Guardian Channel Thatcher on Europe

by craig on April 26, 2013 11:05 am in Uncategorized

I have arrived back in the UK from Ghana, and catching up on an unforgivably tendentious series of articles on Europe and governance in the Guardian. They are predicated on a Eurobarometer poll that showed, according to the Guardian, that:

Public confidence in the European Union has fallen to historically low levels in the six biggest EU countries, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the union’s worst ever crisis, new data shows.

That is not an unfair characterisation. In the UK, for example, 69% of the population disagreed with the proposition that they trust the EU as am institution. What is totally and tendentiously unfair, given the construct the Guardian puts on this information in a whole series of articles. is that the same poll shows that in the UK, 77% of the population disagreed with the proposition that they trust the UK government as an institution.

So the Guardian would have been on even stronger ground to assert:

Public confidence in the Westminster government has fallen to historically low levels, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the coalition, new data shows.

But it didn’t assert that, because it seeks to reassure us that the answer to our woes is to bring in Ed Balls and the red neo-cons who bailed out the banks, introduced tuition fees in England and Wales and started privatising the NHS, rather than George Osborne and the blue neo-cons who continued the process. In fact Westminster is not the answer to any question, in the eyes of the public.

Simon Jenkins article on the subject appears directly to be channelling the spirit of Thatcher. I can’t see a phrase here which could not have been penned by Thatcher, especially where he gets all sonorous:

“Treaties are not for ever, but nation states are”

The modern concept of a nation state accepted as the worldwide standard unit of government is essentially a nineteenth century construct, and a great many states have fallen apart recently. Besides which, Mr Jenkins is not keen on Scotland, which arguably was the nation which first articulated many of the properties of the modern idea of a nation state in the Declaration of Arbroath. He doesn’t want Scotland to prove him right about nation states being forever and thus irrepressible. He actually doesn’t believe what he writes himself. But I divert.

Jenkins’ ultra-conservative view is best summed up by his assertion that a major problem of the European Parliament is that it has “no governing party discipline and reflects no identifiable interest”. In other words, it is not like Westminster.

But party discipline is precisely what is wrong with Westminster. MPs are “whipped” – a most appropriate word, into voting in favour of the commercial interests, which are overwhelmingly, in the UK, City of London financial interests with the only major competition being arms industry interests, which support their party structures and promote the leadership of their parties. It makes no difference at all which party gets elected. If a party leader emerges who might actually make any difference, Murdoch and the establishment can be relied on to destroy him, witness Michael Foot and Charlie Kennedy, the two most decent – and talented – men to lead parties in my lifetime.

Jenkins thinks the problem with the European Parliament is the lack of this systematic domination of darkness. In truth, the problem of the European Parliament is that it lacks the power to bring the European Union under democratic control, but that is a defect capable of remedy.

Here are some more details of the Eurobarometer poll the Guardian omitted in its total misrepresentation. 70% wish to see a stronger EU role in regulating the financial services industry (p.28) and on the same page, 76% want to see stronger EU coordination of economic policy.

Large majorities across Europe support:
the introduction of a tax on financial transactions (71%)
tighter rules for credit rating agencies (79%)
a tax on profits made by banks (83%)
tighter rules on tax avoidance and tax havens (61%)

These are all areas where the Tory government has been among those blocking effective EU action, against the will of the people of the EU.

85% agreed that the EU would have to work close together as a result of the economic crisis, and 53% agreed the EU would emerge from it stronger in the long run. (p. 40).

The European public are Keynesian. Tellingly only 39% of the population believe that reducing public deficits and debt are the answer to the economic crisis (p. 25). Which shows what kind of place a truly democratic Europe would be.

The final nail in the Rusbridger/Jenkins/Thatcher argument is that 23% believe the European Union is the most important body for dealing with the economic crisis, as opposed to 20% who thought their national government or 13% who thought the IMF (p.17).

Rusbridger and Jenkins each accepts a salary many times that of the Prime Minister from the Guardian Trust, at the same time the Guardian is making strong cuts in staff numbers to reduce costs and reorienting its online content to the preferences and prejudices of a US audience to try and improve its online revenue stream. I presume they produce this UKIP friendly bilge because its popular with the very right wing audience that, judging by their comments sections, they have succeeded in attracting to click and boost those advertising counters.

It was once a good newspaper. As Rusbridger, war criminal cheerleader Michael White, super-rich Simon Jenkins and the others all seem determined to go on as long as Mugabe, I expect soon very few will remember the days when the Guardian was a good newspaper.

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  1. It’s still worth the cover price when Martin Rowson does the cartoon, though.

    Interestingly, Apax (giant vampire leech, owns 49% of Guardian as far as I remember) are beginning to look a little flakey on the subject of print media –

  2. Komodo

    I seem to recall David Leigh stating Apax only have a joint venture with the Guardian for Autotrader, or something like that.

  3. Although I agree with you that the Guardian has mostly gone to crap (something that happened long ago) I think you may also be misinterpreting the findings, and most strikingly, when you say “The final nail in the Rusbridger/Jenkins/Thatcher argument is that 23% believe the European Union is the most important body for dealing with the economic crisis, as opposed to 20% who thought their national government or 13% who thought the IMF”

    Isn’t this mainly because people have been deluded into the belief that it’s all just a problem with the Eurozone? – ergo, the EU is most important in dealing with the crisis. And obviously the EU does have a huge part to play, since after all it’s one leg of the predatory “Troika”.

    Incidentally, I’m not saying that EU action isn’t important. Money for investment from the ECB, rather than bailouts for the bankers, would obviously go a long way in helping.

  4. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 11:56 am

    Liam Fox wants a return to Thatcherism. He would though, wouldn’t he? what makes him think that Thatcherism has not been in operation since she left office?

    Liam Fox calls for Tory return to Thatcherism

    Rightwing former cabinet minister urges party to fight next election on platform of tax cuts, privatisation and deregulation

  5. Craig –
    The Wiki details agree with what I can remember about looking at this fascinating business relationship a year or more ago – “49% owned” was a lapse, agreed. “99% pwned” might be nearer the truth.

    The company was founded as the Manchester Guardian Ltd in 1907 when C. P. Scott bought the Manchester Guardian (founded in 1821)[1] from the estate of his cousin Edward Taylor. It became the Manchester Guardian and Evening News Ltd when it bought out the Manchester Evening News in 1924, later becoming the Guardian and Manchester Evening News Ltd to reflect the change in the morning paper’s title. It adopted its current name in 1993. Its previous chief executive was Carolyn McCall, formerly Chief Executive of Guardian News and Media Limited and a former non-executive director of Tesco and chair of Opportunity Now. McCall left in June 2010 after being appointed Chief Executive of EasyJet. She was replaced by Andrew Miller in July 2010, who had previously been Chief Financial Officer of the Group.

    In March 2007 GMG sold 49.9% of Trader Media Group to Apax Partners, in a deal that valued Trader Media Group at £1.35 billion. In December 2007 it was announced that GMG and Apax had made a successful bid to buy Emap’s business-to-business arm for around £1 billion.[2]

    In February 2010, the group sold its GMG Regional Media division (consisting of two companies MEN Media and S&B Media which operated 31 local and regional newspaper titles) to Trinity Mirror for £44.8 million. The sale ended the historic connection between The Guardian and the Manchester Evening News.[3] The division’s local television station for Greater Manchester, Channel M, and two newspapers in Woking were not included in the sale.

    In June 2012, Global Radio acquired GMG Radio from Guardian Media Group plc.[4]

    For the three years up to June 2012, the Group lost £100,000 a day, which prompted Intelligent Life magazine to question whether The Guardian can survive.[5]

    Auto Trader was the profitable bit. Apax’s injection can only have been used to prop up the Grauniad, and Andrew Miller (Trader Media Group) is on the GMG board as well as the Scott Trust board.

