Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fucking nurses

No, you dirty-minded lot, not in that way (although it's always worth a squirt); it seems that we cannot even train our nurses properly. Doctor Crippen has a verbatim email from a student nurse that boggles the mind.
Science, anatomy and physiology were glossed over, often with a whole physiological system being 'covered' in one afternoon session.

I have been told by a friend in another institution that some nursing schools had actually removed pharmacology from their syllabus in prior years to make way for more 'soft skills'. This means that nurses have been qualified by a school that gave greater priority to 'soft skills' than fundamental aspects of drugs, their mechanisms and uses.

What the fucking hell is going on? Pray tell me, what the fuck are qualified nurses for again? Oh, hang on: is it nursing? Then why the fuck are they not being taught the fundamentals of the human physiological system? Why the hell are they not being taught about the effects of the drugs that they have to administer? Has the entire country gone insane?
One lecturer stated that it is not necessary to learn cannulation or catheterisation or IV therapy on the course as we can go on top up courses when we have qualified and found employment.

WHAT! Fuck you, cunty-balls; you learn at the fucking college: that's what the entire exercise is for, for crying out loud!

We're all fucked. The nurses are fucked because they are going to have a hard time getting jobs, and we're all fucked because we will be receiving injections from someone who hasn't been taught how to administer one in the three fucking years that she was at college!

Fucking hellski...

Swearblogger Roundup #1

Hmmm, not as many nominations as I'd like for the Roundup, but if we can get some more next week, that would be good. I have widened the remit so that it is essentially like the Bloody Devil, i.e. awarded to bloggers "who fisk objects of public derision but who also pepper the post with gratuitous but intensely satisfying insults". In other words, gratuitous swearing, whilst desirable, is not compulsory.

But let's face it, there can be few objects of greater derision than John Prescott, which is why this Numberwatch post is really rather beautiful. An exerpt:
He is a man of monumental stupidity and towering vanity, but with a bottomless well of congenital cunning that kept him afloat in the political sewage.

Well, quite and, talking of sewage, Matthew Sinclair ponders the rumour that Osama Bin Laden may have died of typhoid.
Osama bin Laden liked to eat shit; contaminated water is the usual cause of Typhus but surely bin Laden was rich enough to afford iodine tablets?

Go and read the rest: there's little swearing but some frankly unpleasant mental imagery.

This article by War Nerd, on the situation in Afghanistan, is just beautiful in its understated offensiveness.
If your exterminator says he just killed 200 rats down in the basement, is that good news or bad news?

On the one hand, it's good those rats are dead. On the other hand, I thought we got rid of them years ago, and now there's hundreds? What's going on?

That's the Big Question everyone should be asking in Afghanistan. NATO's claiming we killed 500 Taliban near Kandahar this month. That's a mighty impressive body count, sure, but if Nam taught us one thing, it's that body counts are a bad sign. For all sorts of reasons, starting with basic common sense: if we're killing that many, how many more are running around out there?

Vernon Robinson, a coloured gentleman who is running for senator gets down and dirty with his campaign videos.

The Longrider is mightily annoyed—and rightly so—that the police have decided to ask permission before arresting any Muslims.
So craven have the snivelling, traitorous, cowardly, jackanapes in power become in their anxiousness to display their dhimmitude, that they have set up an Islamic quango to check for them whether the police have sufficient evidence to carry out a raid that involves Muslim suspects. Jesus H Christ on a pogo stick!

Mr Eugenides is pissed right off at the balls-up that is the NHS database: Accenture have walked away so the whole thing is mightily screwed (more so than it was).
Patsy, at least, has a track record in this department - bailing out Rover just before the 2005 General Election just to keep it open until the polls had closed... Her head should have been welded into a car door for that; instead, she was promoted to health.

Timmy's fisk of Falconer deserves to be in here simply because it does.

Bawbags is not a fan of the Cosmic Rough Riders. At all.
What the fuck? I mean really, what the fucking fuck? I thought the dude was meant to be a rock singer? But there he is, chumming it up with fucking DLT. If he had any stones, he'd have gone down there, got ripped off his tits on whisky and cheapo speed, knocked that hairy dobber the fuck out, then layed down some tracks while getting ravenously blown by Travis' 21 year old Polish housekeeper.

You may have heard that Bertie Ahern, the Irish Taoiseach, has been having a few financial worries: Twenty Major tells it like it is in a post entitled, Resign Ahern, you cunt.
I don't believe him. I don't believe his story. I'm now sick to the fucking back teeth of the horseshit we're fed week in week out by this government who consistently fuck us all in the arse with absolute impunity and have steadfastly remained exempt from punishment. They do what they want and the consequences are almost non-existent.

I don't know whether it is comforting that other countries' leaders are all as corrupt and useless as the bunch of total shitheads that rule us, frankly.

Never mind, here's Noreen to cheer us up!
It's Ramadan - yawny yawny cunt cunt. All the muslims are wandering about with faces like slapped arses, rubbing their necks and looking miserable

Unity rips Jack Straw's Conference speech into tiny little pieces in no uncertain terms.
What the fuck are you on about, Jack???

And remember, this is a card-carrying member of the Labour Party here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Mr Angry is.. well... pretty hacked off with his estate agents.
I’m not going to swear, I promise.

At no point will I refer to those cunty fucking shysters in derogatory terms.

Pigdogfucker is really pissed off with football-supporting spics.

The Daily Mail tendency, perversely, kicks seven shades of shit out of The Grauniad's coverage of Princess Toni's speech.
o just to reiterate that everyone is a viable target for The Daily Mail Tendency I though I would flag this humdinger of an article in The Guardian. And by humdinger I mean shameless pile of nauseatingly brown nosing wank. Just to clarify terminology.

And he's at it again, laying into Alan Johnson, at The Appalling Strangeness.
Blair can't even manage the finances of his own party - how the frig fuck is he going to cope with the hideously complex issues of the Middle East?

The Ranting Guttersnipe has committed Part 1 of his fisking of Blair's speech: apparently this is going to take a while (and several posts).
Yeah… you’d have taken parliamentary debate, wiped your holier than thou fucking arse with it and flushed it down the bog with your Legislative Reform Bill and European Consti-fucking-tution as well.

Believe me, I am really looking forward to the rest of this one…

Allan has some good suggestions as to how NuLabour Ministers might kill themselves.
How about Peter Mandelson jumping rectum first into a skip full of rusty scissors…

The Reactionary Snob is succinct about Reid and Straw.

Still, we wouldn't want to be accused of being partisan, eh? So here's The Remittance Man on Spam Cameron.

And that concludes the first Swearblogger Roundup. Your humble Devil would appreciate a few more nominations, especially from outside the usual circle (as I tend to link to them throughout the week anyway). Please send any nominations that you have throughout the week to: swearblogger[AT]gmail[DOT]com

More admin notes, I'm afraid. Firstly, on Gronk's Letters Home album, the first live bonus track, Manda, had two very bad bits of feedback. Thanks to the power of Amadeus II (only $30 and well worth it. Or try the 15 days of use trial version), I have now been able to edit this song: the first bit of feedback has been removed completely, and the other is considerably reduced.

Secondly, I am actually going to London next week and shall be there from Sunday afternoon until Thursday evening (and trotting to Bournemouth on Tuesday for the UKIP Tax Note launch) so blogging may be light. Having said that, I shall be staying with the pater, who has broadband, a lovely iMac and work to do during the week, so maybe I will be writing as normal. Who knows?

Anyway, I shall be leaving the UKIP Tax Note comment on here as a draft and will ask one of The Kitchen's contributors to post it at 11am on Tuesday morning (I shall be travelling at the time).


Via Prodicus, I see that Spam has decided to embrace, in a form, this whole blogging thing, via Webcameron. I've watched the two most recent clips and I have to say that Spam comes across quite well, although he could do away with the slightly scary Blairesque hand movements, frankly.

