30 January 2011


Hope has two beautiful daughters.  Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
-Augustine of Hippo 


  1. Checkhov

    "Err...so I'm a "neo-con" am I?"

    No, you're not and that was my whole point vis-a-vis your defence of the two I got right (Bracken & NapK).

    It still seems that the 'international community' refuses to tell their mate Mubarak to step down. Instead it's about 'restraint' (as if the demonstrators and Mubarak occupy the same moral ground).

    I don't know if anyone saw PetraMB on one of the Guardian articles yesterday spreading fear of 'Islamisation' of Egypt (basically anything but Arab autonomy is fine in her fascist view), but interestingly she cited some unconfirmed report about the possibility of Mubarak ending up in Tel-Aviv! I doubt it, but the mere fact that such an idea could be entertained shows how vile and anti-democratic the Israeli government is.

  2. I will happily admit that I do not know enough about the Middle East to make any intelligent comments, so perhaps others will fill the gap.

    America and Britain and the West generally will back any regime which provides stability for big business to operate and plan. So, it is never concerned with how those regimes treat their people. They are simply the victims, the collateral damage of global money-making. There has never been a government anywhere in the world which has been too corrupt, too abusive of its people, too criminal in its activities for it to be considered beyond the pale by banks and business.

    However, there are now "popular uprisings" in Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen and Algeria.

    Apparently, America has backed Mubarak for thirty years and poured billions of its taxpayers' money into supporting him and keeping him in place, but has, over the last three years, been clandestinely plotting for his overthrow and removal.

    So, what is America's masterplan in all this?

    Iran, as Tony Blair keeps telling us through the medium of the Chilcot Inquiry, is the inevitable, necessary and unavoidable target for the next phase of American military and strategic firepower.

    What is America hoping to achieve in the region?

    More pertinently, once the American plans all start to collapse and cause unforeseen problems and work out in ways which were never intended, what will happen?

    More broadly, what happens on a wider scale when people, with the benefit of worldwide instant mass media, see that corruption and brutality and excess seem to be features of all governments and that people are forever robbed blind to fund the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous?

    What happens when people lose their fear of the state and the state becomes fearful of the people?

  3. I notice 'extremisim' is being talked up olching, William Hague has put his five penn'orth in too, according to the groan. Could backfire badly on the Egyptian people if the army use fears of islamism to crack down. A dangerous moment is looming and I'm really worried the US, UK, Israel et al will just be looking at their own interests and screw the Egyptian people.

  4. Could we, perhaps, one day arrive at a state where the rich are not idolised and envied and emulated, but scorned and abused and ridiculed?

    A state where, effectively, we view them the way they view us, to correct the lopsided love we have for them and the contempt they have for us?

    A couple of nice quotes regarding the forthcoming UK Uncut protests against the filthy tax-fiddlers:

    Dannie Wright, spokesman for UK Uncut, said:

    "While we rush to complete our tax forms, rich corporations and individuals are getting away with billions of pounds of tax every year.
    "They can employ armies of lawyers and accountants to exploit legal loopholes and dodge billions in tax.

    "The Government insists that drastic public spending cuts and a hike in VAT are essential, but they will hit the poor and vulnerable the hardest, while the richest dodge tax with virtual impunity."

    Paul Maloney, national officer of the GMB union, said:

    "GMB welcomes and applauds the campaign by UK Uncut to move the issue of tax avoidance and tax evasion into the centre of the political stage and to challenge the double standards that have until now been accepted as central to economic policy and official attitudes to incomes and taxation in the UK and other developed countries.

    "For the multimillionaire elite we are asked to buy the line that, unless they are paid vast and increasing fortunes and are allowed to pay little tax, this will be damaging to the economy.

    "For the rest of us we are asked to buy the line that, unless we accept pay freezes and increased taxation, this will be damaging to the economy. This is pure double standards and it is no longer acceptable."

  5. "For the multimillionaire elite we are asked to buy the line that, unless they are paid vast and increasing fortunes and are allowed to pay little tax, this will be damaging to the economy.

    "For the rest of us we are asked to buy the line that, unless we accept pay freezes and increased taxation, this will be damaging to the economy. This is pure double standards and it is no longer acceptable."

    That's really well formulated, except the 'buying the line' part - it's not really a lie.

    Business and wealth can migrate to whichever territory suits it best. That's not rhetoric, it's just the way it is - we have no jurisdiction over other countries' taxation policy, and plenty of places will welcome our millionaires and companies with open arms.

    The problem is that we have globalised business without a globalised regulatory body.

  6. Bitterweed

    Yes, I am annoyed that I missed him on DID - especially when I had tried to remember from last week.

  7. Vizzo

    I don't think a "line" is the same as a "lie".

    I think it is more a slightly fuddled notion which is fostered in order to distract attention.

    Firstly, to the degree that you are right, the point should be that people remind legislators that they are there - in the lovely model of democracy we seek to export and impose everywhere, anyway - to represent the mass of people who elect them, not a favoured and already over-privileged and beneficially-legislated few.

    Secondly, these rules of taxation policy and legislation are just concoctions which are knocked together, mainly by people who are the lackeys and lickspittles of those who benefit from them, and are not immutable or sacred.

    To change them, as you say, to control and regulate globalisation, is not like trying to neutralise gravity or hobble the speed of light.

    It is something which could actually be done.

    Obviously, we would need to stop abasing ourselves at the altar of richness and business first.

  8. Joint statement from France, Germany and the UK

    We are deeply concerned about the events that we are witnessing in Egypt. We recognize the moderating role President Mubarak has played over many years in the Middle East. We now urge him to show the same moderation in addressing the current situation in Egypt.

    We call on President Mubarak to avoid at all costs the use of violence against unarmed civilians, and on the demonstrators to exercise their rights peacefully.

    It is essential that the further political, economic and social reforms President Mubarak has promised are implemented fully and quickly and meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

    There must be full respect for human rights and democratic freedoms, including freedom of expression and communication, including use of telephones and the internet, and the right of peaceful assembly.

    The Egyptian people have legitimate grievances and a longing for a just and better future. We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections.

    Ah...his "moderating role"....I wonder what the Egyptian people would say have to say about that...not to mention the Palestinians. Playing the western game for them whilst vigorously shafting his own people.

    All this sudden concern for the 'legitimate interests' of E's people reeks to high heaven of self interest - they've never shown the slightest interest in it before. Fucking fuckers....

  9. @Sheff

    It's fence sitting. They'll cut Mubarak adrift soon enough.

  10. Sheff

    Netanyahu is now saying I must maintain friendly ties with Egypt.

    difficult to see full picture but this is about the Egyptian people. They initiated this and the outcome will impact most upon them - how many of them are already in prison we don't know.

    There will be fall out in the region and beyond.

