Sunday 31 May 2009

M&S Chairman Not Sure How Babies Are Made...

M&S Chairman Sir Stuart Rose has just expounded on the prospects for women in the workplace.

I'm sure this'll get around the blogosphere like swine flu, so I won't comment on the whole article, but I couldn't help noticing this particular foot in mouth comment:
"Well, childbirth is a biological fact. Women have children; I can't help that," he said.
Sorry to hear it, Sir Stuart, but I think Pfizer might be able to help...

Sunday Funnies

From 'Cracked', as always, the 7 fake news stories that fooled the media...

Saturday 30 May 2009

”Russia has established a reputation for bizarre serial killings...”

You don’t say:
After persuading the student to come into his garage, Dmitry K overpowered his victim and then wrapped his body with copper wire connected to a generator. The suspect told police he hit a button on his computer which triggered a surge of current through the student's body, killing him almost instantly.
And as if that wasn’t enough...
According to police, the suspect also claimed to have designed a doormat that would electrocute anyone who stood on it, but had yet to test it.

He also asked detectives to return a camera he had invented which used an electro-magnetic ray to erase the memory of anyone he photographed with it.
Hmm, someone’s been reading too many comics/watching too many James Bond movies/playing too much ‘Mousetrap’...

‘Value And Embrace Us!’

Or else.

Gary Nunn, Stonewall's communications officer, has a post in ‘CiF’ to outline the fakecharity’s plans for the future:
Gay equality campaigning is about to change direction. This month marks two decades since Stonewall was first founded – and heralds a new era in the recent history of rapid advances towards lesbian, gay and bisexual equality. So Stonewall's focus shifts from changing the law to changing social attitudes.
Some would say you’ve got that a little backwards, Gary…
The law has changed, but society needs to catch up.
The law is a pretty blunt instrument, and not guaranteed to effect that ‘societal change’ that you seem to be looking for if it is regarded by the public as yet another special interest group’s attempt at ‘special pleading’.
It's the next 20 years that hold the bigger challenges. If passed, the new equality bill will signal a book-end to this unprecedented legislative revolution and close the first chapter on the journey towards equality. The second chapter – changing the wider world – will be far tougher. Stonewall and our allies will need to work harder than ever in the years ahead before we can truly declare Britain's 3.6 million lesbian and gay people to be fully equal.
People’s attitudes have changed remarkably in the last 20 years, despite the fevered claims of ‘homophobia’ in the article, backed up by examples of the kind of nastiness that is faced by almost anyone at the hands of lawless thugs in these 'progressive' times. In what way are they not ‘fully equal’ now, as far as employment protection, etc?

Only, it seems, in the sense that they are now (as with other defined victim groups) ‘more equal than others’.

Indeed, there’s even ‘hate crime’ legislation on the statute books, whereby if you are beaten or verbally abused because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time by a feral thug, while two streets over, your gay brother is beaten or abused by another feral thug, that is considered somehow worse and attracts a higher penalty. Even if both your bruises take the same time to heal...

So it’s not really ‘equality’ that you seem to want, is it? Or you'd campaign for the rights of all people to walk the street unmolested by feral thugs, whether gay, straight, or indifferent.

And it seems Stonewall have figured out that the MPs aren’t the only ones making policy these days:
In the next two decades, Stonewall will begin to move away from lobbying. We'll find creative ways to work more with GPs than MPs, more with teachers than with ministers, and more with secretaries in workplaces than secretaries of state – so that all local communities and organisations keep equality at the core of everything they do.

This'll mean that – from Westminster to Weston-super-Mare – lesbian, gay and bisexual people will not be merely tolerated, or even just accepted.

They'll be valued and embraced.
Not by force of law or threat of legislation, they won’t. You cannot force people to accept and 'celebrate' alternative lifestyles by threatening them with the law.

You will get, at most, grudging acquiescence, and at worst, bitter hatred and a deepening desire to thwart the rules.

Is that really what you want? To cement the entrenched attitudes you claim to campaign against?

Because if so, congrats! Ur doin' it right...

‘And We Would Have Got Away With It….’

‘...if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids ratepayers!’:
Residents in a village blighted by potholes have sought to shame their council into improving their roads by publishing a 12-page dossier of every crater in their community.
A copy of 'Parish Potholes' has now been sent to the council's highways department to make officials "sit up and take notice".

It was edited by local resident David Patten, who had the backing of North Curry Parish Council.

Mr Patten said: "The state of the roads in our village is simply not up to standard and it has now reached the point were we are no longer prepared to accept excuses.

"We all pay our council tax and it is not unreasonable to demand that our roads are kept to an acceptable standard for motorists and cyclists – but that has not been the case.

"There are too many roads that have hazards and this document highlights them all – which will hopefully force the council into fixing the problem for good."
No, it isn’t unreasonable.

But until people begin to stand up and do the kind of things that Mr Patten and his fellow residents do, and hold these penpushers’ feet to the fire, they’ll carry on ignoring the wishes of the people who pay their wages.
Somerset County Council confirmed it had received the report, and promised to check the allegations it contained.

A spokesman said: "We have has been in communication with North Curry Parish Council and we've addressed many of the issues raised with us.

"We will be continuing to check and monitor the condition of the network in North Curry as we do with in excess of 300 parishes throughout the county."
Because you know now what happens if you don’t.

Let’s hope we see more of this ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!’ attitude…

Is Roland Emmerich Paying These Guys For Advertising?

Because if not, he certainly should be:
The threat of climate change is as severe as nuclear warfare, according to an emergency summit of the world's Nobel Laureates.

The group of Nobel winners, together with Prince Charles, issued a memorandum which declared the best chance of stopping catastrophic climate change is to keep the predicted temperature rise at or below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).
Oh noes! What’s going to happen if we don’t, please tell me, eminent scientists (and jug-eared future figurehead)?
Without action, they envisaged three times that temperature rise, which would mean global warming would cause a huge rise in sea levels, and swamp the cities of London, Paris and Copenhagen.
Is that all?

No giant marshmallow man? No radioactive monster lizard? No hot hail?

Pah! Some disaster movie…
The eminent group unveiled a number of ambitious targets on cutting carbon emissions that go far beyond anything the world has so far managed to achieve during the Kyoto Protocol or any previous international summit on climate change.

They said global greenhouse gases will have to peak by 2015, meaning the current growth in carbon dioxide caused by the rapid development of China and India will have to stop in the next six years.
Yeah. Good luck with that, chaps…
The paper has been compared to the Einstein-Russell manifesto in 1955 when Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell brought together scientists from around the world to speak out against the threat posed by the H-bomb.
After which, the entire world immediately dismantled their nuclear arsenals and…

Oh, wait. Everyone ignored them too.

Friday 29 May 2009

Perhaps His Constituents Should Send Him Gordon Brown’s Book On Courage…?

Southend MP David Amess knew just what to do when confronted by the local newspaper with questions about his expenses.

He ran away and cowered behind the skirts of a hairdressing salon owner:
MP David Amess ran from the Echo to avoid questions after his expenses showed he claimed the maximum of £400 for food every month for the past four years.

The Tory MP sought refuge in a hairdressers’ as he tried to duck the issue.

He eventually made his escape when a car arrived at the salon in Westcliff and drove him away, with Mr Amess hiding his face behind a leaflet.
Could he have avoided this embarrassing episode?

Why, yes:
Mr Amess has refused to answer or return phone calls about the expenses affair, so the Echo tracked him down while he was out canvassing in Westborough ward in Westcliff.
Good for the ‘Echo’! But what did the patrons make of the sudden appearance of this harried vermin going to ground in their salon?
They said Mr Amess had explained to them we wanted to talk to him about expenses and he admitted claiming for a second home.
One customer, who did not want to be named, but lives in Milton ward, said: “He should explain himself. Running like that makes it looks worse.

“All the MPs should be exposed for what they are. They get a salary and that should be enough. They should live off of that, like the rest of us do. It’s such a scandal.”

