Sunday, 20 October 2013

An exemplary demonsration of polling excellence

Opinium confirms its status as the only pollster that actually polls people, real people, and not MPs or rats, asks their opinions in sensible ways and compiles the data in statistally valid ways to achieve meaningful results.  All the other polling companies are lying liemongers and lackeys of the savage beast of rampant capitalism and are probably all owned by George Osborne.

CON 27%(-2)
LAB 38%(+2)
LDEM 9%(+2)
UKIP 17%(+2)

I also note that Anthony Wells has allowed a bug to creep into the workings of UK Polling Report - unaccountably, his UNS Projection suggests Labour would only attain a 58 seat majority in an election, where as we all know the correct figure would be 580.  I may send him an email about this.

How the Right treats people

Has to be said, when it comes to playing dirty, no-one does it like the right.  They don't stop at dirty tricks, smears and manipulation of their opponents.  That would be expected.  They do it to their own, with out qualm.

Consider: Kim Dotcom tried to buy his way into influence, with generous donations to John Banks.  In reply, the right set the police on him, froze his assets and destroyed his business, at the behest of the US.   He discovered that the right only owes loyalty to the most powerful.

Bevan Chuang fought to represent the right in Auckland; when they failled, they switched to Plan B and used her affair with Len Brown as a means to attack him, in the meantime destroying Chuang's credibility and budding political career. She discovered that if you can't be useful to the right, you can still be used.

And now Jock Anderson has been wolved by the NBR for daring to suggest that Len Brown should get on with his job.  Apparently, that's not neutral and unbiased.  One has to assume, the NBR employed Anderson to be stupid, and on this occasion he was not stupid enough.  Nothing else makes sense.  He discovered that the only liberty the right tolerates is the liberty to toe the line, or be trounced.

Friends like these, and all that ...

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Manbag

So, it has came to my attention recently that I now have too much stuff to comfortably fit in my pockets.  So I set out on a mission to find a bag on a strap that I can carry stuff about in.

My wife helpfully informed me that what I was seeking might commonly be called a 'manbag'.  I wanted something practical, and the items she had in mind was too small for a laptop, which is why I didn't see much point.

To which she replied, "That's why you need to buy a tablet as well," at which I (technophobe who still buys music on vinyl) hurrumphed and requisitioned one of her spare handbags (they are like manbags but for girls, apparently) which wasn't too screamingly feminine, so that's all good.

I did think about just stuffing stuff into a laptop bag, but it is a delicate balancing act, far more complicated than I realised at first.

If the amount of assorted rubbish you feel compelled to carry about with you exceeds the capacity of your pockets, it may not be enough to fill up a laptop bag to a respectable degree; one looks suspicious if one has a large bag the turns out to contain a glasses case, a copy of Nostromo and a half eaten packet of Fruit Pastilles (do you still get Fruit Pastilles? They were my favourite sweet when I was a kid).

Or worse, it makes it look like one has not adequately planned this foray into the word; and one can not go about forever lugging a laptop just to fill up the extra space in the bag.

So an intermediate bag is needed, for those occasions when you need a bit more than you can sensibly cram into your pockets, but can not justify a backpack or laptop sort of bag.

I think the manbag thing is looks a lot better when you're David Beckham, not lurgee. Still, now I can carry a book around with me. A real one, not some nonsensical Kindle.

I tried to justify forking out for a dedicated manbag by arguing (to myself, aloud, in public) that they are essentially another means of display to impress women with. "Look," they scream, "I've got so much stuff I can't cram it into my pockets like that oaf you are with just now! And I can waste money on a pointlessly expensive leather pouch rather than a scruffy backpack!"

However, Mrs lurgee seems to resent my appropriation of her wardrobe (the handbag, not the undies - she doesn't know I filch them) and used a recklessly unsupervised visit to Auckland to buy me a 'proper' manbag of my own, though I'm not sure about it.

First, it looks like a laptop bag, and if you are going to do this whole looking like an idiot thing you might as well do it properly.  Some people might actually think I'm just carrying a laptop about, not trying to make a pretentious fool of myself.  Still, a few moments of conversation should soon set that right.

Also, it has velcro bits, which also diminishes its ludicrous urban fop cache.  I'm sure David Beckham's bag doesn't have velcro on it.

