14 January 2011

14/01/11


Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
-Kahlil Gibran

323 comments:

  1. Morning all! Very glad to hear you're OK, james, albeit mainly roof-based.

    On the stats front, Montana / Parallax - given me job, have had quite a bit to do with Google Analytics (website traffic tracking) and the weird stuff they can work out is substantial - not just location (presumably based on IP address - but also the browser used, whether or not access is from a mobile device (you can't turn cookies off on smartphones, think, so they can scrape more info) etc.

    But - in each dataset there is always a big group under '(not set)', so there is definitely a way of not giving up the info.

    GA is free, so has about 80% of the web analytics market, but it struggles a bit on non-proprietary webpages (i.e. pages within facebook, or twitter, or blogger) so those tend to have their own tracking systems.

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  2. Olching - was just some mockery of Bidisha and then antagonising the mods after they put me in premod, expires 16th this month.

    Anyways, good to see you back round these parts.

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  3. on the debate yesterday about 'gayness' and whether it is the 'being' or 'doing' that causes the problem - while i do see the distinction, i think that is so theoretical as to be useless in general terms. and it does risk (not saying jay is guilty of this, just, there is a risk) that considering the distinction important can support the 'love the sinner hate the sin' approach, which again, to me, is a meaningless distinction - 'it's OK to be gay, just don't do gay stuff'.

    this is the reason why i differentiate between orientation and sexuality - the former is the 'innate' bit - if you're gay, you're gay. the latter is the 'lifestyle' element - where there is a degree of choice (often assumed by the more mouth-breathy element to apply to the former) - whether you get involved in 'the scene', or politics, etc.

    anti-gay rhetoric may focus on the latter - am thinking of LSEnotsurewhatheis and his strange focus on gay male promiscuity - but that is mainly, in my view, a combination of ignorance, and focussing on the 'other' element to get a reaction. but the effect is on all gay people, whether scene / non, political / not, spangly / not.

    and you wouldn't assign rights to other groups based on how they expressed themselves as people (unless that expression in itself was criminal).

    but i would question whether the 'being' / 'doing' distinction means anything when the 'doing' is of something so fundamental as falling in love. it's so intrinsically bound up with who a person is that i can't see a clear gap between the two.

    so the 'gay debate' such that it is now (in the UK) is a matter of accepting people as themselves, regardless of what they do - and the developments in Uganda demonstrate how bloody awful the situation can be when people are forced to hide themselves, their love, such a big part of their identity that it cannot be 'cut off' from the rest of it. the innate bit. the Ugandan debate isn't about 'doing' but 'being' - the UK debate may be less violent, but at heart it comes down to the same thing.

    and i would recommend the articles from nsubuga on cif on that issue.

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  4. Jay, that explains that then.

    PhilippaB, thanks for that.

    Bitterweed, wot event? TUC march on 26th? Yes.

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  5. further on the stats thing - have just checked the work GA account and the info collected includes:

    browser and browser version
    connection speed
    location (city, region, country, continent, subcontinent, latitude, longitude)
    date / time
    new / returning visitor
    days since last visit
    flash version
    host name
    mobile?
    java enabled
    language
    network domain and location
    operating system and version

    thing is, apart from the location stuff, which comes from the IP address, all of that would come from the 'method' whereby connection is made and only from elements relevant to that (flash is required to access us, java is preferred, for example). it doesn't pick up details personal to the user - just details 'personal' to their connection, if you see what i mean.

    also, most of the data is useless - like i care what flash version they are using. most of it is designed to help you plan ad buying, think - if you know 95% of your viewers come through chrome and 5% through summat else, you might use that to buy ad space on the default homepage for one of them? or something like that.

    anyway - the only bit of that lot we're at all interested in is location (which can be masked), returns (ditto - as IP based) and date/time. the rest of it is mostly - to me - GA showing off but not helping...

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  6. I think for those that oppose gay rights though, Pip, that distinction is major to them, like the Church. It is actions they object to, rather than physical characteristics - being black, being a woman. No one would ever say "i dont mind women, but they shouldnt be allowed to do 'women' things", and same for ethnic minorities. But since you cannot have freedom for the innate bit without freedom for the lifestyle, thats why gay rights necessarily brings you more into the lifestyle side of the coin discussed last night.

    In looking at how the ideas of social liberty came to be at its present state, of near total social liberty including lifestyles, i think thats undoubtedly important as it was unavoidable to deal not just with who people are but what they do and how they live.

    Its not really a major point in itself, but i think it is definitely relevant in the specific context discussed last night - how did we get to the present state of near total social liberty.

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  7. "TUC march on 26th? Yes."

    In the diary. Be very interesting to see what the turn out is.

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  8. ...and having finally read Peter G's article (bit distracted yesterday), agree with the consensus, bloody good job. also, points up the quality of debate that can result when the ATL piece is actually decent, as others have also said - demonstrating that the usual suspects look for something flawed to pounce on, and when offered measured and informed fare, think 'hmm, that's no fun', and move on elsewhere...

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  9. Jay
    "No one would ever say "i dont mind women, but they shouldnt be allowed to do 'women' things", and same for ethnic minorities. But since you cannot have freedom for the innate bit without freedom for the lifestyle, thats why gay rights necessarily brings you more into the lifestyle side of the coin discussed last night."
    I agree that the gay rights issue does point up the theoretical distinction - as one can't 'pass' (without a hell of a lot of work) as white rather than black, or male rather than female, whereas being gay can be 'unseen' unless you do something.

    But I do think that the distinction is merely a way to cover up 'general hate' under the myth of 'hating the sin'. They hate the 'sinner' too - and that goes for women and ethnic minorities too. it might not be placard waving head-kicking hate, but it's hate nonetheless...

    it;s always amused me (in a dark way) how the US right, so 'leave me alone! I'm an individual' in relation to gun ownership, taxes, etc, somehow get all 'big government' when they see gay people, or women wanting to exercise reproductive choice.

    make your f-ing minds up.

    ahem.

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  10. I know that everyone on this board will want to give Nadine Dorries their full support as she is now under police investigation for expenses fiddling.

    With you all the way Nadine.

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  11. "But I do think that the distinction is merely a way to cover up 'general hate' under the myth of 'hating the sin'."

    Absolutely, but i don't think that affects what you have to do to establish gay rights and how it differs slightly from women's rights, for example. Because you do, without question, have to establish to a much greater degree the freedom of what people *do*, not just what they are. Women and blacks were, to an extent, fighting to be allowed to do the same things as white mean, gays need to be able to do *different* things, thats what constitutes their liberty. The liberty to be gay is in itself useless unless you can lead a gay lifestyle without imprisonment or abuse.

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  12. ...mirrored in the hypocrisy of much of the neoliberal wotsit -

    on the economy -
    capitalism on the upside: taxes and regulation are unfair!
    socialism on the downside: help! bail us out!

    on free speech -
    Palin speaks: first amendment! first amendment!
    Opponent speaks: unamerican! burn the witch!

    on personal liberty -
    'I' am inconvenienced by government: defend our shores, deliver our mail, we'll call you when we need you
    'They' are inconveniencing me: help! help! people are different! i don't like it! legislate! legislate!

    and then they have the front to call gay rights / feminist / racial equality advocacy 'special pleading'.

    peh.

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  13. "Women and blacks were, to an extent, fighting to be allowed to do the same things as white men, gays need to be able to do *different* things, thats what constitutes their liberty"
    In which case, what's the problem with lesbians? We shag women.

    heheheheheheheh.

    Again, I do see your point, but again the distinction is not really relevant - unless you get down to squishy detail. the 'actions' involved are, to me, get an education, have a job, fall in love, have sex...these are all things straight white men do. how exactly the penis incidence stacks up seems to me largely irrelevant (although i realise this is the key point for some people)...

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  14. JayR:

    How formal! Giving you a date for when you're off the naughty step ;)

    PhilippaB:

    Very interesting post...

    so the 'gay debate' such that it is now (in the UK) is a matter of accepting people as themselves, regardless of what they do - and the developments in Uganda demonstrate how bloody awful the situation can be when people are forced to hide themselves, their love, such a big part of their identity that it cannot be 'cut off' from the rest of it. the innate bit. the Ugandan debate isn't about 'doing' but 'being' - the UK debate may be less violent, but at heart it comes down to the same thing

    Perceived general tolerance and the threat of punishment for attacks on gay people is what keeps the situation from being more Uganda-like in the UK. However, if as you say, the focus is on what people 'do' as opposed to 'are', like underlying racism, it means that the racism is still there (like homophobia) it hasn't gone away, it's just not socially acceptable to be so.

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  15. BW & Olching:

    Yep. I will definitely be on the March in March!

    I agree. Endless carping online is not going to get things done. Action not typing!!

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  16. alexander chancellor's piece just made me think of another one -

    the second amendment:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Ok, firstly - shocking grammar. missing an 'and', at the very least.

    but:
    gunowner: i got the right to bear arms! leave me alone with my glock!
    erm....you part of a 'militia'? no? neck in.

    gunowner looks at the armed forces: gays can't serve! gays shouldn't be able to serve! argh!

    so - the 2nd amendment says, to me, that people should be able to bear arms as a member of a 'militia', which has now been formalised as the armed forces. people should be allowed to join the armed forces, not have the right to buy a semi-automatic in a grocery store. but the people who misread it as meaning they can stock up an arsenal in the carport also oppose (often) the right of gay people (and sometimes women) to serve in the armed forces, which is the whole point of the sodding amendment to start with.

    am going to stop now. promise.