    CiF started getting notably touchy about ‘contra’ comments about when Apax bought in.

  6. From ‘the company’ to ‘[5]’ is Wikipedia – I must have forgotten to close italics.

  7. The main problem is previous reputation. It used be a good paper but how many will spot the inaccurate reporting? They’ll take previous reputation and assume the inaccuracies are correct unfortunately.

  8. Excellent piece.

  9. Komodo,

    But I don’t think Trader Media Group, of which Guardian Media Group sold 49% to Apax (which I keep typing AIPAC for then correcting, though in fact my subconscious is making some sense there), owned the Guardian newspaper. It owns other assets of the Guardian Media Group. At least I am pretty sure that is what David Leigh told me.

  10. Hell, I still miss James Cameron

  11. That would be the David Leigh who published Wikileaks’ Cablegate password and then said it was Assange wot told it would be OK, would it?

  12. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 12:26 pm

    Here is a view on the Guardian’s Comment is Free articles from an academic. C P Scott is named as a committed Zionist. The author is a self declared Zionist

    Geoffrey Alderman @AldermanGeo
    Jew, Zionist, academic, author, husband, father, steam-locomotive lover

    For some time, some of us have been concerned at the anti-Zionist content of CiF contributions. As a matter of principle, I believe it to be right that CiF should host articles critical of Israel. But it should do so in a measured and moderate way.

    The fact is that the anti-Zionist contributions to CiF far outweigh the pro-Zionist ones.

    This is not something of which C P Scott, who was a committed Zionist, would have approved. But my own worries extend beyond the sheer inequity of the material to the actual content of what is written.

    Slowly but surely, CiF (and I am concerned here primarily with the articles, not with the post-moderated comments on them) has become a platform for the crudest propaganda that can only have been intended to foster a hatred of the Jewish state.

  13. The Guardian is good on UK’s complicity in torture and rendition just as the Mail was good on Dr Kelly. It appears to me that the papers are ‘allowed’ to pursue some issues to give the semblance of balance. However, on other matters in most papers there is subtle and sometimes not so subtle bias towards fulfilling the government’s/Establishment’s agenda.

  14. Clark,

    Errr, yes!

  15. AIPAC – lol. Loud and clear. APAX also owns Psagot (son of Bank Leumi:

    Agreed, it doesn’t own GMG. The Scott Trust still has technical control. But GMG is financially dependent on Apax having a presence. See also:
    As is the case with Trader Media Group, there is strong shareholder alignment between GMG and Apax Partners, which allows Emap to pursue its strategic objectives with clarity and confidence.

    And (Fawkes warning)

    Selling 49% of Trader meant losing half the profits from its activities. This was in order to get a huge cash advance to prop the Grauniad/Observer up. Sadly, this page is truncated for some reason just where it starts to get interesting…

    And GMG and Apax are not the only partners:
    As is the case with Trader Media Group, there is strong shareholder alignment between GMG and Apax Partners, which allows Emap to pursue its strategic objectives with clarity and confidence.

    Emap, aka Top Right Group’s*, site links straight back to Apax’s if you’re looking for information there.


    It is complicated, certainly.

    *Thatcherites to a man, obviously…renamed last year.

  16. The Guardian is often a lot of rubbish these days, agreed. Just bland PPE’s espousing their dull world-views, and not doing it with any great articulacy, or verve. Yawn. And their ‘Liberal Intervention’ coverage is appalling. No, I don’t care about WMD in … Whereveristan. And, not I really don’t give a flying what General Zod has to say this morning. And their cringing coverage of Bliar, eek. Toynbee made some comment that Bliar could still do ‘a lot of good’ in the world, leaving me, as ever, utterly mystified at the effect Bliar has on journalists. It’s clear to me that Blair is here to do bad in the world, and anything good is an accident, or more likely a prelude to more bad stuff. Nobody pays me 250k a year to say it though, pity.

    Loved the hacking stuff, though, so kudos for that. And I laughed when they printed John Bolton, in what I can only assume was a dark and subtle joke. Generally though it seems that in its fight for survival, The Graun has had to change a little too much. Or maybe Rustybridger is just a bell-end, not sure.

  17. Something to bear in mind, Brendan ; Toynbee is ALWAYS WRONG. Embarrassing when you agree with her, too only to find out that she’s been writing in her sleep again. Hugh Muir is always worth a read, though.

  18. Brendan,

    Yes – or both, of course!

  19. Jenkins is a daft old bugger. He’s a total hack – he’ll say anything one week, then its complete opposite the next, completely shameless.

    He’s probably even unaware he’s doing it, I doubt he ever reads his own stuff, just churns out anything on any subject anytime, his only rule being, just make sure it’s strongly opinionated and positioned as common sense challenging the received wisdom.

    He used to wind me up, but now I just let it go, sometimes even enjoying the craft of an old-time Fleet Street bullshitter. But it doesn’t quite work because I don’t think he self-identifies as a hack and inheritor of a grand old Fleet Street tradition, but as some kind of establishment somebody. And somehow I don’t see him as being a massive Lunchtime O’Booze-style piss artist.

  20. Stategist

    He’s allegedly on about 350 grand. That will inflate the pomposity.

  21. Peripherally –
    Here’s Tony (Not A War Criminal, Y’know) Blair discussing his agonising moral dilemma before Gulf 2. Should he lie….or should he lie?

    Not much on the Chilcot site after 2011. Have they all died?

  22. Komodo

    Is that one recently declassified?

  23. doug scorgie

    26 Apr, 2013 - 2:19 pm

    April Showers
    26 Apr, 2013 – 11:56 am

    “Right-wing former cabinet minister urges party to fight next election on platform of tax cuts, privatisation and deregulation.”

    Yes April and that’s what Tony Blair did and what Ed Miliband and Cameron will do when the time comes but Cameron has something else up his sleeve: Nationalism.

    “David Cameron announces £50m fund for first world war commemorations”

    “Imperial War Museum also upgraded as prime minister aims to ‘CAPTURE OUR NATIONAL SPIRIT IN EVERY CORNER OF THE COUNTRY'”

    “He revealed that £50m would be set aside for the centenary of the first world war, with national commemorations on specific anniversaries such as the outbreak of [the first world] war, Armistice Day and major battles.

    There will be an upgrade to the Imperial War Museum by 2014 and funds to help secondary schools explore the Great War and its vast consequences.”

    Why celebrate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, that horrendous waste of life?

    Well it comes in 2014 just in time for the build-up to the next election.

  24. Come the revolution, after putting certain parties to a painful and humiliating death, I shall levy a punitive tax on those thinkpiece writers and cookery columnists employed by newspapers claiming to be responsible organs of record. At least one fact per column centimetre, one half of which must be new. That should finish the Guardian, anyway.

  25. Think it’s been up for a while, Craig, but no clues on the site. Might repay a browse.

  26. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 2:25 pm

    cf Toynbee on Blair the psychopath – He can still do a lot of good in the world!!! Unbelievable stuff.

    Obama speaking about Bush yesterday, that is one psychopath oraising. He was joined by Clinton and Carter.

    ‘So we know President Bush the man. And what President Clinton said is absolutely true — to know the man is to like the man, because he’s comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is. He doesn’t put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a good man.

    But we also know something about George Bush the leader. As we walk through this library, obviously we’re reminded of the incredible strength and resolve that came through that bullhorn as he stood amid the rubble and the ruins of Ground Zero, promising to deliver justice to those who had sought to destroy our way of life.

    We remember the compassion that he showed by leading the global fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, helping to save millions of lives and reminding people in some of the poorest corners of the globe that America cares and that we’re here to help.

