Yes, it’s fucking political

Frank Dobson spoke nothing but truth last month:

‘Be warned,’ he said, ‘the Lib Dems and the Tories have not abandoned party politics.’ There was, he alleged, a three-part strategy. When they had disposed of the Speaker, they would demand Gordon’s resignation. If they got that, they would demand an immediate general election on the grounds that we couldn’t have yet another Labour leader without an electoral mandate. ‘And anyone who thinks that an immediate general election would be of benefit to the people who voted us in, is not on this planet.’

From Chris Mullin’s excellent account of Westminster life during the surreal days of ‘well-paid people with expense accounts use them; remind me why we’re supposed to care’ [*]-gate.

[*] no, really don’t.

I’m not entirely convinced this is true


Let’s be clear: the international economy almost stopped dead last autumn. We were within days of cashpoints throughout the Western world refusing to cough up money and of automated transactions, including payments of wages, simply freezing.

Really? Anyone? Davies?

Banned Katie Perry upskirt video [*]

The Economist’s Charlemagne blog has a good piece on why Vaclav Klaus is being utterly ridiculous when he claims that the reassurances being made to Ireland and the UK over the Lisbon Treaty mean that he should hold off ratification:

Imagine that an internet rumour had started that Marmite (or baked beans, if you cannot stand Marmite) contained minute traces of pork fat, and this caused a fuss in British Jewish and/or Muslim circles. Then imagine that one supermarket offered to solve the problem by putting a kosher mark on the label, and another, with a big market share in northern England said they preferred to say it was halal on the label, and the whole thing became a fuss about multiculturalism. You could easily imagine the makers preferring to avoid putting any religious markings on the product at all. But one constant would remain through all of this fuss about whether Marmite is vegetarian, or baked beans kosher or halal. What was inside the jars and cans would not have changed “one iota”.

[*] well, if I wrote ‘good piece on the Lisbon Treaty’, who the hell would click through?

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-21

  • Lunch & wine are required. #
  • The Last Boleyn Girl seems about as terrible as that sort of shit usually is. Hoping Jess will tire of it before we miss House #
  • Sorry, director, The Other Boleyn Girl was OK. Scarlett Johansson was heartbreakingly beautiful, but I suppose that’s what she’s for. #
  • I love Mondays. Oh, wait, no, it’s that other one… ‘hate’, that’s the bunny. #
  • Trying to decide which of ‘hunger’ and ‘not wanting to be rained on’ is most important motivator for me #
  • Call me a bleeding heart eejit, but 4 years in jail for sending pervy emails to 15-year-olds seems kind-of harsh: #
  • Wondering whether or not it was a good idea to use the same name as my Twitter ID and my online dating ID #
  • RT @dnotice I forgot to take my #homeopathy pill last night. Does this mean I’ve overdosed? #science #
  • A rather sweet Yank perspective on London; somehow it feels like it’s from 30 years ago… #
  • RT @antonvowl I’m worried about my cloak of anonymity. I’m sure I had it around here somewhere #
  • No, he took *some of your vast fortune*, not your life, you daft overmaterialist twat: #
  • RT @bengoldacre Anonymous blogger exposed by Eady: can we expose bad judges please? – I’m angrier, but he hits the point #
  • XKCD made me laugh out loud at my desk today: #
  • Can’t read the word ‘particleboard’ without thinking of , which is a problem given that I publish #
  • Absolutely excellent: #
  • This comment is also good: #
  • RT @Herring1967 Who is Virgilio Anderson? Please Retweet. #virgilioanderson #
  • RT @widnblog Prisons released from mere function #
  • Richard Rogers is excellent; if you don’t like his work you’re a philistine and almost certainly have a small penis. FACT #
  • (yes, even if you’re a girl) #
  • Lefties, lefties will tear themselves apart, again #politicsinjokes #rupertreadisatwat #
  • Harmless comedians jailed for, err, nothing: – graffiti is jolly and harmless; if you mind it, you’re a cunt #
  • & no, they didn’t ‘cost the taxpayer gbp70k’, TfL’s insane practice of erasing graffiti urgently instead of waiting til the next repaint did #
  • RT @edent: A police officer has just asked me to delete this photo of her van in a disabled bay #
  • Home educators really are paranoid loons: – and no, that doesn’t mean I think HE should be banned, just regulated… #
  • RT @mrpower Why do environmentalists trust science when it comes to climate change but not genetic engineering? #
  • Dragna, Quality name. Girl/dragon/combo. I like. Staying out tonight = unequivocally worthwhile #
  • RT @anniemole Hope you’re all smiling as today’s apparently the happiest day of the year #
  • Actually I’m grimly clinging onto consciousness trying to ignore the world’s most epic hangover, but chacun a son gout etc. #
  • “Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall” is a twat #
  • Quality trompe l’oeil: – I’m hoping for outcome no. 1 #ihatecyclists (via @LDN) #
  • Today is dragging. #
  • RT @antonvowl @bounder – Worst Daily Mail poll ever. Vote yes to skew the results and pass it on #
  • Just heard 1 Canada Square described as the “Thatcher Memorial Obelisk”. That’s quite wonderful. #
  • Haha, excellent: #
  • (I’ve just been bummed by a) Priest #irishmovies #
  • One Wedding, A Fight, and Four Funerals #irishmovies #
  • This is epic skillz – – and reminds me of the time my friend met Nina Simone #
  • Sorry, that was supposed to be RT’d @anattendantlord #
  • Michael Collins (would have made a good president instead of that useless hick twat Valera, shame the IRA shot him) #irishmovies #
  • Sean of the Dead #irishmovies #
  • Correlli Barnett claims to be a historian. He is mistaken: – least accurate account of 20th century UK history EVER #
  • I caught @mrpower lying on #twables #
  • If you can’t find the Fritzl book, another Father’s Day option: #
  • This is unspeakably vile: #hangthedailymailandeveryonewhobuysit #

