06 March 2011


A Birthday Poem 

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

-Ted Kooser


  1. Happy birthday Habib!

    OMG yesterday was a bit of a train wreck! I think I started it too :(

    Sorry folks!

  2. Anyone for petrol at £18 per gallon?

    "Just filled up the motor at pump number 2, Sir? Lovely! That'll be £288."


    Petrol hits £1.40 a litre as minister makes alarmist forecast it could reach £4

    Government desperate to avoid repeat of fuel blockades as senior Lib Dem claims that those on low incomes cannot afford expense of getting to work

    Drivers began paying £1.40 per litre of unleaded petrol for the first time yesterday as motorists started to feel the pinch of rising oil prices. The news came as several experts warned of the damaging impact across the economy of such an increase.

    The peak price at the BP garage in Rainham, Kent – which is also selling diesel at £1.44p a litre – might even seem cheap in coming months if predictions that the cost could rise to twice that figure are borne out. Peter Carroll, spokesman for Fair Fuel UK, a campaign group, warned: "We are being pushed into a fuel price crisis. My reaction to these prices is one of horror, of what it will do to the economy, what it will do to people and what it will do to business."

    Earlier in the day, the International Aid Minister, Alan Duncan, a former oil trader, suggested that it was not inconceivable that motorists would end up shelling out £4 a litre. "When I said oil would go through $100, people thought I was bonkers. Now we are not far off $130," he said.


    So, last year, when we had a seasonal snow event, it sent the economy into a nosedive.

    If we saw petrol at prices where people could simply not afford to go to work any more because it would cost more than they are being paid, what would happen?

    What about the cost of...er...well, everything, actually?

    Much as I love Coronation Street, I am not convinced that everyone really works, quite literally, on the other side of the street from where they live.

    I think the rural economy would collapse quite suddenly and people would start eating grass or trees or each other.

    Obviously, urban life would just be burning and looting.

    When the fuel protesters operated under Mr Tony's watch, he was basically affronted by the idea that they organised the whole thing using mobile phones.

    He thought they should drop in to Number 10 with flow-charts and suggestions for slogans, to which he could give a cheery nod and grin of approval or put on a grumpy face and block.

    So, it would seem that the economy is incredibly fragile. One little knock could shatter it.

    Much the same as the Neo-Nasty coalition.

    And all because bloody Johnny Foreigners are sitting on our oil and the filthy poor were allowed to have mobile phones.

  3. They are thinking of bringing back Museum charges!I didn't think it would be long...


  4. More gloomy predictions on today's Graun news page:

    A third of England will become unaffordable for low-income households within a decade, according to a study by two leading housing organisations.


    and this:
    Kings fund wants midwives freed from routine tasks to allow them to attens more births butat the same time want them to take over routine doctor's tasks.

    Anne Dixon says ...Midwife numbers get too much attention


    We DON'T have enough midwives! Of course its cheaper to use nurses instead of doctors for anything,

    and finally a scare story to soften us up for pension reform?
    By 2080 a 100th birthday may not be remarkable: 21,000 people in Britain will be 110 or more.


  5. I don't think I can cope with this at the mo - back to bed for a bit, perhaps another coffee first.

  6. Hi all, the petrol prices. Lucky me with a job and all that but i do a 20 miles each way trip. Not that unusual but yesterday filling the tank cost be 60 squid. Just had a renewal for carinsurance and my previous insurer LLoyds quoted 100 more than a search for another provider offered. Now, each and every sodding year I have to go through the same process as the incumbents assume I will default to their offer (which is the best they always tell me). Same with gas, house insurance etc etc. Oh yes, house contents I was with one co and the renewal looked a bit steep so I let it lapse, then re-applied and got it cheaper at the same place! I do wonder how much wasted and duplicated effort goes on up and down the land....

    @Annetan42, when we had our child 14 years back all the midwives were Irish. I do think we should not be draining other countries trained population to feed our lack of foresight. When 'employers' bleat about how young entrants are ill-equipped to perform as their staff I take this to actually mean '..we want ready trained people who can hit the ground running' but actually use a sour excuse of them being illiterate and innumerate which is total and utter bollocks. There is a difference between education and training.

  7. Morning all, a busy night I see ;-)

    Three excellent posts around at Golem's. Himself on LIBYA and bank regulation, and Hawkeye on Looting Syndrome and Collective Punishment .

    Happy Birthdays for next year to all those I missed last year, and Annetan thanks for the "Make Hay Not War" video last week. Cheered me up .

