Thursday, 14 April 2011


* Am I the only one who thought that the Times headline the other day was wrong. EVERY ONE IN FIVE.... YOUNG ARE OUT OF WORK. The second part of the headline is approximate (and I can’t check it because it’s behind a pay wall), but it’s the first part that concerned me. It should surely read “ONE IN EVERY FIVE........” To think it used to be a newspaper of record!

* The Metropolitan police are the most incompetent lot, aren’t they? They seem to get precious little right. Now English high court has ruled that the way in which they kettled people during the G20 demonstrations in April 2009, was illegal. The court heard that police used mass detention against peaceful protesters, and that officers punched faces, slapped and hit out with shields as they tried to move a demonstration against climate change. It has opened up the possibility that up to 5000 people may sue the police for wrongful detention. Damned right. People were kept for hours with nothing to eat and no toilet facilities crushed up against one another. I hope to never see that kind of tactic used in Edinburgh. I don’t know what happened to England’s much acclaimed free speech. The fault of course was of the management. Well no surprise there. I wonder where Commander Dick was that day. Looking for a room maybe?

* MPs have reacted with anger at a 16% cut in the BBC World Service. They say that as the BBC is undergoing only a 10% cut (I didn’t notice a 10% cut in my licence fee), it is unfair that the Foreign Office-funded World Service is being penalised. They say that the BBC is used to promote British values around the world. So that got me thinking. What are British values? Are there such things? Are values different in Scotland from in England, what about Irish and Welsh, or for that matter Cornish, Manx, Jerseyman or Guernseyman values? Are British (or any part thereof) values different from say Danish ones? The things that go through my head. Answers on a post card to the usual address with the usual prize going to the usual winner.

* Annabel Goldie was a million miles better than Tavish in her interview with Gordon Brewer, and a fair amount of what she said made sense. Why keep 14 year olds who will learn nothing more at school distracting other people who want to do well, and making teachers’ lives hell.

But Brewer didn’t ask her what she proposed to do with them, or what it would cost. You can't just let them vegetate in bed.

And although I believe absolutely in free education, I could see some sense in Annabel’s argument for graduate tax. But again Brewer missed a chance. Annabel says that everyone knows that there is a black hole in the finances, and she will use the graduate tax to fill it. But the tax won’t start trickling in for 4 years, and then pretty slowly. How will she fund universities till then? And how much will it cost for the Treasury to collect it, as we can’t tax.

And wouldn’t a tax (as opposed to a loan) encourage people to go abroad after we have educated them?

I wonder how Gray will be tonight. How will he explain the 150,000 jobs out of thin air trick he’s going to pull off? Iain Dumblegray, Scotland’s greatest wizard. Not.

* Does anyone agree with me that it might be a good idea for the government to sing from the same hymn sheet? Headlines this evening have changed from “Cable attacks Cameron”, to “Cable agrees with Cameron”. Perhaps there should be a quick meeting of top advisors at the same time as Cabinet each week with each department giving a list of the speeches its ministers are going to make, so that if there is to be a major policy disagreement it can be thrashed out before they look like a bunch of unruly kids, not after.

* Would it not be best for the News of the World to come clean now? It all looked good for a while; the Metropolitan police hadn’t really investigated and long sighs were being heaved.

But there are too many “important” people among the victims; too many with clout in the right places. It is bound to come out in the end.

In the meantime, I’d say John Prescott is bang on the nail. No matter how many dinners the Prime Minister rather stupidly has with Murdoch’s son, and no matter how unprofessional Vince Cable is, there is no way that the BskyB deal can go ahead while this is hanging over our Rupert. I’m not suggesting any impropriety you understand... but it is going to look like dodgy deal.


  1. Tris.

    Firstly Annabel Goldie was head and shoulders above Tavish and the one that stood out most for me on your list was, Annabel Goldie and her proposals for 14 year old in School who are just being a nuisance.

    What would she do with them? If they are left out of School then they really would become a nuisance. Teachers are payed rather well to teach and unless a child is a danger to other pupils then I expect them to receive the same level of support as other pupils.

