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Shoot The Piano Player

April 5, 2011



Nick Clegg has sought to ease fears that he is downgrading child poverty targets by announcing the establishment of a child poverty and social mobility commission – a measure charities feared had been shelved.

Clegg also said the government would aim to end the culture of people being given internships because of “who they know, rather than what they know”.

The push to open up internships is one of the measures outlined to ensure career progression is less dependent on “who your father’s friends are”.

Nick Clegg, in a speech to the Commons, The Guardian, today

This speech was reported in The Guardian with little comment. It took The Evening Standard (The Evening fucking Standard, for Christ’s sake) to get the real story, which they splashed in 20 point bold on the front page of the West End Final edition:

Daddy Got Clegg Bank Intern Job

His (Clegg’s) spokesman said: ” He had help through family connections. Someone in his family knew someone in the bank.” The spokesman confirmed that it was Mr. Clegg’s father, Nicholas, chairman of United Trust Bank. —The Evening Standard, today

Under the aegis of floppy-haired piano bore and Mr. Pooter manque, Alan Rusbridger, (or ‘Rubbisher’ as Private Eye calls him), The Grauniad has become a sad joke: rife with nepotism (of the many thousands of candidates for a Guardian job, the paper decided that one Isabella Mackie was ideal–just a coincidence, of course, that she’s Rusbridger’s daughter), obsessed with fashion and identity politics, to the point of allowing The Evening Standard ( a paper that many Londoners used to call The Evening Fascist, so ugly were many of its stances) to make the running.

Perhaps it would be best all around if the tax-dodging Guardian Media Group just sold the loss-making near-comic (loss-making to the tune of some £40 million last year alone) to a Russian oligarch.

The Evening Standard
(formerly owned by the vile Daily Mail group) now belongs to a Russian oligarch (i.e. thief) and it’s all the better for it. Ditto, The Independent. The censorious middle-class bores, the smug prigs and the bourgeois teenage trendies who run the Guardian have destroyed a once great paper.

A Russian looter with a flair for dirty fighting is just the thing to revive the Grauniad’s genteel, spineless near-corpse.

  1. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 6:32 PM

    All of a piece with The Grauniad’s plunge into dishonesty and irrelevance is the latest piece from Polly Wolly Woodle, deploring all the outsourcing specialists and the rotten deal they represent for the taxpayer. The comments below the article hail Toynbee as some sort of heroic iconoclast, a Luther-like “Hier stehe ich; ich kann nicht anders” merchant. It would make a reasonably well-read cat laugh.

    Writing in Ethos (the in-house magazine of multi-national outsourcing firm, Serco), in October 2009, Toynbee was rather less scathing:

    ‘There is no doubt that putting some services out to tender has vastly improved certain standards over the years, broken the power of vested interests and brought in competition that has sharpened up results.’

    Vested interests being ToynbeeWaffle© for ‘the unions’. Of course, back then, Toynbee was a true-blue Blairite and hated the unions like poison.

    Read the whole shameful piece HERE. Still, I daresay Polly got her 30 pieces of silver for it. What a sweetheart and a perfect fit for Rubbisher’s Grauniad.

  2. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 7:33 PM

    David Cameron has told the Pakistan elite that they have to start paying more tax and cut out government waste and weakness if the British public are to back his plans to pour £650m in UK aid into Pakistani schools.

    The Pakistani fiscal position was a serious one because “too few people pay tax. Too many of your richest people are getting away without paying much tax at all – and that’s not fair”, he said. —The Independent, today

    After I’d finished wiping away my tears of laughter (remind me: is this the same David ‘Pie Face’ Cameron who’s going to dump the 50p tax-rate for the rich? Who forgave Vodafone £6 billion in back-taxes? Who’s perfectly happy to have his pal Philip Green take billions out of the UK and not pay tax?), it occurred to me that this is part of an incredibly devious plan.

    Cameron is hoping that he can bully the Pakistani govt into taxing the rich, whereupon, they’ll all migrate to Britain, where they don’t have to pay nearly as much tax and where they could probably be persuaded to donate large sums to the Conservative Party.

    He’s either a genius or an utter moron. Answers on a postcard to: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Whitehall, London, W1

  3. April 5, 2011 7:46 PM

    I’m going to give a few quid to the Morning Star.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 5, 2011 8:37 PM

      The CPGB, in my (long-ago) experience, was just as riddled with nepotism and rule by clique as any other political party. I hope it’s different now.

      It would have been a good idea for Clegg to mention his own internship. The problem at the moment is that it’s almost impossible to get into some professions without having done one, and without connections they’re very hard to get. I don’t see that changing soon. Even when I was at school things were difficult: I’d expressed an interest in barristering to the careers chap.

      Careers chap: I see you’re interested in the law?
      Me: Yes.
      CC: Either of your parents lawyers?
      Me: No.
      CC: Any of your relatives lawyers?
      Me: No.
      CC: Do your parents have any friends who are lawyers?
      Me: No.
      CC: I’d forget about it, old boy.

      Rusbridger should be ashamed of himself, but Isabella Mackie can be quite funny. Though I’m sure others could be just as funny.

  4. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 8:04 PM

    We need to raise the stakes, Simon: I’m going to fly a Cessna Skyhawk into Nick Clegg’s face. Then I’m going to dance on his grave while drinking martinis made with the tears of sandal-wearing LibDem stooges. It’s a start…

  5. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 8:53 PM

    Japan’s government set its first radiation safety standards for fish today after its tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant reported radioactive contamination in nearby seawater measuring at several million times the legal limit.

    The plant operator insisted that the radiation will rapidly disperse and that it poses no immediate danger, but an expert said exposure to the highly concentrated levels near the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant could cause immediate injury and that the leaks could result in residual contamination of the sea in the area.

    The new levels coupled with reports that radiation was building up in fish led the government to create an acceptable radiation standard for fish for the first time, and officials said it could change depending on circumstances. Some fish caught on Friday off Japan’s coastal waters would have exceeded the new limit. —The Independent, today

    Jesus…is there no end to the reckless, self-deluding stupidity and dishonesty of these people? I propose that we offer up George ‘Radiation Is Good For You’ Monbiot as a sort of canary-in-a-coalmine for Japanese fishermen.

    They stick George up in the prow of the boat and feed him fish from the catch; as soon as his hair starts falling out in clumps and his skin starts to peel off, fishing’s done for the day.

  6. April 5, 2011 8:55 PM

    I had the misfortune this morning to open the Education supplement of the Grauniad to discover Toby Young doing an impersonation of Rodin’s The Thinker.

    I’ve only just cleared all the sick up.

    There’s a man who hasn’t relied on daddy to get where he is today.

    Can I recommend book of the week on Radio 4? It’s about the late great Ken Campbell whose description of John Birt ” An alien inadequately briefed ” is one I still paraphrase and try and pass off as my own. He did a series of solo shows in the 80’s and 90’s which were absolutely wonderful.

  7. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 9:02 PM

    I always liked Ken Campbell and was sorry when he died.

    I saw that Toady Young thread. He creates in me the burning desire to punch his shiny, empty head very, very hard. I heard him on Today the other morning, scoffing at the notion that free public libraries were valuable. He’s 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lb bag.

  8. April 5, 2011 9:13 PM

    Same reaction with me as regards Mr. Young

    @altwebid put it much more concisely than I could manage on the thread accompanying that article this morning “Pretty much half of what’s wrong with this country encapsulated in one person.”

  9. April 5, 2011 9:28 PM

    There’s too much masculine energy in this thread… I offer this as a gentle corrective…

    • mishari permalink*
      April 5, 2011 9:45 PM

      Watchoo talkin’ ’bout, motherfucker? Just for that, I’m coming to Berlin RIGHT NOW and I’m gonna punch you right in your friggin’ i-Pod…goddamn sissy. Then I’m gonna hunt down the two mealy-mouthed, lentil-sucking girlymen in the video an’ I’m gonna punch them right in their ‘full spectrum energy multi-dimensional womanhood’…then I’m gonna have a drink.

    • April 5, 2011 9:57 PM

      Oh, Mishari. If only you could… dunno. Evolve? Don’t you… can’t you… see? When you perceive the Duality of the Yin and Yang and embrace the dancing closure of its goddess-yoni-wellness/ here-ness energy… you may one day achieve… an LBJ*? tm

      (*lesbian blowjob)…

    • mishari permalink*
      April 5, 2011 10:09 PM


      You probably already know this story, Steven, but when Nixon was running for his first congressional seat, his opponent was a long-time and popular incumbent named Helen Gallagher (I think) Douglas. Nixon papered the electoral district (pure, shit-kicker rural Orange County) with flyers accusing Douglas of having been a ‘thespian’ and being a notorious ‘linguist’.

      The shitkicker mouth-breathers read this and said, “Dang, woman was a goddamn’ that ain’t all, Homer…sez ratcheer she wuz a dang ‘linguist’. Man alive…I ain’t votin’ for no goddamn thespian linguist..that pervert stuff don’t fly in God-fearing Orange County…”

      Nixon won in a landslide….and promptly attached himself to Roy Cohn and Joseph McCarthy. What a piece of work he was…

    • Reine permalink
      April 5, 2011 10:10 PM

      Even my clitoris cringed.

    • April 5, 2011 10:39 PM

      M: I did not know that one, Sah… I will soon be recycling it at all the best brunches as though I’ve known it for years.

      Reine… have I mentioned how… you know… nurturing of the inner-Kali I am… ? Would you like a gentle, asexual back rub…?

    • Reine permalink
      April 5, 2011 10:47 PM

      Certainly. I will get my kundalini mat. He can help. ha.

      I can’t believe those fellas, what a load of shite.

  10. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 9:39 PM

    Yes, well put…and perfectly accurate.

    As an occasional service to readers, PH offers a translation service, rendering the mendacious waffle of politicians into comprehensible English.

    Speaking of the proposed delay in passing the new NHS legislation, Nick Clegg, Britain’s most reviled man said:

    We will be taking a pause fort a couple of months, stopping the legislative clock, and then coming forward with substantive real changes to legislation. I think that is a good example of government saying, ‘Look, we want to bring people along with us’. —Clegg, on BBC news, today


    “Look, everybody hates our guts; all the medical professionals think this legislation is a disaster; we’ve already fucked up the university fees business…we need a break.

    The elections are coming up in May and unless we’re seen to do something, we’re going to be wiped out. After the election, we’ll pass the bill as it is: hell, you don’t think I give a shit about how this will affect the poor, do you?

    Obviously, I can’t say that in public but trust me: we’re totally on-board with this. Meet us half-way. OK? Once we’ve conned the saps, it’ll be business as usual.”

    Hope this has been of some help.

  11. April 5, 2011 9:44 PM

  12. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 9:47 PM

    …OMG…baby crabs…they’re soooo CUTE!!! LOL!!!

  13. April 5, 2011 9:53 PM


  14. April 5, 2011 10:16 PM

    Oh Steven how male.

    Surely it’s not about pwnage or ganking or crushing the boss monster . It’s about harnessing crab power to redirect the earth’s energies.

    • April 5, 2011 10:36 PM

      ET: thank you for redirecting me toward the nurturing energy of the crab-goddess…

  15. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 10:29 PM

    We could train them to scarf up all that radioactive material off the Japanese coast and…no, wait…I’ve seen this movie: the radioactivity turns them into giants and they eat Tokyo. That would definitely have negative repercussions for the stock market..


    Unbelievable. This cluck writes an article on David Foster Wallace, the bulk of which concerns itself with DFW’s personal problems and his death and then ends the piece with:

    Now the last novel is coming out: the unfinished manuscript that sat in the study while the body swung on the patio. If the book had been going well, would he have done that? Will anyone be able to read The Pale King without thinking of his death? I know I won’t.

    This is my fear: that all the fun and fireworks of his prose will become pathologised. We’ll all become Woodian gastroenterologists, trying to figure out how the writing related to Wallace personally, how it came out of him.

    God, would that stink.

    Yes, it would…in fact, it does; and this worthless article has contributed to the pointless and utterly pedestrian miasma. Idiot.

    • April 6, 2011 9:06 AM

      Given the amount of radio-active water that has got into the sea I’d imagine the crabs are already dining off nucular waste.

      Expect the next National Geographic vid to feature Christmas Island invaded by 9 legged crabs or none at all.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 6, 2011 10:55 AM

      Why build-up of fresh water in Arctic could spell trouble for Britain

      Scientists fear huge volumes of meltwater from diminishing ice caps may divert the Gulf StreamThe Independent, today

      Uh-oh…but wait…I’m getting a text ,message from George ‘Plutonium Is Safer Than Cornflakes’ Monbiot:

      “Hi, Mshri…arctic melt? no probs, d00d…srsly…LOL…just build nuclr reactrs in arctic..wll keep reactrs cool…build reactrs on Scilly Islnds and Galway…will warm up water like Glf Strm…no prbs, bro…its all gd…OMG, got Lrd Monckton on othr line…very c00l guy…srsly…laterz, d00d…”

      Phew…thnx Grge. I was getting worried for a moment.

    • April 6, 2011 11:07 AM

      I suppose the Hear No Evil, See No Evil approach is one way of dealing with all this. The comments on yesterday’s Monbiot CIF thread would suggest this approach is gaining ground.

      People are still willing to give nuclear power credence even in the face of the Japanese dumping papier-mache on a reactor built on a serious geological fault-line in attempt to try and do something.

      What can you do in this face of such lunacy?

    • mishari permalink*
      April 6, 2011 11:36 AM

      What I think it boils down to, Ed, is selfishness, plain and simple. People are horrified by the thought that they might have to turn their TV OFF instead of leaving it on STANDBY all night.

