Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Quote of the day

- Resign!

Shouted by several MPs in the chamber of the House of Commons on the announcement of the Gurkha vote result.

Brown must be in trouble

Even New Labour lickspittle Keith Vaz voted for the Lib Dem Gurkha motion. Well done Mr Vaz.

He was one of 27 Labour MPs who defied a three line whip to vote against the Government; but perhaps the really scary thing for the bunker was the much larger number who abstained.

The Jim Callaghan comparisons are now going strong. Brown is, after all, the first prime minister to lose an opposition day debate in the Commons since Sunny Jim in 1978. And while Callaghan was always scrabbling around for votes, Brown managed to lose - despite that three line whip - with a working majority of 63 MPs. 


And we still have the expenses debate tomorrow! Oh, happy days...

Skynet malfunction

It's started.

From The Local ('Sweden's News in English'):

A Swedish company has been fined 25,000 kronor ($3,000) after a malfunctioning robot attacked and almost killed one of its workers at a factory north of Stockholm.


The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in BĂ„lsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation. But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries. "The man was very lucky. He broke four ribs and came close to losing his life," said Leif Johansson.

Best comment on the story is from 'Britswedeguy' -

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

The Local is a magnificent news resource, actually. On the page of the above Terminator story is a link to a story headed Thirsty Swede Jailed Over Snot Attack, and the oddly cheery Sweden Tops European Rape League (but certain Premiership sides are just behind and closing fast, presumably).

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Quite possibly the weirdest advert ever


The Equality Bill reads like a pile of steaming turds

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Harriet Harman's Equality Bill is truly, utterly, dreadful. It's an attempt to put into law the worst of Labour's utterly unthought-through, vague, aspirational buzzwordage. And, surprise surprise, when you try to distil these concepts, they run through your fingers. It's like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling.

Take this clause:

8 Equality and diversity

(1) The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—
(a) promote understanding of the importance of equality and diversity,
(b) encourage good practice in relation to equality and diversity,


(2) In subsection (1)—
“diversity” means the fact that individuals are different,
“equality” means equality between individuals, and
“unlawful” is to be construed in accordance with section 36.

So, to take one example, one of the statutory duties of the Equality Commission is to encourage good practice in relation to the fact that individuals are different.

This doesn't mean anything. It has no meaning.

I hope that Parliamentary Counsel was sobbing tears of red hot shame as he typed those words.

It reminds me of a story that a Parliamentary Counsel once told me. Shortly after Labour's 1997 election, when the new dawn had (had it not) broken, word reached PC's Office that the Prime Minister would like an Enterprise Bill prepared.

Er, jolly good, came the reply; what does he want it to say?

We don't know yet, came the reply. We'll get back to you on that. The point is, we want an Act called the Enterprise Act on the statute books as soon as possible, to show we are keen to promote enterprise.

Cue Parliamentary Counsel punching wall in frustration.

Update: a colleague suggests that the clause might read better if amended like this -

"diversity" means the fact that individuals are different;
"equality" means the fact that individuals are the same...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Cocktail hour: O

Well, uproar here at JMP Towers with the news just in that Hermann, Hans' Bavarian cousin, may be coming to stay. Hermann, Hans reports, is short and plump and 'wholly without style'; his branch of the family fears that Hans has 'come off the rails', and this potential visit is likely to be something off a checking-up exercise on Hans' lifestyle. An exercise that Hans is likely to fail, I fear. He is going to take some emergency measures next week, including changing his subscriptions to You And Your Facecream and heat, to The Economist and Classic Car Monthly; whether this will be enough to convince onlookers that he is firmly onrail remains to be seen.  

Moreover, after picking up a cough after a particularly late night earlier this week, Hans has convinced himself that he has come down with swine fever, and has taken to spending the day on the sofa wearing his smoking cap and monogrammed dressing gown, moaning theatrically. Not all that different from his normal behaviour, but trying none the less.

In an effort to start thinking like someone who is very much onrail, Hans has chosen a classic, understated, masculine cocktail this week, as we hit O in his A to Z cocktail challenge: the Old Fashioned. Recipes vary, but Hans' is as follows: place a sugar cube and enough water just to dissolve it in a glass. Add a splash of Angostura bitters, and mix, so the sugar is dissolved. Add two measures of bourbon, and two or three ice cubes. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

This is one of my favourite cocktails, and like the Rusty Nail, great if you have a cold. 