    As to our own politicians - as usual they are simply making noises - since when have they been interested in human rights and a better life for people. As to 'Mubarak's moderating presence' - hardly worthy of comment.

    There is a lot of reshuffling going on behind the scenes in the power game - it will not be about the 'legitimate interests' of the E people or any other ordinary folk anywhere.


    I read Petra thingy's comments last night - certainly trying to introduce idea of evil Muslims etc. One of her obsessions

  11. From a micro-blogging site which is not the one that makes little baby-bird noises:

    “I don’t understand how the people of Tunisia overthrew their government without me signing an e-petition or changing my Twitter avatar.”

    More to the point, did these insurrectionists get the approval of the Guardianistas and CiFerati before they took to the streets?

    Or were these global opinion-formers and analysts somehow - however improbably and embarrassingly - kept out of the loop?

    How long will it be before we hear a certain party declare: "Oh, I saw this coming all along. I actually predicted it when I was at the opera with 700 of my close friends, who are all ambassadors and hang on my every word.

    "Especially my favourite: "Would you like tea or coffee, your Sirship?"

  12. Netanyahu is now saying I must maintain friendly ties with Egypt.

    Too right he will Leni - they could be up shit creek depending on how things pan out.

    In the meantime the Brits will be worrying about their investments:

    March 2010 - UK-Egypt Trade Partners

    Note that: "The single largest UK investment in Egypt in 2009 was made by UK’s Actis who invested US $244 million in Egypt’s Commercial International Bank to become the Bank’s single largest shareholder."

  13. It is something which could actually be done.

    I agree, but in practice it does seem just a shade less difficult than reversing gravity. The political will it would require, and the faith that many different electorates would need to have in a trans-national body (like the UN, say), are hard to envisage even theoretically, let alone practically.

    Look at the fallout from the 2008 crisis - far from shifting perceptions about global capitalism, we've barely managed to even reign in the specific high-risk practices which led to the crisis in the first place. (good Observer editorial about this today)

    Global regulation not only can happen but needs to happen, I just find it difficult to have any optimism with things as they stand.

  14. from groan updates:

    Modern US tanks are being deployed on the streets of Cairo for the first time, my colleague Peter Beaumont just told in a phone call from the streets. He counted seven as we talked. It appears to confirm rumours that some of the elite combat troops are being moved to Cairo from their units in the desert, he said

    People clearly sense that something different is going on. People feel very uncomfortable about all these tanks trying to enter the square," Peter Beaumont reports from Tahrir Square.

    Moment of truth....

  15. Moment of truth....

    Indeed, sheff. Hadn't realised when I saw you yesterday that my sister & brother in law are on holiday in Egypt, celebrating his birthday. They were evacuated from the centre of Sharm to a safer place yesterday - not sure of details yet as communications aren't good, obviously.

  16. We are happy to think that people in an individual sense must be subject to regulation and control. If we left people to their own devices, they would just smash up the lovely world and go on a rampage of raping and pillaging.

    Even small companies - the ones governments and local authorities have the clout to bring to book - have to be told what to do, otherwise they would pollute the rivers and kill their staff and sell poison disguised as hearty microwavable ready-meals.

    So, what happens, what strange metamorphosis occurs when banks and businesses get too big to be controlled, when they become something which would be harmed irreparably by the same laws and limits which are so good and so necessary for everyone and everything else?

    Or is that simply a line or a lie which they spin the credulous people, aided and abetted by their pet politicians?

    From the Observer link:

    Presenting the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's report last week, chairman Phil Angelides declared the turmoil of the financial crisis had been all-too avoidable. It was the result, he concluded, "of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone awry". He added: "The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public." It was, the commission had decided, "a big miss, not a stumble". Some of the findings, which uncovered illegal irregularities, have been passed to the police.


    As for the bankers themselves, they demonstrated at the World Economic Forum in Davos their belief that the time for investigations, apologies and banker-bashing is over. They must get on with the job of financing recovery without any further regulation or public scrutiny. The Conservative party leadership appears sympathetic to the bankers' pleas and for some months has been negotiating "Project Merlin", a deal in which the government calls off all "banker-bashing" in return for commitments by the banks to lend the tens of billions necessary to finance recovery, along with small steps towards more transparency in executive pay.


    The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system...

    This seems to imply that the financial system on which we all depend is not simply the property and plaything of the banks.

    It is not simply theirs to cripple or shatter or smash.

    The problem is, bankers are like toddlers and think that whatever enters their grasp is theirs.

    Governments, unfortunately, are like over-indulgent parents who foster delinquency and raise monsters who grow up to abuse them.

    Neither group can be trusted.

    They are both enemies of the people.

  17. Afternoon all

    My posting in the early hours went tits up with the wrong links attached to the wrong posts etc.

    Amongst other things i mentioned one of the knock on effects of the Egyptian situation hitting Gaza which depends on a Egypt for a lot of things including fuel.The border between Egypt and Gaza is now closed which you can read about HERE

    As others on this thread have said the events in Egypt could have a domino effect on the rest of the middle east.My fear however is that as that region is already like a tinderbox there is real potential for things spiralling out of control.

  18. The spam folder really don't like me right now.Could someone dig out my latest post which has just been swallowed by it.Cheers!

  19. MsChin and Sheff, When you come down to the demo on the 26th of March will you be wanting to borrow some shoes or will you march in your clogs?

  20. If anyone is wondering why my link came from Haaretz it was simply because it was first on the list when i googled about the Egypt/Gaza border being closed.

  21. Paul

    There are reports of fewer goods getting through the tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. The tunnels have been reduced in number since Egypt started creating 'rabbit fences' in the area - deeply buried metal sheets to stop the tunnelers getting through.

    there is real anger in Gaza and in Egypt about the E gvt.'s alliance with Israel to further isolate the Gazans.

    There are reports that some prisoners in Egypt either escaped or were released returning to Gaza via the existing tunnels. Again this might be rumour trying to paint a picture of rising Islamism in the area. Egypt , as well as Israel, holds thousands of Gazan prisoners.

  22. MsC

    Hope your sister and her man are ok. They could go up to Dahab. C tells me its quiet there, or it was last night in Masbat where he is. Have texted him this morning but no response yet.

    E airforce show of strength over Tahrir Sq - but directed at whom? - People, Mubarak and his henchmen or both? Will there be a military coup? Would the conscript army follow their officers? So many questions...am sitting here with everything crossed. Muslim Brotherhood have said they'd support El Baradei negotiating with the regime. Although E's don't appear to hold him in the same respect as the west do.

  23. Paul

    I read Haaretz every day - For the last couple of months I have been reading it with some foreboding as we are at the '2 years since there was an armed conflagration' in the area stage .

  24. Sheff

    re. el Baradei - this is my question. Is he genuine or another ambitious opportunist?

