Aunty will pay for you to buy her nice things. With other people's money.

This whole corphosp charade is turning into a right, and nasty can of worms all on its own.

From my private sector ad days, nine times out of ten the only folk involved... other than paying for it... were those signing off on a jolly they fancied.

Thing is, if it's a marketing or managing director* who enjoys rugger or fancies their chances with a celeb in the green room that's between them and the audit guys and/or the shareholders.

With Aunty, it is, of course, different*, and 'unique'.

*Or a DG who needs a quick bung to help the family travel plans along when several hundred thousand salary doesn't quite cover it.


Political reporting reaches new levels

In convenience Speakership exchange

If there is a joke in here somewhere, it's perhaps not the one intended.

Though 'Tales from the Urinal Gutter' does seem a promising avenue for political reporting from within Westminster.


Poll 'n count

The value of media 'polls', in a nutshell:

Daily Mail readers vote to allow gipsies to jump NHS queue

Something to bear in mind when... any time the results of same are used, po-faced, to make a comment on anything. Or, worse, used in justification of 'reporting' in any way shape or form as objective.


How do we love theee, let us count the ways..

Thank heavens, when we might be still distracted by high tax, low rent MPs, sleazy Speakers and their antics, in this zero-personality, 'it's all about the policies' age we have Dear Leader on hand to emote in the Guardian (Wot... no Mirror? Kevin Maguire finding a glimmer of integrity as Polly T starts to regret the dissent?) and take our mind off... 'things'.

And who better in complement than the BBC to round up and circle the wagons to dominate the airwaves in empathy with... a coven of Guardian journos!


Hearing what you want

A public element

I misheard and therefore misquoted her as saying she wished to be "queen" in comparison to "trusty old senators". She in fact said - as the metaphor should have made me realise - that she wanted to be tribune.

Easily done. 'Kw-een' vs. Trib-une'. Nearly identical to all but the untrained ear. Simples:)

Shame no devices exist to ensure checking and fidelity of reporting of fact if not objectivity.

Now, have we established who will she get to mow both her lawns on our tab?

One driver, or two?

In reply to:

Why ministers must never upset their drivers

And a few other political revelations, I have rather let fly:

I'd say that Ministers, and those that consort with them, might still be better advised not to upset a rather larger, and more critical collection of folk: the electorate.

Looking at the latest revelations, that doesn't seem too likely.

It's no wonder these guys are so keen to avoid paying tax to the state; they have first hand knowledge of how such money is squandered... hourly.

I'd be keen to know what this latest new job creation scheme was going to save... or cost the taxpayer.

Though it does pass through one's mind as to the calibre of Dom Jolyesque train-traveling, mobile-spouting, laptop-leaving numpties we entrust the competent governance of this country to who would ignore the compromises to self and national security of blabbing in the back seat in front of relatively junior civil servants, no matter how well cleared.


Sorry to single out but one of many, but having seen the much-vaunted HoC FOI blacked-out 'releases', I suggest they are about as much use as, and hence can simply be shredded and used as just so much kitty litter.

Mind you, whilst the WUVis get excited on the inability to detect 'flipping', which is indeed as serious (if 'nuffink wrong') as it gets, as one just flashed by I am getting to grips with just how clean these guys homes must be for all we have been taken to their cleaners for.

How 'clean' they are as public servants... is another matter.


Black... is white

...Some say, and others report, to try and grab a tad more ratings or push their views using dubious proxies.

In a world revolving round the internet (which is catching on, and some now see merit in enhancing with lots more of other folks' money), with folk getting their time-poor news fixes from such as Google, Twitter, etc, I notice one often tends to get sample summaries, with URL, headlines and, crucially, possibly first lines of copy.

Upon which you form an first impression, and then decide whether to pursue further.

Hence I am a tad concerned about journalistic and editorial trends that employ the following technique, especially with the latter:

Headline (often also of dubious summary value, depending on agenda of the guys writing it)

Copy: [Rampant opinion/untruth/dodgy/claim], followed by an attribution to a [person, generic, unspecified 'them', latest daft research by quango/charity/thinktank with pension pot to top up], often with the added spice of being set in the future ['will say']. As in:


The country cannot afford it. It is no longer militarily necessary.

Tonight, Nick Clegg uses those arguments to become...

At best, that doesn't strike me as totally competent, or indeed kosher reporting.

IRONY ALERT - People in uniquely funded houses...

Check out this thread:

Stop the blocking now

It's about a regime preventing stuff they don't like.

Now check out the number of posts moderated out.

Yours, a snip at just £142.50pa


QUOTE OF THE DAY - That'll learn 'em

Just listening to a report on BBC West Midlands regarding the absconding of a convicted murderer from an open prison.

