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Eddie Mair | 06:13 UK time, Monday, 1 October 2007

The place for serious talk about what's on your mind.

Comments

  1. At 09:25 AM on 01 Oct 2007, Millie O'Neare-Nott wrote:

    2 things are in my mind this Monday morning after what seemed a very short weekend!
    1) the bbc news website is featuring an item about dark chocolate being an aid to sufferers of ME - I'm shortly to be seen by consultant with the possiblilty of being diagnosed with this condition. This really does cheer me up to think I may be legitimately allowed chocolate :-). I trust that Eddie & team will give this serious consideration tonight. (presume they will have to have a tasting session during the day to see if they feel less tired at 5.00pm!)
    On a serious note (since this is furrowed brow thread) need to ensure that the chocolate eaten is of the right cocoa level and of course not prepared using child or low paid labour.

    2) Will Big Ben sound louder and will it's clarity of tone been altered?

    Better get on with real work worries now!
    Millie

  2. At 02:38 PM on 01 Oct 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    At the end of ten days of this blog being in a less-than-satisfactory condition, I have a serious worry.

    I've been here a while, and *I* know, like all the regular posters, that being told that my post has been rejected because "You are not allowed to post here" is just a temporary (I hope!) mistake.

    But what about people trying to post for the first time?

    They may go away, and think forever after that for some reason they are deemed Not Worthy and that their contribution has been rejected because of them or what they wrote. They may decide (I wouldn't blame them) that this is a place for regulars only, and is in fact run for an elite.

    Even several 502s and other indications that the BBC is not prepared to let them post for various reasons might have this effect, but the "you are not allowed to post" message is certain to give that impression.

    If that message can't be done away with at least for the time being (and I really can't see why it shouldn't be), perhaps Eddie shouldn't be saying cheerfully on the programme that the Blog is available and easy, thus giving a false impression. Might he perhaps say "It's having problems, so don't give up if you haven't ever posted before", at least for the time being?

    Some of the first-time or even only-time posts I have read here have been very fine, and I hate to think that we are losing good people because of the server being off-form.

    (I expect malicious warnings, 502s and the rest when I try to post this...)

  3. At 03:53 PM on 01 Oct 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Chris (2&3) I'd like to back you up on this. The Blog is going through quite a stormy time at the moment, what with 502s, Malicious Posting accusations when you haven't posted for 2 days, "Not Allowed To Comment" comments, etc. It would be worth a brief word warning about it on-air. After all, I would suggest that the blog is one of the reasons PM got the Interactive programme award at the Sonys. Let's not let a few annoying bugs ruin it for newcomers :-)

  4. At 04:37 PM on 01 Oct 2007, Humph wrote:

    I would like to echo the comments of Chris (2) and Fearless (3) about warning users about the present "difficulties". I would also ask that you add the warning of the present condition to the main text of any story specific threads that you choose to post. How many people posted here for the first time on the SEN threads of months gone by; not because they wanted to get involved in a debate but because "they knew about the situation"? If there are going to be other story-specific threads in the near future, you could annoy more people new to this blog than it is worth.

    H.

  5. At 12:27 PM on 03 Oct 2007, Jacques wrote:

    Why are there so many repeated comments on the blog ?

    The moderator seems to reject many comments, but seems unable to remove the repeats.

    Why ?

  6. At 11:23 PM on 03 Oct 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Why are there so many repeated comments on the blog ?

    The moderator seems to reject many comments, but seems unable to remove the repeats.

    Why ?

  7. At 02:01 PM on 04 Oct 2007, drghughes wrote:

    Can anyone tell me whether there's a pool on when Gordon Brown will step in and "solve" the Royal Mail dispute?

  8. At 02:05 PM on 04 Oct 2007, Tom Harrop wrote:

    Eddie - do you know or does anyone else know if Britain ever had three different Prime Ministers in one year?

  9. At 02:39 PM on 04 Oct 2007, silver-fox wrote:

    Tom (7)

    It happened once in 1827...

    Robert Banks Jenkinson, Earl of Liverpool 1812-27 Tory.

    George Canning 1827 Tory.

    Frederick Robinson, Viscount Goderich 1827-8 Tory.

    I wonder if a year ending in 7 is significant?

  10. At 03:16 PM on 04 Oct 2007, Tom Harrop wrote:

    Much obliged silver-fox.

  11. At 04:21 PM on 04 Oct 2007, Fetishist wrote:

    The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities,”[1] its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity.

    A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference.[2] Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production.

    Every useful thing, as iron, paper, &c., may be looked at from the two points of view of quality and quantity. It is an assemblage of many properties, and may therefore be of use in various ways. To discover the various uses of things is the work of history.[3] So also is the establishment of socially-recognized standards of measure for the quantities of these useful objects. The diversity of these measures has its origin partly in the diverse nature of the objects to be measured, partly in convention.

    The utility of a thing makes it a use value.[4] But this utility is not a thing of air. Being limited by the physical properties of the commodity, it has no existence apart from that commodity. A commodity, such as iron, corn, or a diamond, is therefore, so far as it is a material thing, a use value, something useful. This property of a commodity is independent of the amount of labour required to appropriate its useful qualities. When treating of use value, we always assume to be dealing with definite quantities, such as dozens of watches, yards of linen, or tons of iron. The use values of commodities furnish the material for a special study, that of the commercial knowledge of commodities.[5] Use values become a reality only by use or consumption: they also constitute the substance of all wealth, whatever may be the social form of that wealth. In the form of society we are about to consider, they are, in addition, the material depositories of exchange value.