      In fact, the prospect of not having shiny new toys–toys with flashing lights and indecipherable oscillator-type read-outs, the whole shebang emitting all kinds of weird 50s sci-fi beeps and boops–fills them with an unnameable dread.

      I mean, what if they actually have to, you know…think? And thinking leads to talking…sufferin’ catfish…it’ll be like going backwards in time, when people interacted and socialised and wrote and read books. Nightmare, d00d…

    • April 6, 2011 11:52 AM

      They’d certainly sleep better if they unplugged everything.

      I was in a hotel last summer and the digital clock on the TV filled the room with an unearthly green-glow. You didn’t notice it when the lights were first switched off but after a while the amount of light became disturbing.

      It took a while to find out where the bleedin’ plug was as well so you could end the B-movie effects.

      Ken Campbell at breakfast during his production of The Illuminatus. Robert Antomn Wilson ( the author of said book ) comes in, ” Everything all right Ken? Not too nervous? When I’m nervous I take acid. I’ve got two tabs here, would you like one?” Ken Campbell ” I’m all right with my eggs thanks”.

      Bill Nighy’s opinion of the 24 hour-long Illuminatus ” It went from being the best day in your life to a bloody long play”.

  16. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 10:38 PM

    From Private Eye’s latest Dumb Britain column:

    Presenter on Cambridge Heart Radio Breakfast Show: Who wrote The Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist?

    Caller: Eh?

    Presenter: His first name was ‘Charles’.

    Caller: Shakespeare.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 6, 2011 11:20 AM

      What an idiot. Everyone knows it was Bacon.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 6, 2011 11:26 AM

      It is you, my poor friend, who are deluded. ‘Bacon’ was simply the nom de plume used by the Earl of Sandwich (a play on his title: Bacon/Sandwich–geddit?). Read The Man Who Was Shakespeare by Kim Gilchrist, Fibber & Fabber, 2010. All is revealed.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 6, 2011 12:05 PM

      That old chestnut. As Professor Staunton demonstrated in her magisterial ‘Gammon – The Bacon Theory’ (Grilling & Friedman, 2008), the Earl of Sandwich hypothesis was dreamed up by Thomas Twoslices and the notorious conman ‘Streaky’ Green. Several credulous persons were duped out of their life savings in order to ‘prove’ this ridiculous idea. It’s sad to see that apparently intelligent individuals still believe this nonsense. Whatever next? You’ll be telling me that radiation is harmful!

    • Reine permalink
      April 6, 2011 12:49 PM

      Of course, Prof “show us your sausage” Staunton could not be relied upon to give the most objective of insights. She swore off bacon when her one-time lover, Rashers Feeney, complained hers were too salty.

  17. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 10:50 PM

    Perhaps (if you don’t know it) you’ll enjoy this LBJ electoral story:

    LBJ was running for his first congressional seat. He instructed his campaign manager to spread the rumour that his opponent was known to have carnal relations with barnyard animals.

    “Jesus Christ, Lyndon, ” wailed his campaign manager, “I can’t run around telling people that so-and-so is a pig-fucker.” “Just get him to deny it,” said Johnson.

  18. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 11:05 PM

    I did some quick checking and found that Nixon beat Douglas in his first run for the Senate (not Congress as I’d asserted). According to wiki:

    In the 1950 mid-term elections, Nixon ran against Democratic Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas for a seat in the U.S. Senate, representing California. The campaign is best remembered as one of the most contentious of the times. Nixon felt the former actress was a left-wing sympathizer, labeling her “pink right down to her underwear.” Conversely, Douglas referred to Nixon as “Tricky Dick”, a derisive nickname which remained with him for the rest of his life. In the November election, Nixon defeated Douglas.

  19. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 12:13 AM

    A group of prominent Israelis, including heads of the army and security services, hope to revive the peace initiative by announcing details of possible treaties with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.

    The Israeli Peace Initiative, a two-page document, states that Israel will withdraw from the land it occupied in 1967 in both the West Bank and the Golan Heights, and pay compensation to refugees. The document has been given to Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, who has said he will read it with interest.

    Yeah, I’ll just bet he will. Expecting Bibi to do anything other than what he’s always done is to indulge in fantasy. Bibi is a racist bigot like his father and, like his father, devoutly believes in ‘Jewish Supremacy (a lot like ‘White Supremacy’ but with better delicatessens). Bibi (and Lieberman and the rest of the Zionist zealots) believe that if they are intransigent for long enough, the Palestinians will simply disappear.

    “We looked around at what was happening in neighbouring countries and we said to ourselves, ‘It is about time that the Israeli public raised its voice as well.’ We feel this initiative can bring along many members of the public,” Danny Yatom, the former head of the Israeli external security agency, Mossad, told the New York Times.

    The group aims to generate public support for a peace agreement that will force the Israeli government to re-engage with the Palestinians, who have suspended meetings in protest at continued settlement building in the West Bank. Palestinians see such building as an attempt to create “facts on the ground” that obstruct negotiations.

    Yaakov Perry, a former head of Shin Bet, the internal security agency, said he hoped that the plan would galvanise the Israeli government in this time of change around the Middle East.

    “We are isolated internationally and seen to be against peace,” he told the New York Times. “I hope this will make a small contribution to pushing our prime minister forward. It is about time that Israel initiates something on peace.”

    Of course, Yakov and Perry are both former senior intelligence officers and consequently have a pragmatic, more realistic view of what 40-odd years of militarily occupying and oppressing another people has done to Israel’s standing in the world. But they’re asking fanatics to behave like rational people. It’s like asking a cat to behave like a dog. As you can see from the government’s reaction:

    Dan Meridor, the deputy prime minister, speaking at an event in Jerusalem, said he had not yet studied the document. “The paradigm is clear, that is a two-state solution, but the other elements should be negotiated, not dictated,” he said.

    What Meridor means is unless Israel is dictating the solution. I wish Yatom and Perry well (at least they won’t have the vile Alan Dershowitz accusing them of being ‘anti-semites’ or ‘self-hating Jews’…or will they?). They’ve realised that Israel is doomed if it doesn’t change direction very, very soon. But if the past is any guide (and it is) their efforts are destined to fail. Pity.

  20. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 11:49 AM

    I’ve just figured out where Monbiot is getting his ‘scientific information’ from (and where he got his new razor):

  21. April 6, 2011 2:46 PM

    I am a columnist, your attention I seek
    I grind out opinion, week after week.
    To be regularly controversial becomes quite a chore
    Looking further afield becomes quite a bore.
    When news is slow there are dead cert fire-catchers
    Like writing about how I’m a big fan of Thatcher’s.
    I’ve been on the left I’m now on the right
    I’ll do what it needs to start a blog fight.
    70% of what I write I do not believe
    One of the many tricks I keep up my sleeve.
    I’m an independent I shoot from the hip
    But if the money’s right I’ll willingly jump ship.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 6, 2011 3:11 PM

      Have anyone in mind there, ET?

  22. April 6, 2011 3:31 PM

    MM mayyyyyyyyyyyyybeeee

    • April 6, 2011 5:40 PM

      No idea why I decided to be cagey there. I was thinking of about 75% of columnists.

      I think we’ve had the left-winger turning right-wing nutter debate here before but a re-run could be fun. Captain Ned was especially good on this subject if I remember correctly.

  23. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:57 PM

    Poor Mowbray. Completely lost the plot, poor fellow. One recalls the famous lines from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by Lord Sandwich:

    O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
    The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword;
    The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
    The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!

    All very sad but well-documented in Edward Taylor’s magisterial volume My Kingdom For An Arse: The Madness of Mowbray, Randall & Hopkirk, Bath £4.99 (remaindered)

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 6, 2011 11:03 PM

      Ah, the ravings of a once brilliant mind. Very sad to see. Strangely enough, I happened to be glancing through my Collected Bacon (the Hogg edition) when I came across this fragment from the lost play Mishari, Prince Of Araby:

      Sire! The ghost! The ghost walks!

      Prince Mishari:
      Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
      Art thou a monster or a goblin damned?
      Foul-visaged horror, thy hideous gaze
      Strikes terror deep inside my mortal soul!

      Sire –

      May Allah preserve us from this gargoyle!
      See how it totters drunkenly toward us,
      Agitating its dreadful bony claws
      And pointing a red-nailed finger like doom!

      Sire –

      Preserve us from this savage beast, this brute,
      this dog, this demon, this hound of hell –

      Sire, that is a mirror. The ghost is yonder.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 6, 2011 6:54 PM

    My name is Polly Toynbee
    I write a Guardian column
    on Saturday and Thursday
    as a general rule of thumb.

    If my viewpoint makes you sigh
    and you don’t like my critique
    then give it another try
    I’ll have changed my mind next week!

  25. hic8ubique permalink
    April 6, 2011 7:02 PM


    * for St. A*

    We are card-carrying members of
    the Sensitive New Age Guys;
    we’re not like those other men
    who rape, who cheat, who lie…

    We pledge deep reparations
    and personally own
    the blame for men through history
    denying the Goddess’ throne.

    The Feminine Mystique
    is our sacred text,
    (though How to be Popular with Women
    is what we’re reading next).

    We’re sweating it with Robert Bly
    Our Men’s Group dues are paid
    We trust these vows will please you
    and will help us to get laid.

    • Reine permalink
      April 6, 2011 7:36 PM

      Cutting to the quick, Hic. That’s the trick.

    • April 6, 2011 9:02 PM

      (sniffs; wipes tear from eye)

    • April 6, 2011 9:11 PM

      PS I knew someone who knew Bly, Hic… he skirted (npi) the periphery of that awful Iron John, drum-in-the-woods beating, tamped-down-mutual-auto-eroticism scene when it was new… and a more miserable, prone-to-pining, ragingly-apologetic fellow could not (back then) be found. The weird thing being that Bly’s trip (gimmick) was a quest to restore something noble (or at least useful) to the notion of the… Mangina. Just joking… I don’t know why I said that. Too little estrogen in my system to not be a bastard, you see.

    • Reine permalink
      April 6, 2011 10:13 PM

      My name is Steve Augustine
      My testes full to brimmin’
      I’m a great big hunk of man meat
      Which I like to serve to wimmin

    • April 6, 2011 10:25 PM

      My initials like the film are ET
      I’m a genuine bastard you see
      Say to me in passing “Quo Vadis?”
      “Trying to find who my dad is
      Without the aid of a family tree”.

    • April 6, 2011 11:19 PM

      Not trying to be funny, Reine (that’s never my goal, as we know), but as I clicked in to read your tribute to my wunder-plumbing… the browser shut right down (nb: “browser” is not code) but the problem fixed and now I’m busy working out the design for a tattoo of your work on the obvious stretch (in longhand, obviously).

      (Christ: this is the first time in my marriage that my hand hovers near the “minimize” button as footfalls approach…)

    • Reine permalink
      April 6, 2011 11:49 PM

      Gott in Himmel!

      Let me not have your hand hovering on my already packed conscience. Mind the tattooist has a steady hand.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 7, 2011 4:46 AM

      Too little testosterone in my system (though some) to immediately understand ‘mutual auto-eroticism’,
      but now I seem to recall a lesson on the topic from the Vicar, and perhaps from an Italian film… Cinema Paradiso?
      Alien behaviour, I’m afraid.
      Now, drumming in the woods sounds like fun to me, but my objection/cynicism is toward the codification of such an endeavour. As soon as any creed is imposed, my rebellious nature is ready to throw eggs.
      Minimise? Never! for the very sake of your Harp Angel.

      Reine~ I think you might like to lend your tattooed signature to that unabridged piece of work.

  26. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 7:04 PM

    My name is Carol Rumens
    I write a weekly column
    We try to attract humans
    But mostly, we get Gollum.

    I try to breathe some life into
    A bunch of effete stiffs
    I’d kill for an Elvis or two
    But all I get are Cliffs.

  27. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 7:12 PM

    My name is Michael Rosen,
    a Socialist and proud;
    I get accused of posin’,
    of playing to the crowd;
    But I’m the real thing, comrade:
    a worker, hero, bard;
    and you may think Foo Foo was bad
    but writing it was hard;
    and if you give me any grief
    may God’s curse fall down on ya;
    my time here will be very brief:
    I’ll fuck off to Bologna.

  28. April 6, 2011 7:19 PM

    My name is Julie Burchill
    My opinions are on tap
    I haven’t really thought them through
    They are inconsistent crap

    I’ve had a job with all the rags
    I’m giving The Independent a go
    If it doesn’t work out well for me
    Then drama critic for Hello!

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 6, 2011 11:31 PM

      Very good, but no fellow feeling for another Zummerzetter?

    • April 7, 2011 8:56 AM

      It’s a dog eat dog world in Somerset MM.

      I liked the Woody Allen updated version – dog doesn’t return other dog’s phone-call.

  29. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 7:22 PM

    If Hello!
    Sank so low
    and gave Burchill a try
    the meeting
    and greeting
    would soon turn to Goodbye!

  30. April 6, 2011 7:27 PM

    My name’s Alexander Chancellor
    Any idea who I am?
    I go on about poncey picnics
    With ciabattas and Parma ham

    My name is David Mitchell
    Not the author the one on TV
    I’m everywhere all the bleedin’ time
    There’s no escape from me.

  31. Reine permalink
    April 6, 2011 7:34 PM

    My name is A- G-l-
    I love myself to bits
    I’ll eat shit if the price is right
    And I can see some tits

    I’ll review your poxy bistro
    Or your grand country retreat
    Cross my palm with cured black ham
    And give me the best seat

    • Reine permalink
      April 6, 2011 9:50 PM

      Alternatively, “dip my spoon in dead baboon” at line 7.

