28 February, 2009


Compare and contrast

White councillor Roger Walkden posts off-colour (Sorry!) joke on website.

Black councillor Shirley Brown uses racially offensive language in council chamber.

Sauce from the goose, it would appear, but the gander gets the bird.


Voting BNP caused Black Death, apparently

The usual end-of-the-world-is-nigh overreaction to the election of a BNP councillor in Swanley is reported in the local press, but this response from a Labour apparatchik takes hysteria to quite splendid new heights:
Donald Worsley, Labour’s PPC for Folkestone Hythe, said in a letter to Kent on Sunday that the win should serve as a warning that “racism, bigotry and hatred lies stirring in our midst” in Kent.

“The past 100 years has shown us to often what will be the consequences if we ignore such an evil philosophy as propounded by the BNP,” he said.

“Genocide in Ruanda... and the holocaust of the Jews across Europe. Never forgetting the tens of millions killed or raped in two World Wars.”
When will these fools learn that this kind of risible, patronizing hyperbolic claptrap just puts people's backs up (once they - the people - have stopped laughing in this case, that is), as indeed do interventions from self-important snotty-nosed rent-a-Trots who represent nobody except themselves?
The Wealden Progressive Movement, Tunbridge Wells Stop the War coalition and the Kent Green Party are supporting the demonstration opposing the BNP, which starts at 11am in The Mall, a pedestrianised area of London Road.
This sort of carry-on is more likely to provoke people into voting BNP as a gesture of defiance rather than convince them to resile from these terrible people, now unexpectedly and shockingly revealed to a trusting and naïve public as piccaninny-eating crypto-Nazis. The Great British Voter does not like being patronized, especially by scruffy smug left-wing eejits. ("Roll up! Free asylum seeker with every copy of the Socialist Worker!")

Simon Darby will be rubbing his hands with glee at all the free, unintendedly positive, publicity.

Tunbridge Wells Stop the War Coalition, eh? Do they allow that sort of thing down in Tun Wells? I'll bet "Disgusted of" is positively apoplectic and is sharpening his quill at this very moment.

(Update: post re-edited 07 Mar 09 for clarity and added venom.)


Scott Adams sums it up in precisely three panels


27 February, 2009


Quote of the day

This recent piece in the Daily Mail reacts to the publication of the statistic that 1 in 9 people in the UK is now foreign-born by pointing out that the figure understates the issue as it excludes people born in the UK of immigrant parents, "second-generation immigrants" to use a convenient if contested term. When discussing the social and cultural impact of demographic change, the Mail's mild correction is perfectly reasonable. If I am walking along the "wrong" side of Narrow Street and I am challenged by Mohammed and his posse for being in "their" territory, then in all probability Mohammed and Co will be UK-born and therefore excluded from the above statistic, but it is their immigrant origin and the racist attitude that has stemmed from their incomplete assimilation -- whoever's "fault" that may be -- that is the source of the problem.

This barely seems like "rocket science", at least to the non-hysterical, but of course it has generated predictable outrage in the usual corners of the media and the blogosphere. Posts and commenters take their usual, predictable positions, usually at one extreme or the other. Threads on Pickled Politics, Liberal Conspiracy and Conservative Home are typical: read them if you have the patience.

But the most interesting, and chilling, quote to emerge so far is this one, actually tangential to the original topic, from Sunder Katwala. Writing on the Next Left blog, this staunch upholder of Fabian freedom appends this to his comment on the Conservative Home thread:
There are a couple of decent Tory voices protesting the discussion - thank you Sally Roberts in particular for her challenges to a "dreadful thread". Of course, moderating open sites is difficult but I hope this will be something the ConHome site editors will look at and sort out tomorrow.
So then Sunder, free speech for all, just so long as they hold "decent opinions" and agree with me, is it? That Sunder is a no-platformist doesn't surprise me in the least, but you don't normally see this sort of explicit blatancy outside the loonier reaches of the ANL/SWP/UAF. And, you know, I don't suppose Sunder sees anything wrong with it.

