Saturday, June 02, 2007 

10 weeks of absolute fucking hell.

Living on the edge of a city in a village surrounded by farms, you still never get used to the smell that often emanates from the surrounding fields after a healthy dose of spraying. You know it's going to happen, that there's going to be a smell which permeates almost everything, and will slowly but surely drive you crazy, but there's nothing you can do about it, save turning arsonist and burning down the shit-loving masochist's living quarters.

Much of which could be said about Big Brother. It's the stinking putrescence of vanity, greed and idiocy that blares at you from the television, occupies the front pages of those excrement purveyors, the tabloids, and tries to infiltrate its way inside your skull, infecting your brain and turning it inexorably to a maggot-ridden decaying reeking orb, being eaten away as the very oxygen you breathe itself seems to have become stale as a result of the demoralising, blanketing vacuity of it all. It's the nose-wrinkling decomposition of all that terrestrial television once stood for, laid bare, eviscerated for all to see, completely inescapable unless you decided to board up your windows, smash the goggle-box, throw the radio out the window and stay in bed living on tinned food for the best part of 3 months.

Yep, It's back. Despite being forced to issue 3 groveling apologies over its handling of the racism row in the celebrity version, the seeming opiate of the young masses has returned, as if its return had ever been in doubt. When it comes down to it, it's all about cash: Channel 4 probably simply can't afford not to keep Big Brother going, as according to MediaGrauniad it makes £50 million a year.

Both Endemol and Channel 4 have of course learned nothing from the controversy surrounding Shilpa and Jade, or rather, they have learned everything. Why else would they have purposefully chosen a house entirely populated by women otherwise? The biggest ructions of the last two series' have all surrounded the female housemates and their ability to bitch about and loathe each other, so why not go the whole way and centre the whole pointless exercise around just that? The other factor informing such a decision has to be pure cynicism: nearly all the young women featured in the show of late have sold both their souls and their bodies to the teenage wank mags, whether they originally intended to or not. This depressing development was almost certainly taken with such a prior knowledge that this series will doubtless turn out much the same. The Scum has already acknowledged this in a nasty, misogynistic tone: calling the younger housemates beauties while those older or not as good looking are "beasts". The MurdochSpace/Facebook profiles have all been inevitably raided, with the photographs splashed across the front pages.

It could all be so different. Channel 4 can still produce fantastic programmes when it wants to, as Peep Show could not more exemplify, the 4th series recently coming to an end with the writing as fresh, inventive, reflective and hilarious as it was during the first. It occupied the 10:30 slot on a Friday, which Big Brother will now miserably fill. While that show bases itself around the thoughts of its two main characters, Big Brother only viscerally identifies the emptiness going on inside the brains of both the contestants, producers and commissioners. It worships at the throne of all that is wrong in the world, combining naivety with exploitation, emphasising that you too can become rich and famous, at least for 15 minutes, as long as you debase yourself enough in front of millions of people. It's masturbation for the mind without the fleeting moment of pleasure, the self-hatred and misery which swiftly follow instead becoming the enduring feeling and emotion.

The one relief is that at least it's 3 weeks shorter than last year's effort, as even its most ardent fans admitted that fatigue set in long before the end. As for the tabloids' obsession, for reasons known only to myself the Big Brother paper-watch will again be operating, with likely ever diminishing returns. It might take a death before it finally gets pulled, although it'll be too late for the girl who committed suicide because she wasn't allowed to watch.

Related posts:
13 weeks of absolute fucking hell.
Stockholm syndrome.

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Friday, June 01, 2007 

The heartless inhumanity of Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

Where to even begin with the latest religious cunt to decide that he has the moral authority to tell women what they can and can't do with their own versions of him? Luckily, or unluckily, depending on your view, the Scottish Catholic Media Office have been kind enough to put his full rant disguised as a sermon up on their website:

Skipping some tedious nonsense about God placing himself in Mary's womb:

The joy of that meeting holds out to us the message of delight that should accompany every pregnancy. With every life conceived God acts directly to create a new and unique human being, a person destined to life everlasting. Sadly, joy is not always the dominant emotion evoked by news of pregnancy in the world we live in today.

No, because you see, friends don't throw baby showers, we don't have welcome our new citizens sections in the local newspapers, and everyone doesn't whip round to provide support once the baby arrives, nor are businesses obliged to give both maternity and paternity leave. Ignoring the specious idiocy of a God somehow being behind the creation of a new human being (do we really have to go through the birds and the bees with a fucking middle-aged man?), joy isn't always the first emotion because not every woman who becomes pregnant can either cope with having a child or properly care for it. The problem with the Catholic church has always been that it can't cope with the modern world, where pain and poverty are realities that can't be solved by believing in a spiritual being; these are always put to the side when it comes to "innocent" life being ended for the greater good, or even when those with terminal illnesses in unbearable agony desperately want to die. In fact, this to some of them is the whole point: we have to suffer, or go through these challenges. That we can escape them through our own decision making is an offense to the great creator, who according to them gave us that very ability in the first place, then was greatly miffed when the first two decided to exercise them.

Today as we remember the Visitation we mark the “Day for Life” in Scotland, with a mixture of emotions, celebrating the gift of life but remembering also the tragic loss of life. Abortion is the theme for this year’s “Day for Life” which significantly is the 40th anniversary of the passing of the abortion act. In those 40 years the loss of life has been staggering. Around 7 million lives have been ended as a consequence of that one piece of legislation.

Except they never existed outside of the womb in the first place. They were never really lives in the sense that we associate life; trying to impose the belief that a sentient being that can feel pain exists from the second of conception is not only wrong, it's against all scientific evidence.