  32. Reine permalink
    April 6, 2011 7:57 PM

    My name is Melton Mowbray
    I do the Shanklin notes
    While eating Twirls and toffees
    Which I keep in various coats

    My life’s a whirl of passions
    Mrs. M the chief of these
    Aside from her, I like to read
    And I’m fond of melted cheese

    On the mainland they say fondue
    But, really, does it matter?
    I just love it with a glass of red
    Within or without batter

    The ladies, they go mad for me
    They think I’m dreadful witty
    The boys are jealous, which I think
    Is really a great pity

    I can’t help it if I’m fabulous
    I try to comport humbly
    But in truth I am quite wonderful
    Though my peripherals are crumbly

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 6, 2011 11:25 PM

      I’m deeply touched.

    • Reine permalink
      April 6, 2011 11:50 PM

      So am I it seems. Was I right about the cheese?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 7, 2011 12:30 AM

      Yes. You could be psychic, except that you’re off target on the girls and boys, wine (prefer white) and toffee (fond of it but ruled out by loose fillings). Quite right on the peripherallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllls – oops, there’s another finger gone.

  33. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 8:59 PM

    My name is Nick Clegg
    I was a good egg;
    a very nice chap:
    but now I’m just crap.

    I sold my soul
    to a Tory arsehole
    who promised me power:
    my God, what a shower.

    Now (as I’ve stated)
    I’m shit and I’m hated
    And people just say:
    “Clegg, you cunt–go away”.

  34. mishari permalink*
    April 6, 2011 9:48 PM

    My name is Gill
    I write crap for The Times
    I make people ill
    with my steep social climbs;
    my preening and sneering
    would sicken a goat
    and you’d all be cheering
    if I cut my own throat.

  35. April 6, 2011 10:12 PM

    My name is Rod Liddle
    My name rhymes with piddle
    But what I write
    Is more akin to shite.

  36. Reine permalink
    April 6, 2011 10:33 PM

    My name is Reine S
    I’m addicted to rhyme
    I’d better undress
    It’s nearly bedtime

  37. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:03 AM

    sleep well rhymesters… grosses bises

  38. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 9:09 AM

    An elderly Georgian woman was scavenging for copper to sell as scrap when she accidentally sliced through an underground cable and cut off internet services to all of neighbouring Armenia, it emerged on Wednesday.

    The woman, 75, had been digging for the metal not far from the capital Tbilisi when her spade damaged the fibre-optic cable on 28 March.–The Groan, today

    The internet (a packet-switched network as opposed to a circuit-switched network) was initially created by the US Department of Defence to ensure communications would not be disrupted in the event of a nuclear attack. Nobody planned for a 75 year-old woman with a shovel.

  39. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:52 PM

    This, from The Mayo News of 5 April. The “rape tape” scandal has struck a blow to the Garda, some of whose members were in this case hoisted by their own petards. All over the media here.

    “GARDAÍ in north Mayo who joked among themselves about raping two women they had just arrested during a Corrib gas protest on Thursday last are today (Tuesday) the subject of a Garda Ombudsman Commission complaint. A senior garda has also been appointed to investigate the matter.
    The gardaí, one of whom was a sergeant, were en route to Belmullet Garda Station, while the two women whom they had arrested for public order offences were traveling in two other separate garda cars. The gardaí were not aware that a camcorder they had confiscated was still recording.
    “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you,” the sergeant said.
    To much laughter another garda repeated: “Hold it there. Give me your name and address there… I’ll rape you.”
    After more laughter, the sergeant repeated: “I’ll definitely rape you.”
    At the time they were trying to deduce the nationality of one of the protestors whom they believed to be either American or Canadian.
    While they mused over the fact that they should contact their colleagues in Immigration to ‘deport her’, the option of raping her also was discussed, amid laughs.
    They identified the other woman who is Irish.
    During the conversation about rape one garda also said to the sergeant: “I wouldn’t go that far yet. She was living down at that crusty camp, f**k sake, you never know what you might get.”
    They were referring to the Rossport Solidarity Camp, where the women were staying. The camp was established some years ago to show support and solidarity to the local community opposed to the project. It has attracted varying numbers of supporters and environmental activists from all over the country and abroad.
    After the women were transported to Belmullet garda station, about a 20-minute drive from the scene of the arrest, they were kept in separate cells, and released without charge shortly afterwards.
    Earlier that morning one of them had boarded a Shell tractor, transporting bog mats to a new works site at Aughoose along the public road. She sat cross-legged on the cab, reading while the second woman videotaped the interactions when about eight gardaí, including members of the Public Order Unit, arrived on the scene.
    After a female garda repeated a caution under the Public Order Act 1994, the protestor, amid some jostling, came down. The women were not arrested at the time but about 20 minutes later, while still on the roadside, they claim they were manhandled and treated roughly by the gardaí and were worried for their safety because the road was deserted at the time. They also admit they had been watching for another opportunity to board a Shell vehicle.
    Unaware that they had been recorded, the Gardai returned the 37-minute tape to the women after their release without charge. They had been kept in custody, in separate cells, for about an hour.
    Both women say they are too traumatized to be identified at this time but one of them may be willing to come forward later.
    Speaking of her ordeal yesterday, one of them said a garda had tried to handcuff her but that when she insisted she was not resisting arrest, he stopped. She said the other protestor was treated roughly and has bruises on her arms. It was the American woman’s first day at the protest and she is still very shocked at her treatment,
    “It wasn’t until the following day (Friday) when we were writing up a report that we noticed there the clip of footage was much longer than we remembered shooting. We expected there would be a lot of empty tape but instead … It was horrifying, I am just beginning to take it in,” the woman said.
    “When on a protest they are treating you really roughly, you have an instinctive sense of danger, but you can’t put words on it, But then to hear them saying that word ‘rape’ so many times and then all the laughter. Every woman knows someone who has been a victim of sexual violence. These are the men that all our lives we are told are there to protect us and here they are talking about raping us,” she said, her voice shaking.
    Commenting on the American woman’s ordeal, another solidarity camp member said: “I think she is clearly very shaken by the way they treated her. She had just arrived at the camp and her arms are bruised. On top of that, there was the rape conversation. It is just incredible.”
    Ms Ellen Dunlop O’Malley, the Chief Executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said last night: “It is an awful shame there are still gardaí behaving in this manner. From our experience, it is not reflective of how the vast majority behave. There are fantastic gardaí out there who have gone the extra mile to assist victims of rape and sexual assault.”
    NUI Maynooth academic Dr Bríd Connolly, a lecturer in the university’s Adult and Community Education Department, confirmed that one of the women was a student at the college.
    “This recording is an affront to women, an affront to freedom to protest, and rape is not a joking matter,”Dr Connolly said.
    “How can women who have been assaulted have any confidence in the Gardaí if this is the sort of attitude that prevails? It undermines the work done with the Gardaí by rape crisis centres and Women’s Aid, and takes us back 40 to 50 years,” she said.
    Dr Connolly said she was aware that policing of the Corrib gas dispute was ‘very different’ to that applied at protests over construction of the M3 motorway at Tara.

    The tape
    THE tape, which includes video and audio footage, shows exchanges between the gardaí and the woman on the tractor cab. It also includes a conversation in the garda car about the merits of using proper safety equipment – such as harnesses and ladders.
    One Garda surmises on the reaction of a court if a protestor is injured during removal, and it transpires that there is insufficient equipment or training.
    “If someone gets hurt, we’re going to be on our own in the blocks,” the Garda says.
    His senior officer disagrees and says it is a matter of ‘due diligence’ and ‘common sense’.
    “At the end of the day, we have a certain duty of care to them. We ask them to get down, if they don’t get down we tell them we are taking them down forcefully. We take them down forcefully,” the sergeant says.
    “We use whatever means at our disposal, which includes ladders and ropes or whatever to get them down safely.”
    The gardaí also discuss the filling-in of overtime sheets.
    Responding last night, Belmullet Superintendent Pat Diskin said he ‘understands that an officer had been appointed to establish the facts’ about this matter.

    Policing Corrib costs
    POLICING of the Corrib gas dispute has amounted to over € 14 million to date.
    This huge sum is set to rise sharply over the coming months with expected protests increasing as Shell builds the longest raw gas pipeline tunnel in western Europe. The subsea tunnel, which is through a Special Area of Conservation, will take over two years to build and will involve around 472 truck movements a day, along the narrow, winding roads in this rural area.
    A number of complaints about aspects of policing have been made to the Garda Ombudsman. A report by the Frontline human rights defenders’ organisation last year expressed concern about some aspects of policing the Corrib gas dispute by both the Garda and the private security firm employed by the developers.
    The report, by barrister Brian Barrington, recommended that gardaí who had been involved for long periods on the dispute should be deployed to other duties, such as community policing.
    It also suggested that the Garda Siochána should appoint a trained lawyer with relevant experience in human rights issues to review police policies and practices.
    Meanwhile, Gardaí in Belmullet last night (Monday) confirmed that two people were being held in custody over public order offences related to the Corrib gas project.
    It is understood that the two staged a “lock-on” protest from 7am yesterday (Monday) at the entrance to the Shell compound for the Corrib gas pipeline.

    The full tape of the incident in question was made available to the public on Tuesday afternoon.”

  40. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:58 PM

    And on a lighter note from the same newspaper (complete with amusing typo)

    “Ballina woman poured cornflakes on patrol car

    A Ballina woman who was described as being ‘out of control’ was sentenced to three months in prison and fined €500 at last week’s sitting of Ballina District Court for obstructing a Garda who was serving a summons on her sister last January.
    Philomena Collins of Rehins, Ballina became aggressive when Garda Michael McGrath called to the family home at 11.45am to serve the summons on January 17. She refused to take the summons before becoming irate and out of control.
    Ms Collins then struck Garda McGrath with a spoon on his shoulder and poured the contents of her breakfast cereal bowl on the windscreen of the patrol car. Moments later six male Gardai and three female Gardai arrived at the scene to refrain and arrest the defendant.
    Solicitor for Philomena Collins, Mr Gerry McGovern, told the court that Ms Collins was very remorseful and he thought it was highly unlikely that the defendant would be before the court in the future. She had lost her temper and regretted her actions.
    Mr McGovern also told the court it was her first appearance in court and she had never been in trouble with the law before this incident. Judge Devins said she deemed Ms Collins’ behaviour to have been completely unacceptable.
    She then convicted and imprisoned Ms Collins for obstructing a Garda in the course of his duties.”

    So, hardened criminals are let out on temporary release because the system can’t cope with them and a cornflake pourer (who was probably suffering from PMT) is imprisoned. Good to know our money is keeping us safe from such threats.

  41. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 7, 2011 1:55 PM

    The rape story was on C4 news, though I didn’t catch the Mayo angle. Prehistoric attitudes, you would think, but:

    Three months for a cornflake assault seems a bit much (though it is a property crime, which is very very serious). What would they give a cereal killer?

  42. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 2:00 PM

    A croissant?

  43. hic8ubique permalink
    April 7, 2011 2:07 PM

    A dressing-gowned babe, Philomena
    was the spoon-wielding scourge of Ballina;
    pre-menstrual truculence
    diminished her succulence
    as cornflakes bestrew the windscreen-a.

    • Reine permalink
      April 7, 2011 2:20 PM

      A garda named Michael McGrath
      Stationed in and around Ballina
      Shouted “Stop now, hey, ho”
      That’s a new Mondeo
      Said Phil “Really, is it really, aaahhh”

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 7, 2011 2:49 PM

      Oh, I see now: it’s said Bally`Nah
      I shall note that in my repert-whah
      (In Alaska, Galena
      rhymes with Philomena)
      It’s too plain that I come from afah.

  44. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 7, 2011 2:43 PM

    The spoon clobbered him on the meat
    He was suddenly unsteady on his feet
    The cornflakes hit
    He staggered a bit
    She finished him off with a Shredded Wheat.

    • Reine permalink
      April 7, 2011 3:01 PM

      Perhaps “Bal – een – ah” would take off
      I’ll raise it with Mr. McGough
      County CEO
      Though from Ballinasloe
      His mother’s from Killeenacoff

  45. April 7, 2011 3:09 PM

    Death by Cereal by TS Eliot

    Judging by the sell-by date, a fortnight dead
    But Phlebas tucked into the Rice Krispies free from dread
    Forgot the possibilities, the deep stomach swell
    Conspired to make Phlebas feel extremely unwell.
    A currant from the muesli nearby finished the trick
    His stomach entered the whirlpool, it made him sick
    He passed the stages of his age and youth
    As it all came out in one big Hu-uuu-uth.
    O you who buy day-old bread and don’t look at the packets
    Unwittingly aid shifty shopkeepers in their rackets
    Consider Phlebas who was once as well as you
    Now spends the rest of the day sitting on the loo.

    • Reine permalink
      April 7, 2011 3:15 PM

      “He passed the stages of his age and youth
      As it all came out in one big Hu-uuu-uth.”

      That’s great Ed.

    • April 7, 2011 4:13 PM

      Thanks Reine. TS deserves credit too – the first line of that twosome is all his I merely dragged it down to my level.

      Incidentally if I may it’s good to see you firing poems off again Mishari. From the evidence it seems recovery is well underway but I guess the physical side has some way to go.

      Someone I worked with in Amsterdam broke his foot badly but Amsterdam being Amsterdam he carried on cycling. The foot in plaster was put in thfront basket and he used to strap his foot to the other pedal – Dutch bikes having back-pedal braking.