    We remember his commitment to reaching across the aisle to unlikely allies like Ted Kennedy, because he believed that we had to reform our schools in ways that help every child learn, not just some; that we have to repair a broken immigration system; and that this progress is only possible when we do it together.’

    Surely time to get out the anti-emetic. The new library cost $250 million. Who is paying for it? The American people or some rich donors from the New World Order/PNAC?

  27. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 2:29 pm

    Another typo. I must have sunstroke or something.

    That is one psychopath praising another.

  28. technicolour

    26 Apr, 2013 - 2:57 pm

    RE: Memo provided by Komodo – seems to have come out during Chilcott, referred to by Paul Waugh of the Evening Standard at the time:

    and here

    Blair said privately in March 2002 that the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD programme was no worse than it was in 1999. This was in a private memo to his chief of staff, Jonathan Powell. Sir Lawrence Freedman asked about this at 10.33am.

  29. David Leigh who published Wikileaks’ Cablegate password and then said it was Assange wot told it would be OK

    Even bad people have good points. The publication of the password put an end to the dance of the seven veils that was under-way.

    So far as the Guardian goes, it is a compilation of piles of bollocks for the benefit of those whom have fascism as ideal but are too shy to admit to it, and tend to portray themselves as socially concious and aware individuals.

  30. technicolour

    26 Apr, 2013 - 3:04 pm

    Memo also mentioned in Guardian coverage, with Blair’s ‘explanation':

    10.33am: Sir Lawrence Freedman asks about a document released today, a note from Blair to his chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, written on 17 March 2002.

    In the note Blair said: “The immediate WMD problems don’t seem obviously worse than three years ago.”

    Blair says that was true. But, since 9/11, the willingness to tolerate risk had changed.

    Freedman then reads out another quote from the document. Blair said in the document:

    So we have to re-order our story and message. Increasingly, I think it should be about the nature of the regime.

    Blair says the nature of the regime might not have been the justification for the war. But it was a reason for being pleased about Saddam going.

  31. “Sadly, this page is truncated for some reason just where it starts to get interesting…”

    No, the text area has its own separate scroll-bar. If you scroll over the text you get the whole thing.

  32. Also from Chilcot (quite right, Technicolour)

    Greenstock was fully on-message by September ’02. Bet the cleaners had trouble getting the slime off his UN seat.

  33. Tried that, MJ, didn’t work for me. But the message is clear from numerous other sources.

  34. The problem is that the centre of politics has disappeared a couple of miles to the right and the Guardian remains a left of centre rag. Today we were told that British troops will not be on the ground in Syria after Israel has probably released some chemical weapons as a pretext for air strikes on Assad. This means that large numbers of our troops are already there and it is none of our stupid business.

    Those of us who lived through the Thatcher years understand that when the Tories threaten to leave the European Court of Human Rights, they have a daily people-wind-up quota to meet and a journalist’s job is to increase tension by ignoring the obvious injustice. All journalists are tool-shills of the current establishment by not speaking about what government has classified and not speaking against the government wind-up list.

    The lesson that I learned from the last Tory reign is that after the rabid wind-up period, first of all the Tory wets got rid of Thatcher and then I found Islam, the religion of our time for truth and justice. After the current coalition of money-printing Tories, promise-breaking LibDems and Al Qaida Muslims, I am expecting the traditional elements of UK politics and traditional Islam to react.

  35. I love the verb ‘tend’ from the Latin meaning ‘to stretch’ or ‘to heed’ and the adjective ‘tendentious’ used by Craig to describe a series of articles by the Guardian is fitting.

    The Guardian has regularly ‘stretched’ the truth and one must take ‘heed’ affording little TLC towards a media that sustains government lies esp. in the light of a lack of public trust as cited in the poll Craig touched on.

  36. PS – the Greenstock memo makes it apparent that the agreed story would be WMD’s, not regime change…and hints, therefore, that the real reason was regime change and not WMD’s.

    Looks like Trader Media was overleveraged, even for Apax:

    (You’ll probably have to answer a silly question to read this.)

    With Apax disengaging from print, it would certainly make sense to grab the rest of (now mainly digital) TMG – which would distance it from GMG and the print Guardian. TMG seems to be back on the rails after dropping most of its print business, and it may be that the opportunity will be repeated.

  37. Mark

    You have put your finger on the nub of the matter of modern politics the root of the word ‘tend’ means ‘stretch’.

  38. Yet another cracking post Craig.

    You’re in a rich vein of blog form at the moment.

    Long may it continue.

  39. Excellent piece Craig, top form. This weak piece today by the EDP on an Independent Royal charter of chums. They just can’t stomach the truth, why else would they wriggle so hard.

    The current drive against anything EU strikes me like somebody already hanging on a rope, trying to cut their wrists.

    I say it again, if Britain does not stop pissing into the tent, they must not be surprised if they loose their easy access to the EU markets.

    Financial control over offshore havens is now one of the most talked about issues. EU citizens just can’t stomach that their economies nosedive, whilst the rich are leaving with their loot to farther shore’s.

    Skewing the figures to suit their aims is APAX’s entry into the tabloid market.

  40. The Age of Media Fakery – a general discussion worth a look:

    London, Madrid, Oslo and other faked terror events:

    Some of us are not travelling light…

  41. Seems that US/UK/Israel are stepping up their claims of a Syrian use of chemical weapons.

    We have these “foaming at the mouth” pictures in The Times and a small number of other outlets, The Australian, both Murdoch, and a number of French outlets:…0.0…1ac.2.V0uWa1qy_ZY

    Notice that Google says there are 828 stories, but when you click on that you only get 3.

    But still, Obomber and Cameron are talking this up.

    The we have an article in The Guardian which interviews experts who aren’t convinced by the “foamings”. Obviously it wouldn’t be too hard to fake that:

  42. Here’s another article which casts doubt on the foaming at the mouth guy, on whom Western foreign policy now seems to be based.

    McCain and the other neocon ghouls do a rather good impression of foaming at the mouth themselves, it has to be said.

  43. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    @ Craig :

    “Treaties are not for ever, but nation states are.”

    You accuse Simon Jenkins of getting “all sonorous” when he came out with the above phrase, which you say could have been penned by Margaret Thatcher.

    Or, indeed, by General De Gaulle, a person you presumably approve of more than you do of Jenkins or Thatcher.

    And who also once said : “Treaties are like virgins and roses, they last while they last”.

  44. Shaving foam Herbie –

    I do miss Mary. The obligatory assertion from Craig on the personal rape of Mary’s undertaking here is somewhat delinquent.

  45. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 5:49 pm

    @ Komodo, Guano, Herbie , etc…

    I realise that commenting on the substance of Craig’s lead-in post requires some knowledge, reflection and even a certain originality, and is therefore more difficult than sounding off about Israel and Syria yet again, but could you not make an effort to stay on-topic just for once?

    BTW, the Eminences’ default position is to pour scorn on claims that Assad the Son might have used chemical weapons. But the family firm does have form when it comes to unpleasant actions (in much less challenging times) as I seem to remember that Assad the Father engaged in the odd massacre or two (nothing big, of course, just a couple of tens of thousands).

  46. I think Habbakuk will find that the UK, France, Belgium and the US, to name but four, have form when it comes to unpleasant actions including the odd massacre or two (nothing big, of course, just a couple of tens of thousands).

    Your point?

  47. Komodo at 2.15 p.m. That declassified Blair to Powell minute is revealing.

    “He kills his opponents, has wrecked his country’s economy and is a source of instability and danger in the regions.”

    Blair has killed more opponents who were not UK opponents until Blair made them opponents. Iraq was never unstable like it is today, post Blair. And then that last paragraph about Oil. The purpose was already in the war-criminal’s mind.