We were told that backstreet abortions were killing women and had to be decriminalised. We were told abortion would only be used in extreme cases. We were told medical scrutiny would be rigorous. We were told a – lies and misinformation masquerading as compassion and truth.

Here come the lies. Backstreet abortions did kill women, and continue to kill women in countries where abortion is unavailable and they can't travel to somewhere where it is legal. Only a few weeks back a young woman from Ireland had to go to court to be allowed to travel to the UK for an abortion, in a case where the baby had no head and would have only lived for a couple of days outside the womb. Under the kind of laws which O'Brien would prefer, she would have been expected to go through the trauma of taking such a child to full term, only for it to die much likely in far more pain than had it been aborted as soon as the abnormality was discovered. Abortion is still used only in extreme cases, as the number carried out each year still suggests. Medical scrutiny is rigorous, as two doctors as still required to give their permission for an abortion to go ahead. The only one lying here is the cunt claiming to be speaking the truth, but is instead spreading the same old misinformation he assaults.

The scale of the killing is beyond our grasp. In Scotland we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day.
For many women abortion has become an alternative form of birth control. The lives of the babies involved are not at risk any more than the lives of their mothers are threatened by pregnancy. Abortions to save the life of a woman are almost unheard of. As a society we wilfully ignore these realities.

More lies. There were 13,081 abortions in Scotland last year, and considering the population is around 5 million, that hardly suggests that it has become an alternative form of birth control, which incidentally the Catholic church also continues to campaign against, with far more horrific results in Africa through Aids. The whole of O'Brien's pitiful argument completely ignores the mental anguish which all of those 13,000 women will have gone through before they seek an abortion, treating them as if they have no minds of their own. He is willfully ignoring that reality.

We need to build, once again, a society, which joyfully accepts new life. The abortion industry has impacted massively on the values of our society as its proponents continue to spread their culture of death. There is acceptance of a philosophy, which permits the destruction of children in the haven of their mother’s womb.

Pathetic, disingenuous, plain wrong rhetoric. There is no such thing as an "abortion industry", rather a health service that provides the compassion, counseling and support which O'Brien has none of. The only place a culture of death exists is within armies that proclaim that they don't do bodycounts, and in the minds of the salafist revivalists who like to suggest they love death more than life, people who coincidentally would more than likely share the same views on abortion as the cardinal. There's an acceptance of "a philosophy" because modern society has came to the conclusion that women can make their own choices about their bodies and their life, something which authoritarian figures who claim to speak out of love of life would like to deny out of their own selfish imposed from above doctrines.

We must remain witnesses to the truth and be unambiguous in defending life in all that we do. I have campaigned on behalf of the developing world, urging the G8 nations to act in defence of life. I have campaigned against the indiscriminate killing power of nuclear weapons and in defence of innocent life; I speak out today in defence of life at its most vulnerable and defenceless.

Which is your prerogative, but ignores the fact that you have no idea of the situation of every single woman who seeks an abortion, and that the consequences can often be worse than if one was not taken.

It is not easy to turn societies against the natural urge to protect young life. Yet care and concern for children is still very much alive. We are gripped with concern when news coverage of a child snatched or harmed appears on our television screens. We have ached over the disappearance of young Madeleine McCann in Portugal; together with her parents we know the inestimable worth of one precious life. Yes life is precious and precious also are those lives that are snuffed out in darkness hidden from the world.

The difference being that Madeleine is a living thinking being that can feel pain and has been taken against the will of her parents, something that cannot be compared to the decision of a woman to end the life growing inside her before the time limits set out under the Abortion Act.

Let us build up within our society a generation of medical professionals who are unwilling to cooperate in the slaughter. I call on our universities and medical schools to teach that all human life deserves protection. I call on our hospitals to end testing procedures designed only for targeting and killing the weak and infirm. I call on all politicians to answer one simple question: will you protect the right to life of all persons in our society from conception until natural death? And I call on you to hold these elected representatives to account.

I call on you to fuck off and let all those people decide for themselves, instead of trying to impose your own unpopular, illogical and dangerous views on the public that has been shown to support the right of women to choose. I call on you to look at the rafter in your own eye, as the Bible you supposedly adhere to teaches. What gives you the right to decide that people should not seek an end to unbearable pain? This disgusting arrogance condemns those who plead for their misery to be ended to a death which no one other than a masochistic cunt would wish for. The example of Mario Riccio recently in Italy, who thanked the doctor who helped him to die, shows that those who demand human treatment for those who are not yet human only leads to inhumanity at the other end of the scale.

For those unwilling to give this support we must be unwilling to give our vote. History will judge us on where we stood in this crucial issue. But there is a judgement more important than history. We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Sounds good to me. All those who oppose the right to choose can be left with their own tiny, reactionary hateful party, never getting anywhere near power. History will judge the damage done by such irrational beliefs harshly, of that we can be certain.

I urge politicians to have no truck with the evil trade of abortion. For those at Westminster this means finding means of overthrowing the legislation, which makes the killing possible. For those at Holyrood that means refusing to allow our health services to participate in the wanton killing of the innocent. Peace cannot be built in the shadow of the abortion rooms.

What the fuck are you talking about you oleaginous cunt? The only evil here is those who demand that others adhere to their views out of their sordid, warped beliefs. Wanton killing is going on in Darfur and Iraq, not in the abortion rooms where it is only carried out with the greatest of reluctance. Peace already exists; only those who twist themselves in knots over things outside of their control are up in arms.

In making this call, I speak most especially to those who claim to be Catholic. I ask them to examine their consciences and discern if they are playing any part in sustaining this social evil. I remind them to avoid cooperating in the unspeakable crime of abortion and the barrier such cooperation erects to receiving Holy Communion. As St. Paul warns us “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”

There you are then, Catholics; if you too don't deny women the right to choose, then you may as well not believe in the same God at all. The same sort of ignorant, wrong thinking that puts up walls and starts wars rather than builds bridges.

