On whingey whiney writers

July 16th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

A bunch of authors are up in arms about having to register on the Vetting and Barring Scheme, a database of people cleared for and barred from working with children.

The four, Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Micheal Morpurgo and Quentin Blake, seem to have taken it personally…

I’ve [Pullman] been going into schools as an author for 20 years, and on no occasion have I ever been alone with a child. The idea that I have become more of a threat and I need to be vetted is both ludicrous and insulting.

I’m sure Philip Pullman has never been a threat to any child and won’t be in the future, but this database is not directed at Pullman, personally. What does he want? An exemption? Be insulted then, Mr Pullman.
Would Philip say the same about a caretaker that has been doing the job for 20 years and never been alone with a child?

When it [the VBS] becomes essential, I [Anne Fine] shall continue to work only in foreign schools, where sanity prevails.


Murpurgo (who the…?)…

Writers don’t go to schools for the money, they do it because they want to bring their stories to children and make readers of them. The notion that I should somehow have got myself passed in order to do this is absurd

No, I’m sure writers don’t go into schools for the money. But neither does the chap that volunteers to go in to my childrens school and help with their reading. He hasn’t even got a vested interest in them reading as he is not an author. The chap at my kids school does it because he wants to help, you know, put something back into society, do some good. He has to register on this database too. What’s so different between Murpurgo and him?


A child who admires a writer has a great belief in that writer as a good human being,” he said. “If you say the guy who’s writing this book could be a sick pervert and we’ve got to protect you from him, you’re not exactly sending out the most positive message.

What about sports people, musicians, and all sorts of other ‘professions’ that kids admire?
When a someone visits a school, like a writer would, do kids sit there wondering what perversions that visitor has? Of course not. Will they be wondering if the school has checked whether the visitor is on this new register? No, they won’t. Primary school aged kids won’t even know about the VBS and secondary school aged kids might know about it but if the amount of visitors we had when I was at school is anything to go by, they’d have forgotton all about it by the time someone comes round.

I’m not arguing in favour of this new scheme, just the narcissitic, self-centred way these whinging scribes have shown how thin a skin they have to take it personally. To think of themselves as above others in the view that it shouldn’t apply to them.

Writers are no different to anyone else. If you’re going to argue against something like this, put forward proper reasons why it is a bad idea, not reasons why it shouldn’t apply to you.

Katie ‘Fish Slice’ Price

July 11th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Katie Price, a.k.a. Jordan, is on the telly being interviewed by Piers ‘moron’ Morgan.


What the fuck is she doing on the fucking telly again? Why are people interested in this fucking person?
I realise that she is only doing what we all are – pay the bills. I also understand that the peole who keep putting her in magazines and on telly are also trying to put bread on the table. So can we please just ship of all the people that like this sort of thing to a remote fucking island planet?

What has she done? She’s had several kids by different fathers, got married and is now getting divorced. Along the way she has flashed her tits and got them made bigger, then smaller and also done some shit to her face.

What is so fucking interesting? She may have gone through something more than most single mothers because of Harveys’ problems, but she is not the only one and with the money she has earnt and still earning, she is in better position than most to be able to cope with it. There are thousands of single mothers and families that have gone through what she and Pete have gone through and would make a much better documentary subject too.

Please, everyone, leave Katie alone. Let her sink back into obscurity and do what she wants without forcing it on everyone else.

Irony III

July 10th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

RTE News

Hundreds of people have been gathering to pay their respects to what they believe is an image of the Virgin Mary in a tree stump in Co Limerick

It happens all the time. Jesus in potates and stuff so why not in a tree stump, eh?

How the hell can a man of the cloth say this with a straight face is beyond me…

…we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition,’ said Fr Paul Finnerty.

It wouldn’t do to believe in silly stuff like that would it? Fer Christs sake, if you’re gonna believe that a man can rise from the dead, and that’s gotta be quite a hard thing to do, surely a picture of his mum in a tree is piss easy. Infact it probably explains why the preists are so nonchalant about it.

Picture the scene…

Rathkeale Community Council Graveyard Committee chairman Noel White said workmen sprucing up the church land saw the image when they cut the tree.

The sound of a chainsaw, the tree falls over and then…

‘One of the lads said look, our Blessed Lady in the tree,’ Mr White said. ‘One of the other lads looked over and actually knelt down and blessed himself, he got such a shock.’

