Look, I'm a bit hung over. I realise I have no-0ne to blame for this error of judgement, but I hope that, in time, I can win back your trust, and ask for your patience at this difficult time. In the meantime, here are some things I've been reading. (Sorry if it's a bit too political but that's what I've been reading.)
Marina Hyde in the Guardian - The live abortion of democracy. A stellar colour piece about last night's fun and games behind the scenes at the leaders' debate, containing some really choice cuts, including:
The venue was an interactive science museum in Bristol, magically transformed by Rupert Murdoch's news network into a fully operational 10th circle of hell. Behold, the cream of Britain's arseoisie, as journalists, spin doctors and politicians interact in scenes that just scream "Come, friendly bombs …"
To the left, George Osborne robotically repeating "David Cameron showed passion, leadership and commitment." To the right, Michael Gove simulating anguish that Nick Clegg should have referred to the dead Polish president's party as nutters: "The sort of comment that no one who wants to be taken seriously should utter." In the middle, Alastair Campbell failing to pull off sang froid: "It's a poll, it's a poll – you can take them or leave them." And unifying the picture, Sky's endlessly pant-wetting coverage of its own coverage.
It was like watching the live abortion of democracy. Had the network decided the evening should have been immortalised in oil paint (surely only a matter of time), Hieronymus Bosch would have declined the commission on the basis that it was a hellscape too far even for him.
Craig Murray - Sky Leaders' Debate: Murdoch Made. I didn't watch it last night (again) but Craig did, and this makes for some fascinating analysis. This is the bit that really caught my eye:
I have had Sky News on for half an hour. First they had a paper review with one Labour journalist and one Tory (Sun) journalist. No Liberal. Then they had Tory frontbencher William Hague and Labour frontbencher Douglas Alexander on to discuss the debate. No Liberal. Apparently dead to irony, the Sky newscaster asked them "In the interests of politicial balance, would you two like to comment on Nick Clegg's perfomance". Absolutely beyond parody.
Chicken Yoghurt - Oh boy, the Iranians are going to love you. Gordon Brown's scripted ad libs filleted by the man who brought you the hashtag of the year, #nickcleggsfault. All I'd add to this is that presumably Gordon's notes need to be written large and in caps because of his eyesight, which means they're easier to capture on camera than those of the other two fellas.
Johann Hari - The forces that have been blocking British democracy are becoming visible in this election:
This system is about to snap. Now the vote is pretty evenly split between three parties, FPTP can't function: nobody knows what freaky result it will throw out. Maybe Cameron will be rejected by 65 per cent of us, but still get 100 per cent of the power at the end of it.
Maybe Brown will come third in the popular vote, but still be the largest party in parliament. Maybe Clegg will come first in the vote, but get barely a third of the Tories' seats. Shouldn't this be the last election fought under rules designed for Lord Salisbury's day?
Unity at Liberal Conspiracy: Could Clegg turn the tables on the Tory press? I can see the argument: Clegg's going to get pummelled by the right-wing tabloids whatever he does, so why not take these unpopular and distrusted sources head-on? I don't think he will, but it'd be really electrifying if he did.
Septicisle: Media empires and the rise of the Liberal Democrats:
The humiliation of the Sun especially if Cameron doesn't get his majority is going to be total, and they will get the blame just as they claimed the victory for Major's win in 1992. That the support for the Tories has dropped ever since the Sun came out for Cameron is a happy coincidence more than being the reason, but it's one the paper must be incredibly touchy about.
Right, we're done with election stuff now, promise. Well, mostly.
Tabloid Watch - The desperate, dishonest Daily Star. The Star's front pages now have so little to do with reality that the cut-price paper is little more than the Daily Sport but with fewer tits. (Though it was refreshing this morning, amid all the drivel about how great David Cameron was, to see their front page about Peter and Jordan. For once they weren't the biggest Pinocchio on the news-stands.)
Angry Mob: The angry mob. Ever wondered where the blog's name came from? Well now you know.
Speak You're Branes: Not the chewing gum, right?