Is it too obviously calculating to film the pieces in his home, with his wife and kids running about? Actually, if he wanted to achieve the idea that he is a loving family man, etc. then he does rather well. It doesn't really seem forced and he comes across as quite genuine. Spam is even saying sensible things and that I didn't expect.

Still, at least he's embracing the medium. After a fashion...
The Faerie Lady is less than impressed by the pop-art pastiche Boris poster.
Initially I was quite excited. The God that is Boris can grace any part of me (sorry, my house) any day. I also thought that I may 'collect' a few extra copies and sell them on eBay as a Warhol-esque poster of the Boris was sure to be a collector's item.

Sadly, the pig's ear they've made of this poster is such that I'd much rather stick with watching my videos of his Question Time appearances than have my walls sullied by this monstrosity.

In fact, she's downright disappointed.

Christians are nutters too

One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere, and particularly in the way that we all link to one another, is that one can follow the white rabbit, as it were, and find out new things. In this case, Unity has a problem with my assertions that Christian loonies are not as dangerous as Islamic ones. (oh, and Unity, great post title!*)

Unity points at the Patrick Henry College (and, nope, I hadn't heard of it) which
exists specifically for the self-appointed purpose of training young men and women:
"who will lead our nation [America] and shape our culture with timeless biblical values"

Sorry DK, not only is there genuinely a Christian plan to remake the world under their god, and Patrick Henry College is part of it, but they’re actually going about it both in plain sight and in a fashion that’s a damn sight more intelligent and hell of a lot scarier than any number of bearded wingnuts wandering round the public transport system with rucksack bombs.

DK’s got a valid point in the sense that when it comes to religious fanatics, its the educated ones you need to be keeping a close eye on, but when it comes to posing a threat to yours truly, I tend to figure that the odds of me getting on bus in Birmingham city centre and encountering a bearded guy muttering religious incantations to his himself in Arabic with electrical wires sticking out of his puffer jacket as still slim enough to thought negligible, while the thought of his Christian counterparts infesting the White House and Capitol Hill like a bunch of clean cut cockroaches make me rather more nervous.

Strangely enough, I don't feel that way: I wonder why not? Perhaps it's because I have never encountered a Christian who was anything other than quite quiet and pleasant. And Christianity, as it is usually practised in this country, seems to lack (most of the time) that religious zeal that we see in so many Muslims; Christianity is also, at heart (following the teachings of Jesus), not an inherently violent religion. Although is does instruct its adherents to proselytise, it encourages them to do so through peaceful means, rather than by the sword (which the Koran instructs).

However, when I think about it, I am reminded of Somerset Lloyd-James, one of the most scheming characters from Simon Raven's Alms For Oblivion series (highly recommended, by the way: each book in individually entertaining and self-contained, but taken as a series (of ten) they are unsurpassed, both in trajectory and quality of writing).

Somerset (who was allegedly based on Rees-Mogg) is the editor of Strix, a magazine on business and economics, and, whilst ugly, is incredibly charming: he is also the most manipulative and cunning strategist in the whole series, relentlessly doing down his rivals and using subtle influences to get his way?

How is this relevent? Well, he was a Roman Catholic and as one character observes, his religion provides both the motive and absolution for Lloyd-James's twistiness. Lloyd-James delights in doing people down but, when doing so, ensuring that he does not violate his religions strictures. It is the pleasure in this occupation that provides much of the motive for his wiles: he is simply incapable of behaving in straight-forward manner.

All believers in religion are loonies to some extent: it doesn't do to forget that.

* By the pricking of my thumbs... something wicked this way comes: it's from a film Macbeth. How embarrassing, mea culpa. That's what happens when you study plays for GCSE: you try to forget 'em.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Jack Idema newsflash

Jack And Brent Are In Serious Trouble

While two-faced, Taliban-appeasing Afghan President Karzai spends a week in the U.S. lecturing everyone on how to deal with terrorism, back in Afghanistan, Jack Idema and Brent Bennett are fighting for their lives:
As of 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time [Thursday], Idema’s compound in Pulacharke is burning. Bennett has been taken by forces loyal to Karzai to the Al-Qaeda portion of the prison, where rumor has it, and it is reasonable to presume, he is being tortured.

Well, yes, we have been here before -- Jack and Brent have survived more than a dozen assassination attempts in the past. This time, however, they're under direct attack from forces loyal to Karzai, who have already captured Brent and handed him over to Al-Qaeda prisoners in their section of the prison.

Before his communications were cut-off, Jack Idema had the following to say late Thursday:
"This is it, Karzai and the US has finally ordered them to use weapons against us, the new General Sadiqi, has said that he was given orders to shoot to kill if we resisted. We may not make it through the night. if not, bye. At least you know what finally went down. They are going to cut all the phones off in this area soon if they do come in. My block is on fire, surrounded, and they already got Brent, I will hold out to the end.
Goodbye friends,

This does not look good, not good at all.

UPDATE: According to an email from Kender, who Jack managed to contact earlier today, the situation now is that Jack now has Northern Alliance protection, and that Karzai's goons have backed off for the time being.

However. Captain Brent Bennett is still missing, presumed to be stuck in the al-Qaeda section of the prison. If this is the case, clearly, his life is at great risk.

Here's Kender, quoting Jack:
[Jack] mentioned something about Karzai's guys finding out what a 5 gallon can of gas and a Zippo lighter would do… I don't know what he did but I think at the moment he is safe.

Also. Jack is receiving 'conflicting reports' concerning Brent's whereabouts. As soon as we learn anything definite, or just what happened with regard to Karzai's troops and that '5 gallon can of gas' we'll let you know.
Quote of the day from Timmy:
Let's go one better shall we? Let's make assaulting a politician cost 100 pounds.

I've got my money right here and if it's John Reid we catch I'll lend you yours.

Okay, I'm up for that! I guess that I might have to give Hattersley another reason to shoot himself though...

My Tax Returns are like a shield of steel!

Via Timmy, I find this absolutely fucking dreadful story which perfectly illustrates exactly what kind of cunt is ruling us.
Neil Martin faces bankruptcy and losing his home because of an error by the taxman. He has been told the law can do nothing. The taxman is not liable for his mistakes even when he seriously disadvantages customers, a judge ruled yesterday.

For starters, can we stop with all of this "customer" bullshit, please? A customer willingly purchases something, after researching price and value; this is not the fucking taxman. The taxman is a balckmailer: he extorts money with menaces. If we were a "customer" we could choose not to buy a product, or to buy that product somewhere different.
Neil Martin lost his case after being the first person to sue the Inland Revenue over allegations of negligence or administrative incompetence

Andrew Simmonds, QC, said that the Inland Revenue had been responsible for a 52-day "negligent" delay that had helped push a builder to the brink of bankruptcy.

However, he ruled that the tax office is immune to prosecution by individuals and businesses, unlike other public services such as hospitals and police forces.

I'm sorry, but why is this, precisely? Perhaps the judge would like to amplify this ruling just a teensy bit? Because, you see, if the taxman is immune to the law, then what other recourse do we mere mortals have? You fucking little cunts, you work for us! Fuck you.

That goes for the sodding judge as well. Come on, Simmonds; explain yourself, you double-dyed shit.
Neil Martin, 38, became the first person to sue the Inland Revenue, now known as Revenue & Customs, for alleged negligence or administrative incompetence.

Well, we should bring a lot more cases. The Revenue does not hesitate to haul any ordinary citizen up in court, or to fine them if they fuck up: how is it that the same does not apply to them? They have ruined this man's life: fucked his business, probably put him into bankruptcy, maybe lost him his house and the lazy, inefficient bastards at the HMRC are now immune? For fuck's sake.
The builder, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, said that his business had been plunged into a cash flow crisis after a delay in processing a crucial form.

Without the form, part of 1999 anti-fraud legislation called the Construction Industry Scheme, contractors could not pay their bills without subtracting tax at source, which caused a cash crisis for the company.