Cue heraldic fanfare and shafts of devine light. The work men slack jawed in awe and reverence.
Enter stage right, Father Willie Russell with the words to bring everyone back to thier senses…

It’s only a tree.


the right thing

July 10th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Jan Moir is comparing the way people reacted to the death of Michael Jackson and the hysteria, the luvvies and all the glitz of his memorial to the quiet dignity of people stopping in the street whilst two recent British casualties of the the war in Afghanistan as they passed through Wootton Bassett.

These very different types of remembrance tell us much about society and celebrity.

But most of all, they tell us about the quiet, steadfast decency of ordinary British people who, left to their own devices, will almost always do the right thing.

I’m not a sociologist or a psychologist or any other ‘-ologist’, but is talking complete bollox.

I’m sure the Americans don’t have MJ style concerts for their war dead. They probably have quiet diginfied affairs as well.

As for ‘left to our own devices, will almost always do the right thing’, I have one word:


PCC statement on phone message tapping claims

July 9th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

PCC statement on phone message tapping claims

In 2007, the PCC conducted an inquiry across the whole of the British press into the use of subterfuge by journalists. This followed the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire for offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Criminal Law Act, which the PCC considered threatened to undermine public confidence in investigative journalism. While the specific allegations of criminal behaviour were matters for the police and the courts, the PCC made clear that there were outstanding questions about the application of the Code of Practice, Clause 10 of which bans the practice of intercepting phone calls and messages unless there is a strong public interest.
As a result of its inquiry, the PCC published 6 specific recommendations to publishers to ensure that phone message tapping – where it had taken place – was eliminated, and that steps were taken to familiarise journalists with the rules on using subterfuge in the law and the press Code of Practice. It also had a number of specific questions for the News of the World.

The PCC has previously made clear that it finds the practice of phone message tapping deplorable. Any suggestion that further transgressions have occurred since its report was published in 2007 will be investigated without delay. In the meantime, the PCC is contacting the Guardian newspaper and the Information Commissioner for any further specific information in relation to the claims, published today about the older cases, which suggests the Commission has been misled at any stage of its inquiries into these matters.

The phone hack story on the front pages

July 9th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Here is the main stories on the front of the online editions of the papers at a bout 9 o’clock this morning:

The Mail goes with Prescott calls for police probe into claims Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper bugged his phone down at the very bottom of the page..

The FT has Murdoch reporters accused of phone hacking.

At the top of the shop in the Independent is Commons to study phone tap claims and a couple of small links to related stories underneath.

The Guardian has at the top of it’s page Murdoch papers paid £1m to phone-hacking victims, with a picture of a rather fed-up looking Rup and another story under that, Met pressed to investigate hacking. Both have links to related stories under them too.

On the pile of internet vomit that is the Express frontpage, that is in apparently still in beta according to the URL, has nothing.

The Times, the Sun, unsurpisingly, also have nothing to say on the subject.

Arse! I knew I’d forgotten one. I needn’t have worried, the Telegraph has bugger all about it as well.

Update II (I am trying to work as well, you know):
And then there’s the Mirror, too. They’re a bit quiet and all.

While I’m here, the Star is not just missing this news of the phone hacking, but just news in general really. Nothing new there then.


July 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Hello world!

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The mobile phone directory

July 8th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

What the fuck is all the hoo-haa about with this mobile phone directory, then? Eh?

Several times this week I ‘ve had people email me with a rather urgent tone telling me I have up until this week to opt-out…

This has come from our legal department, please see below!

Early next week all UK mobiles will be on a directory which will mean that anyone will be able to access your numbers. It’s easy to unsubscribe but it must be done before the beginning of next week to make sure that you are ex-directory. You may want to suggest it to all your friends and family who have UK mobiles or they could be swamped by unsolicited messages and calls. Removal is recommended by the BBC – see link below.


(That particular quote was from a friend, I don’t know if that was his ‘telephone voice’ or not but it doesn’t sound like he’d written it. Too alarmist.)

First , lets just deal with the email message then, the directory itself.

The email says anyone will be able to access our numbers. Anyone can at the moment. You’ve seen the little boxes in the small print that you’ve either got to tick or leave blank? Well, that ticking or leaving blank gives the company you’re dealing with permission to take your phone number (or postal address or emaill address, depending on what the form/company/product) and pass it onto ‘partner companies’ or ‘companies we think you may be interested in’. To translate, they can sell your numbers. Your number is in the public domain. It can be bought and sold. You are no longer Ex-Directory as far as direct marketing is concerned.

