Friday, 31 October 2008

JMP Exclusive

Footage of Sarah Palin's foreign policy advisor at a recent event, together with his 'special' brother.

It is.

For Obama, that is: the Economist has come out for the Democrat.

Elsewhere, Fox News has (surprise surprise!) been suggesting in the US that the polls have tightening in the last few days, and to be fair, that has been supported by the Kos daily poll of polls, which over the last week I have watched move from 50 - 41 to 51 - 45 today.

But looking at the the latest national graph has the effect of reassuring you that the movement is too little, too late.

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome

Through the magic of Google Analytics, JMP researchers have found that someone from Vicente Lopez in the outskirts of Buenos Aires has visited us in the last few days. For only 30 seconds, mind you, which risks coming across as a trifle brusque, frankly, but nevertheless, we are delighted to have had his or her company for that short time, and hope that the senor or senorita concerned returns soon for a slightly longer follow up visit. JMP is very much a 'hands-across-the-water' sort of blog, after all. Next stop: (anywhere at all in) Australia!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Tarzan learns to cope without Jane - Watch more free videos

The American Right is hyperventilating

The conservative commentary in the blogosphere is an extraordinary mixture of whining ("'Snot fair! They pick on our guys! They give their guys a free pass! 'Snot fair!") and hysterics. For the latter, just for its pure entertainment value if nothing else, I give you Mark Levin, writing at NRO:

I honestly never thought we'd see such a thing in our country - not yet anyway - but I sense what's occurring in this election is a recklessness and abandonment of rationality that has preceded the voluntary surrender of liberty and security in other places...There is a cult-like atmosphere around Barack Obama, which his campaign has carefully and successfully fabricated, which concerns me...Teenagers wearing camouflage outfits and marching in military order chanting Obama's name and the professions he is going to open to them...this is ominous greatest concern is whether this election will show a majority of the voters susceptible to the appeal of a charismatic demagogue...

I think we got it. Obama is a black Hitler! Shit, why didn't we see it before? Tell your friends, before it's too late and Nancy Pelosi's stormtroopers have forced rich white people to wear yellow stars on their suits and briefcases!

I particularly love the bit about teenagers chanting the professions that Obama is going to open up to them. Presumably Levin has seen sinister groups of sixteen year-olds chanting "What do we want? More equitable access to careers in law, accountancy and chartered surveying!", and recognises them as harbingers of a radical socialist future under BO... 

US election photo of the day

From Ben Smith's blog at Politico, via Harry's Place, a fascinating photo from Martinsville, Indiana (once a KKK stronghold, apparently). 

Confederate flag + Obama yard sign = landslide? 

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Surely, surely not

Palin-Rice 2012 Tote Bag
Palin-Rice 2012 Tote Bag

We've started to hear about the happy thought of a Palin run for the Presidency in 2012, but browsing today has been the first time that I have picked up on the Palin-Rice meme. Just in a couple of blogs, with nobody serious behind it so far as I can make out. Even if Palin somehow got the Republican nomination in 2012, I simply can't see her asking Condi to join the ticket; or Rice agreeing to join it. Can you? Perhaps those pushing it have seen that Obama is a black man, that he's popular, and have noticed that Condi is black too...

Monday, 27 October 2008

JMP Top Tip

BAA: why not make going through security at Gatwick even more deeply unpleasant than it already is by instructing the over-excited teenagers you employ to shepherd travellers into the relevant queue to SHOUT CONSTANTLY about the need to separate out all liquids and gels, and to MOVE ALONG, even though they're standing only two feet away from the poor buggers in the said queues; and indeed, why not add insult to injury and embrace cruel irony by dressing them in bright yellow "Can I help you?" sweat-shirts?

Oh. You already have.

Brand, Ross and Sachs

I've been interested by the coverage of the story about Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross leaving obscene messages on the answerphone of 78 year old Andrew "Que?" Sachs in a pre-recorded segment of Brand's Radio 2 show, and then - oh, how my sides ache with laughter - joking about his killing himself on hearing them.

