19 January 2011


Love isn't a decision. It's a feeling. If we could decide who we loved, it would be much simpler, but much less magical.
-Chef, South Park


  1. morning all

    just before i head off to work I just want to touch reality....

    it's not "normal" that a prime minister is still prime minister when he is being investigated for having paid sex with a minor is it........?

    nor this reaction of berlusco to the press

    "I'm enjoying myself" (re investigation)

    thought so.......

    as you were......

  2. Continuing from yesterday:

    However, the military and the armaments industry do have a type of symbiotic relationship to say the least

    Well, yes. For a nation this size, it is rather difficult to have one without the other. Interestingly, there have been several instances of weapons programmes that were unwanted by the US armed forces but were forced upon them by congressmen whose districts were set to profit from them.

    Clive Stafford Smith said in his book Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons that there is a tacit expectation within the American military that they will take on anyone and fight, as long as everyone abides by the rule that none of their soldiers can be harmed.

    That is quite frankly, asinine and an insult to the nearly 6,000 US service members who've died in Afghanistan and Iraq. The American public doesn't have much stomach for casualties, which is the main reason the Bushistas did so much to try to keep the numbers unpublicised and made it nearly impossible for media to photograph the caskets of the dead as they were being sent back. But the military themselves are well aware that casualties are part of the job.

    However, I think most Americans are probably proud of the power and might of their country, the fact that it is the current ne plus ultra in global wealth and the ability to crush any and all foes with its stated policy of using massive force from the outset of any conflict.

    Fucking hell, you make it sound like we're a bunch of bloodthirsty monsters. Yes, most Americans are (rather too) proud of American power and there is no doubt that most Americans see a strong military as vital to this country's existence.

    However, most Americans don't actually want the US military getting involved in conflicts that don't directly affect the US and don't want the US getting involved in long-term military commitments overseas. Afghanistan and Iraq had to be sold to the American public as easy conflicts that would be quick and painless and necessary as a direct result of 9/11. To this day, something like 30% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Again, the Bushistas knew full well that they could never get popular opinion behind them on the invasion of Iraq if the true motives were known. They had to dress it up as a matter of defence/revenge. I think outsiders fail to appreciate the lasting effect that Viet Nam has had on the American psyche.

    Americans are definitely guilty of being far too credulous when it comes to the lies that the government tells about its motives for various endeavours. This is because, believe it or not, most "average" Americans -- even those to the right of the political spectrum -- truly do believe and want the US to be a force for good in the world. They really believe all that shit about spreading democracy. It may make them stupid, but it doesn't make them bloodthirsty.

  3. just a fly by as am off to work. anyone listening to the Today prog? the monetisation of social outcomes is the new zeitgeist in the halls of hell they call parliament - how to make a profit out of supporting the most disadvantaged children. Think I'm losing the will to live......

  4. Got no net at home so can only read on here on my phone in evenings, MFs letter to Penny should be stored for posterity somewhere in the UT vaults.

    The "victimised female in the blogosphere" is still going strong at waddya (as well as the recent readers editor blog), that the primary culprit identified by disordered has never actually abused her is only a minor detail it seems. Waddya's a funny old place sometimes...

  5. Chekhov,

    What a find, I would be fascinated to read primary sources regarding your Dad and footballers in the 1950’s. The personal nature of them must mean a lot. Of course, your Dad would have played in the days of the maximum wage and the ‘retain and transfer’system, where players were little more than indentured workers.

    I did my dissertation at Uni on the development of football in Victorian Glasgow, focusing on the socio-economic aspect, a task I have never taken more relish in.

    I probably spent about three times the amount of time on that dissertation than I should have done wandering around the Glasgow football grounds, (Yes, even Ibrox- the things people do for their degree…), in the Mitchell library reading contemporary news reports and writing up on them. All for Education’s sake. Magic.

    On a footballing history note, I’ve just finished Jonathan Wilson’s inverting the pyramid, a history of footballing tactics.

    On the evolution of modern rules there is a very funny account of a meeting between rival clubs in a tavern in Blackheath, London. A heated argument arose regarding the topic of hacking, whether it should be allowed or not.

    I can’t remember the name off the top of my head but it was something like Colonel James St John Bluffington of the Blackheath club spluttered ignominiously:

    "Remove hacking and you remove the essence of the game. Remove hacking and within a week I could train a team of Frenchmen to whip every one of your clubs".

    Clearly, one of the worst insults imaginable in late Victorian England.

  6. Yeah,

    monkeyfish's covering letter and Scherfig's reply should be kept for posterity somewhere. Genius

  7. @Duke, @Chekhov

    I don't know if you follow James Hamilton's blog at More Than Mind Games, but you might find it a good read about the history and development of football. He'd also be more than pleased, I expect, to publish extracts from your dad's books, Chekhov.

  8. re the 'don't abuse me' thing - the good people of whaddya seem to have forgotten the first rule of t'interwebby. Always ignore a flounce.

    Also, really, if you're going to flounce, it should be executed with a bit of style. A quivering bottom lip really isn't up to scratch.

    I've always wondered about this notion of 'abuse' on the internet anyway. The only stuff I've ever really felt the need to act on has been when I've been threatened in some way, or if someone's following me about or singling me out in a way that I find worrying. Your common or garden insults I'd just see as part of the whole internet experience. I tend to think I've scored when I get a really good one. One of my friends, objecting to one of the more aggressive Israeli actions on Palestine a few years ago was told she was a bitch who should "goosestep back to her PLO Nazi whoremasters". I have yet to beat that one.

    If you can't cope with someone calling you a twat, you should probably find another hobby...

  9. "If you can't cope with someone calling you a twat, you should probably find another hobby... "

    Agreed, but in my case, I havent even called her a twat, or called her anything at all. Still this story of "abuse" rumbles on....

  10. Oh I know, Jay. I didn't mean to imply you had. It seems to be the way of the guardian right this week though - seize the victim position and milk it for all that it's worth, that way perhaps no-one will spot that your government of choice is imploding, taking the rest of us kicking and screaming along with it.

    The dramatic flounce thing is one of my pet internet peeves... Goodbye cruel world.... Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.... There's a reason why these are comedy lines!