A bunch of retired generals have written to The Times, saying that Britain needs to rethink replacing Trident. I think it’s safe to say that generals know fuck all, so I just dive right into the comments for my commonsenses and standstoreasons. There’s just so much wisdom there that I didn’t think I’d fit it all in before I felt a compulsion to throw myself under a bus.
And with all that, I'm going to try and stop my thumping headache. See you all later.
Ooh isn't it getting late already? Ooh where did March go? This year's flying by. I'm turning into dad - which you should sing to the tune of "Walking in the Air" in honour of the marvellous Mik Artistik. I'm turning into dad... I'm turning into my old man...
Anyway. Look. That's nothing about links, is it? So here are some things I read and enjoyed and digested over the past few days. I read and digested and enjoyed many others which I've forgotten about, so if that's you, I'm very sorry.
Army of Dave - Dolphins and parliamentary privilege. Given my self-imposed exile from the Mail (on which I'll scribble more a little later), Dave wonders why it's only the politicians of a certain type who are accused of thinking they're above the law.
Malcolm Coles - Exposed: gaping holes in Facebook's procedures for reporting content. Yesterday I wrote about how Facebook had been on the wrong end of some reporting from the Mail which was at the very best shoddy and incompetent. But how does Facebook deal with misleading, offensive and defamatory content on its own site? As you'll see, the procedure for reporting problems is not always as good as it could be.
Chicken Yoghurt - David Miliband's peace plan flim flam. "Clearly I’m no expert on foreign policy. That’s why I’m typing this in the spare room and not ordering the bombing of villages in Afghanistan."
Cosmic Navel Lint - The Reagan Myth finally demolished. Received wisdom tells us that Ronald Reagan was a hugely popular president who was in step with the will of the American people on virtually every issue - but is that true?
Freemania - Latest sensational event probably poor guide to underlying long-term trend. Sounds about right to me.
Simon Singh at the Guardian - This is goodbye. Worth reading in the context of libel reform and how costly, in every sense, it is to fight.
And finally, a bit of stuff on boycotts. As I've explained before, I didn't want to be counted in last year's Total Politics Awards because I just didn't want to. There's no massive issue of principle as far as I'm concerned; I just didn't want to do it. Anyway, I daresay I'll do the same this year.
The decision by Total Politics magazine to interview Nick Griffin is, in my view, nothing too horrific. I don't care because I don't read Total Politics. I despise Nick Griffin entirely, but I don't mind if people want to speak to him. Anyway, there are a few different views on this, so read Though Cowards Flinch, and Obsolete and Bloggerheads to find out more and see what you think about it.
What I've dipped my nose into this week.
5cc at Mailwatch: Did the Government really secretly plot to change the face of Britain? You may not be surprised by the answer, but this handy one-stop shop explains why we've been seeing stories in the Mail and Express (and, I must add with a weary sigh, the Telegraph) about a 'secret plot' recently, and what the evidence for it really is:
We have a discussion document rather than a policy document, we have someone making claims who had seen a copy and wrote a speech based on it rather than one of the writers, and we have some alleged suppressing of things that were actually published and just not summarised. None of the things that were cut mention the things that have been claimed, and you’d have to make a great leap of faith, imagining what some vague language might mean in order to make the claims fit.
Vivmondo: Transcript part one. A spectacular meander through the twilight world of Roy Walker and Mr Chips:
Anyway, my name, as I’m fairly sure you’re aware, is Roy Walker. You may remember me from the popular and - I like to think - nationally-treasured gameshow Catchphrase. That’s riiiiight! And, as I’m sure none of you will find it too difficult to recall the fact that Iwas the host, the frontman, the star if you will, and not Mr Chips who, in truth, was merely my sidekick: on a good day he was a mildly amusing sideshow, on a bad day (and there was a Birth Of A Nationof bad days) he was a comedic dog-lump, a dead weight, forged in a dour-smithery from leaden anti-entertainment, which I was then forced to drag through a twenty-five minute struggle with primetime banality.
Sunny Hundal: How the media helps the BNP. Nicely put together article over at the Guardian:
The problem here is that while newspaper columnists and reporters keep stating they hate the BNP and all it stands for, they nevertheless keep promoting narratives that harden BNP support.
