Tuesday, 31 August 2010

No Balls

It is still August. The Pakistani no-ball scandal is a perfect August story. All the key ingredients are there: righteous indignation, benighted third world country, poverty, 'gangster' bookmakers, inept/corrupt officials, bent middlemen/fixers, gullible and callow players. And then come the clinchers…..Exposed by the News of the Screws …..and it happened at Lords! Cue Shock, Outrage, End of Empire, It's not cricket etc etc.

Those of us with the inclination to stand back and weigh up what has been exposed recognise this has been coming for many years. The last time Pakistan were found to have been proved to be match-fixing, many senior players were fined and a couple of expendable scapegoats were banned (although, conveniently they had already retired). The judge who led the investigation admitted some years later that he 'let off' some more senior sinners because he 'admired them as players.' One of those 'let off' was Waqar Younis who is the current coach. Say no bleeding more.

Pakistan rates as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Graft is not only endemic, it is also blatant. The President of Pakistan is known as 'Mr ten percent.' The world cricket authorities are aware of this and appointed an anti-corruption squad to monitor things. Not with any great success though. A NoW sting achieved more in a couple of weeks than they have done in ten years. And what of the ICC who are supposed to rule international cricket? They are not quite as openly corrupt as FIFA but are doing their damnedest to catch up.

It does not behove anyone in the UK to get too high and mighty. This is the land of BAE bribes and Blair pressurising the Serious Fraud Office to drop the charges. It is the land of cash for honours and where the 'old boys network' dominates detrimentally in the upper echelons of power. Where Ministers swan out of office and into  Directorships with companies they have had recent dealings with. It is the land where influence is peddled and ability runs second to contacts. It may not be quite so blatant as Pakistan but we are getting there. 

And this is the land where a Prime Minister can deceive a country into a war - and get away with it. Compared to that, a few no-balls are neither here nor there. 

Say it ain't so Joe.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Argyll and Bute

Welcome to the wacky world of local government in the west of Scotland. At the same time that it was revealed that Argyll and Bute had, 'The Worst Roads In Scotland.' there came a related piece of news that A & B Councillors had massively voted down a move to curb their pay. (Oban Times)

Now many folks will remember the days when being a councillor meant being a volunteer. Working for the community was seen as an honourable thing to do. Expenses were claimed and in a far-flung community they can be quite something. The principle that no-one should be out of pocket for helping their electorate was a fair one. 

And then quite recently (about five years ago) the move to paid councillors was introduced. Those not of high rank get just over £15000 pa (plus expenses). The higher ups get £24000 (plus expenses). 

Are the people of Argyll better represented? Are decisions based on good research, analysis and debate? Are decision-makers accountable? Do electors get value for money? 

Judge for yourselves by studying some recent Argyll issues.

Bruichladdich Pier: A&B spend £2.5 million to upgrade the pier to suit Shell but made it so difficult to use that the scheduled tanker was unable to berth. 

As one disgruntled distillery reported on their blog, "The pier-head never needed to be enlarged if Shell - or A & B for that matter - had bothered to look for a smaller ship. Instead the council, we are led to believe, was bullied in to spending £2.5m (that it did not have) on building a white elephant of a new pier-head that now renders the pier totally useless to any other ships whether commercial or pleasure.  It's too shallow for big ships and owing to the design, unusable for smaller ones. Brilliant!"

"Worse still - to finance the pier, all the island's oil users are charged a premium for the extravagant privilege. We will be paying for this useless white elephant for years to come. No wonder we have the highest heavy oil, diesel, and domestic heating oil around." 

The solution - a smaller tanker is now in use.

Port Askaig Pier: Upgrade costs estimated at £5.5 million before it began. Final costs over £12.5 million and rising as it is still not finished. The new ferry currently being built in Poland will not be able to use the pier. 

Throw Oban Airport, Rothesay Pier and Dunoon Linkspan into the cost pot and you have a litany of uselessness beyond belief. 

And who has been accountable for all these costly cock-ups? Why no-one! The Council used the cunning wheeze of engaging consultants on these projects. They then end up in a massive finger-pointing exercise. Council blames consultant who blames the contractor who blames the original brief from council. And they all sing, "It wasnae me."

And so Argyll ends up with the worst roads in Scotland, massive cuts to come and Councillors slapping themselves on the back. 

