Monday, August 30, 2010


Looks great, doesn't it...?

...This chap didn't realise until he'd dipped a marshmallow, that this was the output from the filtering process at the colostomy bag recycling plant upstairs.

PS Sorry. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Are Exams Designed to Discriminate Against The Motivationally Challenged?

After Gary Liniker blamed his son's school for his failure to get good enough results to get into university, research in America has shown that it may be the exams themselves that are discriminating against lazy kids...

In The Know: Are Exams Designed to Discriminate Against The Motivationally Challenged?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Silly Dunt... Deficit Deniers, The Holocaust & PR

Ian Dunt writes on that the use of the phrase "deficit denier" is unacceptable. Of course, we're used to being told what words we can and can't use by those on the left. But it's worth looking at this argument as there is, at least partial, truth in what he says.

Dunt gives two main reasons for not using the "deficit deniers" phrase, the first of which we can dismiss out of hand. He refers to it having "overtones of the Holocaust", because it is a derivation from the phrase "Holocaust denier". Again, a typically silly over appliance of political correctness to address some perceived offence that could be causes by a phrase used by political opponents that you'd expect from the mind of someone on the left.

Now, as it happens, I've not been using the phrase a lot myself but there is nothing offensive about it. To my mind, and others who share the view that there are those in the Labour party who want to continue the reckless and unsustainable spending of the previous government, the phrase sums up their delusional view of the world. The deficit exists, fact. The Holocaust happened, fact. As such the phrases are comparable. Using the phrase "deficit denier" doesn't suggest they are comparable to Nazis, as Dunt seems to think it does. Merely, that they are as deluded as those that deny the truth of the Holocaust. Indeed, not all Holocaust deniers are Nazis, necessarily. Some are just hopeless conspiracy theorists. Use of the phrase does not imply an equality of seriousness either. No one is suggesting the deficit run up by Labour is as horrific as the systematic murder of millions of people, that is, surely, obvious. But, this is not his main point. His second argument has (slightly) more substance to it, in my opinion.

He points out that Coalition politicians are using the phrase to discredit and suppress any alternative argument on how to manage the economy through the next few years.

Of course his main concern is that the phrase accurately and effectively sums up some left wingers' position of public spending and is being picked up by the media and public as it chimes with their own views on the subject. In reality this makes the Coalition's opponents feel uncomfortable as the arguments they'd like to see winning the debate are not gaining traction partly because this phrase so concisely sums up the alternative's argument as delusional and allows the idea to be transmitted easily. He knows the phrase effectively undermines the left's position and he'd prefer it be struck off the list of acceptable phrases.

Well, actually, he has a point. Not the politically correct one, obviously, but the point about attempting to suppress another argument through clever phraseology and PR. There is a legitimate alternative position to the Coalition's approach to tackling the deficit. To be fair, under Alistair Darling, Labour took it up during the election campaign. That was: Yes, deep cuts are necessary, but with slightly different timing and not quite as much, at first anyway. For those on the Left making that point, the phrase deficit denier is inaccurate and unfair. It doesn't fit well into the "new politics" approach if anyone is trying to portray all opposition politicians in that light. That kind of tactic is too reminiscent of the ruthless and sinister Labour propaganda machine that we all came to hate. The Coalition would do well not to emulate, or be seen to emulate, it.

However, since the election, that more realistic view of the deficit has all but disappeared from our TV screens when we hear Labour spokespersons oppose each and every Government action to reduce the deficit. There has been no mention of it during the Labour leadership campaign and in this respect, there really does seem to be a sense of delusional deficit denial running deeply through Labour at the highest level.

But Coalition politicians do need to be careful not to generalise all Labour people as deficit deniers. Certainly, the likes of Ed Balls should be exposed as an arch denier. He has said himself and it's been confirmed in the auto-biographies, that he opposed Labour's deficit reduction plans before the election. But, Alistair Darling may have planned a woefully inadequate reduction in the deficit, meaning we'd still be adding to our £1 Trillion++ in 4 years time, but at least he understood the deficit needed reducing. In that respect, he and others like him in Labour are not deficit deniers. The Coalition will be better advised to argue their case against these "deficit inadequates" if they are to continue the "new politics" approach that so sharply distinguishes them from their Labour predecessors.

Customer Service At Its Best

As seen on

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our House ConDem'ed - Best Thing For It

I read that Ed Balls is now suggesting that George Osborne is "removing the foundations of the house, just as the hurricane is about to hit".

A house, it should be noted, that the previous tenants conspired to leave with a criminally neglected roof, despite ample clement weather during which repairs could have been made.

To stretch the analogy much further than should be legal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Blog Post Readers Act, the house has had to be condemned and now needs to be completely rebuilt.

The foundations seem to me to be the best place to start.

Sinister In A Rubbish Way

I've often thought David Miliband looked sinister, but never as much as in this picture from The Guardian.