Most of the comment has been critical of Brand and Ross ("Jonathan Ross isn't worth £6,000, let alone £6 million!", etc). Clearly Brand and Ross bear some responsibility and it would be perverse to argue otherwise. But it seems to me that the person who bears the most culpability is the "senior editorial person" at the BBC who cleared the segment for transmission. After all, Ross and Brand were just doing their job of making dirty and bad taste jokes: it's just that in this case they clearly went too far and should have been edited. For the job of this s.e.p. - his or her entire bloody function in the workplace - is to make decisions in situations like this. And this joker, this halfwit, listened to this segment, in which two BBC broadcasters commit a prima facie criminal offence, and then joke about the elderly victim's suicide - and said "yup, ok for broadcast with no cuts". 

Oh, and don't forget, if you're a licence-payer, you're paying this moron's salary. Grrrrr.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sunday cocktail hour

As JMP embraces blogging on the move, we introduce you to Sunday evening cocktail hour. First up, the Gay Goose, courtesy of

Mix two measures of Grey Goose vodka and add a touch of Frangellico. Swirl in the glass. Drink.

The sweetness of the Frangellico nicely softens the steely grey flavours of the vodka without being cloying. Just the thing for those long winter evenings.

Friday, 24 October 2008


JMP is off for the weekend, out of reach of t'interweb. Monday sees us back in the saddle. Do have a lovely time while we're away.

Friday heavenly choir

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Don't buy your fags at Iceland

Deep within a Daily Mail article on Ms Kerry Katona is buried this bombshell:

"She also admitted she is still smoking, despite reports she was warned that it could cause her nipples to fall off."

Your blogger is in shock, fanning himself limply with copies of OK! magazine. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

An addendum

to the post below (A useful reminder) re the proposal for "a walk of shame" in supermarkets for those who dare to exercise their right to buy alcohol, in the form of a quote from CS Lewis:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

[from "God in the Dock"]

This also rasies ("tormet us without end") a point that I was thinking about the other day, which is the fact that there is no logical endpoint to the efforts of those currently in power to control and limit our right to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, no point where they will say "Right, I think we've done enough on that front now", save banning these activities on pain of criminal sanction. Sure, there may be some murmurings from the Treasury as the requirement to register with the police before cigarettes can be bought reduces the tax income from tobacco, but the fascism of "those who torment us for own good" will overcome, I am sure.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Trouble at 'Arrods

Allegation of sexual assault made against Al Fayed by a 15 year-old girl, eh? Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke, I'm sure.

Shooting fish in a barrel

I don't know, the good old sport of mocking the Republican campaign is somehow losing its lustre and becoming less fun. The Object Of This Blog's Obsession is essentially self-parodying, and the old man seems to sinking into senility at an alarming rate.

You may have heard that the Democrat Jack Murtha was reported as saying recently that "There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area". A nice opening for McCain when he spoke there yesterday. This is what he said - speaking with the aid of a teleprompter -

"I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama's supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about western Pennsylvania lately." [crowd boos] You know, I couldn't agree with them more. [stunned slience] I couldn't disagree with you, I couldn't agree with you more than the fact that western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most God loving, most patriotic part of America. And this is a great part of the country. My friends I couldn't agr-- I could not disagree with those critics more, this is a great part of America." (h/t ABC news politics blog)

I mean honestly. On the one hand, the most inspirational political speaker of his generation. On the other, Grandpa Simpson meets the Rowan-Atkinson-vicar-from-Four-Weddings.

A useful reminder

Just when your humble blogger was starting to think that this whole Osborne business was starting to look like the bad old Tories of old, and you know, perhaps NuLab aren't really that bad after all, have I been unfair to them, and so on, just when this is going round my mind comes along this proposal for buyers of alcohol in supermarket to face a, quote, walk of shame to a separate checkout. And I am reminded of what nannying, bullying pricks they are.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

No Respect

On Socialist Unity, a report of a Respect Meeting at Birmingham Central Mosque attended by, among others, Gorgeous George Galloway and Yvonne "Stockholm Syndrome" Ridley. The Socialist Unity write-up helpfully points out that Galloway said, in relation to Afghanistan, spoke movingly of "the people of Afghanistan who have a right to resist the occupation of the country". And who are those agent of resistance? The Taliban, of course: women-hating, gay-hating, aid-worker-killing clerical fascist bastards. What an utter, utter wanker the man is.

