Saturday, December 04, 2004

Crisis over

Those of you who happened to visit in the last couple of hours may have noticed that there was a problem. Well, it's now fixed and Blogger's regurgitated the posts it had previously lost, so all should be back to their normally low standards.

But, on the not really that bright side, its convinced me to check out Wordpress, which my hosting company provides an easy-install version of. Yes! All sorts of new code for me to break while having no idea what I'm doing!

Reckless endangerment

Given the reports of angry mobs gathering outside furniture stores, would it be a very silly (and potentially dangerous) act for someone to head to their nearest branch and casually mention that paedophiles are often seen in Courts? (via the Honourable Fiend)

Anyone got a spare £10,000?

That's the cost of what could be five of the most (unintentionally) humorous minutes on British TV - a Party Political Broadcast for the Courage, Strength and Indefatigability Respect Coalition. In this Weekly Worker article about the SWP's recent Conference (which is quite illuminating about the way the party works) there's this little titbit:
In the May 2004 general election Respect is going to stand no more than 20 to 30 candidates.
You see, you need to be standing 50 candidates to get a PPB, so Respect are going to fall short. So, if anyone can find the money for them to hit the magic number, we could still get 'George Galloway: My Struggle' on TV before the next election. With its view of history, it might make a good double bill with Churchill: The Hollywood Years.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A bucket of slurry meets...careful, he's somewhat litigious

You know that joke about 'What's the difference between X and a bucket of shit? The bucket.'? Well, it has absolutely no connection to this story, none whatsoever.
Euro MP Robert Kilroy-Silk has had a bucket of farm slurry thrown over him by a protester in Manchester.
The UK Independence Party member was arriving for a BBC radio show when the attacker emerged from behind a bush.
(via The Periscope)

No, I thought you meant 'deal with it'

Dave points me in the direction of this Register story about an ID cards survey. Like him and them, I'm shocked - shocked, I tell you! - that they might try and rig a poll like that. What's interesting though, is when you look at the question:
Do you welcome plans to tackle organised crime, illegal immigration, benefit fraud and national security through the introduction of ID cards?
What's interesting, of course, is that through the secret and magical powers of Blunkettania, the ID card is meant to get rid of the first three and promote the fourth. By grouping it with them (and using the tabloid-esque 'tackle') one could be forgiven for assuming that the secret plan behind the ID card is to get rid of national security.

What's the Welsh for 'tugging the forelock'?

For the first time in the five-year history of the Welsh Assembly, a member has been expelled from the chamber for the day (via Peter Black). The heinous crime they committed that caused the Presiding Officer to take this measure? Not financial or election irregularities. Not attacking another member of the Assembly. Not even breaching some arcane law like coming into the chamber with a sword. No, it was for making a 'discourteous' remark. Even after the Tourette's-esque fit of swearing that characterises the post below, I hesitate to repeat her remarks because they're just so totally offensive, so I warn you in advance that you might soon be reading something that offends you to your very core, language the likes of which should clearly allow someone to be removed from a democratic chamber, a statement that goes well beyond he bounds of common discourse and ends up in the truly obscene.

Yes, Leanne Wood AM referred to the Queen as 'Mrs Windsor'. Could there be a crime any more heinous? I'm sure we all join with Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews (soon to be OBN, I'm sure) and every one of his constituents in seeing it, and not the act of protesting about it and getting someone thrown out of the chamber because of it, as 'childish and offensive'. Jonathan Calder has more on the history of Leighton Andrews, who seems to have moved a long way from his roots as a Liberal activist. New Labour, New Toadying.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Quote of the day

From international alcohol expert John B:
I just saw someone reading the Daily Mail in the local cafe, and felt a near-irresistible compulsion to go up to him and scream "are you a Nazi? Are you a fucking Nazi? Do you hate the blacks and the gays? If not, why are you reading that fucking Nazi rag? The Times and the Independent are both tabloid-size now, so you can't give that as an excuse; you're clearly just a fucking Nazi. I hope you die, you piece of shit", while punching him repeatedly in the head.

Even though I managed to resist said compulsion, I still don't think this is good.
But if you ever are caught reading the Mail then make sure you've memorised the Brooke defence (4th comment down).