Where is the accountability? Where is the democracy? Where is the groundswell of public anger to rise up and throw these smug good for nothings out of office?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Seeking after truth

Lying awake at 4-30 am earlier this week, it was instructive to listen to Stephen Sacker interview Archbishop Nicholls on the World Service. In addition to the usual issues about celibacy and child abuse, there was quite a discussion about the relevance of the Catholic Church in the modern world. 

The Archbishop made great play about the role of the church, "In seeking after truth." Even at that time of day, this grated. This is the very same church who went to great lengths to not only deny the abuse of young children by its priests, but also then created an elaborate cover up which further shamed the victims and denied them justice. "Seeking after truth' was the last thing that was wanted. A more concise definition of evil would be hard to find.

And then, there came the news from Northern Ireland…..

The programme had been recorded before it emerged that a Catholic priest had been involved in an IRA bombing in 1972. Correct. A Catholic priest had been involved in a bombing. Collusion between the Government, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Catholic Church meant that a priest who was instrumental in a bombing which killed nine people was moved across the border into Eire where he apparently continued his terrorist activities. This defies belief. This defies the rule of law. This defies any strictures from the Holy Roman Church about being a bastion of morality. It also defies the 'seekers after truth.'

So then, all you catholic 'seekers after truth.' What do you think of the way your church has colluded with the abuse of children, engaged in an elaborate cover-up and denial; and has now been revealed that it helped protect a terrorist? 

Perhaps you ought to let Pope Benedict know what you think…and perhaps you might also let Archbishop Nicholls know too. He is clearly in need of a reality check. Perhaps he needs help about how to define 'truth' too.

And all of us who value the 'Rule of Law'? We need to remain eternally vigilant so that political expediency does not overcome the Rule of Law. Our countries recent history: Iraq, Rendition, Torture, Afghanistan, Civil Liberties; shows there is much to be vigilant about. And when the next Minister for Humbug is on the media banging on about this or that atrocity bear in mind these recent events. 

And question, question, question.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Press Freedom in South Africa

Now that the scrutiny of the world has moved on following the World Cup, the ANC leadership in South Africa are revealing their true nature. The example set by one of the most corrupt organisations in the world (FIFA), has clearly inspired some among them to follow suit. They are in the process of pushing through a law which will not only make it illegal to publish stories about corruption in government but will make both the leakers and the publishers liable to jail terms of between 3 and 25 years.

Mr Zuma has had an unhappy relationship with the South African press who will insist on reminding their readers of his corruption charges, his many fatherings and how his offspring are happening to benefit by their association with power. For instance, his 28 year-old son Duduzane, recently received more than £80 million in shares from Arcelor-Mittal, the giant steel company. 

The country has far too many poor people who need a government committed to improving their lot. Their constitution is a good one. The people do not deserve a government, unfortunately all too common in Africa, committed to feathering their own nests. 

PS: The 'Mittal' in Arcelor-Mittal wouldn't be the same Mittal who donated a million to the Labour Party would it? It would. 

Buying influence comes a lot cheaper in the UK.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Cricket on Islay

After a gap (some say) of at least 25 years, the game of cricket returned to the Isle of Islay. The occasion was a return challenge match with the Isle of Jura for the 'Adders Tail' - a nicely presented jar with the remains of an adders tail, pickled in gin, found on the Jura pitch when they beat Islay last year. 

The match was played on the unlikely surface of the Port Charlotte football pitch. This has to be one of the most sublime settings of any sports ground in the UK. Across the ocean lies Ireland. Behind one of the goals is a neolithic chambered cairn. In the Loch, boats were fishing for Tope - a species of shark. 

The wicket was cut just to the side of the centre circle and was rolled with the heaviest available roller on the morning. It had to be done so late in the day because there was a full eleven-a-side soccer match the previous evening. Fortunately the surface had been dampened by overnight rain which helped make the pitch malleable. It played well. 

Following a humiliating performance on the Jura airstrip last year, it was time for revenge. The jungle telegraph had been put to work and any male who had ever played cricket was contacted. A South African (shy, retiring…hardly), several English and willing Scots were dragooned into service. Age was not a barrier. It was felt that if at least half the team could bat their age then a decent score would be the outcome. 

It was clear early on that the Jurachs had travelled more in hope than anticipation. The first over they bowled was a relatively sedate affair. The next went for 23. The edge of the football pitch was the boundary. Hitting straight was not easy. The grass was very long so shots on the ground scored very few whereas a good biff did the trick. Two of the younger members tucked in and scored freely. Mizzly drizzly rain made fielding difficult and several catches went down. After 20 action-packed overs Islay had scored 150 - 2 with one retired. 