    Exchange value, at first sight, presents itself as a quantitative relation, as the proportion in which values in use of one sort are exchanged for those of another sort,[6] a relation constantly changing with time and place. Hence exchange value appears to be something accidental and purely relative, and consequently an intrinsic value, i.e., an exchange value that is inseparably connected with, inherent in commodities, seems a contradiction in terms.[7] Let us consider the matter a little more closely.

    A given commodity, e.g., a quarter of wheat is exchanged for x blacking, y silk, or z gold, &c. – in short, for other commodities in the most different proportions. Instead of one exchange value, the wheat has, therefore, a great many. But since x blacking, y silk, or z gold &c., each represents the exchange value of one quarter of wheat, x blacking, y silk, z gold, &c., must, as exchange values, be replaceable by each other, or equal to each other. Therefore, first: the valid exchange values of a given commodity express something equal; secondly, exchange value, generally, is only the mode of expression, the phenomenal form, of something contained in it, yet distinguishable from it.

    Let us take two commodities, e.g., corn and iron. The proportions in which they are exchangeable, whatever those proportions may be, can always be represented by an equation in which a given quantity of corn is equated to some quantity of iron: e.g., 1 quarter corn = x cwt. iron. What does this equation tell us? It tells us that in two different things – in 1 quarter of corn and x cwt. of iron, there exists in equal quantities something common to both. The two things must therefore be equal to a third, which in itself is neither the one nor the other. Each of them, so far as it is exchange value, must therefore be reducible to this third.

    A simple geometrical illustration will make this clear. In order to calculate and compare the areas of rectilinear figures, we decompose them into triangles. But the area of the triangle itself is expressed by something totally different from its visible figure, namely, by half the product of the base multiplied by the altitude. In the same way the exchange values of commodities must be capable of being expressed in terms of something common to them all, of which thing they represent a greater or less quantity.

    This common “something” cannot be either a geometrical, a chemical, or any other natural property of commodities. Such properties claim our attention only in so far as they affect the utility of those commodities, make them use values. But the exchange of commodities is evidently an act characterised by a total abstraction from use value. Then one use value is just as good as another, provided only it be present in sufficient quantity. Or, as old Barbon says,

    “one sort of wares are as good as another, if the values be equal. There is no difference or distinction in things of equal value ... An hundred pounds’ worth of lead or iron, is of as great value as one hundred pounds’ worth of silver or gold.”[8]

    As use values, commodities are, above all, of different qualities, but as exchange values they are merely different quantities, and consequently do not contain an atom of use value.

    If then we leave out of consideration the use value of commodities, they have only one common property left, that of being products of labour. But even the product of labour itself has undergone a change in our hands. If we make abstraction from its use value, we make abstraction at the same time from the material elements and shapes that make the product a use value; we see in it no longer a table, a house, yarn, or any other useful thing. Its existence as a material thing is put out of sight. Neither can it any longer be regarded as the product of the labour of the joiner, the mason, the spinner, or of any other definite kind of productive labour. Along with the useful qualities of the products themselves, we put out of sight both the useful character of the various kinds of labour embodied in them, and the concrete forms of that labour; there is nothing left but what is common to them all; all are reduced to one and the same sort of labour, human labour in the abstract.

    Let us now consider the residue of each of these products; it consists of the same unsubstantial reality in each, a mere congelation of homogeneous human labour, of labour power expended without regard to the mode of its expenditure. All that these things now tell us is, that human labour power has been expended in their production, that human labour is embodied in them. When looked at as crystals of this social substance, common to them all, they are – Values.

    We have seen that when commodities are exchanged, their exchange value manifests itself as something totally independent of their use value. But if we abstract from their use value, there remains their Value as defined above. Therefore, the common substance that manifests itself in the exchange value of commodities, whenever they are exchanged, is their value. The progress of our investigation will show that exchange value is the only form in which the value of commodities can manifest itself or be expressed. For the present, however, we have to consider the nature of value independently of this, its form.

    A use value, or useful article, therefore, has value only because human labour in the abstract has been embodied or materialised in it. How, then, is the magnitude of this value to be measured? Plainly, by the quantity of the value-creating substance, the labour, contained in the article. The quantity of labour, however, is measured by its duration, and labour time in its turn finds its standard in weeks, days, and hours.

    Some people might think that if the value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of labour spent on it, the more idle and unskilful the labourer, the more valuable would his commodity be, because more time would be required in its production. The labour, however, that forms the substance of value, is homogeneous human labour, expenditure of one uniform labour power. The total labour power of society, which is embodied in the sum total of the values of all commodities produced by that society, counts here as one homogeneous mass of human labour power, composed though it be of innumerable individual units. Each of these units is the same as any other, so far as it has the character of the average labour power of society, and takes effect as such; that is, so far as it requires for producing a commodity, no more time than is needed on an average, no more than is socially necessary. The labour time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time. The introduction of power-looms into England probably reduced by one-half the labour required to weave a given quantity of yarn into cloth. The hand-loom weavers, as a matter of fact, continued to require the same time as before; but for all that, the product of one hour of their labour represented after the change only half an hour’s social labour, and consequently fell to one-half its former value.