  46. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 3:34 PM

    When assaulting a copper with cereal
    it’s important to choose the right sort
    with milk or no milk’s immaterial
    but the substance requires some thought
    there’s a case to be made for Cocoa Pops
    though some will prefer shredded wheat
    it all depends on the size of the cops
    and location: at home or the street?
    the best for a flesh-wound is All Bran
    Fruit Loops to make the cops ill
    Rice Krispies can bring down a horse or a man:
    But it’s Frosties if you want to kill.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 7, 2011 11:59 PM

      It’s Coco Pops. Get with it, grandad.

  47. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    April 7, 2011 4:15 PM

    You’d think, in a murder scenario,
    That the rope would kill the Great Valerio
    If it came to the push.
    Why not target George Bush?
    He’s a chump who could choke on a Cheerio.

  48. Captain Ned permalink
    April 7, 2011 5:56 PM

    My name is Martin Kettle.
    For Blair, I’d lick a nettle.
    Since the fateful day he left
    I’ve been feeling quite bereft.

    My name is Michael White.
    I’m really not that bright,
    And such a dreadful bore
    My columns make me snore.

    My name is Douglas Murray.
    I like to wank in slurry.
    When my dick is slick with slime
    I appear on Question Time.

    • Reine permalink
      April 7, 2011 8:52 PM

      Hello Ned, how are ya?

      Slurry wanking is not an image I would have foreseen myself having today but it’s now part of the perverse patchwork. He’ll never manage to wash the smell off. “Out damned slurry…”

  49. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 9:19 PM

    Am I right in thinking that ‘slurry’ is the combined waste produced by pigs? Jesus..there’s perverse and then there’s really perverse. Why are so many right-wing loons sexual deviants?

  50. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 9:24 PM

    Pig slurry is the prime stuff as theirs is the better diet but cow shit is used too I think. My first in-laws were farming folk although I never made an indepth study of the subject. Silk cut and slurry scent was a heady combo I recall.

  51. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 9:25 PM

    Silk Cut, even.

  52. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 10:42 PM

    Slurry spreading season
    Nostrils recoil and lungs repel
    The shit-heavy, foetid air

    Struggling in simultaneous, valiant assertion
    Wafts of brown bread and apple cake
    From the range

    I ask if it is an Aga
    And you all turn and stare in spare amusement
    At this newly met, soon to be related townie

    Shit, shit, shit
    I excuse myself and go for a cigarette
    With a glaring bull for company

    “What the fuck are you looking at?”
    I hiss into the twilight
    “Just wanted to tell you dinner is ready and it’s lovely to finally meet you”

    Shit, shit, shit

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 7, 2011 11:56 PM

      I like the bull. Very funny. You should storyize it.

    • Reine permalink
      April 8, 2011 8:13 AM

      Thanks MM, that story could run to volumes.

  53. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 11:17 PM

    You’ve reminded me of an old song that a pal of mine (a Cork man..or ‘Cark’, as he pronounced it) used to sing (when he was on the sup). I can’t remember all the words but the chorus went:

    She’s a fine stout lump
    Of agricultural Irish girl
    Her face is worth a fortune
    And her figure is all her own
    She can strike that hard you would think
    That you were hit by the kick of a mule
    The fill of your arms of Irish love
    Is Mary Ann Malone

    …that’s you, that is.

    Meanwhile, even Simon Jenkins gets off a good one now and again:

    Above all, never mention the children’s question: “Daddy, why does everyone hate you?” It suggests that everyone does hate you, that the playground mafia is on message…he (Clegg) must shed a tear when he recalls the boudoirs of Brussels, where his sensibilities were massaged by the soft kisses of a million disembodied taxpayers. —Simon Jenkins on Clegg’s latest self-pitying interview, The Grunion, today

  54. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 11:23 PM

    Bloody hell…I just found the song on youtube:

  55. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 11:29 PM

    Just to make up for Val frigging Doonican (I was tempted to post The Dropkick Murphys’ version but…):

  56. mishari permalink*
    April 7, 2011 11:31 PM

    Here’s a nice version:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 8, 2011 12:43 AM


  57. Reine permalink
    April 7, 2011 11:39 PM

    Oh Mishari, thank you for the (Val) laugh. A light end to a trying day. HI is a Cark man but alas, or perhaps mercifully, doesn’t sing.

    • Reine permalink
      April 7, 2011 11:44 PM

      You need great breathing control and capacity to sing The Rocky Road… used to be able to when I was a young wan on the “comely maiden, fine girl ya are” circuit but confine myself to n occasional slow air these days.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 8, 2011 2:18 AM

      This is another challenging one to sing…

    • Reine permalink
      April 8, 2011 8:15 AM

      That’s great, he has the same timbre in his voice as the late Luke Kelly (of the Dubliners). I love a beardy singing man, gets me every time.

    • Reine permalink
      April 8, 2011 11:00 AM

      I love a beardy singing man
      It gets me every time
      He opens his fur-trimmed face hole
      It make my senses chime

      Kristofferson and “Bobby McGee”
      Luke Kelly on “Raglin Road”
      Kenny Rogers singing “Ruby”
      They are the mother lode

      I’d take my love to town
      For any of their mien
      I’d spend my cash and risk beard rash
      To rattle his tambourine

    • mishari permalink*
      April 8, 2011 11:43 AM

      Outstanding, Reine. ‘Every time he opens his fur-trimmed face hole’ made me LOL (as we dahn wiff da yoot-types are wont to say).

    • April 8, 2011 12:05 PM

      How do these two score on the Reine gauge?

    • mishari permalink*
      April 8, 2011 12:11 PM

      She’s gone to Kenya with the bloke from Allied Carpets…

      Ah, jeez…dey don’t royt ’em loik dat annymor, annymor (more inane paddywhackery on pg. 92)

    • Reine permalink
      April 8, 2011 12:17 PM

      Edward, I can’t access youtube at the moment, a treat in store obviously…

      “outstanding”? Blushes, opens window, whistles at the builders with excitement.

    • Reine permalink
      April 8, 2011 9:09 PM

      Ed, spookily the gauge stayed at zero.

  58. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 7, 2011 11:44 PM

    Among the Guardian’s dimbulb journos
    There is a single filament which glows,
    Shining with a glittering perfection
    In the dungeon of the Features Section.

    Her wit and verve and skill are all unmatched,
    Each topic or target is quickly dispatched,
    Hostile critics are reduced to vapour:
    Sadly, Hadley, you’re too good for this paper.

  59. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 12:01 AM

    Glad the Val made you laugh; it did me, too.

    Fine, biting satire, MM.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 8, 2011 12:18 AM

      Wodger mean, satire?

    • April 8, 2011 8:18 AM

      Do u <3 Hadley MM ? LOL

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 8, 2011 10:41 AM

      Oh Hadley, Hadley,
      I love you madly,
      I’m your number one fan.

      Your work’s so witty
      If you were a city
      I’d like to be a freeman.

      You’re so nice and kind
      I know you won’t mind
      If these lines of mine don’t scan.

      Keep writing your stuff
      I can’t get enough
      You’re a totem and a talisman.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 8, 2011 10:55 AM

      Epitaph For A Cluck

      She don’t love you
      like you love her
      No, nobody could
      You’ve got it bad
      And that ain’t good.

      Poor old Mowbray,
      What can I say?
      His head is wood
      He’s got it bad
      And that ain’t good.

  60. April 8, 2011 12:02 AM

    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, I’m going to mop the floor with your face

  61. Parisa permalink
    April 8, 2011 4:43 AM

    So glad to hear you’re back in the land of the living, Misha. Really made my day.

    This is funny, btw – enjoy.

  62. Reine permalink
    April 8, 2011 8:09 AM

    That is very funny P. The gopher is my favourite.

  63. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 8, 2011 10:43 AM

    Sam Wollaston should shut his gob,
    And Brooker can get bent,
    The people’s choice for the TV job
    Is the fabulous Ms Dent.

  64. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 11:01 AM

    Brooker’s been coasting for years
    His columns were meh, now they stink;
    And Wollaston’s grinding his gears
    Every time he’s required to think.

  65. April 8, 2011 11:15 AM

    Jonathan Jones is not a critical gloater
    More an unashamed blatant self-promoter
    His columns are only worth a look
    To see how often he mentions his book.

  66. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 11:27 AM

    Anyone notice that Vince ‘Tortoise Boy’ Cable is making lots of ‘crack down on the banks’ noises all of a sudden? I’m sure it has nothing to do with the upcoming Lib Dem wipeout on May 5th. That would be very cynical.

  67. April 8, 2011 11:37 AM

    The halting of the destruction of the NHS and the entering into a temporary “listening exercise” ( difficult to type those words without laughing ) is another example of the cynicism/desperate face-saving as well.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 8, 2011 1:06 PM

      Andrew Lansley’s promise to “listen” to health professionals over his plans to reform the NHS was last night branded a sham after it emerged that he had turned down an invitation to attend the nurses’ annual conference.

      Mr Lansley is expected to become the first Secretary of State or Prime Minister in eight years not to address the Royal College of Nurses Congress when it takes place next week in Liverpool.

      Yesterday, when contacted by The Independent, the Department of Health appeared to backtrack and said it would investigate whether Mr Lansley would be able to attend the conference after all.–The Indy, today

      What are you on about, Ed? The Tories are listening…sadly, they don’t speak English. Oh, well…

    • April 8, 2011 3:00 PM

      It’s the rush in/don’t listen/don’t consult then get told that they have rushed in/haven’t listened/haven’t consulted then tell us that you need to hold back/listen/consult in these matters approach that gets me.

      If only Labour were any good.

  68. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 11:41 AM

    I wish the unprincipled fuckers would engage in a ‘jumping off Beachy Head together’ exercise. Talk about bringing the nation together…

  69. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 8, 2011 12:52 PM

    Made a decision on AV yet? For me I think the deciding factor is going to be whether I loathe Cameron more than I hate Clegg. I think both systems are likely to benefit the Tories: how much difference AV might make is hard to tell. I would vote for full PR, no question.

  70. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 1:03 PM

    I, too, have been mulling it over and using a similar calculus. As near as I can make out, AV is potentially (albeit marginally) bad news for the Tories and Labour but will always give parties like the Lib Dems an improved result over FPTP.

    Unless I conclude that AV does more damage to Cameron and the Tories than it does good for Clegg (and it doesn’t look like it does) then I’m going to vote against it.

    The only reason I thought it was worth voting for the Lib Dems was because they were ‘pledged’ (oh, how we now laugh at the concept of a ‘Lib Dem pledge’) to proportional representation. AV is, in Clegg’s own words, a ‘miserable little compromise’.

    So, unless I get information that changes my mind, I look forward to pulling the trigger on Clegg and his party of unprincipled tossers.

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 8, 2011 1:13 PM

    My thinking was that the Tories might pick up more second preferences than Labour, from UKIP, BNP and other rightish parties. I don’t know why I care, since Labour in their current incarnation don’t seem a lot different. Which I suppose means I’ll probably vote against just to spite Nicky Clegg.

  72. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 2:28 PM

    True enough but my thinking is that whatever small gains (or losses) the Tories (or, in other constituencies, Labour) might or might not make are outweighed by the potential gains accrued by the Lib Dems.

    On the other hand, I have to laugh at all the Labour die-hards who are shrieking ‘traitor’ at Clegg and the LibDems for joining a coalition with the Tories; I guess they didn’t notice all the Labour ‘big guns’ who came out dead-set against any such coalition with Labour–who, in fact, made any such LibDem/Labour coalition unworkable.

    So, the LibDems really had no choice. It was join the coalition with the Tories or force another election, an election that stood a very good chance of giving the Tories what they didn’t have: a clear majority.

    What sticks in the craw is all the fighting talk from Clegg et al at the time they joined: they would act as a brake on the Tories more radical policies; they would force compromises on divisive policies; they would hold up legislation that was unsatisfactory: that they would, in short, prevent the Tories from doing exactly what they are doing.

    They’ve not only failed on every count but they didn’t even try. The alacrity with which they moved into lock-step with the Tories was shameful and all the pious cant they spouted to justify it (‘tough decisions; may not be popular but it is right; not afraid to make hard choices; clear up the mess labour left us in blahblahblah ad nauseum), basically singing from the Tory hymnal, just made it worse.

    So, yeah…fuck ’em. If voting ‘no’ causes more misery and problems for Clegg and his Orange Book spivs than it does for the Tories (indisputable, i think) then ‘no’ is what I’ll vote.

  73. Reine permalink
    April 8, 2011 2:53 PM

    Sorry for butting in but full PR is complex but fair. Seems to be one of the few areas in which we have actually got it right. Perhaps the slowly, slowly, catchee monkey approach will finally evolve in its favour.

  74. April 8, 2011 3:08 PM

    I think PR should be the best system but I wonder whether AV will further create the sort of government we have now who are putting poilicies in place for which they have no mandate and which have not appeared on their manifestos.

    If Labour were any good I wouldn’t have a problem but they are….well I don’t know what they are really….. addicted to the same failing economic model as the Tories probably.

  75. Reine permalink
    April 8, 2011 3:18 PM

    PR won’t make the policies any better sadly or guard against capitulation by the minority partner in any coalition government (and it takes less than a week for this to happen!) but it does give members of the electorate a better chance of exercising their choice and the candidates a fairer bite at the cherry.

  76. Reine permalink
    April 8, 2011 3:21 PM

    Here’s a layman’s guide to how it operates here –,1895,en.pdf

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 8, 2011 11:55 PM

      Phew, that was very blue. I had to shut my eyes for ten minutes after reading it.

      It seems like a good system, insofar as I understand it. Using those surplus votes must be a good thing – at the moment (in the UK) your vote is just as much wasted in a constituency where your party has a huge majority as in one where your candidate is a no-hoper.