    The massing of military hardware around Cairo is very worrying - but as you say their intentions are unclear.

    A bloodbath would totally alienate our posturing politicos who could not be seen supporting it - wouldn't help the E people of course. I fear that the West will leave it too late to actively support the people.

    This has concentrated all the rage which has been building in me for months - total control in the hands of the few - resources, wealth and power.

  25. from the groan

    Sensational political developments in Cairo, with reports that five opposition movements, including the key Muslim Brotherhood, have mandated Mohammed ElBaradei to negotiate over the formation of a temporary "national salvation government."

    Osama Ghazlai Harb of the National Democrsatic Front told BBC Arabic that this would be a transitional administration that would oversee the cancellation of the emergency laws and the release of all political prisoners.

    The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which has kept a low profile so far, said it was backing the demand along with other four groups.

    It seems unlikely at this stage that the Mubarak government will agree to negotiate with ElBaradei, but the publication of the demand adds a significant new element to Egypt's rapidly unfolding political crisis.

    Glimmer of hope that at last that the opposition groups are getting themselves organised.

  26. Atomboy - he chose my favourite track by Orchestra Babobab. Awesome

    Meanwhile, epic Eric

    Off to see Jerry Douglas tonight. Catch you all later.

  27. Leni

    Is he genuine or another ambitious opportunist?

    I don't know Leni - I don't think he's that popular in Egypt but people might accept him as a negotiator if he's heading up coherent transitional arrangements made up of opposition groups working together.

  28. Hi Leni

    I too have a sense of foreboding given the volatility in the region.The situation in Gaza is dreadful and the behavior of Israel on the West Bank is adding fuel to the fire.Plus there is potential for further unrest from the large Palestinian population in neighbouring Jordan.I did however read that a Syrian backed government in Lebanon may actually reign in Hezbollah and ease tensions between Lebanon and Israel.Although given the havoc the Israelis caused in Lebannon i suspect the situation there will remain somewhat fluid.And further afield the situation in Iraq and Iran is yet to be resolved.

  29. The Bidisha protection has gone completely bonkers. Having opened up for comments again they just modded mine. A completely non sarcastic, non-abusive, criticism of the piece and in particular how offensive it was to women who work in the field of obstetric medicine (disapeared by Bidisha in a move that would not disgrace a MCP from the 1950s).

    Have written to the mods to ask what the fuck was wrong with it. Don't hold out much hope.

    I wasn't surprised I got modded for calling her a grumpy wee sausage, yesterday. But I really am a bit outraged by this one as it was not rude at all.

    Mind you, I did use her surname which she apparantly doesn't like. Do you think you can get modded for calling someone by their actual, real, name?

  30. Checkhov
    "Err...so I'm a "neo-con" am I?"

    No, you're not and that was my whole point vis-a-vis your defence of the two I got right (Bracken & NapK).

    You must have me confused with someone else. I have never defended anything Bracken said or NapK for that matter.

    I might have conceded the odd point here and there but "defended" as in agreed with, no.

    besides I very rarely comment on posts by either of them since I usually haven't got a clue what they are talking about!

  31. Leni

    That last post of mine wasn't as well worded as it could have been.For as we all know Israel is responsible for the already dire conditions in Gaza likely to be made much worse with the closing of the border with Egypt.

  32. Paul

    watching 'back stories' over the last 2 years has created lots of jigsaw pieces but no overall picture.

    Jordan started removing citizenship from Palestinians post cast lead for example.

    The 'Office of the king' has made public statements that they do not want to administer WB post any peace agreement in response to calls from some Israelis to do just that. Jordan has massive internal problems politically as well as - like everyone in the region - water problems.

    They are trying to negotiate with World Bank, along with Israel, for funding for the Red-Dead canal project.

    Jordan are dependent in some ways upon agreement with Israel while at the same time trying to make the right noises about the Palestinians.

    Also, obviously, massively aid dependent.

    There is a huge amount of possible unravelling - can it be done without bloodshed ?

    The unequal status quo is being challenged big time. The evil of the situation means, as always, when one 'side' wins the possibility of loss to the other is immense.

    The purblind idiots who participate in and help maintain dictators and dispossession of the people live in a makebelieve world which tells them that it will last forever and that they can go on heaping death and misery on captive populations.

    All worms turn.

  33. MsChin and Sheff, When you come down to the demo on the 26th of March will you be wanting to borrow some shoes or will you march in your clogs?

    You cheeky git spencer! We will be wearing our best nailed boots of course. Have you ever tried to run away from the plods in clogs? We will need somewhere to park the ferrets, fighting dogs and pigeons though - will your gaff be available?

  34. Paul

    the Rafah crossing into Egypt is never open on a permanent basis.

    Even during Cast Lead it was tightly controlled - ambulances were turned back. The Gazans were completely trapped with nowhere to run.

    Centuries ago Maimonidies said the a city should only be besieged on 3 sides - allowing civilians and noncombatants to escape. a simple thesis I think.

    If we must have wars they should be fought between armies on a field of battle - far away from the rest of us.

    Residual anger against Egypt will persist for a long time in Gaza - and further afield.

    The E people are the immediate concern but the middle to long term outcomes could be disaster for many unless a lot of people come to their senses very, very quickly.

    Off to fumigate my green house - full of angry energy.

  35. Sheff
    I have just spoken to my pal in Heliopolis again. The political situation is pretty much as you posted above. The mood among people appears welcoming to any ideas (the right wing fundamentalits excluded); - but a very open approach, very willing to listen.

    He's about to go back down to the street again to hold vigil until dawn; seventh night on the trot. Last night went relatively peacefully. I asked about the police; they have "evapourated" according to my friend, BUT many of the groups protecting the corners have one or two officers in plain clothes, carrying guns, and keeping the vigils organised. They are not working in units, and they are not being controlled by their chain of command. You can conclude a number of things from that. You are absiolutely right about British, French and german governments responses. But I am very cautiously optimistic for the future. They are people of great heart, and when you consider 40% are on the poverty line, for a city of 20 million, it's testament to their strength of character they ghave finally said enough is enough without deaths running into the hundreds already. The army are deploying, at least for now, in a rather similarly cautious restrained manner. I have everything crossed for those people, a very painful change is happening, but they have been fucked over very badly for way too long. The best of luck to them.

  36. Sheff, Surely the pigeons will find their own way home?

    yeah you can put all those things at mine so long as the fighting dogs don't turn on your whippets.

  37. Spencer

    I would be outraged were you to call me Ms. Farrer.

    I like to be known only as Leni across both the known and unknown universes as this asserts my individuality and proves I am released from the patriarchal control exerted through the use of family names.

  38. Bitters

    I hope your friend and all his companions stay safe.

    a mood of optimism is good - may they be successful.