Chris Nicholson: Toby or not Toby. Poor old Toby Young, eh? Well, as this article points out, not really.
Bloggerheads: Gmail, Google, Blogger and YouTube customer service. Why Google's 'see no evil' policy over YouTube allowed footage of a Down Syndrome teenager to remain on the net despite viewer complaints until the police got involved, and how this kind of attitude comes as no surprise to someone who's tried to complain about Google before.
Angry Mob: On Paul Dacre, the power of 'shaming' and the PCC:
He was once a sprightly young man who according to one eye witness 'would stalk through the newsroom... shouting "what the fuck is this, you cunt, there's not a fucking brain in this office" - tearing up pages' and terrifying staff . Yet recent video footage of Paul Dacre has revealed he is a grey, balding, plump-faced pensioner who struggles over basic sentences.
Finally a couple of other bits of miscellany. Here's Enemies of Reason set to music, thanks to the ever-marvellous Hannah Nicklin; and here's a delightful old chestnut that I'd actually never seen until this week - Spider-Man reviews crayons. How had I gone through so many years on the internet without ever having encountered this gem?
Haven't done one of these for a while, but here you go anyway. Enjoy.
Sarah Ditum on Jeremy 'Dunce' Hunt's call for there to be more Tories employed by the BBC to counteract a supposed liberal bias. If only they could employ the former president of the Oxford University Conservative Association to be their political editor, for example; or a well-known right-wing pundit to lead their daily political coverage. Ah well, they'll just have to make do with the existing bunch of Trots!*
Bloggerheads: Patrick Mercer has some explaining to do. It appears the MP is attempting to weasel out of his association with the now thoroughly discredited Glen Jenvey by claiming that he personally didn't speak to him, it was only his aide. We'll see whether that's true or not. And here's an update, in case you were in any doubt as to Mercer's confusion.
Tory Troll: Richard Barnbrook suspended for murder claims. In which the BNP's very own sandy-suited nonsense-monger gets told to take a course in ethics and is reprimanded for making stuff up to suit his agenda - I hope that course in ethics doesn't require an exam to be passed, or he'll never get his job back.
It should also be noted that the Telegraph was happy to keep his lies up on its website for a considerable time after they were first called out as such. What a fine journalistic institution, letting the BNP tell lies to the public. Well done, Telegraph.
Upon Nothing: The Daily Mail and bullying. Middle Britain's favourite paper might occasionally fake concern over bullying victims, but is happy to make nasty repeated comments about Natalie Cassidy's weight and appearance, for no justifiable journalistic reason whatsoever.
Johann Hari: The Queen Mum (gawdblesser) was actually a right-wing parasite. Well I suppose we all knew that, but it's nice to see it all laid out, especially the hypocrisy with which she was treated:
[WF Deedes] was in favour of the dole after all – provided it was worth three million pounds, and went to one single aristocrat.
Septicisle: The Lib Dem conference has been pretty underwhelming.
Chicken Yoghurt: Relations with Libya are a bit funny. Funny in the sense that while he's painted as a figure of ridicule, he's having the last laugh over us.
Feminazery: Why the Daily Mail thinks feminism is an evil scourge, and why one person's anecdotal evidence doesn't discredit an entire movement.
Daily Quail: Let's have more bombs, says Stephen Glover. While even the mainstream right are happy to order cutbacks in nuclear weapons, it takes a special kind of tool to argue that disarmament is a bad thing. Glover is that tool.
* Footnote to Andrew Neil's BBC blog: underneath there's the message "This blog is open for people to comment about the subject of Andrew's blog - but we reserve the right to delete entries which are excessively long or off-topic." Then they should delete all of Brillo's, surely?
Hello! There may be proper writing of things later but for the meantime, here are some things I've read and enjoyed.