  11. Morning all

    I thnk disordered's upset yesterday arose out of the perception that her suggestions for articles are ignored by Jess and it escalated from there.

    Disordered is, by her own account, disordered and I would imagine is likely to react in a different way to criticism or challenge than some of us. I don't tend to interact with her a great deal because I am not too keep on some of her positions on things, but aware that she has mental health issues, so I don't want to provoke her.

    I would just ignore it if I were you, Jay. I don't think anyone believes you have been hounding her or insulting her.


  12. "I would just ignore it if I were you, Jay. I don't think anyone believes you have been hounding her or insulting her."

    I think they do, she's getting a mighty round of backslapping for her brave stance in the face of the nasty bully over there. Funny old world...

  13. They really believe all that shit about spreading democracy

    Surely if you subscribe to the notion of universal human rights, then spreading democracy is a duty for world powers? There was a lot wrong with the way the Iraq invasion was handled, but the overall moral case is still sound, to my mind.

    Saddam may have had nothing to do with 9/11 and no capability to attack the West, but he was still a genocidal dictator. Iraqis, and especially Kurds, were denied basic human rights while under his reign, and only the US had the muscle to rectify that injustice.

    Isn't there something immoral about amassing the world's biggest arsenal and then refusing to use it unless US citizens were directly at risk?

  14. "There was a lot wrong with the way the Iraq invasion was handled, but the overall moral case is still sound, to my mind."


  15. Vizzo

    So you believe it is right for Western democratic nations to use aremed force, necessarily involving the death of civillian populations and the destruction of vital infrastructure, in order to bring about democracy in their countries?


  16. PeterJ,

    brilliant site. Thank you very much for that. That's my lunch hour sorted.

  17. @Jay

    I was curious about disordered's complaints, as I recall her being pretty nasty to others on her own account. So, noticing the complaint about being called a 'pipsqueak', and with that being a rather uncommon word, I thought I'd find out if she really had been called that, and what the context was.

    Here is that torrent of abuse in full:

    18 Aug 2009, 4:09AM
    Dirordered: "AnandRamachandran: dont you dare tell us what we should think or feel, especially as you got such good care."

    Take it easy there, pipsqueak. No reason why the man shouldn't express an opinion. Which he did, in reasonable language."

    And that's it.

  18. "Take it easy there, pipsqueak. No reason why the man shouldn't express an opinion. Which he did, in reasonable language."

    Monstrous stuff, Peter, I can see now how traumatising this must have been for her. Fear not, the G will probably introduce "women only, safe space" threads next month to combat this growing problem...

  19. BB, (we, the people...?)

    No I don't think any of that is 'right', but I think maybe it's less wrong than allowing Saddam to continue his perpetual genocide of the Kurds and brutal oppression of the Iraqis.

    Also, the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first gulf war were clearly unsustainable, and were mainly hurting the civilian population. So the choice became between handing Saddam a huge victory on the global stage by climbing down and lifting the sanctions, or getting rid of him.

    I dread to think what Iraq would be like if Saddam's revenue was massively increased, and he was emboldened by successfully facing down the 'evil empire'. How many people would have continued to die and be oppressed, in perpetuity, if it had gone that way?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not discounting the human cost of the invasion and as I said already there's a lot to criticise about its handling. But I'm wary of this narrative where Bush and Blair effectively went on a mindless rampage.

  20. Montana

    Yes, it's interesting that we don't always get what we want collectively, when a special interest group tries that little bit harder to get what it wants individually.

    I think Broekn Britain could afford to send the bankers on quite a few more slap up meal occasions if we didn't fritter all that money away on Trident. I think we might even have suggested that we would prefer not to have it, but America told us we had to as our contribution to the war on...er...everything.

    I think there is a difference between what you hope and expect and the actual utcomes of events, which pragmatism and practicality tells us and shows us may be quite different.

    The father who beats his son black and blue may feel that he is both right and within his rights to do so. He may also be outraged and affronted when his son reaches an age and strength when he can actually punch back and does.

    The father may feel that this is an assault on the established scheme of things, the way the world should operate, the harmony of the spheres of influence and power, even as he splashes his bloody nose under the cold tap and winces.

    There was a play years ago, of which I only caught the final few minutes but it was obviously about a European terrorist group of the seventies, like the Beider Meinhof gang.

    The police have trapped the terrorists in a house and the game is up. A female terrorist comes down the stairs and raises her hands to show she surrenders and is unarmed.

    The policeman nods a signal and you see the horror in the woman's face just before there is the sound of gunfire and the screen goes blank.

    She thought that the police would play by an established and immutable set of rules, even when her own method of operation was by a completely different set of rules.

    The problems just seem to get bigger when we assume that we are right in what we are doing - or backed by the sky monster - and that this means that everyone else must, as a consequence, be wrong.

    Certainly, using generalisations will also mean that you miss or misrepresent many who do not fit within the general mould.

    Would most Americans buy into a war if they were told it would ensure the continuing might of their country, their own material wellbeing and prevent America's slide into the cluttered category of failed state and economic basket-case, even if it meant destroying another country and killing millions of its people to get there? I don't know. It would probably range from nbody to everybody depending on how imperilled, impoverished, endangered or impotent America felt at the time.

    Belief can bring its own benefits and problems.

    If I truly, deeply, madly believe that the anti-baldness cream will restore flourishing locks to my shiny bald pate, will it make it happen? If the cream manufacturers are just a bunch of con artists poised to do a runner once they have made their pile, I am probably going to be disappointed.

    This is Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard speaking to Stafford Smith in Bad Men. (I tried to find a quote for what I mentioned yesterday and failed).

    "I hate torture. I wish nobody ever used it. I wish it were never done. I also hate terrorism."

    [Clive Stafford Smith] "Tell me, then, what you think about the American position on torture as we stand now."

    "Utter hypocrisy. We say, we proclaim, we declare, we sign treaties saying that under no circumstances will we ever use torture or anything like it, and of course we do. And Americans love it!"

    You know that I use the internet as a propaganda platform, Montana, but Dershowiwitz knew he was going to be interviewed and, being a lawyerly type, could have avoided that unforced generalisation.

  21. OK, I expect my post to disappear soon, as I went through the usual Blogger traumas in getting it up there.

    Got to get on now.

