09 January 2011

09/01/11



Don't be afraid of missing opportunities. Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.
-Lily Tomlin

218 comments:

  1. Today's image is a repeat. Sorry. I didn't look at the exact time when I started trying to get a thread up, but I'm pretty sure it has taken me more than an hour and a half to get this up. It's been about an hour since I decided to give up trying to get a new image for the day and just re-using this one.

    Same crap as last night. I use Opera most of the time, but ever since the most recent update, I've been unable to upload images to posts in Opera. I get an error message about an invalid server. So, I've been using Chrome to put up new posts. Chrome was loading pages really slowly -- especially the one I wanted to use to get an image for today. So, I thought that I'd use Opera to find an image, save it to my desktop, then switch to Chrome to put the post up.

    Opera crashed about 5 times during the image search. So, I decided, fuck it -- I'll just slap up a photo of my own. When I opened up my photo file to pick something (thinking I'd use one of Cinnamon or one from the Omaha Zoo), I saw that I'd saved this one & decided it'd been long enough ago that most of you probably wouldn't remember it and some of you probably weren't around when I used it before.

    That was about 2 am. It's 3:11 now. It took all that time to get the damn thing uploaded & get the post to publish. Then I had to close Chrome and go back to Opera to be able to write this comment to you, because I waited for nearly 10 minutes to navigate back to hear from the dashboard in Chrome. I know that none of you really give a shit, but I'm working off the frustration by telling you all about it.

    The photo is of rue Vavin in Paris, which is where I stayed when I studied at the Alliance Fran├žaise for a couple of months back in the Stone Age. I was quite pleased & surprised to find this photo. I'm fairly certain it was taken from the window of "my" room in what was (at that time) the Pension Ladagnous. (Hotel Somethingorother now, apparently) I hope Lubicka's doing well.

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  2. ((((((Montana)))))) I'm sorry about your computer probs. Hope you can resolve them soon.

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  3. Oh, and two things that I meant to say a couple of days ago:

    1. I think it's really disgusting the way Thaumaturge is always bringing that poor dog of hers into things here to play the victim card. I only hope that Saoirse isn't too traumatised by it.*

    2. In the 2+ years that I've been reading Cif, I've only hit the "report abuse" button about twice. Once was the night of all the really vile comments that Bru accused Monkeyfish of making. I think the only other time I ever hit "report abuse" was on a Victoria Coren thread -- someone had made a particularly nasty remark about her. I really don't remember any other time. Not even when someone said on my 2nd ATL that he hoped my son shoots me some day.

    * just in case there's any doubt: :-)

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  4. Thanks, Annetan. It's just been these last two nights and only seems to happen when I'm trying to put the thread up. I'm beginning to think that the internet gods don't want me putting up a new thread. I'll run that CCleaner thing that Tim recommended, see if that helps.

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  5. @Montana

    Are you using Windows Live Writer, by any chance? Does the error message say "invalid server response" and something about XML?

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  6. Leni
    re: your excellent post at 23:13 last night.

    There is very little agreement from the left on what the future should be. is their a shared future vision- who is articulating it ? Who is even discussing the great 'what next' and the how to get there ?

    I think we can all agree that capitalism, which was a revolutionary force is now a busted flush. The behaviour of the ruling class, whilst always greedy and self serving is now getting desperate.

    For the last 100 years it has attempted to control 'the masses' by offering relatively meaningless political freedoms. They did this in order to continue to hold the real power which is of course economic. To prevent revolution they have even given us a few economic crumbs (welfare state, NHS).

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that reforming the system is no longer possible as capitalism lurches ever deeper into crisis.

    So fighting the cuts must be seen as a means to an end and that end must be to end capitalism and replace it with a system that benefits the whole of society.

    This society must be co-operative not competitive and it must be truly democratic.

    The detail needs discussion...

    Can we work towards incremental change ? Can cooperatives and other alternatives work successfully alongside private sector and how do we break the stranglehold on resources. Just a fraction of the questions waiting to be answered.

    Incremental change is OK up to a point but I think we have reached a point where that is not enough. So in fighting the cuts people will need to learn their history and recognise that the rights we are rapidly losing came from struggle but that while power remains in the hands of the rich and powerful these gains can be and in fact are being taken back.

    So fighting the cuts is not an end in itself, its a step on the way to developing a 'critical mass' of people who recognise both the need for change and the ability of the mass labour movement to force the change.

    Fundamentally capital needs labour and cannot survive without it. 'The market' does NOT create wealth on human labour can do that.

    The power is in our hands, thats not to say that the wealthy are unwelcome in the movement of course but only on the basis that they recognise and respect the abilities of working class people to self organise. Hundal Penny et all really think their role is to educate us!! Like to them organise a strike! At a guess they wouldn't know where to start. :) They will be pushed aside if they can't learn.

    They are irrelevant.

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  7. Morning all! Am feeling surprisingly chipper despite having had birthday at-home until about 2 am (birthday tomorrow, so had to pick a better day). Have cleared up, surveyed damage (none) and counted stock left (6 beers and 2 bottles of red up, nice).

    Am now digging into the french news fuck-up about the shooting of Giffords - they announced her death last night, and seem to have rewritten their rolling news to cover up the fact....

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  8. @La Rit

    Yesterday you asked about the orchestra - yeah, my local town doesn't have one, but I was aware of lots of really good musicians living locally, so I booked a hall, put up some posters and voila. 25 musicians and a rather nice sound!

    We'll see where it goes, but it feels good for now. If it takes off properly, my hope is to have the main orchestra and a training orchestra (perhaps something to counter all the cuts to music funding in this area).

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  9. I really ought to be in bed.

    Just made the mistake of reading a couple of threads on Cif about the Arizona shootings. Disgusting.

    @Peter

    I'm just using the Blogger post editor. Error message says something to the effect of "Invalid server returned" but nothing about XML.

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  10. Just reading whaddya, and noticed this:

    "Catherine Hakim is a feminist - though she's a right-wing feminist."

    I'm never sure about this. Is it possible to be a right wing feminist? I've tended to see the two as mutually exclusive. I know people might claim to be feminist, while espousing right wing values, but I balk at actually allowing it to be so...

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  11. @Montana

    Shame - that would have been a known problem, with a fix. I'll carry on digging around and see what I can come up with.

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  12. @annetan

    So fighting the cuts must be seen as a means to an end and that end must be to end capitalism and replace it with a system that benefits the whole of society.

    The problem with that is the difficulty in getting wider support. It might pain some people to acknowledge, but the vast majority of people don't want to overthrow capitalism. That's leaving aside the fact that there really isn't a worked out alternative to replace it with.

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  13. Is it possible to be a right wing feminist?

    Of course it is, why not?

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  14. Because the presumptions of being right wing are anathema to anything that might seriously call itself feminist.

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  15. "but the vast majority of people don't want to overthrow capitalism."

    Are you quite sure about this? That most people are really quite comfortable with massive social inequities? How'd you know?

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  16. morning all

    montana...blimey what a pain...what patience!

    Philippa

    glad you had a good time...and left overs...the question is how much booze did you have to merit left overs?!!?

    anne
    "So fighting the cuts is not an end in itself, its a step on the way to developing a 'critical mass' of people who recognise both the need for change and the ability of the mass labour movement to force the change."

    yes indeed! hundal hasn't grasped this one iota.....and he thinks he is creating a force for change.....deluded or what.....

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  17. That most people are really quite comfortable with massive social inequities? How'd you know?

    The fact that no one ever votes for the SWP, and the fact that Labour won a landslide only after getting rid of clause IV, tells me that socialism has received a resounding no from the electorate.

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  18. Because the presumptions of being right wing are anathema to anything that might seriously call itself feminist.

    There's no overlap as far as I can see...

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  19. But there's a logical elision there, I to the Vizzo. Not being aligned with either labour or the SWP does not necessarily indicate that everyone's happy with the current social arrangement either. You can't treat the two as logically equivalent.

    Most of the people I speak to seem to feel the world is fundamentally unfair.

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  20. "There's no overlap as far as I can see..."

    You might want to explain this more fully.

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  21. I to the Vizzo,
    " 'Is it possible to be a right wing feminist?'
    Of course it is, why not?"

    Pedantic word play argument, but if you're a conservative (small c) you want to keep things as they have always been.

    Feminists want to change the misogynistic society that we've inherited.

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  22. Off for driving lessons, back this afternoon...

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  23. I hope you drive like a woman, less likely to get into a crash, that way...

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. MsChin

    "Is ther no blog you're not barred from? Apart from here, obviously ..."

    Not Really...and if I was more given to self-reflection, I'd probably see a pattern emerging...only thing is, I really don't think in the case of Liberal Conspiracy, it was to do so much with personal abuse per se...Sunny Hundal goes in for that quite a lot himself..as do many of his sidekicks...I prefer to think it's because I'm much better at it than them

    Which isn't really anything to be proud of...but it can be quite amusing...when he used to start deleting things, I always took that as a sign of 'victory'..which is a little bit sad, but there ya go

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  26. The problem with that is the difficulty in getting wider support. It might pain some people to acknowledge, but the vast majority of people don't want to overthrow capitalism. That's leaving aside the fact that there really isn't a worked out alternative to replace it with.

