Smoking Gun For Foreign Office/BBC Propaganda

by craig on February 19, 2013 4:01 pm in Uncategorized

An incredible Smoking Gun! Big Talk’s Kenton Allen tweets “Now off to the Foreign Office for a historic read through”. The exposure of Mitchell & Webb’s Our Men as state sponsored propaganda for the alliance with Uzbekistan is thoroughly confirmed. That the BBC is a party to this kind of insidious propaganda is disgusting.

Phillip Challinor commented on Our Men that now we have invented state-controlled satire.

I have also now received a further denial, now in writing, from Big Talk that Our Men is based on Murder in Samarkand, where they repeat that “it is also significantly informed by a large amount of research carried out with a number of the FCO’s staff, many of whom are serving diplomatic officers”. They further claim again that it is not set in Uzbekistan, but in a fictional country, Tazbekistan. They do not respond to the fact that their instructions to cast told them to study Uzbek people’s actions and manners.

With thanks to Mary for tracking down Kenton Allen’s tweet

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  1. Jingle Jangle

    19 Feb, 2013 - 4:07 pm

    If it wasn’t an insult to female genitalia, the FCO and BBC would be compared to a shower of the aforementioned.

    I suppose you should be glad the ambassador is not called Craig Maurie.

  2. jonny 2 jons

    19 Feb, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    Thought Mitchell consumated his move to the dark side when he married Coren’s daughter. Hey ho.

  3. I suppose Craig you might just be taking all this rather more seriously than the comedians are, having sat opposite a condemned father who confessed while having his children tortured in front of him, becoming aware of thousands of innocent people in the same situation, and being falsely prosecuted, forced out of your post and medically harmed (nearly assassinated) by someone, for reacting to the situation humanely.

    Its complete shite that you havent been at least consulted. If anyone on the team has any decency they will get in touch.

  4. What can we all do to help Craig in this? I hate feeling powerless against such revolting propaganda by these moral pygmies. It proves that there are enemies in the FCO if nothing else. Surely Craig or someone knows a lawyer who could step even if pro bono. The miscreants would not like the publicity and as Cpl Jones would say, ‘They don’t like it up ’em’.

    In the first place, I feel it is important to get on to Patten or the Commissioning Editor. The BBC commissioned the stuff.

    I would say responsibility lies at Shane Allen’s door firstly and then Patten’s representing the BBC Trust.

    ShaneAllen&Assistant AT

  5. Time for you to write your own screen play adaptation of Murder in Samarkand Craig? Don’t let the BBC’s propaganda hog the screen. Film and TV are far more potent than books–they have huge audiences.

    Here is the perfect open source software for scriptwriting:

    If not you, commission someone else?

  6. Venceremos

    Three full film scripts of Murder in Samarkand have already been written by very very heavyweight authors – David Hare, Michael Winterbottom and Don MacPherson. But nobody will finance such an anti-establishment true story – they would much rather do Zero Torture Thirty – or indeed Our Men. All three scripts were pitched to BBC Film, among many others, and turned down.

  7. willyrobinson

    19 Feb, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Simply unbelievable.

  8. Have you approached Ken Loach for advice?

    Allan Hart had a similar problem getting his book Zionism: the Real Enemy of the Jews published. He was very determined and even published it himself at great cost but eventually he succeeded and got it published in the US by Clarity Press.

    How about a stage play? Would that be cheaper to produce?

  9. From:

    Once an expensive, difficult and inaccessible profession to break into, filmmaking has now opened up to the masses. With the digital revolution, anyone with a digital video camera and access to basic editing software can make a film.

    Along with this accessibility has come a new wave of collaborative, open source filmmaking, where writers, videographers, musicians and producers share their work on a film project — often entirely in the virtual realm. Sometimes these collaborators know each other, and sometimes they don’t.

  10. Venceremos,

    It costs about £30,000 for a decent book publication. it costs about 5 million dollars for a low budget feature film. There is an excellent stage adaptation, One Turbulent Ambassador, by a major playwright, Robin Soans, that has exactly the same problems.

    The BBC even refuses to give a second broadcast to the radio play, despite it being Hare/Tennant, already paid for, and the fact that the Saturday Play on Radio 4 quite frequently gets a second airing.

  11. There are now two links by Medialens contributors.

    Yet more state sponsored satire – Hidari Today, 4:17 pm

    BBC comedy propaganda. – AlanG Today, 4:15 pm

  12. Cancel your TV licence:

    “You don’t need a licence if you don’t use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV – for example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch ‘catch up’ services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD.”

    Defund them…

  13. Venceremos,

    I admire your invincible optimism, and yes anyone can make a film with a digital cam. But getting it distributed and broadcast to a mass audience is incredibly, incredibly difficult. I have spent five years of my life working on this with some of the very best people in the industry. Please realise it is a tad annoying for you to keep posting “But this internet article says its simple”.

  14. For making your own animation, you might try this approach, which is something one person could do in a few days:

  15. Craig, if this is true, it’s pretty scary. Unfortunately, these media types live in a world of their own, now more than ever before.

    You are correct. Making films is notoriously difficult. Any director will tell you that

    And to DomesticExtremist, I stopped paying my TV Licence about two years ago due to being generally unhappy with the BBC, but I specifically objected to the BBC producing “Homes Under the Hammer”, a TV show that promotes property speculation (if landlords want their own TV programmes they can pay for a specialist channel on Sky with their own money).

    Barely I day goes by when I don’t feel that it was a great decision. The £12 a month I save goes into my pension fund now instead of into some overpaid TV star’s.

  16. “That the BBC is a party to this kind of insidious propaganda is disgusting.” – but rather expected.

  17. A different TV production company, Dragonfly, part of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine TV, have upset a community of people in the North of England in the People Like Us programme shown on BBC Three.