    I think they want CiF in its entirety to become a soft play area, with lovely soft, padded furniture in pastel colours and finger-paintings on the walls.

    A bit like being trapped in a bag of marshmallows.

  22. Jay, I've played out your thing with disordered in real life lots of times. I lack a certain, how to put it, delicate touch. So when I mix with people that are hyper-sensitive, I end up ruffling them without meaning to...

  23. "I lack a certain, how to put it, delicate touch."

    Not my forte either, Vizzo, i must admit...

  24. Vizzo

    Lots of speculation and "yeah but what if"s in your post. As the French would say, if my aunty had balls, she'd be my uncle.

    There is no way of knowing what would have happened if Saddam had been left in place. The gassing of the Kurds is trotted out every time, except that during the period that the Kurds were gassed, Saddam was the golden boy of the west, standing as a secular stalwart against the islamic theocracy of Iran, so that is a bit of a false justification - we didn't give a shit about it at the time.

    And there are many who would argue that Iraq is a worse place to live for the majority of the population now than it was under Saddam, including the period when the sanctions were in place. And especially for women.

    "The means justifies the ends" argument would work if you could show me that Iraq and Afghanistan is actually a better place for the Iraqis and Afghans to live in than it was before we started. So far we are batting a duck...

  25. D'oh

    Just realised that even though it is not the same google, I can still change my user name and pic on this one.

    Pass the girl a jaffa cake.

  26. The idea that Iraq was a "moral" venture to help the Kurds or Iraqi civilians is so absurd i'm astonished that its still being given serious consideration. Really Vizzo, come on.

    The Kurds were initially gassed with US assistance. More recently, the US has allowed Turkey to launch repeated air strikes on Kurdish populations. The US couldnt have less interest in Kurds if it tried.

    "Also, the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first gulf war were clearly unsustainable, and were mainly hurting the civilian population. So the choice became between handing Saddam a huge victory on the global stage by climbing down and lifting the sanctions, or getting rid of him."

    The sanctions killed around half a million Iraqi children. The US and UK, who maintained them, knew this was happening. Halliday resigned over it, as did his successor as i recall. So this was done knowingly. Madeleine Albright - "those deaths were worth it".

    Was his weapons capability dealt with effectively by the sanctions and inspections? Yes, categorically - the programs were dismantled, the worlds leading experts agreed on this, including the late Dr Kelly. Even the CIA agreed pre invasion that he had no substantial weapons program.

    There's not really even a sensible argument to be had, there is absolutely zero evidence for any moral invasion at all. Considering all thats come out since, its a complete non-starter. The war had absolutely nothing to do with morality, the Kurds, or Iraqi welfare.

  27. BB,

    Speculating about the road not taken is always going to be heavy on the 'what-ifs', but it seems necessary to look at the alternatives before passing judgement.

    We can't know what would have happenned if we'd left Saddam in place, but on past form it's safe to assume that it would have involved a heavy human cost.

    It's arguable whether Iraq is a better place right now than in the 90s (I suspect it's better for some, worse for others) but at least now there's the possibility of building something there, which was impossible under Saddam.

    I'm not including the Afghanistan invasion in all of this, that's a wholly different scenario with different considerations.

  28. got to run and pick up lil miss vizzo. back later.

  29. It may well have included a heavy human cost as you say, Vizzo. But our intervention has included a heavy human cost, one that keeps on playing itself out week after week, month after month, thanks to the internal strife in the country and the mess we have left behind us.

    Let's try another what if: how many people would have died under Saddam, even assuming the sanctions were still kept in place (which is highly unlikely in the long term) compared with the number of people who have died, and keep on dying, since 2003? Is it some sort of mathematical game? Will we only be in the wrong if the number of people killed as a result of our actions exceeds the number of people killed under his regime?

  30. Jay
    Largely agree, and with some regret. Sanctions were primarily a tool used to subvert Saddam; a tool which failed. Hence the eventual invasion in 2003(9/11 merely gifted the Neo-cons the excuse they had long sought). Up to that time, to what extent the US knew the sanctions were failing in this aim, yet pressed on with them, dictates how loathsome one finds either Saddam (for stock-piling resources around his palaces and doing that to his own people) and / or this (largely US-led) UN policy. There is no doubt Hussain had intended, in his invasion of Kuwait to eventually destabilise Saudi; and after defeat in 91 there was never any evidence he had given up on this final ambition. But we are talking about megalomania here. A fully functioning armoury of WMD were essential to him ever carrying it out. Hawks in Washington and Wall Street alike saw this scenario as method, motive and opportunity - an alibi to savage Iraq. Sure, Saddam expelling inspectors in 98 hardly helped his cause (it was the arrogance of an absolute tyrant, and not much more), but the way the US and UK govts dealt with dissenting expert voices, within and out the UN, over WMDs existence at the turn of the century was staggering. The only case with a moral element to be argued is that successive Western right wing governments had kept this tyrant in place for their own greedy ends, and it was finally an opportunity for us to right this decades-old wrong. But that rather dewey-eyed simplicity somewhat overlooks the US' motives for getting in there, getting him out, destabilising any notional solidarity across the region and installing Honeywell, General Electric, etc, to suck up the profits. In this light, we are talking the "morals" of a mini crusade, and the useful idiots who cheer-led it. to an extent, I was one of them. For a long while, I wanted Saddam gone so badly, I was prepared to eschew the big picture.

  31. BW - wasn't the "expelling weapons inspectors in 98" proven to be a bit of US spin?

    There's a piece on it by FAIR here...

    The context was the lead-up to the bombing in Dec 98. I know it's only Wiki, but a linky here to the build-up.

  32. BW

    "Sure, Saddam expelling inspectors in 98 hardly helped his cause (it was the arrogance of an absolute tyrant, and not much more), but the way the US and UK govts dealt with dissenting expert voices, within and out the UN, over WMDs existence at the turn of the century was staggering."

    It didnt quite happen like this, from what I've read. The US and UK withdrew inspectors because they were about to start their air strikes.