    We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for its production.[9] Each individual commodity, in this connexion, is to be considered as an average sample of its class.[10] Commodities, therefore, in which equal quantities of labour are embodied, or which can be produced in the same time, have the same value. The value of one commodity is to the value of any other, as the labour time necessary for the production of the one is to that necessary for the production of the other. “As values, all commodities are only definite masses of congealed labour time.”[11]

    The value of a commodity would therefore remain constant, if the labour time required for its production also remained constant. But the latter changes with every variation in the productiveness of labour. This productiveness is determined by various circumstances, amongst others, by the average amount of skill of the workmen, the state of science, and the degree of its practical application, the social organisation of production, the extent and capabilities of the means of production, and by physical conditions. For example, the same amount of labour in favourable seasons is embodied in 8 bushels of corn, and in unfavourable, only in four. The same labour extracts from rich mines more metal than from poor mines. Diamonds are of very rare occurrence on the earth’s surface, and hence their discovery costs, on an average, a great deal of labour time. Consequently much labour is represented in a small compass. Jacob doubts whether gold has ever been paid for at its full value. This applies still more to diamonds. According to Eschwege, the total produce of the Brazilian diamond mines for the eighty years, ending in 1823, had not realised the price of one-and-a-half years’ average produce of the sugar and coffee plantations of the same country, although the diamonds cost much more labour, and therefore represented more value. With richer mines, the same quantity of labour would embody itself in more diamonds, and their value would fall. If we could succeed at a small expenditure of labour, in converting carbon into diamonds, their value might fall below that of bricks. In general, the greater the productiveness of labour, the less is the labour time required for the production of an article, the less is the amount of labour crystallised in that article, and the less is its value; and vice versâ, the less the productiveness of labour, the greater is the labour time required for the production of an article, and the greater is its value. The value of a commodity, therefore, varies directly as the quantity, and inversely as the productiveness, of the labour incorporated in it.

    A thing can be a use value, without having value. This is the case whenever its utility to man is not due to labour. Such are air, virgin soil, natural meadows, &c. A thing can be useful, and the product of human labour, without being a commodity. Whoever directly satisfies his wants with the produce of his own labour, creates, indeed, use values, but not commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must not only produce use values, but use values for others, social use values. (And not only for others, without more. The mediaeval peasant produced quit-rent-corn for his feudal lord and tithe-corn for his parson. But neither the quit-rent-corn nor the tithe-corn became commodities by reason of the fact that they had been produced for others. To become a commodity a product must be transferred to another, whom it will serve as a use value, by means of an exchange.)[12] Lastly nothing can have value, without being an object of utility. If the thing is useless, so is the labour contained in it; the labour does not count as labour, and therefore creates no value.

  12. At 11:03 PM on 04 Oct 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fetishist @ 11, did you write that all yourself, or did you use cut and paste?

  13. At 04:15 AM on 05 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    (8)(9)(10)

    From the link Alec Duoglas Home was PM for 362 days ('63 to '64, Oct to Oct)
    So Harold MacMillan before him, him and then Wilson were probably 3 PMs in a year on year period.
    ('64 was a leap year so 'date to same date' October to October was 366 days that 'year')

    2 Tories and 1 Labour.

    Yours 'till 20 years of Labour,


    mac

  14. At 12:15 PM on 05 Oct 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Four things are furrowing my brow today. (Apart from constant 502s)

    1) OK, so London has now got it's umpty-billion-pound Crossrail project. So now can the Scottish Parliament give Glasgow the £150 million pounds for *its* Crossrail project? For that price we can open up still-extant line-paths, build one new station and resultingly link the airport with the east and north of the city (and the country). Worth that amount of money I think.

    2) Teachers are now being told to "respect the beliefs" of those who don't believe in evolution. Balderdash. You don't believe or disbelieve in science. It's there and by its nature can be tested. The only allowance that should be made is to say, "You can believe whatever you like in your holy buildings, but *here* in *this classroom* these are the facts."

    3) Glasgow police are trumpeting their success in recovering a stolen painting - the fallen madonna with the big boobies or something - woohoo. Now they've done that, perhaps they can get back to dealing with rampaging neds damaging peoples' properties and scaring pensioners, or perhaps clamp down on drivers who wrecklessly career through red lights.

    4) Next week I move from relatively easy lab-tutoring to full-scale lecturing for the first time, and my collywobbles have got collywobbles. Eeek!

  15. At 12:38 PM on 05 Oct 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Four things are furrowing my brow today. (Apart from constant 502s)

    1) OK, so London has now got it's umpty-billion-pound Crossrail project. So now can the Scottish Parliament give Glasgow the £150 million pounds for *its* Crossrail project? For that price we can open up still-extant line-paths, build one new station and resultingly link the airport with the east and north of the city (and the country). Worth that amount of money I think.

    2) Teachers are now being told to "respect the beliefs" of those who don't believe in evolution. Balderdash. You don't believe or disbelieve in science. It's there and by its nature can be tested. The only allowance that should be made is to say, "You can believe whatever you like in your holy buildings, but *here* in *this classroom* these are the facts."