    This outsourcing of production by the BBC follows the example of the privatisation of other public services. What was so wrong with the old style BBC where every employee produced popular programmes that we mostly wanted to watch and listen to? There certainly was not the massive top heavy and expensive management structure that has been created nor the lavish new buildings in London (not just Portland Place), Salford and elsewhere. What are they for? Little of the production is now inhouse.

    A behomoth was created by Birt and Thompson and by NuLabour and Ms Jowell who got rid of the Governors and created the Trust.

  18. If they broadcast this, and it is indeed an exercise of ‘sublimation’, to make light of evil so as to protect the image of our satanic State, then let’s hope it becomes the final nail in the BBC’s coffin.

  19. The Web is an alternative to the stranglehold of the establishment media distribution networks. Emerging film distribution models that utilise peer to peer streaming bypasses all of that crap and lowerd the barriers to entry into film distribution.

    Read this discussion of streaming, its limitations and the role of Bittorrent Live in solving them.

  20. Mary, you are referring to the lesser evil as opposed to the greater evil of today. Still evil though.

    (I’m sure you’re familiar with Pilger’s critique of Aunties creation, meant as a State propaganda tool – of course, which amazingly the public pay for) But yeah, there were some good programs in the lesser evil days.

  21. Venceremos

    And what is the largest audeince any feature film has ever obtained using solely these alternative distribution models? Bugger all. I used to waste a lot of my time giving interviews to documentary makers who made films nobody ever saw. You go make the film and then tell me how many people saw it.

  22. Jonangus Mackay

    19 Feb, 2013 - 7:10 pm

    LIVE now (1900 GMT) from London Frontline Club: The Invention of the Land of Israel:

  23. Craig. A suggestion… Talk to John Pilger about it. I’m sure he’ll give you some good advice.

  24. This Youtube video of a Mitchell and Webb sketch is billed as hilarious. Whatever it is it is not that. I guess the piped laughter lets you know when it’s supposed to be funny.

  25. There were allegations of plagiarism made against the BBC over their comedy about the Olympics, Twenty Twelve.

    “BBC in plagiarism row over ‘Australian Olympics show copy claims'”

    And here’s an account of the affair, written by one of the writers of an Australian treatment of similar material, Interestingly, the BBC had quite long negotiations with the Australian writers, who are very well known there.

    There’s stuff about it all over the net.

    The bit where the BBC investigated themselves, before haughtily declaring themselves not guilty was some of the funniest work they’ve done in ages.

    The BBC complaints dept would certainly be one hell of a place to set a comedy. Now, no nicking.

  26. On, Our Men, “It’s such a good subject,” Mitchell told Reader’s Digest. “We couldn’t believe that something along these lines hadn’t been written before.”

    Well, he is a comedian.

  27. I am fully up to speed now with this story. Webb is the lanky indefinably not-bad looking blond one, and Mitchell, is well, the other one, sitting on the toilet-pan, with his trousers round his ankles, in that thing that was one one christmas-time in the wee small hours on some obscure channel that never took off, Mitchell a sort of Bobby Ball, to Webb’s Tommy Cannon. As for going over to the dark side, he’d been writing the most unfunny pieces imaginable for the Guardian for at least a couple of years, with competition from that other chuckle brother, Armando Ianucci -each plumbing the depths, and both manifesting despair or some total breakdown; no-one dared comment on either’s weekly dismal failures for fear of pushing either of them over the edge completely. The real comedy at the time at the Graun came from Kevin McKenna, his defence of Michael Martin (and his wife) had tears of laughter rolling down many a cheek, the problem was McKenna was utterly serious, I think.

  28. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    19 Feb, 2013 - 8:54 pm

    I want Michael Palin and Eric Idle. That’s a funny pair.

  29. State-sponsored satire is not new.

    Celtx scripting software: if it’s specifically radio drama in BBC ‘scene’ format you want to write, it’s easier to design your own template in Microsoft Word – Celtx is klunky and frustrating. I have such a Word template – get my email from Clark or Suhayl if you’re interested. Only thing it doesn’t do is complete character names when you type the first letter or two, but you can fake this with Word’s ‘autocorrect’ feature. You’ll get funny effects later when you’ve forgotten you did that ALEX: nd queer stuff turns up in your LISA: etters.

  30. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    19 Feb, 2013 - 10:30 pm


  31. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    19 Feb, 2013 - 10:39 pm

    Re this “smoking gun” in the form of a Twitter (and therefore using Twitter appropriate language):

    “Now off to the Foreign Office for a historic read through”.

    What precise meaning do people here give to the word “historic”?

    Ditto “read through”?


    La vita è bella, life is good! (well, Mitchell and Webb seem to think so)

  32. Michael Stephenson

    19 Feb, 2013 - 10:50 pm

    A kickstarter project could potentially raise the kind of funding you need for a low budget movie, especially with a well known director attached.

  33. Habbakuk

    A read-through is an accepted term in acting when the actors read through a script at the start of the rehearsal process, putting some characterisation into it.

  34. Craig referred to Zero Dark Thirty earlier. This is a good critique of it on Orwellwasright.

    Lwtc247 When I was speaking about the BBC earlier, I was really referring to the entertainment output. I do know of its propaganda function from the early days of Reith and get told off by some visitors here for calling it the state broadcaster.

    Again Orwellwasright writes –

    The Trust members are now:

    Lord Williams of Baglan was one time Special Adviser to Robin Cook and Jack Straw!

    Also odd is David Liddiment’s position. In a varied career, he was once BBC Head of Entertainment and ‘With old Granada colleagues he also co-founded All3Media, for which he is Creative Director. Over the six years since it started, the company has grown both organically and by acquisition to become the largest independent production house in the UK.’ They produce many BBC programmes (see their website) and formed a joint company in 2009 called Tower Productions in assocation with BBC Worldwide.

    A conflict of interest surely?