    "This mythology is useful since it reinforces the logical construct that Saddam wanted the inspectors removed so he could reconstitute his lethal arsenal without the inconvenience of the prying eyes of international monitors. However, like all myths, this one isn’t true. It wasn’t Saddam Hussain or the Iraqi government who gave the boot to weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM). Rather, it was the United States. In the person of former President Bill Clinton, Washington ordered the inspectors removed from Iraq on the eve of Operation Desert Fox, a unilateral 72-hour aerial bombardment of Iraq conducted without the approval of, or even in consultation with, the U.N. Security Council, which—in theory at least—was the organization overseeing the work of UNSCOM." (Scott Ritter, Chief UN Weapons inspector in Iraq 91-98)

    That this line was peddled completely unchallenged in the build up to war is really a shocking indictment of Western media.

    As the Graun tuts about Chilcot, i think the media here have escaped real accountability themselves for their role in that war. It could not have happened (or UK involvement at least) without their shameless, pathetic deference to power and routine inability to discern quite obvious falsehoods and report them as such.

    Where is the trial of our boot-licking toady media and their role in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and thousands of troops? They seem to have escaped completely untarnished by the whole sorry saga.

  33. BB, JR, re 98 airstrike - Iwas going rather on memory, but that's pretty conclusive
    I think the media here have escaped real accountability themselves for their role in that war.

    Agreed with that.

    on a different footing, I just saw this:

    A Vatican department advised Ireland's Catholic bishops in 1997 not to report priests suspected of child abuse to the police, a newly revealed letter shows.

    I await the utterly predictable articles / TFTD from Christina Odone et all - with a silent scream.

  34. It was all going on in the caring-sharing nineties, wasn't it ?

  35. Sorry - vatican link HERE


  36. Afternoon all

    The latest unemployment statistics were published today .And guess what?Unemployment has sharply increased whilst the number claiming JSA is still falling.For once you,ve exhausted your entitlement to JSA after 6 months you automatically fail the means test for JSA thereafter if you have a partner working 16 hours a week or more and/or savings(inc joint savings with a partner) of £8K.Plus many people choose not to sign on for a while after being made redundant if they get a halfway decent redundancy package.Plus the number of people working part time who want a full time job has reached record levels.Ain't looking good!

  37. I came back to live in the UK in 94, BW. I couldn't recognise the country as the same place I had left in 87.

    And I have a feeling we are going to recognise it even less in 10 years' time, with the current dismantling of everything we have worked for decades to achieve in social well-being.


    I just keep making myself even more depressed when I think about it.

  38. Get angry instead BB, you'll feel better ;-)

  39. (Funny) comment of the day, from Andrew Brown's thread on the B&B court decision:


    This is the famous lost episode from 'Fawlty Towers'.

  40. Yeah, you're right BW. Difficult to sustain the levels of anger sometimes though.

    Thaum - I was thinking that when I was reading the thing. There is an episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil is desperate to thwart an unmarried couple sleeping in the same room - friends of Polly's. Then their parents turn up, then there is a french woman who has got her eye on Basil etc. Really funny.

  41. BB

    Advice if poss please.

    The mother of a just turned 18 year old slow learning son who asked was sent to Jobcentre asked me for advice. Very little chance of him finding job so he was referred to Shaw Trust (Partner to A4E).

    The mother felt that his treatment - generally one of what she described as 'disdain' - fell far short of requirements of Human Rights legislation.

    It appears that neither she nor son have recourse to help as HR legislation does not apply to private companies - thus A4E employees can basically do as they please or are instructed. It was suggested to me that this is another reason for the privatisation of so many services - including possibly NHS.

    Is this true ?

  42. Jay, I agree with pretty much all of your post at 11.20 - I'd also add that the exaggeration of the threat Saddam posed, and the implied link between him and 9/11, amounted to an assault on democratic principles. The very thing we're trying to export, into a part of the world that already sees us as hypocrites. Madness. To leverage 9/11 grief for a separate agenda, and to deliberately mislead the public you represent, was inexcusable.

    But what I said before still stands - viewed on outcome alone, in a vacuum as it were, the moral case for toppling Saddam isn't clear cut. And the more time passes, the more these conflicts are judged on outcome alone, with the other details slowly falling away - in 50 or 100 years time, I reckon Iraq will be seen as a 'good' war, the summary being that a psychopath dictator was removed.

  43. Will we only be in the wrong if the number of people killed as a result of our actions exceeds the number of people killed under his regime?

    Well if you only have two choices that both carry a significant human cost, then I guess that becomes the relevant equation.

    If you also consider how many casualties were a result of sectarian fighting within Iraq after Saddam's toppling - this would presumably happen whenever the Ba'ath regime fell, the difference being that you'd have a few more decades of genocide and oppression from Saddam, Uday, Uday's son. We'll never know, but it's a pretty bleak proposal.

    In the absence of a third choice where everything's great and no one dies, then I guess it does come down to a mathematical thing. I know that seems callous when talking about real lives, but it was real lives being ended and ruined by Saddam too.

  44. Just got an edit back of something i submitted recently - hideous, ridiculously heavy edit, prose all cut up into stuttering, overly reasonable touchy feely prose, as it just wont do to actually say something's bullshit, will it, it must be *alleged* that *many will consider* these latest moves to be *dog faeces or substance similarly lacking in charm or competence*, this horrible, whimpering "balance" must be maintained, even for obvious comment pieces, not news reporting. And balance isnt really balance, its balancing (fairly) disinterested, distant analysis with the spin and nonsense of the actual politicians wrecking the place.

    I am sure i am overly precious with editing, but it really makes me feel like smashing something. If they dont want a piece, they should say so, can probably find a home for it elsewhere. If they do want it, editing should be kept to a minimum. And there is no polite way of saying "this edit is bullshit" so you're left in no mans land.

  45. Going in to get Saddam (illegal under international law, I seem to recall) is 'worth it' if what replaces him is better than Saddam himself. Saddam's excuse for his despotic rule was that basically Iraq was a cobbled-together entity whose constituent parts would rip each other apart given the chance. Quite coincidentally, it appears to have made him a billionaire in the process.

    The interesting bit to me is what's ahead. 5 or 10 years down the line, do you have a democratic government in Iraq or Afghanistan? And does the US government really care, as long as they can maintain bases there?