Finally, it has too many compartments, and I can never find things when I need them, and can imagine what I'm expected to be carrying about with me in order to fill them all.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Miliband Miliband Miliband

Looking at this whole miserable mess in a detached manner, it's actually been very good for Miliband (Ed edition - see what I did there?).  He's managed to completely trump the Toery party conference, and build on a robust, crowd-and-voter-pleasing speech at his own shindig.  Best of all, he's been able to do it without seeming to be trying to do it.  If he'd loudly announced free jam for every one just as Cameron took the stage, he'd have looked like a cynical opportunist and people would - quite rightly - have asked why he hadn't bothered to mention this during his own conference.

And he's been attacked - through his dead war veteran dad - by the Daily Mail, so he can only look good as a result, the way we tend to not condemn Stalin as much as we should because he was on the side of decency against Hitler.  Anyone been excoriated by the Daily Mail probably deserves the benefit of the doubt - Mark Duggan and Stephen Lawrence's killers being the exceptions that prove the rule.

Miliband has had a chance to look tough and forthright, and has managed to not sound whiny about this.  He's been angry, but not self-pitying.  He's managed to link the mess to a wider narrative - the nastiness and unscrupulousness of some parts of the press, and the concentration of media in the hands of a few self-interested rightwing moguls.  And he's won sympathy from the sort of people who start sentences by saying, "I've been a lifelong Tory voter ..."

Even better, his rivals have been flat-footed.  Cameron and the other Tory heavyweights have been silent, making them seem to be endorsing the Mail's repugnant behaviour.  Nick Clegg is the only senior member of the coalition to unequivocally condemn the Mail.  True, some of the old sticks have spoken out from the comparative safety of the Lords - but as Polly Toynbee points out, it is easy to risk your political career when it is essentially over.

As for the Mail, it has been a disastrous misjudgement. They've made Miliband far more human and likeable than he was a week ago, raised his profile immensely, made themselves look truly hateful and unintentionally demonstrated why we need to reform and strengthen the way the British press is regulated.

What were they thinking?

Did Margaret Thatcher hate Britain?

Just a thought that occurred to me while replying to an earlier post on the Ralph Miliband furore (is it a furore, yet, or is it still just a brouhaha?)

The Daily Mail's case - if you could call it that - against Ralph Miliband is based on two pieces of evidence.  Exhibit one is his diary entry where he rails against the insularity and chauvinism of the English people he encountered, and their narrow-minded anti-European attitude.  That is not hatred of Britain, but a hatred of a old fashioned, self-satisfied perspective which Miliband could see was already consigned to Trotsky's dustbin of history.

And he was quite right to be contemptuous of it.  Small mindedness, nostalgia and bigoted dislike of foreigners are all hateful attitudes.

His comment about wishing Britain would lose the war seems shocking, but has to be understood in relation to the above.  Miliband is not expressing a genuine desire for Britain to be defeated and for Nazi jackboots to trample all over fair Albion.  That would be a rather stupid thing for a Jewish refugee, who had already had one very narrow escape from the Nazis, to desire.  Rather, he is expressing his frustration with the aforementioned attitude, the complacenty of the British, secure behind their channel, feeding off their Empire, and convinced that nothing - NOTHING - can possibly happen to dislodge Britainnia from her proud place as the greatest nation on Earth - another shabby delusion Miliband could see had outlived whatever dubious truth it had ever enjoyed.

So there is nothing there, really, to justify the Mail's berserk accusation that Miliband hated Britain.

The second line off attack by the Mail is that Miliband longed to reform Britain, which is not surprising when he saw it as so dog eared and fusty.  In this, of course, he was not alone, as the electorate of Britain voted in a reformist Labour government at the first opportunity after that messy business with Hitler was concluded.  Did the 11,967,746 people who voted for Attlee's labour party in 1945 also hate Britain?  Of course not.  Many of them, like Ralph Miliband had been fighting to save it from Hitler, and once that job was done they got on with the matter of making Britain better.

That involved making a lot of changes and doing a way with a lot of things that may have been cherished by the reactionaries and the small minded little Englanders that Miliband expressed such contempt for; but they had enjoyed having their own way far too long.

So is calling for disruption to The Way Things Are And Have Always Been really synonymous with hating Britain?  If so, then Margaret thatcher must have truly hated Britain with a passion, as no-one did more in the 20th century to change it.  Smashing the 'traditional power' of the trade unions, breaking up the old state monopolies, turning London into a modern financial hub, trashing old heavy industries, opening the country to the ambivalent blessings of globalisation ... Almost everything she did would have been decried by the Little Englanders of Miliband's youth, and their successors, who ironically clung to the vision ofMiliband and Attlee as The Way Things Are And Have Always Been.