  39. Bitters

    But I am very cautiously optimistic for the future. They are people of great heart, and when you consider 40% are on the poverty line, for a city of 20 million

    I am part optimistic and part shitting bricks. As you say army is showing great restraint but am worried about what's going on in the smoke filled rooms between the senior military guys. Are the army and airforce in agreement? There's something really nauseating about seeing all that American hardware pointing at the people.

    And what's going to happen with the police when this is over? their credibility is zilch. Right now if they showed their faces they'd be lynched.

  40. Ferrets, spencer, ferrets. Am leaving the whippets in the outside lav.

  41. Shef - good question about the military. As for the polic, it sounds as if they've decided, at least some of them, that they should be standing by the people, and not the elite. But I'm sure most of them are shitting themselves; the corruption and abuse has been horendous.

  42. Bitters

    There are reports of records being removed from police stations. By the police themselves perhaps fearing retribution and revenge ?

  43. Bitters

    As for the polic, it sounds as if they've decided, at least some of them, that they should be standing by the people, and not the elite

    Some genuine I'm sure - some hoping to save their corrupt backsides.

    Some reports suggest the police are responsible for a lot of the looting - added to the violence from plain clothes plods against the protestors.

    Things seem to be changing again in Tahrir Sq with tanks re-grouping. People are getting worried and feeling less sure about the army.

  44. Sheff "There's something really nauseating about seeing all that American hardware pointing at the people."


    Like everyone else I am hoping for the best outcome and nervous of the worst.

  45. American hardware points at people across the world. It gives the people a very clear message - one that certainly will not be lost on the Egyptian people.

    still - we must keep the economy turning over. If I believed in Hell I might, just might, feel a bit happier.

  46. al jazeera saying El Baradei on his way to Tahrir Sq to announce agreement between opposition groups for him to lead transitional arrangements/unity gov. due to arrive in 10/15 minutes

  47. Leni

    Thanks for that last interesting and informative post.You're right of course that as part of it's 'understanding' with Israel the Egyptians have been restricting access-including humanitarian-on the Egypt-Gaza border.And this has caused a goundswell of ill feeling in Gaza towards the Egypt.

    Discourse about the plight of the Palestinians perhaps doesn't put as much onus as it should on the fact that the Palestinians also often get a raw deal in many Arab countries.I'm not seeking to detract from the behavior of Israel but rather recognize that the situation is more complex than many people realize.

    It's a bit like recognizing the role that Africans and Arabs played in the rounding up and transportaion of people for the slave trade.Just how complicit were they?And was their involvement primarily due to self preservation insofar as did they have a choice?

  48. I,m disappointed with you sheff.I always thought you northerners stored your coal in your outdoor privys .Therefore it's hardly a suitable place to keep your whippets!

  49. We keep our coal in the bath Paul - or we did when there was any. I thought everyone knew that.

  50. So are you coming in a coachload Sheff, or training it?

  51. Following all your posts on Egypt with interest - BW, hope your mates are safe.

    A (relatively) peaceful transition to a new government seems too good to be true, but Sheff's post gives us hope!

  52. spencer

    The UT contingent are coming down in two cars. At the last count it was MsC, Habib, me and hopefully Tim and Meerkat in one and Princess and her entourage in the other. Spike's coming over from France I believe and others are coming too.

    Talking to MsC yesterday and we thought parking up in Golders Green and getting a tube into town would be best. We need to sort out a place/time for all of us to meet up.

  53. Paul

    I read a very interesting analysis of the development of infrastructure in the slave dealing African states.

    The analyst said that infrastructure - roads, trading areas etc. were built around the Slave Trade as this was major money spinning activity in the area. It also dictated the location'relocation of small villages as people sought to find safety - away from the raiding parties.

    The legacy of the slave trade left an infrastructure inadequate to the needs of a developing world right through the 19th and 20th centuries - not helped by colonialism of course.

    Living where I do this analysis made sense to me. The transport links here were built around the movement of coal rather than people. The mineral railway which ran along the valley floor has long since gone leaving us with precipitous and often collapsing roads.

    You will often see me asking on threads for both job creation and infrastructure upgrading. People who live in towns perhaps do not understand these problems.

    The legacy of societies built around the creation of wealth for the few through the exploitation of the many blight development everywhere.

    Yes both African and Arab slave catchers and traders benefitted from the trade in people - this is undeniable. The Europeans muscled in on an already thriving business.

    I once came across a song sung by African mothers warning their children to stay away from the river as this was often the way the people catchers approached small communities. A heart rending song to listen to.

  54. I to the Vizzo

    I think you are something like OshKoshBGosh or OK123B on Dribbly, aren't you?

    If so - no, I am not BettyStanton over there.

    You could have simply asked me here and I would have told you.

    You could even pop back over there and correct your mistake, since you chose to make it in the first place, unforced.

    I do not post over there and only occasionally look in to read something if it is flagged here or sometimes on a news aggregator, although I tend not to even do that if there is another, more credible source also quoted.

    I have not posted there for weeks or perhaps months and have no intention of doing so.

    I no longer regard its writers as credible in the main part nor the below the line offerings as interesting in general nor its philosophy and ideology as appealing.

    There are the odd caricature, cartoon and idiotic figures who set themselves up for ridicule, for whom it would be a disservice not to point and laugh, but otherwise I find I can very happily leave the place to its own devices.

    I know that Hank, for one, found his banning a gross injustice - quite rightly.

    I asked to be banned quite publicly in order to show that it is not the end of the world.

    You can simply go back.

    I could go back this afternoon if I chose.

    I cannot imagine a situation arising where I would choose to do so.

    Paul here (PaulBJ there) has suggested, perfectly kindly and for good reasons, that I should do so and I have always said that I prefer to remain, at the closest, some way out on the banks of the open sewer which is CiF.

    I hope I make this clear and that you will take the opportunity to pass the thrust of the message on to those who are doing rather badly over there but cannot quite untangle themselves from the lure of those who couldn't care less about them over here.

  55. Golders Green is not a bad idea.

    The parking round here becomes free after 1.30 on Saturday (if you can find a space). It might be more hassle/expensive but you could use my place as a rendezvous point if you wanted (I am five minutes from Archway tube, on the Northern Line).

    On the other hand if people are coming from all over (not just the north) somewhere more central might be better.

    In that case I would suggest the South Bank, it is just over the Hungerford (pedestrian) bridge from the Embankment. And hopefully would be a bit less overwhelmed with people than anywhere near the Embankment north of the river.

  56. Small correction or amendment.

    I have certainly not logged in my mind the last time I posted on CiF and cannot even remember my last name there.

    However, I would change the above "weeks or months" to read something like "quite a few months".

    At a guess, perhaps something like late Summer last year.