I would be failing as a pastor not to highlight the gravity of this situation not just to law makers but to anyone: mother; father; boyfriend; counsellor who in any way leads a mother to abortion.

All of whom know far, far better than you what the mother goes through.

There is much we can do. We can urge support for legislation which may not be perfect but improves the situation, legislation aimed at reducing abortion limits or bills ensuring that parents be informed if their children seek an abortion, can be supported as long as it is made clear that one is in principle against all abortions. Proposals to ensure women contemplating abortion are given full details about the physical and emotional risks to themselves and about foetal development should be backed.

So parents should be informed if their child is seeking an abortion, but a mature adult should still be denied the right in the first place. Makes as much sense as much the rest of Catholic doctrine. All this is about making abortion more difficult, not about actually helping women to make their choice, which is what it's usually dressed up as. In any case, to suggest that women don't know what they're what they're about to go through shows the chauvinistic, heartless, almost misogynistic nature of O'Brien's views.

We can work to ensure that the more light, which is shone on this terrible procedure the less acceptable it will be to our society. Signs of hope are appearing, earlier this month it was reported that many doctors are no longer willing to cooperate in abortion. They know, better than most, the humanity of the unborn. We need to support anyone who takes the same line believing always that truth will eventually triumph.

The truth, being as we know, a very loose concept.

In returning to the scene of the visitation we see that in bringing our Lord to the house of Elizabeth, Mary brought great joy, even to inspiring joy in the unborn John the Baptist. As we carry Christ to the rest of society may our voices be a cause of joy for the unborn in our society."

And may those voices fall upon the heavy, stony ground, where they belong.

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Same old Tories, always spinning.

Coulson with former star hack, Mazher Mahmood.

Remember how David Cameron claimed that he wanted to put an end to "Punch and Judy" politics? How the Tories have decried spin for years? We knew only too well that it was mood music, designed mainly to point out the difference between how the new caring, sharing, happy shining Conservative party would listen to the public while the mean old nasty Labour party would continue to govern by decree, legislate on the back of a fag packet and change its mind with the swing of each Sun leader, but just how vacuous and lacking in substance those messages were is confirmed by Cameron's appointment of Andy Coulson, ex-News of the Screws editor and a Murdoch protege as "director of communications", the latest euphemism for spin doctor.

The instant comparison has been with Alastair Campbell, who before he became Blair's liar-in-chief was the Daily Mirror's political editor, as well as having a stint in the same slot at Murdoch's doomed attempt at a "left" tabloid, Today. The difference however is that Campbell never had the full reins over either paper, something that Coulson most certainly did. After taking over at the Screws from Rebekah Wade, he plowed much the same furrow as she did; hysterical campaigns against paedophiles, alarmingly right-wing commentary from the likes of Lord Stevens, and the occasional investigative entrapment dispatch from a man described in court as "dangerously deceitful, ruthless, exploitative and corrupt", namely one Mazher Mahmood. The Grauniad's Diary provides a brief summary of some of Coulson's greatest hits:

How very reassuring that the chap charged with making sure the Broon gets a good press is a career civil servant and top Treasury policy wonk, while the one doing exactly the same job for the boy Cameron is an ex-editor of Britain's biggest-selling newspaper who exposed Becks's affair with Becca and Mark Oaten's adventures with rent boys, accused Wayne of slapping Coleen and Ashley of enjoying "gay orgies", paid witnesses at Posh's kidnap trial, and finally resigned after one of his correspondents was found guilty of bugging mobile phones belonging to members of the royal family.

Coulson was additionally fully behind the attempts by Mazher Mahmood to gag blogs such as this one which had republished his photograph after his failed attempt to entrap George Galloway, enlisting the royal family's favoured solicitors, Farrer & Co, to gain an injunction, which ultimately failed due to their own incompetence and flagrant hypocrisy. Also worth mentioning is his publishing of the smear job perpetuated against the Koyair brothers - accusing one of them of shooting the other, something proven by the IPCC report to be completely untrue, then publishing the additional lies about one having child pornography; the failure of the "red mercury" trial, another Mahmood special; and finally, although it appeared in the Scottish Screws, the smears on Tommy Sheridan after he won his case against the paper.

Coulson was recently cleared by the toothless PCC of having any involvement in Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire's conspiracy to hack or bug mobile phones, including those of Prince William, which raised a number of eyebrows. Coulson himself, because he resigned on the day the two were sentenced, was not called to give evidence: instead his replacement, Colin Myler did. Mulcaire was being paid over £100,000 a year by the Screws, a vast sum within the Murdoch empire for someone outside the top rungs. The paper claimed to the PCC that it was unaware of the work that Mulcaire was additionally doing for Goodman, and that his wage was based on the "legal and legitimate" work he did, mainly lower level searches and investigation through databases, and certainly not anything to do with the underhand methods which he also practiced, which involved hacking into the phones of Simon Hughes, Rebekah Wade and possibly even Max Clifford and David Blunkett. Mulcaire's work was in fact just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the Screws' and other Sunday newspapers reliance on private investigators for the dirt they print week after week; figures released by the Information Commissioner showed that 19 journalists from the paper had used the services of one who had his property raided. Coulson of course knew nothing of any of this.

Not that Coulson is even on that friendly terms with some within the Tory party. During the heat of the argument about Cameron's alleged drug use, the paper splashed with allegations that George Osbourne, Cameron's best mate and fellow Etonian, had used cocaine in the company of prostitutes, something he decried as "completely untrue" and "a smear campaign".

