16 December 2010


Winter, Manzanar Internment Camp - Ansel Adams
If a person never contradicts himself, it must be that he says nothing.
-Miguel de Unamuno


  1. I'm at fault, and frankly I acted out of order to Montana and others. Just got a bit enthusiastic, and empassioned.(ok I believe that left and right are meaningless terms from the French revolution but that is for another day).

    First, thank you for recognising that you were out of order yesterday. However, your parenthetical statement about 'left' and 'right' being (to you) meaningless terms leads me to believe that you still don't understand exactly why you were out of order.

    Here's a clue: It's nothing to do with politics. You (general you, not specific you) don't go around telling people who are older than you that they have their best days behind them any more than you would say to someone who's overweight, "I bet you'd be attractive if you lost some weight." What we might consider our best days may be totally different to what you will consider your best days.

    For example, my mother considers her high school years to have been the best, the happiest, years of her life. I, on the other hand, wouldn't go back to my high school years for anything in the world. For you to tell others that they have their best years behind them isn't just rude from a sensitivity standpoint, it is a values judgement on your part that you simply have no right to make.

    Later, in claiming that you didn't mean to insult anyone by that comment, you go on to insult pretty much everyone here but Bracken again by finishing with, "I'm sorry if I am not leftwing- I'm not, I once was but I grew out of it."

    Given that Bracken is probably the only person who posts here whose political views are not to the left of yours, you surely realised when you wrote that that you were claiming to be more mature than those of us that you'd just told were so ancient that our best days are behind us? If not, you truly are tone-deaf to the way your words will be read by others.

    Finally, as to your continued assertion that 'left' and 'right' are meaningless terms from the French Revolution -- you can say that all you want, but it isn't going to make it true for most people. You need to come to terms with the fact that, for most of us, those terms still make clear reference to particular sets of principles. The fact that they've been in use for more than 200 years ought to tell you something about their usefulness.

  2. Now, comment to those of you who think that I'm being too hard on Charles:

    As was pointed out yesterday, Jay and James aren't much, if any, older than Charles, yet I have never seen anyone leap to their defence by saying, "Give him a break, he's just a boy." I can't imagine it ever happening, either, and I'm guessing that they'd both be somewhat insulted if anyone ever did.

    So why is Charles different? Why should he receive any more forebearance for his "youth" than Jay or James -- or Laurie Penny, for that matter?

    I'm sorry, but I just don't see any reason why he should get to have it both ways. He wants his comments to be seen as every bit as informed, reasoned and mature as those of anyone else. If he thinks our best days are behind us, he must surely concede that we are probably better informed, more experienced and, therefore, in better position to judge, than he. If he doesn't want to defer to our broader experience and knowledge, I see no reason why I should tiptoe around his callow youth. Call it a learning experience for him, if you will. Character building.

  3. Now, my last comment before going off to bed is for the Hermione haters. I saved this from Waddya:


    13 December 2010 10:04PM

    i'm sorry but why are the guardian in particular & the media in general throwing work at laurie penny? is it because as a cab for hire she seems to have every base covered?

    if her next article starts with:

    as a former radical, feminist lesbian lapdancer & single mother of three starving to death in a vintage balenciaga ballgown in a tiny village in palestine..."

    i wouldn't be at all surprised!


    In a few humorous sentences, she perfectly captures the criticisms of Penny that many others have drawn out over multiple humorless, angry comments. That is a gift that marks her out as a pretty sharp cookie.

  4. All three posts pretty good, Montana.

  5. Regarding the discussion on Malthusianism last night.

    Malthus and neo-Malthusianism summed up:

    “ The earth is perennially overpopulated, whence poverty, misery, distress and immorality must prevail; that it is the lot, the eternal destiny of mankind, to exist in too great numbers, and therefore in diverse classes, of which some are rich, educated, and moral, and others more or less poor, distressed, ignorant and immoral.”- Friedrich Engels.

    Or to put it into a contemporary context- the poorest people on the planet are to blame for the “rapid depletion of the world’s finite resources through overbreeding. This is the contemporary twist on the original thesis that the poorest in society were the result of natural rather than social phenomena- Poverty and unemployment were inevitable, as nature intended.

    The misery of the Industrial Revolution was not as a result of the inadequacy of the socio-economic system but as Malthus said:

    “natural, inexorable contradiction between man’s unbounded yearning to multiply and the limits to the increase in the means of subsistence”.

    Or in other words to justify the prejudices and to “explain poverty” to the new bourgeois and ruling classes. The Irish potato famine was not the result of an oppressed, poverty stricken colonial land but:

    “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman, fed on potatoes, living in a pig-stye, doting on a superstition, multiplies like rabbits or ephemera”- William Rathbone Greg from ‘On the Failure of Natural Selection in the Case of Man.’

    In a nutshell, poverty and destitution cannot be rectified by human action, they were the result of natural phenomena and individual action. Malthusian thought was the order of the day in the British Empire as adherence to his philosophy oversaw and excused famine after famine particulary in India.

  6. ...continues

    Contemporary Neo-Malthusian thought seems to suggest that before countries can develop economically, they must reduce their population firstly before they can develop denying that it is economic and social development itself which brings down fertility rates. As the Demographic Transition Model shows, as economic development takes place, both birth rates and death rates fall.

    In Western Europe we didn’t stop having babies first and then developed economically, economic development occurred firstly, social improvements were made which then brought down fertility rates. This is the key- economic improvement. Human agency and action. The ‘green revolution’ of the 1960’s with its greater crop yields led to a fall in Asian birth rates as less people were needed to till subsistence farming.

    Investment in education, investment in infrastructure, investment in economic development (or in other words human agency) will result in falling worldwide fertility rates and reduced population. Neo-Malthusian wagging fingers at the poorest and telling them to “jolly well stop having babies, here’s a few condoms” whilst continuing exploitation of the poorest countries will not.

    Engels description of Malthusianism 150 years ago is suitable for contemporary neo-Malthusian thought -

    “the crudest, most barbarous theory that ever existed, a system of despair which struck down all those beautiful phrases about love thy neighbour and world citizenship."

    Addressing world poverty is the fundamental issue. Not population control.

  7. monkeyfish,

    your 18.58 post yesterday on Laurie Penny, classic, absolute classic.

  8. can someone unspam my comment between the above two otherwise they makes no sense.

    If it did make any in the first place.....

  9. no spam control here, yr grace, but just went back to check out the MF comment, so thank you for that...


  10. Duke

    Malthus taught Maths and statistics at the Civil Service training college...his star pupil and most ardent disciple: Charles Trevelyan...he of the 'stolen corn'

    ...now it's lonely 'round the fields of...erm..you name it..Bengal, Donnegal,head-the-ball

  11. Is this the rest-home and makeshift euthanasia facility for the terminally aged deluded left?

    I have forgotten my glasses, so cannot read the signs and my clumsy old feet keep getting tangled up in the danged zimmer-frame.

    It's nice to find en end-of-life parlour where we can all just unload the burden of our entrenched childish thinking and "get real", as da kidz say.

    If only we had followed a young, working-class intellectual, who could have led the way back in the old days, maybe we could all have amounted to something better - more ruthless and successful. Still, my intellect just seemed to fall out of my brain at about the same time my teeth fell out of my gums and my hair fell off my head.

    Of course, back in those days, working-class intellectuals were pretty thick on the ground. It was the upper-classes who always seemed to produce the dimwits, even with all their advantages of wealth and time.

    Things change, though, don't they? It seems like only yesterday that kids had to be all growed up at fourteen because that's when they went out to work. Then they invented teenagers and rock and roll and it seemed like everyone just stayed in childhood for their whole lives. Toddlers and nappies forever.

    Well, I'd better find a nurse to change my incontinence pads.

    Yeah, back to nappies. Makes you wonder why all us wrinklies bother living, don't it?

    After all, we all cracked the riddle of life when we finished the hundredth Penguin Classic and lined up its shiny black spine with all the others and wrote its title down in an exercise book.

    Why did we waste all that time bothering after that?