David T at Harry's Place gets upset by the fact that the seating was segregated, men at the front, women at the back, at the meeting. It's thoroughly objectionable, of course, but I'm not surprised: it was held in a mosque, after all. What is far more illuminating and entertaining to my mind is the knots the sinister little Respect cultural relativists and Islamists justifying the segregation in the comments on the SU piece tie themselves into when challenged on it by David T. All of a piece with the SWP's jettisoning of gay rights by Lindsay "shibboleth" German back in the day, before Galloway's Respect won the communalist battle for east London Muslim votes among the cynical far left.

Monday, 20 October 2008

A second reason why McCain won't win

He can't keep his tongue in his mouth. These are not photoshopped; on the contrary, they're from thw pro-McCain National Review Online's Media Blog. Ewww.

A quick thought

With the current good pollling news, Powell's endorsement, and so on, surely the only thing that can lose Obama the election now is if the Guardian tries to persuade the voters of some key county to vote for him...

Monday challenge

Harry's Place indulges in some creative thinking and comes up with five reasons to be thankful that the hapless Dubya won (sorry, "won") in 2004. Some (it meant the Democrats avoided a hit on the economy, increasing their chances of being in for two straight terms) are more convincing than others (it gave Bush the chance to push the "surge" through in Iraq, in the face of opposition from both sides).

Can any of JMP's impeccably liberal readers come up with any more?

Sketch of the day

An eye witness' (rather poor, frankly) attempt to sketch a UFO over England, from the newly released 19 MoD files covering the late 80s and early 90s (h/t Telegraph). Experts think it was enroute to dropping off Sarah Palin in Alaska.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The real reason McCain will lose the election

He's much shorter than Obama. Obama is about six foot one, McCain five foot six. Starting with Hoover in 1928, arguably the election nearest the start of the Movietone News and then TV era, the taller candidate has won 16 of the 20 elections, or 80%. Interestingly, W is one of the three Presidents to buck the trend, in both his elections (the other two are Carter and Nixon. Hmmm. Carter, Nixon, W. You might think those who can buck the natural trend would be particularly impressive, but obviously not). Still, Kerry was so tall (six foot four) that his height made him look a bit dorky and, disastrously, aristocratic and "French"; and Bush didn't actually beat Gore, did he?

More details in this oddly charming Wikipedia article. 

Tasting the whole worm and Hello!

Guests introduced a copy of Hello! magazine into JM Towers this weekend. It's been a long time since your humble blogger has flicked through a copy, and I am grateful to it for reminding me, in a 'we're not breaking up, honest' piece on the vomit-inducingly smug and self-satisfied Angelina Jolie, of the Spoonerist's child's name of choice - Shiloh Pitt.

Also enjoyed a heartwarming report on how 'Princes William and Harry' are going on a charity motor bike ride through Africa and have "raised at least £4,995 each in sponsorship to join the rally". Good stuff, Sirs. Sponsored swim, was it? Balmoral half-marathon?  

Thursday, 16 October 2008

NRO bitch fest!

National Review online is one of the best and most influential American political sites, and its Corner one of the best political blogs. I don't think that's disputable, even if you don't share its neo-con world view. But the dire quality of the McCain campaign has caused some fantastic bitching and falling out there, as more and more contributors break rank to point out, for example, what an utter disaster SP is, only to be savaged by the remaining true believers. I pointed out recently that Kathleen Parker was the first to point out the obvious; now the influential David "Axis of Evil" Frum has followed suit, and is mightily pissed off about the flack he's taking for it:

I receive emails from readers every day who tell me that the only possible motive I could have for expressing doubts about the McCain ticket is my desire to attend cocktail parties, appear on TV, apply for a job in the Obama administration etc. Now I see this line of accusation appearing in the Corner too.

Let's develop this thought a little. Suppose it were true? Suppose I were indeed a venal, light-minded chaser after television appearances and social invitations. What difference would it make?

Do my correspondents (and now my Corner colleagues) truly believe that - but for my pitiful media and social ambitions - nobody in America would have noticeed that Sarah Palin cannot speak three coherent consecutive words about finance or economics?

