17 January 2011


Turkish schoolgirls, late 19th C

The civilisation of one epoch becomes the manure of the next.
-Cyril Connolly


  1. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm going to be singing this all day.

    And two points of business:

    1. Not very many people have played with the Intense Debates comments on UT2. I've got a couple of technical issues that I'm trying to work out with a lovely ID technical bod named Jim & I'm currently feeling like, once I get those things sorted, I'm going to install Intense Debate here, unless someone gives me a really good reason not to.

    2. 15 February is our second anniversary and I'd like to do a virtual party like we did last year, where we set a certain time for as many of us to try to be online together at the same time. The 15th is a Tuesday and, because of time zone issues for people like Boudican & me, I think a Saturday would be better. Which is better for the most people -- the 12th or the 19th?

  2. I have not read or posted here for a day or two, but I have noticed Bitterweed's call to action and it reminded me of all those calls to action on CiF which always amounted to absolutely nothing.

    This is not a slight to Bitterweed or anyone but it is a bit of a mystery as to what would actually provoke people into real outrage and real action.

    The students, of course, were basically galvanised by good old money.


    DOCTORS last night accused David Cameron of plotting to smash up the NHS as he sets out plans to rush through privatisation of the historic public service.

    Critics fear the move will lead to closed hospitals, lengthy waiting lists, rationed medicines and a steep decline in the quality of care for patients.

    And staff warn health reforms he will put before Parliament on Wednesday will spell the end of the NHS as we know it in a kick in the teeth for the dedicated staff who have worked ­tirelessly over the decades to provide free care for millions.

    In a key speech today, the PM will say he wants more “competition” and “greater independence” for hospitals and schools. And in a worrying sign for thousands of workers, Mr Cameron is to claim he wants “one of the great legacies of this Government to be the complete modernisation of our public services”.

    I have an image of David Cameron in the guise of a child, running from one scene of destruction to another, setting light to one thing and blowing something else up, continually looking over his shoulder and smirking because nobody is trying to stop him, except the occasional comic character jumping from one foot to the other and waving an impotent fist.

    The French used to campaign against the Americanisation of their culture.

    Perhaps once we know that our journey will soon be the municipal refuse tip for those without lovely money and the swanky new hospital built with stolen NHS money for those with deep credit-card pockets, we will wonder why we never bothered to even try to check this assault on our culture.

  3. Morning, Montana.

    1. I think Intense Debate is fairly good. It's much like Disqus.

    2. Cannot answer yet.

    OK - that's me done for today.

    Keep well and keep fighting.

  4. Morning all.

    Update regarding the tragedy of Saturday-night in which three young women died:

    The cause of death of all three has been given as asphyxiation (the crush was so great that they couldn't breathe).

    Five people have been arrested and are being held on suspicion of "carelessly endangering life and causing death in the course of their occupation".

    There had been a permit for the premises to be used as a "café" with a capacity of 307 persons including staff, but it was withdrawn two weeks ago.

    Thanks again for all the compassionate messages.

  5. Hi Montana

    Both 12th and 19th are good for me. Why not have two parties?

  6. Morning Montana! Loved the Monty Python clip! :D

    Re: wordpress, really not been able to spend much time thinking about it, too much going on and as I'm in 'hibernation mode' at the moment, very little time to do it in!

    Either date Ok with me for 2nd birthday party -

    @MsChin - sorry I attributed your reposting of BW's excellent rant to Montanna yesterday can't find my thinking head at the moment.

    Re: the Chinese parenting thing, have never understood why some parents and for heaven's sake some teachers really think that rejection withdrawal of love and punishment for mistakes is the way to bring out the best in kids. We need to base bringing up children on LOVE,even when they need correcting they should know that what they did may be wrong but you still love them. Seems like common sense to me.

    Always tried to boost my kid's confidence and she was always reassured that I loved her. She is certainly a self confident young woman today although I suppose I did something wrong as she often doesn't contact me for weeks, I guess she's just busy.

    @leni agree about Welsh assembly the 'clear red water' isn' as clear or as red as it should be, by a long way. There's free bus passes for old people and free prescriptions for everybody both good bit its not really enough is it?

    As for the prestige projects in Cardifff - I agree but you have to remember that neither the present libdem/plaid council nor the previous labour one did anything much for the people who actually live in the city.

    The disruption of transport into the city whenever there is an event in the millenium stadium is a case in point. From where I live its actually quicker to walk than take a bus on these occasions!

    And ever since I moved back to Cardiff in '91 the centre has been a building site! Everyone I know got really sick of it!

    The waste on dotty 'traffic (mis-) management schemes' must run into thousands if not millions.

    Then there is the scandalous under funding of higher education.

    Good luck in the Labour party, at the grass roots you should find you are not alone but there is a great deal of work to be done.

  7. DOH! re funding of higher ed - an assembly not a council matter natch!

  8. Atomboy
    It was about me rather than anyone else; have decided to do more out there and less on here.

    As for that Chua woman, her kids aren't allowed to play any instrument other than the piano or violin. They are not allowed to not play the piano or violin.
    She might be a number of clever things, but that's an indication of a soulless and tin-eared tyrant in my world. Fail.

  9. @BW:

    My daughter’s got a little guitar – showed precious little interest in it until her blue-eyed boy got one, now it’s "D7 this, C major that", “sad” chord, “happy” chord…

    Peer influence is a wunnerful thang (sometimes).

  10. Bitterweed

    My apologies for misinterpreting or missing the emphasis of your post.

    Good luck and my very best wishes in all your endeavours.

    I hope you will at least pop here occasionally to let us know how things are going.

  11. Morning all - BB here.

    Shiloh, I hope you are not using your daughter's guitar playing to self-aggrandize on here and boost your own popularity with your admirers. :o)

    AB - maybe I am just getting internet paranoia now, but that last post to BW sounded like you were taking the piss. I sincerely hope you weren't. If you want to start a political movement, I for one would probably be interested in it because I like your politics. But you seem to spend a lot of time moaning about things that "come to nothing". I really enjoyed that online blog you started up last year, and wish you had kept that going. Any chance of starting it up again?

    Right - that was a bit of a drive-by and I apologise, but I have to get going cos I have "school" this afternoon. But have a good day everyone. x

  12. Oh come on, at least Atomboy has posted something that isn't about how much he really really hates Cif. He should be encouraged before he retreats back to his obsession.