The email also states that you must unsubscribe (which is also wrong, you need to be ‘removed’ from the directory) by the end of next week to be sure of that you are ex-directory.
Well, the end of next week could be any time depending on when the email was sent. Considering the BBC article is date 9 June 2009 and in it, it states that the directory site is going live ‘next week’, I would say 9th July is a bit late and we’re all buggered.
It sounds like if you weren’t ex-directory by 16th-ish june that’s it, you’re in for life. But you’re not.

It may be a nice thing to do to make family and friends aware of this directory, but a month after it going live, I’m not drowning in window sales men, pollsters and heavy breathers. Are you?

I fucking hate these fucking circular emails that are just wrong in the first place and have an unneccesarily alarming tone to them.

Removal is recommended by the BBC – see link below

Um. No it’s not.

I doubt my buddy wrote that. I hope he didn’t.

Apart from the issues surrounding where 118800 got the 15 million or so numbers it claims to have, what is the problem with an opt-out directory? I’m normally of the opinion that opt-in is the best thing, but for some reason, I don’t have a problem with this. No more than the landline directory, and infact I’m a little surprised it’s taken so long to come about.

Where the numbers have come from, although not stated specifically which brokers and lists these numbers were on, somewhere there is a little box that signifies that the numbers can be used for commercial purposes. If there isn’t, there is a problem with the data controllers of a company somewhere and not with the idea of a directory.
Remember, this directory and the company behind it are no different to any other direct marketing organisation. If you have a problem with this directory then you should also have a problem with the whole way data is bought and sold.
This directory is probably more accurately reflects peoples’ wishes than the landline directory, which the phone companies have to give their numbers to.

The issue of privacy is also dealt with rather simply and admirably.
They directory contacts you and tells you someone is trying to get in touch. If you are contacted by phone, you tell them no, if you don’t want to accept the call. If you get sent a text, ignore it. That has to be better than just being listed in a book ready for anyone, including teenagers skyving off school and finding people with funny names to abuse down the phone. Again and again… and again…

The opt-out is also still there, with no time limit on it. Apparently, the first time the directory contact you, they also give you an option to become ex-directory. And of course you could got to 118800 and opt-out there. Anytime.
Four weeks to get off their list is a bit much though.

Whether this directory actually works in practice and are as ethical as they reckon they are will remain to be seen, but the idea itself a mobile phone number directory, should be a cause for concern and they way they are doing it to try and ally peoples’ privacy concerns, should be should be welcomed. It could’ve been so different.

test post to blog

July 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Sent via http://posterous.com to sim-o.me.uk.
Ignorethis post. It will be deleted. Probably.

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An easy boycott to make

July 7th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

I am boycotting this years Total Politics Blogging Guide.
I’m not so deluded to think that this place is popular enough to get in and so me saying I’m not going to participate is a bit like saying ‘next week, I’m not going to walk on the moon’. The same amount of effort is required to achieve both.

But I am saying I want no part of it. Rather than just watch the poll happen and have no part in it, by not voting for anyone, although there is a fucking huge list of people that deserve a vote in a propor poll, and also by virtue of being part of that niche blog genre I like to term Rather Shite.

The reasons are two fold.

  1. All the underhand techniques used by the Fail Dale to keep himself ‘right’ and the results of stuff like this poll with the right results.
    All that stuff is understandable. The blog is part of Iains’ revenue generation machine. It is a small part of his TV appearances, speaking engagements and publishing ‘things’. It may not actually generate revenue itself, apart from a small amount from Messagespace, but it is where people can find him, where Iain can show off his expertise, his knowledge.
    Iaian needs to be right on his blog, otherwise it will impact on his other areas. And a man’s gotta eat. Right? It may not be right, but it’s understandable. That’s business.
  2. The second reason is because Iain Dale is a cunt.
    It’s one thing having a commentor leave a comment accusing someone of being a member of the Labour Party or refusing to engage in debate on neutral territory, so that you can’t control it, when you’ve been called on a point. It’s really childish to play the victim instead of just apologising for/removing the offending article. They’re relatively small things. Leave teh internets and these things disappear, or at the worst need a little explanation/can be laughed off.
    It’s a completely different when help is requested and offered but then not given and still insistent that it was. Especially when the help is to investigate proper, serious accusations and isn’t just a load of hot air but involve the Rozzers, in the real world.

So there you have it.
Who needs a rigged and flawed beauty contest anyway?

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