      As the most populous constituency in the UK the IoW has been granted an extra MP at the next election. So, two Conservatives instead of one. Result!

  77. April 8, 2011 3:32 PM

    Whilst working in Belgium a promoter there explained to me how the Belgian system worked. I’d be at at a loss to precis exactly what he was on about. The fact that last year Belgium carried on for several months without a government doesn’t help matters either.

    The voting system encourages an X in the box way of deciding things whilst democracy seems to be a complex and evolving system.

    Perhaps the Belgians have got it sussed but there appears to be a horrible nationalism lurking just below the surface in their politics.

  78. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 3:33 PM

    I agree, Reine: full PR is what I’d like to see and full PR is what the Lib Dems ‘pledged’ to bring in and why I thought they were worth taking a chance on.

    When Gordon Brown, in the course of the post-election horse-trading, offered Clegg a referendum on AV as an inducement to forming a Lab/LibDem coalition, Clegg rightly dismissed it as a ‘miserable compromise’.

    What’s changed? Fuck all, really–except Clegg has had a sniff of power and it’s dissolved any scruples or principles he might have once had. The fact that the useless Ed Milliband is in favour of AV is another black mark against it, as far as I’m concerned.

  79. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 4:02 PM

    The Listening Tory

    This is what happens when you give the vote
    to every bloody pleb and scrote:
    they shove their oars in, interfere
    and ask you to make your plans clear.

    Alright, you nosy little fucks,
    I’ll be as clear as water:
    you’re just a bunch of sitting ducks,
    just lambs led to the slaughter.

    We tried world wars to wipe you out
    but you keep bouncing back;
    but this time, we’ll succeed, no doubt:
    we’re trying a new tack.

    We’ll shit on you from a great height,
    we’ll piss on your heads, too,
    and tell you that it’s warm sunlight,
    beamed down from skies so blue;
    and while you’re cleaning up the mess,
    we’ll ship you to the moon;
    and, frankly, plebs, I must confess:
    you can’t be gone too soon.

  80. April 8, 2011 5:12 PM

    I’ve argued for years that representative ‘democracy’ itself is bust. FPTP, AV, PR… It doesn’t really matter how they get there, too many will be bought. I see no reason why we can’t have direct e-democracy; the technology is there to allow everyone to vote on every law, and while the quotidian business of legislative minutiae would probably attract only a tiny percentage of nerds, the big issues would have millions of voters, with debates actually counting for something. Power to the people! Which is why it ain’t gonna happen soon…

  81. April 8, 2011 5:14 PM

    Some brilliant ‘columnist’ verse up there, people. I’ve been laughing for a good hour now.

  82. hic8ubique permalink
    April 8, 2011 5:25 PM

    Hi Simon~ good to see you.

    When it comes to incisive political discourse, this is about my speed…

  83. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 5:44 PM

    True, Simon, GB Shaw made much the same point in the preface to Man and Superman when he wrote (I paraphrase from memory) that if benevolent dictatorships fail, what hope was there for democracy?

    He went on to point out that a democracy requires every voter to be able to distinguish between a sound policy and a deranged one, it required an educated and well-informed electorate. But this would be inimical to Capital and the oligarchy who actually run things from behind a stage/set of democracy; a stage/set fully populated at Capital’s expense by ‘representatives of the people’ (in reality, the errand boys of Capital).

    So the masses are given the modern-day equivalent of panem et circenses and kept dull-witted and easily inflamed by demagogues and by a hysterical media that’s owned by the same oligarchs and capitalists. And the wheel on this crooked table keeps spinning and the masses keep losing and dying in a rigged game.

  84. April 8, 2011 5:57 PM

    Simon isn’t the difficulty with things like capital punishment? It’s pretty likely the public would vote in favour ( egged on by the right wing press ) but various politicians have kept that blood-lust in check.

  85. April 8, 2011 6:00 PM

    btw I’m not saying that I think the current system is great, far from it but I honestly don’t know what the solution is. Sometimes as with capital punishment you need someone to stand up against the wishes of the many don’t you?

  86. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 6:10 PM

    True, Ed. Personally, I think that giving the ignorant masses the final say is a recipe for disaster. They would, as you say, bring back capital punishment in a heartbeat.

    And their propensity for being whipped into a foaming frenzy by the tabloids is alarming (remember the paediatrician who had his windows smashed in Bristol, because the News of The World had started a paedophile frenzy and our potential ‘democratic arbiters’ couldn’t tell the fucking difference, imagining that child molesters hang out a shingle?).

    Personally, I believe that the only hope lies in a benevolent empire complete with a benign emperor (Mishari The Just? Mishari The Wise? Mishari, Defender of The Weak? never mind, we can decide on my official title later).

    But I wrote about this a long time ago…and I believe that we agreed that my coronation as Emperor is the only hope for mankind.

    PS: Is everyone enjoying the ongoing humiliation of News International as much as I am? I wonder how long that lying sack of shit Yates can remain in the Met? Eat shit and die, Murdoch.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 8, 2011 7:01 PM

      Well, I’d vote for you. Oh, wait…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 8, 2011 7:18 PM

      To Serve Him All My Days

      I’d like a high-profile position
      in the Ministry of Peculiar Costumes
      failing that I’d accept a place
      in the Office of Unguents and Nostrums

      or any modest capacity
      in the Imperial service would do
      Disarming Blond Giants is a skill
      of mine, and Beard Eradication too.

      But, let me stitch your ermine hem
      and bejewell your ceremonial cod-piece.
      There’s nothing like pomp and diadems
      to pacify a populace.

  87. April 8, 2011 8:15 PM

    The power of the corporate press is vanishing anyway, it’s just taking a while for its death-throes to subside; in the e-democracy news and information too will be democratic. Representatives would still serve a function: they perhaps could veto wild proposals carried in the heat of the moment and require a 6-month period to elapse before they could be proposed again. Capital punishment could only be applied to those who had voted for it… Either you believe in the wisdom of the crowd or you fear it. If you believe in it, we need a better democracy; if you fear it, what hope for democracy at all?

  88. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 8:24 PM

    I dunno, Simon–‘the wisdom of the crowd’ is a tricky one. I remember once reading that the IQ of any given crowd could be acertained by dividing the IQ of the stupidest individual in that crowd by the number of people in the crowd.

    I’m sure you’ve read Canetti’s Crowds and Power. I haven’t read it in years but I seem to remember that he was not especially enamoured of them, and spoke of the ease with which they could be manipulated, whipped into a frenzy or, indeed, cowed.

    The rapidity with which a crowd can be transformed into a mob (something I’ve witnessed first-hand on a number of occasions) is truly frightening. As an abstract notion, the ‘wisdom of crowds’ sounds well; in reality, I’m afraid I’m sceptical.

  89. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 8:27 PM

    hic, consider yourself hired…

    • Reine permalink
      April 8, 2011 9:07 PM

      May I throw my hat in the ring for the position of second concubine?

    • mishari permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:42 PM

      I’ll need references from your last Lord and Master, a criminal records check, a blood test and a certificate of Good Character from the Archbishop of Dublin…but, yes…the more the merrier.

  90. April 8, 2011 8:40 PM

    A good friend of mine ( sadly no longer with us ) declared himself a misanthropic socialist.

    It makes for a snappy soundbite, it’s impractical but I’d concur with that.

    I don’t want power but of course I want to be in the position of saying when things are wrong.

    Obviously I’m part of the problem rather than the solution.

    • April 9, 2011 12:45 AM

      “A good friend of mine ( sadly no longer with us ) declared himself a misanthropic socialist.”

      ET, one of my oldest (since 1980 or so) and dearest friends is a “Socialist” who wouldn’t last a week in a communal living experience with The Proletariat; they would kill him or he would kill himself but something would have to give (what with the Proletariat taste in food and music, for starters). I’m think he’s thinking it would be nice to be shipwrecked on a Socialist desert island.

  91. April 8, 2011 8:56 PM

    Something to think about.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 8, 2011 9:38 PM

      According to Surowecki, what “wise crowds” need, in addition to being adequately informed on the matter at hand, is (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions.

      The diversity brings in different information; independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader; people’s errors balance each other out; and including all opinions guarantees that the results are “smarter” than if a single expert had been in charge.

      Now, I don’t think there’s anything especially radical or controversial about this idea. I believe that we already have such a thing in the web. But for the ‘wise crowd’ to work, certain conditions have to be met. It’s not some sort of natural, spontaneous mechanism that naturally arises in any crowd.

      But I see your point., Simon. Given a linked populace, with enough information, there is a good chance that they’ll make the right decision. And in an election, this would probably be a good idea. But…

      Going back to the necessary conditions, the first and foremost is adequate understanding–and here arises our first major problem: given that virtually every word out of a politicians mouth is a lie, given that every proposed manifesto, pledge, plan and policy is fantasy, how then is it possible for ‘the crowd’ to have the ‘adequate information’ on which to exercise their ‘wisdom’?

      Something else to think about (an old favourite and highly recommended, if you’ve never read it)

  92. April 8, 2011 9:15 PM

    And yes, the Canetti book, which I remember from my Politics studies at university, was pretty chilling but, and here is the crucial point, there would be no ‘Survivors’ in the e-democracy…

  93. April 8, 2011 9:22 PM

    Give me a mob, give me a mob
    Baying and tumbrils for the nobs
    And when the revolution’s done
    The crowd’ll feast on cherry buns

  94. Reine permalink
    April 8, 2011 9:37 PM

    Overheard in a Scottish castle…

    Give me your knob, give me your knob
    Empty its tumbril into my gob
    And when the ensuing ablution’s done
    I will let you feast on Cherie’s buns

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 12:21 AM

      Give me a clue, Re! Oh, give me a clue;
      no one sports harem-pants better than you.
      We’ll make our own heaven (a good rule of thumb)
      with Seraphs, Archangels, and the sweet Cherry-bum.

  95. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 9:45 PM

    Give me a crowd, rowdy and loud
    frequently wrong but defiant and proud;
    their wisdom they save for the table and bed
    for they know as I know, we’ll all soon be dead.

  96. April 8, 2011 10:59 PM

    Simon Heffer!
    Your grammar memes aren’t getting better
    You haven’t read a book since Fowler’s,
    which is why yours is full of howlers.

  97. mishari permalink*
    April 8, 2011 11:37 PM

    Heffalump? Jesus…in addition to writing the over-heated, gushing rubbish he does, Heffer is an absolutely odious man. Babs Cartland meets Goebbels. He writes for the Torygraph? I thought he had his capacious bottom shoehorned into a seat at his natural home The Daily Fail.

    Mind you, Polly Toynbee is, in her own way, almost as bad:

    A year ago running up to the election, everything they did looked clever, well oiled and pitch perfect. David Cameron’s electoral Rolls-Royce purred up to the winning post, his party’s reputation for wrecking the public realm left far behind–Polly Wolly Woodle, The Grunion, today

    This is nonsense. ‘Purred up to the winning post’?

    You mean: ‘staggered up, winded and red-faced, desperate to make a deal with the Lib Dems’? And this, despite running against a deeply unpopular Prime Minister; a tired, ineffectual Labour government that had dragged us into two criminally futile (and plain criminal) wars; who had treated the banks to a regulatory regime so light-touch that the banks went crazy with greed and destroyed the world economy; a parliament filled with despised, worthless MPs who had been revealed as greedy, crooked buffoons. Etc etc ad nauseum.

    And yet, with all of that working in Cameron’s favour, his party couldn’t win an outright majority, infuriating the Tory paymaster, Lord Shadydeal of Belize, who’d spent millions of his tax-dodging fortune to no good purpose and baffling older Tory backbenchers. That’s Polly’s idea of an electoral Rolls Royce’? Then God help the party that’s an electoral Fiat 500.

    ‘Michael Gove, like Andrew Lansley, was thought sure-footed..’ Polly goes on to say.

    Christ, this woman is an idiot. Who thought that Rubber Lips Gove was ‘sure-footed? Nobody, that’s who. It was obvious to everyone that the man was an ignorant zealot, his brain aflame with ideologial ardour and breath-taking ignorance. If mountain goats were this ‘sure footed’, they’d have become extinct millenia ago. One can see what poor, dim Polly is about: contrast the great height scaled with the sudden, precipitous fall. But, honestly, what a load of cock.

    Having said that, I agree with much of what she says; if only she weren’t tainted by her long history of making excuses for Labour at their most grotesque and Tory-like.

  98. mishari permalink*
    April 9, 2011 12:07 AM

    Nobody can say that they weren’t warned:

    David Cameron: What The Experts Say

    By Brian Reade, The Daily Mirror Feb. 4, 2010

    Few financial journalists in Britain are held in higher esteem than Jeff Randall.

    He has been business editor of virtually every heavy newspaper, was the first journalist to be given that title by the BBC and now has his own peak-time show on Sky.

    In the late 1990s, as editor of Sunday Business, he had many dealings with the head of communications at Carlton TV, David Cameron.

    And this is what he wrote when he became Conservative party leader in 2005: “I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter’s pocket money.

    “In my experience, he never gave a straight answer when dissemblance was a plausible alternative.

    “Whether he flat-out lied I won’t say, but he went a long way to leave me with the impression that the story was wrong. He put up so much verbal tracker you started to lose your own guidance system.”

    Randall was not alone among business journalists in holding Cameron in utter contempt throughout his seven-year stint at Carlton. Like him, some pull up just short of calling him a professional liar.

    Chris Blackhurst, City editor of the London Evening Standard says Cameron was “aggressive, sharp-tongued, often condescending and patronising.