  13. BeautifulBurnout

    Just to clarify, for you and Bitterweed and anyone else, neither of my posts was meant to be facetious or sarcastic or piss-taking.

    I genuinely take my hat off to anyone who decides that enough is enough and they are mad as hell and not going to take this shit any more.

    So, as I said, my genuine best wishes to Bitterweed.

    As for the moaning about things which come to nothing, just think of it as another version of the teacher who, when confronted with a child who had been asked to make an origami crane and who ends up glued to the ceiling with the light fitting plugged into an eye-socket and water gushing from a broken pipe, said: "That's really brilliant, Winston, dear! Not quite what we had in mind, but you tried your best!"

    It's just a form of encouragement.

    Actually, it took me quite some time to properly understand that when people on CiF said they were going to do something, it really meant that they were going to carry on posting on another thread and do precisely nothing.

    My view now is that we probably all think we have to do something major and dramatic - that we each individually have to smash the system and have the pieces in place ready to wield single-handedly to replace it and that this is where things go wrong - because, of course, when confronted with that prospect, we end up giving up.

    If we each thought what we could *realistically* do for the sake of perhaps ten minutes a day or half an hour a week, we would make more progress.

    If we each thought where our skills or expertise could best be deployed, rather than being overwhelmed by the size and scope of the task, we might collectively get moving.

    As for the blog thing, I have been looking into that for some weeks.

    A lot of the software has jumped ahead and is not as restricted as before and has got beyond the slightly experimental stage it was at when I did it before.

    My personal life is just as chaotic, volatile and unpredictable, though, which helps to add a certain unprofessional, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants frisson to the whole thing.

    I'll start knocking something together and post here in due course.

  14. Vizzo

    Yes, or you could take the trouble to actually read my output over the years both here and at the other place and see whether your comment actually stands up.

    Better still, though, do what I usually do with your posts and just ignore them.

  15. Here's one for eldritch tentacle fans: an award-winning H.P. Lovecraft documentary.

    Via Open Culture.

  16. AB - soz for being grumpy. I didn't mean to have a go.

    Off out the door now - have a nice day all xx

  17. AB, just winding you up. I like your posts when you get off the whole waddya thing.

  18. Vizzo

    Actually, thinking about it, that's probably quite a fair comment, so apologies for jumping on you too quickly.

  19. The operations ban thread has some good posts and some absolute lulus!

    Checkout NT3058 Socialized medicine WILL FALL. To hell with socialism and its absolute hypocrisy. I will never let this happen in the US. Long live enlightenment, logic and reason.

    enlightened? if it wasn't so sad it'd be funny!

    Then there is byterbit at4:44am - don't know where to start with him! Marx was wrong Theory of labour value wrong,and...
    A free market produces efficiency ; socialism creates poverty (and the loss of freedom !) Wealth (needed for good technical medicine ) is a private creation.

    Oh dear!

    Lots of good angry with condems posts though :)

  20. (Morning Montana! Loved the Monty Python clip! :D)....x2

    That's at least three of us cheered for the day and humming/singing away - your clip (@ 6:50) is a very fine ditty, very fine indeed. I love it. We should adopt Eric the half bee as the UT mascot

    Both dates for the birthday thrash are now in the diary.


  21. Morning all

    AB - Count me in if you're disinterring that old site of yours

    Interesting piece from the indie this morning:

    Ike was right all along: The danger of the military-industrial complex

    Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower warned of the danger of the 'military-industrial complex'. The huge budget and reach of America's modern defence industry has proved him correct, says Rupert Cornwell

    This is arguable though: But it is a leap to describe modern America as a "warfare state"

  22. medve - good to see you around again but sorry to read your news.

  23. Here's another piece from the indie:

    The brutal truth about Tunisia

    Think my other post has been spammed - can someone have a look? Ta

  24. Hallo.

    Sheff - will have a look.

  25. Grumpiest Monday of the Year , heh!

    ... I din't think anyone was taking the piss; furthermore AB, my original post was written in the, ahem, wee hours, and is pretty oblique really. No worries; cheers.

  26. Sheff - the Ike piece caught my eye too....50 years since! ......dates us a bit, although it was talked about quite a bit in the following decade!

    Just as in the USA, seems to me that a lot of what is now left of the UK manufacturing/engineering base is sadly allied to the arms industry.

    I always thought it noteworthy that the 'loosers' in WWII (Germany and Japan) did so much better by employing their national engineering expertise in quality consumer products in the post war period

  27. Thanks, Sheff, although it will be under another name.

    [I will say suggestions welcome, but with the caveat that I always dislike what other people suggest, which is balanced with the fact that I also always hate my own ideas].

    Quick note: It is unlikely that any email anyone has for me is still working. I think I may have to work through Montana on this, if she doesn't mind.

    Sheff - I read the article you mention earlier and found the oddest thing was that Americans rate the armaments industry as their most trusted "brand."

    Bizarre beyond belief.


    No problem. I sometimes wish I could go back to the days of posting through winked and squinty eyes, with fingers apparently the size of and as clumsy as balloons and the screen swirling and heaving in and out of view.

    It makes it more of a challenge.

  28. "...Americans rate the armaments industry as their most trusted "brand...."

    AB - I think it started with the uniforms...in the films and comics the GI's always had the best tailored/smartest kit

  29. The sun has arrived, as promised by the forecast (and it's due to hang around for a few days in E Yorks) so time for a walk and to put some washing on...


  30. deano

    Yes, not that Americans are gullible or superficial or uninquisitive or anything...

    There is also the possibility that, thinking their country is chosen by God, there can never be anything wrong with whatever means it uses to defend itself or attack others.

    The means are purified by the thought of Who has bestowed those means.

    After all, if God didn't want stealth bombers and daisy-cutters and mushroom clouds and napalm and non-American dead people - why did he invent them?

  31. Deano

    I think it started with the uniforms...in the films and comics the GI's always had the best tailored/smartest kit

    I remember my mother telling me how healthy and well pressed the GIs seemed in comparison to the scrawny Brits in their rough khaki during WW2.

  32. At 8:28 this morning Shebunkin called Cameron an asshole.

    The post is still up!

    Apparently assholes are acceptable on Cif but not c*nts!

    We all have assholes but only women have c*nts. Is there some radfem agenda in this?