  8. Welcome to societal collapse Atomboy. Succesive governments could have done something about this but chose not to. Energy security is one of the main global issues, along with overconsumption, overpopulation etc. I wonder what Marx said on this (if he prdicted it at all), this whole collapse of complex societies thing.

    The world, and that includes Britain, has vastly exceeded it's carrying capacity. In a developed country as ours it is not a matter of starving or life and death (yet), but it reaches a point where the economy will not be as strong as it was (proportionally).

    What it means is we have reached a point of 'peak jobs' where there will only be a certain number of jobs that can be supported without massive reductions in pay and conditions, but surely that would slowly creep in, starting the gradual race to the bottom.

  9. Happy Birthday Habib. I hope you have a lovely day.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the early morning postings from yesterday (well, today, really, I guess!) All that muscular masculinity and testosterone.

    I now have this playing over and over in my head:


  11. Happy BD habib (sorry forgot earlier :-( )

  12. I'm sure you are right Charles. What has not been though through (along with many other things) is as rightly AB said we do not work across the road nor is it possible to just go out and find an alternative job within public transport distance.

    So what will happen when a tipping point is reached where travelling to work is just too expensive? Of course we could a lot of the time work from home but the way Brit management works (posts passim)it will never happen even if the survival of the organisation is at stake. I know because in all my years I have seen the sight of management undermining the company in pursuit of personal ego stunts which trumps all else.

  13. Happy Birthday, Habib! xx

    Wow - quite a Saturday night it was on here, by the looks.

    I must apologise to smtx that I wasn't able to reply to her subsequent posts, but I am not yet at the point where I actually feel the need to update the UT while on on evening out.

    Perhaps my posts on the Barbara Ellen thread this morning will assist.

    BadPenny really does seem to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder about professional women, doesn't he? Freud might have a word or two to say on that score.

    I have a shedload of work to do which has to be finished today, which is bloody annoying because I am not actually working tomorrow.

    Meh. I will just have to pretend today is Monday and tomorrow is Sunday to make up for it. :o)

  14. "So what will happen when a tipping point is reached where travelling to work is just too expensive?"

    We're pretty close to that, surely? After I've paid my bills, about half of what's left (my food / petrol etc money) goes on petrol. And I only work about a 20-30 minute drive away.

    I live in a kind of naive hope that technology will somehow save us. That peak oil fears are the worst case scenario. A future without remotely affordable travel is hard to imagine. (As is a world without the kind of petrochemical dependent products like computers we've all come to depend so heavily on.)

  15. Ian
    Eventually there will have to be some top down co-ordination. This however will require a large organised state, not the present neoliberal idea that a small state is best.

    We'll also have to fundamentally look at redesigning cityscapes. Watch something like 'The end of suburbia'. No more suburbs, we need small, relatively dense cities like in continental Europe.

    Population control is a must too. We are not a dictatorship so we can't do what China does, instead perhaps soft factors like only paying child benefit for the first 2 kids.

    Eating less meat and fish as well sadly.

  16. We were talking the other day about the idea of the inevitability of our current social arrangements. As if to illustrate our point this morning, I have this example (from freespeechoneeach on the porn thread on CIF)

    "Meekatje If you've experienced repression, why sneer at liberalism?
    My arguments aren't ideological, but rational and practical."

    I hear this a lot. Some suggestion that liberal humanism, and capitalism, are our only political options - but more than that, that they're somehow 'natural' to human beings. That liberalism consequently isn't 'ideological' but somehow the 'right way to be'.

    Where I come from, we were really quite well schooled in the idea of ideology - it was explained to us in great detail, even under Christian National Education. I'm puzzled that in Britain, a basic understanding of ideology and its operation isn't widespread, and that the inevitability of one form of ideology is so widely accepted. I find it troubling.

  17. I hear this a lot. Some suggestion that liberal humanism, and capitalism, are our only political options - but more than that, that they're somehow 'natural' to human beings. That liberalism consequently isn't 'ideological' but somehow the 'right way to be'.

    Richard Feynman said that most people found the idea that science is not actually about finding absolute, rigid, incontrovertible answers quite difficult to cope with.

    Kurt Vonnegut said that most people would find humanism too open-ended and too lacking in the comforts of security to be appealing.

    People tend to want - usually quite desperately - to have a rigid framework of beliefs which both protect them and enmesh them and provide happy answers to all the doubts with which they might be assailed.

    It is not uncommon for there to be a request on CiF for an article, written "by someone who knows the subject."

    This is less to do with highlighting the fact that CiF seems to have a policy of asking writers who know nothing about the matter in hand to write about it and more to do with people wanting one answer which will solve their doubts.