Five Chinese Crackers - Columnists: Creators of imaginary worlds
What the tabloid columnist usually does is act as Greek Chorus for the paper they appear in. The tabloids set the scene with their constantly repeated stories, with exagerrated figures, distorted coverage of reports that aim to invert their meaning and opinion dressed as fact - that happen to fit the targeted narratives they've created. But these will often be flawed by the balance that must be inserted (and mostly is) with a quote toward the end, or the inclusion of actual figures that readers might spot aren't quite as scary as the paper wants them to believe they are. So here the columnist pipes up and shows the reader what their ideal reaction should be.
A beautiful, thoughtful post examining why Richard Littlejohn and Kelvin Mackenzie are such hateful cunts.
The Daily Quail: Readers supportive of model's compensation claim
This cyber bully was clearly a very jealous and vindictive woman and I'm glad that she was been found out. Too many people come onto internet forums spreading lies and hurtful gossip. It's about time people grew up and considered other peoples feelings, how would they feel if the tables were turned?
If she wants to work in banking, she should grow some thicker skin. It's hard work being a girl working in a man's world, but if you don't react to silly comments, then they get bored and give up.
See, it's only fair for certain people to be cyber bullies and not others, OK?
Greenpeace: Greenpeace admits BBC got it wrong
Sackur claimed that we were predicting that all the ice in the Arctic -- including the massive Greenland ice sheet, which is on land, would be gone by 2030. That's NOT what we said. When we talk about "ice-free summers" in the Arctic, we're using the term the same way that NASA and climate scientists the world over use the term: to describe an Arctic free of sea-ice. And Sackur, or his researcher, would have known that if they read the entire article, including the next sentence: They say you can't be too thin or too young, but this unfortunately doesn't apply to the Arctic sea ice.
How journalists don't check things, don't bother to check things, and how opponents of environmental groups make stuff up to try and claim victory. Also: how being absolutely accurate is important for environmental groups.
Stumbling and Mumbling: Against a high pay commission.
Septicisle: The latest on Glen Jenvey. Jenvey has now not only admitted planting the 'Sugar Terror Target' quotes but also now says he has converted to Islam.
Lady McScamp: There are no ulterior motives here, move along now, nothing to see...
Jack of Kent: Quentin Letts and a frozen haddock (no, it's not 'spot the difference')
Sarah Ditum: Capitalism in action with playground conkers
Army of Dave: James Dyson is a slacker
Freemania: Turning Japanese (following on from John Band's lyrics quiz)
I'm off in a bit, but you can have a look see at some of these, all right? It's a real bran tub today.
The Guardian have done a shoddy, as if to prove it's not just the Mail who blame 'editing errors' for things like saying someone's a rapist when they're not a rapist. Simon Jenkins, who as a former newspaper editor should surely have bloody well known better, accused Jacob Zuma of rape, bribery and corruption. Now his paper's had to say sorry. An 'editing error'? Really? I think they mean "We should have edited the libellous shit out, but we didn't".
Meanwhile, today's Graun looks at how disturbingly nutty qualifications are regarded as being as kosher. If you're taught that the Loch Ness monster not only exists but is a dinosaur, and that apartheid was actually a rather good thing, and you agree with that, then you can win a lovely qualification which is being taught at private schools in Britain. And a Government agency says that should be regarded as fair enough. I imagine if the far right had enough money to teach Holocaust denial, that would be OK too?
Septicisle looks at the right to die decision, which is a surprisingly liberal thing to happen under this Government but which is still skirting around the issue:
The terminally ill here that want to end their life shouldn't have to travel to Switzerland or anywhere else to do so; they should have the choice to do so in this country. The two things that are holding back a change in the law, which is still surely eventually inevitable, is that politicians are scared rigid of an issue which is both incredibly difficult and which there is no party political advantage to be gained from, quite possibly the opposite in fact.
Chicken Yoghurt: What they say about the Iraq Inquiry and what they mean.
Sarah Ditum on the 'Journalists are blacksmiths' meme. If we're looking at a profession to liken journalists to, I don't think it'd be blacksmiths. I'd go for an amalgam of graffiti artist, data entry clerk, call-centre worker and assembly-line drone, with a bit of Vivaldi thrown in.