    “If anyone had told me then he might become Premier I would have told them to seek help.”

    Patrick Hosking, investment editor of The Times, said: “He was obstructive.”

    Most damning of all is this assessment by veteran City journalist Ian King, who calls him “a poisonous, slippery individual,” adding: “He was a smarmy bully who regularly threatened journalists. He loved humiliating people, including a colleague at ITV he would abuse publicly as ‘Bunter’, just because the poor bloke was a few pounds overweight.

    “He was a mouthpiece for that company’s charmless chairman, Michael Green, who operated him the way Keith Harris works Orville.”


    The hugely ambitious Cameron had been working in Tory Central Office for six years since leaving Oxford, and he realised the quickest way to achieve his goal of becoming an MP was to put some “real-world experience” on his CV.

    For most 27-year-olds the chances of landing a prestigious, well-paid City job without any private-sector experience were negligible. But not to a man who had effortlessly glided into every position he’d desired, through family connections.

    This time it was Annabel Astor, the mother of Cameron’s fiancée, Samantha Gwendoline Sheffield, who pulled strings with her friend Michael Green. “When she says to me, ‘Do something,’ I do it!” said the usually far-from-timid Green.

    When Cameron left in 2001 to become an MP, Green was more than happy with the man he’d employed to do his dirty work. “He can be ruthless,” he said.

    A view shared by Michael Portillo, who says of Cameron during his time in Tory Central Office: “Not everyone was enamoured.

    I have heard he is not, sometimes, as nice in private as you might think. It was said by people beneath him.”

    This is a recurring theme. As his biographers, Francis Elliott and James Hanning, point out in their book Cameron: The Rise of the New Conservative, he never wasted his time chatting to people he thought were unimportant.

    One Central Office colleague said: “He had personality, intelligence, ambition and judgment but wasn’t charitably disposed to those who thought differently from him.”

    Another said: “He saw it as a way of making himself look good to make other people look stupid. He was a bombastic bully, dismissive of those who didn’t agree with him.”

    At Carlton, Cameron played up to the role of City squire, wearing red braces during the week and Barbour at weekends as he joined the hunting and shooting set. But mostly he kept his eye on the prize of becoming an MP.

    In March 1996, his first press reference of note appeared in the London Evening Standard where he was described as part of “a silver-spoon clique” and someone who frequently boasted that he would one day be Foreign Secretary. “David Cameron, a 29-year-old Old Etonian, has come up with a novel strategy for getting elected to the House of Commons, which he announced in a drunken moment at a party. ‘He’d worked out his chances of getting a seat by finding out which of the present incumbents were most likely to die,’ relates one of the guests. ‘Sir Ian McNair-Wilson is about to kick his clogs,’ he told us.

    “There was a long pause. ‘You’re completely right,’ a schoolmate agreed. ‘He is going to die soon. He’s my stepfather.’ ” It wasn’t McNair-Wilson’s death that gave Cameron his big break but Shaun Woodward’s defection to Labour in 2000, which left the Oxfordshire seat of Witney vacant. Yet again, as Cameron climbed another rung on his career ladder, people were left scratching their heads as to how he managed it.

    The selection committee whittled the field down to two candidates – Cameron and Andrew Mitchell (now Shadow International Development Minister). In the run-up to the vote Mitchell was considered favourite. But on the eve of the vote, something strange happened.

    According to Simon Walters’ book Tory Wars, Mitchell was subjected to an anonymous smear campaign when some activists wrongly claimed he was involved in the cash-for-questions affair.

    As Elliot and Hanning wrote: “It is a curious story and one that suggests that someone within Witney Conservative Association bore Mitchell a considerable amount of ill-will – or was very keen that Cameron should prevail.”

    Prevail he did, and four years later he found himself catapulted to the second top rung of his career ladder, leader of the Conservative party.


    But not every Conservative was convinced of their young messiah, some doubting his depth, credentials and vision. Top Tory pin-up Simon Heffer called his political views “philosophically naive and vacuous”.

    One of Cameron’s closest friends, Shadow Children’s Secretary Michael Gove, wrote: “He is the kind of poker player who waits and reads the other players, and bets when he knows the alignment is in his favour.” And former Tory minister George Walden summed up Cameron’s perceived shallowness perfectly when he claimed Cameron’s chief criterion for judging a situation is: “What would Diana have done?” But it’s not just his lack of ideological depth that is a flaw; it’s his upper-class background and the fact he has chosen to surround himself with chaps of a similar ilk.

    Tory Speaker John Bercow, says: “In the modern world the combination of Eton, hunting, shooting and lunch at Whites is not helpful when you are trying to appeal to millions of ordinary people.”

    Sir Tom Cowie, founder of Arriva and a party donor until August 2007, argues: “The Tory Party seems to be run by Old Etonians and they don’t understand how other people live.”

    Even the true-blue Sunday Times wrote: “He has more Etonians around him than any leader since Macmillan. Can he represent Britain from such a narrow base?” But perhaps the most damning indictment of the man who would be the next Tory prime minister is the blatant indifference towards him by the last man to hold that office.

    Twice a week for a year, Cameron briefed John Major for Prime Minister’s Questions and almost every day throughout the 1992 election campaign, yet Major says he has no clear memories of him.

    Fellow Tories say he is being diplomatic. By saying nothing he offers no offence.

    But by offering no thoughts on Cameron, when he clearly has some, Major leaves the impression that he either doesn’t rate him or doesn’t like him. And there is evidence to back both views.

    Not only did Major once spectacularly lose his temper with Cameron over a woefully inadequate briefing, but Cameron had hoped after the ’92 election victory that the Prime Minister would choose him to be one of two political secretaries.

    But Major decided to have just one. And that wasn’t Cameron.

    The man who gave him his first political job in the Tory Research Department, Robin Harris, now wishes he had followed Major’s instincts.

    “Cameron was in the category of people who came into the party at the time because they saw it as a way of advancing their careers.

    “He is an out-and-out opportunist. I don’t believe he believes anything.”

  99. obooki permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:44 AM

    A fisher of men.
    She throws out some bait;
    Then she reels ’em in.

    (It’s only sad that, for some reason, The Guardian’s decided not to allow comments on her articles any more).

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 9, 2011 1:08 AM

      Sexist pig.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 9, 2011 7:59 AM

      I believe that’s because it always turned into a turkey-shoot and how could it not? To mix my metaphors, it was an open goal. Bidisha is possibly the silliest woman in the European Union and her addiction to absurd hyperbole and evidence-free assertions deserved all the mockery it got.

      On the cover of this month’s Cosmopolitan Magazine.

      75 Sex Moves Men Crave

      The Love Trick That Makes Him Want You More

      Look Sexy! Makeup That Flirts For You!

      Call Him Or Text?

      This Sex Position Increases Female Orgasm By 56%

      PLUS: Lean Thighs Without Lunges

      Don’t you love the exactitude of that ‘56%’ orgasmic increase? But what struck me is how little progress feminism appears to have made. I mean, this is a magazine for women, edited and written by women and yet it’s entire raison d’etre appears to be to encourage women to define themselves by their relationships with men and their profficiency at pleasing men. Bizarre…and a bit depressing.

    • April 9, 2011 12:16 PM

      Re: the crafty subversion of “Feminism” since the low (but hopeful) heights of 1970 : I knew something was wrong when they rolled out the “Feminist” porn star and began describing stripping as “empowering”. Meanwhile, mandingo-merchants Fiddy and Snoop were garnering awards from the NAACP as the overall position of Blacks on America’s totem pole reverted to c. 1890 levels. Not to mention the sudden triumph (after flirting with various ethnic spices in the late 60s-to-mid-70s) of the Nazi Aesthetic in the 80s: blondes blondes blondes. It appears that The Old White Fuckers in charge of everything are cleverer than one assumed….

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 9, 2011 1:09 PM

      Bit of a narrow base for appreciating the progress of feminism, isn’t it?

      I thought the raison d’etre of Cosmo was to make money for the Hearst Corporation.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 9, 2011 1:44 PM

      True, but I was surprised to see that feminism has made so little visible progress in a magazine that I remember being a ‘standard bearer’ for feminism back in the 70s. Isn’t it evidence (if any were needed) that the ‘establishment’ always absorbs these ‘progressive’ movements and de-fangs them?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 2:27 PM

      When I was in my early 20s, my grandmother would give me odd copies of Cosmo.
      I still have to laugh when I think of the time I appeared in a droopy grey frock and woollen clogs, and she announced: ‘You look like a Frau!’ She often commented that my skirts should be shorter.
      I lost interest in Cosmo altogether when the consistently cynical theme of manipulating men to a woman’s advantage began to make me queasy. It was a darker design than the vapid ‘how to be appealing/ socially competitive’ women’s magazines. I haven’t bought any of them in decades, and rather encouragingly, when my youngest was given a subscription to Teen Vogue, she showed no interest whatsoever.
      The systematic attack on the health choices women (and by extension their partners) have access to in the US is what troubles me. Girls can outgrow shallow media, but the campaign to dismantle sixty years of progress in what should be autonomous health decisions is increasingly aggressive and alarmingly successful.

  100. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:05 AM

    Mr Major Blows His Top

    David, do you think I could have a word?
    Sorry, sorry, yes, do finish your drink…
    all right, this might seem a little absurd,
    but, um… sorry, it’s half-past five, I think…

    I just wanted to – what? Oh, your shoelace…
    well, I suppose I… is that tight enough?
    Look, I felt I lost considerable face
    in that briefing, oh yes, yes – pardon? Fluff?

    Where? On my suit? Oh, thank you very much…
    now, young man, it’s your job to keep the lid
    on problems and help me to stay in touch
    with any developments… David? David?

    Good Lord, he’s fallen asleep. I’ll be blessed.
    Go on, old chap, go home and get some rest.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 2:30 PM

      A vividly portrayed encounter, MM.

  101. Captain Ned permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:57 AM

    I have heard he is not, sometimes, as nice in private as you might think.

    That’s delicately put by Portaloo. But who on earth would have thought that Cameron is nice? He almost makes George Osbourne look like a tolerable human being.

    Spare a thought for David Willetts, the man who is apparently so clever that he is known as Two Brains. Imagine the poor man’s confusion and disappointment, when, after his brilliantly conceived and carefully implemented plans for higher education are met with unanimous acclaim in the Tory press, those damned universities spit in his face. Half of those who took part in a BBC survey said that they will be charging the maximum tuition fee of £9000 per year, even though the government had assured everyone that the top fee would only be charged in exceptional circumstances, and that the average fee would be around £7500. “The crucial factor is that this is not what the student has to pay upfront,” says Two Brains. He is right. The student is instead saddled with a huge burden of debt, which is a very bad thing for governments to have, but quite acceptable for graduates also struggling with the search for jobs and somewhere to live. Perhaps it will be alright; given that there won’t be many jobs for years to come, I’d imagine that a fair portion of the debt will get written-off anyway.

    If one is charitably disposed, one might put all this down to naïveté – but it would have to be naïveté of a colossal magnitude. It’s not just this government, but the last one as well, which spoke of a fair marketplace when it introduced tuition fees, the idea being that each university would charge a reasonable fee based on the quality of the course in question, with students having a veritable smörgåsbord to choose from. The perfect logic of the market would sort everything out. But of course no university wants to present itself as third-rate. You only had to look at the way in which former polytechnics scrambled to become universities (and to drop the ‘Poly’ from their names) to see that, quite apart from any genuine funding problems, status anxiety would lead to everybody wanting to be seen to be among the top dogs. This was, from the beginning, so obvious that I can only think that the government has been guilty not so much of naïveté as of indifference. Ideological commitment to a capitalist free-for-all trumps every other consideration, except perhaps public opinion. As for that, the distraction of few token bursaries and discounts for poorer students, plus some comically stern warnings for universities not to take it too far, ought to do the trick as far as the papers are concerned.

    Lest this site be haunted by the ghost of Peter Carter-Ruck, I should point out that I have no evidence that Douglas Murray participates in any kind of perverse sexual activity (though any woman or man willing to engage in sexual activity with Mr. Murray must be deeply perverse). The practice of wanking in slurry does appear to have at least one enthusiast, as a man was recently sentenced to two years in prison for doing just that (among other things). In the scheme of things, however, which is viler: a man who masturbates in farmyard filth, or a man who has written a book entitled Neoconservatism: Why We Need It?

  102. mishari permalink*
    April 9, 2011 11:06 AM

    It just goes to show, Ned, the discrepancy between academic excellence and real-world performance. Two-Brains has been around since the Thatcher era and was always being wheeled out as their tame ‘intellectual’.

    Having served as Nigel Lawson’s private researcher, Willetts took charge of the Treasury monetary policy division at 26 before moving over to Margaret Thatcher’s Policy Unit at 28. Aged 31, he subsequently took over the Centre for Policy Studies.

    Aged 36, Willetts entered Parliament in 1992 as the MP for Havant. He quickly established himself in Parliament, becoming a Whip, a Cabinet Office Minister, and then Paymaster General in his first term (when that role was split between the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury as a policy co-ordination role).

    During this period Willetts’ gained “Two Brains” as a nickname, a monicker reportedly coined by The Guardian’s former political editor Michael White. However, Willetts was forced to resign from the latter post by the Standards and Privileges Committee over an investigation into Neil Hamilton in 1996, when it found that he had “dissembled” in his evidence to the Committee over whether pressure was put onto an earlier investigation into Hamilton.