And as you leave us Hans is off the sofa and back to his room to replace the H from Steps and Westlife posters on his walls with Constable prints. The place won't look the same.

PS Talking of swine fever, it keeps leading the BBC news with hushed talk of a 'global pandemic', but it can't be of much interest to the world at large if Google is to be believed: 'swine fever symptoms in humans' only brings up a measly 70,800 hits, compared to eg over 8,000,000 for 'Westlife'.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

What's worse than waking up after a night on the Cheeky Vimtos?

Waking up after a night on the CVs to discover that Margot the cat has caught a cute, baby rabbit and has dragged it through the catflap into your kitchen.

And the cute baby rabbit is alive.

But injured. And being played with and chased by two, now vicious-looking cats.

And you have to shoo the cats away so that you can get hold of the cute, baby rabbit to smash its head in with a concrete slab, to put it out of its misery.

That's worse. It's quite a grim way to start your day, actually.

Cheeky Vimto - advice for life

If you're in a pub and someone tells you that the Cheeky Vimto is a great drink and would you like one, do not say yes. 

Say no.

Saying yes will result in you waking up the next morning thinking a ferret's crapped in your mouth. Then you'll remember that you were drinking Cheeky Vimtos, and you'll wish a ferret had crapped in your mouth instead.

This has been a public service blogpost.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Who would vote Labour now?

From UK Polling Report -

"The Telegraph have published the first voting intention poll since the budget. The topline figures in the YouGov poll, with changes from their last one, are CON 45%(+4), LAB 27%(-7), LDEM 18%(+2). It was conducted between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon."

Labour at 27% is universally seen as a low figure. It seems staggeringly high to me.

Who the f*ck are these people? Do you know anyone - anyone - who says if there was an election tomorrow they would vote for this bunch of corrupt, smearing, bankrupting, authoritarian incompetents? Fair enough, you might not be able to face voting Tory, but surely you'd vote Green or abstain - not positively vote for Labour?

Is this a class thing? A geography thing?

Really: why aren't Labour on, I don't know, 15% tops? What would it take to get their support down to that level? It seems to me, on this evidence, that the entire Cabinet could be found to be running a paedophile ring, and Labour would still be bouncing on 21, 22% in the polls.


to NightJack, winner of the Orwell Prize for blogging.

NJ is a wonderfully cynical serving policeman who blogs about his working life. To give you a taste, here is an excerpt from a post offering guidance to 'decent folk' brought into contact with the police:

Complain First

Always get your complaint in first, even if it is you who started it and you who were in the wrong. If things have gone awry and you suspect the cops are going to be called, get your retaliation in first. Ring the cops right away and allege for all you are worth. If you can work a racist or homophobic slant into it so much the better.

Make a counter allegation

Regardless of the facts, never let the other side be blameless. If they beat you to the phone, ring anyway and make a counter allegation against them. Again racism or homophobia are your friends. If you are not from a visible minority ethnic culture, may I suggest that that the phrase “You gay bastard” or similar is always useful. In extremis allege sexual assault. It gives us something to bargain with when getting the other person to drop their complaint on a quid-pro-quo basis. This is particularly good where there are no independent witnesses. When it boils down to one word against another and nobody is ‘fessing up, CPS run a mile and you, my friend, are definitely on a walk out.

Never explain to the Police

If the Police arrive to lock you up, say nothing. You are a decent person and you may think that reasoning with the Police will help. “If I can only explain, they will realise it is all a horrible mistake and go away”. Wrong. We do want to talk to you on tape in an interview room but that comes later. All you are doing by trying to explain is digging yourself further in. We call that stuff a significant statement and we love it. Decent folk can’t help themselves, they think that they can talk their way out. Wrong...

Inside the Treasury

- courtesy of the genius of Matt

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Tum te tum te tum te tum

Like all civilised human beings, I listen to the Archers, and so I was naturally gratified to stumble on the Archers website and, in particular, its timeline, which sets out highlights from each year of the long running series.