Of course, of we simplified the whole tax system, then we wouldn't have to worry too much about this sort of shit. I would love to become a manager in the HMRC at that point, because, my god, the pleasure that I would take in personally sacking thousands of those fucks. I would kick them in the nuts too and then point out that I was immune from fucking prosecution.
Mr Martin now faces personal bankruptcy after being left with a swingeing tax bill of £250,000 along with substantial legal costs.

Yesterday he said that he intended to appeal against the judge's ruling and believes that the case could go "all the way to the House of Lords".

"This absolutely stinks," he said. "Ninety per cent of this judgment went in our favour, and I needed 100 per cent to get compensation. The Revenue is just allowed to put me out of business." He said that he was at risk of losing his home and that the case had been a huge strain on his fiancée, Janet.

I'm not fucking surprised. I hope that he goes all the way: perhaps someone should set up a donation site.
The judge ruled that the tax office has no "duty of care" to the individuals it advises, meaning that no individual can prosecute it for incompetence.

Now, just hang on one fucking second: are you telling me that HMRC can give incorrect advice (and who should know the rules better than the fucking HMRC?) and then fuck you over because they have screwed up? What kind of rancid fuckhole of a country are we living in.
Revenue & Customs welcomed the judge's ruling. "It confirms HMRC's understanding of the scope and extent of its duty of care to applicants under the Construction Industry Scheme," a spokesman said.

The Revenue had argued that, had Mr Martin won, it would have opened the floodgates to thousands of claims from businesses and individuals who believed that they had been disadvantaged.

Well, if you have screwed people in the past—and I cannot believe that Mr Martin's is an isolated case—I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to try to salvage something from your feckless incompetence.

I mean seriously, Mr HMRC Spokesman, what part of YOU WORK FOR US, YOU CUNT don't you get?

This is a fucking shocking state of affairs, it really is. Furthermore, I don't understand it: why are they immune? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, sunshine...
I've had a couple of nominations for the putative Swearblogger Roundup, but we need some more (and 'twould be good to see some from outside the usual circle). The Swearblog Roundup will be published on Saturday evening; let's say that we'll take nominations up until 5pm on Saturday.

Send your nominations—we're looking for anything sweary, offensive and generally beyond the pale (yes, rancid mental images, even devoid of swearing, are also accepted)—to: swearblogger[AT]gmail[DOT]com
Martin Kelly on Polish and Latvian cocklers. [Emphasis mine.]
If someone who can come and go as they please advances into treacherous conditions unable to speak the language used by those whose assistance they might require, then while their death would be tragic it would also be utterly avoidable.

They would have nobody to blame but themselves - a sometimes unfortunate consequence of being free.

I wish people would get a hold of this concept. Being free means being free to fuck up: sometimes with tragic results.
The BBC reports the news that mental health services are failing.

Anyone who reads Doctor Crippen says, "no fucking shit, Sherlock. You cunt."

What's my age again?

This government really are fucking things up royally, aren't they? I mean, for fuck's sake, it seems that they are about to breach their own laws again.
Laws being introduced on Sunday, which ban age discrimination at work, could endanger the minimum wage system, a business group has warned.

Workers aged under 21 can currently be paid less than their older colleagues.

But the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said this may be considered discriminatory and be open to legal challenge under the new legislation.

Of course, in the world of the Lefties, this can only be a good thing because now everyone will get the same level of minimum wage, right?
"They are in a pickle. If this were the subject of a legal challenge, based on the new age law, the government may put the minimum wage rates of the under-21s up to the same level as the over-21s."

The BCC warned that if this were to happen firms would be less likely to hire young people.

In other news, bears continue to shit in the woods and it is commonly reckoned that the Pope is not Islamic. It is already difficult enough to get a job; whilst some of my friends did graduate and go straight into good jobs (or graduate training schemes), a great many have not. Some are still working in pubs and restaurants; others did so for years until they found a job they wanted; some went and worked in the public sector and nearly hanged themselves out of boredom and frustration. And these people all had good degrees.

Employers are always going to favour experience over youthfulness (unless they are running a paedophile ring); the counter to that is that young people cost less to employ, so it is worth hiring and then training them. By the time that you have to pay them the full whack, then they have got the experience: even better, they have got the experience of the way that your firm works.

If this law stops that, then I weep for the youth of today (and their job prospects). I also weep for the parents who are never going to be able to get the little buggers out from under them and get some peace and quiet have the pleasure of seeing their darling child fly the nest.
Some unions and charities have suggested that the laws do not go far enough as they do not offer protection to people over 65.

On Thursday, the High Court agreed to hear a case brought by charity Heyday based on the argument that forcing people to leave work just because of their age contravenes European employment law.

The case will be heard on 6 December, and could lead to a full judicial review of the age laws.

That's fine; let people work for as long as they want to. If they get to the stage where they can no longer do the job, sack them.

By the way, I am aware that this law originates in the EU: anyone know the exact provenance?

An open letter to programmers of Mac OS X applications

Dear Programmers,

I would like to start off by saying, "thank you." Thank you to those guys who have, since the inception of the Darwin BSD Linux Mac OS X, have been writing so many useful bits of software that have saved me time and money; I really am most grateful. For more or less the first time, I am seeing sites that advertise pieces of Mac OS and Linux software that are not Windoze compatible; you have no idea how happy this makes me.

But... And there is always a "but"...

But, I do wonder if you might start writing efficient software that doesn't take up 86,000,000,000 times more space on my hard disk than it needs to. You know, there really is no reason why my aplications folder, which on OS 9 was about 500MB, now needs to be 13.08GB (not including the additional 2.14GB in the Application Support folder): I have fewer major applications than I used and, really, those applications haven't improved so much that they need to occupy quite so much of my hard drive. Oh, and, Apple, this is for you: what, precisely, are Console Logs that they require the use of 6.82GB?

And now, application performance: oh, dear god. When is someone out there going to consider making a web browser that doesn't suffer a major memory leak? They all do it, apart from Safari, which then doesn't support Java editors properly. And since when did a fucking web browser need to take up 70% and more of the processing power of two—count them, you fucks: TWO!—G4 chips; chips that were specially designed to do massive number-crunching? What do you do when someone only has one chip, eh: use 140%?

And, fucking hell: memory usage! Skype: why is it, precisely, when I have not used you for days, do you need to have 270MB of physical memory and another 834MB of virtual memory, eh? You're using about three times more RAM, at rest, than Photoshop is. I mean, seriously, what the fuck?

So, how about it, application programmers? You used to write tight, efficient programmes that ran with the tiniest amount of memory possible; why don't you go back to pretending that 32MB of memory costs £90+VAT and start programming for that scenario, eh? Why not pretend that a 2GB hard drive is over £240 and make your code a little tidier? Please, have a go, why don't you? Push the boat out: write software that doesn't require a fucking supercomputer with its own cool-room to run these apps. We cannot all afford to buy a new Mac every two years. And besides, one of the selling points of Macs was that they have a long shelf-life.

Oh, and another thing: all of you major application houses that require the online web registration that makes it so incredibly difficult and fiddly for me to swap in a larger hard drive as my main system disk, stop it. It's really fucking annoying.

So, write good, efficient code, plug the fucking memory leaks and keep up the good work, OK? Thanks for listening.

Best regards (as long as you do what I say),


Free speech is not selective, damn it!

The Morning-Star reports that the charge against Stephen Green has been dropped; but then he goes way off course.
This is one face of religious intolerance in the UK. Stephen Green is the national director of Christian Voice and thinks he has the right to shove his biggoted religious views in your face.

He hates anyone who has views different to his own, and hopes, if your views are different to his, that you will burn in hell.

He was arrested in Cardiff for handing out anti gay leaflets at the Mardi Gras and is now intending to sue the police for arresting him. I hope he fails, he thinks that he was badly treated because he was held in a cell for four hours, he should have got a kicking for being an intolerant wanker, but he thinks he has the true faith.

Yes, the man is an intolerable fool, an intolerant bigot and—by virtue of his believing in an invisible, omnipotent, yet strangely unprovable friend—he is, by any sane measure, utterly delusional but he has a right to make his point as long as he is not doing anything criminal. And he wasn't: he was handing out flyers (and probably doing a bit of the old, "take one or you'll burn in hell" hustle, but what Edinburgh Fringe performer has never done that, eh?).