    I never saw Grey on News night but will catch it on the beeb player tomorrow sometime but I did watch Salmond on question time and he was really on form and he got really stuck into Hain and that Tory Dracula guy over selling weapons to dictators and over the English NHS.

    It's fair to say he was well received by the audience in Liverpool.

  2. Nicola on Newsnight this time round. Tavish should really watch how Nicola and Annabel did it and make some serious notes. If I were him I would refuse to go first next time. I just loved Caron’s attempts to dress Tavish’s lamentable performance up as a polite and dignified rebuttal of a boorish upstart of an interviewer, what a laugh! Its on the blog list somewhere if anyone missed it.

  3. Does anyone have Youtube links to the QT AS Liverpool and Nicola and Newnict.

    The BBC does not allow iPlayer to transmit outside the UK.

    It needs to be posted posted on Youtube please.

  4. Allan: I think there is probably a plan for them to do something, it was just that Brewer never asked her about it and that is vital.

    I disagree that it's possible to teach them in a normal school environment. These kids couldn't be less interested in history, religious education, geography, art, music, etc, and their misbehaviour disrupts other people who are interested.

    Most people have something they are good at. Some are just not very brilliant at reading and counting and if they fall behind in that because teachers earlier on don't have the time to spend with them they become disaffected and bored.

    I was once so bored in a physics lesson that I fell asleep, and so long as I didn't snore, I didn't upset anyone else, but some people aren't as tranquil as I am.

    I see loads of kids a bit like that after they have left school at 16. It is possible to inspire them and interest them... unfortunately it's a LOT more difficult to do stuff with them at 16 than it would have been at 14.

    There's a school in Dundee especially for kids that have been excluded. I need to find out more about what they do. Maybe it's more of that that Annabel has in mind

  5. It waqs a pretty pathetic excuse Munguin, but opne which is demolished stylishly here.

    I'll give Ms Sturgeon, the wonder woman, a look now. And of course gotta watch the FM.

  6. I don't know why the BBC does that with TV Your Grace, the radio links work. My American mate Danny looks forward to The New Quiz, from where he gains his extensive knowledge of the UK political scene. It is, after all, less comedic than the real thing.

    Just in case anyone doesn't know about it, it's on Friday @ 6.30 on Radio 4, repeated on Saturday @ 12.30. A new series starts tonight.

    Depending on the panellists and what has happened during the week, it can be side splitting. Host: Sandi Toksvig, who'd probably find it impossible not to be funny!.

    As for your request. I can only repeat it here and suggest you keep checking Youtube with appropriate searches.

    I'll look too and if I find something I'll post it on here. :)

  7. "What are British values? Are there such things? Are values different in Scotland from in England, what about Irish and Welsh, or for that matter Cornish, Manx, Jerseyman or Guernseyman values? Are British (or any part thereof) values different from say Danish ones?"

    I TOTALLY agree with you that British 'values' can hardly be really different from Scottish or English or etc ... but I'd also caution that some values aren't universal sadly. I'd put it like this: we have 'European values' or 'American values' and so forth, to break values down to individual nation-states is pushing it a bit far tbh - its just plain politiking.

  8. Yes. That was really what I was wondering. I don't know what these values are, and I don't know how they differ from values in, say Thailand or Japan or Greenland or Equador.

    I mean, we say decency and fair play are British values, but are they really? And does that mean that the Swiss aren't decent and fair minded.

    I think, and I wonder if others do too, that by and large these terms are national propagandist and as you say Dean, politicking.

  9. British value is greed is good as it shows entrepreneurship like selling national assets.

  10. CH:

    Eck was good.

    There have been many people asking why he was invited to appear on QT in the middle of an election campaign.

    The answer, it seems to me, is that to the BBC the Scottish "parliament" is only as important as the English county elections, and there were representatives from the Liberals, Labour and the Tories on, why not the SNP. There may be a Welsh minister next week, and an Irish one the week after.

    We are all just counties of England as far as the BBC is concerned.

  11. LOL at the rehearsals... If only the Windsors were all.

    Somehow they seem to think that they have to behave as if they are above all this stuff.

    If only they were, but let's be honest; they are the country's more disfunctional family.