    I spoke to someone recently who said: "I like the Daily Mail because they tell it like it is."

    Put another way, they confirm what I think and eliminate any nagging idea that maybe I should use my own brain to wonder.

    Why do religions and cults do so well, if it is not for supplying the solution to a need?

    Why has the "It wos the dole-cheat scum wot dun it!" meme caught on like wildfire?

    We want answers.

    We just don't like the thought of going out and getting them ourselves.

  18. PS Does anyone else keep getting this from Blogger?

    "We are sorry but we were unable to complete your request."

    It's a bit like the waiter coming back and saying, "I'm so sorry, but the chicken is no longer available."

    Or the voice you nearly always almost answer, as it says: "We're sorry but there are no agents currently available to answer your call. Your call is important to us, please hold while we try to connect you."

    Is this the future of the internet?

    "Computer says no!"

  19. @Meerkatjie, @Charles, I tend to think we are closer than the authorities (for want of a better word) realise they being so remote from everyday life. Once it become either too expensive or impossible (due to supply reasons and that is inevitable anyway), to use hydro-carbons the premise of our whole society (if you believe there is any such thing ) will fall apart. Food and all the basics rely on transport.

    @AB, I think it 'natural' for people to want some served up on a plate solution as provided by organised religion and the 'Sun'. As to how we get people to think for themselves and question conventions god only knows.

    Cheers all

  20. @Montans, all these contributors getting non-posting messages, is it possible to see if they are using a particular browser? Just wondering as I have never ever.....[....disconnected from server, please try again later]

  21. Morning all

    Happy b'day Habib!


    News seems to be uniformly depressing this morning. Is this us nearing critical mass with the huge hikes in oil prices continuing, rapidly increasing unemployment but decreasing welfare benefits, unaffordable housing and transport and rising food prices all coming together to tip us into social chaos? Looks like it'll be happening sooner than we thought.


    I think we've blown it. I don't think there's time to redesign cityscapes, never mind deal with population control - we'll be too busy firefighting and just trying to stay alive. I am not optimistic - but that maybe because I just had a glance through last nights posts and am wondering what is the point of our species continuing at all.

  22. I don't know if this will cheer or annoy any of you, but it's a beautifully sunny day here in Paris and I'll be going for a long walk down the Seine towpath after the match.

    Ah, there I go again, projecting my supposed 'real life' onto an unsuspecting and uncaring public. And the weather too.

    I'll go and stand in the corner and say 5 Red Flags and 3 Internationals. ;-)

  23. Feliz Anniversario Habib, my good man!!

    Hope it's excellent......

  24. Spike

    Sun out here too....and whilst the river Don doesn't resemble the Seine - we do have a canal towpath which walks you through the ruins of our old industries all the way to Doncaster, which is interesting in a kind of heartbreaking way, given how things are these days.

  25. Ho ho Sheff, conflict indeed.

    I really don't know. If there was the political will I'm sure we could do somthhing. There isn't though, our political class.... short termists!

  26. @Sheff

    I imagine it's very interesting and has a sad beauty of its own. If I spend some time in England later this year, I'd like to visit and see for myself.

  27. "Eating less meat and fish as well sadly."

    Why sadly? don't we have overwhelming medical evidence that human beings eat far too much meat and fish?

  28. One lot of work finished. Time for a break and a browse.

    LOL'ing at Spike and his 5 Red Flags and 3 Internationales. :o)

    Re Peak Oil. Someone in my family used to work in Saudi for a company called Saudi Oger in the 80s. One of their main Saudi government contracts was drilling out ginormous caverns in rocks to store oil in... I really don't believe on the basis of what I've heard that we are likely to run out of oil any time soon. I do believe that it is in OPEC's interest to lead us to believe we will, though...

  29. Online newspapers try to give a generic name to politicians, since they are obviously not called MPs or senators or whatever in all countries.

    They seem to have settled on "legislators" or "lawmakers", which seems to be slightly grand for people who hardly bother to read the legislation they approve under instruction.

    Anyway, the scene is set at the home of a successful legislator one morning, just before work:

    "Which tie shall I wear, love? Yellow, blue or red?"

    "Oh, it doesn't matter any more, silly. You are all the same now."

    "OK. Have you seen my laptop?"

    "You got drunk and left it on the train. Again. The car is outside, ready for you."

    "OK." [Under breath] "Fuck, fuck, fuck it all to buggery!"

    Meanwhile, several hours earlier, and in the uncharted territory of the legislator's own rural constituency, far, far away in the terra incognita beyond London, a builder-type chappie is trying to get to work by bus, having sold his van in order to feed his family for another fortnight.