  46. Jay, in my occasional job flogging people things they don't want, I expect copy to come back to me a minimum of two times. The difference is that as long as they pay me, they can bastardize the copy as much as they like. It's vastly difference when your intellect and beliefs are invested in what you write. Still, the urge for other people to fuck with your copy is pretty universal. Think of editors/agencies/clients as that old Harry Enfield character who would stand over people's shoulders saying "You don't wanna do like that..."

    It's your call, but I'd do a version of it saying exactly the same things, but replacing all visible anger with scarcely concealed contempt. It confuses them, as you're not making an all-out attack but the intent is there. Replace "Cameron is a goat fucker" with "Cameron's fondness for goats is well-known in the tea rooms".

    In the final analysis however, it's writing for a market all the same. CiF is in the market for victimhoods and mild analyses. Only Polly and Laurie get special dispensation for their adjectival diarrhea.

    Alternatively, you can slap it up here on the UT, uncut. Maybe give it one more go with CiF and then their loss is the UT's gain. I'm sure that a few of the Untrusted can be trusted to make passing remark of it over on The Fluffy Side.

  47. It's a trade-off, Jay - you compromise your style to fit the house style, but then you get to bounce your ideas off a much wider audience.

  48. I,m stuck at home at the moment with an e-mail that won't work.I keep getting this prompt telling me i need to 'Enter Network Password' which i can't remember and the telephone advice i've had so far hasn't helped.

    Does anyone know-in terms that a technophobe would understand-what i need to do?Cheers!

  49. Leni

    Off the top of my head, and without looking into it any further, I doubt this would be the case if tested, because it is a body acting on behalf of the government. The leading case on this sort of thing was Foster v British Gas, a case about holding an organisation that wasn't exactly an arm of the government liable for not enforcing european directives in relation to retirement, where it was held that:

    ""18. ... unconditional and sufficiently precise provisions of a Directive could be relied on against organizations or bodies which were subject to the authority or control of the State or had special powers beyond those which result from the normal rules applicable to relations between individuals."

    It strikes me that Atos and A4E would fall into that category, so they ought to be able to be held to account in the same way as a public authority is held to account, as they are essentially acting for and on behalf of the government.

  50. Made me chuckle, Eddie.

    Its not for CIF, its one of the lefty sites i write for reasonably often, but this is the first time they've really gone to town on something I've written. And its unpaid, which makes the editing slightly more irksome for some reason. Just baffles me why they see the need for it. If editors are so great, why dont they write it all in the first place instead of destroying other people's work?

    I would put it up here but, much as i love this place, its quite a small audience, which i wouldnt mind but when writing a "proper" piece it takes me hours of work, getting all the references, quotes, links, prose just as i want them, etc, then someone just shits on it for no apparent reason other than this spurious quest for "reasonableness" and "balance". We dont live under a reasonable or balanced regime, they should be treated likewise.

    And i didnt even think this one was particularly ranty/angry, i thought it quite mild. Childish but it really makes my blood boil.

    Sending you mail, Duke...

  51. @Jay

    I'm an editor of 35 years' standing (among other things). If you like, I could take a look at your original with that hat on and give you a fair judgment. Then you could send me the edited version, and - I expect - we could take potshots at the editing together.

  52. Leni

    She could also try reporting them to the EHRC, especially with the new discrimination laws in relation to disabled people.

  53. Thanks BB.

    In this case - as the mum and I discussed - her interpretation of the young man's treatment was subjective.

    Raised in the caring and supportive atmosphere of secial ed. her son is suddenly 'all growed up' His mum was horrified by the change in response to him.

    She - as an older mum now approaching 60 - is desperate about his future. Indepenent living fund to be abolished, no chance of a job what will be her son's future?

    There are thousands of desperate people out there - parents of children in special ed now looking at very bleak futures for them.

    There seems to be no way of mounting a legal challenge to what is happening unless groups of parents get together to challenge in European court.

    It is like looking into a huge black hole.

  54. Cheers Peter, would be handy thanks, has Montana got your email? If not, do you want to send it over to her, thewildhack@gmail.com

    and she can forward it on to me.

  55. BB

    It was me and not disordered who had a bit of a strop with MsReed for ignoring him.I asked her for a PP on homelessness which she ignored whilst responding to everyone elses suggestions.Other posters then asked her about it and she said she wasn't interested.The following day there was a complete u turn and she announced that there would after all be a PP on homelessness.Just one of those things that goes with the territory on waddya.

    Have no idea why disordered's gunning for Jay.That does seem totally irrational on her part but again it seems to go with the territory over there.

  56. @Jay

    Yes, no problem. Montana has my email, as does MsChin.

  57. Paul

    Yeah, I think you were right to get in a strop, frankly, with the response that jess initially gave you. But she clearly went away worrying about it and changed her mind, by the looks of things, which can only be a good thing.

    I thought disordered's complaint yesterday arose from that whole incident, as she seemed to be saying that her proposals to write about her own experiences with abuse were ignored and it rolled on from there into people on CiF being abusive in general to her.

    All a bit sad, anyway. She makes some very good points and I always read what she has to say, but I don't tend to reply to what she writes very often as a couple of times in the early days of her posting I had my head bitten off when I did, so I just tiptoe.

    Leni - poor woman, she must be bereft. The only way anything is going to be done about any of this is for someone to take on a case. I emailed Phil Shiner's lot just after Christmas to find out if there was anybody looking into JR-ing ATOS or A4E, and never got a response...

  58. Its not up, Viz, as waiting for me to ok the edit. Which i'm not going to.

  59. BB

    Maybe you're right, i wasn't aware of that.I know disordered threatened to leave on account of alleged bullying and lots of people including yours truly asked her to stay.And then totally out of the blue she responded with an attack on Jay.And as we know bullying ain't Jay's style so fuck knows what's going on in her head.No doubt one of those many mysteries that occur on waddya which will always remain just that-a mystery!


  60. Paul

    From good old Hagbard on waddya

    19 January 2011 3:17PM
    Message for PaulBJ and everyone else who wanted more on holmelessness.

    There's a good piece from Patrick Butler over in Society.


    His blog is excellent and well worth following if you're not already.

  61. NO idea, Paul, last time she brought it up AllyF was the other person she cited as another problem figure. As the claims of abuse became more and more untenable, her argument seemed to shift a bit into saying we werent respectful of her views, or undermined her views, etc. Basically, like Angie, disagreeing with someone is sexist abuse in itself.