We shouldn't really be all that surprised though. Cameron is no longer being subtle about where he wants to take the party: as the grammar school rebel Graham Brady alleged, he's obsessed with Blairism, the route that he's decided will win them the next election, modelling themselves as the true heirs to 10 years of wars and spin by err, putting the country through God knows how many more years of much the same. In order to bring such a miserable future ever nearer, Cameron has to win over the Scum, which has been highly sniffy of Cameron's efforts so far. Who better to do that than Coulson, someone formerly on a direct line to Murdoch and a friend of Rebekah Wade? As noted yesterday, the Scum's still clearly in love with Blair, but unsure of just how Brown's going to govern, despite his attempts at gaining Wade's undying affection by regularly lunching with her. With Coulson at the helm for the Tories, Murdoch might just be persuaded to change sides. As for the rest of us, fed up with Blairism and of a Tory party which offers nothing other than more of the same, we may as well go swing.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007 

Scum-watch: Shameless red-baiting.

Ignoring the sentimental trash about a butterfly coincidentally landing on Kate McCann on the front page, today's Scum goes out of its way to scaremonger about the Labour deputy leadership candidates daring to speak freely during the hustings on Newsnight and elsewhere of late.

GORDON Brown last night warned the Labour deputy PM rivals against lurching to the Left.

All six candidates favour handing more power to the unions — and some want higher taxes.

Oh god - higher taxes?! Those crazy fiends! It soon all becomes clear quite why they're setting out to smear the candidates for daring to speak their minds for a change:

Tony Blair fears Labour will swing back to the Left once he goes — and the last few weeks have seen challengers appealing to union dinosaurs.

Well, if Blair fears it then the Scum has to at least try and make it look like it's so. George Pascoe-Watson, the piss-poor political editor, has even gone
to the trouble of making a list of all those "Lefty policies".

The tragedy of the Sun's hatred of the left is that it has always been at the expense of its working class readership. Most of those on the minimum wage reading the statements from the candidates, especially about the City uber-rich paying themselves their obscene bonuses, are more than likely to find themselves in agreement. The real surprise about the list is in fact how moderate it is: where's the left-wing idiocy about setting limits on private sector provision in the NHS when there's no evidence that it either provides a cheaper or a better service? The anger about Hilary Benn's comments on socialist values should be that the last ten years have been absent of them, and that it's taken Blair's hegemony to be lifted for it even to be suggested that there might be something admirable about them. The Scum often likes to complain about political correctness that makes certain words or views taboo, yet it's had more than a hand in making the "s" word into something that it isn't and never has been.

The leader itself brings out those old bogeymen that it delighted in smearing time and again, which also insults NHS staff and attacks university lecturers for suggesting that amazingly enough, most students are radicalised about something:

GORDON Brown says the next deputy Labour leader can’t count on becoming his Deputy PM.

Thank goodness for that.

Jon Cruddas for one has said he doesn't want to be deputy prime minister. Besides, isn't this the same Scum which loathes Prescott with a vehemence it usually reserves for paedophiles? Surely anyone would be an improvement on him?

It’s been like watching All Our Yesterdays as candidates strutted their stuff this week.

All six men and women promised more power to the party and a greater say for union paymasters.

Gosh, giving the party members a say in party policy? That might be too near democracy for a newspaper that's been given more of a role in Labour's thinking than the members themselves have.

They were falling over themselves to apologise for the Blair blunders that gave them 10 years unbridled power.

Because the country obviously wants the same obstinacy that the Blair years has given us to continue, doesn't it?

So it was a relief to hear the PM-in-waiting put them right.

“There will be no retreat to the narrow politics or the failed policies of the past,” he said.

Phew! Just for a moment, we glimpsed the ghosts of Red Robbo and Arthur Scargill queueing for beer and sandwiches at Number Ten.

Quite. Give us Hazel Blears over those two any day.

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Does anything else need to be said?

I don't think so.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007 

The dead end of choice.

After 10 years of Blairism, or if you believe Simon Jenkins, who doesn't think that Blair has changed politics enough to have an "ism" named after him, the slighter kinder faced continuation of Thatcherism, the Conservatives have finally worked out how to respond from having the rug pulled from under their feet. They're going to be the new Blairites.

The Conservatives are best placed to carry on Tony Blair's public service reforms, the shadow chancellor says.

George Osborne claimed Gordon Brown, the next prime minister, had "abandoned the centre ground of public service reform to the Conservative Party".

All of which sounds familiar. That might be because this is more or less the exact same argument put forward by Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke, during the launch of 20:20 vision, their disastrous attempt to form an anti-Brown faction that they hoped would flush out a leadership candidate in their own image:

We believe in radical reform. For us reform is for a progressive purpose – to make for a fairer society. We look to policies that empower individual citizens, reward aspiration, spread opportunity, tackle intolerance and inequality, provide security, protect the environment and that are internationalist not isolationist. And we look to a style of politics that is based on dialogue, debate and devolved power.

Take out the bit about being progressive and probably tackling intolerance and inequality, and you pretty much have where the Tory party is under Cameron - few policies, but a lot of buzzwords which mean very little.

The whole sorry mess of Osbourne's speech is up on the Conservatives website, and reading it is like being spoon-fed saccharine by David Cameron himself. The gist of it is that Labour is returning to the left - look at those desperate deputy leadership candidates prostituting themselves and their wacky "socialist" ideas! - that Gordon Brown isn't condemning them for doing so, meaning he's obviously going to hoist the red flag above Downing Street as soon as he gets the chance, and that because Labour is cooling on "choice", they're the responsible, sensible heirs to Blair, and they'll continue his glorious legacy by knocking some reformed sense into our schools and hospitals.