Now, some people criticise the Archers for being boring, saying nothing much happens. Nonsense, of course. But I must admit that 1964 does seem to have been a bit of a...slow year. These are the highlights, the most exciting things, according to the BBC timeline, that happened in the Archers in 1964:

New dining room built on The Bull. Charles Grenville left for America. PC Albert Bates replaced PC Bryden as the village bobby.

The Phantom Fly Catcher is locked out

A nice spring evening...a bike ride home from the pub...freewheeling fast down the hill...and then, suddenly, a big fly in mouth and, yup, straight down the throat.


Good job I'm not a vegetarian any more.

Then home to discover we'd locked ourselves out. But we have a back door key in [a secret place]. Hurrah! But we've left the backdoor key in the lock on the inside. Boo! So there followed ten minutes of faffing about, trying to poke the key out etc - while all the time the cats, quite uncharacteristically, were going in and then out of the catflap. Just to rub our noses in it.

Last one left please switch out the lights

Well, that was a good, brave and popular Budget, wasn't it?

Amidst all the fuss over the cynical new 50% tax rate - of 'won't raise much/any money but hopefully forms a trap for the Tories' fame - it's interesting to remember that it was only 30 years ago that the top rate of tax was an eye-watering 83%; and Thatcher was in power for nine years before she was able to take it down to 40%, in 1988. You tend to think that Maggie got in and, bang, higher rates of income tax were slashed. But it wasn't like that.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Well done my Sun. Etc

Of all the British tabloids, the Sun is the most addicted to the crapulous pun in a headline, and as the readership of JMP is too highbrow ever to descend to the gutter press, I thought I'd share some you've missed today. In just the showbiz Bizarre section today, we have a fine selection including Spears' outfit is a little Brit racy (no explanation necessary), Take That and Rob Book for Good (Take That sign a book deal), Tardy Russell's ever Crowe late (Russell Crowe arrives late for a film premiere), and the woeful Dan a-Mays-ed at Spielberg call (actor Daniel Mays was mildly surprised when Steven Spielberg telephoned him to ask to him to play Tintin in a new film). Perhaps my favourite of today's crop is Pine needled by premiere crowd (actor Chris Pine allegedly annoyed at Simon Pegg receiving more attention at another premiere). And defintely the worst, for my money, is the Oasis-related Gallaghers open - wait for it, wait for it - Noeld wounds (groan).

How ironic - said Alanis Morrisette - that it's Sun sub-eds who are the last people left in England using the term 'tardy'.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Andy Burnham loses his homework

Oh bless. Poor wee mite. Little Andy Burnham (can you imagine 'Billy' Gladstone or 'Benny' Disraeli?) has left some TOP SECRET - oh, all right, Restricted (ie everyone has a copy) - papers on a train, in a forlorn attempt to join the cool gang. Unfortunately, Jacqui Smith has just called him a spacker and nicked his lunch money. Again.

He's really, really sorry, though, and - oh bless him again - he's ordered a departmental review of security.

Next week, Mandelson shoots Derek Draper in the head, and then apologises unreservedly and orders a departmental review of fire-arm usage in BERR.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Frinton Gates Shock

The bastards. The complete and utter evil scum-sucking bastards. In what is already being called 'Gatesgate' - possibly - the philistines at Network Rail reneged on an agreement to remove Frinton's famous gates at 10.30 am today, sneaking in to do it at 2am this morning.

I am told by Frinton sources that Network Rail refuse to say where the removed gates are being stored, saying only that they are, like some Al Qaeda operative, at an 'undisclosed location'.

Wikipedia reports that the gates will eventually be put on display 'at the entrance to the village'. My sources in Frinton aren't holding their breath.

From today's Telegraph editorial: 

The rage of Frintonians is one that should be felt all over Britain, for it is the rage at not being left alone by massive corporations and the state to live life harmlessly and without interference. Today, Frinton. Tomorrow, who knows?

Quite so. Should you want to tell Network Rail what you think about their vandalism and doubledealing, their contact details are here.

Max Hastings, you're odd

Max Hastings has just been on Front Row on Radio 4 discussing Russell Crowe's new film with Mark Lawson, and throughout he pronounced Crowe to rhyme with 'how'. What's that about, Max?

