Worth Reading 75: I was your sorry ever after

Fear and loathing in Athens: the rise of Golden Dawn and the far right – I don’t know how much it’s emphasised for the story, or if it seems worse than it is because of the focus on one angle, but Greece sounds like a country with some major problems right now.
Stephen becomes first councillor in the UK with Down’s Syndrome – Great story, and even better, the comments below are almost completely positive.
Light Entertainment – Andrew O’Hagan in the London Review of Books on the Savile scandal and the rather disturbinglight world of British light entertainment.
Conference accreditation: what do candidates think? – One for my Lib Dem readers here. Following on from Jennie’s questions to candidates, Andy Hinton polls candidates for the Federal Executive for their views on Conference accreditation.
Context is everything – Charles Stross looks at the reasons for and against protecting the environment. JUst how important are humans anyway?

And if you’re still here, why not watch this?

Worth Reading 20: Plenty O’Toole

The whole wide world in just five links

Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere – Newsnight’s Paul Mason looks at some of the reasons for the sudden wave of protests around the world
Novels I will not write: Jesus wants his kidney back – Charles Stross comes up with some wonderful ideas for books that won’t happen: “wouldn’t it be fun to have a vampire yarn revolving around a hapless journalist who is in demand because he pisses holy water?”
We Have Always Been At War With Sir Winston Churchill – Stable and Principled on the latest banging of the drums against the Human Rights Act
It’s my dream job! – Anton Vowl applies for a job at the Daily Mail…but I think my application has a better chance of success
Peter Pomerantsev’s Diary – An inside look at how TV is produced in Russia, and why Western models of reality TV don’t work well there (via)

Applying for a job at the Daily Mail

Earlier today, Anton Vowl linked to this advert for trainee reporters at the Daily Mail. I’m not looking for a job at the moment, but something about the phrase “200 words on why you think you could be a Mail journalist” got my attention. And so, this:

Waking up this morning, I discovered I’d slept 16% less than the previous night. Extensive research of my prejudices revealed that this was due to a new European directive on sleeping, and I immediately called several self-appointed experts who slammed this decision to wake up early. I skipped breakfast, having discovered scientific studies that proved corn flakes, milk and being in a kitchen before 10am all cause cancer. Turning on the radio, I listened for thirty seconds before turning off in disgust. Didn’t they realise that on this day at some point in the past, some British people had died somewhere? A letter to the BBC followed, complaining how their political correctness gone mad meant these important anniversaries weren’t being noted. I then went out and noticed that so-called scientists hadn’t predicted the rain that was falling, which clearly shows how global warming is a myth. I kept my distance from the wheelie bins that littered the street, knowing each one contained a spy camera operated by a feral hoodie, reporting all my movements to his masters in Brussels, ready to give my house away to a gay asylum seeker. My life is hell, but at least I’m not a celebrity.

Do I get the job, Mr Dacre?

Worth Reading 18: Now legal in the United States

And today, we’re 80% Egyptian-related:

WorldNetDaily: The Rise of the Muslim Anti-Christ Explains Egypt Unrest – No, I’m not linking to WorldNutDaily, just to Richard Bartholomew’s analysis of another one of their bizarre conspiracy theories
Arseholes, considered as a strategic resource – Daniel Davies on how dictatorships keep themselves in power.
Why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979 – a very good explanation of all the differences by Juan Cole
da brother’s gonna work it out – The Yorkshire Ranter on Tony Blair’s support for Hosni Mubarak
A True Story of Daily Mail Lies – And finally, something that’s not about Egypt, but is the sad truth about how some of our media operate (via)

Worth Reading 15: Ides, ides, ides

The Daily Mail And Stephen Green: A Torrid Romance – The Mail, as ever, is never afraid to eat its own in the interests of a good story
The Wilkinsons and ‘Christian’ opposition to anti-discrimination laws – “If the Wilkinsons are truly naive and thought their B&B was just a private home, I wonder were they paying tax on the proceeds of their business, as well as complying with the fire and safety regulations that apply to B&Bs? If they were, they know fine well that the nature of their business meant that their home was, in law, treated rather differently than any other private home.”
Rupert Murdoch – A Portrait Of Satan – A fascinating look at the billionaire tyrant from Adam Curtis’ BBC blog
Woman Accused of Faking Disability by Nadine Dorries Has Painful Foot Operation – one day, people will stop taking Nadine Dorries seriously. Until then, we’ll just have to keep exposing her lies. (Warning, contains descriptions of surgery some people may find a bit graphic)
How to Take Over a Politically Unstable Country in Six Easy Steps – Your step-by-step guide to a coup, though I’m worried about putting this in the same roundup as Rupert Murdoch, just in case he starts getting ideas

And a special bonus for today – a guest post by me at Keep Colchester Cycling on my first bike.

The troll ladder

I wonder if there’s an ongoing notoriety competition between various of the right-wing professional trolls (or ‘prolls‘). Measured on some scale that calculates the balance Twitter outrage amongst the liberati, the number of outraged blog posts and PCC complaints generated, and – for the really accomplished – the number of huffy comment pieces generated in rival newspapers.

(While I’m not sure of the exact mechanics of the calculation, it’s clearly measured on the Moir Scale. Most outrages only normally register in milli-Moirs, of course, though all dream of reaching the heights of a full Moir)

Obviously, though, someone somewhere has the rather unenviable job of calculating the current scores in the ongoing contest and informing participants of their rank. This, of course leads to competition between the contestants and thus, the news that Telegraph columnist James Delingpole is about to be featured on television being humiliated for his lack of knowledge persecuted by the liberal elite for daring to counter their politically correct lies is clearly threatening either the Daily Mail or Melanie Phillips’ position in the table, so they respond by getting her to weigh in on the old favourite of the ‘gay agenda’, knowing that’ll create sufficient outrage to see off the young challenger.