It seems he chose that salon not just because it was the nearest bolthole, but because he could count on a sympathetic ear from the owner, if not her customers:
Manager of the salon, Lisa Haggerty, said: “I know Mr Amess and he has helped me out in the past. He’s always very helpful and hard working.

“If the money is for taking people to lunch or tea for constituents when they visit his surgery, that’s fine. If you work for a big firm you get an expenses account and so should MPs.”
Err, that’s certainly true, Lisa, you do indeed get an expense account.

The difference being, if caught padding it or misclaiming, you’ll be sacked rather than elevated to the House of Lords.

And it isn’t taxpayer’s money, either, extorted from us by a government agency backed by the power of the State.

Apart from that, it’s exactly the same. Stick to highlights, love, and leave the political commentary to the grown ups.

'Telegraph' Photo Editor Motto: "Meh! Close Enough..."

The 'Telegraph' has a story today about a goshawk chick being blown out of it's nest by a gust of wind, caught on a birdwatch CCTV.

They chose to illustrate this story on their front page with a picture of....

....a peregrine falcon!

*sigh* Time to add a new tag. I'm obviously going to need it.

“I Am (Above) The Law!”

Says the UK’s answer to Judge Dredd:
A chief constable who is refusing to return computers suspected of holding masses of child abuse images to a controversial expert witness could face jail and the sack.

Colin Port, head of Avon and Somerset police, is accused of defying a High Court order.

He was served with a summons alleging contempt of court at his force headquarters earlier this week.

But he is adamant he will not give back 87 hard drives and 2,500 photographs of abuse seized from the home of Jim Bates, a forensic computer analyst.
Hmmm, this seems a pretty dangerous course of action for a chief constable to take. More detail of the legal wrangling and possible consequences of it can be found here at Bystander’s blog.

But what could prompt such a trenchant refusal to obey the court order?

Bates, who is seen by many as one of the founders of forensic computer analysis, fears he is being targeted by police because he has become an outspoken critic of Operation Ore, a police investigation that began in the late 1990s and led to thousands of arrests.
And a great deal of controversy. So much so, that Mr Bates is now a campaigner for those caught in the ‘Ore’ web.

And it seems Port isn’t the only law enforcement officer with a flexible approach to those pesky laws:
Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said: 'We fully support the chief constable in this matter.

'In our view it could be argued that the chief constable would be committing an offence by giving abuse images back to this individual, unless he held them as part of an ongoing case.'
Yup, he’d be committing an offence by complying with a lawful court order.

We’re through the looking glass, people!

Update: Bea Campbell has now weighed in on this. Hilarity ensues in the comments...

Quote of the Month

From MacHeath at ‘Newgate News':
Health Secretary Alan Johnson told the BBC that Mr Brown was "a man for these times".

Swine flu and economic crisis and society going to the dogs, a public disillusioned beyond repair (46,236 signatures and counting) and rumblings among the party faithful; something of a backhanded compliment here, perhaps.

Post of the Month

Here, at ‘Constantly Furious’, on The Curious Case of the Missing PM….

Thursday 28 May 2009

On Reflection, He Probably Shouldn’t Have Gone With The ‘You Are All Too Stupid To Understand!’ Defence…

…but then, arrogance and an overwhelming (and unjustified) belief in his own ability was always his hallmark:
The controversial paediatrician David Southall was condemned by the High Court yesterday for his "truly shocking" and unjustified accusations that a mother drugged and murdered her son. The scathing criticism came as Mr Justice Blake, sitting in London, upheld a decision of the General Medical Council's (GMC) fitness to practise panel to strike Dr Southall off the medical register for serious professional misconduct.
Good riddance…
Dr Southall's lawyers argued at the High Court that the panel failed to give any or adequate weight to inconsistencies in Mrs M's evidence, and to the totality of evidence from witnesses, including social workers.

They argued that it was Dr Southall's concern that the panel "did not understand, certainly in its final form, what child protection involved and the part played by doctors like him".
Wow, the megalomania just shines through, doesn’t it?

And predictably, his amen corner is pitching the expected hissy fit over the ruling:
The court's ruling against him triggered a warning from Professionals Against Child Abuse (Paca) that the case's outcome could have "further serious and negative effects" on the willingness of doctors to engage in child protection work.
No-one is saying that you can’t bring your professional qualifications to bear on the case and give a considered opinion based on them, and them alone. That is what you are expected, and paid, to do.

They are just pointing out that you can’t make it up as you go along and hurl around accusations based on nothing. At least, without being struck off for it.

I think it might have something to do with the ‘professional’ bit, you know, the one that’s in the very name of your organisation…


Because People Can’t Be Trusted To Make The Right Choice…

Heard the one about the restaurant that told diners not to eat its food...? Well that would be Nobu, the celebrated sushi restaurant, which is advising diners to avoid ordering an endangered fish.

The chain, whose customers include Brad Pitt and Kate Moss, has put a notice on menus at its London restaurants warning customers that the bluefin tuna served for up to £32 a time is "environmentally challenged", adding: "Please ask your server for an alternative."
And what’s wrong with that?

The slebs who want to wave their eco-credentials in each other’s faces will seize on the chance to declare their support for endangered species and select another overpriced dish to push around their plates for a while before leaving to do a few lines of coke at some nightclub, while those who don’t give a stuff for the latest eco-fad will have a nice meal.

But it doesn’t suit the campaigners, of course, who would prefer no-one had a choice at all:
The advice is a novel concession to a five-year campaign against Nobu's refusal to stop stocking the bluefin, a fish once so plentiful that it fed Roman legions but which now hovers on the brink of extinction.
It seems to me that the greens aren’t very certain of their message, if five years later, people are still ignoring them.
Nobu's new policy, featured in a new feature film about the destruction of the world's fish stocks released next month, has bemused conservationists. "They shouldn't sell endangered species. They should change their menu to incorporate a fish that's sustainable and not one that's critically endangered," said Giles Bartlett, senior fishers policy officer for WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund.
That’s a lot of ‘shoulds’ there, isn’t it?

Just why should they bow to pressure from a small bunch of politically motivated campaigners? Particularly as it’s likely to cost them a pretty penny:
Tom Aikens, the Michelin-starred restaurateur, said bluefin was probably one of Nobu's three best-selling fish and its withdrawal would hit the chain's profits hard.

He described its advice to diners as "very peculiar."

"That's insane," said the chef, who stocks environmentally-friendly fish such as line-caught cod, ling and gurnard. "If you're serving it you shouldn't say don't order it. It's contradictory. They should take it off."
Err, Tom, I think you just answered your own question there as to why they don’t….

The MSM: Professional Standards On Display


Wednesday 27 May 2009

Yeah, That's A Big Ask, Tom...

From the inimitable 'Daily Mash':
Tom Logan, a deeply concerned citizen from Hatfield, said: "The absolute last thing this country needs - and I cannot stress this strongly enough - is my next door neighbour being involved in any form of decision making whatsoever. People will die."

He added: "I don't want power. I've already got a job which takes up quite a lot of my time and then it's the weekend. This is what politicians are for.

"All we really need to do is to make sure those politicians have a mind of their own, have had a proper job at some point in their lives and, you know, aren't thieves."
Are you listening, Julie Kirkbride?

’Frankenstein and Dracula have nothing on you…’

Women could serve in front line units after an European Union directive forced the Ministry of Defence to review their "close-combat" role.
Review it, eh…?

Why not save yourselves the trouble and just look in the newspapers:
The "ladette" yob culture is on the rise, according to figures which show 241 women and girls are arrested each day for violence.

Young teenage girls were worse than those in the 18-20 age group, the Home Office figures show.
Violent robberies, burglaries and thefts all up in recession crime wave In contrast, violence among men and boys is falling.
Kipling was onto something, I think…

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Uh Oh...

'Designed by professionals':
The new test was brought in at the end of April and in the first three and a half weeks there were 15 incidents during the exam, with at least one rider left with broken bones.

The Motorcycle Action Group says it has warned the government that the test is unsafe and asked for changes.
And the government's response?
The Driving Standards Agency says it is important for novice riders to carry it out to help reduce the number of motorcyclists killed on the road.
By killing them on the test, instead...