The very reason why Labour has supposedly suddenly "cooled" on choice is because they've finally had it rammed down their throats by the patients that they don't care about it. The Healthcare Commission found through their questionnaires with 448 patients that the three questions concerning choice were among the 10 least important aspects of a hospital's service, out of the 82 it asked about. Osbourne predictably quotes research which says the opposite, from those involved in pilot schemes. This contrasts with the view of Picker institute, which ran the questionnaire study, who told the Healthcare Commission there was no point running similar questions the following year, as there was so little interest. The futility of extending choice even further is undermined by just how demoralised and fed up the NHS staff are with the constant reorganisations and new systems they're constantly having to adjust to - they want stability, not further change for the sake of it, which is exactly what the Blairites and now the Tories want to offer.

Most of all, quite why after 10 years of Blair, when we're finally getting rid of the spinning, lying bastard, the Tories think that aiming to emulate his policies is a good idea seems to suggest how lost they've become by the new political landscape. Blair's apologists often like to claim that he's pulled the political centre to the left, based on the money pumped into the public services; while it's true that he has achieved a consensus on that, on other measures Blair has pushed the "centre" so far to the right, whether through his policies on criminal justice, the re-imposition of the market into the NHS, with independent treatment centres which get their money whether they perform the number of operations set out in the contract or not, PFI schemes which are bleeding the taxpayer dry and city academies which allow the private sector or so called "charitable" organisations, usually church groups, to have control over the ethos and make-up of the school for a bung towards its upkeep, that the Tories haven't much of a clue how much further they can go without totally alienating the average person who claims the centre ground is where they are. As a result, all they offer is a continuation, and the age-old smears that Brown, the architect of PFI, is going to shift us all back to the loony left he's already condemned. If Labour's a party in terminal decline, the Tories seem to be more than happy to follow them into oblivion.

Related post:
Chicken Yoghurt - The bores of perception

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The revenge of emotional pornography.

Lazarus's autobiography, the title of which is only one letter off being accurate.

For those being directed here from, see the bottom of this post.

Great stories tend to come in twos. Darwinism, it seems, is back with a vengeance:

A FIRE which swept through a fourth floor flat in Weston is believed to have been caused by a candle lit by a kind-hearted elderly woman for missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann.

Jean Lester, of Westbury-on-Trym, was visiting her aunt in the neighbouring flat at the time the fire broke out. She said: "I came out of my aunt's flat and saw Mary in the corridor. She was very distressed.

"She told me that she had lit a candle for the missing girl, Madeleine, and placed a note by it in the hope it would help her safe return."

It would be easy to suggest that this is the kind of thing that the emotional pornography of the last few weeks featured in the tabloids would lead to, so that's just what I'll do. Rather than helping find a little girl missing hundreds of miles away, it's done the inevitable and came back and bitten the poor old woman in the ass.

Coincidentally, another loathsome parasite who encourages the irrational belief of providing help and support through collective hope and prayer has finally, and equally inevitably, turned up in Portugal:

A TOP psychic will travel to Portugal today to join the hunt for Madeleine McCann.

Diane Lazarus, 40, has already helped cops with high-profile cases including the murders of Jill Dando and little Sarah Payne.

Yes, her name really is Diane Lazarus, although it's her husband's surname, if you believe that. Here's her own propaganda:
From a young age Diane Lazarus (known to many as Diane Lloyd-Hughes) first experienced the power of her amazing gift by seeing, hearing and speaking to spirits and since then Diane has learned to control her gift and can switch on and off at will. Today she is rated in the top five of professional practitioners in the sphere of non-physical science, worldwide.

Non-physical science, known to everyone else as lying to the vulnerable and gullible. Or alternatively, as the dole officer clerk in
History of the World Part 1 remarks to Comicus, who gives his job as stand-up philosopher, "Oh, a *bullshit* artist!". She also couldn't have done that great a job in finding the killer of Jill Dando; many consider Barry George to be innocent.

In an exclusive interview mum-of-two Diane from Crosshands, South Wales, told The Sun online:

- Maddie was targeted after being secretly watched by her abductors, including one woman

- She is in Spain after travelling by car on main roads from Portugal and is being well looked after

Really? Could this insight possibly be related to the alleged sighting of a small blonde girl at petrol station on a motorway which leads to Spain?

Police searching for British girl Madeleine McCann believe she may have been snatched by a group of two men and a woman.

The group of three were captured on CCTV at a petrol station on a motorway that leads to Spain, according to reports in two separate Portuguese newspapers.

The group were reportedly with a young girl, who looked distressed, newspapers 24 Horas and Correio da Manha reported. Police later confirmed that they are studying the CCTV footage and that the evidence may be “key”.

Lazarus continues:

- One of the culprits has olive skin, dark hair and a drawn, skinny face

A person with olive skin in Portugal? Now she's really stretching her credibility!
“I hope going to Praia da Luz will give me the leads to where exactly she went from there. I feel she could be in Spain.

“I have also picked up that they cut Maddie’s hair and made her look like a boy.”

This is amazing! What more can Mrs Lazarus tell us?

Once in Praia da Luz, Diane will ‘tune in’ on a map of the area around the Mark Warner holiday complex and a snapshot of missing Maddie.

Diane said: “I need to start from the beginning and be where it all happened.

“Quite honestly I don’t think Madeleine has come to any harm. She will be returned to her mummy and daddy.

“I feel there are a few people, including a woman, involved in the disappearance.

“They went out of their way to get a girl of a certain age. They also knew Madeleine had a brother and sister, Sean and Amelie.

“They felt as the McCanns have two other children taking Maddie wouldn't be quite so bad.