23 February, 2009


Playing by the rules in the Multiculture (3)

Perhaps there's some kind of fare evasion clampdown going on at the moment. You go for months without seeing anybody checking tickets, then all of sudden you can scarcely squeeze onto the trains because every one's jam-packed full of coppers and REOs. As it says in the Bible (Unauthorized Version, Revelation 0:1)
Verily thou may'st wait even unto the End of the World itself for an Horseman of the Apocalypse.

And then four of the Buggers come along at once.
Anyway, here's another, probably the final, round-up of enforcement activity I have seen in the last week.

1. Bus, South East London. The top-deck was surprisingly empty, even for mid afternoon, with the few passengers huddled towards the front of the compartment. At the back of the bus was an extremely disgruntled gentleman of indeterminately mixed ethnic provenance being interviewed at length by a ticket inspector. Four (four!) PCSOs were watching proceedings from a safe distance near the stairs. I had obviously arrived after the main performance but it was clearly serious. The disgruntled gentleman's Oyster card was double-checked, particulars were taken, reports were prepared.

He'd obviously kicked off a bit when he'd been caught. I don't really understand that reaction. If you are caught banged to rights, surely the best policy is meek co-operation, not denial and confrontation. Still, there you go.

2. National Rail station, SE London. 4 coppers -- real ones this time; I didn't notice whether they were Met or BTP -- and a couple of REOs milling around beyond the gateline. Haul: one Black teenage youth being interviewed by an REO and, separately, two Black teenage girls being interviewed by a WPC (do they still call them that?). More interestingly, a member of our extensive Nigerian community, a man in his forties, was engaged in animated conversation with a policeman. I may be wrong -- I often am -- but I got the impression he was intervening on behalf of the kids. And judging from the copper's expression, he was going the right way about getting his collar felt. I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The arrogance, presumption of entitlement and willingness to cry "racism!" at any and every opportunity is one of the less endearing characteristics of rather too many of our West African guests.

3. Same National Rail station on another day. More REOs and BTP plods than you can shake a stick at. I wouldn't recommend actually shaking a stick at a public official, though. It's almost certainly a Public Order Act offence, punishable by transportation for life to North Peckham. Haul: one young male, teens or early twenties, probably UK-born Chinese; one White male teenager. Finally, two further White teenagers, one male, one female. As the latter pair were also being frisked by police officers, possibly something more serious than ticketless travel was in the offing.

Well that was exciting. I'm off for a lie-down.

20 February, 2009


It's gonna be a long eight years

Though I have my doubts about his allegiances and his history, now that Obama is in office I wish him well. He seems to be a reasonably pragmatic type who is prepared to listen, and listen across party lines.

Unfortunately for us people of pallor, criticism of The One, however justified and however constructive and well-intended, is going to be an uphill struggle as the usual suspects seek out racism in every utterance or action that is less than gushingly adulatory. This bizarre piece of conspiracy-mongering by one of the Graun's resident Collective of Professionally Offended Race Victims is a harbinger of things to come, as is this supporting piece of Righteous Left posturing.

"Chimpgate", as doubtless some are already calling it, arises out of a fairly indifferent political cartoon about the US economic stimulus bill in which a policeman has just shot dead a rampaging chimpanzee. Ardent analysts of victimhood, such as rank amateur Lola Adesioye (give me pros like Harker or Younge any day), are interpreting this as a racist insult to St Barry. In some quarters it even seems to be seen as incitement to assassination.

Lola discounts claims that the chimp image was a reference to a domestic-pet chimp in Connecticut that went berserk and near-fatally mauled its owner's friend. That chimp was shot dead by police. Lola handwaves this away as a local news item that the cartoon's New York audience would not have known about. Well dear, I'm 3,000 miles away from Connecticut and I picked up the reference immediately, having read about it my local newspaper: either the London Times or the Evening Standard - can't remember which and can't be arsed checking.