Terrific cakes, sandwiches and Pimms helped the interval go with a swing. 

Jura were under the cosh from the start. A succession of steady bowlers, helped by more reliable fielding reduced them to 67- 7 after their 20 overs. At this point 'local rules' were called into play and they were allowed to bat for another 10 overs. They finished on 99 - 10 (they had twelve players). People who had not batted in the Islay innings then had 10 more overs to strut their stuff. Previous participants got stuck into the Pimms.  Another 25 runs were eked out before midges and refreshments called time. 

A slap up tea with scones , cake and buns followed with single malt accompaniment. Speeches and thanks ensued. The 'Adders Tail' was duly presented with appropriate ceremony. 

Then home to a hot bath and an appointment with a masseuse! 

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Jimmy Reid (2)

The reports of his funeral were both moving and funny. This was a man 'Clydebuilt' through and through. Gifted with the talent to make the complicated clear and having values rooted in decency, co-operation, and a sense of worth. Where are his modern counterparts? In the Labour Party? Look in vain. Thanks to Blair and Brown they have become 'Tory-lite.' Apart from no-hoper Dianne Abbott, all the other leadership candidates come from the same political bubble. 

Look to the unions in vain. Too many union leaders seem more concerned about their 'houses for life' and their salaries, their cars (with driver) and perks than they are about the plight of the workers they supposedly represent. 

For an instance, take a look at Derek Simpson, joint General Secretary of Unite - if you have the stomach to do so. Unite represents many of the poorest workers in the country. Dear avuncular Derek draws a huge salary of over £180,000; has been given a swanky house worth over £800,000 for life by his union; doesn't get on with the other Joint Secretary, Tony Woodley, and he has a knack for gifting the initiative to the tory press and bosses. What a treasure. Thankfully he is retiring in December. But why oh why is he still in post?

As the Tory machine continue to spin their line that massive cuts are inevitable, where are the alternative voices demanding that the City and Bankers take their share of the pain? Where is a Jimmy Reid when you need him?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Management Consultants

Some of you may not be aware of a creeping destructive force abroad across the land. Companies who lack the nous and spine to sort themselves out by working with their workforce take what appears to be the easier option of bringing in …..consultants. The NHS is one of the worst examples. Senior Managers seem pathologically afraid of getting off their arses and talking to their staff. 
As Johann Hari made very clear in a timely article in the Independent on Friday, it is frequently a disastrous policy.
"David Craig gives a typical explanation of what the consultants Actually Do. After getting a degree specialising in romantic poetry, he was astonished to be hired by a prestigious management consultancy, given three weeks training, and then dropped into major corporations to tell them how to run their oil rigs, menswear stores, and factories, for tens of thousands of pounds a pop. In his brave memoir Rip Off! he explains: "We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along... It's like robbing a bank but legal. We could take somebody straight off the street, teach them a few simple tricks in a couple of hours and easily charge them out to our clients for more than £7,000 per week." It consisted, he says, of "lies, lies and even more lies."
"He worked to a simple model, which is common in the industry. He had to watch how a workforce behaved for a week – and then tell the company's bosses, every time, that they had 30 percent too many staff and only his consultancy could figure out who should be culled. If he calculated they actually had the right amount of staff, he was told by his bosses not to be so ridiculous and do his sums again: where was the money for them in a properly-staffed company? The company had to be POPed – People Off Payroll."
"Of course, this advice was often disastrous. His company was sent into a chain of 500 menswear shops. They advised them to cut staff by (surprise!) 30 per cent, and to replace most full-time staff with part-timers. The result? The full-time employees had been highly motivated, because they wanted a career in the company; the part-timers only wanted a little extra cash. So motivation levels in the company collapsed, and with it the standard of service. The company was bankrupt within a few years."
"Yes, you might say, but surely he was just a bad management consultant. The rest must get results. The evidence suggests not. The Cranfield School of Management studied 170 companies who had used management consultants, and it discovered just 36 per cent of them were happy with the outcome – while two thirds judged them to be useless or harmful. A medicine with that failure-rate would be taken off the shelves."
And what is this government of 'all-togethery' proposing? Why, nothing more than bringing in hordes of the buggers to assess and 'streamline' our public sector. 
Any fule kno that there are acres of surplus in some sections of the public sector awaiting the scythe. (MoD anyone?). It doesn't take a tool with a clipboard to do it. 