And Christopher Buckley, son of WJ Buckley, founder of NR and a man who has the status of a saint in NRO-land, has now, marvellously, come out for Obama in the splendidly titled Daily Beast, and has been 'fatwah-ed' by the American right:

Since my Obama endorsement, Kathleen and I have become BFFs and now trade incoming hate-mails. No one has yet suggested my dear old Mum should have aborted me, but it's pretty darned angry out there in Right Wing Land. One editor at National Review--a friend of 30 years--emailed me that he thought my opinions "cretinous." One thoughtful correspondent, who feels that I have "betrayed"--the b-word has been much used in all this--my father and the conservative movement generally, said he plans to devote the rest of his life to getting people to cancel their subscriptions to National Review. But there was one bright spot: To those who wrote me to demand, "Cancel my subscription," I was able to quote the title of my father's last book, a delicious compendium of his NR "Notes and Asides": Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription.

For those of us who enjoy reading NRO and similar, without sharing their views, it's all the most supoib entertainment.

You know, they do have a sense of humour

As the peerless Onion shows, Americans can do satire exceptionally well. Strolling around the internets the other day, I stumbled on, a strikingly well-informed mock official site for that year's Presidential campaign that reminds us that blatant lying during Presidential campaigns isn't confined to this year. The second Presidential debate of that election took place on this day four years ago, during which Bush said "I don't think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all." comments -

"A stunning insight that has eluded the best legal minds to date. The only thing the state is authorized to do to us that it wasn't before the era of the Patriot Act is: (1) arrest us without cause (2) hold us indefinitely without charge (3) subject us to secret military trial (4) replace juries with military officers (5) suspend rules of evidence (6) prevent us from witnessing our own trial (7) prevent us from seeing the evidence against us (8) convict us on hearsay (9) torture us (10) execute us in secret (11) execute our friends and associates for harboring us."

Second, here's the essential Saturday Night Live Palin-Couric parody followed by the real thing. Less than three minutes of your time, and both are hysterical.

Betting news

McCain is now almost a 7 to 1 shot in a two horse race. Given the volatility of US presidential races, that's got to be worth a shot: how many people are telling pollsters that they will vote Obama who, when it comes down to it, will vote McCain? Quite a few, I reckon. I note from this old BBC story that on 5 September 2000, Al Gore was ten points ahead of Bush in the polls and pulling away. I know we're much later on in the campaign than 5 September, but even so I still found that surprising.

And, in case you missed it, a few days ago William Hill temporarily suspended taking bets on proof of the existence of alien life on the back of a run of heavy betting. Seriously. Watch the skies...

Finally: occasional commenter here j-g (who mostly can be roused to comment when I playfully point out the liberal and farsighted nature of Palin's policy on 'reproductive rights') is a renowned and skilful gambler, as well as being connected in the world of publishing. I note that the Booker prize was won, yet again, by someone other than the favourite. JMP would be interested in any comment j-g might have on this strange phenomenom of the Booker favourite never winning?

Black is white. War is peace.

And, in other news, Sarah Palin is "very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there". This in relation to the Moosegate [TM] report that found that she 'abused her power' by violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.

This isn't spin, it's mental illness.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Look, just what have you lot been up to?

I don't know. I go away for a week's innocent holiday and the angel of financial death stalks the devasted land; I arrive back in the country and the FTSE enjoys what is now known in trading circles as a 'Mac bounce'. Clearly I cannot leave the country alone again, at least while Brown And Badger eyebrows are still nominally i/c.

Many thanks to the indomitable Captain Haddock for holding the fort in my absence. The Cap'n will continue to make weekly guest posts on JMP, sharing his curious mix of deep Green Maoist agitprop and Canadian holiday photos. Only without the Canadian holiday photos.

I'm still adjusting to life in a country where the Upper House is now graced by Baron Mandelson of Hartlepool and Foy, a twice-disgraced Secretary of State answerable to the Commons only through his lowly underlings in that Other Place; and where our premier's stock apparently continues to rise (a poor choice of phrase, sorry) on the back of financial disaster and the news that his eyesight is much worse than we had thought and apparently deteriorating. So while your humble blogger takes on board these seismic shocks, and more, I leave you with this:

Q What's the capital of Iceland?
A About four pound fifty.

Boom boom!