    The Trustees’ Register of Interests makes interesting reading, especially some of the longer lists of directorships and other placements they have found for themselves. Especially interesting is the fact that Lord Williams’ wife works at Wilton Park, another branch of the FCO.

    There is a staff of 50 or so supporting the trust under the director Nicholas Kroll. Ex Civil Service and ex DCMS he arrived at the BBC in 2004 when Ms Jowell set up the Trust. His total pay in 2011 was £280k.

    ‘What a shower’ as old Terry Thomas would have said and aren’t we the mugs for funding them. There is no transparency on the financial arrangements with these many production companies or who decides to use them.

  35. PS We know that the latest state demonisation of China is well dodgy when they get Gordon Correra on to elaborate as he did just now on the Ten O’Clock News. I see their Mr Marcus puts his two penn’orth in here.

    Agent Cameron would have done better to stay at home with his children for half term instead of traipsing around India, playing cricket and turning up for ‘interviews’ with the embedded BBC James Landale and Sky Joey Jones. The Indian PM gave Cameron short shrift on the helicopter deal. Saw through the spiv that Cameron is.

    Ms Sophie Raworth who I think of as the Head Prefect of the girls’ high school was preparing us all for big hikes in energy prices. She’s enough to scare the horses.

    Night all.

  36. Mary wrote:

    “Also odd is David Liddiment’s position. In a varied career, he was once BBC Head of Entertainment and ‘With old Granada colleagues he also co-founded All3Media, for which he is Creative Director. Over the six years since it started, the company has grown both organically and by acquisition to become the largest independent production house in the UK.’ They produce many BBC programmes (see their website) and formed a joint company in 2009 called Tower Productions in assocation with BBC Worldwide.

    A conflict of interest surely?”

    My guess is that members close to the executive level know well in advance that the Beeb is going to be privatized sometime in the near future, and what is happening is the rats in position are siphoning off the family silver into their own little annexes, before the main body [the denuded rump] goes up for sale.

  37. SNAFU Craig.

    ‘James Bond’ is a dirty pedo-enabler/voyeur/blackmailer/torturer. By induction, so is the entire establishment.

    “Ken Livingstone, Kincora boys home, MI5 filming”

  38. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    20 Feb, 2013 - 8:52 am

    Thank you Craig. Genuine question : how should one read “historic”? First time it’s happened? Checking for historic (and by extension, general) accuracy/realism? Other?

  39. African Pope

    20 Feb, 2013 - 9:11 am

    Comedy is very much a group-think thing and an ideal platform for slipping in your agenda under the radar to young impressionable people that have absolutely no idea what really goes on in the name of their so called ‘freedom’.

    Mock the Week seemed to operate on a quota system for getting in stereotypes of Arabs as irrational suicide bombers. Frankie Boyle who was the funniest man on the show by a country mile ended up having to go to court for making a couple of jokes about the IDF. I think he was trying to tell us something within the confines of a very closed and very controlling BBC that constantly exhibits the most diabolic bias towards that “shitty little country” run by “such a liar” (The French seem less reticent about critiquing the fake nation than the Zionist dominated British).

    Anyone notice how most of the ‘financial service’ companies are now falling over themselves to get comedians in their adverts? Truly sad for those of us that still remember ‘alternative comedy’ in the 1980s. Where are the dissenting public voices now? Keeping mum in their tax-dodging Surrey and Hampshire mansions.

    As an aside I see that indicted war criminal Tzipi Livni has been made Israel’s ‘minister of justice’ – a truly pathetic attempt to wash away her direct culpability in the mass murder of defenceless men, women and children and allow her to once again go shopping in Paris and London using her fake disguise.

    Finally, just a quick reminder of the piece of shit we have as ‘Foriegn Minister’ who is of course a ‘life long friend of Israel’ and is not a closet gay, has not engaged in inappropriate relationships with his staff and was not buggered by a senior Tory in return for addressing the Party conference before he even reached puberty. He was also not the Minister for Wales who engineered the cover up of the North Wales/Wrexham paedophile ring. Rest assured that he is an upright man with impeccable credentials and fully deserving to be representing the British people abroad. Notice he only ever climbs out the woodwork to attack Arab leaders, who could he possibly be working for?

  40. Genuine answer Habbabkuk – discover a fucking dictionary.

  41. English Knight

    20 Feb, 2013 - 9:25 am

    Methodist Dorkshireman Habba posted – “Thank you Craig. Genuine question : how should one read “historic”? First time it’s happened? Checking for historic (and by extension, general) accuracy/realism? Other? Thanks.”

    Craig, with due respect to your patience and wisdom, this cuninglinguist clown deserves the Kempe treatment too – enough of this trivialisation, digression, etc but above all NO positive contribution or intent.

  42. David Cromwell one of the Medialens editors writes:

    BBC ‘News’
    Posted by The Editors on February 20, 2013, 9:18 am

    ‘She’s roughly four months pregnant now, and behind those clasped hands there’s certainly evidence of a rather more rounded stomach than before.’

    What happened to the career of Nicholas Witchell? It started so promisingly all those years ago with his investigative reporting about the Loch Ness monster.



  43. Someone in the BBC must agree with P Charles’ opinion of Witchell for this to have stayed up on the website.

    Transcript: Princes’ comments

    Watch the photo call

    The Prince of Wales has made comments about the media during an arranged photo call at a Swiss ski resort with his sons. Here is a transcript.

  44. Here’s a link to the BBC’s Royal Charter, which may be useful when writing complaints:

    The BBC’s public nature and its objects

    (1) The BBC exists to serve the public interest.
    (2) The BBC’s main object is the promotion of its Public Purposes.

    The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows—

    (a) sustaining citizenship and civil society;
    (b) promoting education and learning;
    (c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;
    (d) representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;
    (e) bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK;
    (f) in promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television.

    I found this in an article about how the BBC supports DRM technology, to deny you control over your own hardware – remember that digital TVs, set top boxes and recorders are all computers these days.