    3) Glasgow police are trumpeting their success in recovering a stolen painting - the fallen madonna with the big boobies or something - woohoo. Now they've done that, perhaps they can get back to dealing with rampaging neds damaging peoples' properties and scaring pensioners, or perhaps clamp down on drivers who wrecklessly career through red lights.

    4) Next week I move from relatively easy lab-tutoring to full-scale lecturing for the first time, and my collywobbles have got collywobbles. Eeek!

  16. At 01:53 PM on 05 Oct 2007, jonnie wrote:

    This got my Brow!!

    News 24 - Breaking Headlines!

    Natasha Kaplinsky to leave the BBC for Five News .......

    ................

    Are we really that bothered!

  17. At 08:23 AM on 10 Oct 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Stainless Steel Cat (14)

    I did try last week, but ...

    Anyway: I agree with 1 and 2 whole-heartedly, and commiserate re 4. 3 - My only thought is that if the criminals were able to sell a painting like that, they'd be able to invest the proceeds in nefarious activities like stealing cars or dealing drugs etc, which would impact on the rest of us.

    Sid

  18. At 01:55 PM on 10 Oct 2007, cliff richard (though not Harry Webb of Chesnut) wrote:

    i have a few questions for adam crozier.

    are you prepared to pay overtime when a task takes longer than the time you have allotted for it?

    how much do you earn?


    do you think 'cobblers' is an appropriate usage? isn't that the consolatory language of those not able to afford £2000 suits. £500 haircuts and a £4 million pound home but who are being exploited by those like you who can?

    what do you think is fair? isn't it a situation where any two people are prepared to swap places in life?


    why aren't the postal workers on average income for Britain?


    people like crozier make me ask who exactly it is who thinks themselves worth more than that average here and who it is who is prepared to pay anyone less than that average here?


    personally I find crozier obscene, his life a disgrace to ordinary decency.

  19. At 02:47 PM on 10 Oct 2007, Gillian wrote:

    SSC (15) Your post made shivers run up my spine - your words reminded me of an awful situation I was in, once.
    I was teaching young children in a Scottish Primary School. We didn't usually go to school assemblies, but this particular one was special - it was being conducted by pupils, and it was Easter.
    Now because it was Easter, the Minister from the local Kirk was invited, and because it was Easter, he felt he had to preach.
    To cut a long story short, he told the story of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as told in the Bible, but every other sentence was accompanied by a sharp tap on the cover of the Bible and the words ''These are the facts!''
    I wish one of us had had the courage to stand up and tell him to save such language for his ''holy building''

  20. At 03:36 PM on 10 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Cliff (18)

    "personally I find crozier obscene, his life a disgrace to ordinary decency."

    Indeed! I had the pleasure of a long chat with my postie this morning (we're second last drop on his route), and I can say I'm with the posties all the way!

    Some things, communications (public transport, postal, telecoms), health, currency, defense, prisons, policing, etc. are properly the domain of public service in a civilised society and should never be 'privatised'.

    The posties will be expected to deliver the mail on behalf of whatever corporate predator gets the contract, and the mail cannot be delivered to ALL addresses at equal cost, so any complete service (i.e. one which delivers to my remote door) will need to subsidise the remote services from gains in the non-remote. The same goes for telecommunications, especially wired ones.

    This comprehensive coverage is central to the whole system's value, but that means little to purely profit-driven commercial enterprises, who will make claims for subsidies if they are to be expected to deliver up single-track roads.

    The rail operating companies and the busses all are in a competitive game - they compete to offer the service for the lowest subsidy, and then claim for more whenever they can.

    Featherbedding for corporations (and their entrepreneurial owners) has replaced featherbedding for workers, even a decade after the 'fall' of Thatcherism. Our NuLabour paradise has widened the gap between rich and poor to a greater degree than the lot before could manage.

    Would you have believed it if it had been predicted in 1997?

    xx ed

    The Wright Bothers weren't the first to fly. They were just the first not to crash.
    Wed Oct 10 15:44:10 BST 2007

  21. At 03:56 PM on 10 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    Sorry, (18) slipped out under a pseudonym. For which I apologise.

    But you didn't really think it was cliff did you?

    yours

    mac

    Mmm. Better Copy it 'cos my ilife is like a comedy of errors. Therefore not at all surprised that I've been caught masquerading as Cliff (it was for the Beach at 62) and now think that some irate Cliff fan is bound to get it removed as it stands.

    Then this apology will look like an empty bottle of young Shiraz at an aging fat sailor's orgy and the debate will veer into how Lautrec should have earned more than the bar staff he painted, vets more than their nursing staff and Lubetkin more than a council worker.


    Let me ask you a couple of questions especially if you have found yourself agreeing with Gossipmistress on other threads.

    If a philosopher were to provide us with an undeniable case for complete equality how should he be rewarded, given that he has done so much for so many?
    And if an architect were found designing places to live in that he himself would not live in 'cos they are mean in spirit - cramped, badly designed - or even just not as nice as he could afford to build for himself, how would we judge him?