GW Bush was caricatured as a monkey by the Guardian and others throughout his presidency. Tony Blair was caricatured inter alia as an arse-sniffing poodle. Such is the cut-and-thrust of political commentary. And yet to speak less than well of The One is apparently worse than blasphemy, for racism is indeed the most heinous of all crimes. Even if crude and explicitly racial stereotypes are deployed in caricaturing Obama, how is that worse than these Bush and Blair caricatures? Have you never seen the work of people like Scarfe and Steadman? As one CiF commenter puts it, if you put yourself up for the world's top political job, you've got to be ready to take the flak that goes with it, and that includes "brothers" like St Barry.

Unless St Barry fucks up bigtime, I can't seem him not going two terms. So it's going to be a long eight years with every negative comment or representation being picked apart for racist subtexts, while the substance (if any) is disregarded.



I love this Michelle Malkin quote about Obama-ite sensitivities:
“McCain was tapping into a current of superiority among white voters. It was an attempt to ‘otherize’ Obama.”

“Otherize”? Sounds like something you do to your car tires to prepare for winter.
I'm just off to the nearest Halfords to see if they stock otherization solution. It could definitely come in handy.

18 February, 2009


Nothing changes

Slightly patronizing programme about "working class identity" (short 'a' mandatory here!) on the steam wireless, using Manchester as the example of a typically "working class" environment. I liked this comment from one of the interviewees:
"Being from Manchester you can't get tickets for Man U. You have to have an Irish passport for that."
So nothing changes, then. Even after all these years, my three-quarters English Protestant heritage outvotes my one-quarter Northern Irish Catholic heritage and I still could never quite countenance the idea of supporting Manchester United. As far as the dustier reaches of my cortex are concerned they a still a bunch of bloody left-footed Mick bastards! Old prejudices die very hard indeed.

And our leaders think they can create "community cohesion" through a combination of exhortation, political terror and legislation? Pshaw!


What is Derek Draper on?

On the bizarre Labour party-sponsored blog Labour List, inept spokesfool Derek Draper claims not only to have "held Iain Dale to account" over his support for La Thatcher in the Gollygate nonsense, but also (in this unsigned post) to have forced Guido Fawkes to "take down" supposedly racist submissions to one of his caption competition posts.

Held to account, eh? A phrase which implies authority or mandate. What you mean, Derek, you self-important fool, is that you disagreed with Iain and said so.

As to the Guido Fawkes post, I take it you mean this one. Well, as far as I can see, not only is the post still there, but all of the comments that you disapprove of (or as many of them as I can be arsed to cross-check, to be precise) are still in place. You're living in a fantasy world, Del Boy.

Most of the comments to Guido's post are pretty tedious, to be honest; a few are mildly amusing. Why are you making such an unholy self-righteous fuss?

There are rumours that Derek the Dreamer is to be removed from his position on the excruciatingly incompetent Labour List. I do hope not. Both he and it are national treasures and should be preserved for the nation.

17 February, 2009


An almost enjoyable post...

... on Guardian Unlimited Talk*. At least until the po-faced tendency turned up.

About the wonderful Charlotte Green, the only woman in the country who can make "Dogger, Fisher, German Bight" sound like an invitation to a very, very dirty weekend.

* Get it while it's still hot. GUT threads tend to last only days before the moderators delete them, more or less at random. Not exactly an archival resource, GUT. Which is a shame. 99% of it is a foul-mouthed juvenile shouting match between on the one side people whose political maturity seems to have frozen somewhere between the sixth form (or whatever it's called now) and the know-it-all first-year stage at university and on the other side a group of minor right-wing trolls who don't seem to realize that they are being kept on as pets to be abused and reviled for the others' amusement. But just occasionally there are sensible posts on there worth reading if not "cutting out and keeping".


Probability theory for journalists

A pointless interview by Mr Humphrys on the Today programme just now, one of many such over the past few days in which broadcasters and meeja people generally fail to come to terms with the fact that if something is very, very improbable indeed, such as two stealthed nuclear submarines accidentally bumping into each other in the middle of the Atlantic ocean rather like two lurking characters in a farce backing in to each other, that is not the same thing as the event actually being impossible.

If the probability of something is 1 in 1,000,000,000, that does not mean that the "1" cannot actually happen.