    Most people probably think the system is too powerful and that they have to put up with it. Its because people think the system is all powerful. It isn't because:
    Capital needs labour, labour does not need capital - the problem is simply a matter of ownership.

    There are more of us than there are of them.

    Of course weare all encouraged to 'believe in the rights of property' because lots of us have a little bit - mainly are own homes. We are encouraged to look upon our own homes as 'wealth' it isn't - you have to live somewhere!

    If you didn't 'own' your home - i.e. pay interest to (usually nowadays) a bank you would have to pay rent to a landlord.

    By campaigning against the cuts, people will learn that:
    Our democracy is a sham
    That they are not alone
    That society could be different - another world is indeed possible.

    As Marx said 'If the working class do not have their own philosophy they have the philosophy of the ruling class'

    This philosophy is based on the rights of those who own things to dispose of those who don't as they see fit.

    Thats an illusion, freedom is possible.

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  27. gandolfo - well, i'm half a bottle of gin down, but my stash of red wasn't touched - on balance, a win, think.

    heyhabib
    "Pedantic word play argument, but if you're a conservative (small c) you want to keep things as they have always been."
    Not pedantic at all, think - then you've got two issues:
    a) conservative feminism - not aiming to overthrow things, just focussing on the positives (limited, imh) of the status quo and doing some mild tinkering at the edges in a 'don't scare the stalliions' way - is that really feminism?
    and
    b) the difference between being 'conservative' and 'right wing', RW-ers often being not so much conservative as throw-back (e.g. wanting to overthrow various bits of equalities legislation) - but more generally, again imh, 'conservative' being a stop on the line towards RW flummery - so, using the DLR as an example, one might say Ken Clarke = Canary Wharf, Michael Howard = CrossHarbour, Milt Huckabee = Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich, Sarah Palin = Catford (i.e. a fair way past the end of the actual line).

    Have to help oisette move some stuff in.

    (eep!)

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  28. "Most people probably think the system is too powerful and that they have to put up with it"
    I also think, realistically, the right are winning the propaganda war. The number of people who say 'well, what's the alternative - socialism doesn't work' is quite incredible. People are *resigned* to capital. It doesn't meant that they want it.

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  29. "Have to help oisette move some stuff in."


    Awwwww. That's nice. Really, really nice. :-)

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  30. meerkatje

    I also think, realistically, the right are winning the propaganda war.

    Absolutely! we have to counter this it seems like a huge task but remember this:

    2000 years ago 12 people went around the known world talking to people they had a new idea - we call it Christianity.

    Please note that this isn't an argument for or against Christianity its an argument for spreading the word to people , one by one.

    As I said there are no quick fixes.

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  32. PB - right wing feminism.

    AS I believe that feminism is based on sisterhood I find the notion difficult.

    Example employing a woman as a cleaner on shit wages is hardly a sisterly act.

    Its the reason I can't take rad fems seriously - women are (strangely enough) found in all classes. It therefore follows that they cannot be a class in themselves.

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  33. Edit correction:

    @MK

    If we take "right wing" here to mean economic liberalism, surely right-wing feminism means gender-blind inequality - women being as free to exploit (and be exploited) as men. Class and income-based rather than gender-based prejudice. Whereas conservative feminism - maintaining the status quo - would definitely be an oxymoron.

    @AnneTan

    Can cooperatives and other alternatives work successfully alongside private sector...?

    An old and enduring problem of co-operatives in a capitalist system is one of self-exploitation. People working in co-operatives have often accepted pay and conditions that they wouldn't accept from an employer in order to compete within the system.

    I also saw some of the people I worked with 30 years ago set up a co-operative language school when the one that had employed us was wound up. A few years later, some of those people had left and the remainder had become abusive bosses, hiring new language teachers under non-regulatory working conditions and coming out with the usual bosses' whine that they "couldn't affort to apply the sector collective agreement" which had force of law.

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  34. And even with a fresh edit, I still can't spell "afford". :-(

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  35. annetan42 said....2000 years ago 12 people went around the known world talking to people they had a new idea - we call it Christianity.


    Yes, but they could miracles ;-)

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  36. Spike thats true, but co-operatives do at least show that workers can organise themselves.

    What you describe is similar to the pngoing contraction of the welfare state that we have experienced for at least the last 30 years. (actually it started earlier than that with the introduction of the prescription levy and dental charges).

    Gains have to be constantly defended under capitalism that's why the only real solution is to get rid of it.

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  37. Ian G miracles? How do we know this? Most of the books of the New testament were written long after the event. When Christianity was taken over as a state religion all sorts of fairy tales were added to the mix.

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  38. Thanks to Bitters and Bitey for an introduction to Esbjorn Svensson Trio the other night. I enjoyed it, although if the moment's not right it could be a bit: 'music to watch the rain on your windows while you sigh with boredom and scratch your nuts by'.

    Past midnight here - might be a bit early in your day for this but there you go - here's Kaarda's No You Don't

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. parallax
    Just dropping in before the FA starts. Hope the moon's out matey !

    habib 11:50
    That made me titter.

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  41. @Spike - well, yes, but that tends to be why I don't regard people who call themselves liberal (or libertarian) feminists as being actual feminists. I don't see how rearranging the chairs at the same table is getting any kind of job done. (And if I added anything else, I'd be paraphrasing Anne.)

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  42. Afternon all.

    Question for the teccies - I want free software that will let me listen to a local FM radio station on-line. Downloaded MS Media Player to the Mac but it don't seem to work. Any suggestions?

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  43. mschin

    maybe i'm stating the bloody obvious but does the radio station actually recommend a player for apple?

    could try real player....

    hang on a sec i'll give the techos a shout...

    PETERJ! SPIKE! MSCHIN NEEDS YOU!!

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  44. Monkeyfish

    I know that you write better than most of the meeja careerists and that you actually have principles. I think you scare them all, frankly, because they really do believe that the world is inhabited by self-congratulating backslappers who are erm, polite & well-bred. Unlike us, working class plebs wot have no manners.

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  45. Gandolfo

    Burngreave Community Radio? No, it was a pirate staion now gone legal & runs out of the back of a cupboard somewhwere. You're lucky if you can get them to answer the phone never mind email!

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  46. mschin
    well the site says WMP so i guess make sure that you downloaded the one specific for macs....
    otherwise don't know....does WMP programme actually run but you can't hear the station?

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  47. @gandolfo & mschin

    I'm afraid I know nothing about Mac.

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  48. spike

    whoops.....as you were then! must have been someone else then, maybe AB or RE :0)

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  49. Afternoon all

    Stevie "Me!" can be a twat at times. Grr.

    Just cooked a stonking roast dinner and now suffering the footie.

    Hope everyone is well. x

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  50. habib, don't know about driving like a woman but I do drive like a total amateur. Bit embarrassing really, I should have done it when I was younger.

    @meerkat

    The number of people who say 'well, what's the alternative - socialism doesn't work' is quite incredible.

    Perhaps there's a reason for that?

    The UK can't make a living from manufacturing, so the finance and service sectors are key. They're not geographically tied down, so if we severely curbed their ability to make profit they would go elsewhere. As would foreign investment in the UK companies that remain, which would hobble them in whatever market they compete in.

    So by the time you've tallied up what remains, and distributed it to 61m people according to their need, you realise that the whole thing is a total non-starter. It's just fantasy.

    You could only overthrow capitalism at a global level, and that's one of those things - like intergalactic travel - that can work in theory but not in any foreseeable reality.

    The choices aren't between capitalism or revolution - they are between a capitalist system that is slightly more fair, and a capitalist system that's slightly less fair.

    And the electorate know that, which is why unreconstructed socialist revolutionaries are a relic, and detract credibility from serious efforts to present left-wing arguments.

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  51. Afternoon All

    Anne

    i think Christianity's greatest miracle was called Constantine.

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  52. It amazes me how many people try to suggest capitalism is successful, or the only reasonable system. Show me an example of 'fair' capitalism? Are you aware quite how gaping the chasm between rich and poor is? And I'm not just talking about national inequities - capital is a global system, not a national one, and it is on the global scene that its real horrors become most clear.

    Capitalism is only 'successful' to the nice comfy types who benefit from it.

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  53. Back again ... jerk chicken with rice and peas now underway for dinner.

    Back to the radio problem, used to listen on-line via media player when I had a MS OS on the computer. Can listen via FM on radio but getting interfernce these days from some other radio station which presumably has a more powerful transmitter -never had this much hassle when it was a pirate transmitting from one of the old (now demolished) tower blocks on Norfolk Park! Il try the MS media player download again.

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  54. Capitalism is only 'successful' to the nice comfy types who benefit from it.