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  65. Paul, that last comment is incredibly offensive, especially considering the many things I have been through lately, which I expect you to know about for some reason. I'm off for a little cry now.

  66. *Throws a box of kleenex at Vizzo's head*

    Leni - just heard on the news that "one in five" people between the ages of 18 and 24 are out of work. I suppose saying "twenty percent" is just too fucking scary for people...

    I am resigned to the fact that my lad will be with us til his 30s at this rate - reminds me of my friends from Spain, who are in their early 30s. They were unable to live together in a rented flat until they moved to Holland, then over here to the UK, even though they were both working, because salaries in Spain were so shit for young people compared to the cost of rent.

  67. *** Yo, Jay! ***

    Re: getting in touch with PeterJ, I've just sent email to an old addy I have for you.

  68. Cool, got it cheers MsChin, replied.

  69. Vizzo

    Courage my friend,courage!

  70. BB

    I have given up trying to understand just how exactly these measures are going to build a prosperous Britain.

    20% of youngsters on the scrap heap, disabled dispossessed pf a future, homelessness increasing and pensions become more worthless by the day as inflation beggars us all.

    I suppose we just need to all grow up and have faith as that nice Mr. Cameron says.

  71. "What a shit day this has been! "

    You're not wrong there...

  72. Glad I am not the only one thinking it has been a shit day.

    No appetite for working at all today, even though I have a stack of stuff I could be doing.

    Just utterly "meh" at the moment. My get up and go got up and ran off...

    Courage! Fuyons!

  73. Whenever I think of editors, I (imperfectly) remember the letter Ezra Pound sent to Joyce's agent in support of James Joyce when a literary magazine, Duckworth, wanted to edit down sections "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" for publication in their magazine.

    He said "As for altering Joyce to suit Duckworth's readers, it would be like trying to fit the Venus de Milo into a piss-pot."

    Whether you're selling bog rolls or changing the face of western literature, the dynamic remains unchanged. My copy Venus de Milo, your changes oafish chiselling, their publication big stinky piss pot. It goes without saying that the writer's usually correct.

  74. I thought monday gone was supposed to have been 'feeling shit' day. Today has been horrible.

  75. Here's a little something sweet and cool to cheer you up Paul/BB

    Monsieur le Maire de Niafunké

  76. Nice one, Sheff - very relaxing!

  77. That was lovely, Sheff.

    How about some XamXam and some sunshine to cheer us up?

  78. As it's party time, here's some west country / Irish cider punk

  79. Cider punk - not bad.

    My fave steampunk band - Sunday Driver

  80. @Jay

    Just got back to machine; copy received. I'll get back to you later.

  81. Sunday Driver - awesome

    ..and no party's complete without some George Galloway-sampling hip hop...

  82. Hello everyone; another find from the loft clearance was a box of my own memorabilia from following the fortunes of Sheffield United through the sixties and seventies.
    Re the fixture at Highfield mentioned the other night, Peter J pointed out (quite rightly) that Coventry weren't in Europe at that time.

    Well I have a programme for that match in front of me right now inside which is a post card size photo of Eusebio signed by the great man himself.

    Anyway just to clear up any confusion, it was a World Cup Group Six International between Northern Ireland and Portugal on March 28th 1973

    BTW; also came across some old tickets for Bramall Lane..

    This is for seat mind: Adult...£1.10

    Christ...you couldn't get a cuo of Bovril for that these days!

  83. I like the music at this party!

  84. Just seen Gove on news - would it be ok if i nipped uptoLondon to poison him?

  85. Leni - I will give you a bed for the night and come along as your evil henchman...

  86. BB we're on.

    I remember the days when I was a pacifist - totally opposed to all violence. Another lifetime I think.

  87. Heheheheh

    I still am a pacifist at heart. So I will let you do the poisoning and I will just stand about the place henching.

    Chekhov - that is really neat. :o)

  88. "Hench" in yoof-speak apparantly means "buff" these days.

    My lad and his friend were taking the piss the other day, saying "I's hench coz I bench" - which allegedly translates as "I am buff because I do benchwork at the gym" or some such nonsense.

  89. You can just see me on the barricades, can't you..

    "Oooh... no... don't hit.. no, put that bit of wood... ooh...you'll have someone's eye out with that if you're not careful..."

  90. @Chekhov

    Ah! That explains it. Northern Ireland were playing home games on neutral ground because of explosions and stuff. That game ended up as a 1-1 draw, I discover. There's a picture of Martin O'Neill scoring the Northern Ireland goal here.

    And although you got Eusebio's autograph, according to the story that goes with that picture O'Neill got his shorts after the game.

  91. The Cascading Voices of Hugo and Luigi Sing Beatles Hits in the Mantovani Style

    Question 1: Why the fuck has my husband got this album?

    Question 2: How the hell did they manage to get an album released in the first place?

  92. BTW: going back a bit further, I have a ticket dated 14th April 1970 for a reserved seat at 11/-

    Anyone want to have a pop at translating that into "new Money"/

  93. Well 10/- was 50p, so that must be 55p, chekhov.

    I remember decimalisation well - those bloody silly tunes on telly every tea-time before the Beeb news at 5.45 by The Scaffold (of Lily the Pink fame - still love Roger McGough though)

    And Mars Bars went from 6d to 2 1/2p to 6p in the space of about two months....

  94. Henching? Or wenching?

    Poisoning is too bloodless - unless of course it's with a very nasty caustic acid or something.

    We need blood in the streets.

  95. I'd certainly be better at being a wench than being hench, thaum. I've got that Nancy from Oliver Twist look about me...

  96. Moll Flanders, BB, that's you! ;-)

  97. @Chekhov

    When I started going to Maine Road, standing on the Kippax was seven shillings (boys and OAPs half price) and a seat in the Main Stand was 13/6. I think the Platt Lane Stand (behind the goal) was 10 bob, although I only sat there for derby games; the Kippax was too dangerous for my pathetic 13-year-old self on those occasions.

  98. Ooh! Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starting on Beeb One. My fave one. I shall be a tad distracted, ladies and gentlemen, while I ogle Harrison Ford for an hour or two...