Employing A Former Gamekeeper As Poacher...?

A Labour MP's husband has been paid more than £5,000 in public funds to provide tax advice to four ministers, according to the Daily Telegraph.
But this was the bit that caught my eye:
Foreign Office Minister Mrs Merron, local government minister Mr Healey, schools minister Mr Knight (Dorset South), and Sheffield Hillsborough MP Angela Smith have issued a statement.

It stated: "Dennis Bates worked for 12 years for the Inland Revenue, specialising in the tax affairs of small businesses and is eminently qualified to provide advice."

What are the rules on ex-IR staff setting themselves up as tax advisors, I wonder?

CiF Commentator:'You....You Big Meanies!'

Joan Smith in 'CiF' has a self-pitying whinge column up on the 'hounding' of those poor, poor MPs:
Until now, I have not written a word on this subject. My partner is an MP, along with many of my friends. I did not want to become involved in arguments about who claimed what allowance, and that isn't my intention now. But in the past few days I have talked to MPs who have been abused in person and by email, who have been spat on in the street and pursued by angry constituents screaming "you piece of scum". Even if they haven't been listed in the Telegraph, they have been accused of being liars, cheats and thieves.
Well, Joan, that's probably because they are expecting their names to appear in the next 'Telegraph' exposure, and want to get in first!
It doesn't matter whether you are a minor television celebrity, a former glamour model or a politician; anyone who ventures into public life may find themselves the ­target of a degree of vitriol ­disproportionate to any offence they are deemed to have caused. Now it is happening to MPs and the degree of loathing is the same whether there is evidence of fraud or the person concerned has merely used (as even David Cameron has done) a now discredited expenses system.
Hey, if they couldn't stand the heat, Joan, perhaps they shouldn't have got into the kitchen with the intent of gorging themselves on the contents of the fridge and stealing all the cutlery. Should they?

And here comes the hyperbole:
The sense that we are in the midst of a crisis has been stoked by banner headlines – it is as if 9/11 has happened every single day for the last two and a half weeks – and people have been encouraged to believe that we are governed by a uniquely corrupt political class that requires condign punishment.
You are really comparing this to 9/11, Joan? Really?

Because I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling the deaths of innocent people due to murdering terrorist scum as being in any way, shape or form like the justified wrath of the public on learning that their elected representatives have been living high on the hog on taxpayer's money. Maybe it's just me, though...
But rightwing commentators hate Labour governments, and they were ready to risk undermining public confidence in the entire political system to discredit the Labour party.
I hate to disabuse you of your cherished victim complex, but blaming the 'rightwingers' for lifting the lid on the whole sorry mess isn't going to fly, given that the blame and shame seems to have been equally spread amongst the parties...

But there's no stopping her, she's on a roll:
In this uniquely poisonous atmosphere, years of conscientious public service count for nothing; decent people are being terrorised out of public life and the ­perverse consequence is likely to be their replacement by a motley collection of minor celebrities, ­attention-seekers and outright fascists. Democracy itself is under threat, not ­because a handful of MPs have behaved greedily but because the public reaction has been (and continues to be) hysterical. The spectacle of a House of Commons populated by TV celebrities, ­obsessives who blame the EU for everything, and members of the BNP, fills me with horror.
Me too. But I'm not blaming the public for that, Joan sweetie. I'm blaming the corrupt MPs who have used the expenses system to feather their own nests, oblivious to the problems they were storing up for themselves, smug in the knowledge that no-one would find out. You see, I'm not the sort of person who blames the victim of a robbery for reacting to it with justified anger.

But I see you are:
The British public – not all of them, but the smug guardians of morality who are enjoying this crisis so much – say they are disgusted by the behaviour of our elected representatives. Let me say that it works both ways: for the first time in my life, I am sick of my country. I am sick of the daily undermining of democracy, and sick of the sadistic pleasure people take in humiliating decent public servants. Even so, I will go on urging my friend not to give up her seat. She is a brilliant constituency MP, and I don't believe anyone should give in to bullies.
Now, that really takes the biscuit!

'Bullies'..? Who's been doing the bullying for the last few years, Joan? Pub smoking bans, hunt bans, green inititatves, waste disposal rules, restrictions on photography, on demonstrating outside Parliament without a licence (unless you are a Tamil, it seems), threats to cut off treatment for 'lifestyle' illnesses, dire warnings on drinkers and the 'obese', the harassment of motorists, etc.

I could go on, but I think most people get the point.

Not you, though Joan. You'll never get the point, no mattter how slowly and clearly it's explained to you. Will you?

Gosh, Tell Us Something We Didn't Know, Next Time...

Car commuters will get to work 12 minutes quicker on average this week as they will not have to compete with the school run, it has been disclosed.
I like the use of the word 'disclosed' there, like they've decided to throw open the secret vaults and let us all in on some big mystery...

Competing Lobbies

Old people hit hardest by recession, claims Age Concern and Help the Aged:
A survey of more than 100 human resource managers found that one in seven employers operating mandatory retirement age policies plan to make more use of them as a result of the economic downturn.
Whoa, hold your horses, say The Prince's Trust, it's young people who will be most affected:
The study by the Trust and Cass Business School, warns young people in deprived areas will be affected as job losses increase and local youth services become vulnerable to cuts.
There's curently no middle aged people's lobby or charity (or even fakecharity), so we won't be hearing from them, at least...

Monday 25 May 2009

Amen, Brother

The inimitable 'Daily Mash' on the tax return bombshell:
A Treasury spokesman said: "Most of the money was used to hire the army of private detectives who went out and found the accountants in the first place.

"An accountant will generally not admit that he doesn't know what capital gains tax is, so you have to try and catch them out with a few carefully worded questions.

"A typical question would be, 'I have two houses, I sell the one I don't live in most of the time, are there any tax implications?'. The correct answer is of course, 'I have no idea what you're talking about', although we would also accept, 'how are you spelling "tax"?'.

The spokesman added: "Darling's got to be fucked this time. Surely to God?"

Satire To Real Life: 'I Give Up, Stop Hurting Me!'

As noted by both leg-iron and Obo, the news that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of all people, is among the MPs soaking the taxpayer for accountancy help to fill in their tax returns is, I feel, the straw that broke the camel's back.

After breaking all its legs and giving it a damned hard rogering, that is...

Sometimes A Hurricane Isn’t Just A Hurricane....

He has taken on drugs, crime and corruption in Baltimore; and brutalised young soldiers in Iraq. Now David Simon, the creator of the hit TV series The Wire, is to create a drama that treats Hurricane Katrina as an allegory for the financial, social and cultural disasters that have shaken the US over the past year.
Hmmm, well, ‘The Wire’ was undoubtedly a smash hit (I’m halfway through series 3 at the moment) but I’m not sure this new series will be.
Filming will start later this year – after the hurricane season abates. The 10- or 12-part drama will be, Simon told the Guardian, "an allegory for the trauma that the country as a whole went through two years later".

"The fact is that the levees on the canals were substandard, and done on the cheap at an immense profit. Ultimately that becomes a metaphor," he said. "New Orleans was relying on things that were believed to be genuine bulwarks against tragedy and disaster. People felt that there were similar bulwarks protecting our financial institutions and foreign policy. Now, two years on, we are all essentially in the same boat as New Orleans. Katrina was an outlyer of where we are today."
It’ll be interesting to see just where he places the blame for the substandard work on the levees, since New Orleans has been solidly Democrat for years...
… despite his avowed admiration for Obama, Simon believes the new regime will do nothing to solve the US's drugs problems. "I do not believe that we have the stomach for serious change," he said. "The war on drugs is as disastrous as any government policy has been over the past 50 years, but I do not believe Obama and his people will use their political capital to end it ... If a policy failed this unequivocally in any other part of US life you would cashier the generals. But the drug problem oppresses the poor. If rich kids were wandering the streets stealing car radios we would not be so complacent. But it is easier to brutalise the poor and discard them. We are not a manufacturing economy any more and we don't need our least educated people, so we marginalise them. The cynicism of Reagan and Thatcher still applies."
Margaret Thatcher is responsible for the flooding of New Orleans now...?