16 February, 2009


Playing by the rules in the Multiculture (2)

In my previous post on fare evasion, the three freeriders I described were all members of our more vibrant communities. I was merely reporting what I saw on that day, but to redress the balance for those who are likely to be upset by simple truth and insist on proportionality, here's a case of an indigenous freerider getting thwarted.

A bit of context is required. At Woolwich Arsenal (National Rail) station, the platforms are below street level and are reached from the ticket hall via stairs. This leaves the problem of access for prams and wheelchairs. On the up platform this has heretofore been via a gate which leads from the platform directly into the adjacent car park and the outside world. The gate is provided with an intercom and camera to allow station staff to check tickets and unlock the gate remotely but either this kit doesn't work properly or the staff can't be arsed to use it and the gate is in practice left open permanently.

This leads to the mild pastime I call Spot the Toerag. As the up train enters Woolwich Arsenal, look at the passengers waiting to get off (just those abled-bodied types who are unencumbered by buggies, etc, and might be expected to be able to handle stairs) and try to guess who will turn right towards the ticket hall, where the ticket barrier awaits, and those who will turn left towards the car park and unaudited freedom. You get quite good at it.

A young White lad made to get off the train. Thin pasty face, hoodie up, bouncing up and down to the music of his MP3 player, cigarette between lips ready to light (full marks for waiting till he got off to light up, to give him his due). No ticket, definitely going left, I thought. I was changing at Woolwich myself and, on a whim, I decided to stop and watch his progress from the vantage point of the DLR footbridge.

At this point a bit more context is called for. With the opening of Woolwich Arsenal (DLR), the standard DLR step-free facilities have been provided, in this case lifts between all platforms on both stations and the DLR ticket hall and gateline, allowing the wheel-bound to reach the street without needing to negotiate steps and rendering the car park exit largely redundant. (Let the car drivers walk round, the exercise'll be good for the buggers!)

Our fine specimen of Chavus domesticus ambled along the platform until he was in a position to see the car park gate. He stopped, taken aback by an unexpected sight. Contemplated a while. Approached the now locked gate and tried it. As I moved on to catch my DLR connection, my last sight of him was as he was shuffling disconsolately along the platform, either to take his chances at the gateline or to cross to the down platform and back whence he came.

D'you think it was cruel of me to laugh out loud?

Finally, here is another anecdote to unredress the balance again. At Abbey Wood (National Rail) station, where the tracks are at street level, the up platform is connected to the outside world via the ticket hall and an intermittently staffed gateline. On the down platform there is a simple unstaffed gate. As at Woolwich, this is equipped with an intercom and remote-controlled lock. The theory is that passengers needing step-free access to or from the down platform should buzz to have the gate released. In real life the gate is left open permanently.

This leads to a two-tier system. Passengers from the south (Abbey Wood village) side of the station who have tickets enter and exit via the up-platform ticket hall. Passengers without tickets enter and exit via the down-platform and the unsupervised gate, crossing to and from the village side via the nearby flyover. Stand at Abbey Wood for any length of time and you can watch the process in action.

One fine day, one of Abbey Wood's many Nigerian residents approached the gateline and, even though she had no ticket, demanded to be allowed out. She was unlucky that day. The station staff at Abbey Wood are a representative cross section of our vibrant diversity, and she had come up against an Indian station assistant. There is no love lost between Brown and Black, in my experience, and a stand-off ensued, she demanding her "rights" and he rather obviously enjoying thwarting her. He actually suggested that she make her way back to the internal footbridge and leave via the open gate on the down platform. I'm not sure what attitude to take to that response from a railway official. She seemed to think the suggestion beneath her dignity. I left them to it.

On the broader subject of ethnicity and fare evasion, I can't say I've formed a firm view on proportional criminality between the different "communities" from my purely anecdotal observations of the activity. It seems particularly popular among young Blacks, but then again it's practically a way of life among the White underclass. I will offer one observation. It seems to me that White freeriders know they are in the wrong but try it on anyway, whereas with People of the Vibrancy, particularly those of the Black Section, it seems from their typical reaction when challenged that they regard free travel as an entitlement, maybe as some kind of post-colonial reparation.

Strange world.

14 February, 2009


In case you missed it...