    Despite the resignation, Willetts was able to return to the shadow front bench a few years later while William Hague was Leader of the Opposition, initially serving in the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Education Secretary before becoming Shadow Social Security (later Shadow Work and Pensions) Secretary. He carved out a reputation as an expert on pensions and benefits [sic]–wiki

    But he always struck me as a man whose grasp of reality was tenuous at best. All his blithe assurances coupled with his airy dismissals of objections from those who’d actually have to implement his ivory-tower proposals only served to make him appear a fool. Two-Brains…and neither of them works very well.

  103. mishari permalink*
    April 9, 2011 1:45 PM

    There are so many stories about rulers descending into the marketplace to hear what the people are saying, that some of them eventually come true…

    It will be remembered that Tony Blair, in December 1999, took the Tube from Waterloo to the new Millennium Dome, attended by dozens of photographers, minders and journalists. He sat down, and turned to the woman next to him, saying hello. She ignored him.

    Reality had proved insufficiently authentic, and the woman, Georgina Leketi-Solomon, was afterwards “invited” to have a cup of tea with the then Prime Minister at 10 Downing St, where a chummy reality could be more satisfyingly constructed in a controllable environment.

    A similar air of dreamy strangeness hangs over David Cameron’s descent into ordinariness. The couple (Cameron and his wife) are depicted waiting for their flight. But around them, there is a sea of empty chairs. Did no one like to sit near them? Had they farted?

    Is it too awful to think that one motivation for the trip was in response to Oliver Letwin apparently remarking that “he did not want to see more families in Sheffield able to afford cheap holidays”? Here we are, the photographs say, having a lovely cheap holiday, courtesy of Ryanair and a three-star hotel in Granada. And, we might continue, there is nothing wrong with that, and I expect Oliver didn’t really mean what he said, anyway.

    How they must long for the end of office, and never again having to pretend to enjoy sitting in Stansted airport for your Ryanair flight to be called.–Philip Hensher on Cameron’s Ryanair holiday to Spain, The Independent, today

  104. mishari permalink*
    April 9, 2011 1:56 PM

    Liked your Tudorbethan porno poem, BTW, MM…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 2:37 PM

      I’m sorry to have missed that…

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 2:49 PM

      Yes, me too. Where are you hiding that?

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 3:04 PM

      Found it; there’s a new Poster Poems Hic. Twitchy, indeed.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 4:27 PM

      Thanks, Re. Glory, I may need to work myself up to it, we’ve gone so long without a PP.

      MM~ your poetic prowess hath perced to the roote!

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:30 PM

      Thanks. I was surprised that Bill didn’t mention the erotic symbolism of the rose in his intro, which I think was very strong in the medieval period. No doubt Prof. Staunton can confirm or deny that.

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:33 PM

      Who is this Prof Staunton of whom you speak??

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:35 PM

      The Roman de la Rose is my touchstone.

  105. Reine permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:48 PM

    I’ve read oodles of stuff on feminism and while many of its tenets and advances (eloquently outlined by Hic re health choices etc.) are laudable, there are aspects of it as a movement that leave me feeling rather uneasy, like any broad church I suppose. There is a brand of feminism that is no better than misogynism boiled down to penis = bad, vagina = good.

    Anyone who is measuring her orgasms/sexual encounters in percentile terms, well that’s just sad. Although I do wonder how it’s done, number of twitches over a 100 multiplied by penis length over one? I read Comicpolitan in the hairdressers; whiles away the “development time” nicely. Can’t let myself go grey now, can I? What would the menfolk think?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 4:13 PM

      Yes, it seems to me that extreme polarisations in philosophy can’t serve the individual.
      Even the fascination with impressive penis size is something of a distortion, I should think.
      I mean what about all those short Asian women who presumably have correspondingly commodious vaginas? I’m *slightly* chagrined to say this, but I can attest that it’s possible to have a partner who is just too well-endowed to ‘frolic’ with abandon without risking painfully hammering his partner’s cervix. In such a pairing, creative positioning becomes more precautionary than fanciful.

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 9:55 PM

      Gives a new meaning to ” sit and swivel”. Goodness Hic.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:13 PM

      Was that too rude?

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:17 PM

      Not in the least, just funny. I laughed out (too) loud at cervix hammering.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:22 PM

      I’ve read about that problem. I remember one of Mrs M’s friends said she was told at an examination that she had an ‘unusually long vagina’. I don’t know how, or if, it affected her sex life.

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:28 PM

      Probably tmi, but the medics have different sized specula according to the length of the vaginal canal (God help the poor Gondoliers who got that posting). Consider yourself lucky MM not to have this metal beast inserted into you. Apparently, almost all penises are longer than the average vadge but the cervix lifts to accommodate all comers. Who knew?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:41 PM

      I didn’t know that. I don’t know if the speculum is on the same level of horror, but I’ve been catheterised twice. That wasn’t much fun, for me or the 12 year-old female doctor who did the second one. There were beads of sweat dripping from her forehead on to my squirming body as she tried to force the gigantic tube down the ever-shrinking organ. Sometimes a penis is just an encumbrance.

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:47 PM

      We’ll call it a draw.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:51 PM

      The Foley has to be worse, but I’m happy to call it even all round on the tmi.

    • Reine permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:54 PM

      Foley was a big lad all right … oh, sorry, you mean the catheter.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:05 AM

      Please! will you desist from your fumblance
      with my sensitive shrinking encumbrance
      that tube is too stout
      if you can’t knock me out
      at least give me some morphine for numblance.

  106. April 9, 2011 5:08 PM

  107. April 9, 2011 5:47 PM

    Am away devising, rehearsing, fretting, rehearsing again, fretting again then touring until the middle of May.

    Keep up the good work folks.

  108. hic8ubique permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:03 PM

    Enjoy the Big Space EdT. We’ll miss you.

    I hope my last post won’t embarrass St. Augustine. I wouldn’t want him to feel a need to minimise.

    • April 10, 2011 9:35 AM

      Hic, as long as my avatar isn’t next to it, all that’s required is that I feign horror. Having said that, I’ll put this next to my avatar: I’m sure M, MM, ET (and all my fellow toolmeisters in the thread) know that hammering isn’t required in cases of a pre-existing hole.

    • April 10, 2011 10:44 AM

      “I wouldn’t want him to feel a need to minimise.”

      I still can’t decide whether it’s you or Reine who’s the naughtiest, Hic. I wonder what percentage of M’s voluminous traffic is drawn by you two…?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:22 PM

      All I know of Mishari and traffic
      is that some of it doored him,
      that, then the irate defection
      of a put-upon Californian.

      You’d better not share your impression
      if you ever decide who is naughtier;
      I might never recover my countenance
      if you were to declare it was me not her.

      *alt. version*
      You’d better not share your impression
      if the wickedest woman is hic or Re;
      I might never recover my countenance
      if you were to declare it was her not me.

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 2:07 PM

      Sorry to mix literary allusions but we are, I suggest, each a melange of Alison and Madame Eglantine, though not measure for measure.

      I haven’t decided yet who you are SA so, for the moment, we’ll call you longe knighte no. 1.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 10, 2011 2:32 PM

      Good call. I like it. I’ve long associated you with the red stockings, Re.

  109. Captain Ned permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:33 PM

    All the best, Ed. Keep us posted if and when you take your show to London.

  110. Reine permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:33 PM

    May the wind be at your back Ed. Keep the faith. Hope it all goes to plan.

  111. mishari permalink*
    April 9, 2011 10:20 PM

    Nick Clegg’s message to the British people:

  112. mishari permalink*
    April 9, 2011 10:46 PM

    After the British public’s response to Clegg’s first message makes clear that they’d like to chop him into small, bleeding chunks with a rusty butter knife and feed him to the huskies, Clegg revises his message:

  113. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:13 PM

    Sorry if I seemed a little brusque earlier. I was being hurried out by the resident feminist.

    Cosmo aside, I think feminism has made an appreciable difference to the position of women. In the legal profession, for instance, more than 50% of solicitors are female, and medicine is approaching the same figure. I can’t see those numbers falling. It’s much more difficult to estimate the difference it’s made in personal attitudes, of course. Not enough in the case of men, unfortunately. Reading The Female Eunuch when I was twenty was a real eye-opener for me. It should be on every school reading list.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 10, 2011 12:11 AM

      Oh, yeah…unquestionably…I was just a bit shocked at what seemed to be such antediluvian attitudes in what used to be a staunchly feminist magazine. Mind you, despite the undeniable advances, the old attitudes are still going strong. I’m not going to bother with examples as you’re perfectly capable of coming up with them yourself.

      As I say, if it had been the cover of, I dunno, Good Housekeeping or The Lady [Not sure about those-Ed.] or one of any number of brainless glossies, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.

      Mind you, Cosmo is not a magazine that I’ve looked at in years; God knows, it’s not the kind of thing Inez gets, so I’m probably just hopelessly out of touch.

  114. Reine permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:20 PM

    A teacher of ours at secondary school recommended we read The Female Eunuch ( she pronounced Eunuch to rhyme with crunch). We thought an “unch” was a body part we hadn’t discovered. One knowing girl said it was near the clitoris but smaller.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:55 PM

      I had a secondary school teacher who pronounced uvula as ‘ulva’ .
      Cause for merriment as you might imagine.

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:01 AM

      Yes, there was a fellow in Westport who had spent years in South Africa and came home wearing crocodile shoes and talking about the Kruggerand which he pronounced Cougar Rawned. He married my best friend’s aunt, a pharmacist everyone assumed was a confirmed spinster. One day in company he boasted that he had bought her a lovely shiny red vulva (sic) and that it was a real goer. There was a mass exodus from the room to let out the gales of held in laughter.

      God, I have a feeling I have told you this before.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:15 AM

      No, you hadn’t. It was a Volvo, I suppose?
      My grandfather kept a large cache of Cougar Rawnds hidden in a false ceiling against the inevitable day when the dollar would be worthless… a preoccupation of his.

      I know a boy who was adopted from the Ukraine, nicknamed ‘Vova’, whose new parents eventually prevailed upon him to go by his full name: Vladimir.

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:22 AM

      Indeed it was. Poor Vova; what a curse names are sometimes.

  115. hic8ubique permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:48 PM

    I seem to have read an article in the GU recently about the Female Eunuch…
    Not at all brusque, MM~
    The thing about medicine and the law, is that the women who have the salt and the means to
    pursue them have the option and have done for a hundred years or so, but in general, the grind of poverty still mostly beleaguers women and children. Constraining access to reproductive choice and childcare is an effective means to subjugate the many, whilst the stellar ones who bash their way through to top professions might give the impression that the playing field is even, pardon my pitiful metaphor.

  116. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:24 AM

    That’s true to an extent, I think, but I would contend that there was a change in er, consciousness during the 60s and 70s which made entering the professions seem achievable.
    In the late 70s, fewer than 20% of lawyers were women. That’s a big change over 30 years.

    You’re right about the social control exerted through poverty, however.

  117. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:38 AM

    So many problems unaddressed,
    some many things unsaid
    but the Woman Question must rest:
    I have to go to bed.

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:43 AM

      May your sleep be unencumbered
      May you wake, knowing you’ve slumbered,
      To French toast with crispy bacon
      That will your taste buds waken
      Sic transit gloria mundi
      I wish every day was Sunday

  118. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:32 PM

    I just got round to reading Duffy’s poem about the Arts Council cuts in the G (don’t know if it’s online). Suddenly I feel more in favour of government policy.

  119. mishari permalink*
    April 10, 2011 1:09 PM

    On the one hand, the cuts to the Poetry Society don’t appear to matter much; as near as I can make out, it was a mutual appreciation society for the likes of Duffy and her ilk, i.e, the ‘professional’ poets, unread except by one another.

    Reading an account of their activities–the poets they promoted, the volumes they published or sponsored etc etc suggested that they were less concerned with raising poetry’s profile than raising their own. I suspect Kevin could give us a long and learned exegesis on the Poetry Society.

    On the other hand, the amounts in question are so piddling (in the scheme of govt spending) that the cuts just seem boorish and spiteful, which I daresay they were. But Duffy, one of the Society’s ‘big beasts’ is the Laureate–she hardly needs their efforts on her behalf; but that appears to be exactly who they were making efforts on the behalf of: Duffy and her ilk.

    I started watching a new ‘Romans in Britain’ film last night called The Eagle, but fell asleep; it looks good, though so I’ll pass that along this week assuming you haven’t already seen it.

    How about The King’s Speech? Seen that? I quite enjoyed it, as long as one understood it to be a roseate, faintly absurd fairy tale of royalty, which it is. But Colin Firth was very good, as was Helena Bonham-Carter; and Geoffrey Rush, I always enjoy watching–he’s a terrific actor.; Guy Pierce (sp?) puts in a charming performance as the repellent, dim-witted Nazi, Edward VIII.

    Also on offer are Battle-Los Angeles (alien invasion), The Way Back (escape from Russian prison camp–looks good), Animal Kingdom, Street Kings 2 (Ray Liotta as a cop; I enjoyed the 1st one), Hobo With A Shotgun (Rutger Hauer as the eponymous hobo); and a William S. Burroughs biopic called The Man Within.

    I’ll leave you to google them but Animal Kingdom, an Aussie crime drama, got rave reviews. Any or all of them, you tell me. I’ve not watched any of them except The King’s Speech, so can make no recommends.

  120. hic8ubique permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:31 PM

    I believe my favourite moment in The King’s Speech was when the wife of the Geoffrey Rush character realises who is sitting in her kitchen. That portrayal was a bit of genius.

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 2:16 PM

      I think GR was its star turn; thought he was superb. First came on my radar as the Marquis de Sade in “Quills”. I heart him.