Friday, 20 August 2010

All in this together - my arse

Anyone believing the coalition mantra that, 'we are all in this together' needs to take a reality check. Judge the government by their deeds not their words. Appointing Sir Philip Green, a well known tax evader, to examine ways the government can save money was one piece of evidence. Question: Do government departments pay taxes? Government employees do. Perhaps that is where Mr Slimy can be very helpful, showing them how to slither off with their money into a safe tax haven - legally of course.
And then one more tale from the netherworld emerged yesterday. Another prime scumbag arose as a tax avoider. So what? Well what was instructive about this particular scumbag is that he was earmarked to become the next Treasurer of the Conservative Party. Yes. Treasurer. Of the Conservative Party. As the Guardian reported, "David Cameron was embarrassed this afternoon when the multimillionaire property magnate set to become the new Conservative party treasurer quit before even taking up his post, as the coalition government's relationships with high-profile businessmen came under increasing scrutiny."
Conservative central office put out a press release saying that David Rowland would not be taking up the role raising funds for the party "due to the expansion of his global business interests".
Since its announcement in June, Rowland's appointment has been dogged by criticism over his former status as a tax exile. After he made a £1m donation to the Tory party last year, it emerged that Rowland had lived in Guernsey for tax purposes but returned to full UK residency to be able to donate to the party legally.
"Due to the expansion of his global business interests, David Rowland has decided not to take up his planned role as treasurer of the Conservative party," the statement read. It quoted Rowland as saying: "I was honoured to be asked to become treasurer. Unfortunately my developing business interests mean I will not have the time to give that role the focus and attention it deserves."
Rowland is a property magnate who, with his son Jonathan, is estimated to be worth £730m, making them, it is said, the 25th richest people in Britain. In the 12 months before this year's election he gave £2.7m to the party."
Happy to give millions to the Tories but not to the country. What a role model. And what an insight into the way our so-called betters regard tax avoidance.
What is the first rule of tax avoidance? Do not get found out.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Shearwaters - sheer delight

Up at dawn two mornings running. The reason? To witness one of the great unsung migration movements in these parts. At this time of year hundreds and hundreds of Manx Shearwaters fly south past the westernmost tip of Islay on their way to the South Atlantic. Two half hour counts yesterday produced figures of 394 and 636. Today, in the company of three visitors from Holland, there were many, many more flying past. Yesterday there were clusters of four, five and six birds with the occasional ten or twelve. Today there were regular clusters of twenty to thirty birds speeding past, skimming the wavetops and showing that diagnostic flash of white then black, as they extract lift from the waves to accelerate.

Geolocation devices have recently revealed just how far and fast these migrants move. One was recovered off the coast of Brazil having completed a journey of over 9000km in about 13 days at a rate of approx 750km per day. They cover vast swathes of both the North and South Atlantic on their annual journeys. 

Next spring they will return north to the small isles of Rum, Eigg and Muck to breed. 

Keeping the Shearwaters company were hundreds of Gannets on feeding missions heading back to Ailsa Craig. The visitors were entranced. Showery weather did little to dampen the spectacle.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Baron Prescott of Humbuggery

Yet again the 'Mouth of the Humber' spouts off and shoots himself in both feet.. Having a go at Alan Milburn for 'collaborating with the tories' amounts to colossal lack of self-knowledge on his own part. 

This is the man who railed against the House of Lords for all of his political life! This is the man who acted as a figleaf for his NewLab cronies while they slavered over corporate bigwigs. This is the man who took advantage of his position and his secretary.

Mind you Milburn is another from the rich seam of NewLab toerags. Who fought for University top-up fees? Who denied others from the same background the same opportunities he had? Who sucked up to Big Business? Who utilised his position as Minister of Health to access £30,000 every year from a private health company for a few days 'advisory work'? What did they get in exchange? Who campaigns for 'social justice' via Pepsi-Cola? 

Social mobility Tsar or creep? You decide.

These two squabbling about morality is akin to two flies squabbling over a turd.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Jimmy Reid

He died last week. He would have been amused to read the eulogies from the same sources who heaped opprobrium and scorn on his beliefs when he was at his most effective. He is a reminder of just how far our democracy has deteriorated. 