    Not sure i agree with that Meerkatjie.Scandinavian style social democracy has resulted in far more egalitarian societies in Norway,Sweden ect than we have here in the UK.And that has occurred within the capitalist system.

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  55. @meerkat

    It amazes me how many people try to suggest capitalism is successful, or the only reasonable system. Show me an example of 'fair' capitalism?

    Agreed, but to just criticise is pretty easy. What's needed is to expand on the nuts and bolts of the alternative system you propose.

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  56. Are you suggesting that, on the global stage, Scandinavians aren't really quite comfortably off, Paul?

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  57. Well that's a couple of hours I won't get back again.

    Spike - be quite... :p

    Filling in a work application form today, which is something I haven't done for years and years. Irritating to see that you still have the same stupid questions in them as ten years ago. Also making me growl...

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  58. Can't give the feminism / capitalism debates my full attention at the moment, but while Scandinavian countries may be more egalitarian than most, they have similar rates of domestic violence to other less egalitarian societies.

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  59. Plus Sweden and Norway combined have about 15m people, we have 61m

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  60. And amazingly, there is a whole world out there... you know, beyond Europe and stuff.

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  61. And amazingly, there is a whole world out there... you know, beyond Europe and stuff.

    Well you don't say Meerkatjie,i really had no idea!

    Plus Sweden and Norway combined have about 15m people, we have 61m

    @ Vizzo-Which is relevant because..? Are you suggesting that social democracy can only work in small countries.That it could never work in a country of 61million?

    On the wider point of course there needs to be a major shift in power and wealth from the developed to the developing world and i accept that capitalism in it's current form won't deliver it.

    However my hope is that as power and wealth does shift to the developing world-which it is doing- and ebbs away from the developed world -the peoples of the developed world will demand greater freedom and infinitely better services whilst there will be greater upward pressure from the working classses of the developed world for greater equality.And there is no reason why this can't be achieved within a reworking of the capitalist system to a model based on social democracy.Although whatever happens i can see major social unrest occurring in both the developed and developing world as those in power try and cling on to their privileges.

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  62. Are you suggesting that social democracy can only work in small countries.That it could never work in a country of 61million?

    Hmmmm... not that it could never work, just that it would be much harder to implement. In addition to having a much smaller headcount, Sweden in particular has a lot of global companies, telecoms for example, that originate there and pay tax there. Both Sweden and Norway export natural resources, oil, timber etc.

    I wholly agree that it's the model to aspire to, but I think the differing conditions there and here mean that it can't be a case of just transplanting the system.

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  63. the problem is paul, and it is immense as we all know,that throughout much of the developing world countries are held to ransom on their development by the IMF. Loans are usually conditional, ie. money from loans cannot be used to develop public services such as health and education. Loans are for developing infrastructure for the private sector alone.......so screwed from the start.
    South american countries such as venezuela, bolivia have done the fingers up at the IMF and are going it alone. Alas in countries throughout many parts of the rest of the developing world there is a huge convenience for current leaders, many corrupt, to maintain IMF loans, and for the west it is convenient that corrupt leaders remain,and follow the rules, so western interests will be served by yet again pillaging natural and human resources........

    the shift will have to be of cataclysmic proportions and global...

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  64. the shift will have to be of cataclysmic proportions and global...

    Exactly. And that's about as likely as the 2nd coming of Christ, so in the meantime may as well accept that we can't rely on it as a solution...

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  65. sorry paul, the sarcasm wasn't really directed at you... But I do get annoyed by the tendency to go on about how fabby capitalism is, using only national examples, when the worst examples of its dire failure can only be seen really on the global stage.

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  66. yeah vizzo it's exactly that kind of attitude that maintains the system that we have... complacency indifference and the perennial well "it the best option".....well sunshine it ain't......

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  67. A bare room. Sunlight filters in through venetian blinds. Meerkajie sits on one of two chairs next to the window. ItotheVizzo enters from stage right and takes the other chair.

    Meerkat: 'Capitalism is so unfair. Why do people not realise this? It's not like there's no alternative. People need to be told.'
    Vizzo: 'It is unfair, you’re right. I didn’t know about this alternative. What is it?’
    Meerkat ‘It’s...you know...more fair. We need to remove capitalism, then it’ll be fair.’’
    Vizzo ‘Well yeah...but...how do we actually go about it?’
    Meerkat: ‘I just told you, didn’t I? We’ll just make the world more fair, because it won’t have capitalism in it any more. Jeez...’
    Vizzo : ‘Right, ok..but the bit I don’t quite get...’

    Meerkatjie turns on a television. Canned laughter fills the room. Meerkatjie concentrates on the screen. Vizzo fidgets with his moustache, looking uncomfortable.

    Meerkat: ‘Have you seen this one? It’s where Rachel an Ross get back together. ‘We were on a break!’ hahahaha...brilliant’
    Vizzo: ‘Yeah, I have. But just going back to what we were saying...’
    Meerkat: ‘Do you mind, I’m trying to watch this’

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  68. I've just had a trollish comment disappear! Did I get modded or is it blogger...? Admin bods?

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  69. It seems staggeringly unlikely you were 'modded' vizzo.

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  70. unless you self modded of course there is that possibility i suppose......

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  71. Must be a blogger thing then. Ah well.

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  72. @MsChin

    Sorry I wasn't around earlier. For Burngreave Radio on the Mac, you need to run the latest version of Safari, or run Firefox with the Flip4Mac add-on. It may be that you need an extension for Safari too, but try Safari 5 on its own first. You can download it for free from Apple if you haven't upgraded software lately (if you go to Software Update on the Apple menu it will do it for you).

    I've just been listening via both these methods - nice bit of Bob Marley.

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  73. Re: Wikileaks, Google has been subpoenad by the US court.

    Blogger is owned by Google.

    We should be concerned?

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  74. .

    parallaxview...

    If you liked Esbjorn Svensson Trio you might try
    Tord Gustavsen Trio

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  75. Keep up the good fight Vizzo. With Brackers gone it's up to you and I to challenge some of the views on here. Although actually I disagree with you in some sense.. Sod the financial services sectors. What we as a country should be trying to emulate is Germany. Germany kept it's manufacturing industry, it's the economic powerhouse of Europe. The strength of it's exports funds it's lavish welfare state, which enables people to flourish and live securely, allowing htem to be even more productive/creaticve, which in circular fashion is then reflected in it's dynamic economy.

    There's nowt wrong with capitalism as long as it's responsible and proportional. Helsink, Stockholm and Oslo all have stock exchanges. Obviously we as Britain should not be looking at comparing ourselves with countries with populations of 5-10 million with large landmass extenseive natural resources, which is why we need to look at Germany more than Scandinavia.

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  76. anyone else see the irony??

    "U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011"

    "The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age."
    (source: US State department site)

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  77. Hmmmm... not that it could never work, just that it would be much harder to implement. In addition to having a much smaller headcount, Sweden in particular has a lot of global companies, telecoms for example, that originate there and pay tax there. Both Sweden and Norway export natural resources, oil, timber etc.

    I wholly agree that it's the model to aspire to, but I think the differing conditions there and here mean that it can't be a case of just transplanting the system.


    I think you're missing the point Vizzo.The UK has one of the worst levels of social inequality in the developed world so to just blame capitalism per se is somewhat naive. And population size isn't necessary a major factor given the German and French models deliver less social inequality than we have in this country.

    What is desperately needed in this country IMO is a rebalancing of the economy so we are less dependant on financial services.And a government that is committed to a greater sense of equality underpinned by social democratic principles .Easier said than done given the current political climate in this country!

    With regard to the international system of capitalism it is quite clear things have got to change.But how,when and why is open to debate.As countries like China,India and Brazil become more assertive on the international stage and as the peoples of these countries exert upward pressure on their governments for social change who knows what type/s of models will start emerging.And more importantly whether these models can be accomodated within a capitalist system.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Obviously I accept that we can't magically build a world class manufacturing industry out of thin air, it is a process that will take decades, and will require the political will for state investment and long term planning, something I would see as being unlikely with our present dear leaders.

    What we need is more of a technocracy, with those skilled/specialist positions like engineers etc helping make political decisions. The idle Islingtonian chatterers would have no place unless they worked for it. At least it would be much more meritocratic as in a technocracy people would be jusdged on their raw talent and ability rather than any connections/insider knowledge that they have.

    ReplyDelete
  79. "Keep up the good fight Vizzo. With Brackers gone it's up to you and I to challenge some of the views on here"

    Why? Quite what do you imagine the two of you are achieving?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Charles
    "There's nowt wrong with capitalism as long as it's responsible and proportional."

    so you're saying that there's room for conscious capitalism?
    it's a red herring and an oxymoron...think about it.....

    ReplyDelete
  81. How can anyone claim there's 'nothing wrong with capital' when the evidence of its failure is there for anyone with eyes to see?

    The gap between rich and poor widens daily across the globe. 22000 children die everyday from poverty related causes. There are 2.2 bill children in the world, and a billion of them live in poverty. Debt repayment continues to cripple 'developing' countries.