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  17. The “left” is fucked if all it’s going to do is wring its hands, go on marches and shout “stop being so howwid!” at the Tories. It needs its own vision, and it needs to grow a fucking pair and stop dicking around on side issues and get down to the business of sorting out where it’s going, and what concrete steps it’s going to take to sort out the mess this country is in.

    It’s been said before, but the problem for the left is that Tories know what they stand for, whereas a “leftie” believes in what, exactly, these days?

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  18. LaRit: "it's just not socially acceptable to be so.

    ha! yes, very much. all that 'I'm not homophobic, but...' isn't just a precursor to saying something homophobic, it also demonstrates the speaker's desire not to look infra dig.

    it's like thinking graham norton is ' a scream'. nice safe gay good...

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  19. have just noticed that tree is looking at me.

    unsettling.

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  20. "In which case, what's the problem with lesbians? We shag women."

    Quite. Its straight women that drew the short straw ;)


    "Again, I do see your point, but again the distinction is not really relevant - unless you get down to squishy detail. the 'actions' involved are, to me, get an education, have a job, fall in love, have sex..."

    Yeah its different at one level but the same on another, agreed. Its superficial to me but not the people who oppose gay rights. They had to be convinced that the gay lifestyle should be allowed, not just the gay person.

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  21. ...still not lifestyle...

    not meaning to dig at you here, but do think that's shoring up a dstinction that causes problems - those things are not 'lifestyle', they are 'life'...that's what needs to be got across - the sameness of the principle, not the difference of the detail.

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  22. can someone unspam my previous post?

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  23. Swifty, the left go on marches, the liberals write "hurrah" in the Guardian as a few placard-waving skulls get cracked. After all, is there any government that can't be brought down by a conference or two and a Twitter feed?

    Be genuinely interested to see how many New New Labour big beasts make it to the front of the TUC march. Maybe they'll surprise me.

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  24. Pip i dont think lifestyle is a great word, but it was the word Olching used in his initial distinction so thats what we carried on using for the debate (that vs "deproblematising"). But i certainly choose that word myself. It is not lifestyle in the common sense, what i am saying is it was an important stepping stone in how we came to the liberty of lifestyle situation.

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  25. I'm not at work till this afternoon Swift so not on work email, before you start your nagging you old woman...

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  26. Jay,

    thanks, it's all about Nadine Dorries our favourite Tory MP. Heartening news.

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  27. *But i certainly WOULDNT choose that word myself.

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  28. "I know that everyone on this board will want to give Nadine Dorries their full support as she is now under police investigation for expenses fiddling."

    Magnificent. First MacShane, then Dorries.

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  29. Philippa:

    "it's like thinking graham norton is ' a scream'. nice safe gay good..."

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  30. doh, forgot to add my comment to that... exactly.

    heteronormaified.... like Elton John, David Furnish and their fashion accessory baby....

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  31. "I know that everyone on this board will want to give Nadine Dorries their full support as she is now under police investigation for expenses fiddling."

    Magnificent. First MacShane, then Dorries.

    Put the bitch in prison. Sick of her glib little jibes on CiF. Thick as well as greedy.....

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  32. K - off to werk..... later comrades... ;)

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  33. @shiloh

    It’s been said before, but the problem for the left is that Tories know what they stand for, whereas a “leftie” believes in what, exactly, these days?

    I was prodding this one the other day. The best answer that came back was a Swedish-style social democracy, with a greater focus on manufacturing, which would allow for redistributive taxation with a reduced risk of businesses migrating.

    The other answer that came back was 'overthrow capitalism', but that only works if you try really hard to not think about specifics.

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  34. LaRit,

    I had a feeling you would be first in line to offer your support ;)

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  35. "I was prodding this one the other day. The best answer that came back was a Swedish-style social democracy, with a greater focus on manufacturing, which would allow for redistributive taxation with a reduced risk of businesses migrating."

    I dont think thats a bad start. Businesses should be tied to the country they are incorporated in; they get all the benefits of a stable country to build their business in (stability enabled by people's taxes), and then are allowed to just relocate their profits anywhere they choose which feeds the race to the bottom scenario.

    Apart from the "its a private business" bleaters, i don't know why this isnt discussed as an option. A business is not strictly private.

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  36. aye, your grace, that's cheered me right up!

    on larit's point - think there are two types of 'nie safe gay' - there's the effectively de-sexualised high-camp like norton / clary etc, 'end of the pier' spangliness but no sex (for all the innuendo) and then there's 'regular dull middle-of-the-road' gay, which elton and david, bizarrely, seem to have got themselves into y virtue of being a long-standing couple who do couple-y things.

    lesbians often fall into group 2 - sandi toksvig and her 'bringing up the kids' stories, showing that gay couples have much the same issues as any other couple.

    mostly mundane, therefore. so how elton and david got into that, don't know - presumably because when compared to the rest of their 'peer group' (celebrities) they appear actually quite normal, whatever the case when compared to 'ordinary people'

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  37. one more thing, Chiff Chaffs belting it out .... Spring is coming ;)

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  38. Duke:

    Why, Nadine is one of my favourite Tories!! I really hope she has to resign her seat. Ahhhh... Schadenfreude, feels good ;)

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  39. "Why, Nadine is one of my favourite Tories!!"

    Serious note - who would challenge her for the title of "thickest MP"? She's not just unpleasant, in the extreme, but does exude quite a high level of basic stupidity.

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  40. olching
    Indeed. There's a few going from 'these parts'.

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  41. @Eddie/Jay:

    One thing that’s struck me is the utter timidity of Milliband et al. in the face of Osborne’s “Year Zero”. I’m getting no sense that he’s got any ideas worth talking about, and now I read that he’s going to be indulging in a spot of mea culpa (Shadow cabinet-endorsed mea culpa, at that) to try and win people back to Labour.

    Well, sorry, but fuck that – he needs to be starting his own “Year Zero”. “That was then, this is now, and if you (the Great British People) want to sleep walk into a 21st century version of Britain in the 19th century, that’s all well and good, but it’s not for me, and here’s what I’m going to do about it”. Stop wittering on about “fairness” and “squeezed middle” and all that shit, and come out swinging.

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  42. @Jay

    I would have given it to Jim Devine, following his confession to expenses fraud on C4 news without apparently noticing that this might not help with his court case.

    But even the Labour party threw him out before the election, and he's now awaiting his day in court following Chaytor and Illsley.

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  43. Jay, agreed it is a pretty good start.

    But it throws up its own challenges - UK manufactured goods can't really compete on price with places like India or China, so we'd need prestige brands insted, like the Germans have VW, BMW, Adidas, etc. How do you go about building and nurturing a sufficient number of those?

    It just shows once again how much we shot ourselves in both feet by hinging our entire economy on services and banking.

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  44. glover up - apparently coming third is a success.

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  45. Shit, I'm already breaking my own promise... OF TO WERK!!!!!

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  46. PB:

    "apparently coming third is a success...." Good grief, the self-denial is breathtaking.

    I'll read it later, although venturing onto a Glover thread is liable to earn me a stay in pre-mod.

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  47. "I would have given it to Jim Devine, following his confession to expenses fraud on C4 news without apparently noticing that this might not help with his court case."

    I hadnt heard that. Ok, he's in the mix then.


    Swifty, i agree but i think they probably feel restrained to a degree by the press. They have already laid down the Red Ed marker - you move left, we'll crucify you. You espouse policies which would actually help the 90% of people who earn <£40k, and we'll crucify you. So they are not just taking on ideas but media might as well.

    That said, Labour dont currently give any indication that they actually have any ideas or any major interest in changes to the status quo, the Labour right still wields a lot of power and after their 13 years at the trough they're a pretty soiled bunch of spivs, cunts, criminals and thieves.

    Viz - we do have some areas of "competitive advantage", biochems and some other fairly niche areas. Considering the decline of our economy and currency, we are probably not as uncompetitive as they'd have us think though.

    On global competition, i'd happily see a return to tariffs and protection if it were based on things other than national border. Instead it should be based on things like corproate tax rates, worker rights, political liberties etc. So a "free" market with the EU, the US, etc, but for the sweat shop nations i'd slap heavy tariffs on them.

    Not only would this give incentives to improve worker rights, freedoms etc, it would disincentivise firms to locate business there - which would itself add to the pressure to improve worker conditions. You need some sort of mechanism working in the opposite direction to "race to the bottom" competition for how much you can shaft your worker and how little tax you can pay.

    And for tax havens, they should put such punitive tariffs and restrictions on any firm registered in a tax haven that the concept becomes pointless.

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  48. JayR:

    Last quickie.... according to Whizzgiggle on CiF re: Dorries.....

    Not to mention stealing your friend's husband, using your position as a public figure to smear said friend as an alchoholic, openly lieing about doing constituency work...

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  49. larit - it's not quite a mindblowing as some of his stuff, but is taking a kicking nonetheless. just stay away from the f-word and you should slip through...

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  50. 52% of the Oldham and Saddleworth electorate did not bother to vote in a high profile by election.

    That is an enormous amount of votes on offer for a genuinely representative party.

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  51. PB:

    Advice soundly taken.... (oh and no mentions of Parriss either!) back later to give Glover a metaphorical kicking ;)

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  52. @Jay:

    ”…they probably feel restrained to a degree by the press…”

    Well, if he’s going down, he should be going down fighting, I’d certainly respect him more… fuck the focus groups, fuck the hotline to Polly Toynbee, fuck triangulation and the Third Way… he needs to wrest the initiative back from the Tories, they’ve got the easiest of rides at the minute, they’re framing the debate, the terms of the debate, the tools to use in the debate…

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  53. he needs to wrest the initiative back from the Tories

    It's now apparently waning, but the support for the tory agenda that the polls initially showed would mean that Ed risks losing support if he went on a strident attack.