For all you UNIX/Linux geeks out there, just a reminder that the time_t reached 1,234,567,890 (seconds since midnight, 1 January 1970 GMT) yesterday. I'm afraid you missed the party.

As you will realize, the world did not end. That doesn't happen until 19-January-2038 at 03:14:08 UTC, if you're still using a 32-bit architecture. If I'm still around and not completely doolally, I'll be looking forward to my 90th birthday. Hopefully everything will be on 64-bit (128-, 256- ?) architecture by then.

13 February, 2009


Effing Boris

If Boris really did swear 10 times (actually 11 if you include the reported use of the word "bullshit") during a conversation with the country's champion oleaginous sleazebag, then I must say I have to admire his self-restraint. Keith Vaz is an individual so slimy that even slugs shun him.

More to the point, precisely what was Sanctimonious Keef, or his vassals, up to in releasing the content of a private conversation? Like Jackboot Jacqui's banning of Wilders, this little piece of political manoeuvring could very well have the reverse of the desired effect.

12 February, 2009


Playing by the rules in the Multiculture

I mislaid my Old Fool's Pass the other day, which meant that, honest law-abiding geezer that I am, I had to buy a normal ticket to get about. Just as well that I didn't succumb to any subliminal temptations to wing it, for as Karma would have it, the trains were crawling with ticket inspectors - or railway enforcement officers (REOs) as they are now known - on that day.

And they netted a fair old haul.

Let's see. There was the Indian chap to whom the lady REO was patiently explaining that "ticketless travel" is an offence in the UK too as she fined him £20.

There was the Nigerian lady who seemed to think that although her ticket had run out the day before she was entitled to a day's grace. As I have observed before, this seems to be a common misconception in our resident Nigerian community.

Then there was the Black lad at Cutty Sark DLR who, as the waiting phalanx of ticket inspectors hove into view beyond the top of the escalator, suddenly changed his mind about getting off there. I haven't seen anybody move so fast in quite a while. Now I know that people of West African heritage excel in the 100m sprint, but if running down the up escalator were to become an Olympic sport, I'll bet they'd do pretty well at that too.

11 February, 2009


The apology culture

The godawful freesheet thelondonpaper* goes for the mildly risqué headline
'Sorry for being such bankers...'
last night, reporting the apologies trotted out before the Treasury Select Committee by a posse of ex-bankers. This is all very nice, but what exactly does it achieve? Do they, through this act of ritual public contrition, wipe away their incompetence and dereliction? Do they kiss the resultant financial collapse better somehow, so that they can go back to fucking things up and we can all go back to maxing out our plastic on Chinese gewgaws?

This recent culture of symbolic public apologies, more often made by some supposedly representative public figure on behalf of long-dead people who would have told them precisely where to stuff their apology, is an irritating sentimentalist and populist distraction which should be quelled, like the recent practice of setting up impromptu floral shrines, often maintained for many months, at the scenes of fatal accidents or fatal crimes.
* The cartoon strip The Omnipresent is not bad, to be fair, and the sudoku passes the time nicely.


Geert and the Dhimmis

First, Lord Ahmed, the Mullah of Rotherham, threatens to surround parliament with 10,000 howling blood-crazed savages if a proposed private showing of Geert Wilders' film Fitna goes ahead in the Lords. Their Lordships, suitably intimidated, back down and cancel.

Then one of their Lordships, Lord Pearson of Rannoch I believe, shows a bit of bottle and reissues the invite. Clearly the doddering old gents in the second chamber cannot be trusted to behave, so HMG steps in and bars Wilders from entering the country. Apparently they are afraid that the Offended Ones will forgather in the capital and humiliate our underresourced and ill-commanded policemen by chasing them through the streets once again.

Very low-key reporting on the BBC so far. A couple of one-line "and-incidentally" reports on the news. That's it.

Does HMG think that this action will promote understanding and peaceful "community relations"? Like hell it will. It's just one more pin stuck into the voodoo golliwog doll of British patience.

I give you fair warning, any triumphalist follower of the Cult of the Dead Pædophile who shouts Allahu Akbar! in my presence is likely to get one of my trained attack pigs set on him.