Oh, so they're considerate kidnappers. At least the McCanns have that to hold on to. She can't resist dropping names, though:

Diane will spend four days on the Algarve after being invited by a close friend of Gerry and Kate McCann, both 38.

"Hundreds of people have contacted me to see if I could help.

“Even Bonnie Tyler, who is one of my best clients, has been in touch.

Rather than being a total eclipse of the heart, this seems to be a total eclipse of the mind. Lazarus has one last piece of advice:

“I’ll be very mindful of the McCanns too. They’ve prayed a lot for Madeleine's return which is great.

“Prayer really does work. Everyone should say a prayer for Maddie’s safe return.”

Indeed, and make sure you mind the curtains when lighting the candle.

Update: This blog has had the dubious honour of being featured on's page devoted to Madeleine McCann. Much like Diane Lazarus, Brian is a fraud, a liar and a charlatan, preying on the distraught relatives of missing people's vulnerability and desire to believe someone who says they can help them. An example of how he makes it look as if he's predicted something before it's happened is explained here and here. He is additionally debunked here, and allegations of how he has cheated people out of money are here. Finally, he's let have it by various posters on the James Randi forums over his lies about Madeleine.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 

The undead princess.

Princess Diana is dead, just in case you'd forgotten. She's been dead for close to ten years. In life, she was chased by newspapers trying to sell their sordid wares. In death, she's chased by newspapers trying to sell their sordid wares. Oddly, the very same newspapers which day after day filled their pages with paparazzi photographs of the woman, apart from suffering a few pangs of guilt in the immediate aftermath of the accident in the Paris tunnel, with the Daily Mail famously announcing that it would never again buy snatched shots, only to break its own declaration within a matter of weeks, have since then felt the need to act as her personal shield; she can't defend herself, so they will instead. Again, this was a surprising role reversal, considering that the Glenda Slaggs' had loved to rip Diana to shreds over whatever they saw fit, leading after her end to the biggest reverse ferret in newspaper history. No longer was she a silly bulimic girl who had betrayed the royal family, now she was the greatest Briton who had ever lived, whose beauty, principles and dignity were second to none.

It's therefore unsurprising that the middle-market tabloids are united in anger over Channel 4's decision to screen a documentary which allegedly features images of Diana laying in the car being treated before she died. We had the very same faux-outrage last year, when an Italian magazine published the far from shocking images, at the same time as some genuinely shocking photographs from Lebanon and Israel were being comprehensively ignored.

Even so, it's difficult to deal with the sheer level of chutzpah, especially of the Daily Express, accusing Channel 4 of being "ghouls cashing in on her memory". This is the same newspaper which has spent the last few years propagating the bullshit theories of Mohammad Al-Fayed, the man most responsible for the death of Diana in the first place, dedicating its front page time and again to false "new leads" and lies about what happened that night. If it wasn't for the Express's Diana obsession, it would probably be even further in the mire created by its asset-striping pornographer owner, Richard Desmond. The only surprise is that Desmond hasn't tried to combine the two by giving away Diana sex dolls with each turgid copy.

As for the Daily Mail, variously accusing Channel 4 of "trampling on her grave", and today printing the words of Rosa Monckton, urging Diana to be given the privacy in death she didn't get during her life (from the very same Daily Mail), could this possibly be the same Daily Mail which back in February was giving away a free Diana figurine from Royal Doulton "worth over £100", as well as Diana DVD entitled ten years on? That isn't trampling on her grave, that's just taking advantage of her, and as we all know, there's a great difference between the two.

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Injustice multiplied part two.

The injustice of having money deducted from the payments to victims of miscarriages of justice continues:

A 37-year-old man jailed for a crime he did not commit is being charged almost £7,000 for his time in prison.

Warren Blackwell from Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, has been told the sum will be deducted from compensation to cover savings on rent and food.

He spent three years in jail convicted of sexually assaulting a woman with a history of false claims against men.

The same thing previously befell the Hickeys, who spent close to two decades in prison for the murder of Carl Bridgewater, a crime they did not commit. That decision was upheld, astoundingly, by four law lords in a majority decision which means that without the government legislating, and with no apparent case to take to the ECHR, that such despicable penny-pinching from those who have had years of their lives taken away from them is likely to continue.

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Peter Hitchens gives Grauniad readers a giggle.

Continuing with the theme of pointing and laughing/crying, Peter Hitchens provides a valuable insight into how the anti-statist, moralist right has to make innumerable incoherent leaps of logic to somehow fit both Blairism and Thatcherism into the same left-wing mould. Tygerland has more.


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We're doomed.

The world's first creationist museum, which tells visitors the Earth is only about 6,000 years old, has opened its doors in the American midwest.

The Creation Museum claims dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex lived alongside ancient civilisations but were strictly vegetarian before the Fall of Man and that the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood.

Quite so. Why else would the T-rex have had those huge teeth other than to carefully chew only the most succulent foliage available?

Mark Looy, a co-founder of the privately funded centre, said: "The guests were very happy with the museum experience.

"Of course, we had some naysayers come through and engage us in conversation, and that's fine - we want them."

It would perhaps be unkind to suggest that Mark's second name is only an n away from accurately describing his beliefs, but his mindset pales into insignificance compared with the man responsible for some of the museum's hi-tech exhibits:

When Mr Marsh was asked to explain the existence of fossilised remains of man's ancestors, he replied: "There are no such things.

"Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they've found, what's the word? They could have been deformed, diseased or something.

"I've seen people like that running round the streets of New York."

That's that then. Our evolutionary ancestors are still with us, except they're now dressed up in suits, racing around Wall Street and performing their daily task of being masters of the universe. It all makes sense. How could we have possibly have not noticed?