According the Prison Service: 'Being located in an open prison is a privilege and, if (if!?) captured, one likely (likely?!) to be withdrawn.'

I feel safer already.

And quite understand why the reporting team found it sufficient to let this pass without clarification, challenge or comment.


IRONY ALERT - At least some get a vote, even if it is rigged

From another blog...

Someone commented on the Editors' Blog Stop the blocking now, re the Iranian government blocking of the courageous and impartial BBC.

Now have a look at the comments to this blog entry, most of which say: 'This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules'

Absolutely most of them.

I don't think the Beeb grasps the irony of it.

Ah, but one is state-controlled suppression of free speech, and the other is, er, different. Or should I say, 'unique'.


Har-ping on

The Deputy Leader's name is unfortunate, all things considered.

So it does end up as the gift that keeps on giving.

On the Andrew Marr show Harriet Harman says her main mission in life is to arrive at a 50:50 split on women in politics and the Cabinet.

An interesting priority, and in light of all else facing us at the hands of various bean-counters, box-tickers and target-meeters (at the expense of any tangible, rational actions) one I would have liked to be delved into further.


Fun with words

I do confess, I am enjoying playing with this...

Newsnight neologisms needed

'Proxymoron' went down well, though 'enviROI' and 'helicopter environmentalists' passed without trace.

So I have lobbed a few more into the literary frag pit to see what might get flushed.

'Revoltaire' - New era democratic rallying concept, often supported and even promoted by soem who know what's best for us in the MSM ; 'We may not agree with what you say, but we will sort of tolerate it... so long as you are not an Israeli/BNP/[insert folk that you really... really don't agree with and hence reckon need silencing here]'.

Which is an odd caveat from those seeking to be seen as credible libertarians. But usually they are those as dogmatic and convinced of their rectitude as those they oppose.

So, to 'a little bit pregnant' I guess we need to add 'freeishdom of speech'.
complain about this comment

'Enhancing the narrative'
'Interpreting events'
'Emerging truths'

The first two are mechanisms by which objective facts can be passed through a special process managed by those who 'know better' to ensure 'news' is shared in a way that those it gets presented to get to think 'more correctly' about it all.

Often, when it really rather flies in the face of clear evidence, and may in fact be unsupportable, it can still be assisted to the point that it becomes an 'emerging truth'.

Poohbahood - the act of seeking, conferring and/or being conferred with ever longer and more daft un-earned, unwarranted titles in an attempt to confer long lost respectability and reverence, but which actually fools, and impresses few outside a very small world. And probably just makes things worse.

As in...

The Right Honourable Baron Mandelson of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham, First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council.

NKorean leader's son is 'Brilliant Comrade'

"Grandiose titles are part of a tradition to stimulate public support in a nation where the media is tightly controlled and little information about the inner workings of the government is available."

Boxtickocracy, Beancounterhood & Targetmeetering - All complementing versions of the same, less than startlingly successful form of nu-governance whereby anything tangible and/or possibly useful is suborned to simply looking like things are going to be done, being done and will be done as opposed to dedicating any funds or personnel to actually just doing a good job in the first place.

Interestingly, it seems that these systems all seem to cost a lot more to implement and run, and despite this are actually self-generating by virtue of limitless funds on tap (if now on the 'never never' - thanks, kids) and a culture of zero accountability, no responsibility and 'Whocaresaboutability?' (oo, another one) so long as the right boxes are ticked, targets are met and ... you get the picture.


Turning my stomach

MPs jostle in race for Speaker

What is this? A playground?

A role now evidently critical to the governance of the country and it's someone's TURN?

And with a thoroughly discredited entity trying to appeal to a disgusted and disenfranchised population, this about sums up the appeal of THEM getting to decide: 'There are more of us than there are Tories'.

I was reading about Gloucestershire, where about the only way the Labour incumbent could hang on is to toss his hat in the ring, because 'convention' requires his Tory opposition to stand down.


This is not trying to find the prom King or Queen.


Was reading how the guys really in charge of the Iranian elections were a bunch called the Council of Guardians.

That all sounds suitably Marvel(as in comic)icious.

Sort of Voltaire-lite: 'We may not agree with what you say, but we will sort of tolerate it... so long as you are not an Israeli'.

Which is the odd caveat we seem to be seeing from libertarians closer to home.

To 'a little bit pregnant' I guess we need to add 'freeishdom of speech'.

Makes you proud to be in a cradle of democracy.


Something is sick

Time to stop the NHS shroud waving

My Mum is now recovering in hospital after a week of a series of medical types coming along, prodding her in the tummy and deciding the best and only course was to up her antibiotics another 100mg at each visit.