  45. The web
    Past 24 hours

    About 5,970 results (0.25 seconds)
    Search Results

    Craig Murray » Blog Archive » That Mitchell & Webb Crook…/that-mitchell-webb-crook/
    23 hours ago – This approval by the foreign and commonwealth office of Mitchell and Webb’s Our Men shows the deplorable state the UK has reached in its support for despotic …

    Re: Yet more state sponsored satire – Media Lens Message Board
    2 posts – 1 author – 15 hours ago
    The exposure of Mitchell & Webb’s Our Men as state sponsored propaganda for the alliance with Uzbekistan is thoroughly confirmed. That the BBC is a party to …

    That Mitchell & Webb Crook – Topix hours ago – That Mitchell & Webb Crook. Full story: Craig Murray. Our Men , commissioned by the BBC, is a hilarious comedy about the drunken and incompetent British …

    Smoking Gun For Foreign Office/BBC Propaganda | Politicus – UK ……/smoking-gun-for-foreign-officebbc-propag...
    16 hours ago – Big Talk’s Kenton Allen tweets “Now off to the Foreign Office for a historic read through”. The exposure of Mitchell & Webb’s Our Men as state sponsored…

  46. I gave up watching TV in 1991. Dunno how some of you lot can bear it.

  47. “I gave up watching TV in 1991. Dunno how some of you lot can bear it.”

    Do you still get the computer generated threatening letters addressed to “The Occupier”? I’ve been getting them every week for 20 years now and the Lybster branch of the TV licensing enforcement division haven’t shown up as promised once.

    I wonder if the Israeli Embassy has a TV license. If they don’t the BBC will be sending them letters addressed to “The Occupier”, bet that would really piss them off.

  48. Me too.

    Turn off the TV people, and spend the hours digging for the truth on non-MSM internet sites, like this one.

  49. More BBC propaganda.

    Headline on BBC web site:

    “Scottish unemployment falls by 13,000”

    However the text says:

    “The number of people in jobs also fell by 11,000 over the same period.”

    So how come that wasn’t the headline and how come the maths don’t add up?

  50. Here’s another smoking gun. Weep with me for these victims of the US/NATO holocaust.

  51. Our erstwhile friend writes. So the danger is that the terrrrrists get hold of the drones, is it? No mention of Obomber’s Kill by Drone policy then.

    and a LOL ‘I am helping work up some ideas for a speech on human rights’.

    No laughing at the back please!

  52. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    20 Feb, 2013 - 12:33 pm

    I can’t quite see why my question about “historic” should attract so much opprobium, especially since one might have to factor in the consideration that tweets apparently have their own language; I believe in considering all the possibilities before reaching a conclusion and am sorry that this seems to upset some people.

    One test might well be to wait for the programme(s) to be broadcast and then make a judgement? Surely some of the comments are a little speculative at the moment (or have I missed something)?

  53. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    20 Feb, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    @ Fred at 11h43 : is it possible that the apparent discrepancy you point to could arise from the difference between the unemployment and employment rates (the definitions of these two are different)?

  54. Judge will accept a majority verdict on Vicky Pryce. Jury sent back after judge’s direction. Obviously verdict in balance and a retrial possible. Lawyers’ paradise.

    Ex-officer investigated over Savile
    A former policeman is being investigated over claims he “acted on behalf” of Jimmy Savile before the late TV presenter was interviewed about sexual assault allegations.
    A police inspector has been arrested for acting for Jimmy Savile in 2009.

    And a lovely photo of Agent Cameron in training for Workfare down at the local curry takeaway.×288.jpg

  55. ‘This Youtube video of a Mitchell and Webb sketch is billed as hilarious. Whatever it is it is not that.’

    Agreed. Enfield & Whitehouse often include ‘2 doctors’ sketches in their shows; OK they portray them as stereotypically haut-bourgeois prats, but at least their sketches induce the odd knowing titter in the TV audience. For Mitchell & Webb, on this evidence, comedy is clearly a serious business, and no laughing matter.

  56. Mary, 12.16pm

    No, I’m not laughing. Charles Crawford, to my mind, is much more deserving of the “Our Men” label than Craig ever was. Here’s Charles towing the Establishment line following Ecuador’s grant of asylum last August:

    I was a bit vocal about what I thought of Charles Crawford down in the comments (page 3), which you might enjoy.

  57. I find it hard to conceive that anything put-out via the BBC is not just (a load of) statist propaganda (though when it comes to the ‘sponsoring’ bit I fear it is just the dumb old tax-slaves doing that).

    I am serious; I think the effect of all corporate and state media output is well understood and its goals thoroughly controlled and defined well in advance of production. If not so, why would the government keep soldering on with the BBC if it was not simply an effective pan-global means of perpetuating a status quo for a certain ruling oligarchy (whosoever that may actually be).

    There are some parallels worth perhaps considering between this Mitchell & Webb’s ‘Our Men’ and Sacha Baron Cohen’s films ‘The Dictator’ and ‘Borat’. With Cohen’s work it is clear to me his raciest portrayals help further a Zionist agenda.

    … Cohen grew up in West London and was active throughout high school in Habonim Dror, a Zionist youth group. “He was very Zionist, very involved in Habo,” said the fellow Israel seminar participant, who has known him since they were babies …

    State controlled media is much the same as with state controlled schooling: would the state perpetuate these systems if they caused the population to be empower with knowledge and the cognitive ability to draw their own sound reasoned conclusions from gathered information. Would the state perpetuate these systems if they cause the public to question the very necessity for the state to exist at all. Not likely!

    So the flap is not really about insidious propaganda, because that is a continuous process anyway. It is about the potential of plagiarism and character deformation.