A newly elected Labour MP, asked on Radio 4 whether they would support a campaign by public sector workers to protect their jobs, had a fit of the queasies. It was stomach-squirming stuff. 

Kevin McKenna wrote a powerful piece in the Observer yesterday. "When Jimmy Reid rocked the chinless ingrates of Heath's doomed government in 1971, my father and my friends' fathers claimed him as their own. Here was a man with no formal education and speaking in the benighted Glaswegian working dialect who nevertheless was brighter than an entire rectory of Oxbridge graduates. The UCS work-in was also when Clause Four enjoyed its finest moment. The workers did indeed take over the means of production and saved their families' immediate economic future and that of their surrounding communities. Jimmy Reid had provided a template for how to defeat the avarice of unfettered Toryism and corporate greed. Reid gave us confidence and renewed our pride."

"Would Thatcher have been able to defeat the miners if Jimmy Reid had been her adversary instead of the unhinged Arthur Scargill? Reid would never have faced down the Tories and their police attack dogs without a mandate from his union, nor would he have alienated an entire wing, as Scargill did with his Nottinghamshire members. His oratory, based on reason and a sense of justice and fortified by Christian socialism, would have seduced many more British workers to the miners' cause. Thatcher would not have escaped unscathed."
"Socialism was a vibrant and reasonable political philosophy when Jimmy Reid carried its banner and Clause Four was a decent and logical aspiration. Then the opportunists of Islington – Mandelson, Blair, Balls and the Milibands – killed them both. They have been revealed as the quisling envoys of capitalism sent by the City to do a job on the Labour party from the inside. They succeeded and the triumph of rabid capitalism seems complete."
"The gluttony of bankers brought this country to the brink of catastrophe, yet tens of thousands of honest, industrious families who have always rendered unto the government their portion, will pay with their jobs. Meanwhile, their sons are still being slaughtered in an illegal war, sent there by another government of millionaires. Yet socialism is considered to be a dirty word."
" The conditions once more are ripe for work-ins up and down the country. Can Jimmy Reid's memory light the fire? And would some of those who come to praise him now be prepared to pick up his standard?"

Friday, 13 August 2010

The return of, 'We're all in this together.'

The news item that Sir Philip Green, billionaire Topshop howdy-doody, is to examine government spending from the past 3 years to find possible savings, is a doozy. Not just any old doozy. This is a 24 carat, copper bottomed doozy.

As the Guardian tells us, "Green spends part of his time in Monaco, a tax haven, and in 2005 his company paid a £1.2billion dividend to his wife, Tina. She did not have to pay tax on it because she is a Monaco resident. Green today denied his wife was a "tax exile" but acknowledged that his family does not live in Britain. He is also said to have directed abuse at a newspaper journalist questioning him over his tax affairs."

How many wives get home from a hard week at the office to find they've been given £1.2billion? Tax free!

Buddhists  tell us that anger is bad for us. They do say though that we should express outrage where and when appropriate.

Well here goes. The idea that the government should turn to a tax avoider for help in cutting expenditure is not just ridiculous and offensive - it is also deeply outrageous. That this will inevitably lead to people losing their jobs and livelihoods makes it all the more sickening. 

Lets call 'Call me Dave' and let him know where to stick his latest wheeze.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

All in this together? What balls!

Following on from the report in Tuesday's Independent about how the bonus culture is alive, well and booming at the top of UK business comes this little nugget in today's Guardian. It was in the Letters Page from a Mr Ted Woodgate from Billericay. "According to the National Audit Office, almost 30% of Britain's major companies pay zero corporation tax and 60% pay less than £1m a year. Estimates of overall loss to the economy from tax-dodging range from £20bn to £95bn. Even at the lower figure that represents four times a bigger figure than benefit fraud." 

So there you have it chums. As Mr Woodgate neatly puts it, 'Why is the pimple of benefit fraud being addressed when the abscess of tax avoidance and evasion is totally ignored?' 

Wouldn't have anything to do with these bankers...., and financiers...., and captains of industry.....,and corporate raiders...., and stock market gamblers...., and hedge funds..., and corporate accountants being 'Call Me Dave's' mates an everything would it?

The defecit issue could be tackled pronto - if there was a will  - and the cojones.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


The madness at the heart of English football was succinctly summed up by Delia Smith when she asked, 'how was it right for Mr Coppello to be paid 6 million a year when small clubs like Chester City fold for lack of support from the FA?'