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Yeah, that's because several thousand (unpublicised) Asylum Seekers, died on the bloody rocks in violent seas, in shitty boats, as they did yesterday, off the coast of Australia's shameful refugee camp on Christmas Island...

    Spare a fucking thought for the dead, including little children while you're at it, you fucking tosser.

    LaRitournelle, you're not only offensive but pig-ignorant as well. I suppose you could explain the huge discrepancy in the figures by assuming that 51,000 people had died in shitty little boats, that these incidents were never recorded, and that all these people were on their way to the UK. But it seems unlikely.

    And who says I don't spare a thought for the fucking dead, you fucking tosser?

  14. monkeyfish,

    yeah Trevelyan. Amongst official denials of the scale, he refused entry to the American food relief ship Sorciere. And his summation of the famine:

    "The judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people."

    He wasn't the only one though. Nassau Senior, Queen Victoria's chief economist remarked that economic policy towards Ireland during the famine:

    "will not kill more than one million Irish in 1848 and that will scarcely be enough to do much good."

    Thomas Carlyle:

    "Ireland is like a half-starved rat that crosses the path of an elephant. What must the elephant do? Squelch it - by heavens - squelch it."

    The Times editorial 1848:

    "A Celt will soon be as rare on the banks of the Shannon as the red man on the banks of Manhattan."

  15. Peter Bracken,

    Here is a link in English to the Dutch unemployment and other benefits systems as promised last night.


    here's a review of Dutch disability reforms (in English) up to 2010.

  16. This could explain a lot...seems...we've all had it arse-about all this time..Tory anmd NuLab compassion are 'divine'..miserable sinners that we are, we just never realsied..

    "Another account tells us that the Prophet had stopped to rest at a bedouin camp, where a woman with an infant was baking bread over an open fire. The child slipped away and approached the fire, and the mother quickly pulled him back. She turned to the Prophet and said, "Do you not say that God is 'the most merciful of the merciful'?" He replied that he did. She said, "No mother would throw her child into the fire." For a moment the Prophet turned away and wept. Then he said that God puts into hellfire only those who refuse to go anywhere else."


    God's mercy and comapssion are infinite towards those whom he loves and return that love

    He shows his love by issuing commandments in line with what (he knows) is best for us...and we return old love by obeying implicitly..simple when you think about it

  17. "...I work in a political environment and know exactly what's going on..."; as one does. How very different it is for the rest of us, who live and work in a post-political, apolitical or non-political 'environment' and haven't a fucking clue what's going on.

    For example, can anyone explain to me how piling into a Toynbee thread became some sort of acid-test? Or is that something only today's vibrant yoof can grasp?

    I grow old … I grow old …
    I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

    ...answers on a postcard to the usual address.

  18. "Addressing world poverty is the fundamental issue. Not population control."

    spot on...there is no population crisis...just a lack of political will to address the issues...never likely to be while economic planning is an ad-hoc arrangement left to self-serving bankers...sort out poverty, birth control, education, freedom of expression...the rest takes care of itself

    Incidentally...any evidence yet of an Irish financial brain drain? Bonuses slashed...surely there's been a flood of talent leaving for greener pastures...if not...erm...what was the other reason they all needed diamond toilet seats again?

  19. History repeats itself Part CCDXVIIII……….

    And Speaking of Nassau William Senior. Nassua Senior as a senior economist and powerful Whig, was obsessed with the widespread rioting and strikes in the “Autumn unrest of 1830” believing that the rioting and strikes were the:

    “threat of an arrogant laboring class, resorting to strikes, violence, and unions, a threat to the foundation not merely of wealth but of existence itself.”

    Nassau Senior argued that existing poor laws and relief had caused this situation believing that existing poor laws had given poor families the arrogant belief that they had a right to exist whether or not they had a job. As a result he began to formulate what would become the 1834 poor law influenced by Malthus and Ricardo’s iron law of wages. The main points of the 1834 law were (and forgive yourself if you think you are actually reading 2010 legislation):

    1. Workers should accept any job the market offered, regardless of working conditions or pay.
    2. Any person who would not or could not find work should be given just enough to prevent physical starvation.
    3. The dole given to such a person should be substantially lower than the lowest wage offered on the market, and the workers general condition should be so miserable and should so stigmatize so as to motivate the search for employment irrespective of pay or conditions.

    It is absolutely astonishing the echoes of the past reverberating around contemporary Conservative, neo-liberal thought, that base desire for security is a moral failing, welfare is a fundamental flaw in human character, you are naked under the glare of the unforgiving sun with just your labour to sell, work will set you free…

  20. Food isnt the main problem of population (at the minute anyway), emissions are. We are already well over sustainable limits - so in this aspect we need no speculation, extrapolation or anything, its a reality already here.

    Either we keep driving down per person emissions, globally, as a continual process tending towards zero, for an indefinite amount of time, or at some point pop levels need to flatten out.

    There is also the problem of industrialisation - if people want the billions in India, Brazil, China etc to live at the levels we do (which presumably people think wouuld be only fair), then thats a very serious problem.

    I really struggle to see how this circle is squared. I'm sure we could feed quite a few billion more, but food is not the only issue, and our ability to feed ourselves, as a species, will be dramatically reduced as the earth warms.

    Still in premod, the 6th day, for querying why a post was disappeared... After 5 days of emailing them, i finally got a response from mods - a copy and pasted statement of their "we cannot guarantee to respond" etc...

    Nice. Good to see that modding thread led to big changes...

  21. What I meant to say was that a lot of the posters here lead comfortable established lives, dare I say banal middle class ones and I do find it galling that said people criticise me for not being radical/left enough. If you have come to a moral conclusion that being left is the answer, so be it, but the left are no more 'the good guys' than someone who is right wing or someone like me who realises the idiocy of trying to divide all political/social opinions into meaningless terms such as left or right. The fact that left/right has been around for 200 years means fuck all- I could just as easily use that argument as a justification for absolute monarchy as that concept has been in use since the days of ancient Mesopotamia.

    What I should have said also is that the days of one youth are generally 'supposed' to be one's best days, ie it is a commonplace in mainstream society and discourse, I think people should re think that idea. Especially as so many of my generation are literally scrabbling at the cliff face trying to build up their lives.
    Just as you might find it questionable that some people say the days of youth are your best days, so do I.

  22. Jay

    ...if people want the billions in India, Brazil, China etc to live at the levels we do (which presumably people think wouuld be only fair), then thats a very serious problem.

    I think you mean opportunity, rather than problem, don't you?

    Luckily, some clever chaps have seized this opportunity and found a pretty wizard solution.

    We cannot all be rich and successful at the same time - there has to be a balance of winners and losers. In this case, the ConDems have volunteered Broekn Britain to be the new losers. We are all going to slide down the economic helter-skelter in order to ensure that India, China, Brazil etc can clamber up the ladder until it's their turn to go whizz and whee and splatt back in the financial shit.

    Nice. Good to see that modding thread led to big changes...

    I think its purpose was to teach the incipient unruly mob that they either keep in line or simply get banned.

    Basically, people like MarsupialInEsplanade will have to scream until they are hoarse that CiF and Dribbly are the best places on the internet and promise to mob and report anyone who says otherwise until dissent has been crushed and eliminated throughout the perfect imaginary realms of The Guardian.

  23. Yes, that is the point Jay. I am sure you have seen/heard about the statistic that if everyone wants to live at an North American quality of life we would need 4 planet earths. I have no problem with poorer countries wanting western lifestyles, and I do have a problem with the nihilistic over consumerism in the developed world.

    It is an issue of balance. To what extent do we want a western life, to what extent can we continue to offer it to the world's population if it continues to increase, in rich and poor countries alike. I would love it for everyone to be able to live a Scandinavian style quality of life, but I can't see that happening without the global population being several billion less.

  24. "The fact that left/right has been around for 200 years means fuck all- I could just as easily use that argument as a justification for absolute monarchy as that concept has been in use since the days of ancient Mesopotamia."

