13 February 2011


What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
-Thomas Paine


  1. orning all!
    Re last night

    Hank - lets look at the word liberty :

    Lets start with a dictionary definition (from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/) the freedom to live as you wish or go where you want
    This definition implies both political and economic liberty, it has the same meaning as “freedom”. The Egyptians had neither political nor economic liberty”

    as David Petegorsky says in Left Wing Politics and the English Civil War”:
    But what the middle class sought for itself it was anxious to deny others. For itself it demanded freedom from restriction and interference; for the proletariat it wanted a discipline as rigorous as that from which the middle class was striving to escape.

    And The rank and file of the army soon recognised that the Freedom and Liberty that the capitalist farmer talked of meant unrestricted rights to exploit them. To the merchant it meant the right to build his wealth on the labour of others and to the owners of property it meant passing laws to further protect their property.To the common people it meant freedom from fear, insecurity and release from poverty. To the artisan and petty tradesman, peasant or agricultural labourer it was freedom from those very freedoms demanded by the wealthy.

    The definition you are using relates very specifically to Liberalism. - The rights of capitalists and merchants to exploit the poor and the rights of the wealthy to protect their property

    It is just possible that many of the Egyptian protesters wanted the dictionary definition

    A very long time ago the BBC had a programme on the Home Service (now R4) called the brains trust. One of its participants was a guy called Professor Joad he was famous for starting almost every answer with the words ‘It all depends on what you mean by…’

    Neither you nor I know what the protestors meant by ‘Liberty’ but they may or may not be using your definition.
    However words are fluid things they can mean different things to different people, its important to define them.

    Save a lot of rows that way - some people may regret that of course! ;)

  2. Hank - last night again I guess
    You'll recall the days when you were in hermione's gang, habib.<

    So you'll know how highly I value your opinions.

    People's opinions can change I know mine have over the years. If they don't there is no point in having an argument - but you don't want arguments, discussions - you want a ROW!

  3. OMG the usual boring Sat night hate fest -

    Montana . You're a bitter little man who can't stand the thought that other people might have an easier life than you do. You don't want to lift up the less fortunate -- you just want to tear down the people you've decided are privileged

    Sad but true

  4. Good morning, anne.

    A jolly time appears to have been had by all last night. Not.

    Grey wet morning here in Yorkshire. How's Wales looking today?

  5. David Cameron has been given a blank page on The Observer to tell us, in his very own words, exactly what the Big Society is all about and how it is going to transform our lives and the prosperity of the nation.

    Here is the distilled essence:


    ... it combines three clear methods to bring people together to improve their lives and the lives of others: devolving power to the lowest level so neighbourhoods take control of their destiny; opening up our public services, putting trust in professionals and power in the hands of the people they serve; and encouraging volunteering and social action so people contribute more to their community. [...]

    For example, if neighbours want to take over the running of a post office, park or playground, we will help them. If a charity or a faith group want to set up a great new school in the state sector, we'll let them. And if someone wants to help out with children, we will sweep away the criminal record checks and health and safety laws that stop them. [...]

    As the state spends less and does less, which would be happening whichever party was in government, there would be a positive benefit if some parts of society were to step forward and do more. [...]

    We are in the process of opening up billions of pounds' worth of government contracts so charities and social enterprises can compete for the first time. The scale of this opportunity dwarfs anything they've ever had before.


    No reason why that shouldn't work like a dream.

    He has been precise and rigorously analytical, forensic, incisive and obviously careful not to let the article just dribble into PR hogwash and claptrap.

    So, perhaps we should all take him at his slippery word and get involved with pumping up the Big Society for all we are worth until it blows up in his smug and smooth pink face.

    He has said it is the central plank of his credibility and not just a throwaway soundbite.

    So, use it to whip him out of office rather than watch him cook the books and manipulate the media to pretend that this chickenshit is the going to transform society into anything other than rich men in their castles and poor men at their gates.

  6. MsChin - last night was just people being people - music was good but:)

  7. Hi MsChin Wales is similar - dull and grey - rained in the night - woke me up!

    Yes last night was the usual :(

    Worried about Hank - I think he's getting worse.

    Went to see Biutifull last night very good and very unrelentingly depressing!

    But it lacked hope... left me feeling overwhelmed by the evil of the system.

    But then within the system there is no hope for such people.

    Reminded me a bit of Dirty Pretty Things.

    Then I came home to a Sat night UT hatefest!

  8. I'm getting a bit tired of it all, tbh. Hank knows full well what my background is and how I came to be a "Surrey middle-class professional" as he so eloquently put it, because we had a long email chat about it nearly 2 years ago now, after his first little dig at me. He seems to have forgotten all that. Well, the only bit he remembers is me being supposedly supported by my husband, which is a pretty skewed way of discounting the debts that we, as a couple, built up in order to secure a better future for ourselves as a family after he nearly died of heart disease when our lad was only a baby.

    But one thing I will never - NEVER - put up with is this fucked-up idea that, because I am a "middle-class professional" I somehow manage to work cash in hand and don't declare my revenue to the tax man. Considering Hank is a middle class public servant and senior level tax man himself, it is amazing that he clearly doesn't have much of a clue as to how Barristers chambers work, how the billing works, how the accounting works, nor the fact that if I was found guilty of any offence of dishonesty - even shoplifting a packet of Maltesers - I would be struck off. So cheating the tax man, even if it was in my nature to want to do so, is a complete no-go area.

    I feel sorry for him because he clearly is very, very troubled and when he gets a drink in him it just magnifies everything that is wrong in his life. Where I don't feel sorry for him is that he has decided I am all the evils in the world because I am an easy target who won't, in general, fight back. This is not an indication that I am going to fight back in the future, either, but I won't be slandered by a drunken tax collector with a cushy, safe, high-level public sector job, a solid pension, paid holidays and a chip on his shoulder the size of the pyramid of Cheops just because he can be a nice bloke when you meet him down the pub.

  9. BB - *thought-bubble* (considers-reconsiders whether to comment -crashes in anyway) - I had no idea that it was all about about you last night.

  10. Wasn't just about BB, also about Sheff and then he had a go at habib and went out of his way to 'misunderstand' me.

    Its worrying tbh.

  11. annetan42 - well, imagine it this way - a devil's advocate can be a good thing - even though the advocate is despised by many and sets themselves on fire - they illuminated dark corners.

  12. Morning all

    Hank - hows your hangover? re Hampstead versus the Chicago school, which you fancied debating last night (I'd gone to bed and only picked it up this morning - quite a night!) - would that be the Chicago school of economics, sociology or psychology, or all three? Oh, and not forgetting the Chicago school of architecture. Aint google great!


    So, use it to whip him out of office rather than watch him cook the books and manipulate the media to pretend that this chickenshit is the going to transform society into anything other than rich men in their castles and poor men at their gates.

    There are a couple of dictators going spare who'd be happy to give Cameron a few tips.

  13. parallax

    It is just more of the same. I usually ignore it if I see it, but the trope is getting tired beyond belief now, and it was time I said something.

    And yes he has started tarring Sheff with the same "middle class liberal" brush too now.

    And the enmity towards Paul and Habib in particular - well, I am not going to comment on that, tbh, but I know what I think it is.

    And yes, Anne, it is worrying. Because that is not who Hank is - or not who I thought he was anyway.

  14. parallax- a devil's advocate can be a good thing

    To be sure, but there nice and nasty ways to do it. Of course being 'nice' is so bourgeois isn't it. Personally I don't think it is. Is Cameron nice?

    Hank comes over as someone who is backed into a corner. He seems unable to see that what the events in Egypt show us is that if enough people stand up against injustice it can be defeated.

    What is needed to make the victory complete of course is a leadership and a programme that is democratically arrived at.

    Is this beginning to form and what form is it taking? This crucial. AS I said upthread it is likely that the Egyptians will go for 'western style democracy' because they have not had political freedom. This will, as I said not provide jobs, adequate incomes education and health services for the vast majority - the poor.

    Perhaps the likelihood of this is why it was peaceful because the Egyptian bourgeois could see a way of hanging onto their ascendancy using the western 'democratic' model.

    If so I have a feeling that the poor may learn quickly that they are being denied.

    What then? whatever happens its unlikely to be as peaceful - and I don't rejoice in that. Its reality though.

  15. Hi parallax

    Have no objection to a devils advocate and dark corners certainly need illuminating but when Hanks in his cups he just hacks bits off people which is not at all illuminating.

  16. annetan42 - yes I understand, but I don't think 'nice' is part of a devil's advocate's vocabulary - that's the whole point.

    [As you know I'm stoked about the popular movement in Egypt and their victory - christ I went out in 40 degree heat with a hang over to attend the Sydney solidarity rally]*

    But think of this - the people in Tahrir Sq should not be Disneyficated as cartoon characters air-kissing - if we imagine this (the personification of the blessed) we belittle them as people and imagine them as a mass - we project the idea of a perfect demonstration. They're probably the same as you, me and Hank - all wanting the same thing - but different personalities.

    I see Hank as another person in our Tahrir Sq.

    *I'm slightly pissed off that I felt I had to put this 'by-the-way' aside in - it's bullshit really that if you hail the people you ignore that people will not homogeneously like each other even though we fight the same fight.

    Enough with the don't diss- me crap - it's too village-hall

  17. Yes Sheff - I get that - but even so, the real fight is bigger than Hank

  18. "but even so, the real fight is bigger than Hank"

    It amuses me more than a bit that anyone felt they needed to write that at all....

  19. Paralax what's not nice about what Hank did yesterday is this:

    It will turn to shit, just like it did in Russia. Freedom is a lie in the corporate age. All it leads to is enslavement by a tiny elite

    Thats toxic - spreads dispair its like the people who say yes its terrible but you can't do anything about it you have to put up with it.

    What Egypt does is give people hope - yes the hope needs to come with a health warning but without hope we have nothing left but despair.