She's only in there because, when I suggested the cause be found out in hospital, the last one started muttering about how he couldn't 'justify' something to some other bunch 'who'd be asking him tricky questions', and promptly found himself alone with her and on the wrong end of the house keys that I tossed him. I did go back 5 minutes later to apologise, but then the ambulance arrived not too long after that.

I don't envy this whole sorry crew the problems they face, but when they force medical professionals to try and weigh care vs. box-ticking and money-grubbing, they risk a backlash like mine, writ large.

I got a result, but I don't like what I had to do to get it. And won't forget.

How to run a blog

I may have additional tweaks on mine, but it's hard to argue with this:

Order-order - New Here?

I still think he gets, and allows, too many ad homs and ranters to make scrolling worth much (other than to find mine at 567), plus the reply queue is a nightmare, but hey, 100k a day can't be argued with.

Having fun with words

And I have...

Newsnight neologisms needed

proxymoron - derived from 'proxy' - 'a person authorized to act for another - which one could argue is what the person you give your vote to is... er... was. Our beloved MPs.

The second part - oxymoron - is also relevant in more than a few contexts: 'a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms'

There may well be other allusions, but I could not imagine what:)


Talking at, and not even with any more

And not even listening, much less hearing.

The last time I paid much attention to this lady was when she was one of the few who could be relied upon to get her jubblies out on BBC2. Teenage boys appreciated such 'art' in the 70s.

Glenda Jackson: How to beat the fascists? Build houses ...

You reap what you sow, Ms. Jackson.

I seek representation in Parliament, not the installation of whipped-into-shape media luvvie ciphers who seem to have the odd notion they are there to 'rule'. And misuse this privilege to obsess about trivia. It's not like you and your ilk are even being very effective in your core mission of seeking out and destroying those you don't fancy, even if they are rather unattractive. The only ones you can get rid of seem to be such as Ms. Kennedy. Way to go!

That your Leader has 'triumphed' again in some eyes, thanks to some odd, sycophantic internal popularity contest against the wishes of 85% of the electorate and the clear interests of the country, is something I will make those who made selfish, careerist choices NOW suffer for WHEN I eventually get my real chance at the next ballot.


It seems I am misguided

I read recently a good point.

A Labour MP was bemoaning that they were no longer deemed fit to rule.

A poster advised that, actually, they were really only keen on being represented.

Not something I also sense has sunk into the brains of our national broadcaster and too many employees too busy talking to actually listen, much less hear.

Fewer votes for BNP

As a voter, I am getting a teensie bit ticked off some trying, and others letting them 'explain' how 'we' either got it wrong, didn't understand or, in final desperation, were only 'sending a message' about the least awful aspects of the Government's litany of disasters for them to learn from.

Yes, I was, am and will remain less than impressed with the expenses scandal. And yes, though I can easily check what my MP has done and respond accordingly, there was an element of rather thinking the clowns in currently charge of the whole rotten, and decaying from the head system, should cop more blame than most.

Not helped by the shooting each other in the foot procession with the ongoing Titanic clay pigeon meet.

Or rigged rallies with bussed in audiences given full 'news' treatment.

Or a succession of self-interested, deluded troughers just trying to keep going long enough to enjoy that, last, wafer thin mint of a bonus payoff for dragging the country to the abyss in getting booted out rather than walking. Not like it makes CVs suffer much anyway. I wonder if Siralun will be reassessing his hiring policies: 'Screwed up and kicked out, eh? Come on down!'. I though you bought low and sold high. Not get bought and sell out.

And as we're on matters Pythoneseque... I have heard the dead parrot sketch used a lot. I am thinking the Black Knight from the Holy Grail, down to arm and leg stumps gushing.. 'It's just a nick.. a flesh wound. The people wouldn't thank me for not getting on with the job...'.

Oddly, a set of views trotted out by some still, and without much counter from those you might have thought had a smidge of professional pride left, but who also seem to see their fortunes tied to one last roll of the dice in case two sevens come face up.

If Gordon is the answer, I dread to think what the question is. Or why it seems to be the only one asked by too many in certain media.

PM's worst nightmare has become reality

I'd say the BNP are best damned by their own words and deeds, and given the full glare of public scrutiny without being managed by the media, um, elite, who seem to think they know what's better for 'us'.

Though true, this latter 'narrative enhancing' aspect has not perhaps worked so well for others as intended, any more than it worked against the BNP.

Maybe the public are smart enough to see, hear and experience things for themselves, find they don't fancy being steered so cack-handedly very much, and respond in a time-honoured, democratic fashion.