Oh God, this is really spooky

An artist superimposes images of her modern, adult self into snapshots of her as a child. More here.

Via. Again.


I want one! I want one!


Twitter-ing catflap cats

Croydonian has the bizarre, geek-tastic details. The cats' Twitter page is here.

Where do modern day pirates come from?


I thank you. I'm here all day, do try the veal.

Via email.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunday supper

Cocktail hour: N

- A genuine Hayter Spirit 41. Oh yes. A man's mower. Woof.

I discovered this weekend that you realise that you're a grown up not when you first drive a car, or go to bed with a beautiful woman. No, it's when you own your first, gorgeous petrol driven lawn mower - having put away electric lawn mowers along with other childish things - and, for the first time, you survey your garden, take a deep breath, pull that cord thing...and see and hear it roar into life. It's that starting an engine by pulling on a cord that does it, for some reason, I think. The safety aspects of it all are rather worrying - am I really going to be storing petrol in my little shed? It seems I am, with the prospect of a sitcom-style shed explosion never far away - but then I'm someone who happily mowed right through the electrical cable of his old mower, so que sera, sera.

Hans thinks my new lawn mower fetish is too contemptibly suburban for words (though first he misunderstood, and recommended an interesting club in the Kings Cross area) and has specified a suitably urban and sophisticated cocktail this week, the New Yorker. It's deliciously simple: a measure of bourbon and of grenadine into a cold cocktail glass containing a cube or two of ice; a squeeze of lime, and then add the lime wedge. Et voila. Before you know it, Samantha Jones is eyeing you up across your lounge. But don't let that put you off.

Now, back to that instruction booklet for my Hayter Spirit 41, while Hans browses once more through the extras on the DVD of the Sex And The City movie...

Quote of the day

Never content just to be, America is also obliged to mean; America signifies, hence its constant and riveting vulnerability to illusion.

- Martin Amis (from an article published in 1988, republished in Visiting Mrs Nabakov).

Friday, 17 April 2009

America's shame

Locking someone with a phobia of insects in a small box, and then throwing in an insect - which you say can and will bite them.

The newly released and declassified torture memos show how US government lawyers advised the Bush administration that this did not qualify as torture: just as the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation and waterboarding didn't.

Andrew Sullivan is excellent on this, as he has been throughout. The rightwing American blogosphere, by contrast, is either silent or shrill. The continuing use by some commentators of the wholly discredited and Orwellian term 'enhanced interrogation techniques' is chilling. As Sullivan says, if Iran captured some US sailors and locked them in a small box for days on end and then waterboarded them in an attempt to get intelligence from them, do you think that the American right would be denying that they had been tortured?

Sullivan's caption for the photo above is

a torture victim murdered while being beaten in a stress position by a masked US agent at Abu Ghraib.

Did you ever imagine you'd read such a sentence?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

"squeezed like a lemon" in Russia

Take care when getting your hair cut over there. From the Moscow Times:

According to, the events unfolded on the evening of March 14 as the stylist was wrapping up her shift at the salon in the Kaluga region town of Meshchovsk. The robber, a 32-year-old man identified by as "Viktor," burst into the salon at around 5 p.m. waving a pistol and ordered all of the stylists and clients to hit the floor and toss him their money. At this point, 28-year-old Olga, whom describes as a "delicate" girl trained in martial arts, was apparently still standing when she offered to hand over her cash. But when Viktor tried to accept her contribution, Olga surprised him with a quick punch to the chest, knocking the wind out of him before she flipped him to the ground. Olga proceeded to tie Viktor up with a hair-dryer cord, gagged him and dragged him into a storage room. Curiously, reports, Olga instructed the others to keep working, telling them that the police would soon arrive.

But this feel-good moment for the good guy proved ephemeral. Things soon turned ugly, according to The police did not come. And after the other stylists and clients went home for the evening, Olga told Viktor to "take off his underwear" and, with apologies to John Cougar Mellencamp, let her do as she pleases, lest she call the cops, said. She tied him to the radiator with handcuffs covered in frilly pink fabric, gave him some Viagra and had her way with him several times over the next 48 hours. When she finally let him go on the evening of March 16, Viktor had been "squeezed like a lemon," reported.

