Archive for September, 2008

Jackson on Redistribution

September 30th, 2008

Over here (he is in favour).


September 24th, 2008

Everywhere I look I see discussions of British politics cast in terms of “narratives”. Has anyone written anything interesting about this? And do people think this language is at all useful, or is it just the current buzzword that functions as a substitute for thinking about things but which allows commentators to signal that they’re keeping up with the crowd? Does anyone know when it started, or why? And is it mostly a British thing, or are the Americans, French, Canadians, Belgians and Poles banging on about narratives in their politics, too?

A Bill of Rights for Britain?

September 24th, 2008

Ted Vallance has a piece up at the New Statesman website. You can tell he’s a man of sound judgment, as he labels Liam Byrne’s recent pamphlet, “An atrociously written piece of invidious nonsense.”

Cambridge by Train

September 24th, 2008

“Plans for a railway line linking Oxford and Cambridge have moved a step closer after £2m of government funding was allocated to the project.” Excellent news. [Over here.]


September 23rd, 2008

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. You may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully
Minister of Treasury Paulson


Gordon Brown’s Speech

September 23rd, 2008

I managed to get as far as the bit (about one minute in) when he started banging on about how in Fife twenty five years ago he stood for parliament because he loved his country so much, and then felt sick and switched off. (To clarify: I felt sick and switched off, not the Prime Minister.)

How long did you last? And, for those of you who did last, what, if anything, did I miss?

“Why Ann Widdecombe said no to a Brazilian Butt Lift”

September 21st, 2008

The Mail on Sunday covers the issues that matter, over here [via].

Jour de la révolution

September 21st, 2008

Do note, by the way, that today is the French Republican Calendrical equivalent of 29 February — it’s the leap-day that comes round in order to complete the quadrennial cycle, hence its magnificently appropriate name.

I’ve long thought that the EU got things the wrong way around when it mandated use of the (French Revolutionary) metric system and stuck to the old Gregorian Calendar. My offer to Mr Brown’s Government is that if they legislate to implement the French Republican Calendar in this country, I shall drop my opposition to the creation of British Values Day — especially if it gets held on the Jour de la révolution, which would mean not only that it’ll only come around every four years, but also that it’ll tacitly, or not-so-tacitly, identify British Values with French Republican Values, which would be a significant improvement on what’s otherwise likely to be on offer.

Year CCXVII kicks off tomorrow…

Talk Like A Pirate!

September 19th, 2008

As everyone should know by now, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so please feel free to Talk Like A Pirate in the comments box here, or, indeed, elsewhere. Suggestions over here. Ah, Jim lad.

It’s also the Jour de la raison, according to the version of the French Republican Calendar installed at this site, one of the holidays that brings the old year to a close — and it is appropriate, I think, that a day celebrating human reason should fall on International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Monday, Tuesday, British Values Day…

September 16th, 2008

The “debate” rumbles on, and now we have one of the more unpleasant government ministers, Liam Byrne, publishing a Demos pamphlet on the subject.

Highlights include his attempt to write the history of immigration legislation in this country without using the word “racist” (apparently the “debates were difficult”, p.48) and the vox pop who entered into the spirit of things by suggesting, p.61, that we might deal with the proposed “Britain Day” “by making more of an existing day e.g. Pancake Day”.

The person who suggested (p.64) that such a day involve the participation of “celebrities with the right values (eg David Beckham, Kate Moss)” may have been onto something, too.

A Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Doctor Who and all its Spin-offs

September 16th, 2008

WHONIVERSAL APPEAL: A Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Doctor Who and all its Spin-offs, Cardiff University, 14-16 November 2008

Over the fold for further details and the provisional programme…

Penguin Suit

September 14th, 2008

Full story, over here [thanks, RCP]