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Corrigan FTW

David Mitchell is entirely correct on the wheelie bin pseudo-scandal, as one might expect:

I can almost hear the Oxfam advert: “This is Andrea. Every week, she has to walk three bins all the way down the street, round the corner and into the backyard. It’s either that or people will see her bins. It’s crazy, but you can help.”

Strikes: yes; wildcats: no

From the list of ‘things that don’t get said very often’, here’s a very sensible comment from CiF on the Total refinery strike:

I’m very sorry to say it, but these wildcat strikers are idiots. Nothing wrong with striking at all – but always, always, always make sure it is an official strike endorsed by an official ballot and thus with the full force of law on their side – that way they can’t be arbitarily sacked for striking.

Instead these wildcatters seem to be ignoring their own union procedure and think that they can simply do what they feel like regardless. And now they are shocked they’ve been sacked.

Sheesh – it’s not as though the miners strike was centuries ago and has gone from folk memory. It was fairly recent and most union people learnt the central lesson, which was always ballot your members before striking to make it an official strike. That way you have the law on your side.

These wildcatters appear to be too stupid to learn from history and they’ve paid the price.

As always, Rick at FCFT is good on this one too. Meanwhile, Dave Osler has a bit of a hard-on for the strikers over at LC – fair enough, if you’re an old Trot you have to take your pleasures where you can find them…

We write letters

Just sent this letter to the Observer’s readers editor:

Re: ‘Light-touch’ reforms raise fears of new bank disaster

This article from Sunday 12 June has one of the most inaccurate sentences I’ve ever seen anywhere:

“Critics point out that it was a subsidiary of Northern Rock, Granite, that contained the liabilities that led to the collapse of the bank: Granite owned £49bn of mortgages that were sold by Northern Rock and moved offshore to the tax haven of Jersey.”

1) Granite wasn’t a subsidiary of Northern Rock, it was an umbrella term used to cover several different offshore organisations that were structured as charitable trusts and that specifically weren’t owned by NR.

2) Northern Rock didn’t have any liabilities through Granite – the whole point was that NR wasn’t liable for Granite’s debts. Rather, Granite’s bonds were secured against the mortgages that it bought from NR.