According to the Beeb, the police are dropping their charge for lack of evidence which doesn't sound to me like too many people were so offended and worried that they felt that they had to come forward and testify.
He was held in a police station for four hours and was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress after he refused to accept a caution from the force's Minorities Support Unit.

A fucking Minorities Support Unit? What the fuck is that when it's at home (or, rather, at a Mardi Gras)? Got a Majorities Support Unit as well, have you, guys? And where are all these distressed poofs and dykes to testify, anyway? Could it be that these "oppressed" minorties are just a wee bit more secure in their self-belief than the fucking cops are?

Mind you, this is quite funny given the fact that he is contemplating sueing them.
[Green] said: "The police should concentrate on nicking villains instead of people like me going about my lawful business."

That'll be great, Stephen, you fucking moron; they could be out "nicking villains" instead of appearing in court to defend their—admittedly pathetic—actions to you.

I think you should go fuck youself, Stephen; but just as I am allowed to say that, so I shall defend your right to say that homosexuals* shouldn't fuck each other.

* Please note that the word is promounced "hommoe-sexuals" (with "homo" meaning "same", as in homogeneous), not "hoe-moe" (meaning "man", as in Homo sapiens).

To all the kids who were born in the 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s...

Via England Expects, this—which I reproduce in full—from The England Project.
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding three on a bike was always great fun.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate bread pudding, white bread and real butter and drank lemonade with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because…


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go karts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels satellite, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms… WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given pellet guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

School sports teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned…


And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?

All pretty true, except that I didn't play outside that much; amongst other things, when we moved from Battersea to Tonbridge (when I was two), I was for months apparently afraid to move off the back patio because I wasn't used to grass. I spent most of my childhood inside building Transformers out of Lego and I had two objects in this endeavour: their car mode, or whatever, had to look realistic and they had to actually transform smoothly (no taking bits off and sticking them on somewhere else. That's cheating).

I'm surprised that I turned out as normal* as I did, frankly.

* Disclaimer: in this instance, "normal" is a relative term.

Martin Kelly on blogging

The minor spat between myself and Richard North appears to have either set off or coincided with one of those seams of blogtastic navel-gazing wherein we writers examine our... er... raison de blog, if you like.

What I have been struck by is the fact that everyone who has written such a piece has done so in their own idiosyncratic style: Chris Dillow and Matt Sinclair were typically analytical, each producing their own externalised theories on the subject; The Longrider was forthright but quite controlled; Carpsio and the Reactionary Snob were as vitriolic as if they had been personally insulted (which they probably felt that they were).

The latest to comment is the occasional poster at The Kitchen, Martin Kelly, a man who churns out an immense amount of writing—probably more, even, than myself and certainly better researched—concentrating on immigration and its effects. He is almost an anti-Worstall, pointing out time and again why unfettered immigration is not the best thing to happen from either an economic or social point of view: I read the vast majority of his output every day and his is the blog that I turn to whenever I want to consider what the downsides of the free market—especially in people—might be. His lawyerly heritage is inherent in every substantial post that he writes and he, too, has responded to the blog discussion in his own style.
Although it is pretty much an unstoppable force, blogging has risks - the principal one of which is the personality of bloggers.

Bloggers are not pack animals. We are private individuals with financial commitments who dare to tell the world what we think - a daily act of suicidal recklessness. We have no shareholders to bail us out when we make mistakes. Repelling my potential opponent in litigation was as easy as swatting a fly - but I would be much more windy about telling the authorities that it's actually me who writes this blog.

We are all, I think, wary of being linked too intimately with our online writings, even to the extent of creating online personas and alter egos in order to diguise our true identities. A great deal, though by no means all, of this is to do with the financial risks that we run, either through being sued for libel or through having to choose between our job and our blog.

Martin also left a comment on that Mike Ion article (that I fisked a couple of days ago) stating the following:
The harsh reality of the Internet era is that it is not only the mainstream media but also those in government who are petrified of it; the central regulation and flow of information, the very means by which all states keep control, has been truly abolished at precisely the same time that Western governments have reached depths of authoritarianism never before reached in peacetime...

Again, this was something that I touched on in this post when I wrote:
And the blogosphere is growing; Cameron must understand how it works because, by the time that he gets elected, many more people will be getting their news and opinions from blogs. The standard government spin, the tame press and the bland press releases simply won't work anymore: the government will be held to scrutiny by thousands of people whose jobs don't depend on being able to get tidbits fed to them by obliging ministers, or being able to get an interview with the Junior Minister for Paperclips's Assistant Secretary.

I, of course, had not fmade the leap to one of the logical follow-ups: Martin obliges.
When we blog we assume the duties of journalists with few of the perks. One of them is our almost complete lack of accountability. When the revolution spreads government will not encourage blogging but will fear it - and what happens that day is what's to be opposed, because,
"Beware of Greeks bearing gifts; and beware of politicians who say they want to protect the public in the aftermath of the very first big story that a blogger gets wrong and which has tragic consequences.
The day of the licensed blogger may not be far behind."

Just a thought...

Let us hope that, by the time that anyone contemplates such a thing (and, of course, finds a way to implement it), the power of the blogosphere is greatly enhanced. Or we can, of course, hope for a truly libertarian government.

Anyway, let us leave this navel-gazing scene: I noticed that Polly sneaked another article out on Wednesday and she's be at it again tomorrow. Time to play some puerile games!

Where The Left Went Wrong: The Director's Cut

I would really like to quote Tim Newman's whole post here, as it's just wondrful: please go and read the whole thing. But here's an extract.
But I think Aaronovitch is wasting his time as it is staggeringly obvious, and always has been, where the left has gone wrong.

After all, they were wrong about the Russian revolution, they were wrong about the Russian civil war, they were wrong about Lenin and the intentions of the Bolsheviks, they were hopelessly naive about the Spanish civil war, they were wrong about the threat posed by Hitler, they were wrong about Stalin, they were wrong about post-war Europe, they were wrong about North Korea, wrong about Mao and China, wrong about East Germany and the Berlin Wall, wrong about NATO and the Warsaw Pact, wrong about the Vietnamese communists, wrong about Fidel Castro and Cuba, wrong about the deployment of US missiles into Europe, wrong about Ronald Reagan, wrong about Afghanistan, and wrong on the entire communist experiment and its millions upon millions of victims.

So excuse my sceptism, but if you’re going to make a documentary on where the left has gone wrong, it needs to be a 12-part DVD box set with special pull-out wall chart.

And it continues in the same vein. It's absolutely delicious and had me drooling my appreciation like I was fat bastard, Roy Hattersley, watching the closing of the last private school in Britain.

God I hate Leftists. And Hattersley.

P.S. As you may know, Tim and his wife (congratulations, by the way) have moved to Sakhalin Island (yes, I did have to look it up). I wonder what it's like...
So, we’ve been here just over a week and are beginning to get a feel for what the place will be like to live in. Summed up in one word: grim.

Go and read the rest; there were a lot of elements to it that surprised me, e.g. I thought that property would be very cheap in the arse-end of nowhere where nobody but a total lunatic would want to live, but apparently not.

I'm Backing Reid

Come on, Roy: you know you want to: your life is over—thank god—and all you have left are those bitter, bitter memories. And a capacity to irritate the shit out of me...

Via Iain Dale (thanks for the original piccie) and The Sunt, I see that there is now a cast-iron reason to back John Reid for the NuLabour leadership: spite.
QUESTION on the radio for Roy Hattersley:

Should John Reid become next leader of the Labour Party?

Answer: If he does I will shoot myself.

One great reason to go for it then John!

For once, I agree with The Sunt!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Muslims and Christian death cults

In the interests of parity, (and via Chris), I feel that I should comment on this Christian's attempt to suicide bomb an abortion clinic.