Not much of a reach, I suppose, she seems to be responsible for everything else, but the people ‘brutalising the poor and discarding them’ in New Orleans for the last couple of decades haven’t been who you seem to think they are, Mr Simon.

Still, it’ll have a good soundtrack:
The show will be, he said, a "homage to one of America's greatest achievements, African-American music. A thousand years from now, if anyone is talking about anything on this rotating orb, and they mention America, they might talk about constitutional government or democracy or baseball – but they will surely talk about blues and jazz. New Orleans is the cradle of all that."
Really..? Not rock and roll?

Sunday 24 May 2009

Sunday Funnies...

Movies can be educational too...

Got to admire the sheer cheek of the two in story #6 pleading 'not guilty'!

Saturday 23 May 2009

And Yet Another Campaign Promise Broken…

A little bit of Chicago's ruthless and combative political machine is soon to descend on the decorous calm of the Court of St James.

Despite promising to end cronyism in Washington, Barack Obama is about to appoint one of his home town friends and financial backers to the plum posting of US ambassador to London.
Yes, well, when he said he’s ‘end cronyism’, he obviously meant the other guy’s cronyism.

Let’s face it, he knows whatever he does, his adoring fans (that the MSM to you and me) will provide cover for him.
The next ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary will be Louis Susman, a lawyer and financier with little experience of foreign affairs.
Nothing like letting the amateurs have a go. Still, at least, unlike Obama, he’ll probably figure out that region 1 DVDs don’t work over here...
London is not the only posting being used to reward political supporters. Other positions in Europe are expected to be filled on the basis of patronage. Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, who campaigned for Obama, is to be the ambassador to Dublin.
They’ll love that...
The appointments will disappoint former US career diplomats who have been pressing Obama to end the practice, especially since he promised to offer more of the top jobs to diplomats. In the Washington Post in December, a retired diplomat with 30 years' service, Morton Abramowitz, called on Obama to "declare that he will not appoint ambassadors who have secured their posts through financial contributions and who have little background to merit any such appointment".
Oh, Morton! You expect The One to take heed of a mere mortal’s opinion?

Weren’t you watching the same Presidential campaign I was last autumn?

It’s A Start, But Only A Start…

A taxi driver falsely accused of rape could receive a five-figure compensation payout after winning a landmark victory.
Clive Bishop, 49, says his life was ruined after a drunken 17-year-old passenger claimed he attacked her.

Kirsty Palmer later admitted she made up the allegations and was jailed for ten months for perverting the course of justice.
And like all victims of crime, Mr Bishop thought that he’d qualify for compensation.

But he was wrong:
When he applied for compensation, Mr Bishop described how months of living under a cloud of 'slurs and lies' had caused him enormous suffering.

But the foster carer was twice refused a payout by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority on the grounds he had not come to physical harm.
So he decided not to take it lying down, and has now won his case on appeal:
That ruling has now been overturned on appeal - the first time the authority has agreed to compensate for the mental trauma of a false criminal accusation.

It is not known exactly how much he will receive but his lawyers estimate it could be up to £10,000.
Now, I don’t begrudge him the money. And he undoubtedly went for the criminal compensation scheme because a private prosecution wouldn’t have netted him any money, the criminal in question being a 17 year old chav.

But I’d like to see the government looking at some ways to ensure that in cases like these, the future earnings of the criminal were attached in some way, in order to pay back as much of this claim as possible into the public purse.

It’s the only way they will ever learn the lesson that actions have real consequences. At least, those other than a 10 month (Hah! Bet she doesn’t serve that!) holiday at taxpayer’s expense…

Oh, Shut Up, You Idiots!


The last week was great - the BNP, as is their wont, embarassed themselves over the staged pictures on their 'British people' leaflets, yet another picture slip-up and the intellectual qualities of their candidates.

Life was good. I've always said, give them enough airplay, and they will inevitably shoot themselves in the foot

And now, their political opponents are rushing to the scene with a plastic surgeon and a stack of bandages and painkillers:
Darren Johnson, chairman of the London Assembly, has demanded the withdrawal of an invitation to Richard Barnbrook, the Assembly's BNP member, unless he agrees not to take Mr Griffin as his guest.

The move was prompted by a letter from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, who urged the London Assembly to bar Mr Griffin to prevent any embarrassment to the Queen. Mr Johnson has asked Leo Boland, the chief executive of the Greater London Assembly, to cancel the invitation unless Mr Griffin is dropped.
Well done, Darren and Boris. You threw the BNP into that there briar patch, didn't you?

And now, a lot of people who were wavering after seeing their antics last week are going to be thinking 'Well, hang on a minute there. If they are doing nothing wrong, why should they be persecuted?'. And they will be right.

It's often said that the UK is a nation of animal lovers. You know their favourite animal?

It's the underdog. And you can always count on the British sense of 'fair play' - the notion that is someone is not playing by the rules laid down for all to use, simply out of dislike for another party, then that automatically puts the other party in the 'right', and deserving of support. The notion of fair play, if you will. Beat them fair and square, don't bend the rules, and never cheat.

The BNP must be laughing themselves hoarse right now...

Friday 22 May 2009

’People Do The Funniest Most Inhuman Things!’

Caught on camera, these are the last moments of a frail pensioner who was brutally beaten to death at home with his own walking stick.

Reginald Baker's horrific murder was captured on CCTV he had installed only weeks earlier after being targeted by thieves.
Oh, but CCTV keeps us all safe, doesn’t it?

No, it just makes things easier to clear up the crime after the fact…
His killers, at least one of whom was high on crack cocaine, also partially severed Mr Baker's finger with a knife before fleeing, leaving him for dead in his lounge.

They then went out for an evening's drinking 'without a care in the world'.
Well, of course they did! This wasn’t their first offence, after all, and they’d been quite happily continuing their career of being drug-addicted work-shirking wastes of skin untroubled by any consequences.

Why should they have a care in the world, after all? Who had ever taught then that they had to?
Barney, 25, and James, 19, were yesterday found guilty of murder at Winchester Crown Court. Two men in a getaway car - Trevor Gray, 19, and Daniel Coker, 23 - admitted manslaughter and conspiring to burgle Mr Baker.

Barney, who was deemed to have played a greater part in the attack, was told he would serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars. James was told he will serve at least 28 years.
And, having supported them throughout their short lives of idle pointlessness, why should the taxpayer now continue to stump up the money to clothe, feed and cage them?

After all, even the bleeding hearts can’t object that there’s that ‘shadow of doubt’ here over whether the death penalty is warranted.

Certainly, none over whether the right men are in the dock…

Let’s Make Third World People Poorer!

The ‘Times’ South Asia correspondent, Jeremy Page, wants us all to join him in impoverishing the Sri Lankan people:
The next time you buy some lingerie, a T-shirt or a pair of rubber gloves, you may want to reflect on this: they were probably made in Sri Lanka.

And like it or not, your purchase plays a role in the debate over how to respond to the Sri Lankan Government's successful but brutal military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels…
Yup, you just thought you were buying some cheap clothing, but in reality, you have blood on your hands, because the Sri Lankan cause is the latest celebrity cause.

Forget Pakistan, Tibet, Iraq and Afghanistan – Sri Lanka’s where the cool kids now direct their energies:
Since 2005 Sri Lanka has been allowed to sell garments to the European Union without import tax as part of a scheme designed to help it to recover from the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. That means its clothes are 10 per cent cheaper than those from China and other competitors - helping the island to earn at least $2.9 billion from the EU annually. Britain accounts for much of that.
I’m tempted to say four years ought to be enough and that tax should now be reinstated.