    Plus the legacy of new labour hobbles him, and the tories and LDs are ever-ready to beat him round the head with it. Especially with so many new labour veterans in the shadow cabinet.

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  54. .

    JayReilly

    This is bare-faced lying. Yet still she keeps on with this fantasy.

    And of course you'd never resort to calling someone an unspeakable little parasite, stupid, thick, writing nothing of intelligence, would you?

    You really are sensitive thing Jay so I'm sending a box of tissues round.

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  55. If my ongoing health problems are sorted by then (please!), I should be in England from the 17-27 March (I rescheduled my ferry tickets after cancelling Christmas), so I hope to join the march on the 26th if you could use a little international solidarity from a French comrade.

    I'd be going up from Seaford so I could hook up with any Brighton contingent and BB.

    @Your Grace

    I'm delighted to see the kicking the coalition got in the by-election. As you say, there are a lot of votes on offer. A new party or at least a schism in Labour is needed.

    Funding is very much the issue. I've never been totally happy with the idea of trade unions creating and funding a political party, but if the UK wants to carry on going down that road, I think many unions would be well-advised to consider where their money would be best spent, given the way in which New Labour has systematically betrayed them.

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  56. Morning all

    "I know that everyone on this board will want to give Nadine Dorries their full support as she is now under police investigation for expenses fiddling."

    Best bloody news I've had all day. Vapid, vicious little cow that she is.

    March 26th - I'm up for it too. Shall we try and find a UT rallying point near Temple? There's a little greasy spoon in Tudor Street, which is parallel to Fleet Street and Embankment, which is open on a Saturday morning if I remember rightly.

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  57. .

    JayReilly

    No one would ever say "i dont mind women, but they shouldnt be allowed to do 'women' things", and same for ethnic minorities.

    Unless you're unfortunate enough to have your life governed by Islamic law and custom.


    In looking at how the ideas of social liberty came to be at its present state, of near total social liberty including lifestyles, i think thats undoubtedly important as it was unavoidable to deal not just with who people are but what they do and how they live.

    Near total social liberty?

    Unless you're unfortunate to live in a traditional male dominated Kurdish family.

    I'm sure the friends of Banaz Mahmod would disagree with you.

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  58. "And of course you'd never resort to calling someone an unspeakable little parasite, stupid, thick, writing nothing of intelligence, would you?"

    You're a different issue, Bitey, you post only to antagonise people and misrepresent them in the most facile and transparent way. None of your other points here are worth responding to, your usual collection of nitpicking and poor comprehension skills.

    But disordered has genuinely conjured this "abuse" from thin air. I spent about 20 minutes searching through all the comments I'd made to her, and the worst i found was calling her views "glib" and "silly". She couldnt admit she was lying, or mistaken, so has carried on.

    This is the sort of person the Guardian is at such pains to protect and welcome to the boards, and to do that they are happy to ban and delete people and listen to people like Angie with such concern.

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  59. @Vizzo:

    ”…Ed risks losing support if he went on a strident attack…”

    I wouldn’t bet on that. He needs to get his head over the parapet and start getting shot at – he’s just cowering at the bottom of the trench at the moment.

    Fear of losing “support” isn’t his problem, though – it’s the fact he hasn’t got a fucking clue what to do that’s at the root of it.

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  60. Swifty

    "I wouldn’t bet on that. He needs to get his head over the parapet and start getting shot at – he’s just cowering at the bottom of the trench at the moment.

    Fear of losing “support” isn’t his problem, though – it’s the fact he hasn’t got a fucking clue what to do that’s at the root of it. "

    Agree with that analysis entirely. He would garner a great deal of support were he to go for the jugular a bit more. The problem is, though, that he needs to have the substance to back up the form. At the moment he has neither form nor substance.

    And what's with this "employing a Chicago social worker to re-model New Labour" that someone was talking about last night? It might have been in ellis's post.

    What?! Are we really going down the road of being the 51st state hook line and sinker now?

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  61. Oh and FOB. You are nothing but a vicious little shit-stirrer.

    Crawl back under your bridge, there's a love. I'm bored with it now.

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  62. Vizzo

    But it throws up its own challenges - UK manufactured goods can't really compete on price with places like India or China, so we'd need prestige brands insted, like the Germans have VW, BMW, Adidas, etc. How do you go about building and nurturing a sufficient number of those?

    There is massive potential for the manufacture of 'green' goods.However R@D in green technologies in this country is way behind that of say the Germans.Also the British financial institutions have historically failed to give British manufacturers the long term support they need and are more inclined to go for short term profits.The German financial institutions tend to take a different view.

    Despite this Britain is still the 6th largest manufacturing nation in the world in value terms.And we still have some world beating manufacturing companies in some sectors such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals.We just don't have enough of them.

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  63. @BB:

    Like I said, Milliband is just “reacting” to Tory policies at the moment and in the process, defining himself and his party according to the agenda set by them

    Now, I know there’s a time and a place for rubbishing opposition policies, of course there is, but more important (to my mind) is the alternative view which informs the rubbishing – and there’s precious little forthcoming from him on that head.

    To risk a cricketing metaphor – he needs to get onto the front foot and start playing his own shots according to his own game plan, not just stay stuck on the crease fending off Tory bouncers all the bloody time.

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  64. "Also the British financial institutions have historically failed to give British manufacturers the long term support they need and are more inclined to go for short term profits.The German financial institutions tend to take a different view."

    No surprise there, then...

    This is what comes of having an American world-view rather than a European one.

    One of the reasons that France was not so badly hit by the financial crisis, for example, is that they are a frugal lot. If they buy a house - well, more often than not getting a house built on a plot of land they have bought - they stay in it until they have paid off their mortgage, rather than using it as a tool to increase profit and/or working their way up the housing ladder. I don't know whether this is because they don't give so much of a shit about exterior signs of wealth or whatever.

    But anyhoo - credit is very tightly regulated. Loans are limited, most people will have one credit card at most, not two or three (or five or six)and they have more of a tendency to live within their means.

    Mind you, it could be argued that they are more able to live within their means because they are not shelling out 50% of their income on housing costs every month...

    I can remember in my early 20s thinking how naughty it would be to get an Access card - your flexible friend! Dunno how many of you are old enough to remember those ads. And how horrified I was to discover that most Americans lived with two or three credit cards each.

    Nowadays almost everyone I know has at least two or three credit cards of one type or another.

    If we had remained as frugal and as unostentatious as the French, instead of going down the Visible Bling and Loadsamoney route, we would be in a lot less shit now. And the banks would not be leeching all our tax money off us to fill the black holes in their balance sheets either...

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  65. .

    Peter Guillam

    Miliband needs to fashion a new centre ground by articulating a "conservative social democracy" which marries the traditional left and right to match the two great realignments in postwar politics of 1945 and 1979. Labour's future lies not in vacuous talk about "change" and the "new generation" nor by retreating to Old Labour, but by recognising that the 30-year assault on the "forces of conservatism" begun by Thatcher and articulated so eloquently by Blair was actually an assault upon the interests and wellbeing of the majority of the British people.

    MrsBootstraps

    Excellent article, Peter, and a breath of fresh air.

    I to the Vizzo

    "I wouldn’t bet on that. He (Miliband) needs to get his head over the parapet and start getting shot at – he’s just cowering at the bottom of the trench at the moment.

    Fear of losing “support” isn’t his problem, though – it’s the fact he hasn’t got a fucking clue what to do that’s at the root of it. "


    MrsBootstraps

    Agree with that analysis entirely.

    Now from your position as a UT political analyst MrsB, perhaps you could explain how you can support both of those positions, posted just a few hours apart? I'd also like to hear opinions from Guillam and the Vizzo

    Or is it just the abuse and deluding yourself that everyone dotes on you that's your forte?

    If as Peter suggests, Thatcher and Blair represented an actual assault upon the interests and well being of the majority of the British people, how is a lightweight, in every sense of the word, like Miliband, going to construct policy that's going to convince that same majority that they were so wrong in every election from 1979 to 2005? That really would be humiliating and I don't think they'll be into eating humble pie with such gusto.

    And Miliband voted for Trident, ID cards, EU integration, anti-terrorism laws and against an Iraq War investigation.

    Exactly how does he differ from Blair and Brown?

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  66. The problem with Labour - and it's a tough pill to swallow if you're looking for the alternatives to the Coalition policies - is that there's sweet fuck all it disagrees with. From leaving the banks unconstrained to Atos throwing people off IB to roasting babies on a spit. In a nutshell, if they had different viewpoints, they would be shouting them from the fucking rooftops right now.

    It doesn't take two years of conferences, committees and focus groups to decide throwing dying people off benefits is probably, on balance, wrong.

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  67. Bitethehand, reading BB's comments, I don't see quite what the necessary contradiction is that you're spotting.

    You don't think it's possible to both enjoy an article, and agree with some criticisms of that article?

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  68. Bitey

    Loth though I am to encourage you, there is no huge difference between the two positions; and, as usual, you have misunderstood entirely.

    (It was Swifty, btw, not Vizzo who said the second bit you quoted.)

    PeterG is saying, essentially, that New Labour needs to find a new ground that is rooted in social democracy rather than the Chicago Boys-led neo-liberlism that has failed so abjectly. Swifty has said that Miliband needs to start sticking his head above the parapet and attacking the on-going neo-lib onslaught from the ConDems - except he doesn't have the wherewithall to do it because he has not hammered out any reasonable alternatives.

    If Miliband were to adopt the Guillam approach, he would have a strong, viable alternative to the current hegemony which would benefit the majority of the population.

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  69. .

    Meerkatjie

    You don't think it's possible to both enjoy an article, and agree with some criticisms of that article?