    Actually that thread (linked to by me above is quite heartening. The condems may well have bitten off more than they can chew with these cuts.

  33. Post lurgy lethargy is becoming a problem.

    I am seriously considering the 'make a list' solution so beloved by 'how to be happy and productive' types.

    My only fear is that I will collapse beneath the weight of failure when I fail to complete appointed tasks. Can I cheat and tick them off anyway?

  34. ".....I will collapse beneath the weight of failure when I fail to complete appointed tasks....

    Nah you'll be fine leni - a little more procrastination can help humanity see the absurdity of the position that ......many of their friends and neighbours are in...

    When I worked I always used to destroy every other memo before reading it - evidence of experience is that 99.9% of them were never followed up any way. Sad truth is that so much human endeavour is time filling rather than really productive/useful activity

    I am away now to attempt the sewing back of the zip into my front dooor in the awning...it's only been blowing in the wind for two or so years.

    Been a lovely mild sunny afternoon here - hope the last of your lurgy takes off elsewhere and you and dogge get to enjoy some kind weather too


  35. "... thinking their country is chosen by God,..."

    That is indeed a big obstacle to all of our futures AB - kinda brings you out in a cold sweat when you stop and think about it.

  36. Hi Leni

    Thanks for your support on waddya.I notice Ms Reed has responded to various other peoples suggestions but has-not for the first time- ignored mine.It seems that gravy making and ornate book coverings are more likely to get her attention than the plight of homeless people in London sleeping in rubbish bins with huge rats scurrying over them.I despair sometimes! Hope you soon feel more energetic :-)

    @Good to see you deano !

  37. Hi Deano

    No sunshine here but no rain either - just a grey murk.

    dogge is a bit fed up with the weather - he prefers extremes to the commonplace. The jackdaws have arrived back from the coastal plain so I am hopeful that better things are on the way.


    Homeless single people do not arouse much interest in the majority. There is no statutory obligation to house them. It is - and has long been, a disgrace.

    I discovered one of the boys at boarding school for 'bad boys' was going home at weekends and sleeping in bin shaft of flats. He was officially in care of local authority - they start to lose interest when kids approach 16. Finished up with boy spending weekends with us for several weeks until something was sorted for him. Nobody really cared at all.

  38. Leni

    I know that LA's don't have a statutory obligation to house childless,able-bodied adults of working age and that's clearly wrong.It should be a basic human right for everyone in a developed country like the UK to have a roof over their heads.

    I know that a high % of those sleeping rough have mental health problems as well as alcohol and drug problems-no doubt seriously exacerbated by sleeping rough.That a disproprtionate number are male and many have either left care,prison,psychiatric hospitals or the armed services.Although those who are ex forces often didn,t get much beyond basic training.

    Nevertheless it is beyond belief that, as you say, people don't generally give a shit about their plight.Not so long ago i read that those sleeping rough have pitifully low longevity.Can't remember the average age they die but it's very young and most end up in paupers graves.

  39. Paul

    The army is in the habit of recruiting lads from troubled backgrounds - most of whom do not make it beyond basic training. They are flung out and left to their own devices.

    We will see more and more homeless young men as the cuts start to bite. Troubled souls from many sectors in our society.

    Rough sleepers often die young - it is also often true that some will commit petty but obvious crimes in order to be 'housed' in prison. The resulting criminal record further impacts on their life chances.

  40. The plight of the homeless and destitute in this country is an absolute disgrace but I think it always has been. They elicit very little sympathy from the general public and there are far fewer beds now than there used to be.

    The situation has been made worse more recently by the addition of asylum seekers, made destitute when their claims fail. Their loneliness, bewilderment and despair was appalling to experience when I had them staying with me.

    And as you say Leni, its going to get even worse as these abominable policies start to take effect overthe next few years. I really do shudder when I think what this country might be like in 5 years time.

    On another note - Andrew Lansley is going to be on the pm prog every noght this week to explain to the proles what they're planning to do with the NHS. I doubt whether anyone will properly nail him to the floor though.

  41. Paul

    I think you are flogging a dead horse with JezzaBella and the hope that she will take up your ideas.

    You have to be one of the chosen.

    With regard to homeless people, you have to remember that as far as the government is concerned - and now, most people as well - someone only has value if they are being taxed and spending their money.

    Once you fail in either or both of those functions, you are, quite literally, worthless.

    As to how people think about these things, I worked with someone years ago who, one day, said that his business had gone through a very rough patch a few years before. "It was very worrying," he said. "We nearly lost everything. We were so close to losing the house, the car...everything."

    The fact that he was saved by a mixture of miracles and, well, because he obviously damn well deserved it made it easy for him to say this just a few days later:

    "The homeless are only homeless because they want to be."

    Obviously, he didn't want to lose his business and home quite hard enough.

  42. Anne

    I am not very popular with local LP - I do not go along with consensus. Our L councillor is known as 'Don't rock the boat'. I and many others think the boat needs overturning.

    I don't know how typical my experience here is but most lefties put their efforts into community volunteering and small campaigns.

    The Welsh LP is too tied in with westminster and is suffering a similar fate. The PLP is so far removed from the grass roots - and controls the agenda in terms of candidate selection and party policy. Ordinary folk have very little input.

    Plaid is often cited as being left wing. This is true of many members who are certainly further to the left than Lab but they also have, within their ranks, blood and soil nationalists. The party holds tgether on the independence issue - were independence to come the cracks would start to show. I think this may also be true of the Scots nats but have only met a few of them so am guessing.

    I'm not into nationalism at all and simply want a revival of simple left wing agenda which cocentrates upon the needs of the majority, rights for workers and their families and due regard paid to the needs of disabled and elderly people. The factionalism of the left has contributed to its downfall.

    A pressing need in Wales is the wholescale renewal of our education system and ,of course, the really big one the NHS.

  43. Atoms

    How does one become one of the 'chosen'? Do we need the backing of God?

  44. Evening all

    I promise I will stop being grumpy now. And if I post something grumpy again, let me know and I will delete it.

    Seriously, though, got very wound up by the child abuse thread which was hijacked by BNPers and one or two men complaining that it was all hype to make their lives miserable.

    I really shouldn't read CiF until I have had at least two cups of tea in the morning.