  121. mishari permalink*
    April 10, 2011 3:12 PM

    I’ve never seen GR turn in a bad performance. Quills was hugely entertaining. Have you seen seen The Tailor of Panama? GR plays the eponymous (fuck me…that’s two ‘eponymous’s in one day: a new record) tailor and Pierce Brosnan plays a scoundrelly British MI5 agent, posted to Panama as punishment for past indiscretions.

    There are elements of Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana in the film: Brosnan’s London masters demand intelligence but Panama is a sleepy backwater so Brosnan creates all kinds of dark dealings. He invents a rebel movement, rebel leaders, plans for an overthrow of the government etc etc, very much like Wormold, the vacuum-cleaner salesman in Our Man In Havana.

    Paid large sums by MI5 to provide intelligence on Cuba, Wormold takes photos of the inner workings of vacuum cleaners and tells London that they are secret installations in the jungle (he increases the scale of the vacuums by 30 fold: one of his London bosses says, on viewing the pix, “My God, these look like a giant vacuum cleaner. It’s diabolical…we must have more photographs”).

    The book, if you’ve never read it, is terrific: hilarious and touching. Wormold only becomes involved with MI5 because he needs the money to pay for his daughter’s tennis lessons, new dresses, piano lessons etc etc. She is his only child and the light of his life.

    In the film, Rush is a tailor who is in desperate need of cash to support his much-loved wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter and Brosnan is a Godsend. Together, they conspire to create intelligence for London’s consumption. In return, London opens the money taps. It’s a terrific entertainment..

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 3:58 PM

      Haven’t seen all of The Tailor of Panama; we were watching it one night and had some thoughtless visitors who hadn’t send a calling card – will return to it.

      We had a guy over to present at a conference last year whose name was Wormold – he kept making allusions to being “our man in Havana” but his wit was lost on many and why he thought it would recommend his services to us seemed lost on him.

  122. mishari permalink*
    April 10, 2011 8:14 PM

    Icelanders rejected for a second time a plan to repay €4bn (£3.5bn; $5.8bn) to Britain and the Netherlands from a bank crash, results showed today, and the prime minister said economic and political chaos could follow.

    Policymakers have said a ‘no’ in the Saturday referendum meant the dispute will end up in a European court. Economists have said the uncertainty is hurting efforts to drag Iceland out of recession, end currency controls and boost investment. Many voters were against taxpayers footing the bill for irresponsible bankers. —The Indy,today

    The bit that has me staring goggle-eyed at the screen in bafflement is the ‘Many voters were against taxpayers footing the bill for irresponsible bankers.’

    Many? Many? Are they saying that there are voters who are in favour of taxpayers footing the bill for irresponsible bankers? Wow. Just…wow.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 11, 2011 12:11 AM

      Maybe… lost in translation? was the sense that many voters turned out to express their disfavour? Just a wild guess.

  123. Reine permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:54 PM

    I am tasked with filling in the census form. My desire to procrastinate is strong. I have just watched Lewis (the storylines are gone to blazes but Hathaway redeems everything); stewed some rhubarb, which when I bought it earlier was incorrectly identified by the young boy at the till as celery- he wanted to know how you got it from that into the stuff in crumble; listened to a radio programme about the 1911 census in which one man had listed under infirmities his wife’s laziness and lack of money and “inebriate” as his profession. Anyway, I can delay no longer. Pen poised…

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:25 PM

      I’ve watched some rubbish in the past, but I draw the line at Lewis. Mrs M watches it sometimes, and I grant you that Hathaway is an amusing character. But it’s not enough. Final episode of Waking The Dead tomorrow, which is rather sad (I believe Freep’s a fan). Also Great British Hairdresser, which must be the best thing on TV at the moment.

  124. Reine permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:58 PM

    And now I have just read Soho Rose – say it ain’t true MM.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:18 PM

      Well, I had some very dry spells in the past…

  125. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:07 PM

    The Duffy poem’s on here:

    Thanks for thinking of me. I’ll pass on The King’s Speech, but the rest of them look interesting. I leave for the North on Tuesday for an as yet undetermined period of time, so it might be best to hang on for a bit. I don’t want the postman to get the benefit.

    • Reine permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:26 PM

      Well, I’m no critic but that seems a lazy, fired off piece of work.

      They have no category for my occupation; I’ll have to get creative. Back to person No. 2…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 11, 2011 12:07 AM

      Ew. awkward, forced and ataxic. We can do better than that. Much.

      I hope you’ll have wireless (the latter day sort) in the North, MM.

      Lewis is the post Morse version? I’ve seen some of that. Meh. We get the ‘new’ Upstairs Downstairs
      tonight… a sentimental necessity.

      Oh, I loved the ‘good as gold’ one, Re.

    • Reine permalink
      April 11, 2011 12:18 AM

      Finished now. All accounted for. Thanks very much Hic; my well of embarrassing experiences has further depths to plumb. I thought “time-ago street” a cunning contraction.

      I loved Morse. Poor Lewis was never going to fill those orthotics.

    • April 11, 2011 11:50 AM

      RE: the Duffy tripe: as a protest against Arts Council cuts it’s a little like protesting a headmaster’s sacking with a photo showing his dick out (to quote myself)

    • Reine permalink
      April 11, 2011 10:22 PM


  126. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:28 AM

    That ‘poem’ is an insult to Macneice.

    No wireless in the North: just Scrabble, and MiL’s 5 crossword puzzles a day.

    • Reine permalink
      April 11, 2011 12:36 AM

      MacNeice’s has rhythm and wit and pace. It’s a poor homage.

      Gadzooks, how is one to cope without sight of your green tile? Is this a traffic calming measure instigated by longe knighte no. 1?

      Go safely (if you must).

  127. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:51 AM

    I haven’t gone yet (though I am going to bed).

    Ten minutes and I shall be forgotten. Sic transit gloria Monday.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 11, 2011 1:59 AM

      Egad. Wirelessless? for an ‘indeterminate period of time’? Grievous news indeed.
      You are missed already,Vicar. Don’t dine overmuch on brusqu-etta,
      but do look in on dear freep if poss; I believe him to be in a reduced state of mind.
      [We are left to condole amongst ourselves.]

  128. mishari permalink*
    April 11, 2011 5:49 AM

    Very entertaining hatchet job on Garrison Keillor and his taste in and approach to poetry, by poet August Kleinzahler HERE.

    But to balance Kleinzahler’s judgement of Keillor as a low-brow, sickenly twee purveyor of almost sinister saccharine ‘niceness’, HERE’S a review by Keillor of a book about the US by the appalling French pseud, poseur and egomaniac, Bernard-Henri Lévy.

    I’m a Keillor agnostic. I read Lake Woebegone Days many years ago in some out-of-the-way place where it was the only book I could lay hands on; it was mildly diverting and amusing enough, in a rosy-tinted, looking-backward at rural eccentricities way: bumpkin humour. But Keillor does have teeth…although even his ‘savagery’ is rather gentle and rueful.

    • April 11, 2011 11:38 AM

      I’ve got no strong feelings against GK’s corn porn, myself (his pomes are part of a larger performance and obey the logic of the performance’s universe) but I enjoyed AK’s rant for his shot at the über-emetic Billy Collins (surely a “Sammy” instead?):

      “Keillor then proceeds to read a poem, of Ms. Dickinson’s, if we are lucky, or of one of his stand-bys like Billy Collins, if we are not. “

    • April 11, 2011 11:46 AM

      Also: agree that BHL is one soap-on-a-rope with far too many hairs on it, but GK’s assault, I always felt, was on the wrong (pandering-to-the-booboisie) level.

      I had long-lost friends (c. 1980), in a fiddle-band, who featured on GK’s show quite often; anyone who’d spent time back there, back then, will have Garrison Keillor stories to go with their tales of Prince

    • mishari permalink*
      April 11, 2011 1:51 PM

      I agree but he does seem to specialise, to a certain extent, in ‘pandering-to-the-booboisie’. I just thought it illustrated that GK wasn’t incapable of irritation or sniping (an impression one might come away with if one were to judge solely by AK’s take).

      Yes, Billy Collins…an admirable illustration of Eliot’s observation that ‘…a great deal of bad prose has been written under the name of free verse”. I read somewhere that after his appearances on Keillor’s PHC, Collins got a $1 million contract from Random House. Jesus.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 11, 2011 2:06 PM

      I can’t bear the sound of GK, and I seem to recall an incident…

      I do have some favourites in BC’s Sailing Alone Around the Room.

    • April 11, 2011 4:08 PM

      “I read somewhere that after his appearances on Keillor’s PHC, Collins got a $1 million contract from Random House.”

      Sounds about right (he said, with a weariness verging on nirvana)

  129. Reine permalink
    April 11, 2011 8:00 AM

    Adieu, the MMs. Stay in by the wall.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 11, 2011 10:14 PM

      Thanks, Prof. See you later.

    • Reine permalink
      April 11, 2011 10:19 PM

      Throw a pebble in the Eye for me.

  130. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:24 PM

    I’ve had a yen to see Belvoir Castle (stop tittering at the back there) for some time, which has given me the opportunity to book a hotel in Melton Mowbray. We meet at last.

  131. mishari permalink*
    April 11, 2011 5:45 PM

    Just listened to Alistair Darling on PM saying that the reason the banks all went tits-up and caught everyone by surprise, is because the banks and the regulators didn’t understand the risks that the banks had exposed themselves to.

    Now, this is utter bullshit. Never mind that independent economists like Paul Krugman and Nouri Al-Roubini and market analysts like Liam Haligan were sounding the alarm long before the event; in 1999, in his annual letter to the shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle, Warren Buffet, America’s most successful investor, wrote that the debt-backed securities (backed by everything from home mortgages to car loans and credit-card debt to student loans) and credit-default swaps were toxic.

    They were, wrote Buffet, ‘weapons of mass financial destruction’; and he explained why: because the debt liabilities the banks were taking on were unquantifiable. In other words, if everything went to hell (as it surely would, Buffet said), the banks would have no idea how much exposure they were looking at.

    That was almost ten years before everything that Buffet, Rubini and others had predicted, came to pass. Darling’s claim (a claim that has become the mantra of every apologist for banks and for laissez-faire capitalism) that nobody saw it coming is nonsense. Nobody involved wanted to say anything because they were making too much money.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 11, 2011 10:43 PM

      Laters. I hope the recovery’s going well: I’ll say a prayer for you at Rievaulx. Don’t expect too much.

    • Reine permalink
      April 11, 2011 10:49 PM

      … and the Rye. And have a pork pie… why, aye

  132. mishari permalink*
    April 11, 2011 11:01 PM

    Thanks, chief. You can work on your ‘inconvenient relatives’ poem while you’re away (as I expect you’ll be visiting the in-laws, you shouldn’t want for inspiration).

  133. obooki permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:47 PM

    Yes, but if Buffet was so wise before the event, why did he plough so much money in Goldman Sachs? – Was it because he could be assured, in the eventuality of financial meltdown, that the US government would bail both them and him out? – Because if the US banks has been allowed to collapse, Berkshire Hathway would have gone down with them.

  134. mishari permalink*
    April 12, 2011 12:11 AM

    Actually, Buffet invested in Goldman after the crash. Basically, he was replaying the action of the Wall St. plutocrats of 1929–JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller etc etc–who agreed that confidence needed to be shown in the system (lest panic turn to hysteria and bring them all go down) and invested their own money heavily. Buffet was and is perhaps the most respected name in investment and thought that the news of his confidence in the beleaguered firm would calm markets (it did).

    Of course, Buffet had the interests of Berkshire Hathaway at heart. He knew that GS would not be allowed to fail and he’d get his money back with profit (which he did. He bought $5 billion of preferred stock that returned 10% p.a.). He’s a smart investor with a history of successfully fishing in troubled waters. What the hell: he’d warned them. They ignored him. Now they’d pay for their stupidity by returning $500 million a year to Buffet.

  135. obooki permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:07 AM

    I wouldn’t trust a word Warren Buffett says, frankly. – He claims, for instance, that he only ever invests in things he understands. In front of a congressional investigation, however, he stated that he didn’t know what the credit ratings agency Moody’s actually did – Berkshire Hathaway had long been the largest shareholder in Moody’s, and had made an enormous amount of money out of that shareholding. Buffett said he invested in them because they gave good returns. (Yeah, well, so did Bernie Madoff!).

    What does Moody’s do. “Moody’s makes money by issuing credit ratings for debt securities.”

  136. mishari permalink*
    April 12, 2011 6:49 AM

    Thanks for the link. I’m flabbergasted. For reasons that of are no interest, I followed Buffet’s career for a long time (about 1990-2000) and he impressed me. Down to earth, sensible and unlike so many US so-called ‘investors’ (like Carl Icahn, Victor Posner, Nelson Peltz, Robert M. Bass, T. Boone Pickens, Harold Clark Simmons, Kirk Kerkorian, Sir James Goldsmith, Saul Steinberg and Asher Edelman), Buffet was no asset-stripping, vulture capitalist.

    His returns on capital were phenomenal and he did it in a wholly creditable way–he invested in the companies he bought or part-owned. He grew their businesses, bought new plant, hired more workers. He was the model of what an ethical investor should be.

    But I stopped following his career a long time ago and that story you linked to shocked me. The fact that he invested in Moodys (which I was unaware of) shocked me as well. They are the model of everything that Buffet used to rail against: a parasitical business that produces nothing. I was surprised when he invested in Goldman in 2008 but I thought I knew why he did it. Now I’m not so sure.

    That appearance by Buffet before the Commission is awful, cringe-making stuff and so unlike the old Buffet. I don’t recognise the man: I can only guess that he’s become senile.

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