    Its not about dissing people really he can dis me all he likes its the internet ffs! Its about spreadling hopelessness and despair and ending up as actually being counter-revolutionary.

    You don't go onto the streets and stand up for your rights, you don't fight back if you are in despair you just knuckle under!

  20. Yes Sheff - I get that - but even so, the real fight is bigger than Hank

    course it is parallax - which is why I don't take offence at personal swipes, certainly not on a blog anyway.

    Talking of Tahrir Sq - people are rushing back to prevent the army from moving the core group of protestors out.

  21. Oh and being a devil's advocate is not about insulting people either. Its a tool for forcing people to re-examine their views and defend them. Hank can do this and when he does I welcome it but when he just insults people and gets negative its just not good imho.

  22. of course Meerkatjie - you would - you'd rather it was all about you

  23. parallaxview

    I see Hank as another person in our Tahrir Sq.

    I am tempted to begin by saying: "It depends what you mean by Hank and Tahrir Square..."

    However, you have said roughly what I was going to say earlier - and, basically, couldn't be bothered.

    This is just a general shoot the breeze site and Leni has rightly said that this is a valuable and necessary part of the human condition - communicating at various levels.

    Plenty of technical fora I go to do not allow you to stray from the topic at all, but that is not the case here.

    It's pretty much a free for all, with all that implies, for good and ill.

    CiF adopted the "If you cannot say something lovely and inconsequential, just fuck off! OK? I fucking hate you! Leave me alone. I'll scream the place down if you don't get out. You are so fucking banned, you bastard!"

    And that was under the relatively benign reign of Matt Seaton.

    "Freedom? Oh, freedom, well, that's just some people talking, your prison is walking through this world all alone."

    The Eagles - Desperado

    The loveliness of this post just seemed to be crying out for a wider audience than the cloistered and secluded sanctuary of Dribbly:

    13 February 2011 8:14AM

    I'm not sure why some posters are believed when they come out with a hard luck story or tell of terrible experiences while others are perceived to be liars. The truth is tthat unless you have actually met a poster face-to-face there is no way of knowing. The person going on about their fractured love life could be happily married, the poster crying ethnic discrimination could be a member of the EDL; that working class, single mother, could be an affluent middle-class male poster living in Cannes. That sick person could be pumping iron for all we know.

    I've actually had identities made up for me by people who have been judging me by their own standards. This indicates a limited experience of women on their part and an even more limited experience of women living in a broad-minded continental society. This evening at the ballet my coat was taken by a young and rather gorgeous transvestite and the front row was graced by two young and lovely lesbians embracing before the performance. No one batted an eyelid but then Antwerp is a very civilised society.

    I wouldn't reveal really intimate details unless you feel you must. I only ever reveal "externals" as it were. And I can certainly back up everything I post.

    In any case several Ciffers have my full ID, address, phone numbers - the lot. You don't give those out unless you're genuine.

    And I believe most posters are genuine. I can usually spot the phonies a mile off.

  24. BB et al. I think it's also worth noting that the hanks tags of 'vacuousness', tag is most frequently attached to *women* or members of an ethnic minority. (Count up the instances.... I don't see him throwing that label at middle or working class white men.)

    he throws the middle class liberal tag out because he knows it's a tricky charge to defend against, without throwing all your personal history on the board. And if you say 'I don't have to prove yourself to you', then you get the 'patronising and arrogant' bullshit thrown at you too.

    The funniest thing I've seen, in terms of exposing their UTTER naivety about politics was when they tried to suggest that being arrested in SA was somehow a trivial and pathetic matter. It demonstrated to me that they knew jackshit about the liberation struggle in SA - detention without trial, police brutality, etc etc. They also go on about me dishing my 'personal history' but seem to have entirely missed information about how I got my education (paid for by waitressing 6 nights a week and studying by day), what I do with it (community research, research on mental health and social exclusion), who my friends and family are. They pick on the tiny little details that enable to dismiss you without ever bothering to read a thing you have to say, and ignore the bigger picture.

    The saddest thing about it all is the way they appear to think that throwing your weight around on these boards or on the guardian somehow makes you some heroic class warrior. Come on! I've used the web as a base for linking to other like minded souls for a long time, and I know its power as a form of communication, and a way of linking political people together. But it's not a fucking substitute for actually getting off your half pissed arse and doing something.

    But of course, it's US who are trivial and vacuous, and them who are working class heroes. It's a mantra. They imagine if they keep repeating it enough, it'll somehow become true.

    Anyway, I thought Hank was 'too good for this place' and stomped off into the sunset a week or so ago, the last time someone called bullshit on his crappy attitude, nasty mouth and superiority complex? Did he change his mind, or just come back to remind us of his relative brilliance, and our general vapidness?

  25. A few points.

    Talk about whether the Egyptians are going for higher conceptual notions such as bourgoisie liberal democracy or socialist equality ignores some of the main causes of the protests. Egypt has a vast population that exceeds her carrying capacity ( a growth from 27 million in 1961 to 84 million today with no proportionally similar economic growth) and so many people are unemployed, plus there have been issues like rising prices of staple foods on the world market- something which will happen a lot more in the coming years- it ain't gonna be pretty. I can accept that a lot of Egyptians problems are caused by the corrupt Mubarak heirarchy hiving off the resources, but ineffiecient heirarcies exist in every country, even communist ones.

    Ultimately, we humans are stewards of our natural environment and overpopulation is going to be one of the serious issues of our century. No one wants famine or poverty, but the Egyptian example will certainly be repeated. In Britain we won't be hit as hard, but rising food prices will hit the lowest in society.

    Secondly, while notions of equality are understandable, examples from the 20th century (and the surviving ones like North Korea) of regimes that attempted enforced equality will lead us on the road to ruin. That, over 60 years after Orwell published Animal Farm, people are still talking of equality over liberty is quite staggering.

    However I would generally be in favour of 'equality of opportunity' and 'meritocratic hierarchies'.... which is completely the opposite of our present government, for example.

    Finally, Habib and others have touched on Democracy in the middle east and it's relation to Israel. You critiscised the Israelis for saying the Arabs are not ready for Democracy. But when you get sentiment like the Sinai governor saying the Israelis were releasing killer sharks to destory Egypt's tourist industry (plus a million other fanciful accusations) I can understand why they feel that way. It is that drip drip of 'blame everything on the Zionists' which causes the Israelis to sleep with the metaphorical gun under the pillow.

  26. "parallaxview said...
    of course Meerkatjie - you would - you'd rather it was all about you"

    Thanks Parallax. Neatly proving my point there. Even as I was typing it out....

    Am I a vacuous middle class liberal by any chance?

  27. Meerkatjie - sorry, I forgot to do the irony devil's advocate wink

    please don't set a diatribe in response - I'm not interested

  28. arrrrgh!!

    Whole post an absolute classic AB - should be kept for posterity. Love it! The thinking woman's Hyacinth Bucket.

  29. Well if you meant it ironically, do accept my apologies. It's been thrown at me so many times over the last few weeks I have perhaps become automated in my response to it.

  30. "However I would generally be in favour of 'equality of opportunity' and 'meritocratic hierarchies'.... which is completely the opposite of our present government, for example."

    Charles, what do you mean by 'meritocracy'?

    Unless a system is fair to start with, the idea that those who are good at what they do will rise is never really really going to work, is it?

  31. Haha!

    Mortlach posted this on Call Me Dave's bollocks last night. Made I larf anyway...

    Tax reductions for the rich.
    Health services privatisation.
    Education cuts and student tuition fee increases.

    Bonuses are back for bankers.
    Increase unemployment and VAT.
    Give up on Sure Start.

    Sell off national assets.
    Overthrow the welfare state.
    Cut public services.
    Immigrants are not welcome.
    Economic growth in reverse.
    Tax credit removal.
    Yes, Nick Clegg is a Tory.

    Coming back to the Egyptian question - I think, above all, what it has done is to show that Tunisia wasn't just a one-off aberration, as it was originally portrayed, and there are many countries in the region who are hacked off at being ruled by despotic regimes. Things are already hotting up in Algeria, although god forbid the French intervene like they did in the early 80s... but seeing something like this empowers those who have been struggling for years - decades - for change in their own way to galvanise them into co-ordinating action. And that can only be a good thing, imo.

    What the resulting govenments will look like is anyone's guess right now. What they won't be, though, is dictatorships. The memory of Tahrir Square will resonate with anyone in Egypt who tries Mubarak's shit again.

  32. Sorry hit send before I was done - I meant to add:

    'Equality of opportunity' having been demonstrated quite clearly not to work in a capitalist system, obviously - it flies in the face of the organising principles of capitalism. Indeed, the concept of 'meritocracy' and 'equality of opportunity' are necessarily in logical contradiction, aren't they?

  33. And now I must go - picking up the Wrinkly One who is into the Marsden tomorrow to get his limp removed, bless him. He is scared shitless, and pretty demanding as it is on any normal day, so at the moment you can imagine that it is quite a feat trying to keep him calm and vaguely happy.

    Luckily my Sis is arriving tomorrow morning so I will have reinforcements. Will be popping in and out when I can. Nil carborundum illegitimi. xx

  34. @ Atomboy - ah desperado :)

    different from the eagles - I prefer way AB knocks someone out with the music

  35. I don't see how meritocracy and EofO are in contradiction. The idea is that there is an equality for all to obtain greater opportunities to enable a meritocracy where people's talent and not background matter.

    Where it goes wrong though is human nature- those who succeed will want the best for their kids and pull strings for them. There is nothing wrong with this, but some people don't have the contacts or the 'facillitators'.

    I remember one thread on Cif where a twat said his middle class offspring had better genes, and that the middle class generally did, and so it was nessesary to preserve the natural order and class heirarchy. We need to avoid such sentiment like that.