  58. Arbed. Not laughing, jeering actually. Crawford used to arrive here from his pretentious Blopgoir with the right wing stuff.
    Revolting. Surprised he has not had one of those gongs. Just think if Craig had conformed and had stayed schtum, he might have been a knight of the realm by now.

    I looked at p 3 of the 469 comments but could not locate yours.

  59. Craig said, “the security services monitor this blog” – best we wise-up then…

    You can check your connection activity using ‘wireshark’ – get it here free:

    After installing ‘wireshark’ click ‘capture options’ and untick ‘capture in promiscuous mode’ – then select your interface and ‘start’ capture.

    You will have a log of all your web traffic activity which you can save as evidence.


  60. @Fred About the unemployment figures

    Don’t be fooled: record high employment is not all it seems
    By Louisa Peacock | Telegraph – 2 hours 14 minutes ago

    Employment may be at another record high, but with GDP growth flat, isn’t there something seriously wrong with the labour market, asks Louisa Peacock .

    I hate to spoil the party, but the continued rise in UK employment reaching another record high in the latest quarter is yet to translate into meaningful GDP growth. More of us are working, yes, but with less output overall. If that’s the case, isn’t there something seriously wrong with the labour market?

    Naturally, Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, has spent the morning welcoming the fall in long-term unemployment and hailing the news that there are more people in work than ever before .

    But the productivity elephant in the room is still lurking in the shadows and won’t go anywhere fast.

    As one economist pointed out this morning, the resilience of the labour market has been going on for so long now it’s not a surprise anymore but it ought to be. “It remains hard to equate employment growth of 154,000 in the three months to December and 584,000 over the past year, with an economy that was only flat in 2012,” said Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.

    Experts have begun referring to this ballooning dilemma as the “productivity puzzle”; arguing the rise in employment coupled with sluggish GDP figures is a consequence of a structural change in the UK jobs market.


  61. Blegburnduddoo

    20 Feb, 2013 - 2:22 pm

    Fred, Brilliant joke about the Israeli Embassy at 11.21a.m.

  62. The jury in the Pryce trial has been discharged and a retrial will take place on Monday.

    We will have that again nonstop coupled with the South African furore. Good diversions from the main agenda.

  63. Well I never!

    David Dimbleby was a member of the Bullingdon Club

    David Dimbleby has chaired Question Time since 1994. From the age of 7 until he graduated from Oxford in the early 1960s, he spent his young life in an all-male world of privilege: he went to the Glengorse School in Sussex and to Charterhouse School in Surrey: he went to Christ Church, Oxford, where he was President of the Christ Church JCR, editor of the student magazine, Isis – and a member of the Bullingdon Club, the exclusive society for getting very drunk and riotous for the very wealthy or very aristocratic. From Dimbleby’s background – his great-grandfather Frederick William Dimbleby was one of the Late Victorian press barons – he seems to have got in by the “very wealthy” clause. Whatever he smashed in his student rampages, one may suppose his family paid for it. He acts like a member of the Bullingdon Club. It’s a good thing he’s sober.


  64. Donald MacDonald

    20 Feb, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    Anent Fred’s joke about the Israeli embassy – I may nick that!

    Chapeau, Fred.

  65. ??

    BREAKING NEWS: Off duty police officer found shot dead at north London home
    The 43-year-old was found at Camden address

    He worked for Specialist Protection Command
    Unit protects VIPs including the Royals and PM

  66. Very little coverage is given, or attention paid, to the plight of Jeremy Hammond.

    Jeremy Hammond’s case is showing how broken the rule of law has become in our time. Like Bradley Manning, Barret Brown and the late Aaron Swartz, this is another case of a high profile activist being severely targeted by having the book thrown at them with generally specious charges. The courts have become part of a rigged system that favors corporations and those politically connected to them. One thing that these activists seem to have in common is that they actually never really hurt anyone and are driven by one of the higher ideals that this country has been founded on -that of a truly informed populace, while those that are politically targeting them regularly harm and exploit innocent people.

    Holding those who abuse power accountable is becoming nearly impossible with the current system. More than ever, checks and balance will only come from the people. It was in response to a public uproar that Manning was moved from Quantico where he had been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

    This Thursday, February 21, Preska will make a decision on the defense motion to recuse herself from the case against Hammond and supporters plan to pack the courtroom to demand a fair trial. We all have to stay awake and support those who have passed the twilight gate, who are rendered invisible, marginalized from the rest of the population. A broken rule of law can be corrected through the vigilance and conscience of ordinary people; witnessing injustice and challenging it from all sides. We will be watching.

    For information on the Jeremy Hammond Courthouse Support Rally, go to Revolution News!

    Author: Nozomi Hayase

  67. doug scorgie

    20 Feb, 2013 - 8:55 pm

    20 Feb, 2013 – 11:43 am

    The figures you refer to are indeed misleading to any reasonable reader. They are not complete or properly explained in the BBC report.

    I see that Habbabkuk tries to give the impression that he knows what the figures mean and we are all thick.

    “…is it possible that the apparent discrepancy you point to could arise from the difference between the unemployment and employment rates (the definitions of these two are different)?”

    Habbabkuk can you please explain the following to the posters of this blog who may be rather confused by the BBC report.

    The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for October to December 2012 was 71.5%, up 0.3 percentage points from July to September 2012. There were 29.73 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 154,000 from July to September 2012.

    The unemployment rate for October to December 2012 was 7.8% of the economically active population, down 0.1 percentage points from July to September 2012. There were 2.50 million unemployed people, down 14,000 from July to September 2012.

    The ONS said that between October to December 2012, full-time employment was 378,000 lower than in the April-to-June quarter in 2008, the first quarter of the recession. But part-time employment was 572,000 higher compared with the same period.

    Economists are puzzled by the divergence of economic activity and job creation. It could be that employers are holding on to staff, or recruiting in anticipation of an upturn.