Now, many people have pointed out to me, in conversation, that there are Christians who are just as fanatical and dangerous as the Islamists that we encounter; this is not something that I subscribe to. Yes, there are fanatical Christians, but they are not as dangerous as the Muslims: why?

It is an interesting fact that the Muslim suicide bombers, who have so troubled the West, have tended to be well-educated and, other than their ludicrous belief in their invisible friend, intelligent men with a real dedication to their death wish.

Fanatical Christians, on the other hand, tend to be a little more like the man in this article; that is, they make two short planks look like fucking Einstein. [Emphasis mine.]
Based on what he told police, David McMenemy's plan to destroy an abortion clinic worked out much differently in his head from what played out Monday in Davenport, Iowa.

McMenemy, 45, most recently of Rochester Hills admitted dousing the interior of his silver 2004 Saturn with gasoline he had in a Gatorade bottle and plunging the vehicle into a women's health clinic early that morning. And he told police he planned to die in the ensuing fire.

But the clinic whose lobby the native Detroiter drove into -- the Edgerton Women's Health Center -- doesn't perform abortions or even provide referrals for them. And the impact wasn't enough to cause a fire, so McMenemy had to pour more gas on the car.

And once it was ablaze, he scratched his plan to kill himself when he realized it was going to be painful.

No one was injured.

So, something of a failure then: his target had nothing to do with abortions, he gave up the suicide idea when he realised that it would hurt and he couldn't even get the car to explode properly. I guess that that why the well-educated Muslim guys make bombs.
It all left local and federal police wondering whether McMenemy is a calculating criminal who spent weeks scouting the Midwest for abortion clinics to destroy, or nothing more than a suicidal, unemployed amateur criminal.

"Is he just a fruitcake, or is he better connected?" asked Scott County Prosecutor William Davis.

Really, mate, I think that you hit the nail on the head with the "fruitcake" comment, to be honest.

Generally speaking, Christians are quite happy to protest and do stupid things as long as they aren't put to too much trouble: there isn't really a Christian plan to remake the world under their God, no matter what you think of the neo-cons. Sorry.

The Muslims, on the other hand...
A few admin notes for you all; I shall be blogging today but
  1. I have a couple of assessments to write,

  2. and a couple of sites to build

  3. and my post on UKIP's Tax Policy Note to write and,

  4. Blogger is playing up. Surprise, surprise.

Given the above, I may not be on the ball. However, if Blogger is still playing up—and given that I don't have time to try repeatedly to publish my posts—you may find me posting at The Devil's Kitchen WordPress Edition for today (this is not a permanent home, so don't bookmark it). On the other hand, if Blogger have sorted out their problems, I'll be posting here, as usual.

UPDATE: Blogger appears to be playing ball again, so service as normal (for now).
Quote of the day from Twenty Major:
I'm right though. The greatest gift we can give to our children is a big fucking mess for them to clean up. It keeps them occupied.

Too right...

Those goshdarned peaceful Muslims again

Via Matt Sinclair, here we go again.
It looks as if immigrants youths want to turn nightly rioting during the Islamic holy month of ramadan into an annual tradition. Around 8:30pm last night violence erupted again in Brussels, the capital of Europe. The riots centered on the Brussels Marollen quarter and the area near the Midi Train Station, where the international trains from London and Paris arrive. Youths threw stones at passing people and cars, windows of parked cars were smashed, bus shelters were demolished, cars were set ablaze, a youth club was arsoned and a shop was looted. Two molotov cocktails were thrown into St.Peter’s hospital, one of the main hospitals of central Brussels. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the fires at the hospital, but youths managed to steal the keys of the fire engine.

Matt points to the traditional "feeling of alienation and economic depression"; this is all very well, but why are Muslims so mired? At least part of the answer was provided by Strange Stuff during the French riots last year.
If you want to know the real reason why the Muslim communities remain mired in self segregation and poverty while every other immigrant community manages to pull itself up by it's bootstraps and succeed this article in David Horowitz's magazine would be a good starting point.

Indeed; and what do we find? [Emphasis mine.]
In primary schools, the report cites instances of first grade boys' refusing to participate in coed activities and Muslim children's refusing to sing, dance, or draw a face.

Finally, the report discusses a host of difficulties teachers encounter in dealing with specific subjects in the classroom. Most Muslim kids refuse to participate in sports or swimming, the girls out of modesty, the boys because they do not want to swim in "girls' water" or "non-Muslim water." When it comes to literature, French philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau are very often boycotted because of their supposed Islamophobia. Molière, the father of French satiric comedy, is among the writers most often boycotted.

As for history, Muslim students object to its Judeo-Christian bias and blatant falsehood. They loudly protest the Crusades, and commonly deny the Holocaust. Under the circumstances, many teachers censor their own material, often skipping entire topics, like the history of Israel or of Christianity. The report cites one teacher who keeps a Koran on his desk for reference whenever a thorny issue arises. It cites Muslim students who refuse to use the plus sign in mathematics because it looks like a cross. Field trips, especially to churches, cathedrals, and monasteries, are boycotted.

Which corresponds very well to the British experience that Muslims do very badly in education. It is not due to racism (Hindus and Sikhs after all do very well, better than natives) of the teachers, so the problem must be the culture of the students. A culture that puts being a good Muslim above getting a good education, a good education being the best way out of poverty and into becoming a successful member of society. But
According to the report, Muslim students perceive a large gap between the French and themselves. Even though most of the Muslim kids are actually French citizens, they see themselves as Muslims first, and more and more of them hail Osama bin Laden as their hero. In their eyes, he represents a victorious Islam triumphing over the West.

So then being a good Muslim requires that they not integrate and become a successful member of native society but must remain true to being loyal to the 'Nation of Islam' rather than the nation that they live in.

If you will not learn the skills that will allow you to compete in an extraordinarily competitive job market then you will end up being unemployed. If you simultaneously refuse to integrate with your countrymen, preferring instead to see yourself as a member of a race apart, then you will end up ghettoised (especially if, like many Muslims, you chose to be so).

And when a lot of young men with no jobs and little prospect of getting one come together, then we see what happens. I wonder if France and Denmark are going to go up again?

I think that, despite the handwringing, it is a measure of the relative success of our integration policies that we have not yet riots on this scale; but how soon will it be—as ever-increasing numbers of Muslims from more radical parts of the world flood in—before it does?
Message for Perry: iTunes 7.0.1 update released.

Let's see if it fixes those problems.

More "what is the point?" discussions

I have been having a small contre temps with Dr North.

See this thread on EU Referendum forum for fun and frolics.

UPDATE: Not really intended as a comment on this topic, but relevent anyway, The England Project believes that blogging serves as a safety valve.
I’m willing to bet that a great many bloggers, many of them popular with wide readerships, started blogging because they were sick and tired of being force fed spin, obfuscation, lies and deliberate ignorance by the powerful or by those seeking to be powerful.

THAT, it is my firm belief, is why a significant number of people turned to political blogging. It’s the evolution of shouting at the TV screen.

This is interesting because it backs up Richard's idea of blogs being important for delivering a message, but also my idea of blogs as purely selfish devices to let off rage.

Meanwhile, Chris Dillow believes that Richard does have a point but then lays out the reasons why he believes that blogs are fundamentally different to the MSM (not whether they should be different).
For me, the ideal isn't to influence "important actors", but to abolish them - in both the MSM and in politics. And because this ideal is unattainable, the next best thing is to ignore them.

Interesting posts, both. Go read.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Worthless idiot of the week... month...

... hell, let's make it a year. Via Iain Dale, I have discovered a Labour supporter (rare enough) called Mike Ion, who I assume is about 17 years old or a 28 year old Down's Syndrome kid. Although, apprently he was "Labour's PPC for Shrewsbury in the 2005 [election, I assume] and a former Councillor in Telford", so I'm gng with the mongol theory.

I really need to eat something and watch That '70s Show (I really fancy Donna—tall, slim, broad-shouldered, wide-smiling, intelligent and doesn't take any shit: how could I resist?—so you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that Laura Prepon was a certified loony) so this post wil probably be split into two parts.