  36. Um, Charles/nap. You are aware of the fallacy of meritocracy, the way in which the term has been appropriated and perverted Like many other terms (e.g. socialism) it can be and is used to reinforce the positiuon of those in power.
    Spread the fiction that we are in a meritocracy, and you strengthen the standing of those at the top of the system giving them spurious legitimacy:the best will always rise to the top; not through some accident of birth but because they are worth it.
    Putting it bluntly, this is specious bollocks, one because we don't have a meritocracy , and two because just how does that work. Merit is not the most objectively susceptible or measurable of terms.
    Michael Young, who invented the term, used it as a satirical device to show that a system where bright young things rise to the top convinced that they somehow have a moral right to be there is as bad if not worse than the ‘establishment’ at the top knowing that one of the only reasons they are there is an accident of birth. The latter may in fact try harder through some sense of duty they feel to society because of the knowledge of their privilege. The former become convinced that ‘they have God on their side.’

  37. One of the fundamental flaw in the logic of 'meritocracy' is that the idea of what has 'merit' is determined by those already judged to have merit... It is therefore a necessarily exclusionary system.

    Could you also explain what is basically 'fair' about the notion that 'those with talent should prosper' (and the rest presumably should sink?)

  38. I never said anyone should sink Meerkat. Just that enforced equality, will be no good for anybody, and heirarchies will develop anyyway. Can you tell me what is fair that people with talent not prosepering?

    Alidair, I don't see your point. I am not saying modern Britain is a meritocracy- as if. From what I read and hear, the postwar years up to Thatcher (ie what many here grew up in) were a time of much greater upward social mobility. I don't see what's wrong with that.

    Of course it is not perfect, but I find meritocracy to be far better than unregulated capitalism or socialist concepts of equality over liberty. (not including things like equality before the law etc).

  39. Anyways, I'm off out so don't feel offended if I don't reply.

  40. @Meerkatjie:

    Not that I don't think that Hank is both sexist and racist, but I think Swifty and Jay have both received the "middle class" condemnation, too. Swifty's sin was being in the army. Jay's is liking rugby.

    Funny thing is, he's just as middle class as anyone else here and much more so than a fair few of us.

  41. @ Charles. I was pointing out that a) meritocracy doesn't exist but is us4ed as justification by the powerful, thus distorting the term,toxifying it, and b) just how would a meritocracy as you desire work. What is "merit"?

  42. Anyways, I'm off out so don't feel offended if I don't reply.

    Funny how that always happens when people start pointing out the utter stupidity of your comments.

  43. 'Meritocracies' never work -- even in places/situations where there is relative social & economic equality. People are promoted above others who are more competent and more qualified all the time, for all sorts of reasons. I could write a book on all of the instances of unfair promotions that I've witnessed in my lifetime -- and no, I'm not referring to people who were promoted over me.

    It's just way too easy for people to invent all sorts of justifications for it, making it nearly impossible to fight it most of the time.

  44. A classic example of how ridiculous meritocracy is as a means of governing is Berlusconi's government national and local.....the person who has seemingly acted as providing underage prostitutes for him was given the job of regional councillor for Lombardia a nice little earner of €12,000 a month.....qualifications dental hygienist and her mum's half english......which silvio considers enough to merit the post......

    Nap if you would like more examples i can give them......

  45. I've long since learned to totally ignore everything you say Wildhack. If you considered debating rather than just making snide hateful remarks I might think differently, although to your credit you actually did respond once you got your obligatory personal attack in.

    I am aware that meritocracy won't work as much as a messianic belief in international socialism/communism won't work, but I don't rip you to hell for your beliefs. Similarly, I know that the loony market fundamentalists' fantasy won't work, so I am not critiscing you from a position of the 'right' or 'left'. My argument is that I perceive a meritocratic setup (which we don't currently have) to be the least worst option in regard to the politic/economic/social setup of a nation. There's nothing more or less stupid about my comments than yours as well btw.

    I really am going out. I just checked back in here to see if anyone had responded to me.

  46. Afternoon all


    which is why I don't take offence at personal swipes, certainly not on a blog anyway.

    Wise words. I apologise for my cowardice last night, not daring to get involved, but i should have put in my tuppence for you and Habib.

  47. "I've long since learned to totally ignore everything you say Wildhack."
    Isn't that a tad rude to the blog host, Charles?

  48. christ - I wouldn't put up with parallaxview's aside if I was me:

    let just quote this dick:

    [As you know I'm stoked about the popular movement in Egypt and their victory - christ I went out in 40 degree heat with a hang over to attend the Sydney solidarity rally]

    You know what parallax: you're fucking lucky mate to a)have hangover in the first place and b)have a choice to rock up up in support of something

    what a twat - imagine if you were fighting for your freedom instead of having the opportunity to celebrate and support someone else's struggle

    as if you you can make a difference when it counts

    opportunist twat : eat this

  49. @montana - fair enough. I haven't been around long enough to see the full range of Hank's capacity to be rude and destructive. Did he dismiss them as trivial, vapid or vacuous too?

  50. ok I'm done talking to myself now - it was a display of being removed from the real:) arf

  51. atomboy

    CiF adopted the "If you cannot say something lovely and inconsequential, just fuck off! OK? I fucking hate you! Leave me alone. I'll scream the place down if you don't get out. You are so fucking banned, you bastard!"

    Not with me, one day I was posting and the next day I was banned. A couple of very short term mods, one lasting 20 minutes, no warning and then gone.

    HankScorpio abused left right and centre, as he does here, and not only expected his banning, but did his best to promote it.

    Time loves a hero I guess is what he was looking for.

    So now all he's left with is to abuse you people, which is a shame as you're all really quite nice.

  52. I'm not quite sure how this fits in with the meritocracy question.


    'New politics' claim a sham, senior Conservative MP warns David Cameron

    The party's attempts to gag Sarah Wollaston over her criticism of government health reforms have been roundly condemned

    A senior Tory MP has launched a stinging attack on David Cameron and party whips after a fellow Conservative – who worked for 24 years as a doctor – complained that she had been told "to say nothing and vote with the government" over its controversial health reforms. [...]

    In a speech in parliament 10 days ago, Wollaston said: "I profoundly object to the fact the people have to make a choice and always vote with the government." She added: "I believe – I hope that hon members agree with this – that there is something profoundly toxic in that."

    Wollaston, who entered parliament at the last election after a career in the NHS, was one of the first Tory MPs to be selected after Cameron threw open the selection process following the expenses scandal, calling for people from all walks of life to apply to be candidates.

    At the time the prime minister declared that he wanted MPs with expertise in the real world away from Westminster – in order to bring a new breadth of experience to politics and the scrutiny of legislation.

    In May 2009 Cameron said: "There are far too many laws being pushed through, with far too little genuine scrutiny from MPs. And excessive 'whipping' of MPs by party hierarchies further limits genuine scrutiny. This, too, has to change."


    She may have become a doctor on merit and she way have been elected on merit, who knows?

    However, it looks like the merit of her knowledge and arguments with regard to NHS legislation won't stand a chance against the thrusting, bulging, throbbing merit of big business and senior politicians rushing to pump the merit of taxpayers' cash into the meritorious pockets of their mates.

    Sometimes, it seems, the conveyor-belts in the production-lines of life get tangled and do not whizz the products to be stamped "socialist" or "merit" or "freedom" under the right hissing, steaming stamping machines.

    Napoleon/Charles recently said that whatever anyone says they are, they are - no ifs and no buts.

    Can anyone spot the teensiest weensiest flaw in this?

  53. And before anyone ignores me, I've had an excellent day with a newly delivered three year UK student visa for a young woman / man who in ten years will be one of her country's top professionals.

    That's about as specific as I can be, but tonight we're celebrating.

  54. I see hank's set the cat among the pigeons again. And has evoked the usual group chorus of people deperately falling over themselves to reassure each other that they're not vacuous or naive or self-obsessed.

    Hank really does know how to hit his targets, and the solidarity of the common response suggests that he might have a point. It's as if he knows that solipsistic posers are congenitally incapable of just not responding to him. And if there's one thing hank can't stand it's being ignored. Not much chance of that here though, so really it's a marriage made in heaven.

    You should embrace the situation. Every attack just gives you another chance to tell everybody else how wonderful you are and all the super things you've done. Win-win situation.

  55. apparently the army has dissolved parliament in egypt and suspended the consititution......after the PM said that the current cabinet would stay...

    no doubt mubark moved all his assets out of switzerland before they froze his account...

  56. Bitethehand

    I cannot remember all the various ways in which I have been banned, after my initial request to be publicly chucked out.

    I know that CiF lost all credibility from my point of view as it became clear that they were going to use banning and deleting and pre-moderation in ways which were nothing to do with their community guidelines or the need to manage what might be seen as universally unacceptable behaviour.

    I now have no wish to go back there as it is simply a second-rate pantomime, bitch-fest and asylum for the terminally deluded and nasty to lick or pinch each other into idiotic coos and shrieks.

    I can understand anyone having residual feelings of outrage or injustice towards CiF and the fact that Dribbly contributed in bringing it down to the level of crayoning-by-numbers and I would not presume to suggest how they should deal with that.

    I also saw what a waste of time it was when there were repeated professions of outrage below the line about various social and political ills and these always fizzled out when another thread was started.

    I no longer expect blogs and comment systems to be anything other than chatter which occasionally becomes inflamed.

    Whatever happens in the real world tends to happen despite rather than because of online activity of the clattery, typewritten debate variety.

  57. Alisdair Cameron

    Michael Young, who invented the term, used it as a satirical device to show that a system where bright young things rise to the top convinced that they somehow have a moral right to be there is as bad if not worse than the ‘establishment’ at the top knowing that one of the only reasons they are there is an accident of birth.

    Bright young things as you refer to them, who make it to the top deserve to be there and have as much moral right to be there, probably more moral right than most, while we live in a capitalist system, as the beggar with his dog on the Victoria Embankment deserves to be there at the bottom.