Your courage, your strength, your indefatigability, your enormous bank balance

So, Galloway wins his libel trial against the Telegraph and picks up £150,000 for his pains. It looks like the Chewbacca defence really does work, then.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The use and abuse of deed polls

Reading Francis Wheen's How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World recently (quick review: I agree with Dave, who called it 11 essays in search of a book) I was reminded of the Demos researcher who, eager to show how forward-thinking and future-grasping a policy wonk he was, changed his name from something mundane to the retro-futuristic styling of 'Perri 6'. Now, you'd think that, like the tabloids' 'Lenny Lottery', he'd have quietly changed it back to his old name when all the publicity died down, especially after he moved on from Demos. Well, you'd be wrong. Spare a thought for all those poor researchers who have to credit papers by '6 P' or 'P 6' in their theses and dissertations, then have to explain how it's not a typo.

It prompts a thought, though - has any other demented neophiliac added '.com' to their name by deed poll yet? Or, in the interests of showing how blogging is the answer no matter what the question is, rebranded (and you know that it'd be the sort of person who finds it hard to utter a sentence without at least one word of soulless marketing-speak like 'rebranding' within it) themselves officially as 'firstnamelastname.blogspot.com'?

Luckily, not below everyone's radar

While I've been concentrating on matters Ukrainian for Fistful recently, there has been other stuff going on in the world, most notably the Goverment publishing their ID cards bill. Luckily, other people have been keeping their eye on the issue, so go see the Yorkshire Ranter, Spyblog, No2ID and John Band for more. Remember, though, that ID cards are another reason to be proud of Britain.

It's also interesting to note that because ID cards are so wonderful, because they'll solve all problems, because there's no reason why anyone should want to not have one (the preceding 22 words were sponsored by David Blunkett) that the Government will fine you £2500 if you don't have one. Or if you forget to renew it, or just neglect to tell your local commissar that you're moving, that'll be another £1000 please, citizen. Guess I'll be seeing some of you in the special prisons they'll have to build for ID card protestors in a few years time. All that construction work will be good for the economy, though.

Beyond parody

Every day, I get more evidence for my theory that we're living in the Onionverse (not least the fact the The Onion itself is, in the time-honoured phrase, not as funny as it used to be). And today, I see that Peter Cuthbertson has clearly become one of their columnists, because there's no way anyone could have written this sentence with a straight face in the real world:
I recently enjoyed using economics to work out why it is the washing up in the student house I live in is generally done so poorly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Resurrection

Some of you may remember the Blog:Vote site that was created for the European Elections back in June - well, it's now being brought back from the dead to cover the General Election.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Ah, why not

It's always reassuring to know that Government policy is made by intelligent people sitting down, looking over all the various options, weighing up the pros and cons of a decision, thinking about whether a policy is really in the best interests of the country...and then saying 'fuck it, why not?'
now we have this biometric technology, now we are going to have to use it for passports, we might as well give ourselves a full blown identity card.
But then, the 'we might as well' principle seems to explain a lot of this government's policy when you think about it. Bring in top up fees after we promised not to? We might as well. Sell off NATS after we promised not to? We might as well. Invade Iraq? We might as well. New Labour. New yeah, whatever.

Trifecta

So, we've already had John Laughland and the British Helsinki Kiss The Arse Of Despots Group giving us their take on Ukraine (short version: I love the smell of repression in the morning), now we've got the latest incarnation of the Revolutionary Friends of Milosevic Party/Living Asinine Contrarianism weighing in with their take (shorter version: Dupes! Dupes, I tell ya!) so who's next? I'm betting Galloway, paying tribute to Putin's indefatigability.

(link via Lobowalk)

Here comes sunrise

Here's a rather good map of the world showing where it's day and night around the world at any one time. So, now wondering 'is it night time there yet?' anymore. (via The Ex-Communicator)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Contrasts

Here's a question: how come when several hundred thousand people protest all over Ukraine about the theft of their democracy, it all goes rather peacefully, yet when just a couple of hundred pro-hunting protestors gather in Cardiff, there's all sorts of trouble?

Signs

Can I add a new dimension to the litany of 'Christmas starts too early' complaints? Forget shops having stuff for the holidays in stock in the middle of September or lights and decorations going up in October - I've just seen a music channel playing Fairytale of New York.

And now for some cricket

Getting away from everything else, the Observer Sport Monthly (which may soon be disappearing, according to Private Eye) has a good profile of Andy Flintoff, with some humorous snippets from his career:
In the 1980s, housebuilder Barratt made the mistake of buying St Anne's old third-team ground and building executive homes on it. They hadn't realised just how far the teenage Flintoff would hit: he peppered those homes in his three years with the club, breaking windows and once landing a ball on a resident's breakfast table.

This post should be read critically

Those of you who haven't already seen these textbook disclaimer stickers through the hundreds of other blogs that have linked to them will probably find them amusing.