Sunday, 22 May 2011


Well Elliot Morley is doing 16 months for being a thief. The irony is that his crime was fiddling his Housing Benefit and living at our expense; so not much has changed then, except he doesn't have to fiddle it any more.

The Olympics will fail to provide a lasting legacy for sport in the United Kingdom, one of the commitments the London Committee gave to the IOC. Well, there’s a surprise. Who would have thunk it.

And talking of London’s Olympics, weren’t you completely nauseated by the excited tones of the BBC Olympics Co-ordinator person as he explained how the torch was coming to a place near you. Woop-de-bloody-do. I can hardly wait. Now I really can join in the fun and frolics that is London’s Olympics. Just as well considering how much I paid towards the bloody things.

Congratulations to my own MSP, Shona Robison, whom, in a tiny way, I had the pleasure of helping back to an incredible victory in Dundee. She has been appointed Minister for Sport and the Commonwealth Games. Now there’s an event a bit closer to home that will benefit my country and that I can support. Good luck to Shona in getting it right. I’m sure with her steady hand on the tiller we can avoid the laughable ticketing fiasco that London has turned out to be. I trust too that it would be a liftable offence, within a three mile radius of the games, to wear a t-shirt that doesn’t bear the name of a sponsor in our Games.

Chris Huhne, it seems, has changed his story. He just might have been driving after all. And moreover his wife has intimated that getting someone to take the rap for his speeding offences has happened before... all that at a time when they are launching an investigation into his election expenses. Just when you think it couldn’t go ‘wronger’ eh Mr H? Still, if you go down you'll have mates there. It will soon be more like the Commons than the Commons.

Don’t you think that all these super injunctions are going a bit too far? Overpaid, spoilt brat footballers who play away from home, and think that they can buy press silence because they get paid more in a week than some people earn in a lifetime, need to learn to keep their trousers around their waists. And the girls that sleep with them, knowing full well that they are married, are no better. Maybe it’s time that marriage meant marriage. But then, look at the example they got from people right at the top... Charlie, Andy, Fergie, Margaret, Mrs Parker Bowles, Fergie...... yawn.

Britain is one of the worst countries in Europe for families, according to a study by the Relationships Foundation. High levels of debt and poverty and long and unsocial working hours are among the causes. Cameron pledged to make Britain the "most family-friendly" nation in the world, but it turned out to be yet another empty promise as British families are only ahead of Bulgarian and Romanian ones. More on this tomorrow, I think.


  1. With regards to the long and unsocial working hours comment, something I have always found bizarre is that despite all the technological advancements we have made, we still spend over a third of our day either working or travelling to/from work. I mean, say you invent something that allows a one hour job to take 20 minutes. Does that mean you cut your working hours by a similar amount? No, it just means you do more work in the same amount of time.

    I also find it strange that we still pay people based on the time they've spent working, rather than the job they've done. Say two people are doing the same job - one person does it in 20 minutes, the other takes an hour. Does the person who does it quicker get rewarded with more money, or more time off? No - he gets "rewarded" with being given more work to do. I worked this out when I was in primary school, when I realised that the only reward for finishing my sums quickly was being given more sums to do. As a result, I made sure I dragged things out as long as possible - a trait I have kept in my working life.

    That had virtually no bearing on the point you were making, so I'll make a comment that does relate to one of your points. As much as I hate seeing rich people hiding behind super-injunctions, the reason these things exist in the first place is because our media is so obsessed with sex scandals. If a footballer wants to cheat on his wife, is it really any of my business? Does knowing about it improve my life in the slightest? Is it of national importance that people know that some random footballer (let's call him, oh I dunno, Brian Riggs) is having an affair with someone? No, it's not. It's just smut-peddling.

    These super-injunctions exist because the papers want to snoop into people's private lives. People like to get on their high horses and sneer at the infidelity of others, but the truth is we probably all know someone who has cheated on their spouse for some reason, and we are not a puritanical society (even if many try to pretend we are). If someone wants to cheat on his wife, then hopefully she will find out and leave him, although in the cases of a lot of these people, the woman will probably stay with him for the sake of his money, meaning she's really no better than him.

    Super-injunctions shouldn't exist, but then the newspapers should pull themselves out of the gutter as well and just leave people to live their lives. What does it tell you about the media and society at large that when Trafigura had a super-injunction out to stop the Guardian reporting a parliamentary question about them dumping toxic waste in Côte d'Ivoire, it was a minor rumble in the news world; but when the papers are being stopped from printing celebrity sex stories, all hell breaks loose?