But Jeremy would like this to be rescinded not because it’s no longer needed to stop a ‘human rights crisis’ but to punish the government (and therefore people) of a Third World country for an action in the past….
So the question facing British shoppers and holidaymakers is this: should they continue to support Sri Lanka's garment and tourist industries? Sadly, the answer must be no.
According to whom, Jeremy? You?
Britain should welcome the defeat of the Tigers, a ruthless terrorist organisation that forcibly recruited children, pioneered the use of the suicide bomb and killed thousands of innocent people. But Britain must also condemn the Sri Lankan Government's conduct of the war - and take punitive action against it both to discourage other states from using similar methods, and to encourage proper reconciliation between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities. With the UN paralysed, economic sanctions are the only practical options left.
So, ’pour encourager les autres’, we should take punitive action against a poor Third World country’s citizens for a war entirely within their own borders against a ruthless terrorist organisation?

When did that kind of thing become acceptable?
Many will ask why they should care: there are bigger conflicts in the world, and Sri Lanka's is mercifully confined to its own shores, with no risk that British troops might be deployed.
The response to that is simple: what about next time? Sri Lanka's war has been discrete only because it is an island; many other conflicts in have spilt across borders, forcing military intervention to prevent a humanitarian disaster or a greater conflagration.
Ah, so, it’s a bit of pre-emptive punishment we are talking about here, is it?
Britain may have, in the eyes of the world, ceded much of the moral high ground over human rights when it shed civilian blood during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. But that does not mean that Britain should abandon its role in defending international law that protects civilians in conflicts and holds governments accountable for their actions during war.
You mean, it’s ok when it’s a cause you currently support?
In an ideal world the UN, not the EU, would take the lead.
Ha ha ha ha!
As to whether Britons should visit Sri Lanka as tourists, well that's a matter of personal choice….
Gosh, that’s awfully good of you, Jeremy!

But if it’s ok with you, I plan to make all my own decisions. Actually, I plan to do that even if it’s not ok with you….

Ali Ooops!

Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei was today charged with misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.
The race card to be played in 3...2...

Oh. That was fast!
Alfred John, chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, said the decision was "outrageous" and the result of "personal vendettas".

Lady, 'Stand By Your Man' Is Just A Song, Not An Instruction...

Following on from yesterday's Rolls Royce/Tesco interface incident, the man's wife denies that he drove it through the window because of something as trivial as being refused alcohol.

It was because they failed to deliver his mattress:
Robert Caton, 50, went to the supermarket to remonstrate with managers after he ordered the bed from Tesco Direct, his wife Deborah, 43, said.

She claimed he was unhappy with their response and that he then drove his car through the store's window, forcing shoppers and staff to dive for cover.
Oh. Well, that's perfectly understandable then!

Whew! And we all initially chalked it up to a silly reaction to being denied more booze. Well, how were we to know he had a legitimate reason...?
Mrs Caton, who has a son, said: "I am standing by Robert - he had a genuine complaint with Tesco.

"We had ordered a wardrobe, a chest of drawers and a double bed from Tesco Direct but when they delivered the bed it did not include a mattress which we thought we had paid for.

"Robert went down to see the manager but he said there was nothing he could do about it."
And what's a man supposed to do in those circumstances, but drive a two ton luxury automobile through the store window? It's clearly the only reasonable thing to do.

Are they putting something in the water in Andover?

And if not, should they maybe consider it?

Thursday 21 May 2009

A Snippet From The 'Big Book Of Chav Names'

From the 'Southend Echo':
Jewellery, a Nintendo Wii, computer games and DVDs belonging to her children Rheannon, 13, Porsha-Louise, eight, and Della-Jane, was taken.
The devil, as always, is in the detail comments...

”Is this the drive through?”

It is thought the man sat in his car until police arrived. Paramedics gave him oxygen at the scene.
In my opinion, this chap needed less oxygen, not more.

A lot less…

And as Obo points out, just why is it always Tesco…?

The Worm Chipmunk Turns!

The Prime Minister is facing a cabinet in revolt after Hazel Blears and other senior figures took a defiant stand against moves to shift or demote them in his next reshuffle.
That’s the drawback with being a domineering bully – you may stay at the top for a while through those methods, but soon circumstances change, and the people you trampled on to get where you are start eyeing your position hungrily.
The Communities Secretary launched a public relations offensive to save her job after Mr Brown condemned her expenses claims as ' completely unacceptable'.

Mr Brown toughened his stance against Miss Blears yesterday amid claims that he was trying to force her to resign
But Gordon, as ever, fumbled the killing shot and the wounded quarry turned on him with a ferocity he didn’t expect, and had no defence for:
But after she made fierce complaints, the Prime Minister was forced to send out his official spokesman to say that she was doing a 'good job' and insist that she had broken neither Commons rules or the law.
Ooooh, pwned!
She quickly leapt on that admission, proclaiming to the TV cameras that Mr Brown had 'full confidence' in her and inflated his praise to 'great job'.
Which is something you don’t dare to do to a strong PM.

So, yet another sign that Gordon’s doomed…
Friends of Miss Blears made clear that she is prepared to embarrass Mr Brown if she is ill treated.

'She knows where the bodies are buried, that's certainly true,' one said. 'She is not going to quit because the criticism has been unfair.
A senior Labour figure said: 'You can't plan a reshuffle around those who have transgressed on their expenses because that would quickly involve a whole lot of people.' Mr Darling is also resisting any attempt to move him amid Whitehall talk that the PM would like to replace him with his most trusted ally Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary.
Oh, this is going to get bloody!
A source warned that Mr Brown might find several cabinet ministers prepared to wreck his reshuffle rather than accept a demotion or sideways move.

'Gordon is going to find that playing Fantasy Cabinet on the back of an envelope won't make it happen
Surely it’s time for that glass of whisky and loaded revolver in the drawing room now?

On second thought, he’d only miss again….

Putting Dogma Before The Needs Of Children…?

Say it ain't so!!
Social workers were under fire last night after a report revealed they were breaking up foster families because the parents were the wrong colour.

It said official attempts to take mixed-race and black children away from white foster parents are heard 'regularly' in the family courts.

Race rules say they can only be adopted by adults of the same ethnic background. The guidance claims ethnic minority children suffer mental health difficulties if brought up by white parents.
And once again, no proof for those claims.

Critics of the rules have jumped on this report in the hopes of persuading the DCSF to think again. They’ve chosen the predictable (and trendy) example to highlight the absurdity, too:
But critics attacked the policy as misguided. Patricia Morgan, an author on adoption and the family, said: 'There is no evidence that children brought up by parents of a different race suffer mental health problems.

'If that was true President Obama would be a danger to us all.'
Mmm, yeah. Think the jury’s still out on that one, actually….

But my misgivings about the true nature of The One aside, the report shows just how sunk in dogma these social workers are:
The research on fostering and race, carried out for the Department for Children, Schools and Families, said social workers were 'confused' about why race rules were being used to decide the future of children.

It said they were guided by skin colour, and when they spoke about culture 'they were often referring only to ethnic categorisations'.

The Bristol University researchers said that of 50 ethnic minority children whose adoption cases it followed, only 13 actually found new parents due to the insistence on 'same race placements'.
Can anyone see any difference here between the policies and assumptions of the SS and the policies and assumptions of the apartheid system in South Africa?

No, me neither.
BAAF remains one of the greatest advocates of applying race rules to adoption. But the Bristol report said this results in regular attempts at the deliberate destruction of foster families in which parents and children have formed a bond.

In cases followed for the Pathways to Permanence for Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnicity Children report, the courts found in favour of the foster carers, it said.

It added that the hearings led to 'professional disagreements' and 'disarray' in relationships between local councils and foster parents.
So, not content with merely searching for that illusive ‘ethnic match’, thus leaving the child in foster care longer than necessary, they swoop on any indication that the children are then forming bonds with their foster carers?

Child care ‘professionals’ in action, folks…

Wednesday 20 May 2009

The Curious Incident Of The Yobs On The Golf Course…

Not sure exactly what to make of this incident (although the comments to the piece give a bit of a clue):
The parents of two boys involved in violent clashes at a golf course say their sons did not deserve the beatings they received.

Pals Jordan Martindale and Charlie Roberts were playing in the woods behind the private Sundridge Park Golf Club in Garden Road, Bromley, when their football went over the fence.

After going on to the course to retrieve it, the pair say they were attacked and rang home to tell their parents what had happened.
Hmm, golfers.