    Homelessness in young men is a real blight on our society. I agree that too many young men with dubious backgrounds end up in the army because they don't think they will stand a chance getting work otherwise. I had a bit of a row with a rather elderly witness support volunteer once when she told me that the best thing for my teenage minor delinquent client was "a stint in the army to sort him out".

    Presumably she is used to people just nodding and smiling, not some mouthy old bag like me who gets tired of pussyfooting around interfering busybodies. I smiled and said "Yes, really good idea that - he can go off to Iraq and be made to shoot people he doesn't know while risking coming home in a box or minus some limbs himself. What a perfect job for a youngster!" She looked a bit shocked as she walked away.

    (No offence to ex-army people, but you all know my views already...)

  45. Leni

    I don't think so. Well, perhaps, in a bizarre, roundabout and contorted way.

    You have to do like MaladjustedInEuromillions and lick JezzaBella's backside at every opportunity or provide the background noise like Bruhaha and the other one.

    Think tin gods and cargo culture...

  46. BB

    You can be as grumpy as you like dear heart. BTW, Your comment on the aspergers thread is No2 in the "don't miss" bit over on cif.

  47. FAME AT LAST!!

    All that using my child for self-aggrandizement has paid off. Where do I collect my money from?


  48. Ask bitey BB - he might stump up a quid or two!!

  49. Sorry BB - that last remark was a bit tsteless....

  50. Somebody kick me and tell me to go and put some dinner on.

  51. Thauma

    Know your place - into the kitchen with you.

    can you cook for me please - I lack the energy to lift a pan.

  52. Hello all, this is completely shameless but I thought I'd draw your attention to a new post on my blogger page, on asylum / immigration...I set the page up a few months ago but have been very slack with posting anything on it, not least because it's not much fun if no one reads or engages with it. So, erm, if anyone wants to then go right ahead...

  53. thauma:

    Just putting it into the oven. You can have some if you like.

  54. Viz

    Where s said blog - I'm suffering from brain fluff.

  55. Sorry Viz

    Just noticed link.

  56. Thauma

    Just made a big pot of sgahetti - you're welcome to some.....


    Didn't know you had a blog - will go over and have a look.

  57. You lot are very generous but until the internet food delivery system has been perfected I'm afraid it's going to have to be me into the kitchen. Back in a bit.

  58. Thaum - can't you send Saoirse out to the chinese with a bag round her neck and a note?

    Viz - will take a look.

  59. Paul, if you wrote the article yourself (I'd be happy to help, if that would be of any use, though I wouldn't want to be named) would you have somewhere *other* than the Guardian to put it once it was done? In which case, perhaps drafting the article, or at least an outline, and emailing it to the woman would be worth a go?
    I've given up on the idea that she's ever going to actually understand anything I write. She seems to wilfully misunderstand, misread, or misinterpret everything.

  60. BB - you must be joking. It's 2 miles to the Chinese, with many foxes in between. Even if she didn't get distracted by that, she'd scoff the lot before returning home.

    Food on. One hour to cook. Mmm.

  61. This has been passed on to me by a friend of a friend. ----

    Birmingham Uni Occupation are being denied basic human rights - access to toilets, food and water. Phone Birmingham university security - I've tried several times and they said 'no comment' and cut me off or fobbed me off. The direct number to security is 01214143000 - pass this no. on - phone it and demand that they allow the students to protest peacefully and have these rights

  62. tim

    Rang them - guy who answered said all students have gone home now.

    I asked him what time they went - he put phone down.

  63. Leni - I think you will find that a number of r/f members will be supportive of left ideas now. Its happening here in Cardiff.

    People who, as you say have spent the last 20-30 years 'keeping their heads down' are beginning to recognise the folly of their ways.

    They need a nudge or 10 though! Its not going to happen over night, but I thinl 2011 could be pivotal, its going to be so much harder to ignore the fact that the people the LP was born to serve have been severely let down for years.

    In 1901 the infant LP did not expect to change things over night, they started by giving working people a voice.

    That's where we are at, I do hope that the Welsh (well, lets face it the British) will learn in the 21st century that gains have to be constantly defended until we finally get rid of this rotten system.

  64. On a lighter note:

    A swiss banker has given Wikileaks a list of 2000 fraudulent bastards..

    Although it was not confirmed what activities might be covered by the data Mr Elmer has passed on, the Wikileaks head noted that previous data from Julius Baer provided by Mr Elmer had shed light on tax evasion, the hiding of proceeds of criminal acts and "the protection of assets of those about to fall out of political favour".

    The data covers multinationals, financial firms and wealthy individuals from many countries, including the UK, US and Germany, and covers the period 1990-2009

    Just publish their fucking names !!

  65. We hear that the occupation is over, the students have been threatened with potential expulsion...

    If I get any more info, I'll post it.

  66. tim

    Who is threatening expulsion ?

    If simple protest is to be punished so harshly we really do need to our act together.

  67. Hi Tim, Anne, Meerkatjie, Paul, Tascia (nice to see you're not buried under the patio after all! :p) and anyone else I've missed.

    Tim - is it worth ringing now, just to annoy them? :p

  68. BB

    Yes. The more people who ring the better. Let them know we are watching - says she trying to sound big and bold.

  69. Not sure Leni, that might be "in the heat of the moment", trying to get more details. This looks interesting!
    Bit more info

  70. BB - Short reprieve !!

    The link to that article above from the BBC:

    Wikileaks given data on Swiss bank accounts

    Apparently some politicians are named, and it all relates to the Cayman islands. Some data may be made available to - mentioning specifically the UK's Serious Fraud Office -

  71. Hi all.

    The thing that struck me, listening to Cameron going on about how the public sector needed to change, is that he is right.

    Does anyone with any close aquaintaince with the public sector think that there is not something seriously amiss in the way that things are done. The huge amounts of money that Labour sluiced into the health service seem to have made very little improvement. Round here in hospitals like the Royal Free, I would say none at all. Going in there if you are elderly is about as safe as going into the hospital at Scutari in the Crimean War.

    The problem, it seems to me, is that they have plunged into this without any sort of real analysis of what is actually wrong.

    OK, I know, I know, there is also the little matter of them privatising on the sly so their pals in health care companies can make a mint and lob them lucrative directorships when they get chased out of politics.

    But the real problem, it seems to me, is the beaurocracy, replicating like some hegemonising swarm whatever new wheeze Tory Tories, Labour Tories or Liberal Tories come up with.