  68. I think Biden must be suffering from early onset senile dementia.

    He is supposed to be leading the drive to reduce gun ownership yet he now advises Americans to get shotguns. So ther are good guns, ie shotguns, and bad guns, ie rifles and automatics. What a crazy country.,0,1822293.story

  69. Apparently there were no suspicious circumstances in the death of the officer. Much like the death of Sean Hoare, just as the Graun exposed the hacking scandal: not dodgy at all. It must be me. Often when a death looks a bit, well, odd, the police come along and assure us that there were no suspicious circumstances. They do so very quickly as well, which is even more reassuring. I should be less suspicious, clearly. Unless we are talking about Dr Kelly, who was obviously murdered.

    If Assange has a heart-attack, I for one already know there is nothing suspicious about his demise. Nothing at all.

  70. “Very little coverage is given, or attention paid, to the plight of Jeremy Hammond.”

    Indeed, I for one had seen nothing on this; the battle to control information, and to protect corporate copyright profits, is being waged in Total War style, no tactic or measure is considered too extreme or unwarrented in this ruthless fight.

    “When you look at it soberly, the very concept is absurd. How in the world can any person claim ownership of an idea? In a world that is built on collaboration, populated by human beings whose key to survival has been our instinct to collaborate, has there ever been an “original idea”? Yet almost all law is based on that distorted and artificial concept, ignoring the combination of vast experience, conversations, reading, and research that hones every idea.”

  71. Just a reminder…

    On February 25, at Horsham Magistrates Court, documentary film maker Tony Rooke, will present detailed 9/11 evidence through the mouths of a formidable team. The BBC will be challenged over the inaccurate and biased manner in which it has portrayed the events and evidence of 9/11.

    Over the last two years the BBC has been challenged by individuals in the UK over two documentaries that they showed in September 2011 as part of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, namely ‘9/11: Conspiracy Road Trip’ and ‘The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 Ten Years On’. Formal complaints were lodged with the BBC by ‘Architects & Engineers for 911 Truth’ over the inaccuracy and bias of these documentaries, which, according to 9/11 activists, was in breach of the operating requirements of BBC through their ‘Royal Charter and Agreement’ with the British public.

    Notwithstanding two scientific and analysis teams, sworn to give expert evidence, including a Danish professor, a UK intelligence agent and an American team headed by a NASA director, no mention has been made of this legal challenge in the media.

  72. While Cameron has been in India, Hague was in Qatar. A predictable agenda.

    Britain’s Hague discusses Syria war in Qatar

  73. From Amritsar to Eastleigh in one move. My word, he’s a one.

    From the twitter of the Guardian’s SW England reporter

    steven morris ‏@stevenmorris20
    After the Boris roadshow in #eastleigh David Cameron is in town later to try to get the Tory campaign on track

    and the very same illusionist Cameron plans to convert overseas aid spending into weaponry.

    David Cameron gives green light for aid cash to go on military
    Hundreds of millions of pounds may be diverted to peacekeeping defence operations in bid to placate backbenchers

    What a horror we have as PM, and so shallow. The Indians saw through his PR initiative.

  74. Her Maj’s press management team will be busy if the latest P Harry romance comes to anything.

    The prince’s rumoured fling’s father, Jeffrey Bonas, was forced to borrow money to cover the payout to his first wife Elspeth after their divorce in 1986.

    As he was unable to pay the £1.2m settlement he borrowed £350,000 from NatWest Bank, according to re-surfaced court documents.

    Despite ‘a number of arrangements’, the Oxford graduate was unable to repay the bank, increasing the debt to £578,000 and risking the flat of a friend who has stepped in as guarantor for the loan.

    In the High Court judgement from 2003, Mr Bonas, an entrepreneur, businessman and historian according to his website, is branded ‘unreliable’ and is said to have ‘cloaked his affairs’ with offshore Isle of Man trusts and Swiss bank accounts.

    Although Mr Bonas reached a settlement with NatWest, the judge said that someone who is known to deposit money in offshore accounts should not be complaining if people around him believe him to be richer than he claims to be.

    In his judgement Mr Justice Lindsay said:’ I have preferred the evidence of persons other than Mr Bonas.’

    ‘He was, for a short span, a man of exceptional wealth and, perhaps to protect that position, cloaked his affairs with offshore Isle of Man trusts and Isle of Man and Swiss bank accounts.

    ‘Anyone who goes to such lengths to achieve opacity but then later finds himself in debt can hardly complain when others conclude that it might be that he has more resources than he is claiming to have.

    He added: ’I cannot regard Mr Bonas as a reliable or candid witness.’

    P Harry’s fat uncle Andrew, the arms salesman, is also in Verbier for his 53rd birthday with Fergie and the daughters.

    Do the Royal family employ a travel agency for all their globe trotting holidays?

  75. If anyone needed an illustration on Aaronovitch operates. In a decent society he would never be heard of again.

    Iraq and David Aaronovitch: then and now
    Posted by The Editors on February 21, 2013, 8:23 am

    2003: ‘If nothing is eventually found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again.’

    (Guardian, ‘Those weapons had better be there …’, 29 April, 2003;,3604,945381,00.html)

    2013: Today’s Times: ‘Now we know why it was right to invade Iraq.’

    article in full.

  76. s/be on how Aaronovitch. Note his ennui with the march, the protests and us in general.


    Cameron’s faithful little poodle, the voluble one with the heavy framed spectacles, often heard breathlessly chattering from the HoC or outside No 10 tweets:

    Nick Robinson‏@bbcnickrobinson

    Congrats to @BBCiPannell, Paul Wood, Fred Scott, Darren Conway for inspirational reporting from Syria – rightly won #RTS award

    It was retweeted by one of his pals at the Guardian – Retweeted by Jonathan Freedland

  77. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    21 Feb, 2013 - 10:03 am

    @ Doug Scorgie

    No, I’m not “trying to give the impression that I know what the figures mean”. I was just wondering whether the discrepancy might have something to do with the difference between the employment and unemployment rates, that’s all.