    "You can't bring that on here, mate"

    "It's my cement-mixer. I need it for work."

    "Sorry, you'll have to leave it there."

    "What about my other tools?"

    [The bus driver consults his book of permissible carry-on luggage]

    "No to the generator, the scaffolding, the lintels, the bricks, the cement, the sand and the shuttering. You can keep the hammer and trowel.

    "Now, it's 6:50, so we'll have you within three miles of your site by 10:45.

    "Just in time to get the sack and walk back to the stop for the return journey.

    "Have a nice day!"

    Those dirty, scruffy people who make buildings sprout from the ground will often drive 20...30...40 miles each way to get to the site.

    So, back to local builders for local people and only being able to work within the reach of a walk or a bike-ride.

    Supermarkets will also not be able to fly in strawberries from half way round the world, either, so learn to grow your own.

    Clogs to clogs in three generations.

  30. Spike

    Would be lovely to see you. I live close to the river amongst the ruins, between dead factories and some social housing which is the councils last resort for 'difficult' families. There are however lots of excellent pubs which have miraculously survived and the Kelham Island industrial museum is worth a visit, if only to remind ourselves of the skills and trades that we've lost. Theres a huge Bessemer Converter - a wonderful piece of engineering - one of only three left in the world.

  31. Hello everyone; happy birthday Habib and whatever James said even if he hasn't said it;-)

  32. I've heard that defence before, BB. I suppose the counter-cynical argument is that it's in the interests of the oil magnates to maintain our dependency on oil, by building rumours of more extensive reserves?

  33. @Sheff

    Sounds great. I'd like that. I remember learning about Bessemer Converters in school back in the 60s.

    We used to eat Sunday lunch at home with the posh Sheffield cutlery: bone-handled stainless-steel knives and silver-plated forks and spoons. I still have 5 knives and 6 each of the forks and spoons (although the silver's worn in places).

    Right, match time!

  34. Would any of the people of female persuasion here like to give their thoughts on this observation from EnglishHelminth:


    6 March 2011 6:56AM


    You haven't quite grasped it yet.

    In the days before feminism, men went out into the world for the sole purpose of making their woman happy. He did all the work and she sat at home polishing her fingernails. He was happy because she was happy. She was happy because she had a willing devoted slave who would jump up and fetch at the twitch of an eyelash.

    Then along came the sisters who said they could do it all for themselves. Result? Women are unhappy because they have to do all the work and don't have the time or energy to polish anything and there is nobody to notice any twitching eyelashes at all. Men are unhappy because there is nobody to make happy and their reason for existence has vanished.

    How very, very silly.


    Just to make it slightly more interesting, the phrase "So many levels" cannot be used...

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Oh, sorry.

    You are also not allowed to reference Tolkien, Hobbits, Marillion, Hawkwind...

    ...oh, fuck it - yes you can.

    I almost made little Mr Broccoli disappear by removing all his cultural references.

  37. This is interesting, about people providing free content to The Huffington Post, which has recently been sold to AOL for about 300 million dollars.

    No hint of irony from The Guardian:


    Two central concerns have troubled us from the start: is exposure to Huffington Post's extensive audience and widely recognised brand simply a fair exchange for not being paid a penny? Is it acceptable for serious writing to appear alongside press releases, shill pieces paid to promote a third party and junk journalism – without anything to distinguish them as such? We went to our writers before beginning to post last year and the response was overwhelming. Go ahead and post. Yet, less than one year later, the reaction to our possible withdrawal was just as decisive in the opposite direction. As publisher, I fully endorse that decision.

    Queried about the declaration of this strike at the Paid Content conference in New York, Huffington herself was equally sarcastic, though lacking that extra dash of humour that her lieutenant possesses: "The idea of going on strike when no one really notices. Go ahead, go on strike." She went on to make the compelling point that there are plenty of people willing to take the place of these writers. And she is surely correct! This free labour that is easily replaceable is, in accord with her own statement, not very good in the first place. And the new shift? Equally replaceable.


    Actually, it looks like GMG is using this as its business model.

    "Provide us with free content or fuck right off!"

    No wonder they believe in Big Soc.

    A pleasure doing, er, business with you

  38. For anyone who thought that Big Soc was just a load of bollocks, have a look at Lord Wei - the chap who found he could not actually volunteer his time because he needed to earn a living to prevent the bailiffs from smashing down a wall and carting off his lovely consumer durables - framing it in terms of computers and the internet, for the readers of TechCrunch, a sort of techy magazine.