Sunday, 12 October 2008


...term to describe the-most-dangerous-woman-in-the-world doing the rounds in the States, as noted by Ben Macintyre in the Books section of today's ST.

You're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on the top. You stop and think: how the hell did it get up there? It didn't get up there on its own; it doesn't belong up there and it certainly doesn't know what to do now it's there. And finally you wonder: what kind of dumb-ass put it up there in the first place?

(And that's it for Captain Haddock. I've enjoyed the adventure and have been honoured to have you along for company, dear reader. I'd just like to thank one or two people who made it all possible: my lovely children, Moonrise and Leaf; my gorgeous wife and aromatherapist, Angelina; all the lads on the Ark Royal...that's enough thanks - ed.)

Armageddin outa here!

How about this as a thought to lighten the mood on International Where's all my f*cking money gone? Week...
"In the past forty years there have been few occasions when I have been more concerned about a specific conflict escalating to involve, economically, the whole world."
This is David Owen, dad of the injury-prone Newcastle striker, in the Sunday Times this morning. He believes that Israel is about to launch a strike against Iran's nuclear enrichment facility while they can still rely upon George W's support and before the facility goes critical in December (since after that an attack would result in a nuclear explosion).
If Israel does attack, Iran would immediately block the Strait of Hormuz. The Revolutionary Guard (an outfit made up of suicide soldiers, pilots and sailors) would attack Israel and the rest of the world if it tried to get in the way and, according to the grey-haired international statesman, Russia and China would be only too happy to supply it with the arms it needed.
As if the money markets needed a further excuse to go into the cellar and turn the lights off.
For God's sake Michael. Take your old man out for a pint - he obviously needs cheering up a bit.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Just a sneeze away...

JM's frustration at not being able to post about this blog's obsession (sorry - I have been sorely lacking on that front, Jonny) is almost tangible. You may remember this:
"I don't have the story yet. I don't know if there is one, actually.But when it breaks, remember you saw 'Moosegate' coined here first. JMP, always ahead of the curve."
I say the man is preternaturally politically perceptive, as we hear today that the scariest-woman-in-the-world officially abused her position as Governor to dump on family enemies. You know the ins and outs...I won't bore you. Suffice to say the republicans have decided the best form of defence is attack and are accusing the democrats of politicising the issue. Excuse me?
(My youngest is convinced the spooks are ready to take her out should the worst happen. Well, if they can do it to Diana, and the Duke of Edinburgh is really a shape-shifting reptilian...)

Friday, 10 October 2008

Global recession due to FT Horoscope

Mystic Alistair, renowned for his supernatural eyebrows and spookily acurate predictions on the economy, gives readers advice for the coming week.
Aries March 21-April 19
Sell, sell sell!
Libra September 23-October 22
Pension? What pension?
Taurus April 20-May 20
Get out of there now!
Scorpio October 23 - November 21
The window’s open. Geronimo!
Gemini May 21-June 21
Dump it all for Christ’s sake!
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Put what’s left on the donkey.
Cancer June 22-July 22
Too late. You’re history
Capricorn December 22-January 19
Sell the kids for medical research
Leo July 23-August 22
Put it under the floor boards!
Aquarius January 20-February 18
Get used to beans
Virgo August 23-September 22
Virgos look good in rags
Pisces February 19-March 20
That’s enough horoscopes- ed

Lingerie League enlivens American Football

What began as a Super Bowl half-time stunt - scantily-clad women playing American football - has proved so popular (among men, at least) it is getting its very own national "Lingerie League".

Billed as "true fantasy football", league will feature teams of women across the US playing American football in co-ordinated underwear, including garters, along with helmets and some token protective padding.

Members of America's existing professional women's football leagues are unlikely to be either worried or impressed by the newcomers, however, as sporting ability appears far less of a concern than looks when it comes to recruiting players.

The new league is a spin-off from the annual Lingerie Bowl, which was started five years ago as a racier alternative to the official Super Bowl half-time show.

Lingerie Bowl organisers said after the controversial Super Bowl half-time show in which Janet Jackson bared a breast, the official programme became "extraordinarily conservative with ageing rockers such as Tom Petty, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones" that failed to wow fans or critics.