    And in a meritocracy, both have the opportunity to swap places.

    And I doubt very much whether Young invented the term, any more than anyone did.

  58. I won't pretend to know much about Egyptian politics. I found this article quite interesting, and wondered if others had seen it.

    Text to appear as link
    Two points that stood out for me.

    "The military has been the ruling institution in this country since 1952. Its leaders are part of the establishment. And while the young officers and soldiers are our allies, we cannot for one second lend our trust and confidence to the generals. Moreover, those army leaders need to be investigated. I want to know more about their involvement in the business sector."

    "The workers have been staging the longest and most sustained strike wave in Egypt’s history since 1946, triggered by the Mahalla strike in December 2006. It’s not the workers’ fault that you were not paying attention to their news. Every single day over the past three years there was a strike in some factory whether it’s in Cairo or the provinces. These strikes were not just economic, they were also political in nature."

  59. "Bright young things as you refer to them, who make it to the top deserve to be there and have as much moral right to be there, probably more moral right than most, while we live in a capitalist system, as the beggar with his dog on the Victoria Embankment deserves to be there at the bottom. "

    Sorry, but what is the 'moral right' you refer to?

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. And does anyone here think that come socialism, there won't be a meritocracy?

    As Jock Young once told me - you think come the revolution there won't be psychopaths around just waiting to bite your head off?

    So what do we do with them, other than seek the help of meritocracy promoted psychologists?

  62. Hurrah!

    Vince Cable (the de-frocked former Saint of Pecuniary Probity) has declared the UK a tax-fiddler-free zone.

    Well, sort of - in a lying, opportunist, politician kind of way.

    It seems there are growing demands that Mubarak should not use governments and banks to carry his swag-bags into some riviera sunset, where he will enjoy a retirement from all the service to Egypt over the last thirty years.


    Mr Cable suggested that there was a need for an international approach, rather than the UK acting alone.

    "I wasn't aware that he had enormous assets here but there clearly needs to be concerted international action on this," he told The Andrew Marr Show.

    "There is no point in one government acting in isolation but certainly we need to look at it. It depends also whether his funds were illegally obtained or improperly obtained."

    He said that the Government would take action against any British bank which was found to have acted improperly helping Mr Mubarak to move funds during his final days in office in order to shield them from any claim by the new administration.

    "I would be concerned if the banks had been engaged in anything improper," he said.

    "One of the things we have done since this government got in is actually stopping the banks engaging in large-scale tax avoidance on behalf of their corporate and private customers.

    "So the logic of that is the we would be concerned and would act if there was anything improper that had occurred."


    Perhaps it just depends on what you mean by "large-scale" and "tax avoidance" and "corporate" and "private" and "banks".

    Until we sort that one out - trebles all round!

  63. Meerkatjie

    Sorry, but what is the 'moral right' you refer to?

    The one that says if you've dedicated yourself to education and learning and have arrived, through that at the height of your ambitions.

    Unless you're saying that learning has no moral virtue.

  64. Atomboy

    Last time i visited waddya Mme Bruxelles was going on about an exhibition of tombs she'd visited.Or i think that's what she was talking about given i tend to skim over her posts faster than the speed of light.Anyways i had this vision of her planning for her eventual demise and having a tomb built as her final resting place.And rather than having an 'Angel of the North' people driving into Scunthorpe will one day be confronted with this tomb which of course will be decorated in the best possible taste.

  65. Of course, handing over the Welfare State to your business pals and removing the safety net and building work-camps only takes hyper-capitalism so far on its journey to godhead.

    What about all those filthy fuckers who are working all hours and terrified of losing their job?

    What happens if the lazy bastards take a day off sick?

    That's your money they are wasting, bosses, so stop the rot before the whole structure of your business come crashing down because of these feckless wastrels.


    Plan to cure 'sick-note' UK

    The Government has called in leading business figures to help it crack down on "sick-note Britain", which costs the economy an estimated £100bn a year.

    The Sunday Telegraph understands the remit of the review has been kept fairly broad to encourage a variety of recommendations from business and health professionals on how to cure Britain's "sickie" culture. However, it is expected to focus on getting people back to work quickly to stop short-term sick leave from turning into long-term absence.


    Strange that the odd sick day here and there costs the economy £100 billion pa.

    The same figure which some say is cheated and filched from everyone by tax-fiddlers every year.

    UK Plc looks like a bit of an economic basket-case.

    It might be better if we just stopped pretending to be able to compete and said we are not going to bother any more.

    Wouldn't that give the bankers a chance to all rush off to places where they are treated with more servility.

    It might even get them off our backs, so that we could all prosper again, rather than having to prop them up.

  66. Of course learning has virtue. But how does learning somehow *morally* secure you a place in the social order?

  67. It doesn't it merely gives you a morality that's better than if you'd decided to remain ignorant.

    And people, in my experience will recognise that you've striven to achieve, and that in itself is worth admiring.

    And from admiration comes achievement.

    And from achievement comes meritocracy.

  68. Regarding the debate about the amount spent on social security in this country little if anything is ever said about the billions of £'s that go in unclaimed benefits every year.The elderly in particular often don't claim a variety of benefits either because they're genuinely unaware of their entitlement or because they refuse to subject themselves to the means test.And as a number of us have predicted it is likely that a significant number of genuinely sick and disabled people will not claim disability benefits because they refuse to subect themselves to the Work Capability Assessment.

    I wish that just for once someone in the media would think about doing an audit setting out how much is spent in social security against how much goes unclaimed every year.

  69. badpennyIt's as if he knows that solipsistic posers are congenitally incapable of just not responding to him

    No Hank is just having a drunken rant - its a problem but he's no troll most of us are rather fond of him.

    Often he manages to give me an opportunity to expand my ideas quite greatful for that, despite his offensive manner (its the sauce talking tbh) he makes me think. Despite his erratic behaviour I have a lot of respect for him. I don't think I'm alone.

  70. Now here's something to prove meritocracy - unless you can produce something approximating this.

    Theo Travis - Northern Lights

  71. @Annetan42 and bpenny - yes I agree Hank is worth time.

    And, given that it's 3 in the morning here I'll leave you with this BTH - hope you enjoy

  72. meerkatje thanks for that lik=nk this is the kind of news we need to evaluate the situation more accurately.

    The only militancy we hear about in the ME is the islamic kind - wonder why?

  73. Paul

    The last figure I remember in terms of unclaimed benefits puts it at around £12 billion.

    How that figure is calculated and whether it is an annual sum, I don't know.

    I have pointed it out before, though, along with the inaccuracy of Dave's original £5.2 billion, which included inaccuracies and over-payments and bureaucratic errors, which left about a single, solitary £1 billion which could, perhaps, be attributed to deliberate fraud, but which may also have a large element of people not being able to fill in the forms correctly because they are designed to be difficult in order to ensure that people do not get their due.

    Unfortunately, we cannot look to the media to expose this nonsense because they tend to just repeat government propaganda because it is easier to fill space by copying and pasting a government press release.

    It then saves time, which can be utilised more profitably to start a thread on Jaffa Cakes or shoes or book-covers or the lives of the lovely rich and famous in Antwerpia.

    Big Society is all about doing everything for yourself.

    Obviously, that includes trying to get the real news in front of people, against the concerted efforts of the entrenched media Dribbly-set.

  74. If anyone remembers Skimmer from CiF, both he and I tried repeatedly to get JezzaBella to allow some of the horrible, common people to write about how they were being affected by the global economic meltdown.

    This must have been back when the shit was still hitting the fan and being flung across the world, covering the poor in the ordure of the rich.

    I think she struggled for, oh, probably about three seconds to spot a news hook for the biggest financial crisis in living memory.

    I think she eventually went for the Meerkats, though.

    The poor just aren't cute or cuddly enough and never really have a lifestyle angle which seems worth pursuing.

  75. Sorry to disappoint, BTH, but Michael Young did define the term, and you singularly miss his point and mine.While the theory of meritocracy might superficially appeal,in practice it's used to enshrine privilege.as a proxy for Social Darwinism, simply ascribing 'merit' to those currently top of the tree. It's become ex post facto chicanery: we are at the top, therefore we must deserve it, and our qualities and outlooks are the only merit-worthy ones.

  76. Alisdair

    We are at the top because we deserve it, through sheer determination and hard work and the grit which kept us battling against the odds.

    You are at the bottom because you are lazy and feckless and just give up at the first sign of a little local difficulty.

    We can happily dismiss the fact that our parents kept sending us on crammer courses, as we took our A levels three times just to pass and then spent out time at university drunk and drugged and our parents then decided the only way to keep us out of the gutter was to set us up in business and beg all their friends to buy our crap stuff.

    You chose to look after your stupid, pretend-to-be-ill sponging mother and tried to get some qualifications as you dodged the blows from your Special-Brew-loving father and then had to get a job in Spud-U-Like to keep the roof over your family's head.

    In the end, it is so obvious why we deserve what we have managed to acquire against all the odds through merit.

    We look lovely, we dress nicely and have special friends with whom we shriek and bray and snort.

    You are just...filth.

  77. This is, I think, a gem from English Hermit:


    You are confusing capitalism and corporatism which is an exploitative corruption of capitalism. It despoils the land, bullies the labour, rips off the capital and prevents enterprise. It is the antithesis of capitalism sucking out the wealth and its voracious appetite will never be satisfied not even when it has asset stripped every man, woman and child on the planet.

    Capitalism used to be fine when it was a genuine partnership between land, labour, capital and enterprise with everyone receiving an equitable share of the wealth. It provided the framework which enabled us to enjoy a standard of living unimaginable 100 years ago. It even made feminism possible. Do you think that you would be in your job today without the washing machine freeing you from domestic drudgery?"