It was said that Michael Howard had "something of the night" about him. But what with Miliband's record of cowardice in standing up to the disastrous premiership of Gordon Brown (he could have brought him down), his aimless and intellectually bankrupt leadership campaign and his (and his brother's) God-awful Tony Blair aping style of public speaking, he would be more accurately described as having "something of the shite about him".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Comrade Miliband

I love this picture (from The Sunday Times) of comrade Ed Miliband.

He's putting on his best Khrushchev style "The party know best" glare as he applauds, what I can only imagine are, a procession of uniformly dressed young people who have just graduated from Labour's Institute of Correct Thought and Propaganda. The very institute Ms Ellie Gellard graduated from. Only she is supporting his pugnacious leadership opponent, Ed Balls. So, he must hope pictures like this will appeal to that kind of pre-programmed socialist, perhaps winning their first, or at least second, preference votes.

Obviously, he'll need a completely different image when (or rather if) he becomes leader as he'll need to appeal to normal people. I'm sure comrade Campbell is waiting in the wings to deploy his polishing skills on whatever turd emerges as leader.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Damn You Sexist Media!

I have to admit, in previous years, I've never consciously realised why I've been inexplicably more interested in the news of A-level results than is really justifiable for one who has no personal stake in them.

It was a tweet from Andrew Collins that opened my eyes to the reason... the gratuitous use of pretty young ladies to sell the story (and so their papers and TV shows). What a terrible state of affairs! Those poor naive girls, used by sexist men to sell their tawdry media output. Tch!

But what would be a more acceptable image?

Would you rather this...

All A-level students are attractive women, mostly with blonde hair

Or this...

Give us a kiss and I'll get you a place at University

I know which I find more unacceptable.

PS. Actually, I'm a big fan of Mr Gove. But he is a bit odd looking, isn't he?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Benefits With The Apple iPhone

I was amused and then slightly outraged (in a Daily Mail kind of a way) when I happened upon this app for the iPhone in the Apple iStore...
It strikes me as somewhat incongruous with the reality of people who are so hard up they need to claim benefits that they would own an iPhone (or iPad and or iTouch) in the first place. These things aren't cheap, usually come with a hefty monthly contract and are hardly staple to surviving on a pittance.

Of course, it is a sign of the times that benefits are not now limited to the hard up. In fact, the comments left by users of this app point to how helpful the app is for assisting in claiming child benefit and tax credit, benefits that are not restricted to the poor.

The (not so) slow creep of benefit dependency, so central to the political strategy of the last government, has led to many in the middle class being eligible for tax credits, universal benefits, child trust funds etc as well as generously funded government programmes like Sure Start. The less well off were supported and encouraged to stay as long as possible on benefits. Can't work or won't work? It matters not. As long as you vote Labour - cause them nasty Tories will take all this away, you know.

So, the ploy was to get people (the poor and well off alike) so accustomed to their "entitlements" that they would flock to the ballot boxes to return Labour time and time again - at least for fear of losing their money for nothing (sadly, there were no chicks for free but it did lead to Dire Straits).

Their strategy didn't work, obviously.

Instead, people saw through the bribery to the serious damage being done to the whole nation's future prospects by the enormous borrowing that was required to support this kind of spending. The challenge the Coalition government has is to start to dismantle this web of benefits for the better off, work shy and down right fraudulent, while supporting the genuinely vulnerable and keeping people focused on the necessity of the mission to save the country from Labour's deficit. It'll be no mean feat as, in politics, a week is a long time, so you can't expect the electorate to remember why they rejected the old lot for this lot when their incomes are being directly affected. But perhaps I'm being patronising. Voters haven't shown any sign of rejecting the governments bitter pill so far. I hope that will continue to be the case when the side effects start to be felt.

Perhaps what we need is an iPhone app that records how much you, as an individual, saved the tax payer by, say supporting a local school or helping with a community project or, perhaps even, not spending that money on a new iPhone but on food for your family instead. But then of course you wouldn't have an iPhone to run the app on. Gosh, this deficit reduction thing isn't as simple as it looks, is it?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thomas Hungry But Tired...

Adam & Joe's Classic Comedy Song Remakes

I have been enjoying Adam and Joe's remakes of these classic songs from their radio and much missed TV show...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Christopher Hitchens Talks About Cancer

Christopher Hitchens talks candidly and wittily about his esophageal cancer in this Vanity Fair article, and to Jeffrey Goldberg in this video (with an appearence by Martin Amis)...

Although he says the prognosis isn't great for him, let's hope his treatment is successful and he doesn't get to not meet his maker (as he doesn't really exist) any time soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Father, Son And Holy Ghost

I saw this on Sickipedia, contributed by Beeltrystig...

"I'm going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I'm going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born in human form.

Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself. To save you from the sin I originally condemned you to. Ta dah!"

- God, master of logic since the beginning of time.