    Anyway, Big Soc cannot be bullshit because they have given it another catch-phrase:

    Big Crunch

    Yeah, you might regret that one when you get to the car-crash moment.

  39. Calling MsChin...calling MsChin...

    Would you mind taking over the people-scary-offy duties for a bit, please?

  40. AB
    Just back from lunch - sausage and tom sandwich with a free read of the papers in the caff on the groundfloor of my building. Soundtrack to which was Robert Johnson's High Price of Soul - (brilliant double album)

    Me and the devil blues

    As to Englishcodpiece's ruminations on women and feminism - the less said the better. But I do hope I never meet him for obvious reasons. Tearing off goblin faces is an attractive option.

    And the groan moaning about the Huffs free content - gawd! What can you say?

  41. I've put a few more photos on panoramio for those who were kind enough to respond yesterday and you can view the new ones here And they're not all temples, although some are. o(╯□╰)o

  42. Happy birthday, Habib!

    Jesus christ, I don't think I can get my head around that Kermit comment. What a twat.

    Judging by today's Observer, the Powers That Be are a little worried about oil.

  43. Happy Birthday Habib!

    Have a good day mate!

  44. thauma

    Judging by today's Observer, the Powers That Be are a little worried about oil.

    Yes, but not quite worried enough to speak in anything other than platitudes and PR-speak.


    The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer that the UK had no option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil. "Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources," he said. "The carbon plan is about ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead us into a low-carbon world."


    Apparently, the government is planning to ferry everyone to work for free on sunbeams, as we all abandon our cars at the roadside as they become worthless.


    Liked the blues.


    Liked the pics.


    Fucking football, eh?

  45. hi all......

    HB habib

    good to see traditional saturday brawl is still going strong....

  46. so can anyone give me a synopsis of world events in the last 2 weeks......

  47. Loved the pics bitey. Can I borrow this one to decorate my desktop for a while?

  48. Well, to be fair Atoms, it was one of the better football days!!

    On that note, Habib, I didn't know what to get you, so I had a quick word with your lads before kick off today (via skype, obviously!). *Surprise*


    Good to see you Gandolfo!!

  49. Fuck me, habib, you got a fine birthday present, didn't you? :-(

  50. EnglishHermit said:

    I love fishing here. Throw in some some bait and wait and see. Hooray. Success. It's a perch too, not just one of the minnows!

    Whether he's trolling here with a thousand mindless quacks, or spouting racist and misogynistic Bernard Manningisms on Whaddya, whenever people start pointing out what a sad, inadequate little man he is, the embarrassing behaviour always turns out to have been an "experiment" on his part and - whoever would have guessed? - a wildly successful one, every time.

    So what will his next cunning piece of frighteningly intelligent social manipulation be?

    I'll have a tenner on homophobia.

  51. Just had a squiz at waddya (I know, pathetic!) Arec's being very entertaining.

  52. Lovely photos, BTH. I was quite taken with the temple ones as they appear to be quite similar to the Tibetan Sammye Ling temple in Scotland.

    Haven't had lunch yet, Sheff, although I had a lovely kipper for breakfast. S'pose it would be tea at this time of day anyhoo if I could be bothered to get off my bum and make something...

    Quite a relief not to be doing the roast sunday lunch thing for once.

    AB - can I just say that I don't always reply to your comments but, almost without fail, every one's a stonker. Same goes for Ian, and many others round here.

    And that, bitey, is what makes me happy when I am browsing here, to pick up on your comment from yesterday. Lots of interesting, funny, poignant but ultimately well-thought-out comments to read that pique my interest, even if I am too preoccupied with other stuff going on in life to do much in response.

    Brain food. Yum.

  53. I love arec. He's very witty.

  54. i do hate my incapacity to finish a thought without hitting send! Ho hum. Never mind, it probably wasn't that important anyway.

  55. @BB Same goes for Ian, and many others round here.

    That's very kind of you to say so BB.

  56. Just dipping into CiF and found a neat summary of our situation by @ellis which I will quote here.

    So, fans of the capitalist system, what is the plan now?

    Another round of cuts in living standards

    The country is wealthy. The people are ingenious, industrious and generous. But their future is dire because it is decided by their enemies.

    What is missing in the system is any linkage between the people, individually and collectively, and power over government. The government has ceded its power over every major area of policy: it cannot change course because it has cut off its own limbs, in order to ensure that the nation cannot use them. All it has left is a mouth which it uses to celebrate its own impotence

    Thatcherism consists, now as ever, of dismantling all social and economic defences and allowing the people to be preyed upon by persons willing to employ Chris Huhne, and his ilk, to lament that they have no choice, that they are the victims of forces beyond their control, that there is no alternative.