  22. At 06:22 PM on 10 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Very pertinent questions, Mac.

    If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law.
    -- Roy Santoro
    It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.
    -- George Santayana
    Wed Oct 10 18:24:25 BST 2007

    Comment Submission Error

    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

    Return to the original entry
    Wed Oct 10 18:25:10 BST 2007

  23. At 06:40 PM on 10 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    A day for the optimists?

    BOFH Excuse #332:
    suboptimal routing experience

    No one may kill a man. Not for any purpose. It cannot be condoned.
    -- Kirk, "Spock's Brain", stardate 5431.6
    xx
    ed
    Wed Oct 10 18:43:21 BST 2007

  24. At 12:30 AM on 11 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Just keeping up with events abroad:

    Turkey bombs Kurdish positions; Bush works to shield telecoms from wiretapping prosecution; Marjorie Cohen looks at Bush's stand on torture; federal judge bars Bush administration from sending Guantanamo detainee to home country; Bush threatens to veto housing bill; the editors of the Financial Times consider speaking truth to power; J. Sri Raman considers democracy fights in Southeast Asia; and more ... Browse our continually updating front page at http://www.truthout.org

    MVS Air Lines:
    The passengers all gather in the hangar, watching hundreds of technicians check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at
    least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers; bigger models in the fleet can have more engines than anyone can count and fly even more passengers than there are on Earth. It is claimed to cost less per passenger mile to operate these humungous planes than any other aircraft ever built, unless you personally have to pay for the ticket. All the passengers scramble aboard, as do the 200 technicians needed to keep it from crashing. The pilot takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.

    ;-)
    ed
    Thu Oct 11 00:38:38 BST 2007

  25. At 09:34 AM on 11 Oct 2007, Member of the public... wrote:

    To the Eddie Mair Show,

    Recently Gordon Brown attempted to re-invent himself as a “conviction politician” heralding a new era in British politics. It was, he announced grandly, the end of spin. But within days the temptation to steal the headlines slap bang in the middle of the Tory party conference proved too much.

    If the Prime Minister had spun any faster during his hastily brought forward trip to Iraq he would have corkscrewed himself deep into the desert. And true to form with great fanfare he announced troop withdrawals – only for it to be revealed a few hours later on PM that they had already been announced. He just can’t help himself can he? Triple counting and double announcing, it seems to me anyway - has been Mr Brown’s trademark for the last 10 years.

    This should come as no surprise. Along with Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, Brown was one of the principal architects of New Labour – a project entirely built on spin. We all know that he fell out with his co-founders not over some lofty matter of principle, but because he felt his personal ambitions had been thwarted.

    Luckily I don't think the public fall for this quite as easily as they once did. You only needed to look at the faces of the troops surrounding Brown during his so-called fact finding visit. They knew they were being cynically manipulated by a politician on the make. So, I think did we – people just don’t buy it anymore. What's more Brown could hardly bring himself to mention the sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan during his conference speech, and then suddenly he’s posturing as the soldiers’ best mate. Come off it!

    Similarly if he did call an election it would have been yet another political stunt – done not for the good of the country, but for the good of Gordon Brown.

    There was absolutely no need for an election. Or even the talk of one. There’s no matter of principle at stake, no so we're told economic or political crisis, no great change of policy that would require a popular mandate. No, all that fevered speculation was being driven entirely by one thing – the opinion poll ratings, which gave Labour a significant lead. It's my view that the electorate will finally punish Brown for such cynicism? Brown’s support is wide, but it is also shallow. I don't think there's any great public enthusiasm for the Brown project.

    It's reported that David Cameron’s conference speech was a good one – far superior to Gordon Brown’s dishonest and empty tub thumping. Better still the Conservatives have finally junked some the loopier green ideas promoted by the party’s demented eco-warriors. It seems there’s nothing like the prospect of an election to concentrate the mind on things that really matter, rather than the fashionable obsessions of a privileged elite.


  26. At 11:57 AM on 11 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    MOP (25),

    "Better still the Conservatives have finally junked some the loopier green ideas promoted by the party’s demented eco-warriors"

    Like trying to rein in our mad consumption, trim population growth, stop encouraging immigration into the fourth most densely populated country on Earth,, etc.? Loopy ideas like that?

    One fifth of the world's population do four fifths of the consumption. Which lot are you in?

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
    Namaste -ed

    Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.
    -- Lily Tomlin
    Thu Oct 11 11:58:17 BST 2007


  27. At 06:43 PM on 11 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    I print below my reply to and a part of the original from Roger Sawyer

    'the ones in which you make the inferences of racism' - whatever does that mean? I am certainly not a racist as it seems coyly and illogically to suggest. I wonder how the administrators could have come to anything like that conclusion. I do have a view that racism is a proxy variable for economic exploitation however.

    It would be a simple matter for the administrators to notify by email those whose blogs you/they remove.

    An odd theory occurs to me. (But perhaps not so odd in a world where someone who beleives that the white minorities in South Africa should repay their intergenerational debt by doing the manual work in that society (that is not a question of race but of lineage))

    One blogger RJD kept checking, I think with you, whether various citizens such as 'nightwatchman' were in fact me.

    He then listed these pseudonyms on the blog. Was it an attempt to get other bloggers to complain about them 'cos they came from me, I wonder. I cannot believe he would be that childish but...