Worth Reading 2: Electric Blogaloo

Some more things from the interwebnets that have caught my attention:

Mail gets it wrong on US broadcast of ‘Downton Abbey’ – Tabloid Watch reports on how Downton Abbey isn’t being dumbed-down for American audiences. I’m shocked – shocked! – that there’s inaccurate and badly researched reporting going on in the Daily Mail.
A Con-LibDem merger? I will not be a member of such a mongrel party – Oh, so many reasons to link to this angrily mad piece (with some even more bonkers comments) by Roger Helmer MEP on Conservative Home, not least the author’s picture which looks as though it should be illustrating ‘harrumph’ in the dictionary. It’s like someone distilled the essence of Conservative Home into a single page.
Man of Mystery – Interesting article from the New Yorker on why Steig Larsson’s novels have such an appeal.
Tilting Towards Israel – A guest post on Media Lens about the subtle biases in the reporting of Israel and Palestine in the British media.
Quite contrary: Inside the Battle of Ideas – For New Humanist, Richard Wilson looks at the Institute of Ideas, and some of the other groups and organisations connected to the old RCP

2010 General Election Diary Day 19: What’s the worst that could happen?

Bad ideas for party election broadcasts, number 1 in a hopefully very infrequent series: Borrowing the concept of Dr. Pepper adverts, we go for ‘vote Liberal Democrat – what’s the worst that could happen?’

I guess we need to wait till the final week for the Daily Mail to do their ‘welcome to Nick Clegg’s Britain’ fantasy to find the answer, but I expect it to be one of the so-bad-it’s-good classics. I’m predicting starring roles for Lembit Opik and Evan Harris as Chancellor and Secretary of State for Destroying Everything Britain Stands For, while Buckingham Palace probably gets closed down and moved to a field outside Brussels to serve as Herman von Rompuy’s holiday home.

So, the first votes of the election have been cast and are now sitting in post boxes, delivery vans and sorting offices waiting to be delivered. I still vote in person, mainly because I live very close to my polling station and thus always seem to be the person who gets volunteered to do the first hour or two of telling there, which means I can normally be the first person to vote there too. There’s something about the experience of going into a polling station and putting my cross on a piece of paper or two that makes me think ‘is that it? Next time I vote, I want to be using a decent electoral system.’

Still, at least I won’t be trying to place a cross on the ballot paper while holding my nose, unlike Polly Toynbee, who’s doing her bit for the environment by recycling ideas from 2005. I have the feeling that if the Government depicted in Torchwood: Children of Earth was a Labour one, Polly Toynbee would still be arguing that they needed to be supported. Yes, they may have wanted to hand over 10% of the country’s children to the 456, but that at least helped to create more vacancies at Sure Start centres. Anyway, James Graham said everything I wanted to say on this without introducing drug-addicted aliens into the argument.

Meanwhile, today’s ‘Really? Wow! Thank God you mentioned that, we’d never have thought of it ourselves’ award goes to Sunny Hundal for this piece of advice to the Liberal Democrats:

Identifying Lib Dem pockets of voters and organising activists to start knocking on doors on polling day to get them out would be another strategy Cowley Street is or should be thinking about.

Yes, fellow Lib Dems, we’re going to have to stop spending our election days sitting on the sofa drinking beer and catching up with all the exciting developments we’ve missed on Doctors during the campaign. Apparently – and I know this will be news to all of you out there – if we had some way of finding out which voters were likely to support us, we could then spend polling day making sure we get them to go out and vote. I’ll be sure to mention this brand new idea to the campaign team at the nest meeting.

For today’s campaigning, we got to pretend to be postmen in a sorting office, taking the large numbers of letters that have been addressed and stuffed over the past few weeks and arranging them ready for delivery. Another of those dull jobs that doesn’t get reported on as part of campaigning, but helps get a lot of people voting.

Celebrity chef, Daily Mail columnist and idiot. But I repeat myself.

Ah, the Daily Mail. The champion of the law-abiding citizen, the sort of paper that would surely regard someone boasting about how they wilfully endangered people to be beyond the pale and worthy of condemnation. Well, you’d think that, but then you’re not the Daily Mail executive who thought it would be a good idea to get James Martin (if you don’t know who he is, he’s celebrity cookery’s version of Alan Titchmarsh) to write their motoring column for them in which he does just that.

Like most wannabe motoring writers, James likes to think he’s the new Jeremy Clarkson. Of course, the Jeremy Clarkson he wants to replace isn’t the real one, but the crass, boorish and thuggishly crude version of Clarkson that exists in many peoples’ heads without any of the real one’s talent, wit, irony and self-deprecation.

So, when James gets asked to review the electric Tesla Roadster, you can predict that his article will contain the usual digs at ‘tree-huggers’ (yes, he uses that exact term) and cyclists inbetween his attempts to actually review the car, but then he ends with a quite stunning…well, confession is probably the best word:

Twenty minutes into my test drive I pulled round a leafy bend, enjoying the birdsong – and spotted those damned Spider-Man cyclists. Knowing they wouldn’t hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed.

The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my rear-view mirror. I think this could be the car for me.

Yes, a Daily Mail writer has just boasted about how he wilfully endangered other road users while out driving a car on behalf of the paper. Unfortunately, he doesn’t say exactly where this took place, but if you know of any cyclists who were driven off the road by an arrogant idiot in a Tesla then they now know who did it and can inform the relevant police force. So maybe by printing this, the Mail has done something for law and order.

UPDATE: Obviously in order to demonstrate their commitment to free speech, the Mail have now removed all the comments from the article, most of which were from cyclists pointing out his stupidity.

(via Bradley Wiggins and Cycling Weekly on Twitter)