    Well I'm sure you can but I'm not sure about MrsB, or even that that's her intention.

    Do you think the Vizzo is agreeing that Labour needs a coalition of what Guillam calls "conservative social democracy", whatever that is?

    If "conservative social democracy" isn't Thatcher - Blair (and even equating those two is a grotesque over-simplification) and it isn't "old Labour", then what is it? Denis Healey and Edward Heath? Neil Kinnock and Jim Prior?

    And if Guillam argues, as he does that Miliband has the wherewithal to produce such a "conservative social democracy" policy, how does that square with the Vizzo's, "he hasn’t got a fucking clue what to do that’s at the root of it."

    And that's a position I'm far more inclined to accept.

    Miliband has had since before Blair's resignation to construct a semi-viable policy for Labour and he's singularly failed in that task.

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  70. "If "conservative social democracy" isn't Thatcher - Blair (and even equating those two is a grotesque over-simplification) and it isn't "old Labour", then what is it? Denis Healey and Edward Heath? Neil Kinnock and Jim Prior?"

    Once again you have either failed to read the actual article or failed to understand what you read.

    Go back to the article itself. Read what PeterG is referring to when he talks about Thatcher's assault on the forces of conservatism.

    Hint: You are confusing Conservative with a big C and conservative with a small c.

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  71. Vizzo

    "I was prodding this one the other day. The best answer that came back was a Swedish-style social democracy, with a greater focus on manufacturing, which would allow for redistributive taxation with a reduced risk of businesses migrating."

    That were me who said that, the most evil righting fuck on the UT. Although I mentioned Germany rather because in terms of the ratio of population:country size, Germany is a far more realistic model for the UK, although we can still look towards the Scandies. Altohugh remember Tory Cameron went through a brief 'look at Sweden' period, which still manifests itself in the idea of 'free schools' but I suppose that was an electoral ploy.

    Must dash.

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  72. Lord "Digby" Jones found to be talking bullshit.

    On radio 4 a couple of days ago as he was defending the bankers Jones claimed that financial services account for 20% of all the UK's tax revenues.

    Fullfact found that it is almost half of what he claimed for 2010.

    You would think that an ex-CBI chief held in thrall by political parties of all shades would be able to get his figures right instead of inflating supposed tax revenues from financial services by an enormous 10% wouldn't you?

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  73. "Lord "Digby" Jones found to be talking bullshit."

    Ursine fecal matter found in Yellowstone National Park.

    Man living in Rome, wearing white dress and funny hat, thought to be Catholic.

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  74. Aaaaand we're back to the two main problems with the search for a better tomorrow.

    Miliband disagrees with fuck all of the neoliberal consensus - free movement of capital (hey minister, leave those banks alone), free movement of labour (we have to remain competitive you know and bogs don't unblock themselves) etc.

    The other problem is more fundamental and rarely aired. Britain wants social democratic-style security but won't vote to pay for it. Blair knew this and funded it via a couple of back doors with financial service tax receipts and PFI. Miliband knows it too.

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  75. "The other problem is more fundamental and rarely aired. Britain wants social democratic-style security but won't vote to pay for it"

    Bang on the money, Eddie.

    (Hope you understand how it is I can agree with this, Bitey? If not, do ask and I will find a simpler way of explaining it to you...)

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  76. MrsB

    Sorry for Vizzo read Shiloh whoever they are / were but the two positions cannot be compatible.

    Old Labour is social democratic, although I think its adherents would agree it's not Peter Guillam's "conservative social democracy", whatever that is. Is it the opposite of radical social democracy, which is how I expect old Labour would describe itself.

    And Shiloh / Swifty will have to say whether he's a conservative social democrat, but I can't imagine he is.

    And what is this "hegemony" you're talking about?

    Just a few days back you were arguing the student protesters were leading the country to revolution.

    That's hardly hegemony in my book.

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  77. "Britain wants social democratic-style security but won't vote to pay for it. Blair knew this and funded it via a couple of back doors with financial service tax receipts and PFI. Miliband knows it too."

    Major point, yes. Thats why both the past and future had to be plundered to plug the gaps - selling off national assets and institutions and then not investing the proceeds, and dumping billions on future generations through PFI.

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  78. The problem, for me at least, is that MiliVanilli is so tainted by the New Labour thing, so much a part and product of it, that if he does, at any point, wholeheartedly reject, denounce or seek to change it, I won't believe the cock-knocker!!

    (The fact that he's 'umming and ahhhing' about how much he should do so, and weighing up the pros and cons, merely re-enforces the fact that any decisions, if they are made, will be based on tactics and numbers, rather than anything remotely resembling principle!)

    And, if anything, he's following, to the letter, the original New Labour play sheet, in that he's doing a bit of sloganeering, attacking ConDem policies, and 'broken promises' etc, without making any himself, precisely so that he can get re-elected on the back of their unpopularity, without being tied to changing shit when he gets in!

    For me, he can fuck right off. And he can take the majority of his cabinet, front bench and the PLP with him.

    He's Tony friggin' Blair, or, at best, an empty vessel through which the Tony Blair project can be worked and continued, while a few people are distracted by socialist sounding soundbites, and that weird, vacant expression!!

    Fuck that for a laugh.......

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  79. Ah. So you don't understand what hegemony is either, Bitey?

    Happy to explain with the help of google:

    hegemony [hɪˈgɛmənɪ]
    n pl -nies
    (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) ascendancy or domination of one power or state within a league, confederation, etc., or of one social class over others


    In the context, I am referring to the neo-liberal movement as a hegemony.

    I really don't see what on earth you are wittering on about regarding the student protests.

    I don't think you actually understand yourself, though - you just seem to post a bunch of utter non sequiturs in the hope that one or two of them might actually strike a nerve somewhere. Pity, really.

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  80. Good article by McDonnell up.

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  81. @ the Duke. That odious turd Jones didn't inflate the importance of financial services by a mere 10%, but by 100%.

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  82. James - he is what we are stuck with, though, for the time being.

    And he needs to cast off the New Labour mantle pretty damn quick if there is to be any hope for us at all. :(

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  83. .

    MrsBootstraps

    Once again you have either failed to read the actual article or failed to understand what you read.

    Neither, it's your fawning to incompatible positions I don't accept.

    MrsBootstraps

    Hint: You are confusing Conservative with a big C and conservative with a small c.

    I which case perhaps you'd like to define what the "forces of conservatism" are in this quote from Peter Guillam:

    Labour's future lies not in vacuous talk about "change" and the "new generation" nor by retreating to Old Labour, but by recognising that the 30-year assault on the "forces of conservatism" begun by Thatcher and articulated so eloquently by Blair was actually an assault upon the interests and wellbeing of the majority of the British people.

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  84. Was just browsing that funnily enough, Jay. This bit is rather apposite to what we've been saying today (and what Peter was saying yesterday).

    "If the byelection win means the recidivist New Labour neoliberals win the argument, Labour will fail to capture the mood of change that the byelection demonstrated and will miss the immense opportunity that it has been given to them."

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  85. No, Bitey - I didn't ask you to copy and paste the same paragraph from Peter's piece. I asked you to define what Peter said Thatcher was talking about when she referred to "forces of conservatism".

    Come on - you can do better than that. I am not going to do your homework for you, man!

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  86. Just seen this comment from Martyn at the NewStatesman, he gets around doesnt he?

    "I will never agree with Nick Cohen, ever again, even if our arguments happen to coincide. It's nothing to do with personalities, and everything to do with ethical consistency."

    There is also his Twitter profile:

    "Líder, estratega, arquitecto, cortesano de capitalismo. Guitarrista. Leader, strategist, architect, courtesan of capitalism. Guitarist. Political animal."


    I actually feel guilty mocking MIE these days, but thats just one of the funniest things I've read.

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  87. Good post James Dixon at 13:53.

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  88. BB,

    Well, we are kind of stuck with him, largely because The PLP is a fucking joke, completely divorced and unaccountable to the rest of the 'party'!! And they'll continue down the same route, doing the same shit, and there's not too much that anybody can do about it.

    And given that they are all New Labour fuckers, I can see no reason why they'd wish to reject any of it!! Why would they? It's who they are, and why they're there!!

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  89. BB & Jay, we can speculate on the reasons why the British electorate won't pay for what they apparently want. My personal opinion is that social democracies require a high level of social cohesion and identity - Scandinavian countries being the most obvious examples.

    Britain is too sliced and diced - by class, national identities (you want me to pay for the Jocks and Taffies?), ethnicity and identity politics - to have that common purpose. There's a feeling that if 'we' pay more, 'they' will take the benefits.

    There might, as PeterG says, be a hankering for greater security, but it's a country with an American-style streak of individualism nestling in a European context.

    Miliband looks like he's playing a savvy game politically at the moment. But here's a simple test. The coalition will almost certainly drop the 50% tax rate before the next election. Miliband then has a choice. Go to the polls promising to reinstate it in order to give people better services and greater social justice (arguing that it's the right thing to do to get where we all want to be) or to leave it be and figure out after the election how to fund Labour's plans without scaring the horses (nudging up taxes aside from income tax, more PFI, letting financial services let rip etc). IIt's déjà vu all over again.

    I'm pretty certain he's not going to go into a general election shouting "Raise income tax."

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  90. "Raise income tax for the rich" would probably go down a treat right now though, Eddie.

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  91. Eddie

    "My personal opinion is that social democracies require a high level of social cohesion and identity - Scandinavian countries being the most obvious examples. Britain is too sliced and diced - by class, national identities (you want me to pay for the Jocks and Taffies?), ethnicity and identity politics - to have that common purpose. There's a feeling that if 'we' pay more, 'they' will take the benefits."