First, he went to the hospital to have his injured genitals treated; then he went to police and filed a complaint asking that Olga be brought up on criminal charges for committing "actions of a sexual nature" that left him with injured sexual organs, according to a copy of the complaint posted on Olga was apparently incensed when she learned of the complaint. She had, after all, even tried to be nice to her purported captive. "What a jerk," quoted her as saying. "Yeah, there were a few times. But I bought him new jeans, gave him food and drink, and gave him 1,000 rubles when he left."

Brown apologises - and lies

'Speaking in Glasgow, the Prime Minister said: "I am sorry about what happened. I have said all along when I saw this first I was horrified, I was shocked and I was very angry indeed."'

Not true. The No. 10 response, as late as 11 April, was this:

A Number 10 spokesman said the messages were "juvenile and inappropriate".

The spokesman added that nobody in Downing Street knew of the e-mails and that it was Mr Brown's view that there was "no place in politics for the dissemination or publication of material of this kind".

Does thinking something is 'juvenile and inappropriate' (a naked attempt to kill the story, of course) suggest that one is 'horrified' and 'shocked' by it? Of course not.

Even in this late, half-assed apology, Brown is lying. He really is a political trainwreck.

When is a riot not a riot?

When it is a 'challenging incident'. That's how Prisons Minister David Hanson repeatedly described the Ashwell Prison riot over the Easter weekend on the Today programme on Monday. It was also a 'very disturbing incident'. But it was not a riot, oh no. Evan Davis at one point says to him 'The Prison Officers Association say you are refusing to call it a riot. Do you accept it was a riot?' Answer - 'It was a very disturbing incident...'.

Good, subtle spinning, chaps. The public both welcome and respect it.

But when Brixton and Tottenham ignite this summer, I hope the Challenging Incident police are a little less heavy handed than they have been of late.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Physician, heal thyself

From the blurb on the back of Dolly Draper's new book...

"...the more we understand why we do what we do, the more we can change ourselves for the better and enjoy the fuller, happier lives we deserve..."

Quite, Dolly. Quite.

Incidentally, Dolly's website gave one lucky reader the chance to attend his 'VIP' book launch. On 28 March he reported that 'Sukipo' had won, on the back of a 'comment' - presumably elsewhere on the blog - that began -

I would love to win a copy of your book. I am 57 and unable to find paid employment after working for many years in Senior Management, ageism is.

"Ageism is"?

Anyway, in the next, and last, post, on 3rd April, there comes the inevitable report -

"Sadly Sukipo, who won the competition, couldn't attend..."

Sukipo clearly saw which the way wind is blowing.

"... but I am sending her a signed book."

Christ, she's 57 and unemployed (ageism is). Hasn't she suffered enough, Dolly?

Guido in Brown's sights?

David Hughes at Three Line Whip is right that Ed Balls was (once again) a disgrace on the Today programme this morning, suggesting that all parties are equally guilty and that poor li'l Ed'n'Yvette have suffered from nasty comments left on Guido's site.

Hmm. Putting aside the utter irrelevance of the blog of one private individual to the rights and wrongs of the activities of a government employee, it is striking that Guido was attacked by name, once again, by a Government Minister, following Hazel Blears' moralising about his 'vicious nihilism'. and his being smeared by one of the men of the moment, Civil Service Minister Tom Watson.

So that's three Government Ministers (and there may be more) who have chosen publicly to attack an individual blogger, which seems to me pretty extraordinary. And all this is against the background of Andy 'Teenage Twat' Burnham's muttering about rating each and very blog and other site on the internet with 'cinema-style ratings'. (Twat.)

Now we know that Brown is a man who harbours a grudge, and who fixes on destroying his political enemies. We also know that Guido is, at this moment, probably more of an effective Opposition than Cameron. Is it too fanciful to think that in this unusally light Parliamentary session space might be found for a Bill to help 'clear up our politics' ((c) G. Brown) by - somehow - trying to control the 'vicious nihilists' of the blogosphere?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Smeargate: reflections

1. McBride was appointed personally by Brown, who interviewed him and subsequently worked very closely with him, so his actions reflect appalling on Brown's judgement.