  48. Foaming at the mouth indeed. Ilan pappe on why Simon Peres is wrong to speak of an empty barren land.

    A construct at best, re writing history comes easy to those who have abused the Balfour declaration and they will stop at nothing.
    With Assad advancing on the western trained mercenaries, the Al-Nusra front and our friendly Al Quaeda forces, who, surprise, surprise are keener at killing their Muslim brothers than attacking their stated arch enemy Israel, all on the back foot.

    Will the Guardian get near the reality, will they even try?

    Hey, who has been let out of the shed? time for the spring conjugal entertainment?

  49. Thatcherism was of course partly responsible for accelerating a mistrust thread or lack of confidence in those representing us, the British people. In dismantling the belts and braces of old school economics and further ring-fencing the city of London, the last Conservative government sowed the seed of ambiguity and fear of investment, funding and filthy lucre dealing.

    According to ComRes and BRMB just one in ten (10%) trust bankers to tell the truth, while four in five (78%) do not and 12% aren’t sure.

    Politicians or the slaves of corporates and their fiat banking system come a close second in the trust stakes – 77% of the population do not trust them to tell the truth and just 10% do.

  50. Mark

    It should be a matter of great concern that 10% are that stupid!

  51. Its not just the 10% that trust bankers, who are stupid, Craig, there seem to be a few stupid bankers as well.

  52. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 6:57 pm

    @ Herbie (17h56) :

    I should have thought that my point was fairly obvious to anyone with a reasonable grasp of English, but I’m happy to spell it out for you.

    It is that one should not automatically rule out the possibility that Assad the Son has used chemical weapons just because it is the US , UK and France who are claiming (or suggesting) that he did/might have done. It is also that if Assad the Father was capable of masssacring tens of thousands of Syrians on a couple of occasions in the past (and at a time when the régime was in far less trouble than it is now)then it is not inconceivable that Assad the Son could also engage in similar action by using chemical weapons.

    I hope that was clear enough for you.

    Perhaps you could, in turn, now tell me what your point was when you informed us that the UK, USA and France also had form when it comes to the odd massacre or two?

    Thank you.

  53. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    Three cheers for this lady with spirit and backbone.

    Friday, April 26, 2013

    Lincolnshire pensioner Joan Woolard slams Barclays directors at bank’s AGM as a ‘bunch of crooks’

    A Spalding pensioner was met with a round of applause at the Barclays Bank AGM when she called its board a ‘bunch of crooks’.

    Widow Joan Woolard, 75, travelled down to the annual meeting in London to condemn the City’s bonus culture.
    She slammed the bank’s directors for handing out seven figure bonuses and demanded to know why nobody had been jailed.

    Mocking the new Barclays motto – ‘the go-to bank’ – she added: ‘Go-to? Go to hell Barclays! A lot of people regard Barclays and its board as a bunch of crooks.

    ‘My income is £726 a month. I live quite well on that – I don’t understand why anyone needs a million, even to live in London.

    ‘Anyone who asks for more than that is a greedy bastard – pardon my French.

    ‘Banks have brought us down – brought the entire global economy down. Yet none of you have gone to jail.

    ‘I don’t understand how you can sleep at night.’

    Her emotional outburst was greeted by a round of applause from her fellow shareholders at the meeting.

    Sir David Walker, who took over last year as chairman to help restore the bank’s reputation, responded to Mrs Woolard.

    He said: ‘It’s important to – with humility and modesty – recognise the extent to which those comments were recognised and approved of by others in the audience. I readily agree that Barclays overpaid in the past – it’s not going there again.’

  54. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 7:04 pm

    Clegg is finally laying down some calcium within his vertebrae to strengthen them.

    Nick Clegg blocks Tory plans for a ‘snoopers’ charter’
    Innocent people should not have their communications over the internet stored by the security services, Nick Clegg says today, as he blocked plans for a Government “snoopers’ charter”.

    Mrs May will not be amused.

  55. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 7:05 pm

    From Mark Golding :

    “Thatcherism was of course partly responsible for accelerating a mistrust thread or lack of confidence in those representing us, the British people. In dismantling the belts and braces of old school economics and further ring-fencing the city of London, the last Conservative government sowed the seed of ambiguity and fear of investment, funding and filthy lucre dealing.”

    I believe that George Orwell wrote an essay or two on this type of writing and style.

    He would, I’m sure, have singled out the following :

    – “accelerating a mistrust thread”
    – “dismantling the belts and braces of old school economics”
    – “sowed the seed of ambiguity”
    – “filthy lucre dealing”.

    If you must write tripe, I really wish you’d at least write it in a more elegant, less wooden manner.

  56. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 7:08 pm

    Re new poster “April Showers” – interesting choice of subjects and an even more interesting…style.

    Both seem…..vaguely familiar.

    Further linguistic/stylistic examination needed, I think.

  57. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 7:15 pm

    “April Showers” quotes this old lady with seeming approval :

    “A Spalding pensioner was met with a round of applause at the Barclays Bank AGM when she called its board a ‘bunch of crooks’.

    Widow Joan Woolard, 75, travelled down to the annual meeting in London to condemn the City’s bonus culture.
    She slammed the bank’s directors for handing out seven figure bonuses and demanded to know why nobody had been jailed.”


    I wonder whether the old lady could explain which laws have been broken to justify the appelation “crooks” (=criminals) and the call for jail sentences.

    Or perhaps “April Showers” could.

  58. Lord Palmerston

    26 Apr, 2013 - 7:18 pm

    Some dark humour in those poll results. The People aren’t very happy with the enormously larger and more intrusive governments they’ve been voting into power for decades. Their solution – more regulations and more taxes, please!

    The only remaining doubt about the catastrophic experiment with Democracy is what form its ultimate failure will take. Will our stagnation just go on gently worsening? Or will there be enough discontent to put a ‘strong leader’ into power?

    One thing there’s no doubt about any more is that the People are fools, and dangerous fools too. How thinking people can still fail to see that is mysterious.

  59. Stupefied by triviality it seems Craig. Our education system has to take a measure of responsibility and is of great concern for me.

    My QA sessions at local +16 centers (where sponsoring has enabled their creation) illustrate a dearth of recent history. Not one student could explain the rationale for the Iraq War, the Korean war or the Vietnam war.

    Eyes rolled when I pressed for an opinion on the ethical criteria for “preemptive war” especially in the context of the global war on terrorism.

  60. Neil Saunders

    26 Apr, 2013 - 7:34 pm

    Like you, Craig, I detest Thatcher and almost all (make that 99.9 recurring per cent) of her works, detest both the EU and what remains of national government in that increasingly fractious and incoherent territory latterly designated the UK (a soporifically bland label for a vague and flimsy notion), and find the mainstream political parties distinguishable only – if at all – in their presentational style of Neoconservatism (with its simpering military predatoriness) and Friedmanite Casino Capitalism.

    I do wonder, though, whether you are correct in asserting that the nation-state, tout court, is a recently concocted “construct”. This might be true of our Continental neighbours (think of the upheavals in Germany, France, Spain, Italy), not to mention those parts of the world where national borders were the administrative fictions of colonialists, but we can trace the more or less continuous misrule of our elites (with a couple of notable blips in the 17th century) in Britain at least as far back as William of Normandy, if not figures such as Alfred the Great and Aethelstan.

    In any case, forms of government (or, more plausibly, modes of misrule) may come and go (the “-state” end of the pantomime horse), but the concept of “nation” (even if, like most human institutions, it is a kind of voluntary collective hallucination) surely depends upon more enduring sentiments. Otherwise, who are “we”?

  61. Habbabkuk,

    So the Libor rate-fixing scandal was legal was it?