    ...even so, the suggestion that I am a racist is preposterous and I ask that you refer this protest to the moderators.

    Roger Sawyer wrote:

    I am not able to remove postings on the blog, only to alert administrators to postings. I told them about two or three of your earlier postings - the ones in which you made the inferences of racism. They were then removed by the administrators. I don't have copies of them and I can't remember exactly which ones they were.

    I must say that it seems to me to be extraordinary that bloggers should complain that I am racist.- and then successfully!

    It is true that I see racism as a surrogate for the preservation and extension of economic exploitation, often in British history by whites of blacks.

    But often times what is regarded as working class racism is really the (thoroughly nasty) way that white working class people defend the accumalted economic advantages of themselves yes, but mainly of their middle class masters.

    To point this out to white working class racists is often to overcome the problem. Indeed the constant assumption that racism is some autonomous phenomenon unrelated to economic flows can result in some inter - group aggressions being wrongly interpreted as racism.
    The lad in Liverpool killed recently came from the wrong (equally white) housing estate. Had he come from a black estate what would the administrators said.

    As for South Africa and elsewhere. One could almost (but not quite!!!) use white as a political category, meaning approximately 'in debt in terms of income, wealth and manual work to the rest of society' and black to mean 'owed interms of ...etc... by others in society'

    Thus these categories define lineages that exploit and are exploited.

    Again I defy you any of you and the administrators to point otanything that I have ever said that could be interpreted as racist.

    Come on.

    I truly suuggest there atre people on this blog who should put their own houses in order instead of engaging in what appears top be childish spite but which in fact suits their economic ionterests

  28. At 06:44 PM on 11 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    sorry about the typing at the last one but i'm in the library and under timne constraints.

  29. At 12:49 PM on 13 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The New Calculus

    Part of our continuing service

    xx
    ed
    Encyclopedia for sale by father. Son knows everything.

    What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream? Or what's worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?
    -- Woody Allen, "Without Feathers"

  30. At 01:18 PM on 13 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And another in our series. I would pay particular attention to the last few paragraphs.

    xx
    ed

  31. At 06:35 PM on 15 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    For those whose brows furrow:

    One has to take a parallactic view and wonder why the powers that be continue to pump up the money supply. Is it because they know the U.S. situation is so fragile so as not to be able to withstand a normal recession?

    Who knows how long the current Bullish Paradigm Piñata can float or what will puncture it, but it won’t feel like pennies from heaven or Willie Wonka’s bid factory when it occurs.

    Some say the stock market was more overvalued than it ever was prior to the crash of 1987 and that stocks have a much more stable foundation now then in 1987. Perhaps, but it seems to me that a bull market in complacency against a backdrop of extremes in oil, gold, real estate, currency dis-intermediation, dislocation in the credit markets, derivatives, quant funds, more complex computerization and interconnectivity in the financial fabric makes for more, not less, potential dangers and the possibility of rain over Paradise City.

    That being said, this week, the anniversary of the October 1987 crash sees that the S&P has doubled from the advance that began in March 2003. Last week, as one Minyan pinged me, saw the S&P up 212 points in 212 days from this year’s March low: another sign of a potential square out and turning point? Was last Thursday’s large range reversal a sign of a turning point at the anniversary of historic highs and lows?
    http://www.minyanville.com/articles/Eastman+Kodak-Automated+Data+Processing-1987-crash-Internet-airline+industry/index/a/14459/from/yahoo

    Remember, remember the chill of October....

    xx
    ed

    Westheimer's Discovery:
    A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library.

    Mon Oct 15 18:38:14 BST 2007

  32. At 07:39 PM on 15 Oct 2007, Jacques wrote:

    Mac writes (28 above) :-

    'sorry about the typing at the last one but i'm in the library and under timne constraints.'

    How much would he have written if he had no constraints ?

  33. At 09:33 AM on 17 Oct 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Jacques (33)

    Was it Pascal* who said 'Sorry for the long letter, I didn't have time to write a short one'?

    Sid

    *'Variously attributed to Mark Twain, Voltaire, Proust, Pliny the Younger...'

  34. At 10:05 AM on 17 Oct 2007, Carl wrote:

    I know everyone has an opinion, but if the BBC do go ahead and cut BBC News, I for one will be disgusted. They can afford 18 million for Jonathan Ross, and countless millions for sport coverage. I mean, where the hell is the sense in diminishing what is the world's greatest news organisation? For one I am proud of BBC News and it's part of the fabric of this country, and frankly it doesn't need interfering with.. including I might say rebranding bulletins as 'BBC News on Radio 4'' Garbage.. that's what that is! I am sure the people running BBC News can avoid wasting money, does sending three satellite trucks to a news story for three different parts of the network go on anymore I wonder? Set budgets by all means , but don't seriously interfere with the one part of the BBC that plays such a large part in all our lives. Get rid of the swearing, unfunny comedy and tatty unworthy features from the regions instead.

  35. At 01:14 PM on 17 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Carl,

    I'm with you on this. BBC News is the jewel in a sparkling crown. Ross isn't even a zircon.