    Unless you're claiming 'Absolute Monarchy' is a meaningless term...which you clearly aren't, you're mixing up 3 or 4 different things...'naming','meaning', existence and coherence

    The coherence of the terms left/right in a political sense and their justifictaion are two entirely different things...also if somebody decides to implement a political programme with concrete proposals, do you suppose it lacks justification simply because of a label somebody attaches to it...whether that label be left or right?

  25. WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors, seeking to build a case against the WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange for his role in a huge dissemination of classified government documents, are looking for evidence of any collusion in his early contacts with an Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the information.

    Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system.

    If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them. --The NYT, today

    As I said last night, it's clear that Britain is holding Assange until the US can build an extraditable case against him.

    "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face -- forever."

  26. Duke/Monkeyfish/Jay,

    It's not that there isn't political will to solve these kinds of issues, per se, but that there is a political will to sustain and perpetuate them.

    Food - see the mountains of grain 'sidelined' to keep prices at a certain level, etc!

    Carbon/GW - By far one of the biggest problems is the meat thing (don't worry, not a vegetarian rant) which benefits such a small percentage of the worlds population, and a few mega-corporations. It's also telling how this issue is brought up to limit China, Brazil, India etc. when it suits us to do so!

    Money/trade/finance etc - The IMF, for example, as far as I can tell, has had, as it's sole responsibility, the mission to make sure that, both inter and intra-nationally, there's always a hell of a lot of people fighting for the scraps from the feast of a very small, very select elite!

    Anyway, I sort of forget my point, so I'll just say that, for me, it's not a question of apathy, or lack of will on the part of the politicos, but that it's a considered, continuous and deliberate execution of political will to actually keep things this way, which actually takes considerably more effort.

  27. "...also if somebody decides to implement a political programme with concrete proposals, do you suppose it lacks justification simply because of a label somebody attaches to it...whether that label be left or right? "

    depends, but often the ideology dictates the political programme because they have nailed their colours to either the left or the right and have to swallow the whole ideology, when both have good points and bad points. The ideological pigeonholing of people and their beliefs into two armed camps is counter productive. I for example would pick and choose the most positive aspects of the traditional left and right,as I do in my worldview which is mixture of many ideologies.

  28. (ok - I promise to just stick to the nominally amusing one-liners from now on!!)

  29. Hate to say it...but Spiked (particularly O'Neill) has been doing anti-Malthusianism for a while now


    "The Malthusian view of humans as little more than consumers leads to some very dodgy ideas. So last year, the OPT launched a website called PopOffsets, which involved encouraging well-off Westerners to offset their carbon emissions by paying for people in the Third World to stop procreating.

    The idea is that you log on, enter information about a flight you recently took or how much you have been driving your car, and then the site tells you how much carbon you have used and therefore how much you should donate to a Third World reproductive charity. That charity makes up for your carbon-use by cutting back on the pitter-patter of tiny carbon footprints in countries like Kenya. So if you took a round-trip from London to Sydney, that adds up to 10 tonnes of carbon, in which case you are asked to donate £40 to help prevent the birth of one child in Africa.

    That is the value that modern-day Malthusians put on new human life: it is roughly equal to 10 tonnes of carbon, or one holiday Down Under. Apparently these lives have no intrinsic worth, no moral or cultural meaning; they’re simply bargaining chips in some wealthy Westerner’s desire to absolve himself of eco-guilt.

    Such misanthropy is a direct result of the fetish of finiteness. Because when you view human beings as the ravenous users of resources, then you start to see human life itself as a pollutant, a drain on the planet. That is why Malthusians constantly refer to every newborn child in Africa as ‘another mouth to feed’. In their worldview, another child is not something to celebrate; it is simply an eating machine that needs to be attended to. We have lost sight of the fact that human beings are not just mouths to feed – they are also brains that can think, minds that can create, and hands that can work.

    And thirdly, and finally, the elevation of the Malthusian idea of finiteness gives rise to authoritarianism. When you see everything as running out, when you believe that anarchy is potentially just around the corner, then you become a bit like those strange men in Alabama who think the world is coming to an end, so they stock up on guns and baked beans and never leave the house. You develop a siege mentality. You see other people as a tsunami of destruction, and almost any measure can be justified to hold back that tsunami.

    Of course, the Malthusians have learned from their past. They have learned from their earlier dalliances with eugenics in the 1930s and forced sterilisation in India in the 1970s, and from their complicity in the development of China’s one-child policy in the 1980s; they know that population authoritarianism is not popular. Women don’t like being told what to do with their wombs, and men don’t like being forced into vasectomies. So modern-day Malthusians have adopted the language of ‘reproductive choice’ and ‘female empowerment’ instead. But this is deeply, deeply disingenuous.

    Because when you promote family planning on the basis that too many children will destroy the planet, on the basis that women are creating future pollutants, on the basis that our offspring will turn into planet-rapists, then you are not giving women real reproductive choice, which is something I fully support; no, you are giving them an ultimatum. You are instructing them that if they carry on breeding, then they will be responsible for natural disasters and carnage on a Biblical scale. That is coercion; it is an invasion of women’s free will. And it is the end result of a misanthropic outlook which says that the worst thing a human being can do is create another human being."

  30. Each time society, through unemployment, frustrates the small man in his normal functioning and normal self-respect, it trains him for that last stage in which he will willingly undertake any function, even that of hangman.-- Hannah Arendt, in her 1945 essay Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility

  31. " for example would pick and choose the most positive aspects of the traditional left and right,as I do in my worldview which is mixture of many ideologies."

    That's hardly a novel approach...from a sentence like that, for instance, Blair might have once picked you out as one of his own when he was talking up his 'third way' or Clinton with his communitarianism...in fact I thnink you'll find there's a long and inglorious history of visionaries neglecting old and hide-bound certainties and forging new paradigms...but at the end of the day..'left' and 'right' retain a significance since in common usage they still form useful descriptions of an individual's attitude toward autonomy or collectivism.

    However, you're missing the point. I think when you're talking about Left or Right...you need to decide whether you're talking about: their 'meanings'..which are clearly variable from person to person; the efficacy of their policies (or at least your evaluation of their efficacy); or their coherence..ie the extent to which their supposed meanings are actually instantiated in reality and practice.

    Switching from one to the other of these aspects of left and right mid-sentence means the writer hasn't considered the consistency of his message...and so hasn't really thought his/her meaasge through.

    btw..feel free to substitute 'cognitive synonymy', say, or 'significance' for 'meaning'..excuse the pun but 'meaning' is rather vague and meaningless

  32. ..sorry about the typing..got two fingers plastered together...it's a pisser when I'm driving...can't 'signal' properly at all

  33. You stole Trevalyn's corn, so the young might see the morn.

    God bless Laurie's fishnet socks. I remember when she was still peddling the plucky little outsider schtick. This would have been after she started writing for the Guardian and New Statesman but before she started appearing on Sky News and the BBC.

    I can't understand the whole pre-mod shit. Lord Summerisle was famously banned (and then unbanned) for pretty much the same thing as Jay got pre-modded for - complaining about deletions. Mind you, he did it on a Bidisha thread, which is the CiF equivalent of killing Bambi and fucking it in the eye sockets.

    Plus ca fuckin' change Rodney, plus ca fuckin' change. It seems that Natalie is gauging that the let's-talk-about-moderation thread was an end in itself, an opportunity for people to vent and then the issue was done with. She never had the slightest intention of curbing even the more ludicrous modding moments. Seaton would be proud.

  34. I see that professional knucklehead Bob Jobsworth has come out in favour of the legalisation drugs. Well...I guess I'll have to re-think my position. If that idiot's for it, then I must have missed something.

    And lest anyone's foolish enough to be taken in by all the sacharine gush about the late, unlamented Richard Holbrooke, here's a useful corrective.

    But even if you had no idea who Holbrooke was, you only had to note who crawled out of the woodwork to sing his praises.

    I almost choked on my coffee when the Today program turned to John Negroponte for an opinion. If you're unaware of the loathsome Negoponte's credentials, google him.

  35. Eddie, this one's for you:

    Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

    "There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

    There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with.

    Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

    The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

    We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

    Source: Labor’s Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.