    What I would like to see is a really sharp analysis of how we can change the way things are done. I spent the morning trying to do my quarterly monitoring. Wrestling with a complex spreadsheet to give the council information on how many clients I have what the ethnic background of each of them is, how many volunteers, how old the volunteers are, what their ethnic background is...

    I have to do this quarterly too, it sucks time that I could be using actually visiting elderly people out of me. And then it goes and justifies the jobs of shedloads of beaurocrats.

    I don't really know the numbers but I would be very willing to bet that there are actually more people sifting the data and going to meetings and setting targets than there are working with the people we are supposed to help (maybe excluding homecare workers).

    Nothing that the coalition plans will have any impact on this because they have not identified it as the problem. Yes, they make the ritual noises about beaurocracy and waste but without a really clear plan of how to deal with it they will just shuffle the same elements around (and sell some of them off).

    And the beaurocrats and consultants will continue to replicate and the money will continue to be sucked out of patient care, home care services, teaching, police patrols...

  72. The ethos of YouTellUs - a suggestion about an article on wikipedia in the light of their 10 year anniversary was rejected by Jessica Reed on the following grounds:

    Anax, that's a nice idea - although bit late, since Wiki was last week. I'll keep that in my "panel drawer".

    Wiki is 'last week'? WTF? She has also rejected various other serious article suggestions:

    Hey people, we've done quite a lot on homelessness. It's not like we're ignoring it, but apart from the obvious cuts angle - which we have already done - is there anything new to the topic, or a specific person you'd like us to try?

    But she has been a bit more positive about some rather more 'niche' issues.

    terua - thanks, I did have something in the works about Mexico feminism and female fighters... Not for right now but soon.

    Now, is it just me or is Jessica Reed a complete moron? And am I just grumpy because I resent that waddya is a thread for a well-established clique talking about trivia and consistently trying and failing to be funny, and thus allowing Cif to deliberately ignore the odd serious suggestion among the 500 posts about animal butlers and cute avatars?

    Anyone who posts on waddya and doesn't challenge this cosy distraction from the real issues is a hypocrite. Unless you're a self-obsessed egoist, then there's no reason to contribute to waddya's wankfest. But there are lots of people here who prop up the status quo there. Why? Think on, or you'll not be taken seriously by anyone with at least two brain cells and a political conscience.

  73. Hi all. Aargh, just made a post that was too long and so it disapeared.

  74. Luke "Anyone who posts on waddya and doesn't challenge this cosy distraction from the real issues is a hypocrite. Unless you're a self-obsessed egoist, then there's no reason to contribute to waddya's wankfest."

    Oh what a load of bollocks. It is a chat forum basically. If I want to chat there, why the fuck not? It isn't as if any political row on there is going to have any affect on anything whatsoever.

    Unless you take CIF at its own reckoning of its importance, of course.

  75. "Now, is it just me or is Jessica Reed a complete moron?"

    No it's not just you Luke, she is too.

  76. Oh what a load of bollocks. It is a chat forum basically.

    It is now because of people like you. What it's supposed to be is this:

    Post your suggestions for subjects you'd like us to cover on Comment is free.

    People like paulbj and others occasionally try to suggest serious articles on topical issues but these are totally submerged in the inconsequential bullshit of posters like you who think that it is a chat forum. It might be now, but it's not supposed to be.

  77. Luke are you upset that a bit of CIF has been subverted from its original intent by the users?


  78. No, not upset, spencer. Just amused and dismayed that so many posters here who are otherwise so 'committed' to their political and world views feel the need to play that game. It makes me think that they're just posers who don't really have any any firm beliefs at all. I could be wrong.

  79. How is having a chat on an internet forum, "playing a game," though. I go on Waddya when I am bored because there are regulars there (like Leopold) who I like and respect.

    Cannot see anything wrong with that myself. Yes it involves some self-censorship but then they know what I think anyway (and put me in pre-mod for saying it too much).

    I don't see how that makes me a "hypocrite."

  80. "I could be wrong. "

    Best thing you've posted in a long time... :p

  81. I'm with Spencer on this, in case you hadn't realised.

    I spend my day doing seriously unfunny stuff.

    Not much chance for cracking jokes with a junkie who is up for his ninety-twelfth shoplifting and will be potted for the next three months at least.

    You can sometimes have the odd laugh with an immigrant provided they are not shitting themselves at the prospect of having their lives totally disrupted and having to leave the UK to go back home if you do a crap job for them.

    There can even be the odd joke when couples are fighting over who gets the goldfish and who keeps the goldfish bowl.

    But when I get home, I quite like to piss about a bit on t'intarwebz, and waddya is the place to do it.

    Now unless you are of the "life is so serious and terrible that nobody is allowed to enjoy themselves until the struggle is won" school of thought, I fail to see what you are getting boxers in a turmoil over, really...

  82. "but these are totally submerged in the inconsequential bullshit of posters like you who think that it is a chat forum."
    "Just amused and dismayed that so many posters here who are otherwise so 'committed' to their political and world views feel the need to play that game. "

    Hm. I'm not sure where you learned political activism luke, but in my experience, building relationships is one of the cornerstones. It's a key way in which you influence people. Communities are important. Even virtual ones.

    There's really nothing wrong with having a quick chat round the watercooler, and realistically, many people who chat on whaddya have pointed out the importance of a separate thread for suggestions and for chit chat.

  83. there are regulars there (like Leopold) who I like and respect.

    That says it all, spencer. Most of what you call 'regulars' could bore for the UK in the boring Olympics and win a gold medal. Leopold - here's a poem, Scotland, George McDonald Fraser, SNP, Glasgow. kizbot - here's a recipe, leave bru alone, troll!. KT - I'm really nice, here's a joke. Bru - Nazis, class-warriors, ballet, theatre, my new dress/jewelry. Unexceptional - Jessica, Jessica, I'm so cool, unfunny one-liner. etc etc

    Get some self-respect, man. You have some interesting things to say - forget the waddya bullshit.

  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. Luke, have you considered spending your online time more productively - perhaps posting yourself about something significant? I dunno, every post you've written since I've joined this site has more or less been about bewailing the absence of a trenchant political critique on The Guardian. Perhaps its time to let that one go, and build something more significant, here or somewhere else, rather than trying to incite other people to feel bad about taking pleasure in a little light banter. Having something 'worthwhile' to say doesn't necessarily mean you can't occasionally indulge in a bit of less worthy stuff. Really it doesn't.