Of course Thatcher did not hate Britain.  She was, in her own way, a partriot, and while I disagree with her on almost every point (perhaps only finding some common ground over the Falklands - which, oddly would put me at odds with Miliband) I accept she acted in what she thought - in her narrow ideological way - was the interest of the country.  This is why I posted nothing when she died.  Her day had been, whatever damage she did was history, and she even if she was wrong she thought what she was doing was right, and good for the country.

It's a little thing called integrity, and both Thatcher and Ralph Miliband had it, in their own ways.

Unlike the stinking self important yahoos of the left like George Galloway and the idiots who were not even born when Thatcher was deposed. They made themselves as low as Dacre and his nasty minded 'journalists' who smear and misrepresent Ralph Miliband to turn people against his son.

Fortunately it seems both camps are equally stupid, as the revulsion their behaviour has provoked shows.  Galloway proved nothing by gloating over Thatcher's death, other than proving he is a loathsome fool who revelled in the death of an old woman.  Equally, Dacre and those who have followed his lead have shown only that they are as devoid of principle and decency as Galloway.

That is not an accomplishment for anyone to be proud of.

Again with the Ralph Miliband

Another day, another even-more-hysterical defence of the lies about Ralph Miliband 'hating Britain.'

The Daily Mail doesn't know the way out of a hole is not to keep digging, does it?  Or is it just milking its infamy for all it's worth?  After all, as they say, if there is one thing worse than being talked about, it's ...

Now, first of all, truth is justification enough.  Any criticism of Ralph Miliband would be justified if it were true; but there is no evidence he hated Britain. he hated chauvanism and the wilful Blimpish ignorance he encountered in too many British people, but that's not the same thing at all.

So, the latest defence, penned by Stephen Glover, boils down to something I touched on yesterday - somehow, it is okay to traduce Ralph Miliband's memory because some people were unpleasant, vulgar little scumbuckets when Margaret Thatcher died.  Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, clamours Glover.

Well, yeah, but in this case the goose being sauced is not the goose that deserves it.  Some people did make fools of themselves by ostentatiously celebrating when they heard that Thatcher was dead. And they were vermin. Miliband was not one of them. He condemned their childish hatefilled antics. 

Trying to justify smearing his father because some other people are excrement just makes you look stupid.

Of course, before some stupid self-propelling turds were dancing to celebrate Thatcher's death, there was a lot of appalling sludge directed at Gordon Brown. So did that justify the celebrations of Thatcher's demise?

Of course it doesn't. If one person behaves in a way I find offensive, it does not justify me being unpleasant towards a third person. The Mail, however, is trying to claim it does.

As for the Thatcher comparison, that would only be a telling point if only Ed Miliband had got out there and started jigging. The fact that some on the left are stupid little swinebags who celebrated the death of an old woman (George Galloway was one, as I recall) does not justify similar behaviour from anyone else.

Did Ed Miliband celebrate her death? Nope, he condemned those who did.

So basically, the Mail's argument argument boils down to, "It's okay to tell lies about Ralph Miliband because George Galloway is a turd."

Or, to put it another way, dear reader, would it be okay for me to make up stories about Paul Dacre because the Mail smeared Ralph Miliband?  Of course not.  Which is my point.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

More on Miliband



A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and actions speak louder than words.  So here's a picture and an account of someone's actions.

The toothy young chap in the picture is Ralph Miliband, wearing the uniform of the Red Army British Navy, which he often wore as he proclaimed his hatred for Britain fought for Britain in the Second World War.

The list of people excoriating the Mail grows longer and shows just how far from the path of sanity and decency the vile little rag has gone.  Ralph Miliband's biographer, Michael Newman, has weighed in, describing the use of quotations as 'distorted' and the piece as a 'vicious and offensive' attack on Miliband.  But he's writing in Pravda The Guardian so probably a leftist liar Blairite Trotskyist Britain hater sane, so we can safely ignore him.

The Mail, after all, operates in a place where the normal rules don't apply, where even the laws of physics (c.f. Climate change) have been repealed, so why should decency and honesty still apply?