  99. Shaz

    How did it go today?

    Well done for getting through it alive at least xx

  100. Like that gypsy punk Viz.

    Hench women and everyone - a bit of Mariza



    You have a wondeful archive - you should do something with it - there are loads of people who would be fascinated.

  101. @Peter J;

    If a match was sold out my Dad would take my Grandad in whilst I waited outside. Then he would come back out with both their season tickets and take me in and the three of us would share two seats!

    Bloody hell I've got photo of the Portuguese team from that international, signed on the back by the whole team. How cool is that?

  102. Govicide....very tempting. Can't we do the rest of them as well? And the shadow lot in one fell swoop? Not to mention any Brit who has a house in Tuscany....this could get to be a long list.

  103. I love it - the women are discussing political assassinations while the blokes talk football.

    Sheff's right, though, Chekhov - you could make something out of that lot! Although I suspect you might want to keep it....

  104. Well, it's submitted, BB... who can tell, frankly? Assessor in next month :o(

  105. thauma

    Glad the hit list is growing.
    Now do we take them one at a time to build the tension or all out together ?

  106. Leni

    I'd be for as many out together as we can make it if possible, although I get your point about building the tension. I do like a big bang though! Although there's a lot to be said for silent and deadly. Choices, choices...


    Leave the chaps kicking the ball around - us hench women can manage this.

  107. I'm sure you will have done really well, Shaz. x

  108. Have all digits crossed for you Shaz!

  109. Thanks BB. Don't share your faith, but I'm knackered & despondent atm. We shall see.

    I've played Assassin's Creed, so I'm shit-hot at the silent takedown...

  110. Evening.

    Re I to the Vizzo's suggestion that the West should export democracy, if necessary from the barrel of a gun, putting aside the particulars of the Iraq invasion and the fact that were are pretty much agreed that it was not really an altruistic enterprise (Peter Bracken might argue but I doubt anyone else would)...

    It seems to me that there is a fundemental problem not recognised in your suggestion, I To.

    Which is that in some parts of the world there are completely different inherent social structures.

    For example, in much of the Arab world there is still, even in rich and developed countries, an extant tribal system. People owe their alliegence not so much to the state but to their tribe (or at best to both) and they expect their sheiks to adjudicate disputes, protect them from other tribes, or punish them etc. In short to do the things that we expect the state to do.

    So who are the Tikriti going to vote for? They are going to vote for whoever the Tikriti put up as their candidate. To do anything else would be (I would guess, I am no expert on Arab society) signing your own social death warrant.

    We, and the French, and the Australians and the Canadians etc, live in societies where the majority are post tribal. I don't owe my prime allegiance to the Woodcockiti so I am free to give it to Labour or the Greens or, God help me, the Tories.

    The fundemental error of the Neo Cons it seems to me (because you cannot call being a lying thieving gang of hypocritical shits an error, exactly) is that you can transpose a system that has evolved in a predominantly urban, post tribal society on societies that still have a functioning tribal structure.

  111. Sheff "Not to mention any Brit who has a house in Tuscany....this could get to be a long list."

    Hang on a mo there, Sheff. What is the matter with being a Brit and having a house in Tuscany? My mate Steve has a house there.

  112. Whoop, whoop! I suspect several of our female members can now expect a knock on the door from the Twitter squad at Special Branch...

  113. Shaz

    I think it quite normal to feel dissatified when we have finished a project or an exam. I'm sure will have done well - your interest and concern for the children you help is obvious - this alone will mean you have done much better than you think.

  114. Oh Leni, thankyou - and thanks to everyone for the support. It means a lot.

  115. Leni "I think it quite normal to feel dissatified when we have finished a project or an exam"

    Absolutely. Mind you if you are as bad at spelling and punctuation as me it is also quite rational.

    I made the mistake of reading my MA disseration after it came back from the binders and it was too late to change anything. Why? Why? Why did I do that?

    But Leni is absolutely right, Shazz. Still, dissatisfaction mixed with relief that it is done, I would hope.

  116. Shaz

    I've played Assassin's Creed, so I'm shit-hot at the silent takedown...


    Good luck.... (With the exam too!)

  117. More like sheer blind panic that it's all wrong, Spencer! But there's nothing I can do now, so it's just wait and see...

  118. How long do you have to wait, Shaz?

  119. Agree with the others Shaz - chin up old girl...I'm sure you've done better than you think, it's often the case. Sit down, breathe, and have a drink!

  120. Might be end of Feb, Spencer, might not be till Easter, whenever that is. All depends on the next moderation slot.

  121. Easter is at the end of April this year. I am a bit pissed off with my mum because there is one four day weekend at Easter (22 - 25) and then another one the following weekend because the Friday is the royal wedding.

    I thought it would be perfect to finish my walk to my mum's in Stornoway. I have about ten days to go and I could do it then, not use up too much holiday, and be walking in the wilds of Scotland for the Royal Wedding.

    Perfect! Or so I thought.

    Turns out my mum is fucking off to Machu Picchu and won't bloody be there.

    Some people have no consideration!

  122. Turns out my mum is fucking off to Machu Picchu and won't bloody be there.

    That's just plain selfish, Spencer. I trust you've expressed your disapproval! :o)

  123. @Shaz

    You'll be fine. I know these things.

  124. apparently, Laurie Penny has TWEETED...I can't believe that's a fuckin word...did she have a bowl of Trill for breakfast?..

    "Thanks to guidofawkes I now have over 150 applications for the research position, only one of which is spoof. Rather taken aback."

    so either...I'm in a minority or one...or I'm in the running...here's hoping


    I'm pretty sure I was still paying 20p for the boys' pen at Goodison as late as 1978..virtually certain, in fact...a caged-in corner of the Gladwys Street...and pure fuckin mayhem...two coppers standing at the back sharing a fag who'd obviously decided we were all past redemption...it's where I learned about cannabis, head-butting and that half the teenage lads in Liverpool were fuckin my mam...or so they said...then again, their mams were queuing up to give me a blowjob, so in the great scheme of things, it worked out pretty well...except I had the edge...cos they're dads were all Danny La Rue's boyfriend.