    I don't know because I don't care, so this is just to try to help the feeble-minded, like EnglishHelmet, who thought anyone he didn't like - and therefore tried to get banned - was GIYUS.

  57. The US is offering flights out to its embassy staff. Why now?

  58. From Reuters:

    Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told thousands of protesters in central Cairo on Sunday that an uprising against Hosni Mubarak's rule "cannot go back".

    "You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back," he told cheering crowds who responded "down with Mubarak". "We have one main demand -- the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage, a new Egypt."

    "I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience, change is coming in the next few days," he said.


    However, an al Jazeera reporter said that there was a feeling amongst many people that the fear of change and the current turmoil seemed to make them wish for the certainties of the past (the past of literally a few days ago), however brutal and corrupt and abusive.

    Fear of the unknown is potent.

    However, both in 1989 and now, we can see how speedily repressive regimes can be toppled, even when they have been in place for generations and are backed by one or other of the most powerful countries on earth.

    Should the pinkly scrubbed and sleek Cameron and Osborne be worried?

    If they are trying to "Do a Thatcher" can they be sure that they have the luxury of time?

  59. A few reports on agents provocateurs in Egypt here.

  60. Hi all. Sheff and MsC - sorry I couldn't make it yesterday. I didn't even read my emails till today (have replied to you now) so feeling very rude!

    I hadn't been online as feeling really crappy. Feeling better today but gutted I missed you yesterday - good photos.

    Very worrying what is unfolding in Egypt - you are right seeing those tanks is awful.

  61. MsC - I hope your in laws are okay. And Olching and Bitterweed that your friends are too.

    I am in awe of the bravery of the Egyptian people who have stood up to such a vile regime.

    Leap 2020 - whose monthly bulletins I always read - were predicting geo-political breakdown as far back as two years ago (they also predicted the financial crisis in 2005 - spotting exactly how it would unfold).

    Their take on the events happening around us are that partly it is to do with the slow mo collapse of the American empire. The US is broke - it can't control the ME, South America, huge swathes of Africa, make Europe do want it wants, keep Russia kettled AND deal with China all at once.

    They predict that global instability will only increase over the coming months and years as the old world order - in place since 45 - breaks apart completely.

    Interesting times indeed - also incredibly hopeful but possibly very dangerous times too.

  62. Paul

    sorry I am responding in dribs and drabs - tedious must do things getting in way.

    Looking at todays world and Egypt in particular the elite always create a state of mutual dependency . This means that a few in the dependent communities/economies will benefit way beyond their contributions to the welfare of the people.

    They cooperate first for gain and power but also from the fear of ending up at the mercy of people l;ike themselves. International self protection societies if you will.

    So Yes the African and Arab traders looked to their own advantage and also cooperated with the whites. They would also have feared losing control of their lucrative business venture.

    Once disentanglement begins the major player seeks to protect itself - its collaborators can go to the wall as long as another group can be relied upon to fill their place. If this cannot be guaranteed the big guys will support the current puppet. It is always important to ensure the wealth and power base of the puppets lest they seek to find their own way to the treasure trove.

  63. Hello Froggy

    Interesting stuff - again yet another common feature of these situations.

  64. My sister is expected home tomorrow, she & hubby are currently safe in their hotel after being rescued by a shopkeeper when rioting kicked off yesterday. Al Jazeera reporting that the miltary are moving into Sharm & other tourist resorts. It's going to be al ong night for my sister.

    In sh'Allah.

  65. Hi Leni -- agents provocs and false flag ops should really be in the schools' syllabus, part of "Civics"!

    I hear a little student activity in Khartoum too...

    Thanks for the reminder on Ha'aretz, I'll stick in me favs.

  66. MsChin

    hope all friends and relatives are safe.

    It's all on a knife edge at the moment. Very scary but also hopeful. So many things need to change - is this really the beginning ?

  67. MsC - Great news about your sister.

    Leni - I absolutely agree it is all so very hopeful but also very scary.

    Chekov - if you pop by I meant to say I have watched most of the Zeitgeist movie you posted the link to. Only got about forty minutes left. Fascinating stuff. I like the idea that they have technological and scientific answers - in other words practical answers - and not just political ideas.

    One thing they are absolutely right on is that we need to get rid of money and a demand economy - root of all evil - and aim for a more equal society that treats scarce resources with respect.

  68. Deano - Are you picking up your new companion tomorrow?

  69. Leni

    Let's hope so, on all counts!

    BIAB - mum's taxi service required.

  70. princess

    Deano is supposed to be getting Miss Heidi tomorrow, yes, but he was telling us yesterday that he fell off the wagon on hearing other good news.

  71. Will save this one here, just in case.

    30 January 2011 6:25PM

    You reckon Bidisha's been after Marina's slot?

    More likely she's feeling the pressure of young Turks like Pennyred.

    It's surely only a matter of time before Pen gets her own Cif spot, since she ticks all the right boxes - expensively educated, privileged background, talks bollocks...etc...

    Bidisha is obviously using her articles to prove she's the one and only original fruit basket, and no young upstart is gonna come along and usurp her.

    No one does loony like Bidisha. No one, ya hear?

    Not that I've read her in months. I gave up when it became obvious her threads were moderated with the kind zealotry normal reserved for ancient Holy scripts. The final nail in the coffin was Matt Seaton insulting our intelligence to claim no special moderation was in place for her risible pish.

  72. Any news of James in South America, anyone?

  73. Hi Princess; indeed, if you watch the movie through to end you will get what I meant about lobbing all your "isms" into the bin. They just become irrelevant, not to say useless.

  74. Should the pinkly scrubbed and sleek Cameron and Osborne be worried?

    Well its an object lesson in people power they certainly won't like. Although I doubt we'll see anything similar from the British public - unfortunately.

  75. Sheff

    Although I doubt we'll see anything similar from the British public - unfortunately.

    No, I don't think so, either, although the ConDem regime seems to have drummed up protests pretty quickly and does not seem to have the support which would have seemed inevitable for anyone taking over from the previously most hated government in living memory.

    Maybe people have finally come to see that waiting five years in the hope that getting "our chaps" in will change things is a waste of life for everyone, most of whom have lives of varying degrees of shittiness because governments only ever pretend to have any interest in them for the brief period of the election process.

    If people came to see that they have more in common with the poor and abused of Egypt or Yemen than they will ever have with Osborne and Cameron and that they will never become global pop-tarts or lottery winners, who occupy separate spheres and have no affinity with the sticky drudgery of normality, maybe they would behave differently.

    Perhaps they would do what the cheerleaders of unbridled, unregulated capitalism and the global cult of me recommend and just grab whatever they want and bugger the consequences to anyone else.

    The problem is, those same cheerleaders might then find themselves filleted and strung across the branches of a tree.

