Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bidisha's question

I find myself echoing Bidisha's question:  "Emily Maitlis, Kirsty Wark, Laura Kuenssberg are all amazing and sharp on BBC Newsnight - why wasn't one of them promoted to lead presenter?"


This is an important Guardian article:

Chickens are live animals, they can experience fear, they can feel pain.

Future generations will be as appalled by the way we treat animals in 2014 as we are appalled at the way slaves were treated in 1814.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games

Having checked Newsnight had nothing of interest I switched over to The Papers on BBC News 24.

But it was still showing the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

It was awful.

This is not to be anti-Scottish - I thought the Opening of the 2012 Olympics was a load of "multi-cultural crap".

Indeed, Aiden Burley's Twitter commentary would have been a welcome corrective to all the internationalist jingoism on show in Glasgow last night.

I waited until the Scottish team appeared in their controversial high-camp 1970s-coloured costumes (as if the designer had been inspired by YouTube episodes of Jason King set in the Scottish Highlands in 1971).

And then I switched off.

One rather dreads the weeks to come.

The endless mindless comments about sport from leftie politicos, as if they are trying to prove they are rounded individuals instead of mono-obsessed nerds.

The inevitable article from Sunder Katwala telling us the Glasgow Games demonstrate how "inclusive" and "welcoming" society has become, and how this validates all of post-war immigration despite it happening against the wishes of the majority.

The unavoidable oddball remarks from Bonnie Greer reminding us that the "dark" Picts were almost certainly black, the Black Watch were to a man black, and Shakespeare's Dark Lady of the Sonnets was of course black and an upcoming Hollywood feature will dramatise this very point.

Eventually Dan Hodges will write in the Telegraph that victory of the Scottish team means the end for Ed Miliband.  Unless of course the Scottish team does badly in which case he will write that the bad performance of the Scottish team means the end for Ed Miliband.  Indeed, he has probably written the article already and just has to change one or two key words and it is ready to go.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Very interesting Tweet from Michael Savage (The Times).

It is obvious that the Speaker is not good enough.

It is time for him to go.

This scam has destroyed the welfare state

This is why the welfare state has lost public support:

Labour took the public resources built up by decades of National Insurance contributions and gave them to newly-arrived immigrants on the nebulous criteria of "need" in return for bloc-votes by immigrant communities.

This scam has destroyed the welfare state and effectively destroyed democracy.

Latin was the language of the Romano-British peoples

Adam Ramsay, in a silly review of languages formerly widespread in the British Isles, misses off the most obvious one - Latin. 

For four hundred years Latin was the language of the Romano-British peoples.

It is to the credit of the Anglo-Saxons that they not only adopted this ancient language but preserved it for centuries, through the Reformation, into the modern era.

The greatest of all English historians, the Venerable Bede, wrote his History of the English Church and People in Latin, not Anglo-Saxon.

Indeed, Latin was taught in United Kingdom grammar schools until the 1960s and 1970s when grammar schools were abolished in an act of socialist-inspired spite.

It is arguable that without the support of Welsh and Scottish Labour MPs the abolition of the grammar schools would never have been tolerated.

Thus Ellie-Mae O'Hagen (through her support for socialism) must accept partial responsibility for the extinction of at least one ancient language.

Blair is never coming back, not even in a supporting role

James Bloodworth tells us:  " is now 40 years since a Labour leader (excluding Blair) last won a General Election. 40 years. Let that sink in for a minute. The last time an election was won by Labour-minus-Blair Leonid Brezhnev was leader of the Soviet Union and Richard Nixon was about to be impeached."

As Blair is never coming back, not even in a supporting role, things look dire for the Labour Party.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


There are disturbing tones of irredentism in this Ellie-Mae O'Hagen piece on Welsh culture:

"Welsh evolved from Brittonic (meaning indigenous Breton, as opposed to Anglo-Saxon), and until the Romans came along, it was spoken in England too."

" indigenous Celtic culture I’ve inherited by being born in Wales – a culture that isn’t unique to my small and beautiful corner of the country, but at one time reached across Britain..."

Does she really think English people dominate Welsh people?

I was not aware of lording it over the Welsh.

Perhaps I have been doing it unconsciously.

Or perhaps Ellie-Mae O'Hagen just needs to get over herself.


Another day of meetings that went on so long there was no time for lunch and no time for dinner, and I barely had time to grab this packet of jellies before Alec Nussbaum offered me a lift as far as Finsbury Park (it would have been easier to go to Kings Cross, especially as Alec Nussbaum refused to let me eat in his car in case I got sugar everywhere).

A whispering huddle in the loos

I am getting fed up with all the conspiratorial meetings that are held in the toilets at Head Office.

There is nothing more off-putting than being asked into a whispering huddle in the loos on the third floor.

In any case, this violates the Head Office policy on openness and transparency since women can hardly be asked into the Gents (or perhaps they have their own loo-based conspiracies?).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obviously I am not happy that such a pro-immigration libertarian such as Evan Davis is replacing Jeremy Paxman.

If he continues to be biased and provocative on the issue of immigration he will have to go.