  2. Isn’t Chris Huhne lucky that they want him pissing out of the tent and not in! Seems that if you are going to ditch your wife of 26 years for a half lesbian just when you are getting that sniff of power it would be a good idea not to have her aware of all your skeletons in the proverbial cupboard. Once again these people do not seem to be living on the same planet as the rest of us. Is integrity such a difficult thing to maintain?

    Regrettably it is gossip and tittle tattle that sells papers. And no matter how much we all may like to think that we don’t do it, I have found that by and large, to some extent we all do. Who is to say what you gossip about is any more or less valid than what the majority want to gossip about? Blogging itself is after all a form of gossip and if you look down the blog list at the side you will see a wide variety of subjects that bloggers want to tittle tattle about. In fact it is the perfect medium for it!

  3. tris

    Did you try to get a seat at any events i was going to then found out a lot a lot of people had block booked many different events to get a ticket some spending thousands of pounds.
    which is refunded you pay in advance.
    The 100 metre final has had a million applications for forty thousand seats

    My friends son has spent a thousand pounds on some obscure events just to try to get to see something anything so he can say he went(with his parents)

    still there is always the telly

    chris Hunne has upset Cameron and osborne so obviously MI5 are on the case to bring him down and earn a gong

  4. I got my tickets for the Women's synchronised mud-wrestling nae bother...

  5. Agree with your implicit point about press hypocrisy and super-injunctions – though the press exist to sell papers and, erm, that’s it - but I think that we should look at this from another perspective which doesn’t appear to have been addressed by anyone.

    You may have noticed that the Hollywood-blonde solicitor who represents the footballer in question has been touring the TV studios in recent weeks advertising the noble cause that she’s fighting. That is, this footballer’s (and her other ‘clients’) right to privacy. In the process she has been advancing the most absurd arguments that must surely have caused her employers to question whether it might have been better to wait for her to pass more exams before letting her loose in the public domain.

    Her latest whizz (on the BBCs news channel) was to justify her demand that the identity of the anonymous tweeters should be revealed because (a) they might be journalists and (b) and I quote, “if a masked burglar entered your house you’d want to know their (sic) identity”. Putting the self-evident absurdity of (b) to one side - my ten-year old daughter will provide an explanation if anyone needs it - it is (a) that is interesting here. What the Hollywood-blonde is effectively advocating is that the noble cause that she is fighting (protecting the privacy of her ‘clients’) must be defended on the grounds that the rights to privacy of others should be removed!

    Now we all know that, for any bog-standard shyster in the legal ‘profession’, the scales of ‘justice’ weigh heavy. But how are these apparently contradictory positions, over which, we can be sure, our Hollywood-blonde must have agonised over for at least a few seconds, to be reconciled? No mystery. Her legal firm, Schillings, are being paid handsomely by the footballer, to fight this noble cause. The anonymous tweeters, on the other hand, are paying nothing to this esteemed legal firm. If they were, we can be sure our Hollywood-blonde would, at the very least, revise her position.

    Which leads me to my final point (but I could go on). Our Hollywood blonde has also been defending herself and her legal firm against the accusations that their clients are wealthy, privileged celebrities whose private lives are of public interest. The grounds of her defence appear to be that not all her clients are celebrities, many are “ordinary” people who also have rights to privacy. Only the most cold-hearted among us could question such noble sentiments.

    But here’s how Schillings advertises itself on the homepage of its website (make up your own minds):

    “We have also acted for notable private clients including Naomi Campbell, David Walliams, JK Rowling, Nicole Kidman, Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, Keira Knightley, Angelina Jolie, Roman Polanski and Kate Winslet. And we have several world famous sports stars among our clients, such as Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo”.

    Schillings earns (if that’s the right word) healthy, indeed excessive profits every year. How touching that most of these are due to the generosity of “ordinary” people.

  6. Cameron and the Conservatives can make Britain more family-friendly. But we have had to surrender key policy-points due to the coalition.

    If you want us to do more family-friendly policy vote Tory and give us the mandate to carry it forward. Otherwise, stop whining like a typical opportunistic cybernat.

  7. Yep Doug, the same thing about achievement occurred to me. Targets achieved in year (a) are simply increased in year (b) and become all the more difficult to fiddle, because that’s what happens. I certainly always hold something back till next month when completing the monthly returns and have learned never to do too well. I have to admit, however, that it took me a very great deal longer than you to work this out.

    I suspect that the people who worked this system out were banking on us being competitive and wanting to do better than the person next to us. It would be different if there were pay rises in it, but there usually aren’t!