2. As do Brown's references, in a comment by a Downing Street spokesman and apparently repeated in his 'personal' letters to those smeared, to 'unsubstantiated claims'. As others have pointed out, the logical inference to be drawn from that phrase is that the claims might be correct, but there is no evidence to back them up. Brown's pathological refusal to apologise and to accept just how wrong his attack dog got it is compounding both the original harm caused, and the damage being suffered by the Government.

3. Ditto his terrible letter to Gus O'Donnell on the SpAd code (above). I mean -

"....I entered politics because of a sense of public duty and to improve the lives and opportunities of those less fortunate than me. My undivided focus as Prime Minister is on acting to make Britain a fairer, safer and more prosperous nation and, in particular, on guiding the country through the current economic difficulties...'

Ffs! It's a mea culpa, not yet another bit of grotesque spin! Shut up man!

How much better if he had immediately said something like: "Like everyone else, I am appalled by these obscene lies, which I fully accept have absolutely no basis in fact; and I apologise unreservedly on behalf of the Government and the Labour Party to those affected, to whom I will be offering my personal apologies in writing. I have sacked Mr McBride, who has no place in this Government." Then he might have had half a chance of getting it out of top place in the news cycle by now.

4. Tom Watson - blogger, and in his spare time Minister for the Civil Service and 'Minister for Digital Engagement' (who knew?) - is, it is said, shared an office with McBride. Having already been mentioned in the emails, this puts him even more squarely in the cross hairs as the next victim of this squalid affair. The Mail reports that 'Downing Street sources' deny this. An FoI request could sort that out.

Unusually for a highly active blogger, Tom's blog has been silent since a 10 April post; and that post has no comments to it. My cheery comment giving some pithy thoughts on Smeargate hasn't yet appeared there. How odd!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Cocktail hour

Hans, JMP's resident mixologist, has been gripped by Smeargate like all of us, and particularly by the weird dynamic of the would-be-foppish Dolly, and the unambiguously thuggish McBride. As such, when thinking about the cocktail to cover M in his famous cocktail A to Z Challenge earlier today while listening to the morning service on Radio 4 Longwave, he whimsically offered, from his cane bathchair in the conservatory, the 'McBride', comprising one measure of bile and one of testosterone. It is in a similar mood that he tells me now that the week's cocktail is the genuine Mother-in-law, which is stout and bitter*. Geddit? Pouring half a pint of each into a pint glass is the only preparation required, though some say pork scratchings as an accompaniment are absolutely essential. The Coronation Street theme music playing in the background also helps. Hans assures me that non-beer-based cocktails will return next week.

*Both my lawyers and my conscience require me to add that my m-i-l is neither. Hans doesn't have a m-i-l; he is 'not the marrying sort'.


I am given to understand that Derek 'these are totally brilliant Damien' Draper likes a bit of gossip. Well, for a great anecdote about Dolly and what are alleged to be his penchants for boys, cocaine, bondage and threesomes, head over to Harry's Place here.

Catch up

So, probably the UK blogosphere's been pretty quiet over Easter?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Christian the Lion

Have you seen it yet? Happy Easter!

Clintons and the dragon

So there I am in Clinton Cards, innocently browsing for a birthday card, when the instore muzak is interrupted by some vaguely patriotic music and a voice saying 'St George's Day is traditionally a time for celebrating with friends and family, and Clintons have a range of cards...'.

Cripes! I'd forgotten to buy my 'Happy St George's Day' cards! D'oh!

In this country, of course, the celebration of St George's day is traditionally most exuberantly observed by our very own homegrown fascists and racists, and below is a photo of a group of chums excitedly going off to get their cards from their local branch of Clintons.

Bob Quick, superdick!

What an arse. To be fair, half of me feels sorry for him, especially as he has fallen (after being given several helping shoves, no doubt) on his sword; but the other half simply cannot believe the crassness of his blunder. After all, what none of the commentators seem to be saying is that it is almost inevitable that he has committed a criminal offence and breached section 8(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1989, which is subject to a maximum sentence of three months' imprisonment.

Update: ah, I see that Guido has pointed out the OSA breach, though why he modifies it by calling it 'technically' a breach I don't know. Arguably, this is a situation that section 8 was designed to deal with; after all it seems quite possible that by forcing the arrests to take place earlier than planned, damage to nataional security may have resulted.