    Agreed, there's a fair bit of evidence for it too. Research was done on diverse areas and found propensity for charity reduced (poverty might be another explanation tho), but its mirrored in other data - i remember one depressing poll from the US, people would happily pay more tax for better services, but not for "blacks".

    This is why the multiculti policy of actually encouraging difference strikes me as criminally negligent and thick. The UK was already far more socially divided (by class) than most countries. In the face of, what seems, some fairly primal instincts about paying for "the other" it is essential that you do everything you can to pull people together and overcome those differences with social/cultural unity (or a goood degree of, at least).

    Faith schools are completely insane against this backdrop, an almost guaranteed route to segregation and the conflict that will foster. Kids need to be chucked in together. Starting them off segregated at such an early age really is criminal, its just about the worst thing you could do for community cohesion.

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  92. Amsuing comment on wadya bout L Penny, possibly the greatst self publicist of our time?

    "saw your chat last night about Laurie Penny. Not only is she in every uk media outlet, but she's gone international!

    I saw her being interviewed by an American news station re the student demos. (It was hilarious but unfortunately I can't find it again).

    At one point she claims that she was standing in front of the students as the police horses charged at them. (No film though).

    The way she said it made it sound as if only She, standing bravely against charging horses, could save the poor defenceless students."

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  93. MrsBootstraps

    I really don't see what on earth you are wittering on about regarding the student protests.

    Strange that, as I was sure you were suggesting they were in the vanguard opposing that hegemonic neo-liberal State, that so kindly allowed them to occupy its party's headquarters.

    Also strange how I can't recall that happening in any of the regimes we normally refer to as hegemonic - like Franco's Spain. Salazar's Portugal, Pinochet's Chile, Hussein's Iraq, Mao's China.

    I think you're the one who's misusing 'hegemony'.

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  94. @Jay:

    The proverbial bad “Penny” turning up everywhere – who’d have thought?

    She was in the Standard last night, opening gambit as follows:

    ”…I was there to protest. I watched with a thrill as students gathered in front of Tory party headquarters, lit fires and smashed windows, articulating their rage at a government that plans to sell their education to pay the debts of the rich. The mood was jubilant. Children dropped banners from the roof; a young couple kissed in the sunlight as protesters cheered, stamped, danced and sang songs of resistance…”

    Move over, Émile Zola, eh?

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  95. Patriarchal hegemony
    Communist hegemony
    Fascist hegemony
    Socialist hegemony
    Neo-liberal hegemony
    Catholic hegemony

    Nope. All decent uses of the word as far as I can tell.

    Jog on, Bitey, there's a dear.

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  96. I think my favourite Pennyism was in an article on protests too, Swift, she was describing standing round a fire at the protest. Then went on to rant about how awful the SWP were, it was a great piece of Judean Liberation political rhetoric. And then came the clincher, the plea for unity, "I just want to know that you'll stand by the fire with me".

    If Braveheart were remade, Penny would have the lead. She could stir the dead. A great revolutionary walks among us (and did you know she was a burlesque dancer? Back when it was cool, obviously)

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  97. I have just found a photo of Ms Penny at the barricades, Jay...

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  98. @Jay:

    Last one, I promise:

    "...This is a leaderless protest with no agenda but justice: it is a new children's crusade, epic and tragic. More fires are lit as the children try to keep warm: they are burning placards and pages from their school planners. A sign saying "Dumbledore would not stand for this shit!" goes up in flames.

    This is also an organic movement: unlike previous demos, there are no socialist organisers leading the way, no party flags to rally behind. The word spread through Twitter and Facebook; rumours passed around classrooms and meeting halls: get to Westminster, show them your anger.

    Suddenly, there is a rush from the front and the sound of yelling police as hundreds of protesters run back from the lines, frightened. "Don't throw anything!" implores a young, bearded protester with a megaphone. "Protect your friends – don't give them the excuse!" But no one is listening. Sticks are being thrown: the mood is enraged as people see their friends struck back or struck down. "Tory scum!" they yell. "I wish they weren't breaking things," says Leyla, "but this is what happens when they ruin people's futures."..."


    I was always told wanking in public was a bit unseemly, but Laurie doesn't seem to have got the memo.

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  99. Jesus, not so much Penny Red as Penny Purple. Or perhaps Penny Dreadful. Toynbee's not cold yet, and already Laurie's eyeing her hyperbolic throne.

    We Shall Over-Egg.

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  100. Good stuff, BB and Swift - she is a cartoon character of Bracken'esque proportions. Imagine a debate between those two, my god that would be entertaining...

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  101. Ah, I see someone one Waddya got to the Delacroix before me. Great minds, etc...

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  102. @Jay:

    ”…she is a cartoon character of Bracken'esque proportions. Imagine a debate between those two…”

    It would be proof irrefutable that there is a God.

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  103. Sorry Jay, I think the houndning of Penny has gone too far. So what if she went to Oxford. No wonder the left has always been riven by factionalism and infighting. Your reaction yesterday when you found out that Peter Guillam was a former Oxbridge prof was also a bit much- especially as you don't know either his or Penny's background BEFORE they went to Oxbridge. If someone from a council estate was given teh chance to study at Oxbridge would you sneer and hiss at them for being class traitors?

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  104. Could the problem people have with Laurie be less her Oxbridge connections and more that she writes over-ripe self-aggrandizing dogshit? Just a thought.

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  105. I'm not "hounding" anyone, i have posted two or three mocking comments which i will continue to do any time i feel like it. She's comical. Or, as Eddie says,

    "Could the problem people have with Laurie be less her Oxbridge connections and more that she writes over-ripe self-aggrandizing dogshit?"

    People do not have the right not to be mocked, and this applies tenfold to pathological self publicists.

    The comment about PG was not a serious comment, Nap, was a joke in response to Scherf's joke.

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  106. Has anynone seen the new article up? "A letter to Nick Clegg from alarm clock Britain".

    The intro is priceless.

    "Dear Nick,

    On Saturday, my alarm clock went off at 4am so I could get on a train to London for a conference. On Sunday, it went off at 7am so I could get on a plane to the US for a series of meetings."

    Yup, that's the average squeezed middle right there that is....In Graunworld.

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  107. Don't lie to me peeps, you'll all buy the book - provisionally titled 'Cuts & Kettles' - when it comes out:

    'Well, what a first term we've had! Students across the world have protested, demonstrated, occupied and, to our horror, been brutalised by the mighty arm of the State/s.

    Our mission is now to curate and edit the most fabulous compilation of student and youth struggles from around the world. We will publish the book through Verso Books, with assistance from Tariq Ali, in February 2011.

    With sections including: struggles in France, Spain, Greece, Italy, America and Britain…

    We are now seeking your input to what looks to be a very inspiring collection. This book is about you, about our actions, about what we have all done collectively so it is only right that we compile it collectively.

    Please send us your best photos, videos, stories and suggestions. We will choose the most appropriate material and contact you with any queries before sending to print.

    We will set up different blog posts for each section of the book and a flickr group to collate photos. Any suggestions on how to make this a painless process are welcome!

    All proceeds from the book will go to a worthy student cause (to be democratically decided). We look forward to working with you,

    Clare Solomon, ULU President, and Laurie Penny, contributor to the New Statesman (amongst other things)'

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  108. Charles/Nap.
    "If someone from a council estate was given teh chance to study at Oxbridge would you sneer and hiss at them for being class traitors?"
    No,
    but if they then used that as a platform for careerism and self-promotion, all the while claiming to speak for those 'left behind' (with whom they may not have had much affinity ever), or if they exaggerated their previous poverty for an air of authenticity/grit, or it became evident that their identity kept shifting so as to stay in the spotlight, and that their activism came with a big "I am", then yup, I'd have qualms and express them.
    Y'know, if you're nakedly ambitious and self-promoting, then there's an honesty in there at least. It's the appropriation and use of other people's efforts and experiences that grates.

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  109. MrsBootstraps

    Neo-liberal hegemony

    I wasn't doubting that you could have neo-liberal hegemony, rather your claim that we had it in the UK. After all didn't the Labour Party win a by-election today?

    Even in the USA where the trade union movement has nothing of the power it has in the UK, you'd find it difficult to justify applying the term to the country's government. To do so you would need to equate the current democratic Presidential regime with it predecessor and then demonstrate how the political and economic reality of both is hegemonic. Unless of course you're going to argue that we can have degrees of hegemony. Can we?

    And in the UK where the trade union movement hopes to get one million plus marchers out on March 26 and can bring the London Underground system to a halt almost at will, it's even less appropriate.

    You need to understand that in serious political debate, hyperbole is no substitute for calm rational argument.

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  110. "Yup, that's the average squeezed middle right there that is....In Graunworld."

    I cant remember the details, but i think in the Mail or Tele last week there was a line in an article that read "Every working mother dreads upsetting the cleaner". It wasnt satire.

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  111. @RapidEddie:

    Then fast forward ten years to a watercooler at PA Consulting:

    Bloke: “Yar, it was actually really bloody hairy actually, there was all sorts of shit flying around, the helicopters buzzing around, the screams and shit, a guy really near me copped one, really intense actually, sort of traumatising, you know?”
    Woman: “Gosh Giles, that sounds horrific, I never knew you’d been in Afghanistan in the Army.”
    Bloke: “Oh I wasn’t, I was on the student demos in 2010 and doing Ec/Pol at Trinity”
    Woman (swoons): “My hero…”

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  112. The contributor who wrote the letter to Clegg/Alarm Clock Britain is interesting. Not for her background, which is identikit Graun ("I am Mili - Milena only when in trouble - and I am an atheist, liberal, European, political scientist, feminist, bisexual, geek, reader, fangirl, kickboxer, activist, project manager, knitter."), but for her thoughts on CiF. She was at the netroots bash the other day. Here's the edited version:

    On Saturday, I went to Netroots UK - a one-day conference for the online progressive left. Overall, it was a great day. I met some awesome people, I learned some new things, I had some great discussions.