  62. “But party discipline is precisely what is wrong with Westminster”. Yes, that and the lack of a free press, and too much “behind the scenes” involvement by power-elites and their spy agencies.
    It’s only a decade ago that Hugo Young, former Chief at the Guardian, said that MI6 “are not afraid to announce their central role in government.” There was time in Britain, not so long ago, when spies and agent provocateurs were regarded as distasteful; today these unelected secret agencies and their friends in the power-elites are at the very centre of government. The fact is that we don’t have representative democracy anymore. It’s been made impossible for an MP to represent us. Their boss is the party leadership not the electorate; if they spoke out, the press is unlikely to report them honestly, if at all; and all sorts of slanders and smears would suddenly appear from nowhere.
    The democracy is broken, and needs to be reinvented. The problem with a system like ours that’s become based on privilege and not the rule of law as it once was, is not just that it’s not democratic but that it’s also incompetent – It’s who you know, not what you know that that is appointed to the top. That’s why the electorate is so sceptical about government – because they sense that it doesn’t work for the people anymore.

  63. Jives, take it easy with old shed life, she/he’s a little slow on the uptake.

  64. Roderick Russell ^

    Good post,agreed completely.

  65. well said Roderick, that is why UKIP has gained so much support, preying on the fears and disaffection of those not listened to.

    last nights debate organised by Radio Norfolk showed exactly how much controlled these institutions and parties are. A heavily selected audience was acutely aware that those party politicians sitting on the panel, with Independent candidates sat in the audience, the them and us format, had no answers to their questions.

    That the BBC perpetuates this dilemma is most likely down to the same forces you are talking about.
    Never did I have a better chance of getting elected, my inbox is full of questions and case work already and people are concerned about their localities, but

    as you say, their needs and wishes are largely ignored. bring on May2nd I say.

  66. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 9:15 pm

    @ Jives :

    “So the Libor rate-fixing scandal was legal was it?”

    (A good try at playing with words, but you have to stay with the original expressions; the old lady quoted used the word “crooks” and asked why no-one had been “jailed”.)

    Deplorable, certainly, but criminal? Remind me if there were criminal prosecutions in that affair, please.

    Thank you.

  67. To appreciate the ‘life is good’ mantra requires some shallow thought.

    ‘Don’t worry be happy’ reminds me of the response I received from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor when I questioned his eminence on Mr Blair’s acceptance of the advice of his press secretary that “We don’t do God,” cutting a reference to the Almighty from a prime ministerial broadcast on the eve of the Iraq war.

    Those wise among us of course realize even happiness isn’t even a foolproof strategy for the good life.

    Sure, technically your life might be really good if you’re happy, but it could still be shallow with a prevalence towards style rather than worth, reason and meaning. That’s because the ‘life is good’ persona these days is actually just selfishness from people who spend their time making sure all their needs are met but are not affected or worried about others.

    Meanwhile, the other people with more meaningful lives have more stress and more worry, and actively seek out meaning/excellence even when they know it will cause less happiness.

    If we tend to believe the present social system must fail and consider an alternative such as a resource economy or a paradigm without the pressure of debt or working to remain solvent, we realise being really engaged in a task or pursuit or passion is a way that will produce optimal experience, simply because we would concentrate on our strengths and expertise in a more meaningful way, i.e. to help the planet or others.

    To the discerning, the astute, the intelligent and the perceptive ‘life is good’ only if we can understand what drives our will to live — purpose/meaning.

    Meaning that can come of course through great suffering…

  68. April Showers

    26 Apr, 2013 - 9:38 pm

    Jives is right. In July last year, the following Barclays directors resigned. The AGM covered the previous financial year.

    Ricci Rich has left with a huge payout and ‘since 2010, Ricci has been handed shares worth £70m or so from long-term plans dating back five years – on top of a salary of around £700,000 – and will have taken out millions more in preceding years. The 2011 Sunday Times Rich List estimated he had a £54m fortune.’ Guardian. Lots of racehorses too including FatCatInTheHat.

    “A scandal over interest-rate manipulation reached the upper echelons of British banking and government, as the chief executive of Barclays PLC resigned and the bank released documents that threaten to drag Bank of England and U.K. government officials into the affair.

    Robert Diamond, the American CEO of Barclays, stepped down from his post a day after the bank’s chairman, Marcus Agius, resigned. A top deputy to Mr. Diamond, Chief Operating Officer Jerry del Missier, also stepped down.”

    HSBC’s record is no better with money laundering for drug dealers, offshore tax swindles and even involvement in financing cluster bomb manufacture. Their ex chairman Green is a CoE priest and a Cameron peer. 3,000 of their staff are now being ‘demised’ or put in English, sacked.

    HSBC coins corporate-ease term as staff learn jobs have demised

    I don’t know about being ‘demised’ but the banker high ups are certainly despised.

  69. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 10:32 pm

    In line with the cheerful (or not) irrelevance which is traditional on this blog, I thought I’d share the following as a kind of “good night” to you all.

    Firstly, a headline from today’s Mail Online :

    “Well, that didn’t last long! April showers return across UK…”

    And secondly, an abbreviated version of the Wikipedia entry :

    “April showers is a popular song with music written by Louis Silvers….First published in 1921, it is one of many popular sings whose lyrics use a “Bluebird of happiness” as a symbol of cheer…The song was introduced in the 1921 Broadway musical “Bombo”, where it was performed by Al Jolson…Spike Jones and Doodles Weever produced a parody that began with the lyrics “When April showers, she never closes the curtain…”.


    To be pondered…

  70. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    26 Apr, 2013 - 10:51 pm

    Doug Scorgie (14h19) again plays fast and loose with words :

    “Why celebrate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, that horrendous waste of life?”

    Please check the wording of the newspaper article cited in the post : it is going to be a commemeoration and not a celebration as you claim.

    Rather different and perfectly legitimate.

  71. The fact that bankers have not been personally prosecuted for their crimes, manifests an even deeper level of criminality and malaise within the system.

    Their crimes are currently treated as corporate crimes and in the US these corporate entities have been fined, without admitting further liability.

    This is because these corporate entities and the government and its agencies are now one and the same.


    On Syria.

    It’s fairly straightforward.

    There’s no evidence of Syria having used chemical weapons, other than the word of proven and habitual liars, who themselves have repeatedly been shown to place no value on any form of life, human or otherwise.

    Their project in Syria is the same as it was in Iraq and every other place they’ve destroyed for gain.

  72. Roderick Russell

    ‘There was time in Britain, not so long ago, when spies and agent provocateurs were regarded as distasteful’

    The present coalition of political Islam and this Tory government, manifested in the pathetic facade of trying to pretend to get rid of Abu Qatada, whom they need for future use in the neo-colonisation of Jordan, is an Etonian jolly comprising aristocratic Tories and autocratic Tora Boras with the dashing theme of lying, spying and false-flagification for the 21st century.

    Sheikh William Hague and Muftis Fox and Werrity confident in their commonality of purpose with the Muslim world to destroy the welfare state and establish Dictatorial espionage as the norm for our society. Wot? Rule by counting bits of paper and telling the truth. Yes we Brits are completely insane, come and join in the fun at mocking us for our utter political naivety.
    The jokes on us. Please enjoy the laugh-in.

  73. Where were the accusing siren voices of Cameron and Obama when illegal chemical weapons, such as white phosphorus, rained down on Gaza, just at the time when the mornings tranche of children exchanged places with the second tranche?
    Why are events in Syria heralded as ‘war crimes’, by war mongers and torturers, when no such thing would be levelled at Israel for their heinous and despicable targeting of children in Gaza and the west bank?

    Since yesterday was Anzac day and it is closely linked to new Zealand’s commemorative efforts, I shall take the opportunity to honour the Maori battalion rubbed up at Gallipoli and in the Somme.

    lest we forget….