  78. This from The Times Court and Social section:

    To be married Helmet, English of The Cave, The Shire, LaLaLand and Sexpest, Bruxelle of Antwerpia, Yoorp. "May this meeting of mighty minds bring forth children - or other, non-human, Hobbitish offspring in due season." Bring a bucket.

  79. There's a lot of sniggering round the dining room table over that post, AB. Thank you.

  80. Meritocracy in action:

    David Cameron was accused of ‘gross insensitivity’ last night after it was revealed that internships with City hedge funds were sold to wealthy Tories’ children for thousands of pounds to raise cash for the party.
    At the Conservatives’ Black and White Party, millionaire Tory supporters paid around £3,000 each for their children to have the golden chance of spending a week or two with a number of top finance companies and banks. If they do well and win a full-time job, they could join the ranks of City tycoons who earn multi-million pound bonuses.

    The auction came weeks after the Government launched its Equality Strategy, which pledged that every Whitehall department would ‘work to promote diversity, for example through internship schemes to widen access to the Civil Service for those who are currently under-represented such as ethnic minorities and disabled people’.

    Mr Cameron went to extraordinary lengths to conceal the auction by banning the media from attending the function, which is now held at an ‘events arena’ in Battersea, South London, far from its traditional venue in the heart of the West End, the Grosvenor House Hotel.

    Guests included Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha, Chancellor George Osborne, Tory treasurer Lord Fink and a host of City tycoons and socialites including Emma Pilkington, girlfriend of Carphone Warehouse boss David Ross, and Olympics fundraiser Helen Macintyre, who reportedly recently had a child by Boris Johnson.
    Five lucrative City internships were auctioned off for £14,000.

    Lot 9 was a week’s work experience at Caxton Associates, a Mayfair hedge fund. It went for £2,500.
    Lot 10 was a week at PR company Bell Pottinger, run by the powerful former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, The winning bid was £2,000.
    Lot 20 was a week at Arbuthnot Latham private bank. It went for £3,500.
    Lot 30, donated by former Tory Treasurer Michael Spencer, was a week’s work experience at his brokerage company ICAP, source of his £1 billion fortune. It went for £3,000.
    Lot 2 was a week at Amanda Wakeley’s fashion business in Chelsea. It went for £2,000.
    Lot 14 was two weeks at Tatler magazine, the ‘social bible’. It went for £4,000.
    Lot 23 was two weeks at Princess Diana’s favourite shop, Knightsbridge-based Harvey Nichols. It went for £2,750.
    Downton Abbey author and Tory peer Julian Fellowes donated a day’s work as an extra on the set of the new series of the ITV series. It went for £25,000.

    And club owner Peter Stringfellow’s champagne dinner for six raised £6,000.


  81. Nice one Atomboy.Although this increasingly close relationship between the Turnip and the Sprout may signal the return of an extremely jealous MervynInEcudor.For despite leading a long and eventful life Andalusia's finest thought he'd found a true soul mate in the fickle Sprout.So i doubt he'll take too kindly to the fact she's now getting jiggy with a Turnip-albeit an English one.

  82. Meerkatjie

    Yeah, why don't you button your lip and do the washing up, eh?

    While you're in the kitchen, make us all a nice cup of tea and take the rubbish out and polish my boots for tomorrow's shift at t'mill.

    Bloody uppity wimminz.


    Obviously, poor benighted souls like us living in rickety old Broken Britain cannot know the social norms of our betters in EuroLand, but I expect there is a fair amount of bed-hopping, so MetabolismInExpiry could still be in with a chance.

    The main wonder is how a modern go-getter like EnglishTurnip, with all his subtle wiles and sinewy intercourse on the internet - what with broccoli and slugs as his conversational mainstays - should still be, apparently, solitary.

    It seems to be against nature itself.

    And merit.

  83. badpenny

    Thanks for that.

    I take it you are posting from Egypt. I imagine they must have asked you to sort their future out, being the voice of a generation and the global riot grrrl of the age.


    Strange that some crap programme which puts a soft pastel focus on the days of masters and servants - and which made the Dribblies collectively wet themselves with delight - gets the highest bid.

    "What career would you like little Horace to purse, Mr and Mrs Thick-As-Pigshit-But-Rich?

    "Film, television and media; football or other lucrative, high-profile sports; celebrity chef; banker or international dictator?

    Obviously, it will have to be decided on merit, but your account is good for that, isn't it?"

  84. If Katie60 is not Peter Bracken, I am Margaret *spit* Thatcher.

    Nice to see all those Tory kids "meriting" a golden circle internship there, AB. Level playing field my arse...

  85. Soz, that was badpenny who posted the Tory interns for cash reference, not AB.

  86. Atomboy, I could only dream of posting from Egypt. At the moment I'm posting from Laurie's new Mac computer in the basement of her new 'squat' - she's off out tonight to another politically correct burlesque show, and although she took her Raspberry, she luckily forgot to padlock the other hardware like she usually does. (see twitter for Ms Penny's hilarious account of buying her new laptop!). She keeps me locked in here all the time until I've finished her new book for her. Although she's promised to bung me £50 if it sells well, and also maybe pass my name on to Jessica Reed to facilitate my future career in the media.

    I'm ever so grateful for the chance.

  87. badpenny

    you should e grateful to her....especially after her astute analysis of the egyptian rev which she twatted to the world:

    "Never forget, it took the courage of a 26 year old woman to start this revolution"

    yeah right penz.....and vajazzeling you muff is the biggest threat to wimminz equality....

  88. Did he dismiss them as trivial, vapid or vacuous too?

    Not that I recall. I think that he reserves those insults for us ladeez.

  89. BeautifulBurnout

    If Katie60 is not Peter Bracken, I am Margaret *spit* Thatcher.

    Yes, the same words in the same limping, crippled order clumsily describing the same world-view.

    However, Brackish always said that it was imperative that people use their real names on the internet.

    He must have gone down a storm with the boys in his Katy days.

    Try asking, ahem, his Katy-ship if s/he thinks Jack Bauer is the paradigm of manhood for the modern, terrist age.

    It might trip him up, if he gets his feet tangled in the straps of the imaginary satchel he carries in case he needs to save the world.

    (Sandwiches - check. Library card - check. Car-keys - check. Coloured pencils - check. Protractor - check. Crazy Bones - check. Cheese-wire - check).

    "Bedtime, Peter! Tell your imaginary friend Katy goodnight!"

  90. Hello

    Not reading last night's thread - sounds a bit sad .

    Egypt - i don't think any of us expect a Heaven on Earth for the Egyptian people. If they can win better living conditions - not starving, not being subject to emergency measures and torture, better education - and have some influence on their own futures they will have achieved great things.

    Of course the money men will move, trying to jiggle the situation to their advantage - that is what they are about . US, KSA and Israel for starters won't mind some internal adjustments as long as they have 'their man/men' in power playing the international game their way.

    Arms manufacturers will be sniffing the air like predatory animals trying to detect friends and those they can designate as dangerous enemies and future prey.

    The backroom negotiations and machinations we do not know but we can guess.

    Blair has his wooden spoon in the mix.

  91. Sicknote Britain - For a decade now - starting with the Unum-Cardiff model there has been a move towards denying the working population the right to be ill or disabled. Dissemblers all, the sick wrongly believe in the scientific model of illness ; they need to adopt the fundamentalist belief that illness and accident are the result of their own faulty thinking. They are persuaded to be 'ill' by friends and family who tell them life is so much easier on the benefits.

    There is a definite move towards denying the realities which people experience - BS is another manifestation of this.

  92. Skimmer - He was one of my favourite posters. I once suggested that 'young skimmer' write something about his view of life. Ignored of course.

    Skimmer went off on an electricians course - hope he succeeded and is fully employed and prosperous.

  93. Hi Leni

    Have been trying to find possible solutions for the Palestinian problem as it's become far too easy just focusing on how dreadful the situation is.And tbh i can't see one that is workable at ppresent from a Palestinian point of view at least.For even if East Jerusalem were to become a UN Protectorate,the Israelis pulled back to West Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank and Gaza were left to the Palestinians would an independant Palestinian state be viable?Or would the Palestinian territories simply remain de facto protectorates of Israel,Egypt and Jordan?

    I really can't see any long term solutions to this problem without a further displacement of both Palestinians and Jews as well as UN intervention in Jerusalem..For if the Palestinians are to have their own state then it needs to have a firmer foundation than the geographically seperated West Bank and Gaza territories.Problem is i'm not sure where the borders for such a geographically united Palestinian state would lie!

  94. Italy declares state of emergency over influx of 5,000 Tunisian immigrants
    A state of emergency has been declared by the Italian government after 5,000 illegal immigrants fleeing riot-torn Tunisia arrived in just five days.

    From the Telegraph

    Gandolfo - any more news on this ?

  95. You know, every time someone here posts 'BS' my mind immediately grabs the words 'Bull Shit', but then I remember it is really about that moral high ground where all and sundry will chip in and etc etc....

    No wait, let me think again about this perhaps after all...

    Great posts from AB, we were sniggering here as well.

  96. Skimmer, was he the guy who worked as a builder then Leni? I too enjoyed his posts as he had some interesting observations on real life (unlike the parallel world the media live in).

  97. Skimmer was one of my mates too. We got modded on a perfectly innocent discussion of stump-removal on one of his sites.

    Leni 18.59- I rather think it's more than a decade. One lost link we saw showed the beginnings of that in UK more like 20 years ago.

    As with so much else, the evils are working to a longer timescale plan than most appreciate, and they've got the $$$ to do it.

    Do you remember how Blair was in daily contact at one time (c2000) with the Clinton (Monsanto) cabinet on GMO's, lost that time, but now they're back, pushing away again. One local Senator has belonged to Monsanto since the beef hormones fight twenty odd years ago, being doing GMO work for 'em ever since.

  98. Sometimes, I think I'd quite like to marry atomboy.

  99. Ian -- I think he was a plasterer (skimmer praps in jargon?) but did all sorts of work.

  100. Leni

    I may be wrong, but Skimmer was, I think, a qualified plasterer.