In the first part, I shall take a look at this wonderfully cliched article by Mike on Comment Is Free.
Political blogging has become immensely popular in the UK over the past 12 months. Blogs like Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale's Diary receive hundreds of thousands of hits each month and are proving to be influential in setting the news agenda ahead of the printed and broadcast media.

Welcome to my introductory boilerplate, wherein I try to establish that a practice, that has had a minor influence on one or two news stories and almost no impact on people in general, is important.

I will quote Guido and Iain because I cannot think of any other blog that might possibly have been mentioned in the news and, even though I know that it is probable that the general public has never heard of them, maybe when they have they will look back on my article and declare it to be almost supernaturally prescient. Besides, these are the two that the rest of the media have quoted and it will piss Richard North off even more if I don't bother mentioning him (and this is one of those instances where your humble Devi believes that Richard and Helen should get more of a look-in).
There's no question in my mind that political bloggers are a major new development in British politics.

Well, newish. Someof us have been plugging away for years; the fact that anyone in the MSM (and, thus, the establishment) is because of two stories involving Prescott and, typically, the MSM chose to concentrate on the more prurient and least important of those.
They take the media out of the hands of the corporate world and put it into the hands of anyone with a computer and an internet connection.

God! Is this the best that you can do? Or is every MSM journalist compelled to put this line in as a condition of their contract?
Their audiences tend to be political junkies who have almost non-stop access to a computer and large amounts of time to surf the internet for breaking news.

More tediously obvious, boilerplate crap.
This is what makes political bloggers so powerful - their ability to influence the influencers.

Really? What, Poly Toynbee surfs the 'net to see what Iain Dale is saying about Gordon Brown's speech to see if she agrees? I doubt it.
However almost all of the popular, and populist, political blogs in the UK are both anti-government and anti-Blair.

Ah, yes; "populist". Talk about being damned with faint praise.
Left of centre, or even vaguely pro-government blogs are rare and not at all influential, few (if any) are read by the likes of Nick Robinson and Adam Boulton.

Yeah, well, the problem is that a lot of people turn to blogs because they are fed up of reading boring, poorly-researched, left-wing-biased reporting in the MSM. Out here on the 'sphere, you can have any combination of boring, poorly-researched and left-wing-biased that you like. But you can also read swearbloggers and libertarians; free-trade advocates, economists and designers; you can read about theatre, social theory, tech, and just about anything else.

But mostly, you can get away from the pussy-footing, liberal Left who dominate the MSM and the ranks of university lecturers for whom socialism is the only "humanitarian" creed. Out here, there are people who say that socialism is utterly inhumane: and there are people who are discovering that they agree with those bloggers; people who are finding that what the Right is writing appeals to their heart and mind but they have never been entrusted with this knowledge.

What knowledge? Whisper it quietly, children: the knowledge that the state is not the solution but the problem.

This is not the case in the US where there tends to be a much looser allegiance to a political party and where you can be pro-government without being pro-Bush. In the US there are liberal, conservative, libertarian and near-anarchist bloggers. The one thing they all agree on: blogging. In the US bloggers discuss the new medium with proselytizing enthusiasm. They know each other's blog names, they use links, which enable internet users to jump from one web page to another, to publicise each other's work. In the US bloggers feel so strongly about blogging, they even promote bloggers they don't agree with.

I'm sorry, Mike, you have completely lost me now. Many of the US bloggers that I have read and who read me express immense surprise about the looseness of UK political party affiliation, not to mention the sheer diversity of positions. The only reason that anyone on the US might not dwell on party is because it is taken for granted that they are either a Democrat or a Republican; and since it is going to be so obvious from their writing, it is not worth mentioning.

And I don't know if you've noticed, Mike, you pig-ignorant sod, but over here we use each other's blognames too. We also, you know, link to each other; yes, even people that we disagree with. I've linked to you in this post, after all. But I promote bloggers that I don't agree with, ChickenYoghurt for instance, and there are bloggers who promote me too, though they think that I am a loon.

I see from your archives, Mike, that you have been blogging for nearly a year. For fuck's sake, Mike: where have you been? We do all of this in the UK and you don't seem to have noticed. Perhaps you should take you head out of your arse.
Could it be therefore that the main political parties here in the UK are simply failing to exploit the potential influence of the blog?

Finally, something that I agree with! Yes, of course they are. On the other hand, it's a long time until the next election and blogging for two years can become a bit of a strain. I suspect that we will see lots of blogs popping up about 4 months before the next General Election as everyone frantically jumps on the bandwagon. Either that, or we will see a succession of short-term project blogs, like Spam's India Trip blog (I think that this is the way that Spam himself is going to go. Much easier than trying to keep readers interested for more than two weeks: simply don't bother; blog for a week to "connect" and then ponce off again for a while. When you pop back with your next week's stint, there are plenty of Tory bloggers to point people to your "new" project).
Can the present government utilise the internet to help it connect with its supporters and not just its own party members?

Of course: haven't you noticed what a success Miliband's blog (not to mention his Environmental Wiki) has been? You haven't? Oh.
Of course it becomes more difficult for the governing party - particularly for a party that has been in power for nearly ten years - to enthuse and motivate people enough to want to set up a blog that seeks to proclaim its (the government's) many merits and achievements. Difficult, but not impossible.

I'm surprised that they haven't hired Neil Harding to do it officially: he seems to genuinely believe that NuLabour have done a good job; as, we assume, do you. And what about Labour Home? Or what about Unity? He is a card-carrying member of the Labour Party and yet even he seems to hold this government in contempt (mind you, Unity, why are you a member?).
Politicians that seek to engage with their constituents, who are able to get almost instant feedback on local, regional or national issues are much more likely to be in a position to shape policy and to help meet the needs and aspirations of those they purport to represent.

Yes, but that word "purport" is crucial: they don't represent people, they represent their party and their own interests within that party. Party policy has been made a long time ago. If constituents don't like it, well, tough; they'll have forgotten about it by the next election.
Blogs offer a simple, efficient and effective means of doing this.

Unless you are David Miliband.
Likewise they offer a powerful means for ordinary people to set a political agenda in their own area or even nationally. The influential Jupiter study, which focused on blog use in Europe, found that while "active users" of the Internet make up a small portion of overall Internet users, they were starting to dominate public discussions and even have an impact on people's buying habits.

Whoop-de-doo. Tech blogs have been having that effect for years; tech blogs—not political blogs—are by far the biggest and most influential blog group in the world.
"We're seeing this growing," Julian Smith, an online advertising analyst with Jupiter Research and author of the report, told the Guardian in May of this year. "The strongest part of their influence is on the media: If something online suddenly becomes a story in the local press, then it matters."

Oh, brilliant; if some MSM journo reads something on a blog and then pinches it, then suddenly it's news: otherwise, it is an utter irrelevance of interest only to the "geeks" and "rumour-mongers" of the web.

By the way, from now on, after the name of any analyst or commenter on blogging (or the wider net) I want to see their blog address after their name, otherwise I am just not going to take them seriously.
Yes blogs matter and yes blogs are having an influence. Blogs are less important because of their direct effects on politics than their indirect ones - they influence important actors within mainstream media who in turn frame issues for a wider public. Blogs are therefore becoming ever more important in politics and to politicians, and are likely to remain so.

OK, I agree with this to an extent; but how is this news? If you'd written this six months ago then it might be vaguely new. Now it's just so much recycled opinion.
So as we are in the conference season - a febrile period for political bloggers - perhaps we will witness a move on the part of the main parties to encourage the humble blogger to continue to frame political debates and create focal points for the media as a whole.

And the best bloggers will continue to ignore what the politicians want them to do and write about precisely what they want to write about.
Perhaps we will witness the first meaningful moves to harness the power of the Internet and enable political parties to actively encourage instant and meaningful engagement with both supporters and party members alike.

I'm not holding my breath.