    In what sense is there nothing wrong with this?

    ReplyDelete
  82. Peterj

    I got Safari 5 and downloaded the Fip4Mac but still can't listen to BCR .. what am I doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  83. @Gandolfo:

    You couldn't make it up, could you?

    Just when I think I couldn't hate this fucking country any more, new shit comes along to prove me wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  84. In what sense is there nothing wrong with this?

    He's got his -- what the fuck does he care about starving children in some country he'll never go to? He can't even figure out why anyone would think he should care about children in his own country going to bed hungry.

    ReplyDelete
  85. gandolfo & MW

    You really couldn't, no. Most bizarre thing I've heard in a while. Wonder where thi swonderfull evnt will be taking place - the Pentagon, FBI HQ or Guantanamo ...

    Charles

    Please don't think that you will ever convince me.

    ReplyDelete
  86. "How can anyone claim there's 'nothing wrong with capital' when the evidence of its failure is there for anyone with eyes to see? "

    in fact meerkatjie.....ironic isn't it that the person that says this is one of the victims of capitalism.....no job, no prospects, shit social services, pushed into economic migration, etc etc.......

    ReplyDelete
  87. @MsChin

    Ah, I wasn't sure if Safari 5 did the thing natively or not. What you need to do is download YouTube5 from here (scroll down a bit to find the download link). Then open the downloaded file, and it will install the YouTube5 extension. Go to Preferences (in the Safari menu), choose the Extensions icon at the top, and make sure that the switch at the top of the box you see is On.

    Then go to the Burngreave site and choose the link for 'listen live', and it should play.

    As a bonus, once you've installed YouTube5 any YouTube videos you play in Safari will run without using hideous, battery-draining, crash-prone Flash.

    Alternatively, if you install Flip4Mac and run Firefox, you can play it there.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Erm , typos galore in my post @ 18.55 - hopefully you get my drift.

    ReplyDelete
  89. "Obviously I accept that we can't magically build a world class manufacturing industry out of thin air, it is a process that will take decades, and will require the political will for state investment and long term planning, something I would see as being unlikely with our present dear leaders."

    Err.. Charles... exactly what are we going to start manufacturing that can't be made cheaper elsewhere?

    Unless we import a load from the "RAL" to work for peanuts.....oh hang on a minute!

    ReplyDelete
  90. Montana-Mschin
    just in case....it's Washington DC in May, perhaps they'll run workshops in guantanamo

    .......can't even larf at it it's so despicable......

    ReplyDelete
  91. Right, but after all the sloganeering and hand-wringing, the 'think of the children!', the paving slab thrown through a Starbucks window, what remains is that inconvenient question:

    What do you propose?

    ReplyDelete
  92. Merkatjie.
    And you call yourself an academic?.... Socratic method and all that. Since when was this site a circle jerk for people of only one ideological viewpoint.

    Gandolfo
    Ok, I've thought about it.
    What is wrong with conscious capitalism. Do you realise the public good it can do. For example, someone with capital, instead of tying it up in the land or buying his wife a Steinway piano, might want to invest in a business startup, the process of doing so would involve hiring workers. I don't have a job, I want a job. (Ok I'm going to Russia but that is only for a while) Whether or not you would consider that would mean I am being exploited in a job is up to you. I don't care--because any financial imporvment would make my quality of life more bearable, even working in Maccy D's, is better for me. I want a job so that I can support myself while I continue my studies and also have a quality of life better than living off staple foods and having to walk around everywhere in a large city (as I have done today) becuase I can't really afford public transport.

    Similraly, I have some capital. Not a lot certainly- less than the average annual earnings and I have not spent it on anything other than my frugal living expenses over the 4 and a half years since turning 18 and going through he NHS mental health roundabout and crippling medications, before finally leaving my neurotic family background. But yeah, I'm a bloodsucker and a parasite..

    Anyways, back to my studies.

    ReplyDelete
  93. PeterJ

    Nope, done all that & still not working :(
    Just get a new window opening & this message: The document “24772-3.asf” could not be opened.

    ReplyDelete
  94. @montana
    Thank god for the shooter

    This kind of thing can't help with the whole feeling at home thing?

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hah! My linky finally worked!

    ReplyDelete
  96. I think I've been spammed.

    Chekhov, you will be interested to know that China only overtook Germany as the biggest exporter in 2009, obviously in value terms not bulk exports.

    Germany produces specialist goods that almost nowhere else can manufacture. It's technology and R&D sector is world class. Which is what I am saying, we cannot make toasters, TVs anymore. We have to go for really hi tech stuff which requires a knowledge economy at the same time..

    ReplyDelete
  97. Sorry, it was just such a juvenile post, I felt I had to check.

    You're old enough to know better than that, though. 'Hand wringing' about the children? Seriously? Have you been on some kind of Sun / Daily Mail based writing course or something?

    I think the question of 'what's to be done' has been addressed many, many times.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Wildhack

    "He's got his -- what the fuck does he care about starving children in some country he'll never go to? He can't even figure out why anyone would think he should care about children in his own country going to bed hungry. "

    Are you talking to me? You bring things to that level. 'some country he'll never go to'. Easy for you to say. I would completely refute this, Gandolfos and Meerkatjie's arguments- anyway my spammed post kind of has.

    Vizzo's right. What are you proposing other than smashing a few windows?

    Oh btw Anne, much as I would like to be drawn to the left, and as much as I admire your civil persuading, the inflammatory actions of people like the posters above will simply force people away.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Poor show! That juvenile thing is a bare-faced cop out - if the alternative to 'global capitalism' has been addressed many many times, then why not apply the wisdom of your years and type me a quick precis?

    ReplyDelete
  100. @MsChin

    Are you following the link from the BCR homepage, the one saying 'Listen In Live'? On my machine that gives you this link: http://216.66.84.2/24772 (without any .asf extension). Try typing this directly into the address box in Safari, and see what you get.

    ReplyDelete
  101. ok for starters.........something called participatory economics...


    vizzo and charles...i think you guys are channelling margret thatcher..."there's no alternative"

    be careful be very careful........

    ReplyDelete
  102. Just been listening to an interview with a nine year-old chess Grand Master.

    "You started playing chess when you were five. Your friends are probably playing games on their smart phones - what drew you to chess - one of the oldest games in civilisation ?"

    "The beauty of the game."
    ...

    NINE.

    ReplyDelete
  103. off for an hour or so, back later

    ReplyDelete
  104. PeterJ

    Exactly the same message, whichever route I take :(

    ReplyDelete
  105. "Oh btw Anne, much as I would like to be drawn to the left......"

    come on charles you've spent your posting life refusing to believe that right or left should exist.....so don't pull that argument it's so transparent

    ReplyDelete
  106. @MsChin

    I'm not sure why you'd get a message about a document when you're just trying to follow a link rather than downloading something. If you type in that http:// address I gave, what exactly is the message you get?

    For future reference, too, what sort of Mac do you have and what version of OS X is it running?

    ReplyDelete
  107. Fuck Thathcer Gandolfo.

    My spammed post basically said that no, not all people who invest and own capital are evil. My dad was friends with a guy from the east end of Glasgow (now passed on sadly), of solid working class stock, a recovering alcoholic as well, who built himself a medium sized hi tech comapny in the Lincolnshire fens, traditionally an area of low tech agriculture, giving employment to dozens of people and stability to countless more. He helped my dad out immensely, (my dad has a severe diability) Was this man and evil parasite and bloodsucker?

    Anyway, like vizzo, I'm off.

    ReplyDelete
  108. @Charles:
    "We have to go for really hi tech stuff which requires a knowledge economy at the same time.."

    Are you suggesting we are the only country with the knowledge and expertise to make this stuff?..if so, why haven't we been doing it for years?

    ReplyDelete
  109. Charles

    For whom does capitalism work ? Who defines its success or otherwise ? Those doing well from it - they control not only the resources and the wealth but the means of communication.

    If we look at figures for malnutrition we see how badly capitalism is in responding to the real needs of people. Absolute poverty definitions are subject to change but a common measure is to look at nutrition levels - AP describes families who spend more than 80% of income on food and yet receive less than 80% of required nutrients. The knock on effects of poor nutrition are cumulative - often starting before birth.

    If we look at figures for absolute poverty they vary across the world - the percentages change and can sometimes suggest an improving picture. In fact the numbers living in AP (destitution) are increasing as world population grows giving a lower percentage figure.

    an overall harmful economic system gives rise to other more localised systems intertwined with politics, the maintenance of small ruling elites and monopoly ownership of land. Slotting into the capitalist system gives protection to elites who gain control of valuable natural resources which the richer and more powerful nations desire - imbalances in income distribution and civil rights are supported by military intervention or by the simple act of ignoring them if challenge is likely to lead to less favourable trading conditions.