About the only thing I know about them is that they prefer a good walk spoiled. Who knew they were the commuter belt equivalent of Hell’s Angels in reality, without all that need for black leather and the smell of motor oil?
Ms Millett claimed: “The golfers were using their clubs as weapons.

“I just do not understand why it happened.
Me neither. I suspect there’s more to it than the newspapers are saying, though.

Well, either that, or someone really needs to keep an eye on that Tiger Woods, in case he snaps one day and starts laying into the crowd with a 9 iron…
Jordan’s father Terence, of Hillcrest Road, Plaistow, is planning to put in an official complaint about the way the incident was handled by the police.

The 39-year-old claims his ex-partner had to take their son to hospital herself because the police did not call an ambulance.

He also claims a golfer admitted assaulting his son but was made to sit in a golf buggy without handcuffs on rather than being arrested immediately.

The data engineer also claims the police cared more about arresting people for affray and other minor offences than caring for the injured teenagers.
Well, yes. That’s what police do, arrest people. That ‘caring for injured people’ stuff is done by the ambulance staff.

But you’d think the police would come down on grown men who beat innocent kiddiewinks with metal implements for no apparent reason a little harder, wouldn’t you?

Curiouser and curiouser…

Update: The 'Telegraph' has quite a different version of this little tale, to say the least!

Hat-tip - Dogwash in the comments

Anti Social Behaviour Order For…Pointing Out Anti Social Behaviour

I guess this chap can count his blessings that he wasn’t a fireman, or he’d be in even more trouble:
A man who filmed men meeting for sex in an attempt to stop them visiting a Lincolnshire wood has been spared jail.
Colin Haw, 47, of Mayflower Road, Boston, earlier admitted a public order offence for filming one person in June.

He said he reported the matter to police but was ignored so he decided to act because families visited the area.
It’s not really surprising that he was ignored, is it? Which chief constable would dare poke his head above the parapet and declare that he was enforcing the law in the teeth of the progressive lobby?

But this takes the bloody biscuit!
Chairman of the bench Pat Walsh rejected an application by Lincolnshire Police for an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo) to be made against the self-employed mechanic.
Pointing out antisocial behaviour (sex in public) and the non-response to it of the authorities gets you threatened with an anti-social behaviour order.

Pretty much sums up the state of the UK today.

You really couldn’t make it up:
He told the father-of-two: "Your actions were premeditated and quite deliberate in targeting a group of people we would describe as vulnerable. Our thoughts were to send you to custody but we are not going to do that today."
‘Vulnerable’? In what way are they ‘vulnerable’, then…?

It seems to me that they are the very antithesis of ‘vulnerable’.

They get to cock a snook (so to speak) at the laws and mores of the country, secure in the knowledge that the police will not dare to enforce them. Indeed, they will protect them from anyone else pointing out that they are breaking the law, and expecting the police to do something about it.
After the hearing the Lincolnshire-based Strategic Independent Advisory Group, which represents vulnerable communities, and Lincolnshire Kaleidoscope which represents gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people condemned Haw's actions as "truly disgusting. "
But illegally having sex in the open air in front of families with young children? Just peachy!
Haw told the BBC he had not wanted to harm anyone.

He said: "I've got nothing against the gay community, but what I do not like, whether it's gay or heterosexual, is sex in a public place. I've got a problem with that. "
Most people have. The phrase ‘Get a room!’ was never more apposite than here.

It seems to me that some of the sexual pleasure these people derive from their al fresco trysts is that they can ‘frighten the horses’ and rub it in the face (so to speak) of ‘normal society’. Despite what the lobby groups may think, that’s not the way to promote ‘tolerance’.

Quite the opposite, in fact…

You Gave Them An Inch, Why Complain When They Come Back For The Mile?

Food manufacturers gave in and reduced the amount of salt in their products as a result of a sustained lobbying campaign. Did that appease the campaigners?

Well, what do you think?
Pre-packed sandwiches, pizzas and cheese will have the amount of salt they contain slashed under proposals from food watchdogs.

Big brands are in the firing line from the Food Standards Agency's tough salt-reduction targets, including Kellogg's corn flakes.

Health campaigners claim that more than 7,000 people are dying earlier than necessary each year because they eat too much salt.
A claim they can’t in any way prove, but then, since when did that matter any more?

After all, in modern science, if you seek out, and then find, evidence that actually contradicts your theory, then the evidence must be wrong, and not your theory

But I digress:
However, manufacturers, including the Federation of Bakers, argue that the public is not prepared to accept the change in taste that will result from using less salt.

They also claim that salt operates as a useful preservative.
‘The public’…? What have they got to do with this?

They can just help themselves to a big mug of ‘Shut the hell up’. Their betters are talking:
Rosemary Hignett, of the FSA, said: 'To continue to make progress we have set 2012 targets at levels that will make a further real impact on consumers' intakes, while taking into account technical and safety issues associated with taking salt out of food.'
In other words: ‘Suckers! You thought you could appease the crocodile!’
Stephen Robertson, of the British Retail Consortium, said: 'Our members are Europe's leaders in salt reduction and have made fantastic progress in the last decade.

'But the new salt targets are much harder and, in some cases, we believe customers won't accept the change in taste.'
Sorry, Steve, but you should never have taken the bait the first time. You cannot satisfy these people.

They don’t care whether customers will accept this or not. As far as they are concerned, customers aren’t there to take informed decisions and exercise a choice, they are there to live their lives according to the latest whim or diktat from government.
Gordon Polson, of the Federation of Bakers, said it could be ' technically impossible' for the industry to deliver further reductions 'without compromising taste or quality'.
Yeah, I’m betting they aren’t going to let any ‘technical’ matters stand in their way, Gordon. Your companies are ‘rich’, they can just bear the huge cost. If you go to the wall as a result, they’ll be just as happy with that.

And, on cue:
However, Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and chairman of the salt reduction lobbying group CASH, insists more must be done.

He said: 'It's sad to see that some bakers and ham and bacon producers are not prepared to lower the salt content of their products and we can only speculate that this is for commercial reasons. Is it really worth thousands of lives? '
Why, yes! That’s the only possible reason for the companies to balk at this unscientific hogwash, isn’t it? They positively relish the thought of killing off their customer base!


Update: The inimitable 'Daily Mash's' take on this.

Hat tip: Pavlov's Cat in the comments

Oh, Snap!

Anthony Marshall is charged with looting his aged mother's fortune before her death, aged 105, two years ago. The prosecution is presenting evidence that his mother, Brooke Astor, of the legendary Astor family, owners of a property empire, had been suffering from mental decline and was behaving strangely.
Sadly for them, the evidence they presented didn't exactly show that...
On Monday, the jury heard an account of a lunch in 1999. Astor, a close friend of Charles, had brought the then Camilla Parker Bowles to the function as part of her introduction to New York society. Charles and Camilla had only recently started being seen in public together, following his divorce from Diana, his first wife, three years earlier.

According to Vartan Gregorian of the Carnegie Corporation, Astor said to Parker Bowles in the course of the meal: "Your grandmother would be proud of you."

She added: "You're keeping this mistress business in the family."
Ouch! Sheath those claws, Brooke...
The comments were understood by Gregorian to be a reference to Alice Keppel, one of Edward VII's many mistresses and a great-grandmother of the duchess.
Yeah, I have a bit of sympathy for the hapless lawyer who stood up in court to present this as 'evidence' that the old girl was going doolally.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Hitler Youth: Yr Doin’ It...Actually, Pretty Well!

Children as young as seven are being recruited by councils to act as 'citizen snoopers', the Daily Mail can reveal.

The 'environment volunteers' will report on litter louts, noisy neighbours - and even families putting their rubbish out on the wrong day.
Presumably, this is with the full knowledge and acquiescence of their parents?
…Islington Council in north London has recruited 1,200 'Islington Eyes' to report crime hotspots, fly-tipping and excess noise from DIY.

Volunteers are given a list of things to do when confronted with fly-tippers, including taking photos 'without being seen'.
And if they are seen, and assaulted, or worse? Will the parents then have the cheek to take the councils to court for child endangerment?