No Sleep Til Brooklands on how the Mail takes credit for shit it doesn't have anything to do with:
I'd link you to the original Mail article, but in accordance with their Dicking Around With Our Stories After We've Published Them Because The Internet Is Like A Big Etch-A-Sketch policy, they've just inserted the 'embarrassing U-turn' bollocks into the story.
The Daily Quail: Outrage at people getting jobs:
The TaxPayers’ Alliance insta-quote machine seethed nonsensically: 'The public sector has failed to cut back in the recession...soft jobs like Social Workers or Home Carers would be indulgent even in good economic times, let alone in the current climate. When times are tough we have to make sure they are even tougher for the poor and the vulnerable.'
Cath Elliott on the difference between how the papers report murders:
Did you know for instance that on Friday last week (24th July) a woman in Ipswich was (allegedly) killed by her estranged husband in the stairwell of the block of flats where she lived? Does the name Malgorzarta Lipinska ring any bells with anyone?
I seriously doubt it. Because the only media that have picked up this story so far besides the BBC have been the local media, and even then, the BBC only started covering it in detail after the perpetrator topped himself in Norwich prison on Wednesday.
Chris Dillow on how inequality remains pretty constant, despite everything else:
what is striking is just how insensitive inequality is to either policy or to the economic “cycle.” Looking at this chart, you would struggle to identify either a change of government or any macroeconomic boom or recession
Army of Dave on the delights of Dale Arden from Flash Gordon. Ah, you're leaning against an open door with that one, though I'd probably say for me gawping at Kate Bush singing Babushka on Top of the Pops at the age of about 5 and thinking "I feel something rather strange about the nice lady and I don't know what it is" was what did for me.
Jack of Kent: Beware the Spinal Trap. Simon Singh's edited article about chiropractors is now everywhere, and deserves a reading.
A Very Public Sociologist on how the Tories don't understand blogs. I am surprised by the hostility towards blogging displayed by the Conservatives, who should know better, but clearly don't. But like the Tory hostility towards the likes of Esther Rantzen, who declared she'd stand as an independent MP, I think it's all anxiety about whether they'll stroll into a crushing election victory (despite getting nowhere near the majority of the popular vote, yet everyone somehow accepts that as being a massive mandate to rape the public sector and make thousands unemployed) or whether something will derail them. It's also a more familiar snobbery towards anyone who doesn't belong to their club, and in this Labour are often no better.
Uponnothing on the difference between Glenn Beck and Barack Obama, and how:
The Mail website isn't just home to British racists, it also holds great appeal to racists of other countries. The Mail online proudly lets commentators from across the globe write absolute rubbish which is welcomed onto the site by 'moderators' and voted up by other moronic readers. How else could you end up with Barack Obama being accused of 'hating whites' and Glenn Beck being labelled a 'libertarian'?
And finally Freemania has more of those pretty star pictures. I love them!
The best thing I've read in ages is here, at Between The Hammer And The Anvil, which says that if blogs really are the future of our public discourse rather than journalism, then we're in for a pretty terrible time:
The form has its upside, allowing snarky, semi-literate smartarses like myself to put buckets on our heads and make like we're miniature Hunter Thompsons until the wife gets home and kicks off mental about the unwashed dishes. At its best, it's a knockabout club for sharp people with a talent for argument. At it's worst, it's a Comment Is Free pissfight about Israel-Palestine - about as edifying as a flock of half-spazzed, one-legged pigeons pecking each other to death over a pile of sick.
It's a truly wonderful rant:
Never mind blogs as a primary news source, I'm struggling to think of a handful of bloggers who would merit even the fabled fifteen minutes of fame. That's particularly ironic, since the vast majority of them certainly deserve chemical castration, and that's being charitable.
Iain Dale's running his annual Blog Awards wankathon as we speak - I defy any reader to deny that the world would be a richer, more rewarding and more just place if each of the top ten writers on his final list had been ripped to pieces by enraged mako sharks three seconds after they logged in to their first Blogger accounts.
In fact my only problem with it is, by being so bloody good, it's kind of self-defeating.
Jamie Sport reports on Richard Desmond's libel defeat:
Richard Desmond, philanthropist, pornographer, adherent of Godwin’s Law, and Great Architect of The Daily Express was jubilant last night after spending a jolly few weeks socking it to silly biographers in the High Court.