Update 2: and it's not as though this whole photographing of papers in Downing Street thang hasn't happened recently, is it Caroline Flint?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

I can't believe I missed it again!

The "bi-annual Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot", that is. It's the Deep South equivalent of a village fete, I think. More photos here.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Old fart corner: Jade (again)

(Old fart corner: an occasional series of posts, all of which will feature the phrase 'now I don't mean to be an old fart, but').

I keep reading that fans of Dear Lovely Jade have gone to her grave to, I don't know, shout racist abuse at passing Indian actresses in her memory or something.


Now I don't mean to be an old fart, but I honestly do not understand what that means in the context of Jade Goodey. Fans of what? What did she actually do to merit or attract fandom? She had (arguable business acumen aside - she made an awful lot of money) quite literally no talents at all that I have heard of. I mean, she didn't even have 'Jordan'-stylee big bazookas.

Seriously, what does being a fan of Jade mean?

Update: I'm going to have to investigate whether JMP's old fart corner can be virtually twinned with the quite excellent Oregon Gold Hunters' Old Fart Corner.

Oh, Sarah

The lovely Sarah Palin has issued a statement on the North Korean launch, which is a naked attempt to suggest that she has does, after all, have some national security weight and gravitas; but far more interesting than what it says about her political ambitions is the glimpse it offers of a truly Bush-esque ability to mangle syntax, not only when speaking and under pressure, but in a written statement.

Take the opening sentence:

I am deeply concerned with North Korea’s development and testing program which has clear potential of impacting Alaska, a sovereign state of the United States, with a potentially nuclear armed warhead...

'deeply concerned with'? 'clear potential of impacting'? Christ on a bike.

That Jacqui Smith Today interview

An extract.

: ...but can you not see, Home Secretary, the fact that it has emerged that you have captured, tortured and killed over twenty puppy labradors has caused a lot of upset and concern?

Smith: Of course I can John. That is why I have said it was a mistake for me to have done it, and I've been very clear about that. But people want me now to get on with the job, and that's what I'm going to do.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Dear, lovely Jade

Gone, but not forgotten. For the moment anyway. How could she be, when her family wittily tipped their hats to her lack of, er, intellectual rigour with this amusing floral display?

Meanwhile her husband may be taking some small comfort from the blonde Essex girls offering him an eyeful as they come over to give him, in Mail-ese, 'a kiss and condolences' as he has 'a quiet drink in the pub'. Just him, a mate, and a photographer or two.

In other news, young Mr Obama, a celebrity almost of the scale of Dear Lovely Jade, apparently thinks that Austrians don't speak German - but, erm, Austrain. Speaking at a news conference after the NATO summit he said -

"There’s a lot of -- I don’t know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests...


Finally, if you want a laugh, read the comments at the end of this Socialist Unity article on the North Korean whatever-it-was launch. Commenter little black sister's post - the first on the article - that

For all its degenerated character, North Korea remains a workers’ state.

may be my favourite SU comment yet. What does it mean? That the starvation and torture in that vast open-air gulag are somehow at least partly excusable because they are done by a nominally socialist state? No-one knows. As that 80s song so memorably put it, 'It's a mys - ter - ee, oh it's a mys -ter -ee'...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Cocktail hour

Blimey, what a busy and tiring few days. Your humble blogger is exhausted, as is JMP's resident mixologist, Hans. Still, at least Margot and Barbara seem finally to be on top of their catflap usage, which will be a relief for the blogosphere.

We have reached L in Hans' A to Z challenge, and with a weary wave of the hand from the chaise longue he instructs me that this week's cocktail is lager. Open a cold can of lager, such as Stella Artois or Kronenburg 1664, and pour it into a glass. Sip, nursing your lingering hangover, watching slack-jawed an episode of, say, Hetty Wainthrop Investigates. 

For those who complain lager isn't a cocktail, you can stick a cherry in it. (In the lager, that is. I wasn't being vulgarly rude.) 

Let's hope normal service is resumed next week. I'm sure it will be.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Quote of the day

What an odd duo Mrs Clinton and the boy Milipede make. She looks like a mother taking her teenage son round a university campus on Open Day.