  74. The BBC in Scotland have surpassed event their routine Britnat propaganda with constant scaremongering over independence, this last week; the main news stories have been, Osborne and Sterling, yesterday we were told we would need to have a new coronation ceremony for the existing monarch, today it is apparently the case, according to them, that pensions, public and private will not be paid out if people vote yes. Something needs to be done and quickly the BBC is so out of control that they’ll have to be taken off the air for the sake of maintaining the illusion of democracy, it is plain for all to see now that the BBC is self-destructing messily. They have gone so far that there can be no possibility of this institution remaining in any, never mind its present form after the independence referendum.

    Good riddance to them and in time to the monarchy, NATO and the ‘plummet’ -aka the pund.

  75. You are listening to and coordinating well with the midi-chlorian Guano[endosymbiosis}. Nice one.

  76. CM: “In truth, the problem of the European Parliament is that it lacks the power to bring the European Union under democratic control, but that is a defect capable of remedy.”

    I don’t see how you can hold the view that this is capable of remedy, when the example of Westminster shows that even with the trappings of illusory democracy it cannot. The UK/English Parliament at Westminster not only cannot do this either, it has no credible will to do so and never will legislate its own demise or minor reduction in their power, and yet you would probably be keen for the European Parliament to have the theoretical ability to introduce law instead of rubber-stamping the diktat of the Commision, as if a lone MEP could introduce legislation successfuly on its merit, as a lone Westminster MP could theoretically do, but they don’t and in practice cannot, where it conflicts with governing party dogma or selfish interests. The EU at present, with all its lack of democratic input, the lack of consent from the people governed, is about as good as it can ever be, it can only get worse, the same disconnected decision making with some democratic window-dressing tacked on, is no improvement whatsoever. The obvious model for such a over-large polity is the US, with its limited notions of state’s rights, historical hangover fictions kept on life support and simultaeously denigrated as anti-deluvian, its adherents and believers ridiculed and demonised, versus the centralised Federal government, only a relatively recent phenomenon but which is comparable to the inner power circles of the EU which trump and trample nation states, as US states’ people’s true and best interests.

    The Guardian is not the issue, no-one reads it. The dissenting contributors, permissible pet rebels – the Seamus Milnes and Glenn Greenwalds – are just straw in the wind.

    It is the BBC where the fight is in terms of influence, wielded for bad and ill ends.

  77. BrianFujisan

    27 Apr, 2013 - 5:09 am

    April I nkow you aint a rock fan…. but please Listen to This in Full

  78. BrianFujisan

    27 Apr, 2013 - 5:14 am

  79. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 - 8:19 am

    @ Crpytonym :

    “The EU at present, with all its lack of democratic input, the lack of consent from the people governed, is about as good as it can ever be, it can only get worse, the same disconnected decision making with some democratic window-dressing tacked on, is no improvement whatsoever.”

    Well, various improvements have been proposed during the various Treaty revision conferences and this process will no doubt continue.

    But I suspect that nothing that might take place would be capable of satisfying you and that you would continue to bemoan ‘disconnected decision making’ and characterise any improvements as mere ‘democratic window-dressing’.

    This is because you don’t appear to think much of parliamentary democracy as presently constituted and practised. I wonder what you would put in its place?
    Or, like Corporal Fraser, do you believe ‘ we are all doomed’?

  80. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 - 8:29 am

    @ Nevermind :

    “Since yesterday was Anzac day and it is closely linked to new Zealand’s commemorative efforts, I shall take the opportunity to honour the Maori battalion rubbed up at Gallipoli and in the Somme.”

    Indefatigable in my efforts to understand people’s comments and thus to obtain maximum benefit from following this blog : NZ’s contribution in troops in WW1 was substantial and impressive. Many NZ battalions were took heavy casualties in the various battles and it is fitting that this should be remembered. I was just wondering if there was any particular reason why you referred specifically to a Maori battalion, given that Maori troops were in a considerable minority among the NZ troops sent to fight?

  81. doug scorgie

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:01 am

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    26 Apr, 2013 – 10:51 pm

    Please read referenced articles properly before commenting; дрочила

    “The ambitious AIM, Cameron said, was a commemoration, like the diamond jubilee CELEBRATIONS, that “captures our national spirit in every corner of the country…”

  82. Has everyone signed this e-petition calling for justice for the Chagossians?

  83. Sophie Habercake

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:11 am

    Dad hasn’t left the shed for two days. Mum says we’re to leave him alone and let the madness work it’s way through so I crept up quietly and posted a note with written on it. Ten minutes later there I heard muffled swearing about “….bloody buddhist smartarses….” comming from the bottom of the garden so I guess he got it.

    I read the last chapter of “Newspeak in the 21st Century” last night. They talk about happiness arising from an attitude of Awareness, Compassion and Truth Telling but Dad seems to thinks it comes from making superior comments and insulting people.

    And I don’t think Komodo loves me any more and I’m sorry I killed the “Ludicrous Claims “ thread.

  84. April Showers

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:19 am

    Thank you Brian Fujisan. I am partial to a bit of rock surprising that it might be. I had not heard of that and found the words. Excellent.

    I read the other day that the Israelis have decided not to use white phosphorus again, a true chemical weapon used on Gaza under the pretence of making a smokescreen.

    PS I like the sticks of ‘rock’ that you can get at the seaside.

  85. April Showers

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:31 am

    Were there any (old) bats in the Belfry flat at Scotney Castle?

    I like the sound of the bulletproof headboard. I thought that the hairdo served that purpose.

    On Christopher Hussey’s death in 1970 the estate was left to the National Trust. Several apartments in the castle and on the estate were let out by the Trust, with tenants including Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who rented the Belfry flat for a time during the 1970s and 1980s, when it served as a weekend escape for her from Westminster life.[2] Wikipedia Scotney Castle

    It must have been a nice ‘escape’ for her at the weekends when her weekdays had been spent grinding down her subjects and enriching her cronies.

    Latterly the ownership of her Belgravia home was in three tax havens. One rule for them, another for us etc.

  86. Habbabkuk (La Vita È Bella!)
    26 Apr, 2013 – 10:32 pm

    Thank you so much to the poster who posted the script to block it. Life is definitely good well at least better :)
    Please post the script again and maybe Mary might be tempted to come back?

  87. April Showers

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:43 am

    Watch out Sophie. He might go wild and break out!

    Does it not make us all feel very proud that we can now conduct killing in distant countries by remote control from these shores? I thought that we were getting the hell out of Afghanistan soon or is that another lie? Are the citizens of other countries also in our crosshairs?

  88. Magrat Tatcher

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:50 am

    How’s this for pure pantomime, complete with “broken pulley and rope” at the site of proposed NY mosque?

    Meanwhile the corporate media ignore the (figuratively speaking) crater that was once Waco, Texas.

  89. Sophie Habercake

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:59 am

    He already has April but where he’s broken out into is Craig’s blog and he’s stalking you. So remember as the poison drips from his posts there’s only one Dad and there’s lots of us who love you and are better informed because of people like you.

    And Komodo really IS a lizard cos he’s ignoring me.

  90. Magrat Tatcher

    27 Apr, 2013 - 10:07 am

    Oop! Sorry people.

    Due to lazy cut and pasting I put the wrong link re the Pantomime.

    her it is

  91. Magrat Tatcher

    27 Apr, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Re “Oop and her”

    I will not post in haste
    I will not post in haste
    I will……………………

  92. April Showers

    27 Apr, 2013 - 11:51 am

    More on the subject of tax fraudsters and their enablers such as HSBC

    Lagarde list whistleblower faces nervous wait for extradition verdict

    Hervé Falciani awaits outcome of legal tussle between Spain and Switzerland over his role in exposing potential tax cheats

    When he appeared in a Madrid court, banking whistleblower Hervé Falciani was disguised with a wig and thick-framed glasses.