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

    Sweater, n.:
    A garment worn by a child when its mother feels chilly.
    Wed Oct 17 12:48:46 BST 2007

  36. At 01:27 PM on 17 Oct 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Sorry but society is blame for obesity? Can we not take responsibility for our own actions anymore? Yes, some people have genetic dispositions to being obese, some genuinely do have hormonal problems, but for the rest WHO is forcing you to eat these high calorific foods? Society doesn't make me fill my shopping trolley with high fat, high cal, low nutrient food, I chose to fill it with fruit, veg, and other 'raw' ingredients. My CHOICE!!!

    Rant over but its such a sad thing to see independent thought completely trashed.

  37. At 01:48 PM on 17 Oct 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Sorry but society is blame for obesity? Can we not take responsibility for our own actions anymore? Yes, some people have genetic dispositions to being obese, some genuinely do have hormonal problems, but for the rest WHO is forcing you to eat these high calorific foods? Society doesn't make me fill my shopping trolley with high fat, high cal, low nutrient food, I chose to fill it with fruit, veg, and other 'raw' ingredients. My CHOICE!!!

    Rant over but its such a sad thing to see independent thought completely trashed.

    second attempt - 502
    3 - 1324
    once more with feeling - 1334

  38. At 01:48 PM on 17 Oct 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Sorry but society is blame for obesity? Can we not take responsibility for our own actions anymore? Yes, some people have genetic dispositions to being obese, some genuinely do have hormonal problems, but for the rest WHO is forcing you to eat these high calorific foods? Society doesn't make me fill my shopping trolley with high fat, high cal, low nutrient food, I chose to fill it with fruit, veg, and other 'raw' ingredients. My CHOICE!!!

    Rant over but its such a sad thing to see independent thought completely trashed.

    second attempt - 502
    3 - 1324

  39. At 01:07 PM on 18 Oct 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Two things, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes (I mean 502s, sorry)

    On the need for economy in the BBC. Well, my entire house was decorated at one point with BBC paint. I had a lodger who worked making props, and every time he painted anything white, he was given a new, unopened 10 litre tin of white emulsion to use for the job. When he'd painted whatever it was, the remains of the tin, often more than half, would be thrown away. So he took it home and gave it to his mother, me, anyone who needed white paint. It might be the very next day that he needed more white paint, or it might be the following week, and then he'd be given another new tin. He could have used up the old one, but that was too difficult, so I got the benefit of it.

    Multiply that sort of waste all down the line and it adds up a lot. Cut it out and you will save quite a bit over the year, in every department. Waste is a state of mind, and the BBC certainly seemed to have it.

    On obesity; I think part of the probem is that the 'convenient' foods, and even things that look at first glance as if they ought to be reasonably healthy, may be chock-full of stuff that lends itself to increased obesity. Someone had a theory about palm-oil at one point, which went: it's very easy to absorb, and it makes a cheap fat to put into food, but the people who eat it will absorb more of it than they would of other fats, so they will put on weight. I have no idea, when a food is labelled as containing 'vegetable fat', whether that fat is olive oil, sunflower seed oil, rape oil or palm oil, (and I don't suppose anyone else here does either, nor anyone but the people who make the product), so I can't avoid palm oil if I wanted to. Pastry isn't bad in itself, in moderation, but if the fat used to make it is both very fattening and anonymous, how am I to know what 'moderation' may be?

  40. At 02:40 PM on 19 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    Well done the Witch! The idea that people can do things with social support that they can't do without it is clearly to pamper to the sort of weak willed nonsense that makes us think we need the support of fellow ferrets to do stuff.

    And the idea that compulsory encouragement to do the wrong thing (peer group pressure (often a demonstration effect) and advertising encouraging us to eat Venus (?) ice creams in the summer and Danish pastries all the year round) creates forces on us making us more likely to do it is of a piece. More power to your broom stick.

    As for the pleasre of sweet food being addictive next we'll be saying tobacco is and love making is for the pleasure it gives - every day. May your familyass purr always.

    Change of voice, tone, camera angle or person:

    This Saturday is an extraordinary day for world racism.

    Should we support the team with two great players, both black, and 13 white work shy yobs or the team with one great player, also black, the usual 13 white middle class yobs and an automaton who is only of any value in the game because of the way Leicester and England ruined it in the first place in their urge to win.
    And if England win with three Jason Robinson tries somehow it'll still be Jonny's kicking that won it really.


    Support the metro strike. The only way not to go.

    Walks up slope looking purposive with gaze designed to wither the middle calss and guilty.

    'There is an idea, oil has been hovering below 90. It may be better that it goes to 90 then dealers can decide how they feel about it up there and then it'll probably fall sharply'

    (The oil 'expert' ITN dredged up lunchtime, Oct 19th)

    Meanwhile we are paying those experimental prices.

    Clearly markets can reach levels of stupidity that the rest of us can only imagine. (Hint: a tatonnement process under planning.
    If planning is how Greenspan decided what the interest rate should be. (sic))


    Turns sharply right, stares hypnotically into camera. Head and shoulders occupy 95 percent of screen frame. Now in brief


    Melanie Philips has woken up to the alienating effect of manual labour (except that of Palestinians for the Israelis)
    Now apparently it should be shared.
    Surprising how the spectre of socialism can clarify thinking even among the most decadent and reactionary of idealogues. 'Cos its assuredly their turn to do it all for a change. The manual work I mean.