    An important socialist principle - to me at least - is that the natural resources of a country'region belong to the people and morally cannot be hijacked by corporations to exploit and profit from at the expense of the people. mineral deposits are the most obviously exploitable resources but I also include in this land and water.

    capitalism is encouraging the purchase of vast tracts of land across the world as global climate change takes places - this will deprive local populations not only of the opportunity to grow their own food but will also prevent their controlling the distribution of locally grown food. This has been happening for some time but is on the increase.

    Individuals as well as communities are increasingly impoverished - what some gain other lose. This happens largely because we do not have an economic system which values all people equally.

    we have created a very complicated system - one not based on human values of equality but one which rewards itself and its accolytes. The system cannot make moral choices - unable to see a starving family it is unable to direct resources towards them. The nastioest part of the system is that it accepts human 'wastage' as normal and inevitable as movements within the system itself needs either more or fewer workers to match market fluctuations.

    the system runs us in a way as only a very few are empowered to make decisions within it - these are expressed as political decisions - dictated by various factors but they are in fact economic decisions made in order to protect the main beneficiaries.

    It is also worth stating the obvious - that infrastructure such as road and rail links are paid for from the common purse and are increasingly been used to control the movement of both goods and people. There are moves towards seperate toll based road systems which will also allow greater freedom - and faster - movement for those who can afford it.

    We are still left asking - how can we row back from this current which has all the force of a very strong and dangerous undertow?

    ReplyDelete
  110. @MsChin

    Doing some quick checking, I see that the .asf thing is what you get if you choose 'download linked file' for the Listen Live link and then try to open that.

    ReplyDelete
  111. PeterJ

    Same message as before: The document “24772-3.asf” could not be opened.

    The Great Sky Pixie only knows why .. I can usually sort most software things out for myself, 2 of the offspring also mystified as to why we can't get the bugger to play.

    It's a new Mac, not even 6 months old, running OS X + Safari 5.

    Now (almost) given up & am listening to some Jamaiacan station via ITunes, but really wanted to listen to Legs Diamond on BCR as he's an old friend.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Statistics for manufacturing industries:

    1.United States $1.83 Trillion.
    2.China $1.79T
    3,Japan $1.05T
    4.Germany $767B
    5.Italy $381B
    6.UK $360B (15% of GNP, accounts for 55% of exports, employs 3 million people)

    btw, India only just made the top ten recently. And incidentally, Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world by GDP, of which 70% is service sector and 29.1% industry, the remaining 0.1% being agriculture. Does anybody here bother with facts when they talk about economics? I'm thinking particularly of you here, charles, spouting completely non-factual nonsense about eg. lavish welfare in Germany to support your ill-thought out views on something or other. You should really take the time to research a subject before you pontificate on it. Otherwise people like me will either laugh at you, ignore you, or helpfully and politely point out the error of your ways (and advise a bit more judicious use of Google).

    ReplyDelete
  113. Vizzo, 'poor show'??? Seriously? But you think the 'handwringing' thing was a really profound contribution to grown up discussion?
    Yeah, right.
    As for the precis, try reading the thread, lovey. Several people have slowly and carefully explained it to you, but you're determined to cling to your 'capital is the only way' thing, and frankly, I'm not into trying to educate those who have no interest in actually learning anything.

    ReplyDelete
  114. @MsChin

    It looks to me as though you've downloaded the linked file rather than just followed the link. That -3 on the end means that you've actually downloaded three copies of it, too! Try going to the BCR home page in Safari, right click on the Listen In Live link, and choose the Open Link in New Window option at the top.

    Let me know what happens...

    ReplyDelete
  115. I to the Vizzo said..

    "The UK can't make a living from manufacturing, so the finance and service sectors are key."

    As it happens, the UK makes a very good living from manufacturing as this shows:


    1 United States: 1,545,400,000,000 $ 2004
    # 2 Japan: 961,930,900,000 $ 2004
    # 3 China: 748,078,800,000 $ 2005
    # 4 Germany: 565,520,200,000 $ 2004
    # 5 Italy: 291,326,600,000 $ 2005
    # 6 UK: 283,114,200,000 $ 2004

    China, to whom we sold over a £billion of aero engines last year alone, is now second but I think the rest are in order.

    And while it is all too easy for anyone to point out the deficiencies of capitalism, the difficult job is to show how an alternative would work and even more difficult, how it would be achieved.

    When 80 - 90 percent of the population in almost every country in the world is satisfied with his or her lot in life, if only because the idea of becoming one of the 10 - 20 percent is not exactly encouraging, how do you propose persuading them to risk everything they've got for your dream?



    We've had variants socialism in one country courtesy of J. Stalin and A. Hitler, and look where that got us.

    ReplyDelete
  116. "something called participatory economics"

    judging from the rather impoverished insight into both socialism *and* capitalism that our little friends are demonstrating, I'm not sure that they've ever heard of it...

    Obviously, socialism is *all* about bloody revolution, and crude redistribution of wealth. That's what the right wing press told them it was, so it must be true!

    ReplyDelete
  117. "When 80 - 90 percent of the population in almost every country in the world is satisfied with his or her lot in life"

    What's your evidence for this, though?
    I think it's a false premise. I think most people feel the world is profoundly unfair. I think that's a reasonable starting point around which to organise.

    ReplyDelete
  118. PeterJ

    Done that & got:
    The document “24772.asf” could not be opened.

    Have cleared out all downloads several times

    ReplyDelete
  119. Yet again my comment was spammed. Here it is again, but fuck this for a game of soldiers, I really couldn't be bothered.

    2009 statistics for manufacturing industries:

    1.United States $1.83 Trillion.
    2.China $1.79T
    3,Japan $1.05T
    4.Germany $767B
    5.Italy $381B
    6.UK $360B (15% of GNP, accounts for 55% of exports, employs 3 million people)

    btw, India just made the top ten recently. And incidentally, Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world by GDP, of which 70% is service sector and 29.1% industry, the remaining 0.1% being agriculture. Does anybody here bother with facts when they talk about the economy? I'm thinking particularly of you here, charles, spouting completely non-factual nonsense about eg. lavish welfare in Germany to support your ill-thought out views on something or other. You should really take the time to research a subject before you pontificate on it. Otherwise people like me will either laugh at you, ignore you, or helpfully and politely point out the error of your ways.

    ReplyDelete
  120. From The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist:

    'You say that you are all in need of employment, and as I am the kind-hearted capitalist class I am going to invest all my money in various industries, so as to give you Plenty of Work. I shall pay each of you one pound per week, and a week's work is – you must each produce three of these square blocks. For doing this work you will each receive your wages; the money will be your own, to do as you like with, and the things you produce will of course be mine, to do as I like with. You will each take one of these machines and as soon as you have done a week's work, you shall have your money.'

    The Working Classes accordingly set to work, and the Capitalist class sat down and watched them. As soon as they had finished, they passed the nine little blocks to Owen, who placed them on a piece of paper by his side and paid the workers their wages.

    'These blocks represent the necessaries of life. You can't live without some of these things, but as they belong to me, you will have to buy them from me: my price for these blocks is – one pound each.'

    As the working classes were in need of the necessaries of life and as they could not eat, drink or wear the useless money, they were compelled to agree to the kind Capitalist's terms. They each bought back and at once consumed one-third of the produce of their labour. The capitalist class also devoured two of the square blocks, and so the net result of the week's work was that the kind capitalist had consumed two pounds worth of the things produced by the labour of the others, and reckoning the squares at their market value of one pound each, he had more than doubled his capital, for he still possessed the three pounds in money and in addition four pounds worth of goods. As for the working classes, Philpot, Harlow and Easton, having each consumed the pound's worth of necessaries they had bought with their wages, they were again in precisely the same condition as when they started work – they had nothing.

    This process was repeated several times: for each week's work the producers were paid their wages.

    (cont...)

    ReplyDelete
  121. charles

    we're not talking evil here (you brought evil into it...strawman me thinks) we're talking about a system that does not benefit the majority either economically or socially........simples

    .....now if you are happy with a system that exploits you, your family and friends whatever, and that functions with the premise of benefiting only a few while exploiting the majority then that's your prerogative....

    personally i find it sick and rotten to the core

    ReplyDelete
  122. (...cont)

    They kept on working and spending all their earnings. The kind-hearted capitalist consumed twice as much as any one of them and his pile of wealth continually increased. In a little while – reckoning the little squares at their market value of one pound each – he was worth about one hundred pounds, and the working classes were still in the same condition as when they began, and were still tearing into their work as if their lives depended upon it.

    After a while the rest of the crowd began to laugh, and their merriment increased when the kind-hearted capitalist, just after having sold a pound's worth of necessaries to each of his workers, suddenly took their tools – the Machinery of Production – the knives away from them, and informed them that as owing to Over Production all his store-houses were glutted with the necessaries of life, he had decided to close down the works.

    'Well, and wot the bloody 'ell are we to do now?' demanded Philpot.

    'That's not my business,' replied the kind-hearted capitalist. 'I've paid you your wages, and provided you with Plenty of Work for a long time past. I have no more work for you to do at present. Come round again in a few months' time and I'll see what I can do for you.'