  36. @jack cade:

    Poor old Bob Ainsworth. Promoted wa-a-a-y beyond his meagre capabilities to Minister for the Armed Forces, and then Secretary of State for Defence in recognition of his long years of service to the labour movement, and because no other fucker wanted to touch that brief with a mile-long bargepole… ambition’s a fine thing, but really, it was a sorry day for the MoD when Bob “that’ll be £23,083 please” Ainsworth stuffed his lardy frame into the ministerial chair.

    And that’s really saying something as far as that bungling shower of shite in Main Building, Whitehall is concerned.

  37. I should have pointed out that John Swinton was speaking in 1880...plus ├ža fucking change, indeed...

    Hoon or Jobsworth to win the Useless Dolt Stakes, Shiloh? It's a tough one...

  38. Jack, all the Guardian does is look for the echo of their own constructed shibboleths. You say the right things - a la Penny - you're in. The problem is that it's turning into generational rot. Greer might have articulated her own fresh thoughts in its pages. Toynbee would half-understand them and parrot them. Bindel would then co-opt them for her own interests. By the time you get to the Biddy/Penny/Webb cohort, original thought has been replaced by sloganeering, academic jargon and a cold-eyed cynicism that if you tell them what they want to hear, there's a place for you at the table. Right social and educational background permitting, of course. No point in being a damn fool about it.

    You can follow the same process of degradation in most things since the 60s. Environmentalism has gone from a mass movement to the plaything of the upper classes. And I'm pretty sure that Ralph Miliband wouldn't have waited for the result of focus groups to decide the difference between right and wrong.

  39. Assange granted bail apparently.

    Now, just that grassy knoll to keep an eye on.....

  40. Afternoon all


    Thanks for putting the instructions for links back up again.


    Thanks for the link re the reform of Dutch disability benefits.It's much appreciated.Will have a butchers at it when i've got time.

  41. MF:

    "The coherence of the terms left/right in a political sense and their justifictaion are two entirely different things...also if somebody decides to implement a political programme with concrete proposals, do you suppose it lacks justification simply because of a label somebody attaches to it...whether that label be left or right?"

    The terms, like a lot of generalisation, arise out of laziness and to some extent, necessity. The political landscape would be in chaos if we couldn't ascribe notional labels like left or right to individual policies and proposals. People need a shorthand so they can decide, quickly and simply, which side of the fence they stand on for any given issue without all the inconvenience of having to examine figures or statistics and arrive at a balanced decision, free of political bias.

    Sadly this shorthand breaks down in conditions very similar to those we are currently undergoing. Because we are 'all in this together'(TM), much as the Coalition have tried to shield the well-off from any significant hardship, there are a whole bunch of people who consider themselves notionally right-wing - certainly in their contempt for the undeserving poor - who are suddenly finding themselves considerably less well off. The first bunch coming to this realisation are those with kids approaching University age. These days, higher education is more akin to an essential than a luxurious aspiration, and many middle-class parents are finding that they can't easily afford it. They are starting to condone the actions of their children, to be less willing to dismiss a wayward tendency towards protest as a silly, youthful pahse. They suddenly understand, and the target of their ire stops being scrounging dole-scum and starts to become the Government that they were broadly supportive of a few short months ago when they were promising to happy-slap the Trisha-classes back into gainful employment.

    So back to the relevance of left and right. It's becoming redundant in both a political and a social sense: politically, because no matter how they choose to redistribute the crumbs amongst the populace, all Governments exist ultimately in order to siphon huge wads of public money into private hands; and socially, because Coalition policies are so divisive and conflicted that scarcely anyone on less than a 6-figure salary can really claim to be an all-or-nothing right-winger anymore. Even diehard left-wingers are given pause for thought. How do you support the rights of minorities when no bugger has any money or prospects? How do you support immigration policies in a shrinking job market? How do you deal with the significant minority of fraudulent benefits claimants that everbody knows exists but are fearful of tackling because they know the needy will suffer as well?

    Personally, I can no more identify as left or right than certain men can define themselves as gay despite having sex with other men. Neither feels right. I have a left-brain and a right-brain. Sometimes I discover inconsistencies in the way I approach different issues, but I'm willing to bet there are far fewer than your average diehard at the extremes of either ideology.

  42. Just to say that the ideologically hackery at the Graun has gotten so bad that if I read an article on CiF on a subject that piques my interest, I almost invariably have to look elsewhere to get the facts of the matter. Opinion is splendid, but at least don't skew the subject so massively that that readers feel compelled to find a grown-up version of it from another source. It's like student politics with an expense account. Fuck me. Still, 85 quid an article I suppose. You pay peanuts, you get cunts.

  43. ...."The Word magazine noted recently that – while fewer than one in 10 British children attends a fee-paying school – 60 per cent of rock music chart acts are now ex-public school, compared with one per cent 20 years ago......"

  44. RapidEddie:

    I suppose the Guardian are hoping that all these opinion pieces will be viewed as just that, opinion, some of it absolute guff, and nothing to do with them or the party line. Sadly for them, most people don't view it that way. It's a direct reflection of their editorial standards - how can it be anything else? Until the make the decision to run absolutely everything they are sent, there will always be a level of selectivity that means they are every bit as responsible for half-baked, ill-informed crap that gets through the net as the people who write it.

  45. Eddie
    Couldn't agree more mate.

  46. deano30
    Exactly the point I make to illegal file sharing fans; they don't seem to get it... if you can't support yourself through record company and publishing company contracts-supported record sales, you need another income stream...

  47. "60 per cent of rock music chart acts are now ex-public school, compared with one per cent 20 years ago......"
    authors?...artists?...politicians?...journalists?...playwrights?..army officers above the rank of major?..Chief Constables?

    you reckon it would be more or less than 60%?...you could turn it into a kinda 'play your cards right' scenario

    60%...higher or lower?

  48. ...."The Word magazine noted recently that – while fewer than one in 10 British children attends a fee-paying school – 60 per cent of rock music chart acts are now ex-public school, compared with one per cent 20 years ago......"

    Sounds like a job for Ben Goldacre.

    Talking of public school rock-twonks, I saw a loathsome 'documentary' a few months ago about some 16yo girl having some kind of debutante party thrown for her in a marquee on her gargantuan lawn, chockful of flicked hair and mangled vowels, and who should be the entertainment for the evening but fucking Kula Shaker! It answered so many questions for me.

  49. SK, I've nothing against opinion pieces - after all, that's the whole point of CiF - but when you actually obscure the subject matter so badly, when your ideological bent is so over-weening that a reasonable reaction to it can only be formed with reference to other sources, then it's plain old shit writing.

  50. BW

    "Exactly the point I make to illegal file sharing fans; they don't seem to get it... if you can't support yourself through record company and publishing company contracts-supported record sales, you need another income stream..."

    Like trainee barristers you mean?

  51. "Until the make the decision to run absolutely everything they are sent..."

    I'm not sure that isn't how it works...goes like this..they sit around a table, read the author's name...ask "anyone's son, daughter, nephew, neice, child of a friend, anyone's mate...do they mention if they're 'Oxbridge'?"...if the answer to any of these is yes...up it goes.

  52. RE, you've got to wonder how much of it is about the hits. Shit writing gets far more hits than thoughtful, well-referenced pieces

  53. Afternoon all

    Speedy, me ole mate - what do you think about Ainsworth's idea?

    I remember talking to a rozzer in Brighton once about a drugs operation they have been involved in and how jaded with the whole bleedin thing he was. They had spent nigh-on a year collecting the intelligence to close down a fair-sized distribution operation in the city. They were well pleased with themselves when they did all the dawn raids and got all the players, bang to rights, with enough evidence to make sure it would stick good and proper.

    24 hours after they were charged, others had come along to take over the business and were in operation, providing the same suppliers, getting the same amounts of stuff out on the streets...


  54. MF - Well you might recall that I have some experience of selling my arse to the Guardian and I had an interesting email conversation with Shariatmadari on one occasion where he pretty much told me to dumb it down and stop using long words. I argued my corner - that long words, especially in academic writing, were sometimes a way of saying concisely what would otherwise take ten words to explain - to which he replied:

    "Yup, fair point. My feeling is that there should never be any hint that the writer is using the words even partly to show off their learning. A surprising number of people do this. If it genuinely helps expression, then absolutely fine..."