"Obviously first and foremost it's a visually driven brand, so you have to have the beauty," league spokesman Kyle Bolin told Florida's St Petersburg Times.
"But you have to be athletic. It's a whole different breed when you're asking models to play tackle. So you have to (have) a little bit upstairs."

He also denied the league was sexist. "This is not fluff. They take it very seriously. They're not out there worrying about fingernails being broken, but they're worried about their necks being broken."

From Telegraph online (I kid you not)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Queen in Golden Arches scandal!

A familiar face was spotted behind the counter of the Marble Arch McDonald's today. Her Majesty claimed she has been left with no option but to "flip the brown" as a result of the government refusing to increase the £15m it pays for the upkeep of her occupied palaces and the £7.9m Civil List which pays for her public functions. Ministers argue that, in the present economic climate, Whitehall budgets are already overstretched. Royal aides counter that Parliament has a constitutional duty to ensure the Queen is financially secure and that the Sovereign should not have to demean herself in this way. The burger chain refused to comment but has re-launched the Chicken Royale in an apparent dyslexic frenzy of inappropriate marketing.

Scientist wants more sex and free re-hab

The New Scientist magazine has asked a group of prominent scientists and scientific thinkers what one piece of advice they would give the incoming president.

Among others, Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and futurist, argues for government research dollars and tax incentives to capture the 1 part in 10,000 of the sunlight that hits the Earth to meet 100 per cent of our energy needs.

Peter Agre, recipient of the 2003 Nobel prize in chemistry, says the first priority should be to re-establish the Presidential Science Adviser within the White House with a rank equivalent to cabinet secretary.

All very laudable, but my favourite is Matthew Chapman, co-founder of ScienceDebate2008, who would urge the next president, "to see it as his patriotic duty to raise the status of those who use their brains. Instead of being derided as geeks or nerds, scientists should be seen as courageous realists and the last great heroic explorers of the unknown. They should get more money, more publicity, better clothes, more sex and free rehab when the fame goes to their heads."

Party on, dude! as I think they say across the pond.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

"Burn the orangutans!" says Gore.

In a move which seems designed to take him from the periphery of the debate on climate change to centre stage once more, Al Gore, erstwhile presidential candidate and eco-warrior, yesterday made the shock announcement that he was putting his considerable political weight behind a new carbon-neutral energy source being trialled in Borneo.

Who pays the bill?

You have to feel sorry for JM. He leaves the country for a week and the biggest news story of the century breaks. The poor chap will be desperate to blog his views (can blog be used transitively, I wonder?) It is therefore with some sense of trepidation that I offer my own comments at this momentous time in the hope that when The Great One returns He will look with satisfaction at the work done in His absence.

The Daily Mirror has calculated that the £50 billion bail out of our banking sector announced last night will cost every tax payer in this country £1,610. The Mirror, as you might expect, goes on to rant and rave in a really rather splendid way about "greed" and "grasping bankers". Unfortunately, their website seems more concerned about a former Mr Gay UK eating (literally) his dinner companion. Now, I'm sure that there is a clever metaphor hiding in there somewhere but it's early in the morning and I'm just not clever enough to see it.

(Mrs Haddock, a woman of infinite sagacity and perception, is rather concerned that there is a leitmotif beginning to appear in these posts. I shall keep my eyes peeled.)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Haddock throws a wobbly

It may be seem heartless in the present climate, but I do wonder whether the collapse of the financial system might not have some long-term benefits.
Firstly, if you’re reading this and just been made redundant and you are, sorry - were, a hedge fund manager, a derivatives trader, a short seller, or any of the other strange people who do, sorry - used to do, exciting things with my money in big shiny offices, then GET OVER IT. You had your day in the sun. There are plenty of other people who are going to be affected by the fall-out from this crisis more deserving of my limited sympathy. Play roulette with your own money Gordon Gecko by all means, but if you do it with ours then don’t expect any sympathy when it goes tits up.
The tragedy of this latest huge cock-up is that of the ordinary Joe/Jo whose pensions, savings and jobs are fast disappearing before his/her disbelieving eyes. To you I apologise for what follows.
Tout d’abord, once the dust has settled we might just remember that we are not all here on a free ride to consume as much as we can without any thought for the consequences. One of the huge ironies of this debacle is that as the very fabric of our capitalist big top starts to come asunder and the sparkly suited trapeze artists who amazed us with their daring financial somersaults start to plummet headlong into the sawdust, so we will emerge blinking from our reverie to realise that…bugger…the planet’s f*cked as well.