    'But what about the necessaries of life?' demanded Harlow. 'We must have something to eat.'

    'Of course you must,' replied the capitalist, affably; 'and I shall be very pleased to sell you some.'

    'But we ain't got no bloody money!'

    'Well, you can't expect me to give you my goods for nothing! You didn't work for me for nothing, you know. I paid you for your work and you should have saved something: you should have been thrifty like me. Look how I have got on by being thrifty!'

    The unemployed looked blankly at each other, but the rest of the crowd only laughed; and then the three unemployed began to abuse the kind-hearted Capitalist, demanding that he should give them some of the necessaries of life that he had piled up in his warehouses, or to be allowed to work and produce some more for their own needs; and even threatened to take some of the things by force if he did not comply with their demands. But the kind-hearted Capitalist told them not to be insolent, and spoke to them about honesty, and said if they were not careful he would have their faces battered in for them by the police, or if necessary he would call out the military and have them shot down like dogs, the same as he had done before at Featherstone and Belfast.

    'Of course,' continued the kind-hearted capitalist, 'if it were not for foreign competition I should be able to sell these things that you have made, and then I should be able to give you Plenty of Work again: but until I have sold them to somebody or other, or until I have used them myself, you will have to remain idle.'

    'Well, this takes the bloody biskit, don't it?' said Harlow.

    ReplyDelete
  123. meerkatjie

    i thought at least they could copy and paste to google...!!

    ReplyDelete
  124. OK; if you want an alternative, what's wrong with giving the John Lewis Partnership ethic a run out.

    It's not perfect, nothing ever is but at least the principle of sharing the profits out more equitably (by that I don't mean equally)seems to work for that company and their "never knowingly undersold" strategy obviously works otherwise it would have been dropped.

    ReplyDelete
  125. .

    Meerkatjie

    Anyone who refers to another human as "lovey" has immediately alienated a large proportion of the population she hoped to get on her side.

    Watch your language; your current performance doesn't become someone with your intellect.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Both the comments I have posted in the last hour disappeared immediately. Should I be paranoid about that? Why me?, I ask. Iz it coz i's a total prat?

    Stage left, all: Yes!

    ReplyDelete
  127. SEMCO too, Chekhov. It's a FTSE company, run along participatory lines.
    And I know people who are in all sorts of syndicalist arrangments. They work very well.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Or how about the Del Monte example:

    People live quietly and happily in an African village. Each has a little bit of land to farm, a few chickens, maybe a goat or two. And each has access to the fruit and avocados growing wild in their region. It is common wealth, in the true sense of the word. Nobody particularly goes hungry as the area they live in is verdant and not prone to drought.

    Then Del Monte come along and do a deal with the government. "Let us buy that vast swathe of land off you to farm. We will set up a canning plant, too, and your government will benefit because people will have work and pay taxes and consume goods".

    So the government fences off the land that was formerly the common wealth and bans the locals from using it, and benefitting from the free fruit and avocadoes, etc.

    The locals suddenly find that they cannot barter and trade for the fruit they used to pick for free. They cannot sell their chickens and livestock, because that is what they need to keep them in fresh produce because they can't afford to buy protein. Their little scrap of land will just about support them in cereals if they are lucky.

    So they get a job picking the fruit they used to eat for free, on behalf of Del Monte. Others get a job canning the fruit. And they get paid the minimum the trans-global corporation can possibly get away with in order to have enough money to buy the fruit and the avocadoes that they used to get for free.

    Their children, who would have been happy taking over the homestead and working it, see that there is no future for them, so they move away to the cities, working 15 hour days to earn enough money to buy themselves food and clothes and pay for a roof over their heads.

    And so it goes on.

    Marvellous thing, capitalism. Think about that next time you open a tin of fruit cocktail...

    ReplyDelete
  129. I'll take that under advisement, Bitey lovey.

    ReplyDelete
  130. scherf - no more of a prat than any of us, darlin xx :o)

    Checking the spam folder...

    ReplyDelete
  131. Hi Scherf

    we will have a rescue the Scherfig campaign. i'm not sure what triggers the jaws of the spam monster.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Oh and incidentally, didn't you describe me as 'vacuous' just a couple of weeks ago, Bitey? Hm, yes. I think that was the term you used. Or something to that effect, anyway. Pick one and stick with it.

    ReplyDelete
  133. @MsChin

    This now officially weird. When you get that message, does the menu bar at the top change to QuickTime Player?

    Try going to Safari preferences, choose General, and uncheck the 'open safe files automatically' box at the bottom. See if that makes any difference.

    Otherwise, we're going to have to work out exactly how your machine and software are different from mine.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Chekhov.
    We have had a very craven and self serving leadership for decades. 30 years of neoliberal
    policy as well.

    At least here I am proposing an 'alternative'. That is, unlike free market ideologues I believe in a strong state, to help the people under it's umbrella and to make long term plans for the future. Yes, there would be capital, there would be labour, but there would be legislation on things like pay and conditions, as they have in modern Germany. Low taxes for lower paid workers would mean that they could save their money up and quite easily jump from labour into capital, ie setting up their own small business.

    Frankly I would like to be "exploited" as long as it gives me some money to live on with relatively decent pay and conditions. That's all. I'll complete my studies, maybe study some more and get some kind of specialisation. Overall it'll be worth it, because I would be more of an asset to this country as a skilled proffessional as what I am now.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Meerkatjie

    You won't be in Bitey's good books because you are an intelligent, self-possessed articulate woman that doesn't fit the template of those weak, feeble, shrinking little violets he needs to be able to flex his biceps and save them from the patriarchy. ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  136. PeterJ

    Thanks - thought it was all a bit odd. Wonder if it's something the offspring or the other half (more likely!) has done ... it's happened before on other PCs.

    I'll ask Montana to send you my email addy as it may be easier to sort away from here at a later date perhaps? I feel like I'm interupting a good discussion on other matters!

    ReplyDelete
  137. @MsChin

    Yeah, no problem. I'll carry on digging around anyway, as it's annoying not to know what's going on.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Thanks, BB. Although in retrospect, they didn't really seem worth rescuing. Just a load of boring FACTS, and who needs them here, eh? :0)

    ReplyDelete
  139. @Meerkatjie: not heard of "SEMCO" what do they do and where are they based?

    ReplyDelete
  140. Indeed Scherfig. Can't let facts (or reality) get in the way of an arguement.

    I'm off, got more productive things to do.

    ReplyDelete
  141. charles

    you touch on an important point when you say you would be happy to be exploited if it gave the opportunity to study and save and move 'into capital' (Not that I see any joy in being exploited mind).

    A huge problems for millions of people is that once slotted into a low skilled job with very little responsibility that is where they remain. The are deinied the opportunity to learn how their particular industry works, are not expected to contribute anything beyond the bare outline of their job descriptoon and are permanently debarred from the decision making process.

    What agency do they have in the ecomomy - how can they hope to influence their own future let alone that of the company which employs them? We hear vague murmurings re the BS about capacity building but in fact exploitative economics and politics does not want to increase personal agency in their workers - it goes against the interest of the system.

    A few so called 'self starters' the system can tolerate particularly if it thinks they will be of use later on.

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  142. They're a South American company, Chekhov. Richard Semler too over his father's failing factory (which made mixing equipment), then reorganised it on participatory grounds. There's no management structure to speak of, people decide if and when they want to work, and coops work within the company, essentially managing themselves.

    I don't think the company's 'socialist' per se, but it seems a much better deal than most companies offer, and it has been incredibly successful, despite Brazil's economic woes.

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  143. facts are part of reality charles, whether you like it or not......

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  144. "I'm off, got more productive things to do."

    Oh well done, Charles. People are offering you concrete examples of alternatives, as you and your little mate wanted, and now you're 'off to do more productive things'...

    ReplyDelete
  145. LOL Scherf. :o)

    How ya diddlin, anyway? Good Crimbo and New Year? Did you spend it over there or were you "home"?

    ReplyDelete
  146. "Chekhov.
    We have had a very craven and self serving leadership for decades. 30 years of neoliberal
    policy as well."

    Well, quite Charles, I don't think many people on this site will disagree with that.

    However I'm not sure a "Big State" is the answer.

    Part of the neo-liberal wet dream was the creation of the European Union and the collosally wasteful bureaucracy based in Brussells.

    I don't know bugger all about economics but the creation of the "Euro" hasn't been spectaculary successful has it (apart from for a tiny minority who have made pots of dosh short selling it on the stock market)

    ReplyDelete
  147. So bitey thinks Hitler and Stalin were socialists.

    My commiserations, BB. It's bad enough being stalked, but by an obsessive who makes Homer Simpson look like Umberto Eco?

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  148. Meerkatjie

    "What's your evidence for this, though?"

    This being:

    "When 80 - 90 percent of the population in almost every country in the world is satisfied with his or her lot in life"

    To which you respond:

    "I think it's a false premise. I think most people feel the world is profoundly unfair. I think that's a reasonable starting point around which to organise."