  86. I am sure you are much more erudite and interesting than Leopold, Luke but I will continue to slum it if you don't mind.

  87. I am a bit fucked off that my big post disappeared even if it was a bit of a ramble.

    The gist of it was that Cameron was right (a tiny little bit right) in that there is something seriously wrong with the public services. But that he is completely wrong about what.

    Though he gives lip service to controlling beaurocracy, that is all it is. Every government says that and every tranche of changes leaves things the same or worse because there is no clear analysis of why things become so hideously beaurocratic.

    I have no idea what the answer it to replicating beaurocrats and HR people thinking up ever more things we need to have policies and proper proceedures for if we are to be "fit for purpose," but I am sure that selling off bits of the NHS to your mates is not the solution.

  88. Hm. I'm not sure where you learned political activism luke, but in my experience, building relationships is one of the cornerstones. It's a key way in which you influence people. Communities are important. Even virtual ones.

    Ha ha, meerkatje. Leaving aside your somewhat patronising comment about 'where I learned political activism' which I will not comment on, the idea that one can 'build relationships and influence people' on waddya is ludicrous. I would suggest that your participation on waddya (and Cif in general) is more about you than anything else. You may well have impressed some people, but you have not impressed me. You strike me as the worst kind of vociferous, ill-informed vacuous 'liberal' who nevertheless feels that you have something original to say. Believe me, you don't. Can you prove me wrong?

  89. guys, you are being unfair to luke here. I mean the man is doing important work - as he says, waddya is supposed to be for suggestions, but it's used for - gasp - chat! If someone doesn't speak up then this will just continue. And that would be completely unacceptable, obviously. Go luke!

  90. Well, I to the Vizzo, I am going to chat on Waddya, or that is what it will seem like, whilst in fact I will be subtly disseminating my left wing views, though powerful revolutionary medium of anecdote.

    I am pretty sure that should lead to a complete collapse of Capitalism within six months or at least within the year.

  91. Spencer

    I did actually read your post.

    The whole of 3rd. sector is drowning in paperwork. Volunteers sustain quite a lote of admin jobs with many managers too tied to the desks/computers . Grants, monitoring, grant providers and recipients on behalf of smaller orgs.

    I agree that things need changing - but the changes have to be considered.

    If I track 1 small grant I can follow it back through umbrella org, via council from Welsh Assembly from Europe etc. Every stop is an adminisration job and a top slice.

  92. "You may well have impressed some people, but you have not impressed me. You strike me as the worst kind of vociferous, ill-informed vacuous 'liberal' who nevertheless feels that you have something original to say. Believe me, you don't. Can you prove me wrong?"
    Really, why should I? I know who I am, what I am, and what I've done. Who are you to require that I prove myself to you? I'm not exactly going to go and cry into my wine glass because I've failed to impress you.

  93. I've pretty much given up commenting on cif although I do periodically have a look at some of the pieces they put up. Waddya is the usual predictable chat with one or two decent ideas thrown in. It is what it is and tbh why people bang on about it so continually is a mystery to me.

    The groan is not a cutting edge radical newspaper however much we would like it to be - isn't now and basically never was as His Grace (I think it was him) demonstrated a while back after trawling through some history around the time it was first set up.

  94. Evening all

    Panorama was disappointing.Fair comments about feckless fathers and the inflexible benefit system making it more financially viable for couples to live apart.Absolutely nothing about feckless/obstructive mothers or equal/shared custody rights for fathers.


    Thanks for your offer but i really don't have the time to do the subject justice.Was a kind thought and appreciated:-)

    @re waddya i really don't have any problem with people using it to chat.And most of the regulars there are OK.I just get pissed off with MsReed's attitude sometimes.And at times the double standards in moderation really grate.

  95. Well, Luke, there are armchair activists, then there are people like Meerkatjie who have been in the thick of it in a repressive regime and banged up in chokey for her troubles.

    Have a swipe at me, by all means. My actual in-yer-face activist days could be counted on the fingers of one hand over the last decade. But I think you have seriously misjudged your target this time, me old cocker.

  96. Thanks, vizzo :0) I can read your heavy sarcasm, but bullshit aside that is actually the point. I have no problem with a chat thread. What I do have a problem with is the pretence that Cif are interested in the hoi polloi and welcome their suggestions, when they obviously do not - hence the waddya chat running for years and accepted by Cif as simply a non-suggestion chat thread where folk can shoot the breeze. I also have a problem with the hypocrisy involved with posters accepting this nonsense. At the end of the day the Guardian will print what they want to print, dictated by their own agenda. If you think otherwise then you are naive, and if you contribute to this farce then you are complicit.

  97. Leni, I am not suggesting that Cameron is right about anything other than the fact that there is a problem. Or that he has the first idea of what to do about it, he very clearly either does not or is just interested in selling off the juicy bits to his chums. Probably both.

    I spent the day doing monitoring, which always gets me in a rage about it. Every fucking quarter I have to tell them all this bloody stuff. My predecessor had an easier time because she simply made it up.

    And how many other people duke the stats? What did this government do, say they were going to get rid of targets and then found that they could not so they are just going to call them something different.

    I really think it is a fundamental and hugely important problem, but apart from armchair moaning nothing much is done about it, I suspect because it is such an intractable issue and there is no easy solution.

  98. Just had this appeal

    Al Araqib Residents Expelled To Make Way for Trees

    On Sunday, January 16th, 2011, the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) accompanied by a heavy police presence destroyed the Bedouin village of Al Araqib for the 9th time since its total destruction in July 2010. During the village's destruction the police forces used large amounts of violent force, including sponge bullets (a police method of crowd dispersal) which injured eleven of the residents, one of them in his eye.

    More info and petition here:
    End JNF complicity in displacing Israel's Negev Bedouin!

  99. there are people like Meerkatjie who have been in the thick of it in a repressive regime and banged up in chokey for her troubles.

    Really? I don't recall meerkatje ever saying anything like that, perhaps I missed it.

    Anyway, meerkatje, I agree with you completely. You do not need to prove yourself to me. beautifulburnout's emotive testimony was quite sufficient. I am now a believer.