    It sometimes comes down to being less about what you have to gain and more about what you have to lose.

  76. There's something really nauseating about seeing all that American hardware pointing at the people.

    American hardware points at people across the world. It gives the people a very clear message - one that certainly will not be lost on the Egyptian people.

    It nauseates me, as well. All the more so because of the guilt of being part of it. Time and time and time again we do this shit all over the world and then we have the fucking gall to pretend we don't understand why people all over the world hate us.

    Too many Americans think that brown people with names we can't pronounce who live in countries we can't locate on a globe only have the right to the government we want them to have.

    I hope this all comes back to bite us in the arse in a very serious way.

  77. BTW; hello everyone, I am guessing most people on here wouldn't mind giving this article 15 or twenty minutes of their time.


    BTW 2; I could be in the London area around the end of March anyway but if not does anyone have room for me in their car if I can make it to Sheffield?

  78. PCC - sadly have had to postpone bringing her home till monday week.

    My over zealous falling off the wagon, at the great news that my son's lovely wife is pregnant, last night resulted in my having to visit A&E and having a catheter fitted to deal with the dreaded old man's problem of "retention" which somehow resulted from several and a few pints interacting with some new medication I was taking for a bladder problem........

    Should be sorted by next Saturday/Sunday so have arranged to collect the lovely little dog asap thereafter

    That'll teach me to stay on the wagon for 7 months!

  79. Yea - come in James hope all is well with you?

  80. Chekhov

    I too am watching in bits.

    I like the 'put it all back in the box bit' but yet again the notion that we only borrow rather than own is ancient.

    Back in the 11th and 12 centuries there movements across christian europe to impose poverty on the papacy , rich abbots and the priests.

    This suggestion came from the completely impoverished who thought a bit of sharing might be in order. They pointed to the teachings of Jesus - and quted bits like'store not up treasures on Earth' etc.

    The wise theologians had an answer - the palaces, the gold drinking cups and all the other trappings of wealth did not belong to Popey or the Abbots - they merely borrowed them while they held high office. They therefore did live in poverty as they owned nothing.

    Not a very satisfactory reply for the starving but quite clearly unargueable !

  81. Montana

    It is difficult to assess how things will move with regard to time, especially when things like peak oil and global warming and resource depletion are neither exact nor even particularly accepted areas of enquiry.

    However, once things start to slide, they often pick up a momentum of their own and become impossible to stop.

    How many people in America do you think even remotely accept the idea that maybe their country is on a downward spiral?

    Far from America policing and ravaging the world, once the process starts, it will find it impossible to control its own people, let alone the monsters of terra incognita.

  82. Deano

    Sorry to hear about your problems, but at least they are running hand-in-hand with joys to come.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  83. deano
    Words fail ... well almost: you ***** ******!

  84. Deano

    Commiserations but you are a silly beggar.

    take care of yourself - new grandchild on the way and Miss Heidi waiting for you.

    Love xx

  85. However, once things start to slide, they often pick up a momentum of their own and become impossible to stop.

    Think that moment may have come for the middle east and not before time. Couple of interesting opinion pieces in Haaretz from Gideon Levy and Shaul Arieli comments are bonkers though!

  86. From chekhov's New Yorker article:

    Paul J. H. Schoemaker and J. Edward Russo gave questionnaires to more than two thousand executives in order to measure how much they knew about their industries. Managers in the advertising industry gave answers that they were ninety-per-cent confident were correct. In fact, their answers were wrong sixty-one per cent of the time. People in the computer industry gave answers they thought had a ninety-five per cent chance of being right; in fact, eighty per cent of them were wrong. Ninety-nine per cent of the respondents overestimated their success.

    From Montana's thread heading yesterday:

    Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.

    - Laurens van der Post

    From today's Observer editorial:

    Presenting the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's report last week, chairman Phil Angelides declared the turmoil of the financial crisis had been all-too avoidable... "The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public."


    As usual, the interesting bits of life are less to do with what you are sure you know and more to do with what you find out you don't know.

  87. Twittering stuff:

    'MalakElzahed RT @AJELive: #Egypt army has just told the crowd gathering at Tahrir Square that military will not go against the people'

    Let's hope that this is true.

    'ximoberna RT @Front_News: Flat owners in Tahrir Square open their bathrooms to demonstrators and feed people camping'

    The spirit of human kindness is not dead.

  88. Cheers AB - the good wishes from UT friends are always a pleasure.

    At my age I should have predicted the problem........but hey ho the bitter was nectar..... and my happiness at the family news was deep.

    The swift six pints just slipped down and then on to the wine back at the van ........it was plain silly really.

    Early night for me. Saturday nights in A&E are noisy so I didn't get any sleep whilst I was waiting to see a Consultant this morning/lunchtime before I could persuade them to let me home to the
    van to see Mungo.

    Unusually, but fortiously. I had an old friend staying over with me so somebody was on hand to get me down to A&E. Inability to piss from a very full bladder sure hurts.......I was is such agony I was thinking of sticking a knitting needle up me dick but fortunately I couldn't find one!

  89. Hi All--Been away at memorial service and wake. Went quite well under the circumstances and a good turnout for the lady which was quite heartwarming to see.

    Also watching events in Egypt with interest. Really would like to see things go well for the people after too many years of oppression.

    deano--Take good care of yourself my man. You'll need to be healthy to welcome the new adoptee to your home.

    Bitters--Good performance from you, navro and others with the musical offerings of late. Still catching up on them now.

  90. Deano - Sorry to hear about your ailments upon falling off the wagon. However huge congratulations on the good news that caused said fall!

    I hope you are not in too much discomfort and can welcome Miss Heidi next week instead.

    I meant to say the other day re our conversation about collies - my stepfather won't be getting a collie - he loves them but he knows they need lot of exercise and of course he can't provide that. He is from Snowdonia and grew up with collies and fox terriers on the farm. He thinks they are the kings and queens of dogs (collies that is, not foxies who he admits are mad) but if he does get a support dog it will be a lab or retreiver probably. He is still in two minds though.

    Chekhov - I am hoping to finish watching tonight or tomorrow. Will get back to you.

    Am offski for a while to have some supper. If I don't get back by later, a good night is wished for all.

  91. Chin/Leni....xxxx. Thanks me dears.

    Night all.

  92. @Leni; yeah I watched the "Zeigeist" movie in bits too. It's the best way to watch it. One of the benefits of viewing it on this medium is that you can rewind stuff you don't quite understand (there is a lot to take in) and it's a long film.

    It's a brilliantly conceived, scripted and photographed piece of work.

    Does it have flaws? Quite possibly but I would urge anyone who decides to watch it to wait until they have seen the whole package before "cherry picking" bits to debate.

  93. How many people in America do you think even remotely accept the idea that maybe their country is on a downward spiral?