    Ok, Dougie, now that you’ve squirted your daily quota of bile, perhaps you could – having quoted at length from some source or other – now go one step further and tell us how WE should interpret the figures you supply and which conclusions YOU draw from your source….and perhaps answer the original question while you’re at it?

    Thank you in advance!


    La vita è bella, life is good! (more people employed than ever before)

  78. Mary at 9.32 am. Thanks you for the two incongruous Aaronovitch quotes. He’s as fickle as the North Wind. There was that radio programme on him discussing Orwell that you posted.

    Not even two minutes in and he’s lying about his thoughts on 1984 as a schoolboy in the sixties. “It was, it seemed to me, deployed as the great warning of what could happen if the radical left with its pro-state tendencies were to come to power”. As everybody knows Aaronovitch started off on the left and these opinions show how he has distorted his current views into believing he held them as a schoolboy. I could hear no more.

    Important news not seen (by me) on telly. It’s yesterday’s news and shows what can be done if people oppose the outrageous increases to family outgoings. They’ve done it in Bulgaria.

    Yesterday I got my renewed car insurance policy quote. I have never made a claim. My circumstances have not changed. It is up 30%. In my lifetime as a car-driver I have had a couple of bumps, so long ago I cannot recall exactly, but about forty years ago. On both occasions it was cheaper to pay for the damage myself than to claim. In my lifetime I have paid these extortionists thousands of pounds because there is a legal obligation to have car-insurance. I suspect that is true of nearly everybody.

    I am currently with Tesco. I was told if I had a loyalty card that with sufficient use I could get up to 20% off. No companies operate at a loss on any of their clients which tells me they would still be making a good profit. The time has come for people to put pressure on these bankers and insurers! Long overdue in fact.

  79. “I am currently with Tesco. I was told if I had a loyalty card that with sufficient use I could get up to 20% off. No companies operate at a loss on any of their clients which tells me they would still be making a good profit. The time has come for people to put pressure on these bankers and insurers! Long overdue in fact.”

    I don’t use loyalty cards. If you have a loyalty card they have your name and address, they know everything you buy they build up a profile and they sell the information for targeted advertising.

    I had one once, kept getting adverts for Carlsberg Special in my letter box.

  80. Why not put these points directly to the comedians involved:



  81. Fred, that’s true about loyalty cards, and indeed I said that to the person to whom I spoke. He said there is an option not to receive advertising. But I’m not trying to promote Tesco so much as point out how all insurance companies use a legal framework to charge extortionate prices. I was also trying to show, as Bulgaria has done, that we hold the power to change things. No wonder MSM has not given this much, if any, coverage.

  82. Uzbek in the UK

    21 Feb, 2013 - 12:07 pm

    I am sorry that such gloomy events that you witnessed while being Ambassador in Uzbekistan will now be presented in such stupid manner by stupid comedians. Satire sometimes is the only way to express social issues (remember Bulgakov) but in this case it is blunt ignorance.

    I am also sorry for British public which no doubt will consume this stupidity and will laugh on the events that killed hundreds, imprisoned thousands and make millions live in fear.

  83. David Mitchell has chatted with Johnathon Ross about this thing and it will be broadcast this Saturday on the ITV chatshow.

  84. African Pope

    21 Feb, 2013 - 5:55 pm

    “Congrats to @BBCiPannell, Paul Wood, Fred Scott, Darren Conway for inspirational reporting from Syria – rightly won #RTS award”

    ‘Inspirational reporting’? What, as opposed to that lesser form called factual reporting, which requires no imagination or creativity?

    It seem they can’t even be bothered to pretend they are journalists these days. No wonder most people do not believe them, but they will soldier on in their little back-slapping bubble, convinced by their own conceit.

  85. Oh that infantile jerk, Wossie, who with Russell Brand, played a very nasty smutty trick on Andrew Sachs. On that occasion the BBC acted promptly and correctly and gave them the order of the boot. Unfortunately they are both seen and heard on the screens and radios of the nation on other channels.

    I never knew that the BBC ie we the licence fee payers, had to cough up £150k to OFCOM. Where did that money end up?

  86. Yeh I heard it live, just because i find brand can be entertaining (sorry). The phonecall was poor taste in itself but what blew it up was Ross shouting “he fcked yer grandaughta” and the end. It sounded like they were both on coke.

    Ross’s chatshow can still be quite watchable, i cant bring myself to reject every last bit of this sort of communal celeb watching thing. It might be instinctive.

    In the advert for the show Mitchell says something like “there are meant to be some funny bits” – like hes not billing it as an outright comedy. I have to admit im eager to see what a traversty or coupe it turns out as.

  87. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)
    21 Feb, 2013 – 10:03 am

    Your original post to Fred:

    “…is it possible that the apparent discrepancy you point to could arise from the difference between the unemployment and employment rates (the definitions of these two are different)?”

    I have noticed that you make statements as if they are facts then follow them with…?

    Anyway for your information:

    Unemployed people are:

    Without a job, want a job, have actively sought work in the last 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks, or out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks.

    In general, anybody who carries out at least one hour’s paid work in a week, or who is temporarily away from a job (e.g. on holiday) is in employment.

    Also counted as in employment are people on government-supported training schemes and people who do unpaid work for their family’s business.

    Those who are out of work but do not meet the criteria of unemployment are economically inactive.

    All very confusing don’t you think?

  88. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    21 Feb, 2013 - 10:12 pm

    @ Doug Scorgie

    Thanks for that info, which I also read on on Wikipedia.

    I get the impression from your couple of comments addressed to me that you’re something of an expert in matters of employment economics, so I was rather hoping that you could sort out the confusion for us.

    Start with the apparent discrepancy between the 13000 fewer unemployed and the 11000 fewer in employment (the subject of the origianl post), there’s a good lad.