Over on the Answers in Genesis site, the organisation which has helped fund the "museum", John Upchurch informs of us of how he came to believe:

Many years ago, I first heard about creationism from the mocking pages of an anthropology book and the ridicule of an astronomy professor. I laughed, too—once. But as I was wandering through the corridors of the Creation Museum, watching the videos and reading the exhibits, I kept thinking back to the letter that Ken Ham’s mother sent AiG just before the opening festivities. Her prayer was that the museum would “stand up to the world as a beacon of God’s love, power, and grace.” And that is my prayer, too—that those who are tempted to scorn this museum will, as I did many years ago, find out that creation
and science attest to the reality of what God tells us in Genesis.

That reality would involve a spirit being creating the world in seven days, making man and woman in his image, then letting a rogue angel infiltrate the garden of eden disguised as a talking serpent, urging Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit that God had so helpfully installed as a test to whether his subjects would obey him, which she and Adam then do, with God casting them out as a result.

And we think the Scientologists are crazy.

Related post:
Pharyngula - The Creation Museum

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Monday, May 28, 2007 

Derogating from the human race.

It's difficult to think of a darker weekend for civil liberties than the one this country has just experienced. It began with Reid informing us that he might well derogate from the ECHR to put a halt to his and future home secretaries' embarrassment, went further downhill with the news that the Home Office wants even those caught dropping litter to be placed on the DNA database, and fell into a trough with Blair's appalling article in the Sunday Times alongside the irredeemable plan to bring back the "sus" laws.

Blair's article itself is breathtaking, both in his apparent complete ignorance of civil liberties, which can only be described as willful, as we know full well that he is not an idiot, and in its delusional qualities. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is either Blair or his government's fault. He calls for consensus at the same time as he decries the opposition for daring to vote against his plans for 90 days, even though he offered a week-by-week court hearing throughout that time! How could they not agree with such a safeguard?

This and a closing comment though have to be the best/worst parts:

We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first. I happen to believe this is misguided and wrong.

Blair appears to be suggesting that we ought to be especially suspicious of foreign nationals, as they seemingly don't deserve the same presumption of innocence until proven guilty as the rest of us. If Blair had used a similar method of reasoning when he first met George Bush then he might not now be quite possibly the most hated man in Britain, but that perhaps sums up the whole way he's gone about things. The other glaring point here is that anyone can be a suspect, and indeed, if the government has its way, then we probably all will be suspects rather than citizens. For the prime minister of this country to suggest that it's "misguided and wrong" to put the civil liberties of a suspect, not someone who's been convicted of any crime before anything else is frightening. While he talks of sending signals, something which Not Saussure expands upon, is he not putting a far more dangerous message across, one which suggests that we're moving beyond that old fashioned idea of everyone having the same rights as everyone else? It's the talk of someone who has no respect for the values which he and others in his party want to inculcate in the public, of fairness, of equality.

It's perhaps this though which explains exactly where Blair has reached in his retreat from reality:

I was stopped by someone the other week who said it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Afghanistan and Iraq). No wonder Muslims felt angry.

When he had finished, I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a United Nations-supervised democratic process and the Muslims in both countries get the chance to vote, which incidentally they take in very large numbers. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims.

The myopia of which is pretty astonishing, although it's the usual argument from Blair of it all being the fault of terrorists. He'd rather not discuss the myriad of failures, the decision to disband the Iraqi army, the de-Ba'athification order, the looting, the brutality of Abu Ghraib, the horrifying sieges of Fallujah, the endemic corruption of the reconstruction contracts, the bloody disaster of being unable to impose security, the ignorance which meant that the possibility of sectarian conflict was dismissed, and most of all, the obeisance to American power without having any influence in how that power was actually wielded. All of that pales into insignificance in Blair's mind when compared to how the terrorists are the only ones who've stopped Iraq and Afghanistan from turning into democratic paradises envied the Middle East over.

It's really come to something when the Sun, of all papers, is urging caution over the proposed "stop and question" powers thought up in a blaze of brainstorming, either by Peter Hain, who suggested the powers currently in effect in Northern Ireland be extended or Tony McNulty, another exasperating Home Office minister, depending on who you believe. We're told that no one was apparently consulted about this at all, in typical leak to a Sunday newspaper fashion, but at least we can depend on Hazel Blears to instantly think it's a wonderful idea. How the sus laws could possibly be any use against terrorists isn't explained, in an age when "intelligence" is the all important factor, but it's the kind of thinking of a government that doesn't think that having a CCTV camera on every corner is intrusive, that having the largest number of DNA profiles on a database isn't something to be ashamed of but instead worth boasting about, and where civil liberties should come second to the rights of suspects. It's the image of a society where fear is winning over hope, where the government is just as guilty of perpetuating it as any tabloid or terrorist group.

Related post:
Nether-World - Ihre Papieren, Bitte!

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Trial by Fleet Street part deux.

Isn't it strange how the Portuguese police, who up till now have been loath to reveal almost any details about the case at all, have apparently leaked that Robert Murat, the only "suspect" in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, had child pornography on his computer? It's also odd, at least in a coincidental sense, that his ex-wife when questioned yesterday by the Sunday Moron about whether he'd indulged in the use of online pornography said that she'd never caught him looking at it.

Don't read too much into that though, because the Scum has some other source material for you to consider in the hunt for a witch. According to Murat's ex-boss, he was "a huge porn fan, addicted to women." Not only that, but he apparently terrified a fellow female employee by stalking her, and all the women hated him. Oh, and he suspected he had an "unhealthy" interest in children. No doubt he had al-Qaida sympathies as well. Last but not least, the Scum reveals that his website viewing included sites containing bestiality. Whether he's additionally into scat, hentai or is sadly not forthcoming.

