables for her yesterday and a couple of volunteers kindly offered to help out. So hopefully it was all right.

    But I am still feeling a bit guilty as she looked as rough as I was feeling yesterday.

    Thirteen hours on a Saturday is something else though. I hope you have some wine to open, Thauma.

  152. Riding a giant Scorpion, on a buffalo, which in turn stands on the backs of four elephants!

  153. I have to say that the only reason I was doing it today was because I took a day off to do it on Thursday then couldn't be arsed.

    I am the world's worst procrastinator - everything gets left to the last minute.

  154. Duke/Turminder

    I'm now having visions of Hank as an 8 armed Hindu god atop an elephant.

    And i'm now having visions of Hank as an 8 armed Hindu god atop an elephant being faced down by MIE as a cyclops atop a three legged donkey.

  155. I am the world's worst procrastinator - everything gets left to the last minute.

    Worlds best surely? :- b

  156. The donkey is wearing a sombrero. : )

  157. @BB by the way. There is something I would like to ask you about privately.

    Is there a way to get your email. I realise you will not want to put it up publicly with certain parties so devoted to feminism and fighting patriarchy hovering around, but maybe I could ask you to email me at spencer.woodcock@gmail.com

    It concerns a volunteer I have who is having problems, but I can't go into details on a public forum.

  158. duke
    this is a great line from Burton when he describes why young lads wanted to be miners:

    the arrogant strut of the Lord's of the coal face.......... kings of the underworld

  159. "There's another geezer on economics threads who does the same. Rather than simply address the content of a post, they have to show how clever they are by insulting the poster as well."

    Hm. I reckon I spent most of the afternoon doing that with Tories over on the over on the Holman thread. :-)

  160. Gentle readers,

    I regret to to inform you that I am also working tommorrow, yea and also late next Friday, and next Saturday, and next Sunday, with no days off in the meantime.

    And all with no overtime pay, but such are the vagaries of being an agency worker.

    Verily it is shite but it is better than not having a job.

    Oh, how do I sigh and long after the jobs which apparently enable one to build massive databases of other people's posts and to regurgitate them at inappropriate moments, with lengthy commentary.

  161. meerkatjie

    I wish I knew where they all came from. The Graun didn't used to have such a vile infestation of the buggers.

    Thaum - hugs! xx

  162. BB - thanks mate!

    It's not tooooo bad as I can work from home (or elsewhere with internet connection) and did manage to keep half an eye on the rugby today, even if work kept bloody interrupting.

    Should probably head upstairs soon as I have to be back at it early in the morning. (What do you do with a drunken sailor?)

  163. Paul/turminder,

    my excuse is that I'm drinking very strong Belgian beer, what's yours?!

    gandolfo, it's a great clip from a legendary racontuer with a magnificent Welsh burr. I went to Uni with a welsh lad, ugly bugger but had that rich, molasses thick welsh baritone. The amount of women he pulled just by speaking to them was amazing. I never had as much of an inferiority complex about my Scottish accent as I did when I was in the pub with him.

  164. thaum.........

    What do you do with a drunken sailor?

    how dya fancy this:

    "Soak 'im in oil 'til he sprouts a flipper"

  165. What do you do with a drunken sailor?

    Anything you like?

    Duke,my excuse is no beer!

  166. duke

    looking at your avatar I'm sure you pulled the lasses with your scottish accent....the sean connery effect......

    loved "Who's afraid of Virginia Wolf" with Rich and Liz a classic film sure they were completely pissed throughout.....this is for thauma and you.........

  167. and this is in homage to nesrine malik from yesterday........

  168. Thanks, BB. Have emailed you.

  169. Duke

    Thanks for the clip.

    I came here about 18 years ago - there were still some of the old retired miners here then - the younger were already paid off and things were pretty desperate - but the old guys had tales to tell

    One old man had 'the dust' and he showed me an old diary from his grandfather's time. His family had come down from the slate quarries in the north to escape the slate dust. The slate dust was sharp - cut the lungs and caused bleeding.

    The coal dust - working away silently within them - caused no obvious symptons and so was considered 'safe'. Little did they know what their futures were to be.

    During ww1 miners were used to tunnel across towards enemy trenches in order to blow them up - with German miners cutting paralell tunnels to blow up the Brits. ww11 - the Bevan boys - post war reconstruction and energy demands kept the miners busy on low wages still working in dangerous conditions.

    The villages thrived with schools, shops and small support businesses and then - suddenly - all taken away. Almost overnight. Anger, disbelief, a sense of failure and rejection turned to apathy and despair.

    Now what do we have/ Further demonisation and rejection - I share RedMiner's anger.

    Other areas have their own tales to tell - but the common disinheritance and denial of a culture is hard to take. The rejection of so many who helped to build - and then rebuild after the disaster of ww11 - is a shame on this country and on all who join in the mockery and sneering.

    the solidarity of the men and across the communities found its natural expression in socialism and the belief that shared dangers and effort to build national wealth should naturally result in a shared entitlement to and inheritance of that wealth.

    The betrayal is total.

  170. Duke - well, I must admit that the mister won me over with his lovely Welsh accent. (Amongst other things.) But I quite like the Scottish accent too.

    Gandolfo/Turm - ha ha! My granny quite liked that song as she was a minister's daughter and my then-future grandfather was in the Merchant Navy in the war.

    Good clip, Gandolfo.

  171. "I really don't think any former Lib Dem voters who are angry about what they're doing are going to vote for their Tory masters."