    Among other things I attended a session called "Digital Equality" on engaging women online.

    The sheer nastiness of the online political blogging environment for women was one of the key topics of the workshop.

    All of the speakers shared personal experiences of the kind of attacks they've been subject to. Laurie Penny gets five emails a week describing how she deserves to get raped; Lisa Ansell gets told she is worthless scum and should shut up and get back to the kitchen.

    I myself have had the dubious honour of being on the receiving end of the CiF comment thread. And yes, while CiF can get fairly nasty regardless of who the contributor is, female contributors, female bloggers, women who dare stand up and speak out are singled out for particularly vicious attacks all over the net.

    These comments range from the dismissive to the downright threatening. They are designed to undermine our confidence, make us doubt ourselves, to intimidate us and scare us. They are designed to exclude us from the political discourse online.

    There are those of us who have grown a thick skin. A day on CiF is remarkably helpful in that respect.

    Yes, the comments still affect me - they hurt, they intimidate, they make me feel helpless sometimes, and very often very very angry. But I have learned to get through that and come out the other side.

    Many women, though, are put off by the nastiness and viciousness of the environment. Younger women especially may decide it's easier and safer to stay down and not to speak out. And that for me is not acceptable. We cannot let a small group of pathetic, immature individuals who are secretly terrified of women scare us - and those who come after us - into silence.

    We have a right to be part of the "mainstream" political debate, both to contribute and to lead. As Laurie Penny said on Saturday, feminism isn't some kind of political ghetto, and we have a right to make ourselves heard.

    And so I'm standing up for women bloggers. And when I see one of them attacked I will stand up and speak out. I will not let the trolls get away with it. I will not let women bloggers think they are alone, because they are not. Will you join me?


    Before today, she's had one other article on CiF. The full article about CiF and women blogging can be found here.

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  113. Fair enough Jay/Eddie, but I still think your misdirecting your anger. Anyway, let's leave it at that.

    Viz, earlier.
    "But it throws up its own challenges - UK manufactured goods can't really compete on price with places like India or China, so we'd need prestige brands insted, like the Germans have VW, BMW, Adidas, etc. How do you go about building and nurturing a sufficient number of those?

    It just shows once again how much we shot ourselves in both feet by hinging our entire economy on services and banking."

    Exactly. Much as I wish, we can't just magically build a large hi tech industry out of thin air, and is there any point as the Chinese are just catching up.

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  114. I wouldn't worry too much about the occasional 'hounding' of the ludicrous Ms Penny - she's no doubt crying all the way to the bank. And for every crude rapscallion who mercilessly heaps ridicule on her modest, self-deprecating desire to make the world a better place, there's at least ten decent, discerning, intelligent folk who will defend her naked ambition eg..

    Aw.. quit with the Penny bashing. So she's trying to make her mark in the world of meeja.. why ever not? Worse ambitions to have are there not? And I quite like her self description... it's rather sweet. And one is allowed some pretensions when young, I'd say...

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  115. BTH,

    "Or is it just the abuse and deluding yourself that everyone dotes on you that's your forte?"

    I dote on BB, especially when she uses words like "ursine" ;-P

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  116. "women who dare stand up and speak out"

    She got both my fave cliches in only 8 words!

    *Dare* to *speak out*!

    Its a terrifying world, blogging, only the bravest of the brave will stand up for the oppressed and risk having nasty words typed to them across the interweb.

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  117. @Charles:

    Can’t speak for Jay and Eddie, but in my case, it’s not “anger” – it’s scorn. Leavened (as usual) with a big fat slice of hilarity at the pomposity and self-regard.

    Come on Charles, you fancy yourself as a bit of an iconoclast and you’re British, you should be pricking balloons, not blowing more hot air into them, surely?

    Oh, and in case “Mili” is reading, it’s not because she’s a strong, feisty, independent, intelligent, err, strong (well, she is!!) female, either.

    ReplyDelete
  118. No probs Charles, although I would point out that it's laughter rather than anger. Bad writing is like a bad toupee. Politeness would demand that you don't mention it, but you can't help staring and smiling.

    The shame of it is, when she reins in her more florid instincts, Laurie can be a damned effective writer.

    As for Milena's take on CiF, it can be a rough joint sure enough. But rougher for female than male contributors? I kinda doubt it. If one person was guaranteed to get kicked from one end of the comments to the other every single time, that man would be Denis MacShane. God knows he earned it.

    ReplyDelete
  119. You dote, dot?

    . . .

    :o)


    Bitey

    You can deny that neo-liberalism is a hegemony all you like. I just happen to disagree with you.

    "You need to understand that in serious political debate, hyperbole is no substitute for calm rational argument. "

    Let me know when you are able to put up a rational argument and I will respond in kind.

    ReplyDelete
  120. jay

    Yep - being a woman means that I am too scared to speak out as well. Really I am. I just sit here cowering behind my netbook, too frightened by all those nasty, noisy boys to say anthing at all.

    FFS.

    ReplyDelete
  121. BB

    "You dote, dot?"

    If it p*sses off Bitey when he's being stalkerish and acknowledges your valuable contributions you bet I do :-)

    (and I really did like the ursine reference!)

    ReplyDelete
  122. Heheheheheh!

    I wouldn't mind if I had a scintillatingly intelligent, witty and erudite stalker. Instead I get Bitey.

    You just can't get the quality of harassment these days, tha knows. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  123. just posting this link...an extraordinary story.....

    Here

    Gallery here

    Apols if anyone's already seen this... :) K back to catch up on today's thread.

    ReplyDelete
  124. He's trying to hector and bully you out of your online space, Mrs Bootstraps. I mean, BeautifulBurnttoast.

    You get the shamanic drums out and I'll organize a twitter feed. We Shall Overreact.

    ReplyDelete
  125. "BeautifulBurnttoast."

    You see? This is what I mean.

    This is nothing but a snide, patriarchal allusion to my place in society which in your eyes has to be in the kitchen, ideally barefoot and pregnant, while burning the toast.

    No wonder I can't bring myself to post anything on the internet...

    ReplyDelete
  126. LaRit

    Brilliant article. I think sheff posted a link to a youtube of her stuff a day or two ago, too. What a great story.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Hi all

    Thanks for various supportive comments again re my piece.

    For the record, I didn't take Jay's reference to my Oxbridge connection to be 'hounding' in any way shape or form. And it is perfectly legitimate anyway to raise the issue of Oxbridge dominance of social elites.

    Also for what it is worth, I come from a working class background, didn't go as a student to Oxbridge and owe my education, both school and university entirely to the post-war welfare state (well, that isn't quite true in that although, courtesy of the 11+ I went to a grammar school without paying fees my parents made real sacrifices to pay for things like uniforms, bus fares and so on)

    Anywa, my real reason for coming into UT was to ask if anyone has a handle on who katie60 on cif is? She reads to be someone very hooked into the New Labour apparatchiks - does anyone know?

    ReplyDelete
  128. @"BB"; just get back in the kitchen, now there's a luv.

    *ducks for cover*!

    ReplyDelete
  129. Peter

    I don't know who she is but she is very noisy. I had her down for a Tory, actually, but I may well be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  130. chekhov

    I will whup you upside da head next time I see you, mister! :p

    Actually just been having a "you make the dinner... no it's your turn" discussion with 'Im Indoors...

    Given that he has been out at work today and I have been slobbing about doing jack shit I suppose it is only fair if I do it really...

    Back to the kitchen I go!

    ReplyDelete
  131. Evening everyone

    BB

    I did post a link to those Vivien Maier pics the other day - but they can't be posted often enough imo - they are an fantastic record covering the lives of ordinary people going about their business through several decades in Chicago - from a very humble person who stayed totally unknown as a photographer throughout her life. What a legacy!

    ReplyDelete
  132. "Every working mother dreads upsetting the cleaner".

    heh...heh...heh...spit!


    apropos of nothing...where is Mr Selfmade? I'm missing him...

    ReplyDelete
  133. .

    MrsBootstraps

    Let me know when you are able to put up a rational argument and I will respond in kind.

    Oh I bow to your intellectual superiority having seen monkeyfish and Hank cower at your polemical brilliance. How they scuttle off when you open up with your school time heroics.

    But I notice you've been mightily silent on how you can heap praise on Peter Guillam, Shiloh / Swifty and ellis as if they're each in agreement. Or are you not really interested in discriminating between political positions and merely seeking to garner appreciation for your own outpourings?

    Guillam seems to me to be a pre-Blair consensus Labourite, a Welfare State with beer and sandwiches, ellis a proto-revolutionary socialist, "There is something more tragic than farcical in the fact that once again the Labour Party's right wing looks to Russia and believes not only that it has seen the future but that the tragic vision, of a Revolution Demolished, 'works.'" (nice play on Marx's quote in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, and Swifty, a - well I'm not sure, but I doubt he agrees with Guillam and maybe even ellis.

    What about you MrsB, who do you agree with rather than lather over?

    So come on, use that towering intellect to show the common thread running through the positions of these three political analysts, that will result in a united Labour Party that's sufficiently attractive to the electorate to win a talent contest, quite apart from an election.

    Surely that all us lower intellects can expect?

    Because if you can it will mean whatever political position Miliband adopts, he'll come through with flying colours and you'll be made for life as a political aide.

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  134. Ooh very good conversation on the UT these last days. Just been reading through it all. Not commented much lately on here because they often seem to disappear and I have to re-type and too tired for that. BUT the level of debate has tempted me to try.