While they still can. Looking at the new, make that ever-evolving cabinet, 'being voted for is just so last year'.

Meanwhile I continue to watch the latest episode of the Media's Holy Grail, with ever more airtime accorded Gordon the Black Knight and his minions...: 'it's just a flesh wound.... you wouldn't forgive me for not continuing to fight.... and then getting back to the job a public [there is one left in the North East I think] is telling me they want me to do'.

Me, I was not best impressed with the expenses to be sure, but actually weighed a few other things up at the same time. And being told I didn't know my own mind, was wrong or was just being angry has rather confirmed what I thought and hardened my resolve.

That the intention, was it?

At a time when it is easy to think you cannot make a difference.

The Tiananmen Square tank man: full video

In a world of stage-managed hype and spin and edit-suite contrived spectacle, this is a beacon of inspiration for the triumph of courage and the human spirit in the face of massive odds.

It is bookmarked to remind me that one person can make a huge difference and, if you believe it is worth doing and your cause is just, it is always worth standing up and making a protest.

That it was so passive, so peaceful, and so effective, is poetry.

That we do not know who this man is and what his fate might have been is awful, and that it may not have been a good one a tragedy but, perversely, if it were the power of his actions would probably be sullied by the media 'systems' of today.

A timeless unknown hero.

But I always spare a thought for the driver and/or commander who did not simply run him down.


Celebrity/Cabinet Recall Afterwards Preservation site

Or CCRAP site. Inspired by:

Order Order

378. Mr Ned says:
June 5, 2009 at 11:08 am

He was on the BBC today saying Gordon Brown is the best thing since sliced bread. With judgement like that at the helm,

I think there is a case for a sidebar, separate site or whatever, just logging the various ‘great, good and all round goofy’ who seem to think going on record as saying stuff like that in what have seemed/seems a good idea then/now, and then available to call up in evidence from their own mouths in the future when been interviewed of judged for office, etc.

A bit like a FaceBook picture, six sheets to the wind, mooning a nun at the office party. Only a tad more damning as booze cannot be used as mitigation for such howlingly poor judgement.


Objective is as objective does...er...?

Just got an email telling me that a comment I made on BBC's Andrew Neil's Political blog was 'off topic' and had been deleted.

Odd, as I didn't recall making one for a fair while, and these little moderations tend to be fairly bud-nipping in alacrity.

Anyway, on having a quick gander it seems there has been a bit of a retroactive purge, and almost all have been removed. I am guessing as a consequence, belatedly, of this...

During the MEP and council polls, in line with political parties and other UK broadcasters, the BBC will not be reporting the election campaign or offering discussion about the campaign.

I suppose 'off topic' was the best template they could throw as an excuse, if not reason as of June 4. Check 48 thur 79.

However, as with all of Aunty's 'unique' ways, there do seem some, well one, allowed to remain...

75. At 10:18am on 04 Jun

I do not believe that is why Robinsons blog got shut down early, otherwise so would this one. Robinsons blog is starting to be hi-jacked by extreme people using all kind of insults and it is putting the sensible contributor off. It certainly is me, they are changing names to attack you under another name. However they slip up by using faces or phrases they have used under other names. I notice things like that. I honestly believe people should only be allowed one user name.

If the BBC are making an effort to clean this up to make it more civilized like this one has been I am all for it.

We can have disagreements without resorting to some of the insulting remarks I have had and seen lately.

Which, I presume, is the only one deemed, uniquely, 'on'.. topic.

Heck of a way to ensure that you are the last post standing. Not sure it makes the BBC look too objective, mind.

- Not happy here, either


For the people, of the people, slipped by the people


7. At 6:45pm on 02 Jun 2009, ginadean wrote:
Please could someone explain how Mandleson who is not elected nor an MP could possible be put forward for a top job as forgien secretary in a reshuffle of the cabinet, again not elected?

Very good question. However, the answer might be a tad 'unique' for some in the MSM to feel like asking, much less answering.


Led by asses' asses

Shuffleboard on the Titanic. Bless.

I presume we elect, and pay a 'government of all the talents' to... er... lead?

Much as this farrago is providing ratings all round, it is hard to see it serving this country's best interests much.

In light of the military analogies abounding as the D-Day planning has gone about as well as any other of late, as a poor grunt in the trenches, it is hardly encouraging that our political classes, and especially those 'in charge', seem unable to do much other than juggling pulling their own pins, fragging the one next to them or sniping their own side.