3) The collapse of the bank had absolutely nothing to do with Granite – it was because NR was reliant on short-term financing to cover the mortgages that it *hadn’t* sold to Granite, and this short-term financing dried up as the crunch began.

Perhaps Nick Mathiason should read the article I wrote on Granite last February before writing any more pieces that mention Northern Rock…


John Band

I’m genuinely not sure that I’ve seen a sentence that wrong-headed in a serious newspaper before, ever

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-14

  • Can some Eurologist like @nosemonkey explain how the BNP got a seat in NW on 8% of vote, but not in E Mids or NE on more than that? #
  • RT @qwghlm In case you haven’t seen it already, B3ta sums it up best #theBNParetwats #
  • Thanks everyone. Why on earth didn’t they make the constituencies comparably sized? (8 vs 3 is just silly) #
  • It’s worth noting the BNP vote was *down* compared with the last Euro elections. They’re the same bigots as before, not new ones… #
  • Lazy eejits let Nazi in: “if 5000 more people in the NW had voted Green, Griffin wouldn’t be off to Strasbourg” #
  • “Less a putsch than a series of tschoves” #
  • ‘Inverting the lexicon of politics and history [by calling the BNP left-wing] is political correctness gone mad’ #
  • Nazi results: Stoke is Nazi-est, Barnsley second, Havering 3rd: #
  • Stoke is 93% white, Barnsley 98%, Havering 91%. ALL SWAMPED BY EVIL HORDES OF IMMIGRANTS THEY ARE, and definitely not just bigoted cunts #
  • Haha, brilliant: #istherightthingtodo #andfuckstheTories #
  • RT @charlottelydia: NickGriffin thinks immigration is ‘colonialism’. Well I’m a historian of colonialism, and I think Nick Griffin is a cunt #
  • The only time I’ll agree with the English Democrats on anything is that ‘diversity officers’ are wastes of space: #
  • What’s wrong with ‘let people from everywhere in’, ‘ban them from being fucked over’ but ‘allow & encourage satire & mockery of all by all’? #
  • Just lost at TV: endured Sex In The City, but then wasn’t allowed Ross Kemp’s Pirates in recompense. Need to cut down trees or something. #
  • RT @johnnyminkley Man Utd should buy Newcastle with the proceeds. Just for laughs. #ronaldo #
  • Do anti-EU eejits who think ‘we can’t vote for the Commission’ is a sane argument also think it’s an outrage we can’t vote for the Cabinet? #
  • Great way to waste an afternoon- all the Beatles’ songs, reviewed & ranked in reverse order of merit: #
  • Wondering if there’s really much difference in ‘Independence’ terms between the current & the potential slightly-dodgy foreign proprietor #
  • For provincial readers, electricity is a magical invisible force that can move things without the aid of horses & rope #
  • I’ve given up on data export (‘one memory stick, 4 computers, 50GB of data’ is mildly *more* unpleasant than 2girls1cup…) & drinking wine #
  • Before anyone fears for my health, I mean I’ve given up on data export and *am now* drinking wine #
  • Top Twitter Trending Topics currently appear to include “David Carradine’s Air France Flight”. Now that’s a B-movie I’d hire. #
  • RT @TACJ I am become deaf. Mishearer of words. #
  • My moderate take on BNP apologists: #
  • Fuck Prince Charles. Twunt. Can’t believe the woo-woo promoting, modern-world-hating tosser is gonna be king: #
  • New BOFH reminds me of major ‘err, IT, WTF’ point: since storage costs ~nothing, why *are* mailboxes limited to 200MB? #
  • The only way to demonstrate to the world that we see Griffin as an eggworthy disgrace is to repeatedly pelt him with eggs: #
  • RT @hungbunny I’m off my tits. (You wouldn’t like them much either, they’re quite hairy.) #
  • got – woo. #
  • I’m no Bob Crow fan, but Simon Heffer should be nailed to a plank: #

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The idle musings of John B