    UKBlazer was also worth reading and I think he wanted to get on a course to qualify as an electrician.

    I may be completely wrong, though.

    I am useless at names and stuff.


    I suppose "condign" would swing the proof.

    What was the other one, do you remember?

  101. Meerkatjie

    I can manage it either 11:30 tomorrow or 3:45 Wednesday.

    I will expect you to provide your own cleaning materials and sleeping-bag.

    The training period is long and arduous but you could eventually become Acting-Assistant-Scullery-Maid.

    It's the standard one Sunday off in four and dismissal without notice I assume you are used to.

    I hope you will have a long and satisfactory time in service etc etc

  102. I had a chuckle over this, from Eques, on the Elephant Mother thread (the 1st para is a quote from someone else):

    I have met males who received such 'training'...schools exist in Europe to provide that and nothing else. Yes their intelligence has been honed, but also they have been turned into manufactured evil
    Yes I had a schoolmate who had that sort of upbringing (from a White English Dad).

    Not a naturally academic kid but, by his standards, got good A-levels and is now extremely wealthy and powerful.

    But he was, and remains I understand, an amoral wanker.

    In fact he had to permanently leave England after screwing over so many business rivals and flouting so many regulations.

  103. Trying for it Atoms, sure its the one your looking for..................

  104. Montana

    You're a wicked woman :-)

  105. 3.45 wednesday. I'll be the chubby redhead with a rose and a slightly skew tiara.

  106. Atoms -- the misuse of the word 'fulsome' as in 'fulsome derision' would be a clincher, but there was another, dammit.

  107. I suppose the skew tiara is an attempt to bring an air of loucheness to the occasion, which could so easily end in disaster.

    Bring some Silvo and cotton buds if travelling by train.

  108. Leni

    yep that's about it 4,000 people in as many days, tomorrow the government will declare humanitarian state of emergency which basically involves various institutions such as civil protection, red cross, department of public security, ministry of defense
    the emergency has also been heightened due to the fact that the government closed the asylum centers and reduced patrols at sea aroundn Lampedusa following a gentlemens agreement between berlusco and gaddafi about controliing immigration...a non starter if there ever was one...
    the minister of the interior wants to send italian police to tunisia to stop asylum seekers leaving....he is a member of the northern league, a xenophobic party.....

    BTW italy has been in a state of emergency for about two years we have armed forces at train stations and underground stations don't think there is anywhere else in europe that use the military to "protect" the public

  109. froggie

    That was the one!

    I'm sure there are many more, but don't ferret around in them of you are eating.

  110. N Korea appealing for food aid.

  111. Atomboy careful!

    Meerkatjie - Acting-Assistant-Scullery-Maid.?

    I wish, that's my bloody job!

    One moment you are the apple of her eye
    next moment you are chained to the kitchen making tea and sammachies, and doing the ironing!

  112. Hehe ! Must go and eat now, so I'll leave you assorted slatterns and snivelling jack booted Castrophiles for a while.

    There's another Brackensuperword i'm still looking for...

  113. timboktutu

    Thanks for the warning. It looks like you have saved me from a "scarlet deceiver" - as one of the trains was called in Thomas the Tank Engine.

    Domestic staff and wives never really mix anyway, especially when they are, to all intents and purposes, the same person.

    I shall try to topple the postman from his wobbly bicycle as he negotiates the rutted drive tomorrow, in order to kidnap the dismissal notice I had sent somewhat too peremptorily to Atomgirl.

    Or simply get the gamekeeper to shoot him.

    frog 2

    Is it "cunt"?

  114. Atomgirl now tells me it is time for dinner.

    All this could have been yours, Meerkatjie, had your intended deception not been revealed.

    You have not let me or timboktutu down nearly as much as you have let yourself down and betrayed the whole of noble womankind.

    I hope you can live with yourself.

    PS If you did equip yourself with cleaning materials in the hope of a satisfactory union, I may be prepared to take them off your hands at cost price less 10 percent handling fee and postage and packing.

    You won't get a better deal.

  115. Atoms, nah, it wan't otiose either..

  116. Hey All!

    Bitterweed, sorry I missed your 'chat' - I've been on this mad 3 day poetry course.

    My brain has exploded - in a good way ;)

    Just seeing Anne's first 3 comments, I've not read the hate-fest from last night.... Hank? people love you on 'ere you know.

    I think I should read down but dare not... it might spoil something about the beautiful Arctic Hares.... who nonetheless box.

    I have a poem for you all for Valentine's day tomorrow.

    My lover tells me I'm not the Lady in Red.

    So I'll be the Lady in velvety-green, burning at the Stake instead


  117. gandolfo .19.47 -- " the minister of the interior wants to send italian police to tunisia to stop asylum seekers leaving....he is a member of the northern league, a xenophobic party....."

    Talking along the same lines as Madame MAM our Foreign Minister, who suggested helping out Ben Ali with expert advice on policing (hehe)... and is still being excoriated for it. AS one Tunisian said on our radio "We have the same number of police as France, for one seventh of the population", which might be exaggerated, dunno.

    On the extremely rare occasions I go to Paris I'm always shocked to see the bored squaddies sauntering around the railway stations... with their firepower.

    In between the banter I always do read the serious posts.

  118. dave
    do you mean regular army in paris or the military police? interest on my part

    seems that sarkozy is having a berlusconi moment what with attacking the judiciary an' all...mind you they are mates sarkozy having been berlusco's lawyer defending him about misdemeanors and canale plus some years ago......

  119. I love the obsession with the 'who's who' of CiF.... bastards and other such illiterate beings masquerading as 'others with different voices'.

    I've not indulged for a while .....

    I remember 'Skimmer'.

  120. Excerpt of a post from the Brackenator:


    26 November 2010 1:47PM

    But for religion to persist we can’t know it, for ignorance is the essence of faith. There is no virtue in faith without doubt. Belief, in the religious sense, is a contradiction because with knowledge comes certitude and certitude excludes the leap of faith that defines belief; and without faith there is no religion – there is merely an evidential truth. If God existed, no one would say they believed in Him any more than they say, today, that they believe in the stars, or cars, or books. These things just are.

  121. Are Atomgirl and Atomboy one and the same?


  122. Post on same thread from Katie60:

    What is religion good for?

    katie60's comment 26 November 2010 5:11PM


    There is no virtue in faith without doubt. Belief, in the religious sense, is a contradiction because with knowledge comes certitude and certitude excludes the leap of faith that defines belief; and without faith there is no religion – there is merely an evidential truth.
    Sumptuous post. I'd quote it in full if were not so long.

  123. Fuckin' hell, Monatana, if ANYONE needs the discipline of an editor it's Mr Bracken.

    Something I learned this weekend - if you think you're too clever for your readers, you're being a pompous dick-head and all you come across as is a pompous dickhead and no-one is really in the slightest bit interested in what you have to say until you have a bit of humility.

    Oh yeah, and get yourself a Tivoli Radio, because, there are speakers and speakers, but none so great as the miniscule and wonderful Tivoli radio speaker.

    OK, I'm officially mental now :(

  124. Of course the money men will move, trying to jiggle the situation to their advantage - that is what they are about.

    How old are you - thirteen? Is everybody else here thirteen as well, but pretending to be middle-aged people who really 'care'? It's very entertaining.

  125. More recent post from Katie60:

    Uncertainty's promise

    katie60's comment 5 February 2011 1:37PM

    Fabulous, insightful piece Mr Vernon. It is true that there is no virtue in faith without doubt, since certainty disables the leap that derfines faith.

    If there was a God, and we knew it, the foundation for religious belief would vanish. Paradoxically, beleivers cannot know God exists if they are to continue to believe, in the faith-like sense of the word.

    The opposite is true of science, of course: it thrives and advances on the revelations that knowledge affords.

  126. btw, I seriously doubt that katie is peterbracken. Her politics are are different, her style is different, her persona is different. Only paranoid idiots could mistake the two.

    Although I could be wrong.

  127. btw, Aljazeera has stepped down their live coverage of Egypt, and the miltary has now taken control - no transfer of power, martial law, elections at least six months away. Any comments from the 'optimists' here who have been so positive about 'democratic' developments?

    Or have we all now moved on to the latest liberal cause celebre? Whatever that is.

  128. I've just finished reading both yesterdays and todays threads and i'm surprised that some people here think that last night's spat was a 'usual saturday night hatefest'.For as someone who usually posts at night i can't remember the last time there was a 'brawl' here.

    In hindsight i wish i'd kept out of that spat but i didn't and i can't change that.However when these spats do occur they normally blow over and there's no harm done.And speaking for myself i don't hold a grudge against Hank.And when he's on form i respect him for being a witty,thought provoking and informative poster.I'm not condoning his behavior last night but i just wanted to put it into perspective.And query why some people referred to it as being a'usual saturday night hatefest'. ?????

  129. Al Jazeera is now covering the Baftas and the Oscars. I love it!

  130. Saturday night hate fests used to be quite a regular feature. Not so common now.

  131. Montana 21.36-- you could do the same comparison on the "Wonders of Capitalism", but I think we have an ample sufficiency of proof!

    Gandolfo 21.23-- definitely looked like regulars rather than gendarmerie, who double here as territorial cops mostly in rural areas like mine, AND also include MP's. They come under the Ministry of Defence, same conditions of service, can be sent overseas. They don't always sing from the same hymn book as the Police, so Sarko is trying to 'disappear' them into one service, obedient to him and his close coterie of very obedient arseholes, many of them former Police bosses.

    You're right on that Berlusconi moment, but not the first by a very long way. He's been doing the same for years.

    One of my most dear German friends said about Berlusconi " He couldn't happen here, because of their History of course. I hope he was right.

    I expect someone may have sussed the link was to Upton Sinclair, but if not, we can't all read all the bloody books!