    "And now, I bid you valediction"


    Fucking valediction! I've still no idea what it means.

  55. Good stuff on Malthus and the neo-malthusians, chaps, btw.

    And to answer Jay's concerns - sustainable development and Bruntland is the only way forward. And encouraging the over-developed resource-guzzling nations to a) reduce their consumption and b) stop exporting cheap, dirty technology to developed nations, or installing it under the banner of their own trans-national corporations in countries where they will get away with it.

  56. Oi, speedy - what was that about trainee barristers?

  57. RapidEddie
    "You pay peanuts, you get cunts."
    Ha ha ha, have you been on tour with Spinal Tap?

  58. Jay, I got taken out of premod without even asking. The secret, I think, is to bore them shitless with ten rapid fire posts that are so banal that they bring the mods to tears.

    Of course, you have to be banal and boring in the first place, so not sure if it will work for you...

  59. SK while you're here..and BB

    How common is this?


    You don't really have to read the story but apparently the judge only gave the guy 6 months having taken into account the fact that she had no broken bones and was fairly upbeat after the attack on her facebook page; playing down her injuries...now I can imagine many people would react in this way out of defiance and bravado and as a way of letting their attacker know they weren't cowed..especially if it were a former partner.

    As I'm sure you're aware it's possible to take a hell of a kicking without actually breaking a bone...and an observer in court told me the judge seemed to acknowledge the defence's point over the facebook evidence. Does this happen a lot...how much does Facebook influence cases and sentencing...presumably she could have exaggerated and got him a year or two?

  60. Woohoo!

    It looks like MPs may be taken out of financial pre-mod and return to being allowed to pilfer from the public purse with impunity and without scrutiny.


    MPs’ expenses: New expenses body could be scrapped, Downing Street admits

    The new MPs' expenses body could be scrapped, Downing Street has admitted.

    The news comes after Prime Minister David Cameron criticised the system run by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for not being family friendly enough.

    Speaking at a briefing, the Prime Minister’s spokesman refused to rule out scrapping the authority altogether.

    Asked if the authority could be scrapped or changed completely, he said: “Well I don’t think we are there yet. We need to look at what can be done.”

    Pressed if was not ruling out abolishing the authority, he said: “I am not ruling anything in or out, I am just saying that it needs to be dealt with.”

    The spokesman added that the new expenses system was dogged by “quite significant problems”.

    Promise to do something, wait for people to forget, then just go back to normal.


    Thank goodness we kicked out those corrupt New Labour bastards and brought in these lovely new corrupt Neo-Nasty bastards.

    Never say that putting your little cross on a piece of paper every five years is not the same as a fully functioning democracy or that we live in an elective dictatorship.

    After all, what would life be like under clumsy, grumpy Gordon with his crumpled suits and bitten fingernails?

    There is nothing much which lovely haircuts, lovely manners and expensively tailored suits cannot cure.

    Crisis - what crisis?

  61. BB:

    "Oi, speedy - what was that about trainee barristers?"

    You aren't one anymore, so you can't possibly be offended.

    As far as Ainsworth goes, I think he's just trying to assert his contemporary relevance. Can you imagine his saying that when he was a Minister? He'd be out on his arse faster than you could say bucket-bong.

    As for the idea, it's never really been tried so it's difficult to support the Armageddon scenarios that are usually cited in opposition to it, but it's equally hard to see how it could be any more ineffectual than the current regime.

    Yeah, why not? Parrrrrrrrty

  62. So, er ... how's the weather? It's throwing down chunks of ice here.

  63. Manchester is Manchester.
    Cold, grey, wet.

  64. MF:

    Generally if there are no broken bones and no permanent scarring then they get charged with ABH, otherwise GBH. It really is purely about the level of injury rather than the ferocity of the attack unfortunately, simply because it is the easiest measure. The decision on sentence happens after the defendant is convicted, when various aggravating and mitigating factors are weighed up in order to decide the penalty. There's no real reason why stuff on Facebook can't be admitted in evidence in the same way as any other kind of evidence, but I can only imagine it related to the question of whether there was any kind of psychological injury arising from the attack. To be honest, I don't think 6 months sound particularly lenient by the ordinary standards of the courts, sadly.

  65. thauma

    Here in the Capital we've been warned that we're due a short intense snowstorm sometime today,a respite from the snow tomorrow and we'll be buried in the fuckin' stuff by the end of the weekend.Will obviously keep you informed of any updates.

  66. Oh Manchester, so much to answer for...

    MF - domestic violence cases are always so difficult to comment on without the full facts. The fact that she actually turned up to court to give evidence at all is a bloody miracle, given the number of them I have had to can over the years when prosecuting.

    But re Facebook, I have been involved in one or two cases where the perp in a violent offence has been tracked down by the victim through facebook, which is quite interesting.

    Speedy - never going to happen though. If you legalised and controlled drug use, half the police force would be redundant overnight, not to mention judges and lawyers. How many domestic burglaries and shopliftings are down to getting money for the next fix?

  67. Been pissing with raid here, thaum, and with a biting wind behind it as well. According to the Beeb we are not getting snow here til tomorrow, but who knows.

  68. Pissing with raid? I know I am brewig a cowd agaid bud dat is ridiculous...

  69. "Speedy - never going to happen though. If you legalised and controlled drug use, half the police force would be redundant overnight, not to mention judges and lawyers. How many domestic burglaries and shopliftings are down to getting money for the next fix?"

    Er, I don't think legalising them means they'll become free or non-addictive, or have I misunderstood something?

  70. Talking of 'pissing with raid', there's a wasps' nest under our bathroom floor and Mrs Kermit got stung on the tit the other day when one of the fuckers hid in her jumper.

  71. Ouchie!!!

    Anyhoo, the point being that if people can get it on prescription from the doctor instead of having to find dosh every day to buy it, they will stop robbing stuff to sell, won't they?

  72. SK

    there's a wasps' nest under our bathroom floor and Mrs Kermit got stung on the tit the other day when one of the fuckers hid in her jumper.

    I'm sorry to hear that.Best thing for it is for you to massage a bit of savlon into the stung tit.I'm told this also aids the bonding process between couples.

    btw good to see you.!

  73. Going back 20 years or so, a guy on the same estate as me got 3 months for ABH in one instance (cuts, bruises on the other bloke) and 6 months for GBH (decked a bloke, kicked a few teeth out and broke his nose while he was on the floor). Neither the sentences nor the sentencing criteria seemed to have changed much over the years.

    Mind you, the max for ABH is 5 years, so the judge has plenty of leeway, lack of broken bones or not.

  74. Snowing now! This wasn't supposed to happen!

    Sorry for being ultimately boring. Am sick and grumpy.

  75. Paul, I offered to suck out the poison but I don't think she was in the best of moods. We laughed about it later when she'd had the tube removed from her throat.

    "Anyhoo, the point being that if people can get it on prescription from the doctor instead of having to find dosh every day to buy it, they will stop robbing stuff to sell, won't they?"

    Sorry, I'm being a dunderhead. I was labouring under the hilarious misconception that Ainsworth had suggested legalising drugs for all. How ridiculous!

  76. RE:

    "Going back 20 years or so, a guy on the same estate as me got 3 months for ABH in one instance (cuts, bruises on the other bloke) and 6 months for GBH (decked a bloke, kicked a few teeth out and broke his nose while he was on the floor). Neither the sentences nor the sentencing criteria seemed to have changed much over the years."

    Lost teeth and a broken nose will only get you ABH these days according to CPS Guidelines. That's inflation for you.

  77. Not a bad idea habib, i have used that ploy before, downside is it requires effort - havent really got time for it, but might give it a go.

  78. My understanding was that for the more serious stuff he was talking about controlled access through doctors and/or pharmacists.

    But as it is all pie in the sky and will never happen anyway, who knows? He has probably lost the fag packet he wrote it all down on anyway...

  79. "But as it is all pie in the sky and will never happen anyway, who knows? He has probably lost the fag packet he wrote it all down on anyway..."