Desmond, once described as ‘an appalling man’ by Britain’s most appalling man, told his own newspaper: “It was worth it to stand up in court and set the record straight”, apparently unaware that he’d actually lost the case.
That's based on an abysmally bad story in the Express pretending that everything's all right and that his crushing defeat was actually a marvellous victory. I bet whichever poor hack had to cobble that crap together had to hold their nose while doing it. There's more on Dirty Des over at Paperhouse and Septicisle.
Justin has an excellent review of the latest Harry Potter film here.
There's a marvellous piece by Jon Stewart here which flays alive the idiots who've been talking about Barack Obama's birth certificate. Splendid journalism which rips apart the media's need to keep a crappy story kicking around, even when overwhelmed with evidence that blows it out of the water. Which kind of takes us back to the beginning, and Between The Hammer And The Anvil. Sure, blogs are quite often appallingly bad, but when the competition behaves just as badly, what do we expect? Who is it who's setting the bar so low?
Let me kick off with this. If you're a journalist and you think it's in any way (a) bright (b) funny (c) original (d) clever or (e) in any way fucking amusing to use your privileged position with a national newspaper to write tired, cliched bollocks from about nineteeneightyfuckingthree about "Ooh, aren't men terrible? Pffft it'd be a better world without them, innit?" then the world would undoubtedly be a better place if you just threw yourself down the fire escape now. Go and kill yourself. Actually wait. Give back the money from that article you wrote about "Ooh, men are rubbish aren't they, but pffft they're still useful for mending the shed or something innit?!?!" and then throw yourself down the fire escape. Just die. You don't deserve to live, let alone to work for a shit parish-pump local newspaper, let alone work for the kind of newspaper that should be reporting really important things about real life and real people rather than tedious re-hashed lifestyle wank. Just kill yourself, you should be ashamed to be still around walking the streets, let alone being paid for churning out tedious unfunny guff like that.
Yes, I'm talking to you, whichever brainless shithouse wrote this laugh-free collection of excrement in The Times:
23 Using the last drop of milk before, very helpfully, putting the empty carton back in the fridge.
Eh? Do you see? Do you see? Ho ho.
Also, I'm talking to you, Tanya Gold in the Guardian.
I awoke yesterday in Ira Levin's brain. Scientists have used embryonic stem cells to make synthetic sperm. My first thought is - does it come in pink? But the possibility grows (and I'm wilfully hopping and skipping and bouncing over the science bit here) that we will at some vague point in the future be able to breed without men.
Yeah, magic Tanya, keep it up. Jesus wept. You'd like to hope, deep down, that she's being wonderfully clever and actually parodying the kind of bollocks that women lifestyle writers put into broadsheet newspapers like the Guardian, making fun of the kind of shit they churn out about how men are ghastly and women are all clever and brilliant, and how she's taking us all for a knowing ride. But no. It is just unironic shit. This on a day when the Guardian was making the headlines for the right reasons. The Graun and the Observer always have to piss me off at the same time as delighting me - they can't just run good investigative journalism; they've always got to put some pointless posturing shite in their pages at the same time to balance it out and remind me just how squealingly dreadful they can be. This week we've already seen the return of 'leggy lovely' in a national newspaper; now the return of Polly Filla (as if they ever went away). Hey ho.
Anyway, on the subject of real news about real things and journalists getting money for actually being quite good instead of mindlessly inane, the Guardian reports how, despite the lack of a fresh police inquiry into phonetapping (as if the cops would wilfully come out and say "Oh yeah, we didn't investigate that very well first time around! Doh!") there's still a good chance that Andy Coulson and chums won't be allowed to get off the hook:
[Max] Clifford said yesterday: "If all the allegations are true, then it is tremendously serious, because all of us were convinced by the police, by everybody, that this was just two people, a rogue journalist and a private investigator, and it was a one-off.
"But what is now coming out is an awful lot more damaging, not just for the News of the World, but also for the Metropolitan police, the Press Complaints Commission and, of course, for Andy Coulson. Am I taking legal advice? Yes. Have I decided what I am going to do? No."