I mean, this is writing by the numbers, isn't it? Why do these people bother? And why write this cock on another blog? Seriously, why? And if you are going to write this boilerplate idiocy, then why not quote a somewhat wider range of bloggers than Guido and Iain (lovely chaps though they are)?

Why not, for instance, give Dr North his moment in the sun? It would do all of us much more benefit because he actually writes well-researched articles about issues (albeit embarrassing issues for the Nulabour government) rather than fulfilling the public's perception of bloggers as merely merchants of tittle-tattle.

Part 2 soon.

Not the Northern Alliance O'Clock News

Continuing upon the theme of Richard North's "very present madness", Matthew Sinclair has a very good post up on the subject.
There's a somewhat fierce debate underway between Richard North and, well, everyone else as the focus of his rage has moved from the EU and MoD to the UK blogosphere.

Well, there would be a fierce deabte if Richard were actually taking any place in it. He no doubt thinks that our defence of our position and, frankly, our right to blog as we damn well please is the merest proof of our unfitness to indulge in this past-time.

As others have pointed out, Iain Dale, much as Richard may despise him, has done rather more than most to actually bring the British blogosphere to the attention of the MSM and our politicians. He has had an impact. I'm afraid that I do not read Richard's buddy Booker's page in the Telegraph much but, on the times that I have, I have seen no mention of the blogosphere at all. Perhaps Richard might like to try to change this?

Matt points out that there are many different kinds of blogs, and characterises them under different headings:
  • Investigative

  • Analysis

  • Rapid reaction (wherein The Kitchen is designated)

  • Gossip

  • Roundup

And then Matt reinforces the main point.
Of course most blogs are a mix but the important thing to note from this analysis is that all good blogs do not and should not look the same. Becker-Posner and Devil's Kitchen are polar opposites but both enrich the political debate. Richard North does not have the handle he thinks he does on what the blogosphere and media should consist of.

No, he does not. As Iain says:
Perhaps Richard North would like to climb back into his pram and pick his toys up before he does so.

Richard can carry on saving the world, one turgid headline at a time: I shall continue to call Tony a cunt.

By the way, do you think that Cherie ever dons a strap-on to take Toni up the arse? And doesn't she get blinded by the sunlight shining out of it...?

Blears attacks Eton

The Speccie has also an online article, by someone called Rory Knight Bruce, on the fact that Hazel Blears disparaged my old alma mater in her Conference speech.
WHEN I was eleven I sat and passed the Eton Entrance, where one of my forbears had been provost and most of my predecessors had been educated. But my war-scarred father, despite my mother taking him to court, was determined that I should not be educated among what he called ‘shits and stockbrokers’ and I was sent instead to Stowe.

Note for those not in this loop: Stowe is considered by we arrogant Etonians to be a rather third-rate public school.
It is easy to see how Eton still acts as a shorthand for privilege and elitism, invoking occasionally rabid class envy.

Or just a pure, but covert, jealousy; people wish that they had been there.
This week at the Labour Party conference, chairman Hazel Blears could not resist mocking David Cameron’s Eton connection while pointing out her father had been a fitter and her brother drove a Manchester bus.

Now, you can call me an arrogant snob if you like, but I think that it is weird sort of a world when people make a point of how common they are; it is indicative of how enamoured by the average we have become in this country. Once again, I am reminded of a song that my father wrote (and one of my all-time favourite lyrics):
Politicians bestride a stage
Where mediocrity is all the rage.

So, Hazel, you were not priviledged; do you think that that fact makes you better than me? I don't think that I am better than you. Well, I do actually, but not because you are working class, but because you are an awful, embittered, ignorant little bitch.
We can expect a lot more of this smearing of The Establishment if Gordon Brown gets his hands on the brass levers of the junction box of power. Like foxhunting, Eton is an easy target for class warriors. But, like foxhunting, this hatred is wide of the mark.

Yes, but it makes an easy sop to the rabid, jealous, old fucks like the dreadful, drooling Roy Hattersley (never trust a fat socialist, children; it only means that his hypocrisy is evident to all).
For all the fairytale genealogy that David Cameron may have a pedigree stretching back to Hagred the Unready, he is in fact the normal product of aspirant parents. His father was even a stockbroker, although there is no suggestion he was also a shit.

That's not entirely true...
Only in Britain can a school of undisputed excellence - where there are plenty of assisted places for the bright male offspring of fitters and bus drivers - be so vilified.

Quite. Eton has an extensive portfolio of scholarships (many of them worth 100% of the fees, and the least worth 25%) and bursaries for bright working class boys. These schemes are now one of the few chances for working class children to gain themselves a good education.
When Gordon Brown takes his summer holidays in Cape Cod, he is surrounded by Harvard alumni and not even he would criticise their accolade as one of unjust privilege and wealth.

That is because, like all fundamentally common people, Brown equates wealth with class. Wealth is one thing, class is another; you can be as poor as a church mouse and still have class (like myself. Netch'relly) or be as rich as Croesus and have absolutely no class at all (witness the phenomenon of the much disparaged nouveau riche).
If Tony Blair had actually got the nation to understand the three Rs, perhaps there would no longer be a need for private education. As things stand, most parents, wishing their children to have only the modest hope of a university degree and some form of professional employment, would sell themselves into prostitution to send their child to public school.

As I have pointed out many, many times before, it is not simply the academic results that people send their children to the prime public schools for; it is the opportunity to do metal sculpture, or decent drama, or build a car (as one lot did in Design Technology) or play sports or study music technology or... any number of other things that 99% of the country never get a chance to try.

It is about opportunity in all of its senses; I get quite cross with those who view the worth of schools purely on their ability to do well in exam league tables. Very many schools come far higher than Eton in these measures, but they do not make available the opportunities to do things outside pure academic work that Eton offers.

Let us take this gentleman, upon whom I commented last night, who enjoys his car maintenance.
What he enjoys is the hands-on nature of the motor vehicle maintenance he is learning - something he could not do at school.

"In school you are learning out of books. Here you are learning on the real thing - I prefer doing things to reading books," he said.

Absolutely; as a matter of fact, I feel that way myself. But, had he been at Eton might he not have combined both? I got through a lot of boring lessons by consoling myself that at least in forty minutes' time I would be able to go and spend four or five hours with my oxyacetylene torch, angle-grinder and as much steel as I wanted. Would this 15-year-old have benefitted academically from this opportunity? The answer is, of course he would.

State schooling has failed not only on the pure academic front; it has failed to stimulate opportunity and interest in other things. State education has failed in developing young people's potential, and the introduction of purely academic league tables has only made it worse. Education is not about pure book learning, for fuck's sake: this is why we separate "education" and "academic learning".
The state - and Hazel Blears - should not be showing envy but gratitude that private schools relieve the secondary education system of more pupils and even larger classes.

Exactly; there would be more people in the state system—in Edinburgh, about 45% of children are in private education. Can you imagine what would happen to the state sector here if private schools were abolished tomorrow?—and, crucially, no more money than at present.
Those parents who can afford the fees have never risen up and asked for a tax rebate for not sending their child into public education.

But you should hear the Lefties squeal when you propose that, in under a voucher-funded schooling system, parents would be allowed to use those vouchers to pay towards a private school education. Those Lefties really don't like that at all.
What is it about Eton that socialists (and my father) so dislike? Is it the wearing of tailcoats, the assumed effortless ease or arrogance?

Most people I have talked to think that most public school people are massively arrogant, but that Etonians are the worst. However, this tends to be when they have just left their insulated environment; most OEs have mellowed in time (although, obviously we think that we are good. You can't get into Eton just by waving your wallet around, you know; you actually have to be clever (and, often, talented, e.g. music scholars. One of Eton failings is that, whilst it has one of the best and most well-equipped art departments in the country (including the dedicated Art Schools), it does not award Art Scholarships (unlike Tonbridge School, who offered me a 50% art scholarship award if I went there)).
Is it the supposition that these pupils-who are undoubtedly privileged in the true sense-will never have to suffer the travails of the fitter and the bus conductor?