But wait! Does your child look anything at all like Madeleine? Then you too can probably get into the tabloid of your choice! One family contacted the Scum after their daughter was nearly snatched:

Portuguese Lina Santos said: “When I saw Maddie’s photo I shivered. She is so similar to my daughter Carolina. They are like doubles.”

Except err, her daughter has very dark blonde hair, and doesn't looking anything like Madeleine at all. Apart from that, they are indeed like identical twins! Coming back to Murat's ex-wife, the Sunday Moron also seems a remarkable resemblance:

THE startling likeness between Madeleine McCann and Robert Murat's daughter hits you at once.

As little Sofia Murat stares into the camera wearing a yellow "Madeleine ribbon", she bears a haunting resemblance to the missing four-year-old.

As the photograph clearly demonstrates:

I bet no one's ever seen them in the same room, right?

Meanwhile, the News of the World is embarking on an advertising campaign across Europe, which also happens to mention Madeleine, or rather Maddie, as only the newspapers have ever referred to her.

The whole point of every aspect of the search for Madeleine escapes me. She's now been missing for over three weeks, and any sightings have completely and predictably dried up. Rather than helping to find her, it has to be considered if the high profile campaign has in fact made certain that whomever's taken her will never let her out of wherever it is she's being held, if she isn't already dead. If you were plastered over every billboard in the country with wanted signs, and being talked about in newspapers and media across an entire continent, the obvious thing would be to lay low for a while. Still though the torrent of coverage pours forth, with a DVD being played at the Championship play-off match for reasons known only to the organisers, and some sad lonely individual setting up a meeting point for other sad lonely individuals on Second Life to pretend to pray about a girl in the real world who's disappeared.

To begin with, the coverage was the equivalent of emotional pornography, voyeurism dressed up as empathy or concern that this could happen to any one of us. Now it's simply coverage for coverage sake, still designed primarily to benefit the sales of newspapers and viewing figures, but without the pretense of offering any kind of support, like a relationship in which the romance and lust have been replaced by familiarity and the slow gnawing feeling of tedium. All that's left is to speculate, draw conclusions and slowly but surely forget.

Update: Seeing as this page is being linked to again by, here's an repost of a post I've already made on his amazing "psychic ability":

This blog has had the dubious honour of being featured on's page devoted to Madeleine McCann. Much like Diane Lazarus, Brian is a fraud, a liar and a charlatan, preying on the distraught relatives of missing people's vulnerability and desire to believe someone who says they can help them. An example of how he makes it look as if he's predicted something before it's happened is explained here and here. He is additionally debunked here, and allegations of how he has cheated people out of money are here. Finally, he's let have it by various posters on the James Randi forums over his lies about Madeleine.

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Fascists or Islamists rise against British oppression?

There's much comment and confusion over just which organisation is behind a protest being planned for outside Downing Street on the 15th of June against "British Oppression". The site is written in the familiar radical Islamist screed, leading Pickled Politics to originally allege that it was the work of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, only for that to be dismissed when they personally denied being behind it. Faisal Haque, writing on the Telegraph blog, believes it to be the work of the successor organisation to Al-Muhajiroun, which currently appears to be Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, which may well be right. There are however some discrepancies.

The whois for lists the owner as:

Faruk Miah ( +44.07745 388 220 Fax: +. 24 Little Green Terrace, White Road, Manchester, Manchester M90 9JH GB

24 Little Green Terrace doesn't exist. Nor does White Road, or the postcode, M90 9JH. Nothing particularly strange in the whois information being false, considering the one for this very website is also an obvious fabrication, and it may be potentially clutching at straws, but what does Little Green remind you of? A certain far-right US blog, perhaps?

The potential demonstration has certainly riled up the fascist filth, that's for sure. As Postman Patel notes, Stormfront currently has a 22-page thread discussing the finer points of either staging a counter-demonstration, or signing a petition urging the authorities to ban it. The remnants of Combat 18 have also noticed, as has the BNP itself, which has sent a letter to an unnamed police officer complaining about the posters advertising the demo being pasted up in certain areas of Birmingham, although it has personally cautioned against any "official" counter-demonstration. (They also raise a legitimate point: has whomever's behind the protest already gained permission from the Met for such a demonstration within the "restricted zone"?) The National Front has no such qualms, to judge by this posting. A self-proclaimed "radical Muslim" who blogged about the demonstration found himself descended upon by various fascists and one or two Harry's Placers, although perhaps more interesting or predictable is that he claims to blog for human rights but is virulently homophobic, something he has in common with the very fascists he loathes.

Is it possible that this is a ploy by some far-righters to draw in radical Muslims, and then either start a riot or simply try and get a repeat of the infamous demonstration which took place outside the Danish embassy? Or are some of us simply reading too much into it? After all, the Islamist, the magazine apparently published by the remnants of Al-Muhajiroun, links to the "British Oppression" website.

One thing is for certain. The very last thing that we need right now, with both Blair and Reid proposing even tougher anti-terrorism laws is for a similar demonstration for the Motoons one to take place, or even worse, for there to be possible confrontation in Whitehall between fascists and Islamists. As the BNP's own propaganda states:
Let them protest against Blair and Co. in London and everywhere else for that matter and get ready to count the number of new BNP votes we will gain for each second of television broadcasting, every column inch of newspaper reporting and every photograph taken of some cleric calling for death to the West!

It could of course turn out that no one bothers to turn up; the Danish embassy protest at most was 500 strong, and both groups tend to be all mouth and no trousers. Nevertheless, the only ones to profit will be those who want the Muslim community to be even more isolated, attacked and loathed, and that additionally fits the agenda of both.

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