    I'm pretty sure it wasn't his idea

  80. SK, the judges have been watching too much Tarantino and Asia Extreme. You didn't disembowel him? Fuckin wuss. Time served and community service down at the abbatoir.

    On the other hand, I knew a guy who actually looked to get nicked in time for Christmas. This would have been Reading jail in the late 70's/early 80s. He reckoned it was much better than his home life. Good nosh up on Christmas day and then a few spliffs back in the cell. It's enough to give a Daily Mail reader an attack of the splenetics.

  81. Don't the fire department deal with wasp nests in the UK? They do here.

  82. A funny for Spanish speakers: http://listo.tumblr.com/post/2157109454.

  83. thauma

    Snowing like heck in the East Midlands according to my other half, and the temperature has dropped a lot. Sheffield is not so bad, light sprinkling of snow & bloody cold but at least the roads are clear.


    No, council's deal with wasps nests here, And they charge you for it.

    Speedy (nice to see you again, btw) & BB

    In my experience, legalising drugs has quite a lot of support in health & criminal justice circles but no-one will come out & say so publicly.

  84. And Nap

    The day I find myself leading a comfortable established life, dare I say banal middle class one, I will know for certain that I am dead.

  85. This comment has been removed by the author.

  86. My friends in Granada regularly have wasp nests under the eaves. They wait until night and spray a can of insecticide into the nest. Their wasps don't attack at night. I don't know if that's true of all wasps.

  87. Thauma "this wasn't supposed to happen", that reminded me of a song.

  88. Jay, I could make ten bland and boring comments relevant to the articles on CiF in a matter of a few minutes, if you want to copy and paste them?

  89. It only takes effort if you are actually quite interesting.

  90. Speedy

    "Lost teeth and a broken nose will only get you ABH these days according to CPS Guidelines. That's inflation for you. "

    Made I larf. :o)

  91. BB, do you think it's quiet time? Should I frighten people into posting by thretening to post music?

  92. Habib

    Have got to shoot off now but here's an early contribution to your music hour from THE JAMMERS!

  93. Not to worry habib, i am getting into my stride with it now. 11 done. Upsettingly fatuous comments to the last.

  94. SK
    No, I'd say the career structures of Barristers are probably somewhat desimilar to musicians'. Not really sure what your point is, unless you're implying it's just "tough shit" to musicians who are losing revenue, and unable to sustain through the early careers because of the scale of downloading ?

  95. I thought quiet time started at 5pm?

    Still, the nights are still drawing in - until Tuesday anyway - so that's a good excuse to start early.

    Ring Out Solstice Bells

  96. Paul, nice one, very difficult not to shake yer bum to that music.

    Go Reilly! Go Reilly! Go Reilly!!!! :-)

    I'm in the mood for apt show tunes.

  97. Back later you degenerates... got a party to host ;-)

  98. Ha! I'd forgotten about that Sugacubes song, Habib. Thanks.

  99. Blimey, BB - long long time since I heard that, thanks.

    Condem nation policy.

  100. Hah!

    In this life one thing counts
    In the bank large amounts

    God, I could do such a rewrite of that if I could be bothered...

    Got to shoot off for a bit but back l8rs m8s xx

  101. 'ning all


    weather report from rome....bleedin' freezing...my pipes froze last night....

    knew i was in a living hell...but freezing over as well......now that is shitty

  102. Bitterweed:

    "No, I'd say the career structures of Barristers are probably somewhat desimilar to musicians'. Not really sure what your point is, unless you're implying it's just "tough shit" to musicians who are losing revenue, and unable to sustain through the early careers because of the scale of downloading ?"

    How on earth did you come up with that?

    But for the record, I do download, but my policy is if it's good then buy it, if not then delete it. I'm piss sick of record companies who seem to expect you to pay for something without listening to it first. I wouldn't buy a pair of trousers without trying them on first, so what's the difference? I've had thousands of pounds worth of disappointment in my time, so I won't be lectured about downloading.

    The kind of artists I like actually tend to benefit from downloading because it brings them exposure and sales they might not otherwise have had, from independent labels releasing editions of 500 or 1000 (yes, OK, it's stuff most people would run a mile from, but hey...) I've got racks full of stuff I wouldn't have gambled on if I hadn't heard it first. The people who are bitching about it are your Lily Allens of this world. I'm quite happy for shit musicians to lose potential revenue (NOTE - 'potential') just as I'm happy for shit plumbers and mechanics to lose potential revenue for doing crap work. If your album sucks, I'm not buying it and in return I promise not to listen to it. Sorted.

    (btw, I realise that not everyone pays for the downloads they enjoy, but there are other indirect payoffs such as word-of-mouth recommendation and touring revenue etc that can make up shortfalls. A lot of the time bands break up citing poor sales and lost revenue when actually it was just the case that they weren't very popular.)

  103. Bloody workshy people, won't find me dodging work... much.

  104. cor blimey habib......rain in spayne...an al vatt

  105. Gandolfo - sympathies on the pipes ... what a drag.

  106. thauma

    thanks.....they defrosted in the day...thank gawd they didn't burst.....didn't get home in time to lagg 'em with some old blanket.....as they are on top of the roof......

    -5° tonight...argh......

  107. Ha, aye gandolfo, I guess it's time I packed me bags, loaded me mule and found a living somewhere.

  108. Slightly backfired actually habib. I have just received my first actual response from the mods over the whole saga - to let me know i now have a months total ban.

    God i love those liddle guys...

  109. Now my damn profiles gone too :(

  110. Oh shit, sorry, Jay. I feel I owe it to you to get banned now. Anybody got anything particularly virulent they want to say to anybody?

  111. habib

    love that song!!! when i was a kid my dad use to sing that........about as badly as marvin....come to think of it worse.......for a moment i thought you had posted "all i want is a room somewhere" like you is 'aving a my fair lady phase.......

  112. No its not your fault, Habib, i have used the same tactics before and it worked ok. Was the execution i think. The most tedious topic, of relevance, that i could think of was the community guidelines - they really are fucking boring. And now, when you are in PM, they actually put a link in your Post Comment box that takes you to the guidelines - sweet of them, just so you can check which guideline you didnt break.

    11 comments on the community guidelines seems to have angered them. Was on waddya, didnt break any guidelines that i can tihnk of - was all very positive stuff. But who cares, when you answer to no one, with no transparency or accountability, you can do what you like.

  113. gandolfo :-)

    Jay, told you that you couldn't be bland enough.

  114. jay

    petty and banal.....they should take a look at some of the tripe that is turned out on waddya...offensive to human intelligenc, let alone graun guidelines.........

  115. bland who said bland???

    maybe you could send the link to the mods...:0) jay

  116. Genuine story alert

    I'm not exactly an expert on getting out of pre-mod..but I managed it in 3 days once by replying to every angry foul mouthed right-wing fucker I could find telling them I could feel their pain, would pray for them and Jesus would forgive them..straight up

    not sure if I just got lucky...maybe one of Andrew Brown's kids was doing a bit of 'work-experience' that day

  117. Yes, it's strange that Natalie Hanman has written, as far as I know, three items on CiF in her capacity as editor and related to the site and each of these has been deluged with complaints about moderation.

    Seaton at least had the idiocy to declare that there was nothing wrong with moderation and that it was beyond the realms of human thought to entertain the possibility that there could ever be anything wrong with it which was not caused by filthy fuckwits intent on undermining the integrity of a blessed and immaculate system.

    Hanman seems to think that silence will be interpreted as a veiled threat, as if she is one of the Kray twins unrecognised offspring hiding in public view under some prototype cheapskate witness protection scheme.

    It basically seems to amount to: "Put the word about that dissent will not be tolerated. You can all see people disappearing and the wise among you will know to keep your mouths shut if you do not want to join them. If you want regular supplies of your daily fix, shut the fuck up and do as you are told."


  118. That probably would have been easier, MF, but required more thought. I was pretty impatient so wanted an easy, steady supply of tedium to post about - what better than the absurd "community guidelines" i thought. Fired a load off and thats the result.