    I'd be reluctant to try to guess at a percentage, but I'd say precious few. Perhaps next to none. I'd imagine that most of my compatriots feel that this is just another temporary blip and that we'll soon be 'back' to being Numero Uno. A lot of Americans really do believe that this country has special status with 'God'.

  94. Montana

    Yes, it was a bit of a silly question. Up there with, "Do you know John from London?"

    When you say God, though, do you mean Mr Beardy of SkyCloud or His Permatan of LyingFuckwit?

    Not that either of them will arrest the decline of empire, of course.

  95. BTW: if anyone has not come across it before;"The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell is worth a read if only 'cos we might be on the verge of one!
    Would it be too much of a stretch to compare what is going on in the Middle East to the fall of the Berlin Wall?

    Don't expect any intellectual analysis from me, my instincts are purely visceral!

  96. The only thing that surprised me about the Biddy article - I've come to expect rambling comment bait in the TFTD slot - was one commenter mentioning that it appears in the dead wood Guardian. What? The? Fuck?

    Such woeful crud online makes a measure of sense. Whether it's Biddy, MacShane, Penny Dreadful or whoever, a half-intelligible partisan screed provokes streams of comments and page hits.

    Having it in the paper itself just makes the Guardian look like clueless cunts who wouldn't know quality control if it bit them on the bell-end. Good grief.

  97. What I want to know about the end of Empire is how long it takes for the delusions to go after the actual institution?

    The Spanish and Portuguese were the big boys once upon a time but they don't seem to have British ideas about "punching above their weight," these days. They seem quite relaxed about being, well, Spain and Portugal, for the most part.

    Of course, they did go through periods of being impoverished backwaters and spells of theocratic dictatorship in the interim.

    I do hope that we don't have to go through that before we can just be content with being Britain or the British bit of Europe.

  98. Just did a long post and bloody lost it.

    Anyway, the gist was, to Eddie. I don't think the Bidisha phenomenon is about hits. If it was they would not moderate so many posts. It just puts people off, and they have been really crazy this time.

    And also there has been a radical feminist current in the Guardian for decades. There was a time when, strangely, the Women's Page was mostly pretty sensible with articles by sane feminists like Lynne Segal and even women like Suzie Bright, whilst in the main body of the paper you got Sheila Jeffreys (who makes Julie Bindel look sane) ranting about how sadomasochists were all evil and how women who had sex with men were internalising their own opression.

    So it looks to me like there is someone with power in the Guardian who is at heart an unreconstructed radical feminist who has not materially changed their views (as it could be a man though that is less likely) since about 1983.

    And this is clearly not just one person as, for example, Jessica does not seem to be able to see what the problem is with Bidisha. I am not saying that she is a mad radical feminist too, just that a certain group-think has developed in the Guardian with regard to feminist issues.

    And not in a good way.

  99. Evening all

    Drive-by post. Busy working/doing my accounts all weekend and only just found the time to relax a bit. And it all starts again tomorrow. I don't feel as if I have anything remotely resembling a weekend. Ah well.

    Great news about Deano's impending grandfatherhood. Congrats to all. Sorry to hear that you had problems this weekend though, Deano. Hugs x

    Been keeing one eye on the Egytian developments. It is bizarre and hilarious to listen to the way in which it is being portrayed over here by the Establishment.

    Hope everyone is well - gonna watch something mindless on TV for a while then crash, I think.


  100. Well said Spencer, my sentiments exactly.

    BTW: thanks to Heyhabib and Paul and Leni for sticking up for me when Olching accused me of being a "neo-con".

    I despise the "neo-cons" and the "neo-liberal consensus" and then Olching has the nerve to turn up at the beginning of this thread and say I'm not a "neo-con" but a defender of Peter Bracken.

    Where does he get this shit from? Peter Bracken is a "neo-con" masquerading as a "New Labour" apparatchic with his convoluted prose about the "deluded left".

    Anyway if Olching can't find any evidence in the archive on this site to prove his point, he could try CIF.
    I'll buy him a pint for any provable instance of me being a "neo-con"!

  101. chekhov

    I don't think - on rereading - that Olching did accuse you of being a dreaded Neo-Con.

    You're not one anyway so don't worry about it. x

  102. Spence

    A radical feminist current in The Graun? A welcome interlude for me in between watching Al Jazeera & looking for messages on Facebook / mobile phone.

    Ok. First, can we make a distinction between the radical lesbian [separatist] feminists (Jeffreys et al) and the radical feminists, which could include people like myself (ie: not liberal)?

    And Jessica Reed is French, so may have a very different take on feminisms.

  103. sheff and MsChin - just a quick drive by. We're definitely coming to the March protest. It'd be great to go together, but if that's hassle for anyone let us know and we'll make an alternate arrangement.

    I've got mountains of work to plough through at the mo, and won't be online much for the next fortnight or so. [Plus, let's face it, I don't seem to be able to post without getting into a massive fight with the world right now! :-)]

    MsChin's got my email addie, and I'm happy for her to pass it onto to you if there's anything that needs arranging.

  104. @Leni: OK... maybe I got hold of the wrong end of the stick!

  105. MsChin

    Fair enough, though you surely must concede that the term has become colonised by people of the ilk of Julie Bindel and Shiela Jeffreys to the point that that is what it conveys to most people. Andrea Dworkin and Mary Daly in the states, Sheila Jeffreys over here.

    I can see it is a bit unfair, especially as they would probably call themselves revolutionary feminists (certainly Jeffreys used to).

    And socialist feminists don't seem to suffer the same problem because Bea Campbell calls herself one.

    But I have to say I have not heard a reasonable sounding feminist call herself a radical feminist for a long time (I mean until now).

  106. meerkat

    Will be emailing folk over the next few days, either directly or via Montana, as we need to arrange a lot of stuff before we go including where we are all meeting in London :)

    And you & that Simmons chap have been included in the plans (such as they are!) along with habib & chekhov.

  107. *Big sigh of relief*

    My sister has stopped shaking, the military have ceased flying overhead and the streets of Sharm are quiet for now. Just hope that tomorrow goes ok & she gets home safe.


    But all feminists are radical - that's the whole point of feminism, isn't it?
    And I think feminism has moved on a bit since the 80s, I mean there are post-feminists, eco feminists and fourth wavers and stuff now .. what's in a label?

  108. MsChin. Well I think that is sophistry to be honest. If names are adopted by specific groups and everyone starts calling them by those names, it becomes a shorthand.

    I mean, we know what gay means, though you still get the old crustacean complaining that they cannot use it any more to describe happy people.

    But as a label most people agree what it means, even though they know it simultaneously means something else.