Correction (12 Feb)

In the original version of this post I suggested that Fitna was about Islamic attitudes to women. Of course in my senile way I was confusing it with Theo van Gogh's film. Fitna is about Jihadism, violent Islamist imperialism and the attitude of Muslims generally to the rest of us. Like all propaganda films it is melodramatic and hyperbolic, but clearly Islam at least has a case to answer. Watch it for yourself.

10 February, 2009


Algorithmic serendipity

Watching Sky News with subtitles, as one is perforce required to do in the Temples of St Tim, is always an adventure. The news item was about Obama out on the stump drumming up popular support for his economic bail-out package and a question was raised about proposals to limit the pay of bailed-out bankers. It took me a while to infer the original question, which I believe to have been
Should there be a mandatory cap?
The assiduous but unconscious speech recognition software interpreted this inventively as
Should there be Amanda toy cat?
I think of Amanda as being a new nekomimi character, and I have no doubt that graphic studios across Japan are striving industriously towards her visual realization.

08 February, 2009


Gollygate rumbles on

One might have hoped that this nonsense would have run its course by now, but the popular prints on both sides of the fence are still enthusiastically flogging this dead horse even as it begins to rot. But enough of this florid metaphor.

In today's Observer, a startlingly mixed bag of well-known Black people is wheeled out to tell us how offended they are. On the other hand, the Sunday Mercury reports that a shop in hideously White Cheltenham is struggling to keep up with demand for golliwog dolls. Let battle lines be drawn. If I had collected golly badges in my younger days, I would be searching the further recesses of dusty long unvisited drawers for them even now.

And yet those largely White people who have responded to this tedious furore by claiming that the golliwog doll is no more than an innocent children's toy with absolutely no racial overtones are either being disingenuous or feel too constrained by the oppressive and counterproductive conventions of politically correct discourse to say what they actually mean.

The origins of the figure in the imaginations of Florence Upton and Enid Blyton are neither here nor there. That its creation and development was informed by then prevalent middle-class White attitudes to Blacks is clear. On the other hand, the claims by the usual suspects that it is some kind of deliberate tool of oppression and abuse is no more than the self-important whining of those for whom victimhood is at best a displacement from addressing with their own failings and at worst a cynical source of income.

But it cannot be denied that the term has been co-opted as a derogatory or abusive term for Black people. If Floella Benjamin was called a golliwog in the school playground, then I am sure it was intended insultingly. And I have no doubt that, after all this hoo-ha, this rather archaic term will gain a new lease of life in playgrounds across the country.

That the term is derogatory, and I will put it no more strongly than that, is beyond doubt. What is interesting and rather more important is the unholy and disproportionate fuss that has arisen from its use.

Current tittle-tattle, attributed to Adrian Chiles, is that Carol Thatcher referred to the mixed-race French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as "that Froggy golliwog guy". Now if I were a Frenchman, of whatever hue, I would be minded to complain about the use of the derogatory term "Froggy". And yet nary a peep have we heard about the use of this word, either from those delicate flowers Adrian Chiles and Jo Brand, or from the BBC, or from the media at large, or from the legions of the professionally offended.

Curious, that.

In Friday's Guardian, MIke Phillips expresses his outrage. Mr Phillips, apparently a near contemporary of mine, says
In my school playgrounds, during the 50s and 60s, "golliwog" was a routine piece of racist abuse, a fighting word,...
Well, I was a primary school child in the 1950s. As it happens, I have worn spectacles since the age of two. In consequence when I went to school I was the butt of playground abuse and bullying, as any child who was in any way marked out as different would be.

I might then reasonably regard the term "four-eyes" as deeply abusive and offensive. Yet what do we find in that self-same issue of the Guardian? On the front of the paper, on the very masthead indeed, is a puff for a feature in G2 (the "magazine" section of the rag, for those who unfamiliar with the august liberal publication). This feature is about the rise of spectacles as a fashion item or accessory. The puff on the front page consists of a picture of a piece of self-confident posh-looking totty wearing a pair of apparently fashionable specs - I'm afraid I don't keep to speed with the trends in such matters - and is wittily captioned
Oi, four-eyes - you look great.
How glasses got sexy.
"Four eyes?" Why isn't the RNIB up in arms? Should I complain to the Press Complaints Commission, d'you think? Or will they laugh at me and tell me to get a life?