The more cynical among you might imagine that's just a public negotiating position for Clifford in order to sign up a few tasty deals with Murdoch's red-tops, but there are other celebs who've been targeted by the phone-tapping scandal who may well launch the kind of class action that could seriously embarrass overpromoted shit showbiz writer Andy Coulson et al. We'll see. Meanwhile, those leading Tory and 'Libertarian' blogs who couldn't wait to condemn everyone who'd ever brushed past Damian McBride as being obviously complicit and guilty in his stinking actions are, rather unsurprisingly, less willing to believe that the editor of a national newspaper would ever possibly know what his reporters were up to, despite signing off their expenses. Isn't that interesting?
Septicisle has an excellent piece about the scandal, and concludes:
...if we were being fair this wouldn't be about the News of the World, Murdoch or Coulson at all. This would about a press that is getting ever more desperate as its condition weakens. Perhaps the excesses which it once resorted to, especially during the 80s, are not quite being plumbed, although the Alfie Patten case, the Sunday Express's Dunblane story and now this all certainly come close. The one thing that is now needed is confirmation that these practices, except in cases of the utmost public interest, have ceased. The PCC has shown itself to be woefully inadequate to confirm just that. Self-regulation, at least in its current toothless form, has failed. If Coulson wants to save his job, he perhaps ought to be telling his boss that those hated privacy laws might now be needed after all.
While the Daily Mash reports:
As the tabloid faced legal action from celebrities whose phones were tapped and Tory leader David Cameron stood by his beleaguered spin doctor, the paper's readership said its priority would continue to be all the stories about fucking.
Tom Logan, a reader from Grantham, said: "I think I would have been disappointed, perhaps even a little bit hurt, if they had not been tapping Gwyneth Paltrow's phone on my behalf.
The Independent, meanwhile, has managed to break free from the gushing tsunami of glurge that accompanied Michael Jackson's death and appallingly kitschy memorial service, and is pointing out some uncomfortable home truths:
Ultimately one is faced with two options. Either Jackson really was an innocent, a childlike man-boy who simply enjoyed hanging out with young boys, up to and including having them sleep in his bed ("There's nothing more loving you can do," he told Martin Bashir in the infamous 2003 documentary, while Arviso cuddled him adoringly), and that some of these children decided – in collusion with their money-grabbing parents – to take Jackson to the cleaners. Or Jackson was an active, predatory child molester.
One of those options has been utterly dismissed by almost the entire media in the past few days. I don't know why, because it's still just as valid as it always was. We can't just ignore it because he's dead.
Sim-O points out that it's pretty simplistic to compare Michael Jackson's funeral with repatriation of the war dead in Wiltshire. It is, of course, and you wouldn't think it needed pointing out, but then of course some newspaper numpty's gone and imagined it's quite a startling revelation.
Michael Nugent in the Irish Times talks about the national shame of the blasphemy law that was passed this week:
The problematic behaviour here is the outrage, not the expression of different beliefs. Instead of incentivising outrage, we should be educating people to respond in a more healthy manner than outrage when somebody expresses a belief that they find insulting.
Ministry of Truth has an excellent demolition of Michael Gove's support for Steiner schools. The Tories naturally seem to gravitate towards anything that isn't the public sector (Gove calling it 'diversity', using a word that's usually kryptonite to Tories); but in the case of Steiner schools, that's just plain wrong. Read more to find out why.
Between The Hammer and the Anvil has a marvellous article, entitled "Politics is simple when you're as cuntish as possible about absolutely everything":
There was a time when the nightly news used to frighten and intimidate me. Every day, I'd sit down in my favourite chair to catch up with domestic and world affairs, only to be presented with an incomprehensible babble of impenetrable jargon, rampant criminality and bloodcurdling atrocity.
None of it made sense - wars, famine, death, plague... It felt like the world was a terrifying vortex of unaccountable power, random chance and purposeless violence. It's only been since I started being as cuntish as possible about absolutely everything that I've realised how simple politics really is.
Absolutely magical, that.