Seriously, what parent could agree to this? What sort of outlook on life must they have, to allow their children to be used in this way?
Welwyn Hatfield Council in Hertfordshire has given its 13 volunteers handheld computers to take photographs of problem areas.

The information is then uploaded to a map of trouble spots.
Handheld computers, eh? I wonder just how much that cost.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'Community spirit is one thing, spying on your neighbours is quite another.

'It is the job of the police to maintain law and order, and there is no reason taxpayers should have to pay twice for the same service.

'People are sick and tired of being spied on by their councils and in a recession we simply cannot afford luxuries like handheld computers at a time when the most basic public services are being scaled back.'
Well, indeed.

But don’t expect them to cut back on the ‘green’ issues along with the meals-on-wheels and road repairs. No-one made their political fortune championing the non-trendy causes of making sure the roads were free of potholes and the grass verges kept tidy.
A spokesman for the council said: 'Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and its project partner Serco do not conduct any surveillance of residents in enforcement of environmental crimes, and neither do the community champions that have volunteered.'
Why have you dished out hand-held computers with camera capability then?

Especially when other councils have been far more sensible, at least on the money aspect:
…Hillingdon Borough Council in north London, which has recruited 4,800 volunteers from the age of 16 in the past 18 months, simply gives its 'Street Champions' pens and a folder of contact details.

A spokesman said: 'Street Champions themselves have confirmed that it is not a scheme where people are asked to spy on neighbours. Street Champions are asked to act just as any other resident might to report issues in their local area.'

The spokesman added that two brothels had been closed down this year as a result of reports.
Just how do you close down a brothel without spying on your neighbours?

And of course, the progressives hit back in the only way they know how:
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: 'Environment volunteers are people who care passionately about their local area and want to protect it from vandals, graffitists and fly-tippers.

'These community-spirited residents are not snoopers.

'They help councils cut crime and make places cleaner, greener and safer.'
There, you see? You can justify anything these days, as long as you ‘care passionately’ about something that the progressives profess to care about…

Didn’t Someone Famous Think They Should Be Judged By The Content Of Their Character...?

And not the colour of their skin?

As noted by Mr Eugenides yesterday, poor Yasmin is in a bit of a quandary over the subject of expenses:
Dreading a pandemic of generic invective, I tried to pretend I couldn't speak English when I jumped into a cab last week, but drat it, was recognised by the corpulent bloke driving me: "They're all the fucking same, in the same boat, looking after each other. Hard working people like us have had it with you lot", and on and on.
Oh, dear, poor you. How awful to have to step outside your cozy meejah bubble.

Nice attempt to deflect reality with the old ‘me no speaky da engrish’ routine. Now, that’s not all kinds of embarrassing, is it?
I was on my way to Westminster, as it happens, to see an honourable Labour politician who still merits the adjective. Just. And only on expenses. His voting record shows him an instinctive follower, less able to stray than a wildebeest migrating across the Savannah.

I wanted to talk to him about why parliamentarians on the left had lost their ethical bearings and found instead a righteous sense of entitlement, giving themselves the right to cheat the public for some greater good known only to themselves. He tells me to try and understand. They feel they're worth it, that they have done no wrong, that it was tough for them to reach places previously forbidden to them.
That certainly sounds familiar to anyone who has studied the affair in any detail, so it seems her cab fare was wasted. Hope she got it back on expenses…

But Yasmin didn’t receive the next bit well:
By this time I was ready to spit out my black coffee over his smart, pink shirt. Black and Asian parliamentarians caught up in the long string of allegations of corruption – going back many years – display the same warped morality.
You mean, they aren’t any different from anyone else? Well, there’s a shocker, eh?
Perhaps this is grossly unfair, but I do feel more revulsion and fury when those on the respectable left or black and Asian people turn out to have been implicated in this latest bonfire of the vanities. We should expect better from them than the grandees Douglas Hogg, and Michael Ancram and others with moats, tennis courts and many other such burdens. Imagine what the political landscape would be today if every single one of those found out were right wing toffs? But they are not.
Oh, how illuminating!

It seems Yasmin, despite her advanced years, treats a certain type of politician (decided purely by race or allegiance) with no greater objective discernment than a pre-teen swooning over her latest pop idol or soap star.

And is cast into the same depth of despair when it turns out that they are flawed. Just like any other normal human being.
They are all sleazy takers now. But there is a difference – a difference likely only to intensify public disgust.

Let us name it "Cherie syndrome". You have the abilities and ambition to get to the top and when you break through, you feel both a sense of victory and nagging bitterness. John Prescott personifies this at its most unpleasant; Cherie Blair embodies its persistence and clasp.
Yes, well, tell us something we couldn’t all see right from the get-go. But then, most people are aware that politicians are people just like themselves. We don’t put them on a pedestal, because we know the dangers of doing so.

Well, some of us, anyway:
I personally know many of the denounced characters, past and present. Baroness Uddin was an indefatigable community worker for women in Tower Hamlets. She had a disabled son and I was in awe of her energy. When Shahid Malik got into Parliament, a young Muslim man from the north, my joy was boundless. I can't bear it that these people have allegedly milked the system and that some committed socialist Labour MPs may have done the same.
I’m not seeing a connection here between life circumstances and sainthood. Why should the fact that they did good works or had difficulties in their life automatically qualify them for some kind of hero worship?

People are people – complex, maddening, contradictory and capable of deceit and nobility in equal measure. They are more than the ‘image’ they represent – that’s tokenism in its purest form.
Those who should have known better have exploited and degraded their own testimonies of poverty, want, racism, exclusion, and lived socialism. That makes their corruption worse than avaricious toffs who always were amoral.
Heh! No assumptions there, eh, Yasmin?

How could someone this naïve and prejudiced ever be considered suited to the role of political columnist for a major daily newspaper?

Monday 18 May 2009

Is It Dawning On Them At Long Last...?

Brown to make an unscheduled Commons statement in a few minutes, according to Iain Dale.

Perhaps someone's finally got up the courage to thrust this under his nose:
And Labour-inclined voters? I could not find a Labour voter.

I found plenty of people who had always voted Labour, or backed Blair's government last time: pensioners, men in their 30s, mothers, grandmothers, small business people and those on benefits. All said they would not vote for this Labour government again.

The most disillusioned parts of Britain were the poorest, in Labour's heartlands – Hazel Blears's Salford constituency and Geoff Hoon's Ashfield constituency, in Nottinghamshire. Here the expenses scandal is seen as the last straw, and the ultimate proof that the party Tony Blair modernised and centralised, and stuffed with professional politicians intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich, no longer understands, let alone represents, the interests of the ordinary working person.
Cheer up, Patrick.

Perhaps the Guardian will send you out looking for something easier, next time. Like the Abominable Snowman, Loch Ness Monster or the Chupacabra.

"What's wrong with this picture?"

A man with a website devoted to Spandex-clad women has been given a 28-week suspended jail term after secretly filming female swimmers.
This is a crime...?
Michael Matthews, 40, filmed participants at a gala in Sheffield's Pond Forge International Sports Centre.

A fellow commuter noticed Matthews watching the footage on his laptop on a train to London and told police.
Now, why would a fellow commuter call the police to report that someone is viewing boobie shots on his laptop, and have any real expectation of them not laughing and putting the phone down.

Well, as you might have guessed, it's 'for the children'!
Prosecuting at Southwark Crown Court, Peter Zinner explained how Matthews was caught looking at the images.

He said: "Unfortunately for him another member of the public was able to use the reflection of an adjacent window to see Matthews use what he believed was a laptop to view them.

"There appeared to be indecent images of children on moving footage which showed the maker... had zoomed in on genitals, breasts and buttock areas of young people at a swimming pool."
So, several uniformed officers nabbed him as he got off the train.
The swimmers involved were later identified as aged over 18.
Ah, so, not children after all?
They were spoken to and although until then "completely unaware" of what happened, said they felt "distressed and violated", the court heard.
And who made them feel that way? The defendant, or the people that told them what the defendant was up to?