    Oh well, probably for the best, more time with you reprobates and more time for actual writing rather than posting...

  119. BW - dont know if you've got much of that Bonamassa but his Blues Deluxe album just arrived, only 3 tracks in but sounding pretty damn sublime so far. Recommended.

  120. You can all see people disappearing and the wise among you will know to keep your mouths shut if you do not want to join them. If you want regular supplies of your daily fix, shut the fuck up and do as you are told."

    Ever read Watership Down? You know the bit about the warren where all the rabbits are sleek and fat, but no-one will discuss the disappearances?

  121. speedkermit
    I'm sorry you were sold so many hundreds of bum steers by record companies. I've probably bought five albums in my life I ended up truly disppointed by - not because I have poor taste, I assume, but because I checked them out first round mates, on the radio, on tv, via reviews, via live concerts, by reputation, by proven track record...

    Listen, I don't want to criminalise people who download and don't pay - I want artists to have a fairer say in whether people pay for their work or not.

    My previous remark was aimed at your very brief comment about barristers, which is open to a number of interpretations. Well, at least a couple as far as I can see; I just assumed you were being sarky.

    Sorry if you felt lectured.

  122. Cheers JR - pretty much everything's a recommend with that man. back laters !

  123. I really dont know how i've missed him till now, BW. This isnt bad, a little off the cuf rendition on some random person's guitar at a book signing:


  124. Thauma

    Sorry, I haven't read it.

    I was actually thinking of the desaparecidos in Pinochet's Chile, although I would obviously not draw a parallel between an internet news blog and the abuse and misery inflicted on a country by the Nazi mate of Mrs Thatcher and Jack Straw.

  125. AB - it's a very good children's book. Vague allegory about different forms of government, but basically a cracking plot.

    It's not the first time that Cif has reminded me of the spooky warren.

  126. Thauma
    nathalie hanman is General Woundwort in Watership Down about detractors and defectors:

    "Captain, get this miserable group back to their marks. I'll settle you myself, Bigwig. There's no need to take you back...."

  127. Kinda lost track last night btw...did we settle a date/dates for a drink in Brighton

    Just had word from the geezer btw...lookin increasingly likely I'm in London Monday...oooh...I'm all excited

  128. MF

    in short no waiting for spike to see if he can make the 27th or not....me and BB (I think) are good for the 27th Jay and you are around whatever.......PeterJ haven't seen him around anyone I forgot??

    you could do 2 evenings!!

  129. Gandolfo - ha! Don't think she is big enough (in either sense of the word).

  130. Monkeyfish - don't forget to get your hair done specially.

  131. I'm up for a drink on 27th. Anything else is a maybe.

    Jay - bummer that they banned you. What you need to do now is to find a woman to blame, then create lots of new log-ins and stalk her for the next year... :o)

  132. should read "now waiting...."


    "so cold... so very cold"

    ahhhh poor little Fiver!!!!

  133. Yeah..I'm good either/both nights

    Just looked in on waddaya...someone noticed Jay's profile's gone..case of: avert your eyes ..keep posting the drivel...pretend nothing's happened...think they're worried asking too many questions might be risky..might put the 'integrity of the Guardian' under the spotlight..wouldn't want to risk Kermit having one of his episodes...incidentally...do I misread the old muppet or does he actually think he proved something with the quack thing? He seems to think he emerged from it with his 'reputation' enhanced...he's as deluded as my date for Monday night

  134. BB

    stalking rabbits......or the seven dwarfs.......I wonder who could be Snow White????!!!?

  135. Thanks for the link, Duke.

    Needless to say, the reality of Dutch benefit payments is miles form your breathless headline.

    The 70% of earnings in unemployment benefit is paid to people for three months if they've worked for between 5 and 10 years. It's taxable, and is capped at less than 200 euros a day - which makes sense; you don't want lawyers on 200K taking 140K in benefit. After three months, it converts to 70% of the minimum wage - that's currently worth around 1100 euros a month.

    Current rates may be a tad higher.

    Not saying it's not on the generous side, but it's nothing like the pot of gold you implied.

  136. @gandolfo

    Sure. I was just waiting for a date to settle down, and to find out what my daughter was doing after she got back from Berlin today. Any time's fine for me, it turns out. if she's down here on the day, maybe she'll come along as well.

  137. Jay

    I've just heard you've been banned from CIF.Sorry to hear that although i hear you have a reputation as being a bit of a 'comeback kid'.So i'm sure Cif hasn't heard the last of Jay Reilly.

    btw have you had your exam results yet?


    I haven't had a chance to fully digest the statistics from the link Duke provided.But from what i have seen i think it's fair to say that British benefit recipients would view their Dutch counterparts as having a 'pot of gold' at their disposal.But then it's all relative.

  138. PeterJ

    will be an evening drink... so far the thing is this

    me and bb 27th

    MF and JR any day

    Spike 23 so far but maybe 27th.......

  139. Hi Paul

    Its a months ban, kind of them, what with the festive season upon us and all. So yeah should be back mid Jan i spose.

    Results tomorrow actually i think, forgotten about them.

  140. Cheers for reminding me Paul, just checked online and there's a bloody degree waiting for me - 2.1.

  141. well done jay...will buy you a shandy if you are in b'ton!! ;P)

  142. Cheers all, not a bad end to the day after all...

  143. Jay

    Well done that man.And when you return to CIF i think you should change your name to-

    Jay Reilly BSc(Hons) -or BA(Hons)

  144. Quite tempting Paul, if only to goad the Bracken into action ;)

  145. The fact that Jay's gotten a month's ban demonstrates two things to me. (a) That their moderation policy is unchanged, and possibly more petty, less rational and more pissy than ever. And (b) that they read the UT. Let's face it, you don't get banned for a series of mild-mannered observations unless they've read elsewhere that it's a ploy to annoy your way of pre-mod.

    I've taken a sabbatical from CiF in recent weeks, as the articles are now so stale and predictable that I found it difficult to formulate fresh responses to them. But enough is enough and I'm making my CiF retirement permanent. It doesn't seem to occur to Hanman that often the most read and enjoyed parts of CiF occur BTL, not above it. There's an arrogance that's seeping into every part of CiF that they're the coolest kids in Fleet Street and if you want to be part of it, you toe the line and submit to whatever moderation hazing rituals they dream up.

    Some of the CiF articles are good firestarters, but it's been occurring to me for a while that it's probably better to read them there and respond to them here. No modding and most of the people likely to challenge your ideas with coherence are here anyway. Fuck 'em. I'm done.

  146. Congrats! Jay, 2.1 in what may I ask?

  147. @RapidEddie
    Join the gang, you've nailed it four times over bud.

  148. Thanks Habib, Tiumboktut, James. Was in PPE at Bracken's favourite institution, the OU.

    Would be interesting to know if they do read the UT eddie, cos i'm pretty sure although irritating and tedious as hell, none of my posts today breached any guidelines. Just wittering on really, pretty harmless stuff...

  149. Congratulations Jay. Done yourself proud. x

  150. Well done, Jay! (Am not surprised.)

    Cif is getting less and less interesting to read, and even less interesting to comment on.

    Perhaps it's cos I'm burnt out after this year and will emerge refreshed after the 2 weeks off, but I doubt it.

    Roll on the holidays ... 1 week to go!

  151. Congrats, Jay Reilly BA Hons- well done!

  152. Jay - yeah, I reckon they read the UT occasionally (if not more often). We had some postings by 'Cif mod' some months back; reckon it was Bella, in retrospect, although obviously could be wrong. (Probably am; usually wrong about these things.)

  153. Apols for any drunken ranting last night.....

  154. Congrats, Jay!

    Sorry everyone, I can't make the 27th, must be back in Paris on the morning of the 28th.

  155. watching a programme pretty anti berlusconi...all about the protests the other day in rome....jesus friggin' civil war.....remember genova 2001? the defence minister one of berlusconi's "colonels" has started shouting "coward" at a student who is questioning the government and said minister is being a right drama queen and insulting everyone......could get lynched.......oh now decided to stay winding everyone up.......usual day on italian TV,,,,

    student-3 minister-0

    however, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a return to the "anni di piomba"the red brigade,right wing terrorist etc etc...... organisations.......