    Also, from RedMiner there is a link to an IDS piece in the 'Sun' that states and I quote
    " Mr Duncan Smith revealed that nearly half of those drawing incapacity benefit had been allowed to sign THEMSELVES off work. "

    Surely this is an outrageous lie? Therefore a formal complaint could be made?

  57. Ian

    Ellis as usual is spot on.

    We're allowed to speak our minds and demonstrate (up to a point) and save a forest or two and we're given just enough to keep us quiet and locked into the consumer economy but as the big Iraq march proved - no notice will be taken of any calls for real change. What is the point of free speech if you're just howling into a void?

    As to What is missing in the system is any linkage between the people, individually and collectively, and power over government Ellis is right, Thatcherism put paid to that and the kleptocracy that now reigns supreme will make sure their boots stay firmly on the necks of anyone who shows the slightest inclination to effectively challenge the staus quo.

    I envy the Egyptians their moment of joy and hope it doesn't all turn to dust for them, although it probably will.

  58. IanG

    Surely this is an outrageous lie? Therefore a formal complaint could be made?

    Perhaps, but I think it was either IDS or William Hague who was caught using figures from the Daily Mail and presenting them as if they were official government data.

    Their response was something like: "Oh, do you mean we cannot trust the Daily Mail to tell the truth? You mean we should have checked first?"

    I think the official government response was:

    "LOL. Soz."

    We seem to be witnessing something like the last days of an ailing company, where all the press releases tell of wonderful things to come and predictions of going from strength to strength, as the directors feverishly plunder all the bank accounts and steal the office equipment and take their secretaries out on an expenses-fuelled bender in one last desperate attempt to get a shag.

    It's a mixture of doing it because they can and the worry that there will never be another chance like this.

    Welcome to the third world, the foggy banana republic of kleptocracy Britain.

    Remember the people pulling faces and shouting rude names at Big Ears and his Missus, as they trundled along in their ridiculous fish-bowl on wheels?

    Coming to a politician and banker near you soon.

  59. I imagine IDS will issue some sort of qualified retraction, but where the right-wing press will have splashed the lie across the front page, the "correction" will run to four lines of point six font at the bottom of a column on the business news page.

  60. AB

    I know it sounds apocalyptic but it does feel like we're reaching a tipping point. It could be a paradigm shift but we'll be plunged into a horrendous social chaos before anything better emerges - if it does, it could of course be much worse. Am feeling quite depressed about it all today and worried for my sprogs and their offspring. They'll be having to deal with the fall out long with the rest of their generation.

  61. Atomboy

    Apparently, the government is planning to ferry everyone to work for free on sunbeams, as we all abandon our cars at the roadside as they become worthless.

    Yes, they seem a bit worried, but as with everything else, don't seem to have a fucking clue what to do.

    No doubt the meerkats will sort it all out.

  62. This is looking more and more like a government that has decided it has absolutely no chance of a second term and so is trying to undo 65 years of social progress and hand over every last penny to its mates before it's voted out and its ministers all take up their seats on the boards of the companies they've gifted everyone's cash to.

  63. Evening all, thank you very much for the birthday greetings and James for a present and a half!

    I got dragged out of bed to go and watch the game this afternoon. Couldn't drink, but got stoned as a kite. I thought I'd smoked too much when I heard Anfield singing "Happy Birthday To You" and saw Kuyt score a hat-trick...

    The song was for King Kenny, for a couple of days ago and Dirk did score a hat-trick (sorry, Spike [not really]).

    So thanks for the wishes, great day had.

  64. @Ian

    The Daily Mail along with much of the tabloid press has been putting about for ages this myth that you can sign yourself off for IB.Total bollox!Your GP has to sign you off but only for a maximum of six months.Thereafter the decision as to whether you remain signed off and claiming IB used to rest with doctors working for the DWP.And with IB being scrapped the decision is now in the hands of ATOS.So contrary to another lie put about by the media GP,s were not responsible for any increase in people claiming IB for more than 6 months.

    @The new Enterprise Zones are to be in the Midlands and North of England.No surprises there.But am i right that the ConDems could never impose Enterprise Zones in Wales and Scotland?And that the decision would have to be made by the respective Assembly's of those two constituent countries?

    @Due to a late equalizer from Wolves Spurs drew 3-3 in todays away match.We was robbed!

  65. Habib

    If you've got a scouse accent might be an idea to keep a low profile given todays result at Liverpool.I know it's your birthday and that but half of Manchester is likely to be well pissed of tonight.:-)

  66. Habib, you smooth bastard ... glad you are enjoying your birthday. :-)


  67. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny and very crowded evening by the river, with families out in their dozens walking, cycling and jogging, groups of teenagers hanging out and boys on scooters doing wheelies to try and impress the girls.