    Perhaps not, but in constituencies where people engaged in tactical voting to keep tories out (where labour doesn't have much hope, perhaps) disenchanted voters will swerve from voting libdem again... and what will happen in those kinds of seats? if those voters swing to labour, green or similar, the tories will end up taking the sleep. There are a good few constituencies like this.

  172. I missed the Nesrine Malik thread but it has an interesting intersection with the coal mining discussion.

    At one point miners were comparitvely wealthy (for working class people), and having servants was not unknown. For example, in the autobiographical Sons and Lovers, Lawrence's mum has a servant girl, even though her husband is a heavy drinker.

    And the idea we have of servants being something that the rich and privileged have is a recent one anyway. Prior to the industrial revolution it was normal for young people of all but the gentry to spend some time in service. A girl might go at 12 or 13, spend some years as a maid, then marry a journeyman who became a craftsman and then would employ a maid in turn herself.

    So it was not so much a social class thing as something that you did at a certain stage of your life unless you were part of a privileged elite.

    Our feelings of distaste for it are a recent phenomenon. I would guess dating from the inter-war years when servants became so expensive that only the very rich could continue to employ them.

    Well, apart from chars, and au-pairs, and gardeners, etc.

  173. I should have said that miners were comparatively wealthy so long as they were lucky enough to avoid accidents, which were very common. It was luck of the draw.

  174. gandolfo/thauma,

    the accent problem was that I went to Glasgow Uni....

    Great clip from a cracking movie. The reason Burton and Taylor were so good in that film is that they were playing real life Burton and Taylor, warts and all.


    glad you enjoyed the clip. Agree with everything you say. I have a biography of Jock Stein the legendary Celtic manager and greatest manager of all time ;). He was a Lanarkshire miner, who played football for Llaneli Town before being signed for Celtic. In the book he gives a moving tribute to mining and the brotherhood and camaraderie of the miners. I don't have the book to hand but I'll dig it out and find the quote, it's fantastic.

    The three managers who bestride the history of British football like collosi- Stein, Shankly and Busby- all came from pit villages within a 10 mile radius of each other.

  175. Gandolfo - was trying to find for you the spine-tingling last scene from Scofield's brilliant Lear, or a decent scene from Look Back in Anger. Fell short. Consider them yours if you should run across them.

    Really must be off.

  176. Duke - oh, but the Glaswegian-area accent and lexicon is my favourite. And my fave pop crime writer is Chris Brookmyre.

  177. Ahem, may I remind you of the pit brow lasses (as in my avatar).

  178. @The Duke

    You left out Alec Ferguson.

  179. MsChin

    Yes - the women too. Ithink I told you about Phi the vietnamese woman who pulled the drams with aharnes attached o a headband.

    Spence i I don't think any of the miners here had servants. There are older tales - late 19 early 20 century - of women being 'employed' as cooks for groups of single miners. The women were paid with somewhee to sleep and a share of the food.

    Where she slept was often variable and warmer than single bed.

  180. @Duke:

    I can guarantee that, had you gone to Iowa State, you'd have pulled without even trying.

  181. @Leni, check out Sons and Lovers. Nice house too.

    Up until about the First World War, miners did not work for pit owners. They were basically self-employed. They worked in gangs of four or five and DH Lawrence's dad was the foreman, the guy who went and got the money for the amount of coal that they had cut in the week and then divided it up in the pub.

    They were much better off than mill or factory workers. But of course it was extremely precarious. If they were injured they got nothing and injury was very common.

    After the period Lawrence was writing about the mine owners consolidated their grip and the miners became employees rather than independent and self employed men.

    The other thing that marked them out from many working class trades was that they were extremely mobile. If the money was not good in one place then they would move to another. So, for example (sorry, arguing from anecdote again!) One of my great grandfathers came from the Black Country to the Nottinghamshire Coalfield, another came from Wigan, another from Yorkshire and a fourth from Derbyshire. There was still coal being mined in Wigan, Yorkshire and Derbyshire, but there was a better rate in Nottinghamshire so off they went.

  182. Montana,

    I'm in the final stages of building a time machine. I'm just waiting for the enriched uranium I ordered off ebay from a group of respectable chechen rebels. Once it's up and running I'm going straight to Iowa 19 years ago.

    The only problem I have time machine wise is trying to get hold of a bloody DeLorean. If Michael J Fox used the car I have at the moment, one of the great 80's movie lines wouldn't have sounded anywhere near as good:

    "Doc, are you trying to tell me you made a time machine out of a Ford Focus?"

    Spencer, Ferguson comes from Govan and fantastic manager that he is, has neither the class or the charisma of the Lanarkshire three. And he played for Rangers.....

  183. Duke, checking it out, I see you are right. Don't know why I thought he was from Lanarkshire too.

  184. Spencer

    Agreed on the self employed miners. We have old , once family owned, levels still marking the moutainside here. The family names are remembered.

    The private landowners moved in realising they had the black gold beneath their feet. In many cases the seams, obviously, ran beneath farm land not belonging to them Again old stories of feuds and sabotage as the small guys tried to retain their rights. Eventually the mine owners won legal rights below the farm land but no rights on the surface.

    I think it was Yorks I read about where the combination of farming and coal mining often went hand in hand. I imagine it was pretty common .

  185. @Leni, sorry I missed the "here" in your post (I have flu and wine, is my excuse).

    I don't know anything about South Wales mining but it does seem to have a slightly different history.

    May well be true of Lanarkshire and Scottish mining too, come to think of it. Generalisation is always dangerous.