    That and seeing Deano about - watcha mate. And olching and PeterG.

    Firstly re the whole rape discussion - can I just say that it is not impossible for it to be about both sex and power it doesn't have to be an either or. As for evo psych - well I think it is a load of rubbish often. Now I don't argue that there are NO differences between men and women but evo biology - which is a hard science and does acknowledge those difference - is full of people who despise evo psych - which they view as a load of just so story's by psychologists. As one evo biologist said about a famous evo psych (whose name I forget) ''he is the greatest fool''.

    Take the idea of rape being 'easy' from a purely spreading of genes point of view - well I would argue it isn't and never would have been. Rape is quite dangerous - there is a chance the woman will fight back and hurt you, there is a chance your act will be discovered by others in the group/tribe/society - who will want revenge/punishment etc to be carried out. If it is within your own 'group' there is the risk you will be shunned. It is definitely not a low riks pursuit, and the fact that it is a way of being able to spread your genes without having to care for the offspring doesn't seem enough to negate the more obvious higher dangers.

    In todays world where there are prostitutes available for a tenner, porn everywhere and sperm banks for those who want to spread their seed (thanks for that MF - made me laugh) then rape seems a very high risk practice for either mere sexual relief or pro-creation.

    Which is why I think it is a mix of both power and sex - it is best explained by Rapid Eddie I think in his brilliant post of 9.13 yesterday.

    it is a fact that old people in care homes are often at risk of sexual abuse - is that because they are so sexually alluring to their carers or because their carers are low paid and angry and want to exert control, power and humiliation over those under their care?

    To be cont..

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  135. MrsBootstraps

    This is nothing but a snide, patriarchal allusion to my place in society which in your eyes has to be in the kitchen, ideally barefoot and pregnant, while burning the toast.

    Quite the contrary MrsB, how could you possibly live up to enviable parental standards like Amy Chua's when you boast about a five GCSE achievement? Going by her standards, I doubt you'd be allowed in the kitchen, yet alone have access to the toaster. 0:>

    in The Wall Street Journal, by Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School here about the way Chinese mothers bring up their children.

    Just look at the happy Amy Chua with her two talented children - isn't there a lesson for us all in that picture?

    Isn't there something there for us all to aspire to?

    ReplyDelete
  136. So Peter you went to a fee paying grammar school without having to pay the fees - congratulations - it does show in what you write.

    Not asking you to name it, but where would it come in today's table of excellence?

    ReplyDelete
  137. BB & SheffP:

    I was taken aback by those pictures... it really does take someone whose overriding desire just to take photographs (without even an audience in mind) as an empathetic human being to take portraits and 'snapshots' of such beauty and humanity. I was incredibly moved looking at them. Bloody hell, I wish I'd been in that auction room!

    ReplyDelete
  138. Bitey

    Her children aren't "talented", they have been forced like rhubarb in a severe and, one might argue, emotionally abusive environment.

    If someone's only goal in life is for their child to be top of their class in their chosen subjects - well, that would be subjects chosen by the parents presumably - good for them. They can prevent them going out and playing with their friends, going on sleepovers, watching tv, playing computer games, and anything else that doesn't lead to that goal.

    But what she has done is to create little androids capable of functioning in the realm she has chosen, not talented, intelligent, thinking, rounded adults.

    And I bet that, were we to return to the world of Amy Chua in 10 years, her girls, having spent five years in therapy to try and deal with having been bullied, deprived of affection, deprived of a normal childhood and verbally abused by the woman who is supposed to be nurturing them, will not have been in contact with her for years.

    ReplyDelete
  139. "Quite the contrary MrsB, how could you possibly live up to enviable parental standards like Amy Chua's when you boast about a five GCSE achievement? Going by her standards, I doubt you'd be allowed in the kitchen, yet alone have access to the toaster."

    See what I mean about utterly irrational non-sequiturs? You better explain what you think this should mean, Bitey, because it reads like total bollocks.

    Hi PCC, Sheff, MsChin and LaRit - and anyone else rational who posts here. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  140. Secondly I wnated to say PeterG that was an excellent article. I only found out about it today so was very late to comment but it was great to read something so thoughtful and different from the standard stuff.

    Olching - re your comments on social and economic liberalism etc. I totally agree with what you said about those on the left against free markets and exploitation etc often changing their position when it comes to prostitution and/or drugs. Also it was interesting what you were saying about the hedonism that is celebrated by many today, who want the freedom to do that but then the state to make it possible.

    It is slightly different but I was watching sex and the city 2 (a friend chose it) and it just made me cringe. There was a wedding at the beginning between Carries gay friends. It was just the most overblown thing I have ever seen - but it was clearly meant to be celebrating women and their emancipation and also gay emancipation - but to me it was just as decadent as an old Roman Orgy.

    Everyone was drinking the finest champagne, wearing the most expensive clothes and behaving in the most ostentatious manner possible,this went on throughout the whole film. A mad orgy of consumerism and individualism gone mad - that is all it was ultimately celebrating.

    Speaking of riches - IanG - that article from Golems blog is excellent reading - makes you realise what we are up against. I found that old post of Golems that he linked to - where he says that the elites probably just don't really need us anymore and therefore don't care what happens - really sobering too. It is an excellent blog. I have just got his book too and am reading through that.

    ReplyDelete
  141. BB:

    Hey! I'm here having had my brain liquidised by the dazzling analysis of Julian Glover....


    Bitey you are obsessed, not only with BB, but essentially with statistics and vacuous hot-housing techniques by which those with da money in the tiny upper class minority in China who can afford it, to invest in forcing their unfortunate offspring into a strict academic achievement regime - irrespective of intelligence or the needs/wants/dreams of the child and calling it a benchmark by which we are all supposed to measure ourselves.

    How can someone who likes Little Feat, be so lacking in imagination?

    ReplyDelete
  142. princess - good to see ya back at 'em again, girl.

    And glad to see the laydees are around this evening, after all the male domination round here over the past couple of days ; )

    ReplyDelete
  143. Ooo ... Julian Glover, the self-appointed expert on Old & Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  144. PCC

    "It is slightly different but I was watching sex and the city 2"

    Oh god. I'm so sorry. Have you thought about counselling? :o)

    ReplyDelete
  145. Would that be Julian "How the Conservatives still won the by-election even when they got their arses kicked into the middle of next week" Glover?

    ReplyDelete
  146. BitetheHand

    "So Peter you went to a fee paying grammar school without having to pay the fees - congratulations - it does show in what you write."

    Strange, and slightly unpleasant, comment. This was simply how the state education system worked in my day, there's no more to in that. I didn't invent that system nor do I particularly support it.

    I've never taken any interest in the peculiar little online wars you fight - beyond clocking that you seem slightly disturbed - but I am beginning to understand why so many people simply post 'piss off bitey' when you make your ill-conceived comments.

    ReplyDelete
  147. BB

    That'll be the one, yes.

    LaRit

    I think I'll have an e, please.

    ReplyDelete
  148. "Just look at the happy Amy Chua with her two talented children - isn't there a lesson for us all in that picture?

    Isn't there something there for us all to aspire to?"


    Err, well I don't think you've thought that arguement through very well.

    I'm sure we could all come up with examples of family photos masquerading as idyls of domestic harmony which turn out to be a smokescreen for the behind the scene litany of betrayal,abuse and tyranny which is the reality.

    ReplyDelete
  149. MsChin

    "And glad to see the laydees are around this evening"

    Hehehehe.

    That merits a choon...

    ReplyDelete
  150. "This was simply how the state education system worked in my day, there's no more to in that. I didn't invent that system nor do I particularly support it".

    Seconded. I went to grammar school and I grew up on a council estate.

    ReplyDelete
  151. MsChin:

    I think I'll have an e, please

    I think I'll join you... :0) smil-ee!

    ReplyDelete
  152. Peter:

    I know you already know this but Bitey, it seems doesn't. In my Dad's day too... the Unions paid for the working classes to go to University. My Uncle was one such beneficiary and my, how his life changed. Also, my partner's Father, from a lower middle class household, had a scholarship to a fee-paying Grammar school like yours (I would imagine) and went on to Oxford and to being a Professor. It was a short window of opportunity - for those whom Bitey extols, they have a permanent window of opportunity because they are in a position to buy the best education for their kids, as if they were in a supermarket.

    I agree, his comment was pretty fucking low.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Enjoyed that, BB!

    Will be watching Sister Rosetta on BBC 4 later, really interested in the hidden history of black women musicians.

    ReplyDelete
  154. how could you possibly live up to enviable parental standards like Amy Chua's

    Sometimes bitey you actually make me laugh! Enviable standards? Oh gawd, you really are more than slightly bonkers! Are you a parent yourself by any chance?

    peter

    You'll get used to bitey's strange and unpleasant comments if you stick around. He does occasionally puts some good tunes up though.

    ReplyDelete
  155. I don't suppose I will be able to watch it, MsChin. I have to negotiate with two males who measure the quality of a tv programme by the number of explosions in it. :o)

    Re grammar schools, I went to a State grammar, as did my dad, although he didn't go on to uni because his parents couldn't afford for him not to be out earning a crust. (And I didn't do my degree til later either for that matter - although largely because I was a proper little madam determined to do my own thing).

    ReplyDelete
  156. The most gifted children I know have parents who arrived in Sheffield as bot people from Vietnam. All PhDs. Their mum doesn't speak a word of English. Also met an Asian girl recently who had completed her doctorate, her mum was there in hijab, didn't speak English, but her glow of pride in her daughter's achievements spoke volumes.

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  157. BB

    Rosetts play guitar, surely that will interst the lad at least?