Bit of inconsistency here, I feel. Never mind the complimentary tone; that doesn't make it any better. How you feel about
Oi, nignog - you look tasty.
How black models conquered the catwalk.
Spare me the victimist crap about how racism and racial abuse are somehow different, about slavery and the Empire and all the tiresome special pleading and all the manipulation of White liberal guilt. Insults are insults. Abuse is abuse. To be sure some insults are more wounding than others, but hasn't the calculus of offence become unduly distorted in particular directions?

In the real world, group tensions exist and, amazingly, not everybody likes everybody else. People favour their own tribe over others. And at times it all gets a bit rude and shouty. So it goes.

It's a hard world out there. Grow up and handle it.

I'll cut you a deal, Black and Brown people and your bien pensant White Liberal camp-followers. If you stop whingeing about racism all the time and telling us how hard done by you are because of your "skin colour", I won't whinge about how hard done to I am by virtue of being a middle-aged middle-class White heterosexual male four-eyed Northern git.


05 February, 2009



It's the mind-curdling predictable triviality of it that depresses.

Yesterday, the Today programme did its best, with Humphrys half-heartedly interviewing a couple of rent-a-voices and trying to instill a bit of outrage into the proceedings. The Black rent-a-voice, whose name escapes me, struggled really hard to be offended but his heart wasn't in it.

This morning's prog did a little better, with Jay Hunt, Controller BBC1, wheeled out to deliver a rousing condemnation of the recusante Mistress Thatcher in strident lesbo-feminist tones I haven't heard since my dim and distant days of (mild) trade union activism: think of the booming prosody of Clare Short delivered with RP vowels. Well done that woman: cheered me up no end.

This will do no good. Mr Average White Man will forgather in the temples of St Tim, sip his cheapo pint and reflect on the increasing detachment of the BBC from reality and the lessening advisability of having anything to do with those ungrateful yet untouchable darkies. The more reflective Mr AWM might go on to reflect on the licence-fee value of a show whose only redeeming feature seems to be the opportunity for a quick perve at the Brummie Geezer's rather tasty co-presenteuse. Does wonders for race relations, all this stuff.

The excellent Miss Thatcher can look and is looking after herself. The person I feel sorry for is the Black chap I saw walking down the Charing Cross Road yesterday. With a huge "Afro" and very dark in skin colour, he might almost have walked straight off the cover of Natty Dread. He looked so much like a real-life golliwog it was hard not to laugh. No wonder he was looking nervous. Now if that malevolent bag Jo Brand and Adrian "Brummie Geezer" Chiles had kept their traps shut and not precipitated this storm in a marmalade spoon, he would have been spared that embarrassment. See what you've done.

01 February, 2009


English as she is spoke

The odds-and-sods shop in Greenwich that advertises Stationary in its window is pretty unremarkable these days, though it is comforting to be explicitly reassured that the premises will not be wandering around the streets of South London menacing pedestrians.

Yesterday I was travelling through the centre of the Metrollops in a Number 15 Omnibus. Many of these vehicles now sport a display advertising the name of the next stop. Some travellers find the accompanying recorded announcement irritating, but in practice you learn to "background" it quite quickly. And then we approached a stop called, according to the display,
Regent Street / Charles 11 Street
(Read that carefully.) Unsurprisingly, the nice lady who tirelessly announces the stops was not fooled and called out "Regent Street, Charles the Second Street". As any fule kno, even if Prince Big Ears does eventually ascend the throne, he will be no more than the third King Charles.

All grist to the mill, but I was nearly flummoxed by a sign in a shop in Welling recently. The shop apparently dealt in bathroom fittings. Among its offerings, it proudly announced "Sanitary Wear". For a few seconds I found myself marvelling at this outpost of the indoor building trade that had found it necessary to develop a sideline in selling tampons. An ingenious response to competition from all those Poles, perhaps?

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