    Seems to me that radical feminism is like that. What you say is true, that it needs to be radical if it is to mean anything (and not be some half baked "Christian conservative feminism" or whatever). But it has come to mean the feminism of Sheila Jeffeys and Julie Bindel et al. And so it is a term that people generally understand when you use it in that sense.

    If you want to have a fightback and reclaim the term though, I am not arguing with you.

    Then obviously I need another term for shorthand. Actually I do have one, because the term I mostly use is "anti-sex feminism" as opposed to "pro-sex feminism."

    But the problem with that is that as you point out yourself, things have moved on from the 80s and that is no longer the overriding issue/obsession. Half the time Bidisha, for example is not going on about sex or sexuality at all, but the concrete ceiling that stopped her getting a well paid writing job until she was 14. Or whatever.

    So it seems an inadequate term to describe that current in the Guardian.

  109. I know, Spence, I was just sayin' like.

    Seriously though, it annoys me that the likes of Bindel, Jeffreys, Liz Kelly et al have seized the radical terminology & made it their own, and that the media played a part in that. Liz Kelly & Bea Campbell are both on the Women's National Commission (now being binned by the ConDems), so representing women's interests(!). And so the voice of more reasonable feminists is diminished and feminism becomes divisive and the subject of derision.

  110. Liz Kelly! I didn't know that. I used to know her in Norwich.

  111. Christ, I just looked her up. She has a CBE now.

    In the immortal words of the Grateful Dead...

    "What a long, strange trip it's been!"

  112. As a woman I no longer know what feminism means.

    I believe in equality for all - equality cannot exist as a concept unless it applies to all.

    When we ask for equality we are asking for equality to what or to whom ?

  113. David Azoulay asks for special Border Patrol unit to prevent illegal immigration via Egyptian border, says situation "worse than we imagined." Members of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee toured the Egyptian border with Israel on Sunday, as part of efforts to gauge the issue of illegal migration cross the country's porous border with the Sinai Peninsula.

    During the visit, committee head MK David Azoulay (Shas) called on the government to deploy the IDF on the border with Egypt, and form a special Border Patrol unit that will police the area. He also met with Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevy, who spoke to Azoulay about how the migrants issue has affected the southern Israel city. (J Post )

    Coincidence ? Reason to deploy army in area ?

  114. Spence

    Liz Kelly has succeeded in getting some seriously warped stuff into the mainstream. She was teaching/researching at Leeds Met Uni in the 80s and Bindel was one of her acolytes there (did research for Kelly and studied for a Masters, I think). They had a massive influence on women's organisations in West Yorkshire.


    Know what you mean. One of the main criticisms from European scholars has been that the lack of a clearly articulated goal for modern feminism and especially for a gender mainstreaming strategy, which is central to EU social policy.

  115. I was just reading an interview with Liz Kelly. There is a bio at the start. It was interesting because she mentions having a daughter and going to Norwich but not a word about the fact that she used to have a husband. He is just left out altogether.

    I knew Mick better than Liz as we were in the a Central America solidarity group together. Nice guy. Climate scientist at UEA. Funny that she kept his name.

    Leni. I suppose everything that I said for the term "radical feminism" could also apply to just "feminism." At least in the minds of many people.

    I don't view feminism as the sort of thing represented by Bidisha et al at all. But that is probably because I have read a lot of stuff by other feminists, who I really respect.

    But that is not true for everyone.

  116. Spencer

    Would be interesting to have a further natter about this sometime.

    I'm off to my pit now, so NN from me.

  117. Because I have forgotten to ask this for months, I shall do it now before I forget again.

    Does anyone/everyone else think that the Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy was a steaming pile of doo-doo, only marginally less badly written and idiotically plotted than Dan Brown's hilarious howlers?

    Why does "Make me into a film - or at least a television series" have to queasily drip with clotted predictability from every page of every book now written?

  118. Oh, thank you very much!

    I come back and everyone fucks off.

  119. Only joking!



    Here is my attempt at a punctuation person:


  120. The author is a crippling imbecile. May his silence be prolonged as much as possible.

    Above addressed to Julian Glover - is it unkind?

  121. Atoms

    I tried to read Dragon Tattoo - became terminally bored around page 20 - have not read any more of it.

    Dan Browne - also very tedious and unfinished.

    Not much more to be said really.

  122. @AB

    I have the first Larsson book, after Amazon spent a year recommending it to me, and took a brief look at it. I wasn't inspired at the time; perhaps I'll have another go.

  123. (If you manage to catch this tomorrow) Spence, I like a bit of hot rad fem action as much as the next man. I'll countenance any argument, as long as it's put forward in a coherent, readable fashion.

    The problem is what's being offered up by the likes of Biddy, Campbell and Penny Dreadful is neither coherent nor readable. Biddy seems to be aiming for feminist agit prop and ends up sounding like someone knocking out 200 hundred words with one hand and clipping their toenails with the other.

    Laurie made a solid start, before descending into adjectival incontinence, with a series of faux radical vignettes, starring herself. The problem with both of them is they read like careerists making the right noises, not people with a burning desire to change things. You can feel it in most of what they write.

    The best way to explain this is to look at what happens when your own buttons have been pushed. Think of anything here or on CiF that has animated you greatly - either an issue or the way an issue has been handled ATL/discussed BTL. Your dander is up (ooh missus).

    One thought provokes another. The various notions begin to coalesce. Your argument is pretty much clear and formed by the time you start typing. After that, it's just a matter of getting everything down before the wave of adrenaline/anger/alcohol subsides. You see it in posts every day. And remember, these are unpaid non-professional writers, who will take only one run at it.

    I don't get any of that from many of the CiF Young Turds. Bidisha sounds bored with herself and her subject matter. Laurie sounds like she's creating a romanticized revolution with herself front and centre.

    And that's the sadness for me. It feels like self-promotion rather than radicalism. The Graun seems to have degenerated into adopting the most beguiling identity politics unicorns they can find. A strong persona and a massive ego are fine, but you better have the intellectual chops (e.g. Greer) or literary brio (e.g. Burchill) to carry the reader along with you.

    In fairness, the phenomenon of ego overshadowing argument is hardly confined solely to the Graun's gender discussions. But it does a disservice to both reader and cause whenever and wherever it happens.

    All I'm getting from it all these these days is jargon, anecdotes and ego tripping. Fucked if I can remember a single decent argument they've made.

  124. It's come to something when the Daily Mail is reporting the scandal of poor quality care for the elderly whilst the Guardian does fuck all.Requested that something be done on waddya but as per nothing so far .Their piece on book covers was a blast though.And yes before anyone says anything i know i need to lower my expectations of the Guardian.But it still grates.People can read the DM article HERE.

  125. deano

    Congratulations on your good news and i'm sorry the celebrations backfired on you.Take care!

    @a final track from Yesteryear!

    Nite all