    ReplyDelete
  158. I just read the Glover piece, and to be honest, I'm not quite sure what he was trying to say!

    I got: Victory was good, but not good, coming second was good, but not good, and coming third, well, that was good but not good!!

    (Has he just given up all pretense of having a point, and just decided to string a bunch of characteristically sycophantic platitudes together in the hope that
    nobody notices because they're, like, totally brain-dazzled my the ever so clever and witty 'something borrowed' shite....)

    And this is one of The Guardian's 'one to watch', rising stars!?

    My the lord have mercy on our souls.....

    ReplyDelete
  159. Typos galore ...
    bot = boat
    Rosetta plays guitar

    ReplyDelete
  160. Ey up, James. Glad to see you're still chipper.

    ReplyDelete
  161. *by the....

    (predictive text can suck my balls!!)

    ReplyDelete
  162. Hi back at you BB :) I forgot to say that La Rit made an excellent point yesterday too at 11 am.

    Sheff and MsC - think the other half will drive down to London so we will have another car in March - mother type personage may come too.

    Hope you are feeling better now MsC? Will be sending you and Sheff an email re quizzery.

    ReplyDelete
  163. MsChin,

    you takin' the piss?

    ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  164. Princess:

    Hiya! Hope you OK?

    I forgot to say that La Rit made an excellent point yesterday too at 11 am.

    Did I? Sometimes with all the really great mega brains on here, I start to think I'm talking bollocks most of the time... it feels like skipping with the big rope on UT when there's a real discourse going on.... when to jump in!

    ....No.2 stole the cooker from the cookery shop... who me? yes you? couldn't have been the who no. THREEE stole the cooker from the cookery shop.... and so on and so forth.

    Oh and I'm safely off the wagon

    ReplyDelete
  165. I went to an approved school in Warwickshire - Knowle Hill in Kenilworth.

    ReplyDelete
  166. The “left” is fucked if all it’s going to do is wring its hands, go on marches and shout “stop being so howwid!” at the Tories. It needs its own vision, and it needs to grow a fucking pair and stop dicking around on side issues and get down to the business of sorting out where it’s going, and what concrete steps it’s going to take to sort out the mess this country is in.

    Quite

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  167. James

    I took the predictive text setting off and my posts are just getting worser & worser ...

    princess

    All hail the mother type personage! I bet it would be an interesting conversation if we ever got her, her beloved & RedMiner in the same pub ...

    ReplyDelete
  168. James:

    Very glad to hear you're OK. Saw that unbelievable bit of footage of the woman being rescued from her disintegrating house roof clutching her dog and being pulled up by some people on a bloody rope... she had no choice but to let go of the dog to save herself.

    ReplyDelete
  169. I was just about to say, but MsChin beat me to it, that by all accounts your mum is the bees knees, PCC. Excellent.

    Sheff - you turned out alright for a young offender really, didn't you? :p

    Seriously, though, I remember you talking about it a while back. It must have been pretty damn shitty.

    ReplyDelete
  170. are you a cop jay? for a class warrior the only thing that seems to get your goat is a young left wing woman. two or three comments, are you kidding, your fucking obsessed with the girl.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Wotcha James

    Have you managed to keep your feet dry, pet? x

    ReplyDelete
  172. BTW: where are my manners? Bon soir tout le monde.

    Excellent article by Peter Guillam which, as most people have quite rightly said, resulted in a much better BTL debate on CIF.

    BTW2:if anyone has access to "Cinemoi" there's a movie on at 9.00pm tonight in which the brilliant Daniel Auteil plays the role of the Marquis De Sade.

    Not seen it before but surely worth a watch!

    BTW3: there was a movie on "Cinemoi" the other night which I can't remember the name of but starring along side Daniel Auteil in it was non other than Eric Cantona.

    He was so bloody good I watched the credits at the end to make sure it wasn't some one who just looked like him!

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  173. Sheff:

    Are you serious about the approved school? I thought they were only for boys....bloody hell, if you can survive that, you can survive anything.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Thats remarkable - you can find my old approved school here. I remember the padded cell well - I spent some time in it.

    ReplyDelete
  175. 'Fraid so La Rit. Two years locked up. I don't regret it as it was probably the best education, (of an idiosyncratic kind), I ever got, although it was tough at times. Having been to boarding school made it easier for me than the other girls who all had much more tragic backgrounds than me.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Thanks for the link Sheff - Padded cell? Jesus Christ. I don't know what to say. :(

    Maybe you could suggest it as a target school for some of Bitey's parents with plenty of dosh to splash around? I'm sure they'd love the strict disciplinarian and punishment regime.

    ReplyDelete
  177. Aw gawd, our Poll has a new piece up, where she's claiming some sort of pals thing with Dame Margaret Eaton, of Bradford Council ..
    *shudders again*

    ReplyDelete
  178. Sod Amy Chua. WWJHD. What Would Joseph Harker Do?

    ReplyDelete
  179. MsChin,

    Yeah, but if I leave it on, I've got an excuse, innit!?

    LaRit,

    Cheers.

    There's been quite a bit of footage on the news here of that sort of thing, sort of inspiring but heartbreaking at the same time!

    BB,

    touchwood, so far today!!

    ReplyDelete
  180. "A mild woman, known for caution, this Conservative leader is now as outraged as Labour councillors".

    Is Polly really talking about Margaret Eaton or just some figment of her imagination? Bradford Council is laying waste to services and jobs, Serco run their education services.

    ReplyDelete
  181. La Rit

    Maybe you could suggest it as a target school for some of Bitey's parents with plenty of dosh to splash around? I'm sure they'd love the strict disciplinarian and punishment regime.

    I expect La Chua and her ilk have already thought of that. Certainly sounds like it.

    ReplyDelete
  182. OK: if we are all "coming out" with our educational credentials such as they are, this is where I was indoctri...oops sorry ..educated!

    http://www.worksopcollege.notts.sch.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  183. Chekhov

    Cinemoi is a great channel! And Cantona is a surprisingly good actor. I watched Looking for Eric over the Christmas hols and it was really good.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1242545/

    ReplyDelete
  184. .

    Peter Guillam

    Strange, and slightly unpleasant, comment. This was simply how the state education system worked in my day, there's no more to in that. I didn't invent that system nor do I particularly support it.

    Nothing unpleasant about it, just a statement of fact - from someone who also passed his eleven plus and went to a grammar school, albeit, despite the pretensions of our headmaster, one with no fees, in a Labour borough .

    So other than your sadly predictable claims to be yet another psychiatrist who can define serious psychiatric conditions from a few exchanges on the internet - peculiar little online wars you fight - beyond clocking that you seem slightly disturbed, what answer do you have to my request for you to explain to disturbed individuals like me, how you, ellis, Shiloh / Swifty, and James Dixon, agree and disagree about Miliband and the future of the Labour Party.

    MrsB isn't up to the task but you might be.

    Because if you can't do that for someone who's prepared to spend some time trying to understand, what hope has Miliband got in convincing the rest of the electorate who have to spend half their lives working to pay his wages?

    Over to you.

    ReplyDelete
  185. Eddie

    WWJHD?

    Make them all play the bassoon and take them all to posh pubs in Primrose Hill for their lunch. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  186. Evening all. Topical things scholarships. I got an email today from a volunteer. This guy is Kurdish, had to escape from Turkish secret police persecution. He visits an elderly blind lady for us and reads to her. Has done for a couple of years.

    He used to study English in the mornings and work in the afternoons and evenings, and fitted in the volunteering when he could. But last year he got a place at SOAS.

    A while ago he asked me for a reference because he was applying for a scholarship. I did my very best for him because he really deserves it.

    And today he emailed me to say he had been given it! Result. I was dancing around the office.

    ReplyDelete
  187. Blimey Checkov, that looks like Hogwarts!

    ReplyDelete
  188. Flippin' 'eck, Chekhov - Spencer is right. That is Hogwarts!

    ReplyDelete
  189. Re the events in Tunisia - just got this email from a Palestinian friend:

    According to the Wolrd Bank Governance index, widely quoted and used by "policy makers" , Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan Kuwait and Saudi are in the relatively "good" (50-75th) percentile in terms of one of the six standard indicators, "government effectiveness" (100 being most effective, Tunisia scored 65). Qatar and UAE are two in the 75+ percentile. All the other Arab countries scored well below (Egypt 44, Palestine 21, Iraq 8). On other indicators Tunisia was also a "good" scorer (control of corruption and regulatory quality and rule of law). Have a look for yourself at the six indicators for Tunisia.

    Worldwide governance indicators

    So I have two questions:

    What does this mean for the "low scorers" that they will perversely escape the same fate as the Tunisian model BECAUSE they are poorer good governance scorers? OR maybe if this is the fate of the good scorers, then what is in store for the less "good governed" states (not to mention the other Gulf high scorers?

    In any case, it certainly tells you alot about the reliability of World Bank statistics and the uselessness of the whole concept of good governance

    ReplyDelete
  190. What on earth are you rattling on about now, BiteTheBum?

    I told you what my position was about 6 hours ago. Unfortunately I made the mistake of using a big word, which you then chose to argue about for an hour or two.

    Do, please, have a nice cup of stfu!

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  191. Thanks BB. The good news was slightly diminished by the fact that after that I contacted another befriending volunteer and found that the lady she visits has been being very incontinent and she has been erm... dealing with the consequences. Not in her job description at all.

    So I am feeling a bit bad I did not check up on her before.

    High powered corporate Lawyer as it happens. Cleaning up an elderly lady's mess in a council flat on her one day off. Funny old world isn't it?

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  192. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  193. Damn spencer - have I got to start admiring high powered corporate lawyers now!

    ReplyDelete