Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Natalie Solent is upset because someone has dropped her from their list of links because she links to Little Green Footballs (http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php) .

Now clearly LGFs is not a particularly pleasant site, but that does not need to concern us now. What should concern us is this quote from Solent 'I think a great deal of LGF's enormous hit rate comes from the fact that violence by Muslims is played down by the media. People read the papers and find stories tucked away in corners that they know perfectly well would be spread across the front page if a non-Muslim person or country did the same thing.'.

I find it remarkable that in this day and age people still believe this sort of thing. That somehow the 'Power-that-Be' are deliberately hiding stories about Muslims, which if they were about us -- THE WHITE POPULATION -- they would be all over the papers. Note the beautiful use of the phrase 'know perfectly well'. How, how, how do people 'know perfecftly well' that such stories would be all over the front page if they wre non-Muslims?

Of course they don't know anything of the sort. Yet this kind of nonsense is what you get from the RIght these days. It's strange, they've won every political battle of the last 25 years yet they still see themselves as part of a group discriminated against and generally persecuted.

The high priest of this world view is Robin Page, a Telegraph columinist and man of extreme views on everything, who can't make a speech about government policy in the countryside without saying that he has less rights than blacks, or gays or lesbians or even one-legged black, gay, lesbians. He's never managed to produce any evidence of this, mainly because he knows that it's not true, yet he still trots it out day after day.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Ross Mckibben always writes wonderful articles for the London Review of Books (as he does wonderful lectures at Oxford) and this one lamenting the return of selection in our secondary schools is another classic.

As McKibben notes selection was got rid of for three reasons : 1) Telling the vast majority of your young people that they are failures at the age of 11 was a huge waste of national potential, 2) Democracy requires some social commonality of experience, and selection only reduced that; and 3) It was impacting on the middle classes who found their families split down the middle. McKibben believes all of these reasons remain valid today.

McKibben could have added a few facts that proponents of grammar schools always forget. The split between grammars and secondary moderns was something like 20:80. This is why the middle classes were so aggrieved-- worse in fact than the working class or the upper class as the former had essentially given up on education so badly had it been treated and the latter, understandably, paid its way out of trouble. As McKibben notes this is the reason Mrs Thatcher created so many comprehensives, and the reason many Conservative councils were the first to get rid of selection when they could.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

NathanNewman's site is a new one for me, but probably well known to everyone else. This link is to an article about President Bush's dishonesty, which when you think about it is quite breathtaking. Be sure however to check out some of the other stories.

Today's FT has a wonderful article by Martin Wolf on the failures of capitalism, or more particularly the failure of our system of capitalism. Sadly it's subscription only, andI recommend you buy a copy of the newspaper if you are interested. I won't attempt to precis the article, but instead will concentrate on some staggering facts...

Wolf notes that the huge amounts of money taken by executives from companies during the 1990s partly reflects the stock market bubble. However he believes it also reflects failures in corporate governance.

"Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has called what happened "infectious greed". I prefer "obscene". An investigation by the Financial Times concluded that top executives had extracted $3.3bn from companies they led into bankruptcy. These barons of bankruptcy are extreme examples

"But bad behaviour has been pervasive. It has embraced: the grant of stock options with no relation to performance; subversion of accounting standards and audits; and a host of value-destroying takeovers. At least a third of takeovers begun in the bull market have now been unwound. This is, alas, no concern to the dealmakers. Investment bankers take their money on the way in - and out."

What can be done? Wolf believes only limited changes are politically possible, which are:

"It is to restrict the extent of capture by top management. There needs to be sane treatment of accounts, independent audits and more pressure on intermediaries to act in the interests of beneficiaries. The answers will never be perfect. That is no excuse for continuing with business as usual."

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Alive, alive, alive Bin Laden appears to be. Clearly he's lacking a video camera mind.

Monday, November 11, 2002

One of the more important sites on the internet is Biased BBC. It is a collection of posts on examples of the BBC's shocking left-wing bias. I used to defend the BBC against such allegations but this site has made me think again. Here are two recent examples of the left-wing bias they have found. Who now can justify the licence fee?

The day after the US mid-term electoins

"In the unlikely event that George Bush has spent the past two years worrying about the legitimacy of his Presidency, he would have heaved a sight of relief this morning ..."

The reporting of the ending of the Russia hostage crisis

The report was about the aftermath of the Moscow theatre siege. It was all about the gas used to suppress the terrorists. The presenter used the term "catastrophic consequences". The reporter, Jonathan Charles, talked of "a major miscalculation" and how Vladimir Putin didn't look so good anymore

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

IDS is getting desperate shows this BBC article. How can he say ""We have to pull together or we will hang apart"? How can he, according to the BBC allege with a straight face that 'a small minority was "consciously" trying to sabotage his leadership'.

This is the man who spent years trying to undermine John Major's premiership! How many votes as a backbencher did he cast against his government?

Clearly the man has to go. He's incompentent, he's hypocritical.