  132. badpenny said...
    btw, I seriously doubt that katie is peterbracken. Her politics are are different, her style is different, her persona is different. Only paranoid idiots could mistake the two.

    Although I could be wrong.
    Nice try!

  133. Hey, La Rit; how's tricks? Btw, belated condolences about your recent bereavement.

    "if you think you're too clever for your readers, you're being a pompous dick-head and all you come across as is a pompous dickhead and no-one is really in the slightest bit interested in what you have to say until you have a bit of humility."

    Well quite and your timing is spot on as it co-incides with the "big society" thread over on CIF which just proves your point, in that David Cameron is a pompous dickhead.

    As for the rest of your post; I always knew you were batshit bonkers. I didn't need the authorities to prove you certifiable!;-)

  134. La Rit

    Are Atomgirl and Atomboy one and the same?

    How utterly preposterous!

    On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I am Atomgirl.

    On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Atomgirl, er, is me.

    The same as everyone else.

    Like, duh!

  135. Atoms -- I'm still looking for the Lost Word,the very best one of so very very very many.

  136. dave from france, I don't quite get your 'nice try' comment. Are you saying that katie is peter, and that I am one or the other or both? And that all three of us are trying to confuse you?

    Or are you just a paranoid moron?

  137. @dave:

    Yeah, I know. But for some reason, I actually read all 7 pages of Katie60's posting history (must have a masochistic streak) and I was struck by the fact that 'she' used verbatim a phrase from a comment that Bracken had made nearly 3 months earlier.

    And that she's mentioned how good-looking Bracken is (to her -- I'm having a hard time even typing that) twice.

  138. chekhov

    Yes, Cameron's spluttering, cynical and desperate attempt to pretend that the Big Society is just as real as his teddy bear has actually received more comments than Mike Read's essay concerning a similarly improbable fantasy, in which various shadowy figures were prompting him to become Lord Mayor of London.

    It may, however, be slightly short of Matt Seaton's equally cynical attempt to drum up page hits by his comparison of the woman who shoved the tabby in the wheelie-bin with Nazi concentration-camp guards.

    Politicians, media whores and the massively self-deluded all seem to excel at setting themselves up for ridicule.

    If that seemingly limitless talent could be converted into wealth creation, we would all be floating on burnished 24 carat clouds.

    Obviously, held up by vast tankers filled with helium.

    The tankers themselves would probably have to be roped onto a nearby planet, otherwise they might just crash to earth.

    Or we could just put the clouds on the beach or in a park or something and pretend we were floating.

    Like we are going to have to pretend the Big Society is not just a massive scam.

    Should work like a dream.

  139. "How old are you - thirteen? Is everybody else here thirteen as well, but pretending to be middle-aged people who really 'care'? It's very entertaining"

    I was under the impression that everyone on here is thirteen. Am I on the wrong site?

  140. frog2

    Don't worry too much. If it doesn't come to mind, I'm sure Brackish will mint some more for you in due course.


    Yes, he did seem to see himself as the dream-boy of the Steradent set, didn't he?

  141. *Sigh* I can't believe I'm actually going to respond to the bawbag, but here goes:

    dave from france, I don't quite get your 'nice try' comment. Are you saying that katie is peter, and that I am one or the other or both? And that all three of us are trying to confuse you?

    Hmm. It could be that he's suspicious of why anyone would claim that K60 & PB are totally different and that only paranoid idiots would think otherwise when, in fact, their politics (it's singular, despite ending in an 's', you know) is identical, their style is identical (right down to the bad spelling and misuse of the same words), and you couldn't get a cigarette paper between their personae. (Or are you stupid enough to think that, just because someone posts under a female user name and claims to be female, they're telling the truth?)

    Her politics are are different, her style is different, her persona is different.

  142. Ignore that last line. Started out thinking I was going to quote it & forgot it was at the bottom when I hit "post comment"

  143. @Atomboy:

    Yes, and it didn't help matters much that some women who should know better fed into it.

    I'm not trying to be contrary, btw. I honestly can't find someone attractive when their personality is so repugnant.

  144. Hi Montana 23.09 -- well I only did the first page and three Ace Brackenisms were enough for me, purely on dem words.

    Felicitations on all the reading, how on earth did you type the 'good-looking' bit?

    badpenny -- name another poster on CiF who could consistently come out with this lot-- "Shrill triumphalism , banal canard, jack boot oppression ", plus the identical views on Faith, Capitalism, and the Glories of Demahcracy?

    BTW I am a paranoid moron and revel in my perhaps unfairly privileged status. Mostpeople don't know that they are paranoid and morons,so I have a flying start on the other mothas.

  145. Montana

    I was just thinking that there were two people on CiF who insisted on using their own pictures and names and each wanted, it seems, with a desperation to clamber onto the Guardian's media bandwagon and each seemed to fall rapidly and murkily out of favour.

    Has anyone noticed whether MartyrdomInEdgbaston has crawled back under another name?

    I don't think he ever had anything which could be called a style. You would just have to try to spot something which sounded idiotic when it was brief, nonsensical when running to medium length and completely detached from reality if using all the characters available.

    If you cannot keep awake after about two sentences, that would be Mantovani.

    Oh, sorry. It could also be Petey, couldn't it?

    Actually, just thinking about it is sending me to sleep.

    Time for bed.

  146. BTW; isn't this "big society" just another strain of the fascism we went to war to defeat?
    If we all lie down and accept this crap, we are effectively saying that the 2nd World War was a waste of time!
    What's the point of fighting a war on a point of ideology only to admit defeat years down the line?

  147. Atoms--- "Don't worry too much. If it doesn't come to mind, I'm sure Brackish will mint some more for you in due course."

    Nope. There was ONE even better than condign fulsome etc and i'll fucking find it again -- biro and paper beside bed tonight...

  148. Atoms (if you're still there),

    Martyn doesn't need to crawl back, as it happens!!

    He's gone done got his own paper now!


    night all

  149. So our very own Major has been reincarnated as a chick with a dick?

    This cyber malarkey gets more confusing by the day!

  150. james

    that is unfuckingbelievable.......i feel queezy...

  151. @James and Atomboy

    Despite leading a long and eventful life MontyIn Doucheland is taking the first tentative steps in what he hopes will be a successful TV career.

  152. I'm actually going to respond to the bawbag

    You really are an offensive, repetitive, boring fuckwit aren't you, montana? And a terribly self-obsessed, terribly depressive bore who trades every sniffle and and headache with every other hypochondriac here (and there are lots of them). You have no arguments, nothing vaguely intelligent to offer, no attempt to appear even vaguely sentient. Just a tired old re-hash of calling people cunts and fuckwits so that your cheerleaders can wake up a bit, stifle their yawns and force themselves yet again to grunt 'well said, montana' before they lapse back into their semi-comas.

    Pathetic. Boring. Self-pitying. Uninteresting. Needy.

    But very entertaining in a car-crash sort of way. Special thanks in that regard to spike, meerjkatje, habib, hank, beautifulburnout, paul, chekhov (gosh, have I ever mentioned how really thick I am in every single post I make?) and many others. You make this blog what it is.

    Compulsive reading for people who consider themselves too intelligent to watch x-factor or 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'.

  153. Hot off the presses Gandolfo. You saw it here first!!

    Don't have nightmares, y'all......

  154. 'http://paper.li/MartynInEurope'


  155. What?

    I've just saved 30% by subscribing for a year in advance!!

    Got me a free pen and some M&S vouchers too...

  156. Can some rescue my post please!

  157. james
    "I've just saved 30% by subscribing for a year in advance!!""

    i got a years supply of tena ladies and the kate bush's greatest hits remixed by martyninwonderland

  158. I know I'm a bit thick but could some one explain to me why we went to war to defeat the forces of fascism only to adopt them at a later date?

  159. @James/Gandolfo

    Sadly my post with a link showing MormonInEcstasy embarking on his live broadcasting career has been consigned to the spam folder.However i have found some award winning work he's done for the Jewish Chronicle.

  160. @chekhov:

    Hard for me to say from over here, but it definitely seems like the idea is to return Britain to the 'glory' of the 19th Century -- without the Empire, of course.

    Things haven't been quite so egregious here, but then, we have far fewer strands in the safety net to undo in the first place.

    But I'm glad that I don't believe in an afterlife, especially not one in which the dead watch over current events. The brave men and women (and even children) who risked their lives to give us things like the right to paid time off, sick leave, a 40 hour work week, some level of job security, an assured pension, etc., etc., would be thoroughly disgusted with how easily we're letting it all be taken away from us.

  161. Not alot of people know this, Gandolfo, but Tena lady's provide a cheap alternative to traditional room padding!

    You could, therefore, do your bit for the big society by building and opening your own psychiatric hospital!!


    Right, I'm off to use my new pen.

    If somebody could point Atoms in the direction of the Martyn Richard Jones Daily, tomorrow, I'd be much obliged!!


  162. Compulsive reading for people who consider themselves too intelligent to watch x-factor or 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'.

    And for saddos who've got fuck all else to do with their time but monitor us.Ain't that right badpenny!!!

  163. james
    onto it twatting dave with that BS idea good one...


    primarily we didn't go to war to fight fascism...it was more about resources and german expansionism and protecting economic interests...fascism was a peripheral issue in many senses...

  164. "" Do you really think that you can barge on here and declaim from on high like the naive reconstructed entryist you are? ""

    I'm sure badpenny will pretend to refuse to recognise the style of the Inimitable One.

  165. @badpenny:

    Sorry, darling, but I'm not going to play any more. You don't really think I give a flying fuck about the opinion of an egotistical, insolent, boring, pathetic little man with an overweening sense of his own self-worth, do you?

    Be a dear and go fuck yourself.

  166. NN all! Nice to see most of you again. XX

  167. Compulsive reading for people who consider themselves too intelligent to watch x-factor or 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'.