    A huge blond bloke with some sort of "difference" (what's the generic PC term these days?) ran past me making a very loud "urgh" noise every time he exhaled. He was grinning madly and apparently having a great time. Made me smile.

  68. Happies to Habib

    Yes Paul- WaLes has control of what is laughingly known as economic development - Scotland too.

    Nearest jobs to village here - to banks, petrol station and supermarket - 25 mile round trip. True too of Job centre. Rural economies will collapse as petrol rises. KSA has I believe plenty in storage. Libya supplies around 2% of oil - price is being hiked.

    Back later.

  69. Spike - sounds like one of the villains in the Millenium series!

  70. BeautifulBurnout

    Thanks for the kind words. I didn't mean to ignore them - just doing the usual rushing out and back again routine.


    Yes, I think people will soon spot the gulf between the empty words and the reality which keeps smacking them in the face in the real world.

    We all know that politicians are simply liars in nice suits.

    Once the hatred starts to ramp up, though...


    Yes and yes.

    Like a child who has turned the taps on too far and can't manage to turn them off, we are witnessing the slippery slide from splashing action stations to tearful panic stations.


    Turn that frown upside down!

    We are entering the period of unlimited opportunity, unconstrained by fear or respect or expectations that anyone in charge knows what they are doing.


    Glad you had a good day.


    I am going to attempt to reply to everything which anyone writes - ever.

  71. @Paul

    Everyone else seems to think Wolves were robbed.

    Habib'll be fine. It's OK Liverpool playing the spoilers when it's against us, fair and square, as long as they're not rolling over and Stevie G passing to Drogba in the goal mouth to hand a match to Chelsea and make sure we miss the title by one point.

    Anway, we're still top and hopefully we'll have one or two of our central defenders back soon.


  72. 1. People here are birthing kitties because petrol is $3.19/gallon right now. Anything over $2.00/gallon seems to cause apoplexy in the average American.

    2. The only way I would be able to figure out if there was a correlation between the error messages people are getting and the browser used would be if the people having problems would tell me -- either via e-mail or in a comment -- what browser they're using. E-mail is: thewildhack AT gmail DOT com

    3. I thought the River Don was in Russia. Why did I never know before that there's one in England? Does the English Don flow quietly, too?

    4. BTH -- if you'd like to post any of your pictures to the UT gallery, e-mail me at the address above & I'll send you the log-in details.

    5. I keep forgetting that the raison d'être of UT is to live up to badpenny's standards. Silly bitch.

  73. Hi Montana, thanks for responding. I know that some hosting sites have a log file that gives all sorts of info about visitors but unfortunately it is not so in this case.

    @AB, Like a child who has turned the taps on too far and can't manage to turn them off, we are witnessing the slippery slide from splashing action stations to tearful panic stations. I love the child analogies where you paint a picture that just rings true.

  74. Pre Scriptum: Montana, you is sin binned...


    3. I thought the River Don was in Russia. Why did I never know before that there's one in England? Does the English Don flow quietly, too?

    I think it is the same river, isn't it? Like Sarah Palin, I can see Russia from my bedroom window.

    Mind you, I have to drink like fuck and take a lot of drugs before I see it clearly.

    I use Chrome, the browser brought to us by the same crazy gang who supply us with Google and, er, Blogger.

    Oh, maybe that's why...


    Iain Duncan Smith: there are lots of jobs for the unemployed

    Hundreds of thousands of unemployed people could be in work if they took vacant jobs, Iain Duncan Smith has said.

    UK unemployment stands at 2.5 million. Mr Duncan Smith told the Conservative spring conference in Cardiff that was less of a problem than some have suggested.

    “It’s shortsighted to say there aren’t any jobs at the moment. The fact is there are around half a million vacancies in the economy at the moment,” he said.

    “It’s not the absence of jobs that’s the problem. It’s the failure to match the unemployed to the jobs there are.”


    Yeah, but it would seem - admittedly this is just a superficial, cursory analysis - that even if every job was taken, it would still leave 2 000 000 people, er, you know, jobless and unemployed.

    It might seem churlishly picky to mention that, apart from fucking the economy, another part of the Neo Nasty masterplan is to make another few hundred thousand unemployed on top of the 2.5 million already chasing 0.5 million jobs.

    Oh, didn't we also find that most of those 500 000 jobs were also mythical, just bunged out by employment agencies to collect names and addresses in case the need arises sometime in the future.