    Oh the wit..the repartee...the bag of chips on the way home

  125. evening all


    you'll be fine...........

    re the govicide or can we say conicide i'd go for the lot in one go or they might get the sympathy vote from the daily maul....

    apparently polz is on twitter quote penz

    "The grande dame of the British left has been as good as her word and joined Twitter. Welcome @pollytoynbee."

    grande dame of the left.....??????? WTFF

    next she'll be a national treasure.........

    jesus wept.........again....

  126. Flying Squad - Twitter Branch. :o)

    Well, with me, Leni and Sheff giving it the opening scene of MacBeth, they are going to have trouble finding an actual offence in there really. Unless they think that a plot by three middle-aged post-hippy women in three corners of the country to somehow manage to sneak up to Gove with a poisoned-tipped umbrella, Bulgarian stylee, is a threat to kill... :o)

  127. For fuck's sake you can't poison Michael Gove. He's made of poison!

  128. spencer..........we give him the antidote he can't exist without being poisoness....doh!!! ;)

  129. gandolfo

    "grande dame".

    That made me shudder.

  130. BB
    it was the "of the left" that made me choke-gag on me tuscan olives and chianti.......

  131. Well spencer

    Isn't that just the menz. coming in here complaining about his mother and then trashing the best laid plans of womankind.

    Come the revolution the menz will be watching footie and then will expect to take over and rule the world after all the hard work is over.

  132. Come the revolution the menz will be watching footie and then will expect to take over and rule the world after all the hard work is over.


    Leni wins the internet!

  133. An all-women UT assassination squad? Woohooot!

    I'm a very good shot with a firearm ...

    As for the 'grande dame of the left' - BANG!

  134. Does anybody here tweet - i tend to squeak a bit in damp weather but as yet have never tweeted.

  135. Leni, you don't know what she is like. Since she hit seventy she has been gallivanting around the world as often as her pension will allow, squandering my inheritance on trips to New Zealand one year, swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos the next.

    My sisters and I have been planning to put her in home for years but we can't catch her.

  136. @Leni

    I have a Twitter account on which I have never posted anything. However, I have a number of followers, who may have confused me with someone of the same name.

  137. Well, that was a cracking cup tie at Elland Rd.

    Anyway, now that all the important stuff on the agenda has been seen to, what's all this trivial nonsense the girls have been chin- wagging about? ;-)

  138. leni
    "Does anybody here tweet -"

    nah.........i just tend to squelch......

    i'm not a bad shot with a molotov.......and i played tomb raider once, so that qualifies me for an uzzi i reckon...

  139. twitter, so far has been a technological advance too far for me.

    Actually, smart phones. Any internet connected phones have passed me by. I spent far too much time on the bloody internet anyway. Most of the day at work, most evenings.

    The last thing I need is to get bleeped when I get emails when I am travelling between the two, or doing something else.

    It does provoke unease though. If I miss out on twitter does that mean I miss out on whatever comes next and then next and then next...

    Will I end up like my mum who won't go near a computer and cannot access the internet...

    Actually, that's a thought. I could be going to Maccu Picchu instead of typing this rubbish..

  140. Come the revolution the menz will be watching footie and then will expect to take over and rule the world after all the hard work is over.

    Oh bugger, we've been rumbled!

  141. spencer

    your mum should meet my dad... he's been squandering the inheritance (what little there is) on visiting countries on the axis of evil....

  142. "My sisters and I have been planning to put her in home for years but we can't catch her. "

    Made me LOL, Spencer

    Chekhov. You'll be getting a clip round the ear when I see you next! Tsk.

  143. Spencer

    Glad to hear about your mum's antics! Mine got demented & forgot all those plans she'd made about enjoying herself when my father had gone.

    As for tweeting, I can wheeze if that helps. Maybe we can do orchestral stuff together?

  144. Chekhov

    if you are a good boy we might let your be an assassin's moll - or whatever we call menz in that position.

  145. Macchu Picchu (missed an h there) is in Peru. Ancient Inca city.

    MsChin. Actually we were worried about that. My dad was over fond of whiskey and was too ill for years before he died for much travelling, and we thought she might not get the chance.
    But she has had ten years since he died and I don't know how many countries, and is still going strong.

  146. Chekhov

    Or you can wear a pinny & reload the weapons for us ...

    *ducks & runs*

  147. And another thing (grumpy old man rant) about those fucking internet phones.

    I have just been updating my blog. I like to put lots of pictures and I would like them to be bigger but I can't because, like this one, you have to do everything in a narrow band that takes up less than half of the screen.

    I just tried to make some of the thumbnails bigger and they squashed the text into very weird shapes.

    So why is it like this? My friend who helped me set it up says it is so you can read it on your phone.

    So not only do I not have a phone but my blog gets distorted for the benefit of those who do!


  148. Hmm, just popped over to Ms Penny's blog and my little inoffensive comment didn't get through ... but monkeyfish's and one or two others did!



    How much is the bus fare from Rome, btw?!!!

  149. "if you are a good boy we might let your be an assassin's moll - or whatever we call menz in that position."

    Ooooerr, that sounds like fun, do I get to wear fishnets and smoke Gauloise?

  150. mschin

    well i'm afraid i can't tell you as i shall be putting in false travel expenses claim.....;)

  151. chekov
    "Ooooerr, that sounds like fun, do I get to wear fishnets and smoke Gauloise?"

    yes and we'll let you sleep in the loft come the revolution if you play ya cards right...

  152. Bedtime for me.

    Night folks.

  153. MsChin; it would be an honour to re-load your Kalashnikov. Just don't plan the revolution for Cup Final day....you know...priorities and all that!....;-)

  154. Chekhov

    Trust you to trivialise the velvet revolution!

    NN, Spence.

  155. I'm off to me pit as well now, so it's NN from me too.

  156. "Trust you to trivialise the velvet revolution!"

    I know, sorry about that but the grimmer the news the more silly I become.
    It's my brain's default mechanism to stop me shoving my head in the oven!

  157. Oops, I've cleared the thread. I thought that was MsChins job!

    Seriously, girls, I'm just "taking the mick"...if you want me to re-load your weapons I will oblige!

  158. Just picked up message from Paul on waddya.

    Thanks for music - - he is having problems posting here.

    Sorry it's a bit late Paul if you can read this. x