And since when did this kind of 'violation' get taken seriously? I'm pretty sure when the old Victorian explorers came upon remote tribes who viewed photography as 'taking their souls', it was regarded as a sign of how primitive they were; they never thought in their wildest dreams that one day their descendents would say 'Hey, maybe those tribes were on to something after all!'

There's no doubt whatsoever that Matthews is a skeezy perv, to use a technical term:
A search of Matthews' home uncovered a makeshift studio with lighting and other equipment and more than 600 pornographic films.

Mr Zinner said: "It all appeared to be consistent with the copying and making of porn material, some commercial, some home-made."
But does that really justify the waste of time and resources:
Matthews, who is unemployed, was given a 24-month supervision order, ordered to attend a sex offenders' rehabilitation course, banned from public swimming pools until 2012 and ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs.
Contrast this case with the one in the week of the two burglars pictured by a neighbour breaking into someone's home.

They stole £1,400 of belongings, had records as long as your arm, yet received only a suspended sentence (12 and 18 months) and supervision order, thanks to the utterly barmy decision that drug addicts should be spared jail.

Who is causing real harm here?

Now, I've no special love for the dirty mac brigade, and if one of the fathers of these 18 year olds caught him in the act of taking pics and decided to, shall we say, forcefully invite him to depart, fair dos.

But wasting criminal prosecution on one of the lookie loos while actual thieves, muggers, rapists and HoC expense fiddlers go free? Where are our priorities?

'Non-Political'...? Don't Make Me Laugh!

Greater Manchester Police is flying the flag for an international event to raise awareness of prejudice against gay and transgender people.

The force is flying a rainbow flag above its Chester House headquarters.
And what about all the other political single-issue organisations? If they have flags, will you fly them too?

You are pretty much going to have to now, aren't you? You've opened the door:
Mr Fahy said: "This shows Greater Manchester Police's commitment to ensuring people, whatever their individuality, can feel safe in the city.

"Every day a number of hate crimes are reported to us, which I always find alarming.

"Whether people are gay, disabled, black, Muslim or Jewish, we find that there is a level of abuse directed at them.

"This tells us that there is still a great deal of prejudice and hatred out there, but we are determined to show our support for anyone who feels they have been targeted because of their individuality."
Good for you, but you are the police. You do that by arresting people who have broken the law.

Not by gesture politics...

“Hello, Police? I Want To Report A Totally Unforeseeable Event…”

It was a love affair that was condemned as a tragic error and celebrated as a triumph over conformism in equal measures.

But only weeks after her husband was given conditional release for good behaviour, the police have been called to her Paris flat after he allegedly threatened to kill her.
Well, fancy
Miss Dalle, 44, best-known for her 1986 portrayal of the wildly passionate but unstable Betty, married Guenaël Meziani in 2005 in a jail in Brittany – in an impulsive move that mirrored the role that made her name.

She had fallen "in love at first sight" while in prison making a film about life behind bars.

The pair spent only 24 hours together before the wedding – in weekly 60-minute visits. "But this hour we share is so enriching that he could be anywhere, the end of the world, and I'd still go," she told Elle magazine at the time.
Hmmm, it seems possible that she wasn’t actually acting the role of ‘wildly passionate but unstable’ Betty in that film after all…
Mr Meziani, 34, was handed down a 12-year prison sentence later that year for having locked up, beaten and raped his ex-girlfriend, but told the court that prison had changed him.
Or not…

Sunday 17 May 2009

When 'Solved' Doesn't Mean Solved...

One of the most audacious British art thefts, the disappearance of a two-tonne Henry Moore sculpture worth £3m, has been solved by police...
Really...? Good job, officers!

Oh, wait:
...who believe that the internationally revered Reclining Figure sculpture was melted down and sold for no more than £1,500.
So, no actual proof then? It's just what you believe?
Police feared at first that it had been stolen to order, but investigations suggest it was taken by a group of travellers from Essex and that the metal may have ended up feeding China's growing demand for electrical components.
Travellers, you say? Hmmm...
Humphries, who led the investigation, said: "We have evidence and information suggesting it was cut up on the night, then taken to a location where it was irreparably damaged before it was shipped abroad. In my mind we've managed to kill off the mystery as much as is possible."
Well, yeah. Apart from that whole 'arresting people' stuff that the police used to do...

Music Appreciation with Rod Liddle

Guess what song is Nick Griffin’s ring tone. I was standing next to the British National party leader in a BBC green room last week when his mobile phone rang. Cue chiming guitar – it was Sweet Home Alabama. You guessed Ebony and Ivory, didn’t you? No, what Nick had blaring out of his phone was moderate, acceptable racism – a paean to the segregationist governor of Alabama and two-time presidential candidate George Wallace (who, before he died, rather movingly apologised to black people for his hideous policies).
It is sort of okay to play Sweet Home Alabama in polite company, a catchy howl of disenfranchised redneck southern anguish.
Gosh, thanks awfully, Rod. I wouldn't want to get drummed out of polite society for playing a politically incorrect pop song.

Of course, you could just be totally wrong.

Ahhh, research. That's for journalists, isn't it? Not lazy comment piece writers...

Sunday Funnies II...

Never pick a fight on the Internet with comic geeks. It'll not go so well. For you.

Comments are a scream...

Sunday Funnies...

I think I'll continue the 'Dumb Celebrity' theme with this little list from 'Cracked'.

Admit it, no-one's surprised to see Fat Al at the top of that list, are they?

Saturday 16 May 2009

It's Celebrity Media Penance Time!

Celebrities really, really think we are all stupid, don't they?
The Manchester United manager, 67, has vowed to raise awareness on child car safety after it was revealed that Charlie, 10, was not in a booster seat. Nor was he wearing his seatbelt properly when he was injured.
Gosh, thanks awfully, Sir Alex, for that little pearl of wisdom to us wretched proles, but do you think maybe you could start with that 'awareness raising' by having a word with the dumb cow who was driving him?

You know, his mother...?

Because I have no rugrats, I don't even care much for rugrats, and even I know that. And wouldn't accept one into my car without it, because the driver is responsible.

Mmm, 'responsible'. Note that word. It won't crop up in any utterance from the mouths of these people, you can take that to the bank:
Now Charlie’s injured mother Nadine – the ex-wife of Sir Alex’s son Darren Ferguson – has broken her silence about the accident.

Nadine, 30, said from her hospital bed: “What happened to us is every parent’s worst nightmare. When I’m well enough, I plan to start a campaign to raise awareness and encourage all parents to be vigilant.

“I’m confident I will have Sir Alex’s support and I hope that with help from friends, we will be able to prevent other children suffering serious injury.”
You don't think it's possible that every other parent knows this already? And is reading this and thinking 'Glad I'm not that stupid'?

Well, no, of course not. It's the modern thing to do when you've screwed up catastrophically, isn't it? Get some publicity by telling everyone else what they probably already know.
Sir Alex revealed that Charlie was in the front seat but had pulled the “uncomfortable” seatbelt down under his arm and across his waist instead of across his shoulder. The manager said: “You never think about these things until it happens to your family.

Now I am telling everyone to make sure their children are wearing seatbelts properly.

Something should be done about safer seatbelts for children."
'Something Should Be Done!'

Ahh, the cry of the person who doesn't want to accept that he or someone close to him has screwed up in spite of all the safeguards. No, it's got to be because we just aren't told enough!

'Something' is done, Sir Alex. There are publicity campaigns, and information websites, and car/seatbelt instruction manuals, and word of mouth, and the inclusion of 'isshoos' in tv drama, and you know what? None of it will work if people feel that the rules of the road or the laws of physics don't apply to them.

Can't think where she might have got that idea from, by the way. Oooh, number three on that list rings a bell, doesn't he, Nadine?

But this was the bit that really made me see red:
The children don’t want to put them over their shoulder; they want it on their lap.”
Argh! Of course they do, but it won't work that way, idiot!

Kids don't want to eat their vegetables, wear cycling helmets, put on suncream, and a host of other things. That's why they don't get to make the decisions. Adults do.

Pity they are in such short supply....