There is a massive disconnect between the 'Premiershit' / 'Sweet FA' and 
a) reality, 
b) the grass roots and 
c) the financial situation facing many fans.

Premiership fans could start the ball rolling - don't go! Organise a boycott - pick your moment. Tell Sky where to stick their cameras. Burst the bubble. 

This means you Richard (lifelong Man City fan, delighted at seeing big names play at Eastlands ,  concerned about the impact on academy youngsters, not happy at England's performance, could be summed up as an uncomfortable fan, as yet not prepared to get off his backside and actually do something….)

Reclaim the game.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Naomi Campbell

Anyone unfamiliar with the goings on in celebrity la-la land would be understandably baffled at reports coming from the Hague. Why would a powerful ruler want to give a beautiful woman diamonds? What on earth could he have wanted in exchange for his 'dirty brown stones' or 'large shiny diamond'?

That this case involves unbearable suffering and cruelty inflicted on innocent citizens tends to be forgotten in the media fuss and hullabaloo.

Blood(y) diamonds indeed.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Liverpool FC "wok on, wok on, with hope in your heart"

So where were you when you heard the news that the Chinese Government were making a bid to take over Liverpool FC? Is this the moment that the most greedy, short-sighted, unscrupulous league in the world finally topples into a pit of inequity, shamelessness and immorality? Or is it business as usual?
Remember this is China where people work 18 hour days to keep our capitalist scumbags happy. Where free speech is unknown and where life is cheap. Human rights? No problem squire. We had that Thaksin  at Man City and he passed the fit and proper person test. Roman Abramovitch at Chelsea? Squeaky clean. And as for all those funny comings and goings at Portsmouth? All gone mate - they got relegated, so it's not our problem.
As Marina Hyde put it in Saturdays Guardian, "In the end, what is the history of the Premier League, if not capitalism without democracy? Whether disgusted fans of any team think that this year's passing oligarch or asset-stripper truly "owns" their club is presumably a matter of as much concern to said oligarchs or asset-strippers as the views of peasants are to the Chinese government. Which is to say, bugger all concern. The only surprise about China's bid is that the so-called People's Republic didn't alight on the Premier League sooner. They really are made for each other."
Will Liverpool be a tipping point? Will all the decent people who love football and support local teams rise up and campaign to neuter the malign presence that is the Premiership? Will fans boycott matches and hit these greedy scumbags where it hurts - in their pockets and their egos? Or will the decline continue?
Perhaps Liverpool fans can take solace when they sing, "You'll never wok alone…"

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Where are the LibDems?

Call me Dave has been revealing more and more of his cunning plan to transform our society. On the one hand:-
There will be a crackdown on benefits - particularly housing and disability. Council House tenants to get short term contracts. [Problem: shortage of alternative affordable housing] 
The public sector will be expected to take the greater share of the cuts. [Problem- will increase unemployment] 
Big increase in 'voluntary' work as part of the vacuous 'Big Society' - doing jobs currently done by public sector. [Unemployment rises further]
There will be encouragement to get people off benefit and into paid employment. [Problem: unemployment rising quickly - no jobs available]

Outcomes - many more homeless and an increase in crime. 

On the other hand:-
Bankers bonuses  will be left alone. Filthy rich scumbag capitalists will not be taxed fairly nor will tax avoiders who use offshore havens be made to pay their share.

Transformed? Probably - but not in a good way. 

So what have the LibDems to say?

Friday, 6 August 2010

Naomi Campbell aka Waste of Space

Why is the waste of space aka Naomi Campbell, first item on the news? Why did the number of media organisations covering the war crimes trial of ex President Charles Taylor go from 20 to several hundred? It couldn't have anything to do with the medias obsession with 'celebrity' could it? That such a self-obsessed, odious staff-beater as Campbell merits such coverage defies belief. 

Who said the media were dumbing down?

As Marina Hyde concluded in todays Guardian, "The message from The Hague today is simple: you can kill and rape and mutilate as much as you like, but if you really want to gain a purchase on early 21st-century western discourse and are not simply pissing about, you do need to have once had contact with a celebrity in some incredibly minor way. Even now, let's hope that Janjaweed militia are making a pitch for posterity by sending baskets of muffins to Lindsay Lohan, because if and when they are ever brought to justice, they sure as Shirley aren't going to make the major bulletins without that kind of news peg.

What else is there left to say? Other than: this is your world. Try not to choke on it."