    I’ve always thought it strange that “authority” has always understood the need for more money and better conditions to get the best people at the top...whilst on the shop, factory or office floor, it seems to be that we can only be competitive if we cut wages to an absolute minimum. Hence the UK has around the lowest minimum wage in Europe and the very highest executive salaries in the world outside the USA. And strangely we have really crap management.

    Very odd.

    I quite like it when you, or anyone, goes off topic a bit. It’s often much more interesting than the original topic.

    You make excellent points about a mythical footballer; let’s call him Oil Rigs, or even, as the Herald has quite legally done (as this is Scotland) Ryan Giggs, for want of another name. It is indeed his business if he wants to have relationships outside of marriage (I often wondered why these people get married in the first place. They must know they are going to stray, and it’s not like once they are past their best no one will have them. With that kind of dosh they can have almost anyone, anytime no matter how fat and ugly they become.)

    The newspapers feed on this thirst for celebrity and money. But that’s only because very shrewdly they know that Joe Public is much more interested in the doings of Katie Price and her latest “husband” than they are in the dumping of toxic waste on some poor African republic.

    The injunctions, or super injunctions that cost so very much are the right of rich people, but our whole society is based on that. Rich people can have better education, better healthcare and better retirements than poor people. They live in better housing, drive better cars, have better holidays, eat better food... and on and on. Why shouldn’t they have protection in the law, superior to Mr Ordinary? Of course no one would be in the least interested if Mr Ordinary was having an affair unless it was a goose....

  8. You're right Mungion, and I humbly admit to being interested in some gossip even if it's not what or who footballers do in their beds.

  9. Niko:

    I've booked seats for everything. They've cleared out all my credit cards and I may, or may not, get a seat at the clearing up the litter event at the end.

    I had to take out a Visa account to do it as anything else doesn't work.

    It's a big fat con.

    Actually you wouldn't catch me anywhere near London during the games. It's a crowded, smelly, crumbling place at the best of times. Heaven knows what a mess it will be when all of this is going on.

    I wonder what it is costing in security...

  10. Andrew... Is that not because you are hoping to compete in that event?

  11. Yep CH. I see that the 5 month period of hell has started. Iceland first.

    I think Mr Camping may say that this is the start, and that very few people were actually good enough to be raptured to heaven.

    As far as I know he was not available for comment. Maybe he has been raputred .. or maybe he just made off with the cash to some place nice....

  12. Who got out of bed on the wrong side this morning? Grumpy.

    It seems that what you are saying is that the Liberals want to make life hell on earth for families, hard working British ones, up and down the country... while Cammy is going to sort the problems we have that make us the least happy (bar 2) in Europe.

    Perhaps you'd like to list the policies that Call Me has to do that, and that Cleggy is stopping him impliment.

  13. More Tory twaddle in privatising everything to make poverty more acceptable as they will end up as the majority group as ever more wealth is sucked to the top. The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

  14. Aye CH, and they feed us tidbits like royal weddings and jubilees, where, ironically, we get to watch a lot of incredibly rich people enjoy themsleves at our expense while we wonder if we can afford anything to eat.

  15. There was a very interesting post by "Anonymous" which, it appears, (s)he has taken down.

    If you're reading this Anon, it would be great if you could put it back up.

    It it interesting and sheds light on another angle of all of this: money to be made by law firms.

    (I have an email copy of it, and I could put it up myself, but you took it down for a reason, and guess I must respect that.)

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Ah... I did wonder....

  18. Had a phone call from his lawyer!:)

  19. It happens... but not, I suspect in the States.

    Indeed as I understand it gagging orders imposed by the English High Court have no authority in Scotland, unless of course someone had the foresight to take one out with the High Court in Edinburgh. Twicwe the fun, two bills in one.

    Upon reflection Anonymous's comment, had he taken it down himself, would have left a trace as Danny's has. But it didn't. I suspect he may have run into the same problem as the Liberal candidate of a few weeks ago, which involved cookies (the computer kind as opposed to the edible ones).

    Anonymous: You may have to clear your cookies.

  20. “Two years ago she was chair of a PTA. Now she’s an MSP. She’s not a bad person, but she’s [got] no political acumen. The former leader of the council is not pleased at this turn of events.”
    That is the problem. Not only do they have very few MSPs, but the list ones simply never expected in a 100 years to be called to the job. They have no experience and no abilities in politics. This is what Labour arrogance does for you. We’ll, always win in Glasgow so we don’t need to worry abou sho is on the list.