  100. I'd never heard of this bloke until today-philistine that i am-but i really like his version of THIS CLASSIC

  101. Spencer

    the BS is going to create more admin posts - more tracking and monitoring.

    Monitoring is horrible - having to show that certain targets have been reached - targets which often do not relate to the reality of the situation at all.

    Racial profiling is one thing which really annoys me - what difference does skin colour matter if you are in need of an essential service.

  102. My boss in in her 80s and is an old Labour Scot. She tells me that her father used to question what all these educated people were going to do when they extended school leaving times and other educational opportunities.

    And I think that is why it is such a big problem. There are millions of "educated" people with degrees or at least GCSE's or A levels who have been led to expect a middle class job.

    So what are they all going to do if you get rid of the HR policy developers and monitoring officers, and people who develop things like "future basing"?

    What is happening in Tunisia seems to be at least partially about the fact that they have been churning out graduates but they do not have a European infrastructure capable of absorbing most of them into these sorts of dubiously useful jobs (I realise that rising food prices and political repression are also factors).

    Working with the elderly you need managers and some oversight of course but what you really need is well motivated and trained people doing things like homecare or escorting or activities. People who actually talk to elderly people.

    I would really like to find out what proportion we are compared to the layers of office based workers above us.

  103. At the end of the day the Guardian will print what they want to print, dictated by their own agenda.

    So why the fuck are you banging on about them ?.

    Maybe you should get a job there, and change from within, to what you want their readership to cow-down too !

    Otherwise why fucking bother !!!

  104. BB:

    My actual in-yer-face activist days could be counted on the fingers of one hand over the last decade.

    In-yer-face activism together with the risk of being banged up is not very compatible with parenthood is it? FWIIW i was "forced into retirement" in my case.

  105. BTW don't remember if I mentioned it but there is a demo tomorrow at Camden Town Hall organised by Age Concern Camden. 1 til 2.00

  106. Except that Luke really does have a point. I can't look at it any more...puts me too much in mind of Enya, Michael Bolton, Coldplay or The J Geils Band. Haven't posted anything there for a long time, although when I did last look I was still being accused of 'attacking' some of the 'fixtures'.

    Why he's right is this: go on there and post something along the lines of: "fuck me, this place is dire...all you do is talk shit and take lamentable shots at something approximating humour".

    The honest response would be "Yes..indeed we do, what about it?..if you don't like it, fuck off"

    but they sort of deny it...they hint at being engaged in something more meaningful...obviously, they can't specify what 'it' is..there's the odd vague hint that 'it' might be something along the lines of a highly sophisticated but subtle, quaint 'Ealing comedy' form of gradual subversion. It isn't though...it's a bunch of highly deranged and desperate people trying to show what 'characters' they are.

    And, hidden behind the subtlety and affected insouciance, there are some seriously bloated egos. I'll give hermione his/her due; I doubt he/she actually gives a fuck whether anybody rates her/him or not...other than that, there are some bitter little people who seek some sort of affirmation denied them in their daily round.

    And he's right because 'Jess' is thick as pig-shit, a servile apparatchik and a fuckin disgrace. Fortunately, you can just ignore the place...and my real beef with Luke would be mentioning it at all. It's something we shouldn't talk about.

    Unless, of course it's changed...a miracle remission or something...but that kind of cancer generally has a 99.9% mortality rate..so I'm thinking it's doubtful.

    I read the Observer yesterday...the interview with Eric Hobsbawm was well worth a look...only drawback was the interviewee...Tristram Hunt...all round NewLab poodle and renowned sky-diver...managed to parachute into Stoke, 'cunningly disguised' as something like a left-winger...the two British airmen from Allo Allo spring to mind...cunt etc..and so on.

  107. I told some of my clients about the demo today, hoping they might go but one of them said she hated demos. All those blackshirts running around!

    I said it was organised by Age Concern and I didn't think that there would be any blackshirts, but she wasn't convince.

  108. MF

    "Enya, Michael Bolton, Coldplay or The J Geils Band."

    I know what you mean, mate. There you are thinking you are going with the (orinoco) flow, hoping you can go the distance, when blam! You feel a sudden rush of blood to the head and your blood runs cold...

    Coat on, out the door...

  109. Wonder what happened to all the Blackshirts? Obviously a few of them turned into the early NF or other tiny post war Nazi parties but there were not many of them, and after the war lots of young men who had thought it seemed like a good idea must have come out changed.

    But you never hear anyone saying, Oh yeah my dad, or granddad used to be a Blackshirt.

    I can understand why they would not want to boast about it but it was a fair sized movement. There must have been a lot of people keeping quiet about their early political experiences when I was growing up.

  110. Anyway, monitoring again tomorrow, not to mention dodging fascist militias at the Age Concern demo, so night anyone still around.

  111. Medve

    Yeah, getting old and having kids seems to take over, really.

    Spencer - bless her. On a not-unrelated point, did you see the bit about Paul Stevenson requesting that the Met stop wearing their black uniform shirts when on patrol?

    Sorry the linky is to the Daily Heil...

  112. Oh, just before I go, Arec has just given a great example of why Waddya is sometimes worth looking at:

    '"GoogleWhack - It's probably the people who normally leave sensible comments who get replies and who get read most throughly."

    Hi I'm the real Arec Balrin, you may know me from such catchphrases as: "Only super-villains can save us now", "We're all on the super-happy fun-slide into madness so there's no reason not to punch each other" and "Yorkshiremen: they make Texans look like gay vegans". I've been above the line twice on CiF, once for a Peoples Panel and again for Pulitzer-worthy investigative piece which did totally not rely on links from the web for sources. The trick is to make people think you're joking by being so serious about something so stupid(in their opinion) that they can not possibly think you're serious. Which you are, very.

    I'm at A4e tomorrow and will need time to recover after, I also need to find out from them because they didn't tell me last time when I need to be back at the Jobcentre to sign. Jess has asked me to mail her if I'm interested in doing another piece and I think I will but will know for sure tomorrow but it will mean I won't be posting for a few days. As CiF can't survive without my absence I have made an Arec Balrin post generator to be used in emergencies. Just fill in the blanks as instructed.

    Insert a sentence from sections A, B, or C at each prompt.

    (Start by quoting another poster saying something plainly stupid.)