Probably. But it is a supposition based on jealousy and an ignorance of the true facts, no more.
There is some truth in this. I once had an Etonian editor whom I asked to define poverty. It was, he told me, being so poor he could only afford the matinee cinema tickets on his gap year in Paris.

Well, it's lovely that that is the definition of poverty to some. My definition of poverty is not being able to afford to eat for five days.
I think what Hazel Blears has in mind is the old fashioned Tory families who send their children to Eton who in turn go off to the Foreign Office or return to their estates, seamlessly untainted by the necessity to get on with other people on anything but their own terms.

Whilst this does happen occasionally, it is mostly a myth. As I said, ignorance.
But this is not David Cameron.

In many ways, Cameron is typical of the new Etonian and exactly why the school should be cherished and not condemned. He has always worked, and has fulfilled his parents investment in his education by putting himself forward for public office.

The modern Etonian is not simply drawn from the families of The Establishment. They win Grand Nationals, become eco-warriors, try to take over distant countries, and add to the gaiety of nations.

But then, they always have: who, for instance, has not thrilled to the trials and tribulations of Ranulph Fiennes? Or been amused by the rather less than above board antics of Darius Guppy? Or the various lunatics of my old neighbour Bear Grylls? They entertain and others have contriubuted massively to the sum wisdom of the human race.
And, yes, most of them today, I would venture, come from parents of the professional classes of the law, medicine, stockbrokers and even journalism.

True enough. And, of course, fraudsters.
No doubt should Gordon Brown be the next prime minister, the charitable status of public schools will once again be looked at. In between establishing a written constitution and giving the House of Lords another good kick, why not unravel the public schools that have produced, by and large, pupils of duty and public service?

Bitterness, jealousy, personal spite and the other characteristically unsavoury motivations of the Left.
One of the bent beliefs of socialism is that all men and women are born equal.

It is a conerstone of the most fundamentally stupid socialists, yes.
But, as Dr Johnson so wisely observed: “there is always in life someone better than us.”

Quite, and they act as a spur to ourselves. Or they used to before people became proud of being stupid, ignorant and unambitious.
I have, since my own denial of an education at Eton, sometimes felt the sentiments expressed by Hazel Blears, as I observe another languid Old Etonian do nothing but drop into conversation where he was schooled. But when I hear her using it as a sly stick of class hatred, I find myself redoubling my efforts and feelings in the school’s defence.

Good, because Eton, and the others, are all worth something.

Plus, of course, if you destroyed them, on whose fields would the state school children play?

John Reid and management

As Mr E predicted a while back, this week's Spectator carried an interview entitled John Reid is not ruling himself out. As in many of these things, Reid didn't actually come off too badly, but I found this particular paragraph significant.
New Labour, according to the Home Secretary, is not a branding campaign but "a mindset. It is a recognition that no sooner have you analysed today’s world and reach policies that relate to that, that the world has moved on a bit and the world includes the aspirations and expectations of ordinary people. So what was good for them ten years ago may not be sufficient for them today as they become more educated, more affluent, more demanding..."

Really. He is right: people's expectation, but also their needs, do change constantly. Which is why NuLabour are such a failure, because one evident truth has not occurred to them.

If people needs change constantly and government reacts too slowly to those needs, which it does, then you might realise that TRYING TO MICROMANAGE EVERYTHING IS NOT THE FUCKING ANSWER, IT'S THE SODDING PROBLEM.
On an administrative note, you may have noticed that a lot of paragraph breaks have been lost in the archives. This is because I was playing around with WordPress and thought that I'd try to import my blog, preparatory to a putative move.

Unfortunately, not only did WordPress utterly fail—several times and with a number of different error messages—in this endeavour, but it also completely arsed up a lot of the formatting on this blog; so, sorry about that.

Consider me deeply unimpressed.

Because we want to...

Following on from my criticisms of Dr Richard North's rather snooty attitude to his fellow bloggers, the swearbloggers have also been delivering their own polite but firm shoeing.

Carpsio brings in his perspective, prior to buggering off on his holiday.
The question is really - why do you care? If you're doing that job then great - and long may you continue... I've been a long time reader. But this is a democratic medium, and the second you start pulling the elitist card out of your pocket you sound more like one of the enemy than one of us. Not everyone wants to read a superbly argued factual dissection of the latest piece of EU legislation. Not everyone even can. Some people just want swearing. And why the fuck not? There's a broad swathe of rough and ready concensus out here, but people express it in different ways. That's people. If I can persuade one more person that the EU are a bunch of cunts, just by calling them a bunch of cunts rather than elegantly putting them to the verbal sword, then what do you care?

Go and read the whole thing, and then trot over to read the Reactionary Snob's take (which is rather more of a fisking).
Some bloggers make the news, I am quite happy to dole out the occasional kicking to the Downing Street Punch & Judy Show, fisk Polly Toynbee and highlight the stupidity of leftism in general. I have neither the time nor the inclination to be an investigative journalist.
Often the humour and analysis is about the level one would expect of the 4th form of a second-rate boys boarding school

I don't know. Eugenides, The Devil, Carpsio, The Pedant all like a rude joke. Who doesn't? But behind the puerile humour, sweary words and ghastly descriptions of Polly Toynbee's no doubt volumnous pudenda there is actually rather a lot of high-level analysis.

And this is precisely the point, especially of the group that I am conveniently—and, I think, justifiably—calling the swearbloggers.

Whilst many people are put off by the swearing and gratuitous sexual imagery that we like to conjure up, many people enjoy it and, indeed, find it very funny. This is not speculation: I have had numerous comments and emails saying so, and nearly as many from readers pointing out that they visit The Kitchen because it is sweary.

If you want serious, stiff-backed political analysis, then by all means read the papers or the more straight-laced blogs; EU Referendum, for all that it would like to be thought otherwise, is one of the most establishmentesque of blogs, its style of presentation is pretty much that of the MSM. For sure, it is often better researched for, unlike most MSM staffers, it is written by people with a good deal of experience and background in the specialist areas on which it comments. I respect EU Referendum's throughness (if I did not, I would have called Richard "a paranoid, arrogant cunt, with a massive chip on his shoulder, who should fuck off into the middle distance" by now. After all, it is not as though I am particularly bothered at attacking the pomposity of the established blogosphere).

But if you want your news and analysis presented by a bunch of people who make allusions to the general condition of Polly Toynbee's mons (loose, sloppy, and sparsely scabbed with tired, grey hairs. I would imagine), the best way to feed Patsy Hewitt into the propellors of a light aircraft (feet-first), how to react to Tony Blair (you cunt, you cunt, you fucking little cunt), why Jo Brand is an ignorant, worthless cow then you can read the rather more colourful bloggers.

We present news and view in a way that the MSM absolutely cannot and we enjoy doing it too; for many of us, it is therapy and a valuable social good: it is far better that myself or Mr E vent our spleens online than rant at people (too much) in the pub or at passers-by in the street.

Me? Whilst I find EU Referendum a valuable resource, I enjoy reading the swearbloggers far more. So, in conclusion, why don't we turn ourselves into a relica of the MSM? Why do we blog as we do? Well, as young Billie Piper put it in her cutely chavtastic way in her irritating Essex accent, "because we want to."

UPDATE: Richard's at it again.
Nevertheless, the combined effort of the blogs that did engage, with the help of a cross-party and cross-House alliance of Parliamentarians, the support of Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph and the intervention of The Sunday Times, the Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne was forced to purchase armoured vehicles for our troops.

This does show the power of the political process when it is harnessed properly and focused, hence my irritation when the growing power and influence of the blogosphere is frittered away on trivia and puerile "tee-hee" comment.

By his own estimation, Iain Dale's site is third in the rankings of top British political blogs and thus in a position to influence the political process for good or bad. And, while it is not entirely fair to single out Dale's abysmal efforts, his output typifies much of what is wrong with British political blogging – and illustrates how it is failing to capitalise on the blogosphere's growing power and influence.

Perhaps we should start some kind of "Self-Righteous Irritant Watch"...?

NHS Fail Wail

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