Monday, February 22, 2016


I have been reading opinion pieces on Jeremy Corbyn obsessively. The trouble is, they are all the same depending on the politics of who wrote them. So here is a complete guide to journalism so that you don't have to wade through it all.

Trigger warning: Contains bad language and disrespectful comments.

1. Corbynistas:

He's so wonderful, not like all the others. He's different. The press are all biased, MPs are all Blairites (spit!). Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. Everybody loves him really. St Jeremy, can we buy you a bike?

2. Old Labour left (i)

Shame its him, but we're there. Let's make the best of it. It's our chance comrades.

3. Old Labour left (ii)

Fuck, we're doomed!

4. Old Labour centre

Fuck, we're doomed! What are we going to do about it?

5. Old Labour right

Bring me the head of Jeremy Corbyn.

6. New Labour ultras


7. Conservatives

This is a tragedy for a great party, but then again ...

Finally. The electorate has spoken:

Who's that weirdo? 

Friday, February 12, 2016


This is a touching story linking the experience of exile and migration over generations, and of hard lives and human kindness.
“Dear Lord, we never expected this: people coming through the storm,” says Maritsa. “As soon as they step off the boat they say prayers and kiss the ground; it's unbelievable. They're to be pitied. And there are so many babies, tiny little things. It breaks your heart to see the babies in such a sorry state, trembling with cold.”
Be sure to watch the video.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A load of crap

I can't remember James Bond doing this. Apparently, Stalin spied on Mao by having his shit analysed.
According to recent reports, former Soviet agent Ivor Atamanenko claims Stalin had ordered Mao to be fed well during his ten days of closely supervised “hospitality”. Mao was also asked to use a special toilet, where his excrement was collected daily and sent to a secret lab for analysis.
I don't know what they found in it, but Freud would have had a field day with this emanation of the international proletarian brotherhood. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

Toppling Cecil.

The Rhodes Must Fall campaign to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oxford University has left me cold. Not that I could possibly deny that he was one of the more hideous figures of British colonial history, but it seems to me to be a bit of self-indulgent tokenism. I've never been keen on iconoclasm.

Though a better social mix at Oxford may improve the diversity of newspaper columnists, real educational inequality is far wider, like, er, between Oxbridge and the rest. That concerns me more.

That said, there is a problem at elite institutions. It must be twenty years or so since I went to a conference on widening access to higher education at the University of Cambridge, but it encapsulated the problem nicely. At the conference dinner, they wheeled out one of the progressive academics who rounded up her speech by saying, "As for ethnic minorities, we have no problem with those. After all, we have educated the sons and daughters of princes and prime ministers from all over the world." Oh dear. I don't think she quite got this equality lark.

I am certain that things have improved since then, but these are the attitudes that must fall, not a Victorian statue.