    Oh, along with the fact that not all of those jobs are in London, where you can just jump on a tube and land outside your new employer's gate.

    Still, lovely headline for The Daily Mail, eh, IDS?

    "Fucking Workshy Scum Refuse to Live in Ditch for a Tenner a Week."

  75. Montana

    Oh, you are back again.


    I can never think of politicians as responsible, properly functioning adults.

  76. BTW; with regard to the spam bin and how "Blogger" works, is your browser the same as your ISP? I frequently have two computers running at the same time (a laptop and a PC) 'coz I'm transferring stuff from to the other.

    Anyway, the point is my ISP on the PC is Virgin Media whereas the laptop uses Google.

    I've only been "spammed" once and that was when using the Google option.

  77. Hi All

    Happy Birthday Habib! Hope you have many more.

    James, you had no right to make a gift like that. You do know that it's a bridge too far for Chelsea? (-: Good thing too, because they are looking strong again.

    Paul, no robbery there from my perspective buddy. Pretty much a just result from a very entertaining game.

    Montana-Gasoline here is $1.35 per liter, so roughly $5.50 per US gallon. Gulp. Oh and everyone knows the real River Don is in Scotland.

    Bitey, great pics.

  78. What Iain Duncan Shit failed to acknowledge was that most of the jobs he referred to were either part-time or only offered shit wages or probably both!

  79. Boudican

    Photo of the River Don by a local Sheffield photographer, Berris Conolly. He's done some lovely stuff around the city.

  80. Evening all.


    Sorry I wasn't available earlier when you called. Been to Bakewell for a stroll by the river and a genuine Bakewell pudding, which just rounded off the sunday dinner nicely. Figure we might as well get out into Derbyshire once or twice before fuel gets any more expensive. Since Mr Chin & myself both travel some distance to work it's already getting to the 'How much? pass the smelling salts, please' stage down at the petrol station. We followed a rather tasty Aston DB9 from Baslow to Owler Bar & speculated on what it costs to fill the tank on that beastie.

  81. @Mschin: the way things are headed, how long before it's cheaper to fill the car up with third rate whiskey?

    I have many happy memories of time spent in Bakewell and many other places in the Peak District.

    The view from the "surprize bend" on the road into Hathersage would take anyone's breath away!

  82. Given the number of chippies round here and the ever increasing price of oilChekhov - I think I'd be on to a winner refining chip fat.

  83. Didn't see any of the footy 'coz it was probably on Sky which I don't subcribe to. All I got was the lowlights on BBC news which involved two spectaculary awful fouls which should have had the referee reaching for the red card.

  84. @ Sheff: apparently you don't even need to refine it! I could be wrong about that but the "Mythbusters" put it to the test (Discovery Channel). I know it sounds unlikely but they poured old chip fat into the petrol tank of an ordinary car and it fired up and purred along quite contentedly.

  85. we're given just enough to keep us quiet and locked into the consumer economy

    Enjoy your well-earned holiday in Egypt, sheffpixie. Are you going to buy a plane ticket or are you going to walk all the way there? (carbon footprint, disposable income, consumer economy)


  86. That's not a solution, obviously, since there will never be enough chip shops to supply us with spent chip shop oil. That's why kleptocrats jumped on the "bio energy" band wagon which involves cultivating ethanol from crops like wheat and barley. The fact that it costs more in energy than it produces is lost on these fuckwwits.

    BTW: that's not my opinion. I'm not a scientist, it's what I have been told. Feel free to disagree if my information is wrong!

  87. You're welcome Habib, glad you liked it. It was either that or socks.....


    Yeah, I know it won't do us much good, realistically, but, this weekend has made the title/champions league run-in more exciting than it's been in a long while. I'll take that at this stage, I reckon.....

    (MLB starts again soon, so yay for that too!!)

  88. Penny, we can't all maintain the kind of low-carbon impact associated with basement dwelling, I'm afraid. Some of us do actually... go out!

  89. Flying Egypt Air badpenny and happy to give them my dosh, can't wait to get going. I shall probably be going back to Morocco in September too so you can add that trip to my carbon footprint as well.

    Also travelling while I still can 'cos being stuck in the UK with poe faced no marks like you isn't a thrilling prospect.

  90. Hbd hbb

    you is proper, young lancastrian.

  91. night all - leni Mungo adores his new young neice.....

    I care not what the dross think of you .....me ..I adore you you.



  92. Right, my name's James and I'm a bit OCD.

    Consequently, there's no way in hell I'm going to bed with this thing on 99 comments!!


    Night all.