    (((A))). So why is this? It took me just five minutes of Googling to find (((B))). I'm not an expert on it so I'm formally requesting an article be commissioned on the topic of (((B or C)))) and I feel it would be best written by (((C))).

    Section (((A))):

    1. Except that (((C))) is/are a troglodyte homunculus with no redeemable qualities what so ever. Yet no one asks any questions, there's no scrutiny and eventually they will destroy civilisation.

    2. You would think so but it's more cost-effective to pay (((C))) to build it out of soiled trousers.

    3. There's no hope. If we could turn back time I'd advise we (((B))) way before this problem developed but now the future is looks like (((B))) because it's in (((C))) hands.

    Section (((B))):

    1. Legalised assault.

    2. Everyone being given chainsaw-nunchucks.

    3. Resigned/Resigning ourselves to the mercy of a corporatist dwarf orgy.

    4. Recognised that if there is a god he's probably more like Cthulhu or (((C))) than Morgan Freeman.

    5. Conan in Space.

    6. Bird is the Word.

    7. Letting the rich off with limbs intact.

    8. A troglodyte homunculus.

    Section (((C))):

    1. Rowan Williams.

    2. Fiona Bruce(as we're going by the Daily Mail style guide).

    3. Emma Harrison and A4e.

    4. Giant Stompy Robots.

    5. The Coalition government.

    6. The quoted poster.

    7. A troglodyte homunculus.

    I'm very considerate like that.'

  113. Paul

    I thought one of the saddest things in Panorama was the young mum who thought the only value of of a father was the money he contributed. The fact that we have a third generation growing up without dads around has completely devalued the role of father in some families.

    the little girl who wanted to find her dad but didn't know why obviously felt the lack of something important.

    The chap who couldn't even remember his children's names was a sorry specimen.

  114. @ spencer. Ain't that the truth.
    I spent the day doing monitoring, which always gets me in a rage about it. Every fucking quarter I have to tell them all this bloody stuff. My predecessor had an easier time because she simply made it up.And how many other people duke the stats?
    Most of 'em, and that's not dishonesty, but because so much of what is asked for by way of information is either utterly irrelevant or inapplicable. You can't get that across to managerialists, so you end up sending them any old shite.
    With the (mentl health) service I run, I've been asked to quantify how many 'life years' the service saves per year. Not a scooby, since that's not calculable (what do I do: ask my punters "Without us, how long would it be before you took your life,drank yourself to death,took an overdose etc").Also get asked about exactly which council ward punters are from. That's kinda tough when many seek anonymity. Repeatedly explaining why their metrics are inappropriate or daft, while offering our genuinely useful measures,stats,and hard evidence of good outcomes isn't enough. They want the numbers,even though they know they are garbage.

  115. Government lobs grenade into NHS

    this is just appalling.

    When their own ministers are saying this kind of thing, you know it's got to be very bad indeed:

    "Dr Sarah Wollaston, a former GP who is now the Conservative MP for Totnes, said: “All of us have concerns about the process that this came forth by. Certainly to my mind it does look like someone had tossed a grenade into the PCTs.
    “If the expertise isn’t there within the remains of the PCTs, inevitably they’re going to be having to turn more to the private sector.”"

    I know loads of people who work in the NHS, just running on empty already. How are they supposed to absorb the impact of this?

    I can't bloody live like this. Students getting threatened over peaceful protest. Our public institutions vandalised. Jobs hacked left right and centre. Everyone getting screwed, and for what exactly?

  116. Leni

    Agree with your post.And as well as not addressing the rights of fathers the programme didn't acknowledge that this shift to a state dependant matriachy in places like Birkenhead and Brixton was,imo, as much if not more about poverty of expectation caused by 30 years of political failure than about some sort of great leap forward for womankind.

  117. @ Deano

    I'm glad you enjoyed that link the other day, I must have listened to it about 10 times now.

    The Dobro player 'Jerry Douglas' is world renowned, and he's taking the transatlantic tour around the UK at the mo. Link here:

    Transatlantic Sessions

    More info here:

    Town Hall Birm

    Got to listen to it one more time before hitting the sack... Transatlantic_Sessions_Series_3_Episode_2

  118. no big deal, but I think one of my posts has disappeared into the bin. :-)

  119. monkeyfish

    Call me naive but i think cif, including waddya, can be changed for the better.And you,AB,Hank and BW could all play a part in that.You're all highly accomplished writers who are more than capable of fighting your corner without getting banned again.And without selling out on your principles i'm sure you could persuade the mods to let you come back as 'yourselves'.

    I'm not just saying this to flatter you.For i genuinely believe there are some serious political imbalances BTL on CIF and heavy guns like you and the others could go some way in reversing that.

    I don't have a problem with most of the regulars on waddya and i think it's telling that those opposed to an Amnesty have always been those ex UT posters who have an aaxe to grind.I really don't think most people would object to you all coming back.

    Anyways that's what i think.Obviously at the end of the day it's up to you.

  120. Three posts rescued from the spam bin. Gah.

  121. Just one final point.I may be wrong but i think quite a few of the waddya regulars are 'floating voters' who need to be persuaded that the Left can offer an alternative to what's on offer.Problem is the Left as you know is pissing in the wind at the moment and we have to come to some consensus as to what we stand for before we can persuade the all important floating voters.

  122. Spencer

    Agree with you about Arec.He's a star and someone else from 'over there' who i'd like to see posting 'over here'.

  123. People here may have gathered that i'm a big fan of Donald Byrd.So i'll leave you all with THIS TRACK from the man himself.

    Nite all

  124. NN Paul and everyone - I'm off too.


  125. Hello everyone: has anyone come across this website?:

    I'm not a big fan of Conspiracy "theories" but the best exposees of the shenanigans going on in the USA usually come from those who actually live there.

    BTW: if the bankerss are trousering their bonuses yet again, that must mean they have managed to get their train wreck back on the rails.

    Ergo, since we taxpayers have a share in some of them, we can expect a return on our investment, no?

    And if this is really the case then the savage cuts are not necessary after all.

    That's my logic anyway but what would I know?

    I'm sure there are people on this site who can explain to me why I'm so thick!

  126. What happened to the "Nightshift" on here?

  127. Hey. Montana. I'm not sure how our time zones match but I'll copy and paste my above post when I get up tomorrow for tomorrows' thread, but I'd be delighted if you beat me to it!