I give him eighteen months.

How sinister the Barbican looks

Look how sinister the Barbican looks, towering over the City in a menacing brutalist way.

Many MPs have flats in this complex.
Palimpsest speech by Tony Blair in which he means the reverse of everything he says.

"We despise playing politics with immigration".

Yeah, right.

That's how all those millions of extra Labour voters got here.
One wonders whether any of the lefties currently at the Blair speech will have the courage to make a citizen's arrest.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

He was never really a Tory:

What a wasted life.

He could have gone into the Liberal party and had a career with more integrity.

An existential crisis on the A1010

Totally absorbed in her nails.

Had one broken?

Was this an existential crisis on the A1010?

One of the wonders of north London

I took a break from the conference to go and look around Waltham Abbey famous as the burial place of Harold Godwinson (he usurped the throne as Harold II although I think William the Conqueror had a much more legitimate claim to the throne).

The heat and humidity were debilitating and enervating.

Looking towards the High Altar you can see one of the huge Norman columns that support the structure.

You would think that in such a stone building it would be cool, but there was no respite from the heat.

Up a short flight of steps to an elevated chapel to see the 15th century Last Judgement mural.  It was a wonderful experience to see this painting.  This is one of the wonders of north London.

It needs to be conserved properly.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

He was sitting there in his vest

Driving back through north London as a passenger in Alec Nussbaum's car, I saw this guy on a little balcony above a shuttered shop.

He was sitting there in his vest (it was still very hot), drinking a beer, reading his paper.

There was something about the scene that reminded me of southern climes.

There were no criticisms when I gave my report, which was a relief - the past week at work


A rush to arrange a Polish interpreter for the weekend.  This involved a lot of 'phone calls.  Perhaps I am not at my best troubleshooting (I said this Alec Nussbaum and he said I was like Alexander Haig, I get mad when things go wrong).

I worked on the broadcast copy research, the deadline drawing uncomfortably close.

A proposal to tie up inheritance bequests (specifically from grandparents) in a scheme so that the money can only be spent on education and training.


Most of the morning spent on a photoshoot - portraits of the Council.  We used the corner office as a makeshift studio.  Just head and shoulders shots, but the photographer took hours fussing about.

A brief from Ashish Sharma.  He is so woolly and vague that talking to him is very tedious.  I wondered if anyone would notice if I just ignored him (the Birmingham office has gone downhill since he took over).


I had allocated the day to writing my report for the Management Meeting tomorrow.  But there were so many interruptions (telephone calls and e-mails) that I did not make much progress.  I worked through lunch to get the basics done.

The heat almost unbearable.  Two electric fans on my desk.  But I did not take my tie off.

A call from Alec Nussbaum asking me to so a report for tomorrow about the "competition".  Although it was very short notice and an extra thing to do, I did not mind doing this report.  I argued that sometimes your competitor is your best friend.


Rain and then hot sun makes the atmosphere humid.  Some of the rain has been torrential.  Driving to work one saw a green wet landscape sparkling in the dazzling sun.

I was at my desk a few minutes early and opened the new e-mails that had come in.  Then I spent an hour editing my report for the Management Meeting.  I finished just in time.

The meeting started at 10 and went on for four hours.  Alec Nussbaum chaired the meeting - he has a surface amiability but is actually deeply cynical.  It was very clear that he was double-checking information as it was given to him.

There were no criticisms when I gave my report, which was a relief.

During the sandwich lunch talk turned to Gaza.  Alec Nussbaum became very animated and said that Israel had twenty-five thousand activists around the world who are used to influence opinion.  "That's how I want us to be" he said, "we are building a big team of opinion-formers who can sotto voce promote our ideas without seeming partisan".

After the meeting I checked proofs.


I gave some work to Joey, a graphic designer we sometimes use.  He was sunbathing when I rang him.  "My shoulders are burned" he said.

Labour leaders can't really be ruthless

One of the most perplexing aspects of leftie comment on Labour poll leads is that they thought even 37% was an occasion for rejoicing.

Now they have slipped to 34% the penny is beginning to drop - they are not doing enough to consolidate their position.

Presumably Ed Miliband in his forthcoming reshuffle will have to be as ruthless as David Cameron.

The problem is that Labour leaders can't really be ruthless.

The party structure counts against ruthlessness and the party temperament tends to oppose ruthlessness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

All those rushing to comment on what is happening in Gaza should remember that it is impossible for people sitting safey in the United Kingdom to understand the fear that is on both sides and is compelling each side to act in the ways that they are.

If someone was trying to kill you would you react rationally?

The lady volunteer

"No please don't do that, I can't bear it when people do that."

The lady volunteer sent down from Head Office shifted in her chair awkwardly, as if she were somehow being violated. 

"Please don't do it, I'm asking you nicely not to" (rising note of distress in her voice).

Then... "Oh nooo".

At the desk in front of her Alec Nussbaum deliberately extended his tongue and licked the flimsy plastic lid of his black cherry yogurt.

"You should never lick the lid" the lady volunteer said.

"Never never never."

"It's just so..."