    Facing extradition, the man behind the “Lagarde list” of potential tax cheats said in a newspaper interview he had fled to Spain last year when the US authorities told him it was the only country in Europe where his life would not be in danger.

    Now Falciani, 41, whose spectacular theft of account data from a Swiss subsidiary of HSBC in 2006-7 has helped uncover thousands of wealthy tax fraudsters, is about to find out if he will be extradited to Switzerland, where he faces prosecution and up to seven years in jail.

    The man seen as the Bradley Manning of global tax fraud awaits a decision from Spanish judges, which may come this week. But the Spanish do not seem eager to hand him over.

  93. Thanks for that reminder of the unspoken and little recognised annihilation of the Chagossian’s rights to visit their island and their ancestors graves, 5566h.

    To have your peaceful island turned into an attack base for Afghanistan’s occupying forces, guaranteed and signed by HMQ, is untenable.

    Usually the British are up for supporting the underdog and oppressed, but this issue has been used a foreign office football.

    Thanks for the update on Falciani, April showers, he’ has done us all a service to expose the Heroin Speed Bush and Cocaine dealers of this world. So looking forward to change my HSBC bank account come May, just as the little ol’ lady, April mentioned yesterday, said’ they are all a bunch of crooks and criminals’.

  94. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 - 1:50 pm

    @ Doug Scorgie (09h01)

    “Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    26 Apr, 2013 – 10:51 pm

    Please read referenced articles properly before commenting; дрочила

    “The ambitious AIM, Cameron said, was a commemoration, like the diamond jubilee CELEBRATIONS, that “captures our national spirit in every corner of the country…””


    Thank you for proving my point.

    The aim , therefore, is to COMMEMORATE WW1. (We are talking about the past.)

    The Diamond Jubilee was CELEBRATED . (The event was celebrated at the time)

    Your post, at 14h19 yesterday, asked :

    “Why celebrate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1,…”

    I was pointing out that you had (I assume deliberately) used the wrong word.

  95. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    Exexpat asks :

    “Please post the script again and maybe Mary might be tempted to come back?”


    Are you sure she hasn’t done so already?

    “Left” in April and returned in April?


  96. doug scorgie

    27 Apr, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 – 1:50 pm

    My thesaurus defines commemorate as (in this order): Celebrate, pay tribute to, pay homage……

    You are a nit-picking дрочила.

  97. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 - 5:26 pm

    @ Scorgie :

    I think you need to consult a good dictionary if you’re interested in the difference between to the two words, rather than looking in a thesaurus for near synonyms. I recommend the Shorter OED in 2 volumes. Invest!

  98. Deprived of intuition, it asked

    ‘I was just wondering if there was any particular reason why you referred specifically to a Maori battalion, given that Maori troops were in a considerable minority among the NZ troops sent to fight?’

    No wondrous reason, just remembering those our Clegg’ish Cameron will not make much of, hence I will.

    E kore ratou e koroheketia
    Penei i a tatou kua mahue nei
    E kore hoki ratou e ngoikore
    Ahakoa pehea i nga ahuatanga o te wa.
    I te hekenga atu o te ra
    Tae noa ki te aranga mai i te ata
    Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou.

    Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou.

  99. To be specific, the 28th Maori battalion, it.

  100. April Showers

    27 Apr, 2013 - 8:34 pm

    For anyone interested

    Page 3 Profile: Alisher Usmanov, Britain’s richest man

    and on BBC Radio 4 Profile this evening

    Alisher Usmanov
    Duration: 13 minutes

    First broadcast:Saturday 27 April 2013
    Alisher Usmanov has just been named the richest man in Britain. Born in Uzbekistan, Usmanov made his fortune in the collapsing Soviet Union. His empire has stretched from plastic bags to minerals, telecoms, Facebook and Arsenal Football Club. But, as Mark Coles reports, Usmanov’s rise has not been straightforward, nor free of controversy.

    They can say that last sentence again. They had Myners on who was slightly admiring of the crook/criminal. Myners was an M&S director and was brought into Brown’s cabinet as a financial adviser and then ennobled. Also Chairman of the Guardian Media Group and on the boards of Land Securities and Powergen. All bases covered.

    I note Craig’s opinion was not sought by the BBC.

  101. April Showers

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:01 pm

    I should have said that Myners is very admiring of Usmanov, not slightly admiring.

    Coining it.

    Myner’s interests

    Myners is a director of Usmanov’s mobile phone company OJSC MegaFon and of RIT Capital Partners which is an investment trust headed by Lord Rothschild.

    James Leigh-Pemberton. an old Etonian and the son of the ex Bank of England Governor, now Lord Kingsdown, is also on the RIT board. He is Receiver General for the Duchy of Cornwall and CEO of Credit Suisse. His father was closely involved in Duchy affairs.,_Baron_Kingsdown

    It’s called ‘keeping it in the (royal) family’.

    Favourite cartoon of Usmanov here

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

    27 Apr, 2013 - 9:07 pm

    26 April 2013:

    Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal in this year’s San Francisco Pride celebration. His nomination was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen. A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization. That was an error and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride.

    Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country. There are many, gay and straight, military and non-military, who believe Bradley Manning to be innocent. There are many who feel differently. Under the US Constitution, they have a first amendment right to show up, participate and voice their opinions at Pride this year.

    Specifically, what these events have revealed is a system whereby a less-than-handful of people may decide who represents the LGBT community’s highest aspirations as grand marshals for SF Pride. This is a systemic failure that now has become apparent and will be rectified. In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning. These 15 people are part of what is called the SF Pride Electoral College, comprised of former SF Pride Grand Marshals. However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote. The Board of Directors for SF Pride never voted to support this nomination. Bradley Manning will have his day in court, but will not serve as an official participant in the SF Pride Parade.…..d-marshal/

    Jesus H. Christ on rubber crutches. Fuck ‘em.

  103. What do you reckon April showers? could we possibly construe that Alisher Usmanaov is a murderer of many Uzbek ambitions? that he is just another Oligarch bully who has amassed riches and is now hiding in a country that has for centuries been known for their fascist colonial ambitions (now neo colonialists) and their old boy banking?

  104. Shocking Ben, I take it they’ve been knobbled. I hope they re-consider an honorary role for him, exceeding a mere grand master (whatever that is), in absentia, and they’ve no control over individual or group actions flouting these arbitrary prohibitions. And yet so many of those countless others, military and civilian, many millions in fact, had the same access to the same material and could just have easily found a conscience and spoke out about the errant machinations of the US war machine, but never, choosing instead a role as accessories after the fact to the starkest most deplorable double-dealing, practised malice and war crimes.

  105. Backlash Ben! 750+ comments tearing the warboners to shreds!

    uuurgh finished Usmanov’s shmoozing R4 profile, small mercy it was only 13 minutes of villainous PR.

    Habercakes.. you must have a grown up friend reading these threads with you – you do? Excellent stuff :D

  106. April Showers

    28 Apr, 2013 - 7:41 am

    Who knows Nevermind? The programme ended with a suggestion to his seeking political power in Uzbekistan which has been denied. His genetic inheritance gave him a desire to acquire, whether riches, assets, objects and houses so why not a shoe in after Karimov, Gulnara permitting.

    The charges of fraud and conspiracy which led to his imprisonment in Uzbekistan were brought when Uzbekistan was under Soviet control in 1980 when Brezhnev was leader. His conviction was squashed in 1986 under Gorbachev. Karimov has ruled since 1989, becoming president of Uzbekistan in 1991.

    More lines on maps.

    £13billion is an unimaginable sum. Mrs Irina Usmanov does not look capable of performing any gymnastics these days.

  107. April Showers

    28 Apr, 2013 - 7:50 am

    I see the Westons in that rich list. Shame on them for their investment in Primark, supplied by the sweatshops in Bangladesh one of which has just collapsed and where over 300 are dead. Imagine over 2000 people working in this building where two floors had recently been added illegally.