Tory grandee (how I hate that word!) Michael Hesseltine also condemns the Mail's ravings.  But he was something of a traitor, wasn't he?  He pretty much destory Margret Thatcher, so what would you expect?  He's finally coming out as a leftist liar Britain hater, as is anyone who refuses to indluge in the Two Minutes Hate that the Mail is calling for to be directed at a dead veteran of the Second World War.

The preposterously titled Lord Moore of Lower Marsh also speaks out against the Mail.  He's described by the Gaurdian as a 'Thatcher ally' and Miliband acted as his political comissar tutor at the London School of Economics.  But the LSE was founded by socialists and leftist liars, so any alumnus of that corrupt institution has to be suspect.

Even current Tories - who might have a bit to fear from the Wrath of the Mail - have been moved to speak, with Zac Goldsmith describing the anti-Miliband campaign as 'appalling.'  But Goldsmith accepts that the laws of physics work, that climate change is happening and that the effects might be a bit worse than forcing the good yeomen of England to convert their farms to vineyards.

It's saddening that David Cameron has not said anything about this debased attack on the leader of the opposition.

It really beggars belief that the Mail is trying to brazen this out, rather than Memory Holing the embarrassing blunder.  One wonders if it is a strategic move - if Labour form a government in 2015, every misstep, every failure and every frustration will be described as Miliband Jnr carrying out his father's dark goal of destroying the country he hates.

It is good to see Conservatives repudiating the Mail.  there is no need for the sort of grotesque smears masquerading as journalism that it specialises in.  the fact that a major newspaper thought this was acceptable is an index for how course and demeaned our politics have become.

It isn't a one way street of course.  When thatcher died, there was plenty of hateful display by idiots on the left.  Perhaps this was what made the the Mail think traducing Miliband was acceptable.  But claiming the behaviour of oafs as a a justification simply reveals the oafishness of the person making the claim.  One can not stoop and stand up straight at the same time.  The Mail has stooped willingly, indeed with indecent enthusiasm, into the filth.

The true colours of the haters on the left, who gloated at Thatcher's death seems no different to the sickening hue of the idiots who delighted in calling Gordon Brown a one eyed spastic drug addicted psychopath, or the current putrid snarling of the Mail.

What it comes down to is you're either civilised or you're not; political persuasion is secondary.

Now I could finish up by telling you what I think of Mail editor Paul Dacre - a man who might be truly said to hate Britain as he has used almost every opportunity to degrade and coarsen it's journalism -  and  Geoffrey Levy, the scribbler who concocted the original poisonous stew of misrepresentation and venom.

I could make up some random stuff about them, post some libellous allegations about them.  After all, they've signalled anything is fair game and making an honest representation of facts isn't really that important.

But I won't, because I'm civilised.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ralph Miliband

I wasn't going to get involved - however irrelevantly - in the whole foul stinking mess the Daily Mail has created around Ralph 'Father of Ed' Miliband.  It was just too odious.

But the Mail has decided to double down on its vileness, and the Spectator has joined in.

I'm not at all surprised at the Mail being scummy over this.  That's what the Daily Mail is for.  It's the id of the Tory party, the primordial urges that shouldn't be voiced and can't be acknowledged.  If the Mail is saying it, you can be sure the British right is saying it. 

With this in mind, I'm slightly disappointed in the Spectator.  It shows the poison that is used to print the Mail is spreading to other parts of the British right and what would normally be unspeakable is simply becoming a little bit rude and impolite.

Still, this nasty little episode shows how foul and remorseless the right really is. Any excuse, any means. Besmirching a dead war veteran - a man who fought for his adopted country, one of those whose courage and willingness to lay his life down to save Britain we recall on Remembrance Day.

That's truly repulsive, even by the dismal standards of the Mail.

And this hypocritical smearing after all the po-faced sanctimonious phoney calls for respect for the dead after Thatcher died. It shows how empty and self-serving their pretend offence over 'Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead' was.  Lying two-faced hypocritical scumbags devoid of human decency - who'd have thought it?

I suppose it show Ralph Miliband was right in his comments about the British (actually English) character - there is a loathsomeness about the British right that is hard to describe without reaching for the strongest and most contemptuous terms.

You want to measure of how utterly odious the Mail's smears are?  It has made Alastair Campbell - ALASTAIR CAMPBELL - seem like a decent human being.

Theresa May: Going, Going ...

So, Theresa May is in a bit of trouble.  Tories are scheming and plotting - which they do on any day that ends in a 'Y' - and rumour...