Without the distractions of endless new toys we might just grow up a little bit and start to think of something other than our own endless self-gratification. Without the money around to buy a new flat screen TV every six months or to replace the mobile because the camera (the camera for f*ck's sake) is only 6 megapixels or to fly to a new Euro city every weekend for a blast we might start to see that all this comes at a cost. That our circus was built on sand and now the music's stopped we're going to have to .... The Captain has exploded. Normal service will be resumed once he can find what's left of his personal pension.
After much embarrassing pleading from JM, (up off your knees now Jonny) I give you a further insight into our vacation antics. Here's Captain Haddock and a few friends enjoying a quiet beer in his local hostelry.

Monday, 6 October 2008

"I told you I was right" KM

FTSE has biggest one day fall in its history (397 points). Germany guarantees the £1.7 trillion (yes trillion)in its banks. Iceland's government takes control of its entire banking system. Golden Balls continues to say he will do "whatever it takes" to maintain the security of our banking system. (Hah!) Robert "I did that" Peston looks sombre and gets his billions/trillions muddled on News 24. And a small chuckle can be heard emanating from a modest grave in a Highgate cemetry.

Sunday, 5 October 2008


JM would, I'm sure, be commenting if he were here on the loathsome plans of HM Govt. to increase the powers/resources of GCHQ to spy on our electronic communications. Before I have the obvious rant, however, I thought I would draw your attention to a strange time slip. It is reported in many places today that Sir David Pepper, as Head of GCHQ, is the supremo behind the sinister plans...and yet he retired in July and was replaced by Iain Belland . Can anyone explain this anomaly?

Now for the rant....Oh God, what's the point? The chat rooms and comment pages all over the web are unanimous in their abhorrence of such a preposterous idea. I even saw one post from the US expressing disbelief that we hadn't got out on the streets already. "What's wrong with you guys???" he spluttered. Quite right.

The other night I watched a re-run of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekend with the US nut-jobs, as my son so delicately put it, who live outside society on a snowy hill-top somewhere in the mid-west, refusing to pay taxes or insurance or licence their vehicles with the conviction that the "New World Order Goverment" is coming and will gain control over every aspect of our lives. The only answer, they reckoned, is to drop out completely. At the time I had a sneaking admiration for them and now, well, I'm thinking of asking to join up...

Oh Stephen!

A male friend at college once mused that he admired Bowie so much he would allow him to...well, you know. My admiration for Stephen Fry is not quite in that league, but I do think he's the Greatest Living Englishman and as such, his pronouncements carry some weight, in my book. It was with some bemusement then that I read in the Sunday Tomes of the GLE's support for McCain ("a remarkable man"), and his patrician dismissal of Obama as "not quite the man in terms of presence or judgement". Clay feet.

Saturday, 4 October 2008


I promised JM that I would share some snaps of Vancouver with you. In fact he begged me. "Please don't forget to show my readers your fascinating holiday photos!" he said, just before he left. This is Vancouver Pride - 500,000 Vancouverites out for a blast.
Lots more to come, you lucky people!


Term used to patronise those outsiders who fail to "understand" the "complex reasons" for a decision that leaves the rest of the world gasping in outraged disbelief. Pakistani intelligence sources quoted on the BBC News website claim a US drone fired a missile at a village in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, province killing between 9 and 20 people. Coincidentally, also in the news yesterday, it was announced that the US and India had finally reached agreement on the long debated and much criticised nuclear cooperation deal. Much criticised since it is feared it will upset the delicate balance of power in a region where the words nuclear and proliferation send end-timers into paroxisms of delight. So, you send unmanned drones into Pakistan to attack villages whilst on the same day announcing you're going help their buddies just across the border by giving them a leg up in the nuclear race. Realpolitik, my son.

Mandy, Oh Mandy!

Well you came and you gave without taking but I sent you away, oh Mandy well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking I need you today, oh Mandy!
With apologies to B Manilow.
Hell! What am I saying?