    I found that bit especially amusing, myself. What doesn't badpenny consider himself too intelligent for? And how stupid are we for not recognising the brilliance of someone whose sole contributions to this site are sneering, juvenile insults spat at all and sundry?

    Well, I guess he's good comedy value.

  168. Sweet dreams, Dave.

    You know, we haven't had a strapline for awhile. I think we've just got a new one tonight.

  169. Paul

    If you could solve the IP problem you would deserve at least 2 Nobel prizes.

    Borders are only the first part to be agrred.

    there are- also the very knotty difficulties centred around those inconvenient things could people. Not only the P refugees but also half a million Jewish settlers. Who goes where - how will they be housed, fed and provided with jobs ?

    Rotten politicians and big financial interest are other obvious reasons for the deadlock.

    There have been suggestions for both a tunnel and landbridge linking Gaza and WB - controlled by Israel.

    A back story - another one - is that Sunni nations do not want Shia immigrants/refugees. They fear Hizb, hamas and M Brotherhood. Saudi is expelling Burmese Shias who went there as refugees, Dhubai expelling Ps etc.

    This explains in part the Saudi/Israeli agreement over Egypt. They are also united in their fear of Iran - another Shia nation.

    Political upheaval leads to mass movement of people - see Tunisians going to Italy - this is another aspect of the much vaunted 'stability' so often mentioned about Egypt. Mass movement may result as the politicals start sifting thru and finding 'guilty' parties.

    The status quo suits the powerful - the poor and the refugees are, as always, the losers.

  170. Montana

    some people seem to think you are running a coconut shy here - all set up for them to throw things at.

  171. @Montana/Leni

    Yeah this place sometimes reminds me of the moving 'ducks' they had in fairgrounds when i was a kid .A row of moving 'ducks' would appear in front of you and you'd try and shoot them all down.And if you succeeded you got a prize.On a serious note i think the UT is more than capable of deflecting the drive-by saddos who try ,and invariably fail,to unnerve the regulars here.I think compared to them we're all quite sane(ish).

  172. @Leni

    Thanks for your reply to my earlier post.What you've done is highlight the near impossibility of finding a binding solution that will give the Palestinians the independance they want and should be theirs as a right. Which makes the whole debate about the Palestinian territoris so frustrating.Because it isn't simply an Israel versus the Palestinians issue.

    As you rightly said in a post a while ago Jordan's not interested in having the West Bank returned to them.And pre 1967 Gaza was never more than a protectorate of Egypt.And right now it's impossible to tell whether events in Egypt will change the hardline stance the Egyptians have had toward Gaza over the last 30 years as part of their peace treaty with Israel.

    Believe it or not there are those who think the only practical solution would be for Israel,the West Bank and Gaza to become one united country.There is after all already a large Israeli Palestinian population living within the pre 1967borders but i don't know what their status is.ie Are they treated like second class citizens.?And could they possibly help lessen the bad blood between Israel and the Palestinian territories?

  173. Paul,

    just saw your two unspammed posts from earlier.

    First one made me laugh out loud.

    The second one made me cry a little. As Navro said, good, fucking, god!

    The world's gone mad.

    Anyway, definitely off now.

    Night all!

  174. @Leni & Paul:

    I honestly don't understand the thought process. If I came across a blog that was full of people that I didn't like, I'd just walk on by. It's no skin off my nose if a bunch of people who strike me as vacuous and self-important engage in discussions that bore me. I would feel no need to stick around and tell them all what a bunch of twats they were.

    Do these trolls like badpenny honestly think that they're doing us some sort of service? And how on Earth do they manage to tell themselves that they're any better than we are, when all they do here is the very thing that they're insulting us for -- posting repetitive, boring, unimaginative dross?

    You've just got to laugh, don't you?

  175. Wwll at least the clarifies that I know fuck all!

  176. "that" not "the"... bloody hell I can be so stupid sometimes!

  177. @Montana

    When someone subjects people,without any warning, to the sort of personalised abuse that badpenny did earlier it's normal to want to rip their balls off.But i guess when the dust settles it's obvious that they are the ones with the problem.And ideally it's best to ignore them.But for people like you and me that's often easier said than done.We still want to rip their fuckin'balls off.:-)

    ps hope you're feeling better.

  178. Paul

    On paper Ps in Israel have equal rights but not in practice.

    I'm not sure if I previously mentioned 3000,000 Russian immigrants - living mainly in the settlements - who were granted citizenship on grounds of their being Jewish. They are not recognised as Jewish by the Rabbinate - they have to undergo conversion. Someone calculated that at present rate it will take 300 years for all to go thru conversion process.

    These Russians and others cannot be married in Israel - they have to go to Cyprus.

    This is the problem underlying the idea of a Jewish State. What exactly does it mean - that the country should be ruled by Halakah (Jewish religious laws) and if so how would nonJews fare /

    The Russians were brought over to populate the settlements - to create 'facts on the ground ' - thus impeding a resolution. It worked well.

    The people in the settlents, we could argue, know they are there illegally and so should just get out. But - to where ? They would become displaced people, many without work and dependent.

    The one state idea was supported from the beginning by many Zionists. This idea collapsed when UDI was declared. One state is supported by some for lots of reasons.

    It would force full costs and responsibility onto Israel.

    The resulting state would be similar to apartheid S Africa - leaving the Ps to fight for civil liberties. Although I controls WB thePs trapped there cannot vote in I elections. Single state would give them this right. They would also be free to travel.

    It would get rid of Abbas and the other stooges.

    Many Israel Ps have relatives in WB - not allowed to visit. Children born to parents one of whom is P and the other I have to leave I when they are 12.

  179. @Leni

    I've got to sign off now.I'll respond later if i can.

  180. http://jta.org/news/article/2009/09/25/1008170/75-years-on-jews-in-russias-jewish-autonomous-district-hold-on


    You might be interested in this.

    The Jewish autonomous region was established in the 30s. Suffered later under Stalin.

    They do a lot of business in China - often crossing over to go shopping. You will see that it does not have independence as other autonomous regions in Russia have. This for political reasons.

    If it could be developed economically more may leave Israel to go there. Some Russians have already done this.

  181. NN Paul


    I cannot understand the motivation for wading in brandishing blunt knives in all directions.

    We can disagree - sometimes quite vehemently - without trying to break heads - or we should be able to.

    I find the varied 'debating styles' rather interesting but have to admit that insults have never persuaded me to change my mind. Reasoned argument or new facts can do this but invective and name calling tend to make me giggle.

  182. Alisdair Cameron said...

    Sorry to disappoint, BTH, but Michael Young did define the term, and you singularly miss his point and mine.

    Wkii says:

    Although meritocracy as a term is a relatively recent invention, the concept originates from the works of Han Feizi and Confucius, along with other Legalist and Confucian philosophers. The first meritocracy was implemented in the 2nd century BC, by the Han Dynasty, which introduced the world's first civil service exams evaluating the "merit" of officials.

    Bit before Young's time I think.

  183. @Leni

    And the introduction of Russian "facts on the ground" has led to surrealistic stuff like the proceedings described below(I expect you've already seen the article).



    You're the only 13-year-old here. We've all been grooming you.

    @Dave & Gandolfo

    The soldiers toting guns in stations and airports are just ordinary troops. I think their presence is authorised by the Vigipirate antiterrorist measures.

    * * *

    As for misuse of the word "fulsome", thanks to Stephen Fry, I can't hear it without the phrase "fulsome funbags" popping into my head.

  184. Spike

    Hope you are feeling better.

    Yes - the Israeli Nazis !

    There is a lot of doubt about some of the Russians being Jewish - how many saw it as a way to a better life ? They have been used badly.

    Russian Patriarch has asked for a Russian Orthodox Padre for the IDF which makes me wonder a bit.

  185. @Leni

    Not too bad, thanks. More tests on Tuesday, so with a bit of luck they'll work out how to sort me.

    Yes, there's been a lot of speculation about how many of the Russian immigrants have used forged papers showing them to have a Jewish grandparent. There's certainly boom in pork consumption in Israel.

    Anyway, I don't think the Israeli governement is particularly bothered as long as the Russian immigrants maintain the demographic balance and vote the right way.

    It's horrifying, these people being encouraged to "return to Israel" (!) while so many of those born in Palestine are dying in exile in refugee camps.

  186. Bitey

    Where are you at the minute.

    Meritocracy - whatever the orogins today iy is often confiused and abused as meaning 'deserving'. This has allowed it to enter common parlance as an insult for the marginalised. A very well worn excuse for disregarding the needs of the poor.

    You also have to remember that Confucius believed in stability and a rigid hierarchy.

  187. Spike

    I wonder if the Russians would support Leiberman again - he has so far failed to produce the civil weddings he promised them.

    The other big question is about how they would integrate into Israeli society. They are heavily subsidised in the settlements .

    I do not know how the problems of the refugees can be solved. Carrying capacity of total area could not support sudden inrush of millions even if enough funds were available for huge building programme which would be needed.

    It is shameful the way the refugees are treted. It lies on the conscience of everybody involved in maintaining the rotten status quo - sadly it doesn't seem to bother them.

    Hope you hear good news on Tuesday.

    NN Sleep well xx

  188. Alisdair Cameron said...

    Sorry to disappoint, BTH, but Michael Young did define the term, and you singularly miss his point and mine.

    You don't disappoint as Michael Young defined his theory of meritocracy, not the theory. In exactly the same way, to use your previous example, there are all manner of definitions of socialism.

    It's rather like saying the British civil service, itself a good example of a meritocracy, albeit not a perfect one, isn't a bureaucracy because it doesn't meet Max Weber's definition.

  189. I've heard it said that Walt Disney once said to Stalin, something along the lines of 'if you'd been born in America in a poor family like me you might have become the head of the greatest film production company in the world'. To which Stalin replied 'and if you'd been born in a peasant family in Russia you might have become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.