    Should we parade our sex lives in public? A Loose Women poll found 55 percent in favour of Fabio and releif massages being described in detail on the Beach and 45 percent against. Is this a case of rights or majority opinion violated?
    Which side are other ferrets like Big, Gossip, Gillian etc?

    And lastly. If every contribution to the web is of equal value to every other why shouldn't we take seriously the view that floating ice melting doesn't change the level of G and T in your glass (Eureka!). And in fact keeps the drink cool precisely by melting.
    Whereas the truth is that a lot of the ice in the whole world is over land not floating at all and when it all melts its cooling effect will reduce sharply. (GCSE Ecology Bitesized)

    yours 'till you love me


    mac

  41. At 08:46 PM on 19 Oct 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    mac @ 41, if you read Fabio on the Beach, or anyone else, describing anything to do with Fabio 'in detail', I think you were reading posts that never made it to the beach I have been reading. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; I think they could say the same about smut.

    Or are you demanding that Fabio's massages *should* be described in detail?

    Some people would make a fuss annd see it as sexual if someone put digestive biscuits on the bar.

  42. At 09:20 PM on 19 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Now children!

    That's no way to be squabbling while the bottom falls out of the financial system!

    Now it's worse, DJI down 360-odd...

    Batten the hatches!
    xx
    ed

  43. At 02:32 AM on 20 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mac,

    As a side bet, I reckon we'll see $100/bbl oil before we see $70/bbl again, and quite possibly before winter's end.

    Dead cats had better keep a low profile monday, as they'll be in demand for elasticity testing.

    I loved tonight's rugby and await tomorrow's with pleasure..

    Salaams
    ed

    Hempstone's Question:
    If you have to travel on the Titanic, why not go first class?

    (appropriate again, as usual!)
    Sat Oct 20 02:16:14 BST 2007

  44. At 09:31 PM on 20 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    Chris at 42. There is many a mistake in 41 of course but I think you mistake which are the mistakes.

    One was that in fact England is a side of two great black players, 13 middle class yobs and one...etc

    Ed, at 43. Dont worry I Like Ike and i'm glad you are over here.

    Last night was great. (Though the history of this code in France needs looking at)

    Its tonight I'm complaining about.

    PS I liked Ike up till 1945 only by the way. He was a nasty cold warrior from then on in

    PPS Yeah lets hope petrol hits 150 a barrel or whatever it should be with appropriate allocation mechanisms but lets settle that by planning rather than giving the rich oil share holders another arm and a leg.


    PPPS, also to Ed. Until the world is no longer in a perpetual state of crisis with people dying everywhere needlessly then Oxfam appeals or any other cry for help will be more important than my taste in cheese. (Camenbert, the cheapest cheese in England by the way. I thought I'd just tell you that cos I find my taste buds fascinating as should everyone else. There. you see, I'm a true ferret under the skin)

  45. At 09:47 PM on 20 Oct 2007, mac wrote:

    Chris at 42. There is many a mistake in 41 of course but I think you mistake which are the mistakes.

    One was that in fact England is a side of two great black players, 13 middle class yobs and one...etc

    Ed, at 43. Dont worry I Like Ike and i'm glad you are over here.

    Last night was great. (Though the history of this code in France needs looking at)

    Its tonight I'm complaining about.

    PS I liked Ike up till 1945 only by the way. He was a nasty cold warrior from then on in

    PPS Yeah lets hope petrol hits 150 a barrel or whatever it should be with appropriate allocation mechanisms but lets settle that by planning rather than giving the rich oil share holders another arm and a leg.


    PPPS, also to Ed. Until the world is no longer in a perpetual state of crisis with people dying everywhere needlessly then Oxfam appeals or any other cry for help will be more important than my taste in cheese. (Camenbert, the cheapest cheese in England by the way. I thought I'd just tell you that cos I find my taste buds fascinating as should everyone else. There. you see, I'm a true ferret under the skin)

  46. At 11:13 PM on 21 Oct 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    mac @ 46, you fascinate me. I didn't know that ferrets were cheese-fanciers, as a notable characteristic...

  47. At 01:51 AM on 22 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mac,
    "PS I liked Ike up till 1945 only by the way. He was a nasty cold warrior from then on in"

    Not so:

    http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/main.html

    Sadly, he wasn't really a politician, and so he became a figurehead and the Republican Machine ran the country. Reagan was similar in this respect.

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

    One of the pleasures of reading old letters is the knowledge that they need no answer.
    -- George Gordon, Lord Byron
    Mon Oct 22 01:46:25 BST 2007

  48. At 01:56 AM on 22 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mac and Chris,

    Food for thought?

    The Archdruid Report: The Age of Scarcity Industrialism

    Slainte
    ed

    Zero Mostel: That's it baby! When you got it, flaunt it! Flaunt it!
    -- Mel Brooks, "The Producers"
    Mon Oct 22 01:52:47 BST 2007

  49. At 02:24 AM on 22 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mac and Chris,

    Food for thought?
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2007/10/age-of-scarcity-industrialism.html

    Slainte
    ed

    Zero Mostel: That's it baby! When you got it, flaunt it! Flaunt it!
    -- Mel Brooks, "The Producers"
    Mon Oct 22 01:52:47 BST 2007

    502

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