Bet you won't like this

The Gaming Act, that cynical, mind-numbingly crass piece of legislation, has had a further consequence (apart from letting giant casinos open in more of our cities). Local councils have complained that they are powerless to stop betting shops opening in the most deprived areas. Industry spokesmen have "justified" moving into such areas by saying...wait for it...that the shops will "brighten up shopping arcades" and provide "a meeting place for local people". Wouldn't you like to get hold of these spokesmen?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Aggressive atheist liberals

The composer James MacMillan was widely quoted yesterday warning of the liberal elite's 'ignorance-fuelled hostility to religion'. Apparently, atheist liberals are using "increasingly aggressive" means to drive religion out of public life and culture. Hmm. At the risk of upsetting JM's religious right readership... I can't help wondering: of what are we supposed to be ignorant?

Climaticide 4

I wanted to impress the legions of loyal Mac readers in my first post covering for the eponymous Jonny Mac by showing you an excellent set of images published by Telegraph online: The Atlas of the Real World. However, my blogging abilities have let me down at the first hurdle - so you'll just have to click the link above which I hope will take you to a pretty awesome one. I suppose my question is: so where's the US??

Thursday, 2 October 2008


to Italy for a week now (thanks for all the food tips). Know bog-all Italian; it's going to be weird to be somewhere where we don't even know the basics. Presumably it's a bit like Spanish? Middle class guilt will inevitably lead us to spend eight quid on an Italian for Dummies at Gatwick, which we will promptly lose on our return.

Someone has volunteered to post while I'm away, so do pop in now and again to see what they come up with. 

Good grief, just discovered you can't have an exclamation mark in a post label - freaks it out completely - how crap is that? Anyway, ciao, bellas (see? fluent already...)

No, you wouldn't want your wife and servants to see this

Very interesting story about the civil servant who has been charged under the venerable Obscene Publications Act in relation to a 'fantasy porn blog' on which he apparently described, presumably with some lipsmacking relish but without images, the kidnap, rape, mutilation and murder of Girls Aloud. It's incredibly rare for a prosecution under the OPA to be brought solely in respect of the written word - a very quick Google hasn't shown anything since Chatterly, though I'm sure I'm missing a couple of reasonably well-known examples. (The Mary Whitehouse private prosecution of the 'gay Jesus' poem in the 70s was for 'a blasphemous libel'.)

It should be a fascinating case, both legally (noteworthy that the blog was hosted outside the UK) and more generally, raising important issues about freedom of expression in the 21st century: I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion about it among the usual libertarian suspects. The infamous test of the 'tendency to deprave and corrupt' has, of course, shifted hugely since the Chatterly trial, and in view of the video material that now gets the relatively new R18 certificate, you really have to wonder how grim this bloke's blog was for the CPS to think there's a decent chance of a conviction here.
Update: a couple of quick further thoughts.
1. In case it's not clear from the above, the charge has obviously been brought because of the violence (specifically sexual violence) rather than the sexual content. I don't believe that any written description of sexual activity between consenting adults could now be considered to tend to deprave or corrupt.
2. There is no suggestion that the charge relates to this man inciting others to commit an offence. But I wonder how much of the rationale for the charge relates to a perceived threat to the members of Girls Aloud. To put it another way, if the site had exactly the same content but in relation to a fictional group, would the charge still have been brought? It would, it seems to me, have the same tendency to d or c; but would it be perceived as less dangerous, in a wider sense, and therefore not so much in the public interest to bring a prosecution?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Laffs, laffs, laffs!

Two marvellously amusing stories today, comedy jewels glistening amidst the wreckage of Capitalism As We Know It to keep our spirits up. Just like in the Blitz. A bit.

First, the Object Of This Blog's Obsession, in the latest part of the Katie Couric interview to be released, fails to name one newspaper or magazine that she has read about world events. Not one.

I particularly like this bit of Socratic dialogue:

 Couric: "When it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?"

Palin: "I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media."

And second, the lovely Cherie has compared, in an interview with Vanity Fair (wonder how much she got for that?), her Tone to...well, let's leave it to her:

"I'm sure history will judge him very well. I think he'll be up there with Churchill."

Course he will, love. Course he will.