    It isn't a false premise as even most capitalists would agree with you that their system is unfair, but like me, ask what alternative you are proposing and how do we achieve it?

    You see there are several thousand people who'd gladly take your job as a university lecturer and do it as well, if not better than you, were you to put it on eBay. But I suspect you're not prepared to take the place of one of the 10 - 20 percent, but would understandably prefer to continue earning a reasonable living. And faced with this alternative, am I right in saying you are satisfied with your lot in life.

    And remember many people would give their right arm for your job, including I suspect many of your students.

    And in reality it's far less than 10 - 20 percent - probably closer to 1 - 2 percent as even at the height of Thatcher's austerity, the vast majority of people who became unemployed got a new job within 6 months.

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  149. Much delayed flight to Ireland with the youngsters, BB. Good time was had by all anyway. Country is broke, full of snow, all the Polish immigrants have left because of the weather, I fell on the icy pavement (sober) and sprained my wrist, didn't win the big annual charity quiz and Santa didn't bring me a Kindle reader or a pony. Otherwise hunkydory.

    no offense intended, bitey

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  150. "but like me, ask what alternative you are proposing and how do we achieve it?"

    Not really been bothering with that whole 'reading the thread' thing, either, then?
    Perhaps you should go off with Charles and 'do something more productive' too?

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  151. Bloody santa. He's a right arsehole at times. :o)

    Bad news about the sprained wrist. I bet your folks were thrilled to have you and the weans, though...

    Bitey

    "as even at the height of Thatcher's austerity, the vast majority of people who became unemployed got a new job within 6 months"

    Do you have the evidence to support that, please? Also are we talking like-for-like or "I used to be a senior manager, now I am working on the till at B & Q" type new jobs?

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  152. Meerkatjie

    Oh and incidentally, didn't you describe me as 'vacuous' just a couple of weeks ago, Bitey? Hm, yes. I think that was the term you used. Or something to that effect, anyway. Pick one and stick with it.

    Not me Meerkatjie, I have far too much respect for your intellectual ability. So unless you can come up immediately with something better, I think it's probably best that you go away and work on it. Indeed on 14 Nov 2010 I posted:

    No she hasn't as I only ever respond to attacks with attacks and so far Meerkatjie has refrained from that.

    And on 12 December:

    Meerkatjie, you are one of our country's intellectual elites,

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  153. @BB

    Yes, I'd be interested to see how quickly people (in the north especially) got new jobs when manufacturing industry, mines and steelworks were closed down under Thatcher. Perhaps the 80s employment boom in Liverpool and the Don Valley passed me by.

    Congrats, Meerkatjie! You're an elite all on your own, apparently.

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  154. Shallcross

    Hitler's chosen name for his organisation was the:

    National Socialist German Workers Party

    And like Stalin he believed in socialism in one country for the motherland's master race.

    I realise it's a bit embarrassing for people like you Spike but that's what come of having Vidkun Quisling as your mentor and hero.

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  155. Just checked into my email & I'm apparently getting updates for a comment I made over at the Inde on the Eastenders storyline. Here's one of them:

    "ArbuthnotWorsthorn wrote, in response to MsChin:

    Don't be pathetic. My second son died and we got on with it and had two more. They are extremely successful young men. I'm glad the other one died. He was sick. It is called natural selection. Works for me. Two higher rate tax payers for one who would never have been able to pay tax at all".

    Needless to say, I'm not going to bother to respond. I do wonder whether this guy's wife agrees with him though.

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  156. He must be a troll, MsChin. Nobody who lost a child could seriously think that, surely?!!

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  157. I had you down as more intelligent than to believe that the Nazis were a socialist movement, bitey.

    You need to get over to the immigration threads - there are loads of your right-wing pals over there.

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  158. Spike

    Was painful to watch - Steve Gerrard getting himself sent off like an eejit. Sigh.

    Still - we got Dalgliesh back now! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  159. @bitey

    Ulbricht and Honecker's East Germany was called the German Democratic Republic.

    Since you're so trusting:

    a) you obviously believe that East Germany was very much a democracy;
    b) would you like to buy Tower Bridge? Twenty grand to you...

    @MsChin

    He's either just a troll (most probably) or very sick himself.

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  160. BB

    Sad little troll, eh? You have to larf ... I'm certainly not upset by it, anyway.

    BTH

    Thanks for the reponse on the avatar, interesting how a Colombian artefact made its way to HK, isn't it? Very much interested in shamanic stuff myself.

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  161. @BB

    I'm not proud. The penalty was very generous and shut down the entire match. Not one of our most unforgettable spectacles.

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  162. chekhov said...

    OK; if you want an alternative, what's wrong with giving the John Lewis Partnership ethic a run out.

    Quite right chekhov.

    There are plenty of ways that capitalism can, has and will adapt when it's governments see the need to do so, in order to avoid what it considers to be nasty things like revolutions and insurrections.

    To the lazy minded, every capitalist country is the same. And it has to be because otherwise the lazy minded would be confounded with the contradiction that capitalism can in fact change and adapt. And after 200 years it's certainly proved it can and has done that, time and time again.

    But the problem with the John Lewis solution is that it wouldn't involve violent bloodbaths, evil capitalists strung up on lamposts and would allow everyone to shop in the store of choice of our intellectual and political elites.

    And I don't think they'd like mixing with hoi polloi.

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  163. Bitey

    In all fairness you should be careful how you interpret the employment/unemployment stats for the 80,s.For whilst it's true that many unemployed people did find jobs within 6 months you have to consider whether the jobs they found were comparable with the ones they had lost.And in many cases they weren't.For instance when the Metro Centre in Gateshead was built many formerly skilled industrial workers found employment there as security guards and the like but on worse pay and conditions than they had previously enjoyed.Remember there was no minimum wage then and some people were forced to accept zero hour contracts.

    Additionally the 1980,s was the decade when the government in effect sought to displace the long termed unemployed onto disability benefits.Plus those aged 60-64 were encouraged to 'retire ' on a higher level of income support.Also in the early 80,s economic activity rates for some female age groups declined.And the government stopped including unemployed part time workers in the stats.Plus those forced onto crap government-funded job training schemes were no longer classified as unemployed whilst 'training'.And were then classified as newly unemployed when they signed on again.As relatively few people found jobs as a result of these training schemes.

    So by a combination of fiddling the stats and in effect encouraging certain groups to leave the labour market altogether the tory governments were then able to claim that long term unemployment was nowhere near as bad as it really was.-and indeed still is.

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  164. monkeyfish

    see hundal's "responded" to your posts...really he is eloquent isn't he....

    ReplyDelete
  165. What the fuck's all this 'I've been spammed' business...just posted a comment which outlined a surefire, cast-iron way of getting all humanity and his dog a swimming pool, Ferrari, 'trophy-bit-on-the-side, liveable pension at age 40, beach-front penthouse in Antigua and a body like a Greek god/goddess within two weeks..it also linked to my blueprint of a perpetual motion device...proved Goldbach's Conjecture, dispensed convincingly with any notion of the mind-body problem...found a two line solution to the GUT and had Everton winning the Champion's league for the next ten years...and I'm only 16...but the fuckin thing's been spammed...can someone dig it out please?...it better be there cos I can't for the life of me remember what it said.

    ...and despite this...I slipped up and had 5 fags this weekend and at any one time 90% of my entire being just sits about sulking like a warthog craving nicotine.

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  166. @BB: ah the merry-go-round of football managers. I once asked my Dad why he didn't go into the managership option..to which he responded; "don't be silly, why would I put myself into that farce"

    Smart bloke.. my Dad!

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  167. Would you believe that my mate, aged 60, has never even set foot in John Lewis, because she knows she cannot afford to buy what they sell.

    ReplyDelete
  168. MrsBootstraps said...

    You won't be in Bitey's good books because you are an intelligent, self-possessed articulate woman that doesn't fit the template of those weak, feeble, shrinking little violets he needs to be able to flex his biceps and save them from the patriarchy. ;o)

    On the contrary MrsB, I have expressed considerable admiration for Meerkatjie's intellectual prowess, and only wish my own puny brain could understand, quite apart from keep up with her jousting with that penis chap.

    You remember him, the one who had you falling over yourself to show what a humble and sympathetic human being you were when he was posting from the place where he'd been sectioned.

    Or was he?

    His recovery was amazingly rapid.

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  169. @mf

    That's nothing. One time after a particularly excellent grey elephant microdot, I wrote down the secret of the universe.

    "A-AID", apparently. Very Douglas Adams. I have no idea what the question was.

    Commiserations for the smokes. I've been off them since November and I'm lucky with the cravings, I only get the occasional, easy-to-resist urge.

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  170. In fairness to Pen, Bitey, one of us here went to visit him, others (eg sheff) sent letters & Kizbot phoned him a couple of times.