  89. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    21 Feb, 2013 - 10:19 pm

    Mary (21h22) is simply incapable of finding anything good or rational in any of the characters inhabiting the circles of her personal Inferno.

    You will indeed “reduce gun ownership” if you make it illegal for private individuals to own rifles and automatics because you wil therby remove two categories of firearms from general circulation. Is that difficult to understand.

    Secondly, those two categories just happen to be more dangerous than shotguns. Have you ever heard of muzzle velocity, rate of fire and range?

    Never mind. Just keep on the negative track if it makes you happy (which I suspect it does – very much so)

  90. My expectation is that this show will be used to convey the necessary dominance of realpolitik.

    The comedy will lie in efforts to circumvent instances of the bad effects of realpolitik but the tragedy will lie in realpolitik’s continued, ongoing and thriving dominance.

    Bog standard stuff.

    But the show will provide the opportunity for acres of review and op ed material explaining why we’re still the good guys, but because of the way the bad ol’world is we just have to sometimes hold our nose and get on with it.

    I expect they’ll be hoping to excise all the crimes since 911, with this show.

    No wonder the FCO are involved. No wonder life is sweet, for some.

    This could be the greatest piece of propaganda since dear old Larry’s Henry Five!

  91. OMG After the lull, he’s back with the usual vengeance.

    No need for Glenn UK to get out his algorithm stick :). The answer is that there is a total of 92 comments on this thread and 25 are mine.

    Is that OK with the blog superintendent?

    Still waiting for any response on the Habakkuk Room at Jesus College named after Sir Hrothgar Habakkuk.

    Get off my back Mr H! and goodnight.

  92. This US gun debate is interesting.

    The original idea seems to be that an armed citizenry can physically challenge a corrupt government, and that creates a balance of power.

    This seems a great idea in principle and I think it is a great idea.

    The question then becomes, to what extent does the ownership of weapons by US citizens live up in practice to the principle intended.

    Here, I don’t think it lives up very well at all.

    Firstly, the weapons that US citizens have are no match for the firepower of even the smallest of police or sheriff’s depts, never mind the state or federal govts.

    Secondly, these citizens aren’t networked to the extent that local, state and federal agancies are.

    So, I don’t think the armed US citizenry of today are really competent to fulfill the intentions of the original principle.

    I think therefore that US citizens should find ways of applying the principle more cogently. And, Good luck with that!!

    I would caution though, that if that principle cannot be met even in its discursive form in the halls of the greatest democracy ever constructed, where and how can it be fulfilled.

  93. BrianFujisan

    22 Feb, 2013 - 1:16 am

    Herbie, Whilst it’s certainly true that the usa Hoi Polloi may have no chance against the Highly advanced weaponry, of the Gov, Feds, i wonder how the numbers game would pan out

    On a not entirely OT note,

    It is to our own detriment that we fail to see the relationship between war and poverty both on a national and global level. War is the most violent and oppressive tool used by the powerful to control people and resources. The industry of war profits very few at the expense of the majority; it does not simply impoverish the nation that is attacked, but impoverishes the nation that is attacking.

    In 2005, according to World Bank statistics, “More than one-half of the world’s people live below the internationally defined poverty line of less than U.S. $2 a day,” and “Nearly one-third of rural residents worldwide lack access to safe drinking water.”

    In 2006, a groundbreaking and comprehensive report released by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER) reported that, “The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth.” An incredible startling statistic was that:

    [T]he richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total. In contrast, the bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth.[15]

    This is worth repeating: the top 1% owns 40% of global assets; the top 10% owns 85% of world assets; and the bottom 50% owns 1% of global assets.

    There’s such a wealth of crazy info in both these Links.

    It’s Mad Mad Crazy world

  94. @Mary: “No need for Glenn UK to get out his algorithm stick :)

    Hi Mary… do you object to my occasionally providing these post breakdowns, usually upon request?

    They could be interpreted in all manner of ways. Personally, I see any particular long-term patterns as reflecting the usefulness of various contributors, major components of, this blog.

    Do you have a concern over my doing this, do you think it has a possible chilling effect? It should not. Do you think it ought not to be produced at all? All the same, if you or anyone else would like to be excluded from the results – please let me know. Heck, I’m starting to sound like some search engine end-user note :#

  95. @BrianFujisan: I’d be _very_ careful with that infowars link. It can take you down a rabbit-hole of utter crazy, and there are some really whacked out nut-jobs hanging around that site. Not as bad at Glen Beck’s madhouse, but heading in that direction.

    Not to say it isn’t cleverly done, or that maybe 90% of what AJ goes on about isn’t true. The increasing concentration of wealth at the top is most certainly happening, in the last few years alone the top 1% has gained over 90% of all new wealth created here and in the US. They’ve never had it so good, and paid so little in tax. But how they whine and bleat about the “job-creators” and how hard they have it.

    This is nothing that AJ came across by himself, all this – and the unjust wars – are the hook to get you into his black helicopter/ UN- / New-world-order / gun-grab, FEMA-camp, etc. etc. paranoia, which is where he makes his money – selling DVDs, pushing books, advertising and so on to the fringe end of the market.

    Look at the subjects raised – they are worth pursuing. But get your references from proper sources, not a huckster nut-job who makes a living scaring and riling up the real crazies.

  96. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    22 Feb, 2013 - 8:37 am

    @ Mary re. the Habakkuk room at Jesus :

    Sorry, I hadn’t realised that a response or reaction was required. But I’d be happy to if you tell me what the problem (if any) is.

    Just for your info : most Oxford colleges have rooms or halls named after Masters/Principals/Provosts etc (or even prominent alumni).

  97. Glenn Thanks. Our friend only wants the count to use as a stick to beat me with. I don’t particularly care either way. I do object to his role of monitor though. Very tiresome.

    Q What brought him back after a gap?

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