  156. Jay

    Congrats! You star! An Attilla when you are working full time at the same time is a great achievement, mister.

    I raise a very delicate glass of madeira (don't ask! Hubby's idea for my throat) to ya! xx


    Drunken ranting? Nobody ever does drunken ranting on the UT. Nope. Not ever. Never.


  157. Oh shit..how good is this..


    “WHENAS in silks my Julia goes,
    Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
    The liquefaction of her clothes!”

    Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

    “Workin’ that lace, I think it was the French cut
    Yeah bitch, you got a big ol' butt.”

    Snoop Dogg (1972-)


    nice one Jay


    Can you still do the 23rd?

  158. BB:

    "History, a life, the heart, the brain
    flow to the taste buds and flow back again"

    That's me I guess and several others on this 'ere blog.... ;( ;) xxx

  159. Monkeyfish. Errrrm. Not really the same thing at all. Snoop would be for the instant heave-ho, blocked from phone, etc.

  160. .

    monkeyfish said...

    Genuine story alert

    I'm not exactly an expert on getting out of pre-mod..but I managed it in 3 days once by replying to every angry foul mouthed right-wing fucker I could find telling them I could feel their pain, would pray for them and Jesus would forgive them..straight up not sure if I just got lucky...maybe one of Andrew Brown's kids was doing a bit of 'work-experience' that day.

    Probably more likely that other than being foul mouthed and abusive yourself, you were never a threat to anyone.

    Well apart from people damaging themselves laughing at you.

  161. Brilliant news Jay - am right chuffed for you!!

  162. We're working on banning every one of you smart-mouth motherfuckers. You think we like being made to look like puerile, spiteful half-wits? You may be cleverer than us but so what?

    We have the power, mugs. Who needs you infuriating cunts when we have cringing, wet-brained sycophants lining up to have their arses kicked?

    Kiss the ring or fuck off, suckers.

  163. So basically we get a month of Jay Reilly exclusivity on the UT while Whaddya gets to keep the usual suspects.

    Sounds like a deal.

  164. bitey - cursing is one of the things we do from time to time - if you don't like it bugger off somewhere else you prissy little fuck.

  165. .

    monkeyfish said...

    Spike Can you still do the 23rd?

    Are you proposing that you both go out to ogle teenage girls?

    Surprised at you MF, I thought you panache was wife beating?

  166. @MF

    I'll be making my final decision about coming over tomorrow, I'll let you know then.

  167. @faux bitey

    Teenage girls a bit long in the tooth for you?

  168. Excellent news Jay. PPE, great.
    A few years left for me, can't see myself graduating before 2013, mind you I only started this year. Still I've done 90 points worth. I don't know how you had the discipline to keep to the named degree, I just choose the subjects that interest me like a pic and mix :)

  169. Very well done, indeed, Jay.


  170. Kiss the ring or fuck off, suckers.

    Seems like you're the only sucker-fucker 'round these parts....

    Fuck off yourself.

  171. Bitey is a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman...

  172. Ah, I guess that they all release the results at the same time Jay, I've just logged on to the OU and got the pass marks for 2 of my 10 point lv 1 modules. 1/18 of a degree here we come!

  173. Evening all.

    Just popped by to find out what Jay had done, only to discover that what he has actually done is earn himself a damned good degree - and done it the hard way too.

    Many congratulations, mate.

  174. So Jay you've delivered once again to meet the the mods' demands.

    Quite soon you'll qualify for a place in a junior team in spike's Quisling's United.

    Some achievement.

    And congratultions on the 2:1; can we look forward to an announcement of your quest for a master's?

    Hope so.

  175. Ah hah ModsRock! So you admit it. I knew it, I motherfuckin' knew it. It's a deliberate policy to weed out the dissidents, the agent provocateurs and the firebrands. You mark my words, Bracken and his cutting-edge bombast will be next.

    PS Evening Ally and well done Jay!

  176. "Well apart from people damaging themselves laughing at you."


  177. Cheers all

    Nap - i didnt stick to my named degree as it goes, started out maths and economics then had a falling out with the maths faculty, so switched PPE. But a lot of people do the Open ones - pick and mix, apparently all OU degrees used to be like that, then they brought in structured ones for people that want them. But keep at it, can do them quite quick if you can be arsed.

    Jen should have her result too by now then i guess, she about?

  178. BB:

    Tony Harrison.... sheer, poetic joy....

  179. "Surprised at you MF, I thought you panache was wife beating?"

    Oi...back in the kitchen..and who taught you to work the 'puter?...any more of this and I'll have you back on that plane to Thailand so fuckin fast your little bound feet won't touch bitch...sheesh...fuckin internet brides these days

  180. Nah...we're cool with The Brackenator. He's one of us, basically (but with a criminal record, which gives our full-Brazilian, middle-class fannies a tingle, I don't mind telling you).

    Anyway, he only attacks youse cunts. He treats us with a respect. Of course, he's a proper gent, understands about hierarchies and that, unlike you bolshie fuckers.

  181. .

    La Ritournelle said...

    Bitey is a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman...

    LaRit, you do your credibility no good with such Daily Mailism.

    You and I crossed swords over Livingstone's failed election when your chest beating certainty was confounded by the election results.

    It's quite sad to observe your demise from a serious political commenter to a craven popularity seeker.

  182. Cheers Ally. Good to see you over these parts.

    Bitey - I'm confused, which demands did i meet?

    I got a bit wasted on Saturday night, came home, emailed them calling them "irritating little bastards", tried to smooth that one over when sobered up next day - no response. So officially, the reason is as follows:

    "Dear Jay,

    Due to your continued disregard for the community standards while under premoderation, coupled with the abuse you have emailed in, your posting privileges are going to be withdrawn for the next month.

    We suggest you use this period to consider whether you feel able to conduct yourself in a more appropriate manner in your dealings with Guardian staff members and the wider online community, and if not, whether you feel it would be appropriate for you to return to Cif."

  183. Ally:


    Tis is a 'coming out and mourning party' for the fact that Jay is probably going to be one of the very last, for a very long time, to even have the opportunity to do a degree the hard way.....

  184. Monkeyfish, please don't tell me you thought that quacking cunt was me, I have waaay more class than that.

    Im actually more offended than when Hank called Mai Ling a Menshevik splitter and challenged me to a duel with ploughshares.

  185. "You and I crossed swords.."

    You mean she gave you the bitch-slapping you had coming?

  186. "Monkeyfish, please don't tell me you thought that quacking cunt was me, I have waaay more class than that."

    No..sorry for the confusion..Kermit was a cunning play on the word Hermit...as it also conjired up all too germane Muppet connotations...as in EnglishHermit...the resident Dibley vegetable molester and all purpose village idiot

  187. BitetheHand (cos the Face Ain't Listening)

    "You and I crossed swords over Livingstone's failed election when your chest beating certainty was confounded by the election results"

    I have no idea who you are. I was just making a guess at your gender ;(

    "It's quite sad to observe your demise from a serious political commenter to a craven popularity seeker"

    Not interested in 'popularity'

  188. The internet's ruined me!

    I can't read or hear 'crossed swords' without giggling....

  189. .

    Spike said...

    @faux bitey

    Teenage girls a bit long in the tooth for you?

    Not me Spike / backtothepoint / Tony Shallcross, here you are bragging about yourself:

    So when this 55-year-old looks at teenage girls, there is one problem and one possible problem:

    - his partner is unhappy about it,

    - he could be making teenage girls feel intimidated and uncomfortable.

    And if it's any comfort I'll argue that you shouldn't be sent to prison for your harassment. Some serious re-education should be fine.

  190. Jay, well done chappie. If I hadn't been so bone idle and deferred a module last year, I could have finished my last ever lecture yesterday with the rest of my classmates and wouldn't have to fanny about doing Land Law until May. What was your course (pardon my ignorance)?

    Bitterweed, sorry for being arsey earlier. I've taken a chill-pill and now feel considerably more zen. That's what thinking about major labels does to me.

  191. PPE Speedkermit. Who you studying with?