    Wittington Investments Limited is an unquoted British investment company. It is 79.2% owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation, which is one of the UK’s largest grant-making trusts, and 20.8% owned by members of the Weston family.

    Wittington Investments owns 54.5% of Associated British Foods, which is one of the largest food companies in the world, and is itself the parent company of Primark, the largest discount clothing chain in the UK and Ireland. Wittington Investments also owns London department store Fortnum & Mason and Heal’s, a UK chain of homeware and furnishing department stores, It also owns De Bijenkorf an upscale department store in Holland. Associated British Foods also own British Sugar processor of all of the UK beet crop and producer of half the UK consumption of sugar.

    At 5 April 2008, the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation valued their 79.2% stake in Wittington Investments at £3.62 billion.

    On 26 March 2011 Wittington Investments was targeted by UK Uncut during anti-cuts protests for tax avoidance by its subsidiary company Associated British Foods.[1] The tax avoidance involved loans between ABF/Primark and their affiliate ABF European Holdings & Co SNC, a Luxembourg-based partnership.[2] The protest took the form of a mass sit-in in Fortnum & Mason.[3]

    Shame on all those who cart the junk away in those brown paper carrier bags, the latter being so ecologically friendly! Never a thought for the wage slaves and the sweatshops that lie behind the operation.

  108. April Showers

    28 Apr, 2013 - 7:55 am

    Our ‘royals’ picking up freebies from another Wittington outpost, Fortnum and Mason. Disgusting.

    The Queen, Catherine and Camilla visit Fortnum & Mason

    PS Who gave the old lizard a shiner?

  109. Sophie Habercake

    28 Apr, 2013 - 11:03 am

    Aril Showers. WoW! You must never sleep…a bit like dad in just that one detail.

    Dad’s still down the garden in the shed you know. Mum says it’s better leaving trays of food on the step than having him appear late for meals and rant on about “….that nest of halfwits that I have to patrol….” between mouthfuls before scurrying back and shouting at Mrs Forthby’s cat.

    Tiddles had her revenge though cos dad left his tray out on the step too long and didn’t get his kippers or milk, and even got his cup of tea knocked over.

    And Crab. Does Gary’s big sister Anna count as a grownup? She says dad should get a medal for his contribution to great literature….NOT! Anyway aren’t grownups the real problem, swanning around as though they owned the planet. You would’n’t get anyone in my class, not even Edwina Braintree selling white fophorous to the IDF.

    And I’ve got a message for Mr Klever-Klogs Komodo. Just because you post all that brilliant stuff and think Palestinians are people too doesn’t mean you can toy around with the emotions of all the girls then forget about them every time you see a nubile young iguana in a wet t-shirt.

  110. doug scorgie,

    A more accurate turn of phrase would be: рукоблудник

  111. Thanks for the kippers Habba! Pruuuurp!

    Human grown-ups definitely the main problem. Cats wouldn’t use white phosphorous, not even on Mrs Woodhouse’s “Dog Etiquette” class at Surbiton Community Centre.

  112. April Showers

    28 Apr, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    This should be ‘Actor named Barack Obama plays at being President’

    President Obama plays Daniel Day Lewis in White House skit– video

  113. April Showers

    28 Apr, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    Did the three ‘royals’ get an appearance fee from a) Ms J K Rowling and/or b) Warner Brothers?

    The silly airheads played with their presentation wands.

    Did this fraternity come over for the occasion?

  114. April Showers

    28 Apr, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    The Guardian censoring free speech, again. From Medialens.

    Another article unceremoniously shut down by the Guardian.
    Posted by zemblan on April 28, 2013, 10:56 am

    Two comments lie below it, yet the article went live yesterday at 20.30pm. Seems like some severe moderating has gone on. One wonders whether Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Primark, and the other companies using this ramshackle factory, lobbied the Guardian to close the comments section; fearing, as they should, that the death of 352 people is bad publicity for their brand. How would one be able to find out whether the Guardian deliberately shut down the comments section under pressure from such groups?

    There is something very eerie about this:

    Also, the Guardian has form when it comes to closing down comments that are unsympathetic to the view it is promoting. Consider the recent article by Norman Warner as a notable example:

    Thread –

  115. doug scorgie

    28 Apr, 2013 - 9:51 pm

    28 Apr, 2013 – 11:40 am

    “A more accurate turn of phrase would be: рукоблудник”

    Yes, thanks Fedup

  116. Sophie, how can I atone? I have been digesting a buffalo for the last two days, and I didn’t see your posts. You may be sure that my love for you is even stronger than my breath, and I am immune to the conventional and superficial charms of iguanettes whether clad in damp Primark or even wholly unclothed, with their abundant assets provocatively on display

    Your father is a very unhappy man, Sophie, and I am sure he appreciates everything you do for him here. So please stay, and forgive me.

  117. April Showers

    29 Apr, 2013 - 1:36 pm

    This was in the Times today, behind their paywall here. As much of it as I can copy.

    A property company co-owned by David Mellor, the former Conservative minister, “acted dishonestly” in a fraud on a Russian investor, the Appeal Court has ruled.

    Mr Mellor, who was known as the Minister for Fun, was paid £587,000 for his role in recruiting investors for a massive property development on the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire, the court was told. But while the former MP and his business partners made fortunes from

    Company linked to Mellor ‘acted dishonestly’ in investment fraud

    A property company co-owned by David Mellor, the former Conservative minister, “acted dishonestly” in a fraud on a Russian investor, the Appeal Court has ruled.

    Mr Mellor, who was known as the Minister for Fun, was paid £587,000 for his role in recruiting investors for a massive property development on the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire, the court was told. But while the former MP and his business partners made fortunes from the scheme, the Russian investor Parvel Lisitsin lost £2million…

    It does not appear to be ‘news’ as the same information was contained in this Telegraph article dated July 2012. Why is being repeated?

  118. April Showers

    29 Apr, 2013 - 1:40 pm

    And HELP! There is no escape. While out, this came up on the radio as Book of the Week. The off switch was deployed.

    Episode 1/5

    Charles Moore’s meticulously-researched portrait of the former British prime minister

  119. April Showers

    30 Apr, 2013 - 12:11 pm

    Just a little of Thatcher’s legacy.

    Npower have been rumbled! Over the past few days a top tax expert has been investigating their accounts. Today the results of that investigation – paid for by donations from 38 Degrees members – are splashed across the Sun newspaper. [1]

    The investigation reveals the likely explanation for why Npower aren’t paying any corporation tax – and surprise surprise, it’s not something you’ll see mentioned in any of their publicity. It seems they’re funneling profits made in the UK through a shell company in Malta. Why, you ask? Well, it looks like it helped them dodge a whopping £60 million in tax over the last four years! [2]

    We’ve got them. Other tax dodging companies have backed down under the glare of publicity. Today’s newspaper coverage is a great start. Can you add to the pressure by helping prove to Npower that the public expect them to pay their fair share of tax?

    Let’s make the petition huge. Please sign here:

    With a popular petition and strong press coverage, we’ve got them just where we want them. Every signature on the petition sends Npower a more powerful signal: that tax dodging is a PR disaster, and if they don’t want to lose customers they need to change their ways.

    This is more sinister than just a spot of clever accounting. Every time a company like Npower avoids paying their fair share, it means one of two things for the rest of us: more cuts or tax rises.

    People power has won where the government has, so far, failed to act. Last year 38 Degrees members forced London Olympics sponsors to drop plans to take special tax dodges. Then our public outcry finally forced Starbucks to give some of those frappuccino profits back to the community that’s supported them. [3]

    We’ve won before – and if we can keep the heat on Npower now, we’ll win again.

    From 38 Degrees

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