    Although I agree that at times it all felt that we were taking part in some bizarre experiment, I'm prepared to give Pen the benefit of the doubt.

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  171. MF

    You really did upset the poor sod, didn't you!

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  172. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  173. Would somebody be so kind as to C&P Hundal's response here, please!?

    (My Ipod's being a fucker!!)

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  174. "Would you believe that my mate, aged 60, has never even set foot in John Lewis, because she knows she cannot afford to buy what they sell"

    Good point MisChin but if they are never "knowingly undersold" where does she find her merchandise more cheaply?

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  175. MsChin

    Yep..but he had it coming..and not half as much as I'll upset him if he ever ventures up this way with his road-show...mind, I'd put money on Hartlepool winning the cup before I backed that particular outcome

    I'll just park this anyway..before he his trigger finger gets itchy on the delete button

    HUNDAL

    "Oh dear, I go away for one day and the site gets hijacked with some frustrated dickhead Trot who wants to oust anyone out of his movement of one. Nice.

    I have a revolutionary idea – if you don’t like me, then please fuck off to another blog where you can avoid reading this site and continue slagging me off. Don’t attend the events. Vote with your feet – piss off."

    ME

    “I have a revolutionary idea –”

    fuck me..that’s a first

    “if you don’t like me, then please fuck off to another blog”

    S’right Sunny boy…cos you ‘are’ this blog…is that like an ‘officia’l position…don’t post here if you don’t like Sunny…can see why you don’t like Trots mate..you’re a fuckin Stalinist deep down..big surprise

    ..incidentally…I’m not gonna go back and count but I’d say you’re the third or fourth who’s decided I must be a Trotskyist…how do you all deduce that from my posts…or is it just step 4 in the manual…1) Shout ‘Troll’ 2) Shout ‘Strawman 3) Shout Fascist/ Right-wing/ Guido-fellow traveller…if this doesn’t seem to fit the bill…and you think the dissent is from the left..4) Invoke the spectre of Lev Davidovitch…what is this?…blogging by numbers

    “where you can avoid reading this site and continue slagging me off.”

    count on it…it’s not like I’d be alone in that endeavour

    “Don’t attend the events. Vote with your feet”

    Hold one in the North East and I’ll be there Sunny…will you?..or d’you come over all funny if you venture North of Watford?

    “– piss off.”

    classy mate…real classy..likewise

    ANYWAY

    I genuinely hope he proves me wrong...and if he's prepared to drop the media-whore routine and actually do something that doesn't simply further the cause of the greater glory of Sunny Hundal, I'll happily eat my words and shake him by the throat..er..hand, I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Oh shit..now I'M GETTING SPAMMED..isn't it time to move to wordpress...this is fuckin ridiculous

    ReplyDelete
  177. James

    Happy to oblige, here's what SunnyCloudy said:

    "Oh dear, I go away for one day and the site gets hijacked with some frustrated dickhead Trot who wants to oust anyone out of his movement of one. Nice.

    I have a revolutionary idea – if you don’t like me, then please fuck off to another blog where you can avoid reading this site and continue slagging me off. Don’t attend the events. Vote with your feet – piss off".

    ReplyDelete
  178. Chekhov - sounds like your dad was a sensible bloke then.

    "Never knowingly undersold" on identical products, identical brand. I can't really afford to shop there either, unless it is for something fairly cheap like cushions or something. They are excellent quality products that they stock, but you have to pay for it. But paying cheaper than you would in, eg. Heals or Harvey Nicks, for example, is not much good when you usually get your stuff from DFS and the Argos catalogue...

    ReplyDelete
  179. Unspammed ya, MF.

    I dunno how many of us have admin rights on here - perhaps Montana could add a few more so there is plenty of anti-spam cover?

    ReplyDelete
  180. chekhov

    Castle Market, Netto & occasionally, the local shoplifters. But mainly Dobson's at Darnall, where you can get credit on goods like cookers and rent a washer for a fiver a week.

    ReplyDelete
  181. Meerkatjie

    Not really been bothering with that whole 'reading the thread' thing, either, then? Perhaps you should go off with Charles and 'do something more productive' too?

    Is that the kind of condescension you practise on your students?

    You must have gone down really well with the QAA.

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  182. BB

    I tthink I got admin rights but, dozy cow that I am, I've never activated them? I did once try to put up a new thread & somehow managed to create a new blog!

    ReplyDelete
  183. Cheers MsChin.

    Firstly, I think it's fair to say I don't have to worry about him, erm, out-eloquencing us, afterall.

    Secondly, would everyone please take care where they're standing, Sunny Hundal seems to have thrown his toys out of the pram, and spat his dummy out!!

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  184. I would never condescend to my students - generally I respect them very highly. But then they tend to read, work hard, and learn a lot. What's not to like and respect? And of course, respect is a mutual thing, isn't it?

    The QAA of course don't 'inspect' university teaching. That's more something that OFSTED would do. Of course, you'd know that, working in the sector as you do.

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  185. MrsBootstraps

    "as even at the height of Thatcher's austerity, the vast majority of people who became unemployed got a new job within 6 months"

    Do you have the evidence to support that, please? Also are we talking like-for-like or "I used to be a senior manager, now I am working on the till at B & Q" type new jobs?


    Well I'll start off with these stats and allow you to do some research to counter them. You'll see that between 1992 and 2007, despite the large changes in the numbers unemployed, those unemployed for less than six months remained remarkably stable.

    http://www.robparker.org.uk/articles/uk-economy-labour/unemployment/

    You see most people, rather like you really do pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

    ReplyDelete
  186. he's got his mod gun out MF.....

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  187. @MsChin

    BTW, I've reproduced your problem - you're running OS X 10.5 (Leopard), aren't you? There was a big change in QuickTime with the upgrade to 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and I got your symptoms when I experimented with my Leopard machine.

    I'm looking for a workaround for you (although two attempts have failed so far), and will report back.

    Otherwise, the upgrade to Snow Leopard is £20 at Amazon...

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  188. Insurrection Timeline from the Coalition to End Gun Violence. This is America, folks.

    And Charles, no. I wasn't referring to you. As Gandolfo so nicely pointed out, you're one of capitalism's victims. My comment hardly makes sense in reference to you, does it?

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  189. Montana

    That's truly scary stuff.

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  190. jesus montana....no wonder you wanna get out of there that is horrifying when you see the lists altogether....

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  191. PeterJ

    You are a treasure - thanks.

    That's 2 damsels in Mac distress he's been helping tonight, folks, me & hermione :)

    ReplyDelete
  192. re: Move to Wordpress -- we probably really should, shouldn't we? Spam folder's still an incredible irritation. I'd rather hoped it would stop spamming people after so many "not spam" clicks, but it doesn't seem to be.

    Another alternative would be to stay put & start using the "Intense Debate" comment widget, like Heresiarch uses on his site & we experimented with on UT2.

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  193. MrsBootstraps

    I had you down as more intelligent than to believe that the Nazis were a socialist movement, bitey.

    You need to get over to the immigration threads - there are loads of your right-wing pals over there.


    There are about half a dozen definitions of socialism floating around on this thread from Anne Tan's Labour Party version, to monkeyfish's vanguard party violent revolution variety to Shallcross and his compromise with the ruling class route and Hank's swear your way to the millenium. And if you can't understand that both Hitler and Stalin had their own particular version of socialism then I suggest you sign up for some courses at your local college.

    What do you think the Volkswagen, the people's car was, a German Rolls Royce for the capitalist elite?

    It was ignorance like yours that in no small part allowed the nazis to achieve power, by assuming they had no attraction to the working class.

    As for your cheap jibe about immigration threads, and that's what it is and it demeans you, I've been countering racists and fascists since before you were born. I just don't brag about it.

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  194. What is completely and utterly bonkers - and something that my husband and lad have just been laughing at - is that according to the news on the Beeb the guy who killed all those people yesterday was kicked out of Uni until he could prove he was mentally capable.

    So in other words, he was deemed mentally incapable of attending Uni, but still allowed to legally own a gun.

    What. The. Fuck.

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  195. So let's get this straight. A bunch of right wing vigilantes with guns is the last defence of democracy?

    Fab!

    We have a spare bedroom, if you need it, Montana.... :-)

    My parents and sister are always trying to persuade me to move to the US (they live in Florida). I just can't face it. I miss being warm, but not at any cost!

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  196. Bitey most fascists claim to be some kind of 'socialist'. They draw people in with talk of 'workers', then draw neat little lines around who such 'workers' might be. From Moseley to Hitler, they all tried this line.

    Any kind of solid form of socialism, any socialism that deserves the name, would not distinguish between different categories of human. That kind of belies the point, and flies in the face of what socialism really is.

    Again, it comes back to the problem that just because I might define myself as, say, a beluga whale, doesn't mean I am one (however hard I might blow).

    ReplyDelete
  197. MsChin said...

    Re the Penis chap - me too - I felt he was genuine at the time - but the recovery seems somewhat remarkable.

    ReplyDelete