So my morale is... suffering a tad. Especially to find myself an unwilling passenger on a Kamikaze mission, and especially when finding the flight crew have ransacked the rest of the cabin for all the golden parachutes and are bailing out as we head for oblivion.
complain about this comment

ps: and it is a tad galling to note the Observer corps in their barrage balloons gleefully happy to see which way the wind blows so they can gently land in the warm, privileged access embrace of the 'victors' (or, at least, lesser losers) to give it a few months settling in together until the whole sorry cosy circus kicks off again in another guise.

You know, I feel disinclined to go along this time. Out, and for a lot more than a blooming duck. The whole sorry publicly, and too often uniquely-funded shebang.

Why worry about reputation, when you can by another?

I have been pondering what factors affect actions (and words), especially amongst those who seek and/or crave the trappings of power and influence over others.

Well, there are rules. Well, it seems these are made to be... if not broken... 'interpreted' in unique ways.

Then there is the law. But it seems this comes in a variety of forms; one for some, another for the rest of us.

But how about money? In all its forms (pay, pensions, perks, privilege) I think that has indeed been shown to be potent, especially as it seems it can often be bestowed, often to excess, without question, while the chances of withdrawal, or better yet, restitution, are near zero.

And, of course, security. Especially of the money flow. Again, this seems a near guarantee, save for running over a nun whilst giving a BNP hitchhiker a lift and swigging neat gin at the wheel (though some Lords might even get a pass here depending on which cards are played, that our police and legal systems don't feel like tackling).

Which really only leaves how things feel (to the protagonist) and/or how they look (to others whose feelings and views they may or may not care about). This can manifest itself in a variety of ways: ethics, morals, sense of shame... honour. And could it be a significant restraint.

Well, at least it used to. Now there is just the money.

Which is an interesting legacy from the last 12 years, and 'a job' some still appear to feel the current incumbents (of the House, though I do hold the current government mostly accountable, as that is a long time not to get anything right, and indeed to also mess up so much else) should be allowed to 'get on with'.

Sadly, I fear I must disagree. And it is hard to feel much but for contempt for any in this rotten system who have long since given up on worrying about reputations since realising, or perhaps arranging, that compromise in this area does not need to affect a very comfortable standard of living funded on the backs of others who have been so consummately screwed.


From our man at the scene...

It's tragic and it's news for sure.

I am just unsure if this is how all will be reporting it:

Britons could be on lost jet - PM

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he fears....

As with him finding time in his busy schedule to call fellow [insert too many similarities to count, plus a few differences... popular, voted for..] Scot Ms. Boyle, it seems Dear Leader is now personally in charge of finding out the news, commenting upon it, and then PR'ing that he has commented.

The BBC just seems to offer the bandwidth.

Is everything that happens now going to be shared with a 'Gordon hopes/thinks/says..' Headline and intro?

Money is not everything

As it is also a telling tale on population and economy vs. environment, this could as easily be over at Junkk Male RE:view.

Singapore’s population crisis in a nutshell

Having lived there for a decade, and still visiting since my family's departure a decade ago, the 'world in miniature' aspect of this once great city state is too important not to learn from.

I treasure (fading) memories of Singapore Slings at the original long bar in the original Raffles, to drives to Punggol for chili crab in lean-tos on shoreline shanties set into the jungle.

On our last visit, I am pretty sure that's where one of the several hundred 26 storey HDBs my brother in law and his family live in now stand. Not sure a family meal at Jack's Place in Parkway Parade had quite the same sense of cultural bonding.

Progress? There is a finite land area (well, they are trying to prove Mark Twain wrong daily, but international sea limits will eventually require either going down, or higher up as the only options). Maybe the era of Blade Runner-like living is not so far away.

All to 'sustain economic growth'. And then, when the last square inch of grass has been concreted over? What quality of life will those who have got to this point enjoy, now that the shark that needs to swim to survive has stalled and is gasping for more air?

Ironically, my 12 year olds have been written to to require they get ready for National Service when they are 18, and we are required to stump up $75k bond each should they not feel so disposed.

As I replied to someone who asked me if I was ever tempted to return: 'there has to be more to life than living in an a/c box from which you commute in an a/c box to work in an a/c box to earn enough to blow at nights and weekends in another a/c box. And I think my kids deserve better.'

So unless the govt. revises its policies a tad, they'll be missing out on 6 years' worth of tourist money and, who knows, the chance of two 18 year olds opting to do their bit for a few years in a Taiwanese swamp to get their chance at living in a... albeit potentially well-appointed... a/c box.

Governments would do well to remember that human beings don't respond well to coercion and can, surprisingly, even opt not to be bribed with trinkets.

Still, I'm sure the SDU (Social Development Unit (bless), better known as 'Single, Desperate and Ugly' with the humour I still take strength from knowing flourishes there) is finding its ad budget enhanced.