How does this work?

“We need to guarantee that we adequately fund public media so that it is not kept economically weak and vulnerable to political and commercial pressures.”

If the politicians control the paying for it then how can it be free of politics?

Guardian fun

So Gary Younge says:

For along with Trump’s personal frailties is a series of political characteristics that underpins his anomie. He is a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe and a nationalist. Those are not psychological descriptors but political ones, fortified by systems and ideology.


This was not because people didn’t see those things, but because they either didn’t care, cared about other things more, preferred him to the alternative, or simply didn’t show up. As such, his victory marked a high point for the naked appeal of white supremacy in particular and rightwing populism in general, and a low point for the centre-left, neoliberal agenda.

Which gets changed by the subeditors, in the subheading, to:

To reduce his presidency to a frail mind is to ignore the fact he’s an emblem of free-market, white supremacist nationalism

Younge may be many things but he’s not stupid enough to add free market to Trump’s list of failings. Nor to think that free market is equal or part of white supremacy, nationalism and the rest.

The Guardian’s subeditors are that stupid.

Silly girl

Imagine a place where there are no elite or expensive private schools. And imagine a society where housing is affordable – a three-bedroom house, for example, costing one quarter of a similar property in Sydney.

What would such a place be like when the two main drivers of financial stress and resultant inequality were removed?

It would be … the most liveable city in Australia. It would be Warrnambool.

Last week the Victorian coastal city of Warrnambool was crowned by the Ipsos annual Life in Australia study as the most liveable city in Australia.

Access to nature, feeling safe, a sense of community and a lack of traffic congestion “helped the area score so highly”, according to reports.

But I also think inequality – or the perception of it – is important when it comes to liveability.

Take away elite private schools and ridiculously expensive median house prices, and suddenly you’re living in a much more equal place.

Median house prices aren’t part of inequality. It’s the distribution around the median that is.

Sigh, Guardian and numbers…..

These people can’t even count, can they?

LA levels of homelessness were once unthinkable in the UK. Not any more


For the past five years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, where thousands of destitute people call the streets home on any given day. In part due to spiralling rents, LA has an astounding homelessness problem (recent figures revealed a 16% jump in the city to more than 36,000 out of a population of just under 4 million) in a country where “tent cities” have been normal for some time.

That’s terrible.

The statistics are bad. An official estimate reported a 165% jump in rough sleepers in England since 2010 – a total of 4,677 people on a single given night in autumn 2018.

LA has 0.9% of the population rough sleeping. The UK has 0.007%. This is the same is it?

The arts graduates not realising that two orders of magnitude different really is different?

Georgie Laddie

George Monbiot rather fell for one. The original:

The most expensive yacht in the world, costing £3bn, is a preposterous slab of floating bling called History Supreme. It carries 100 tonnes of gold and platinum wrapped around almost every surface, even the anchor.

The corrected:

Perhaps to visit one of their superhomes, constructed and run at vast environmental cost, or to take a trip on their superyacht, which might burn 500 litres of diesel an hour just ticking over, and which is built and furnished with rare materials extracted at the expense of beautiful places.

With the footnote:

This article was amended on September 19 to remove an inaccurate reference to the world’s most expensive superyacht.

George can get taken in by odd claims…..

How very Guardian

Back to basics: what wines can’t you do without?
If you had to pare down your wine selection to just a few staples, what would you choose?

Wine. Staples. Britain.

It’s easy to see why recipes with a limited number of ingredients are winners, and that definitely applies to cocktail recipes more than most – who on Earth has the inclination, time or budget these days to be a mixologist on top of everything else? But what about wine? Is it a bonus to limit the number of different wines you drink?

Not for readers of this column, I suspect, who thrive on the new and unfamiliar, but we all need staples in our lives.

I’d suggest everyone needs an everyday red and an everyday white – that is, something you can enjoy and pour without breaking the bank.


Yes, I know wine has become more popular these days, no longer just an upper middle class thing. But it dopes nicely show that the Guardian is the upper middle classes thinking about the proletariat rather than actually for the proletariat, doesn’t it?


Veterinarians Are Killing Themselves. An Online Group Is There To Listen And Help

“Yep, that’s cool, good you turned the volume up, I can hear your gurgles as you strangle now. And just a hint, if you try swinging side to side you might speed up the process a bit. But not too much! Don’t pull that hook out of the ceiling now. Don’t want to have to start over!”

That sorta listening and help?

Poor little snowflake

In the decade since, the tenor of those comments became so personalised and abusive that the ship often drowned before making it to shore – the moderators would simply shut the thread down. When it first started happening, I took it as a personal failure – perhaps I had not struck the right tone or not sufficiently hedged all my points, provoking readers into thinking I was being dishonest or incendiary. In time, it dawned on me that my writing was the same. It was the commenters who had changed. It was becoming harder to discuss almost anything without a virtual snarl in response. And it was becoming harder to do so if one were not white or male.

As a result, the Guardian overhauled its policy and decided that it would not open comment threads on pieces that were certain to derail. The moderators had a duty of care to the writers, some of whom struggled with the abuse, and a duty of care to new writers who might succumb to a chilling effect if they knew that to embark on a journalism career nowadays comes inevitably with no protection from online thuggery.

Sure there are the letters in green ink. Always have been.

But it came as a hell of a shock to those opinion and comment writers to find out that eh Great Unwashed not only didn’t agree with their pearls of wisdom they had cogent reasons for not doing so. As Factchecking Pollyanna once noted, Polly managed 8 errors of fact in one opening sentence once.

20 odd years later we’re seeing the shutting down of that response mechanism again. It’s simply far too much of a shock to the egos of those doing the writing. After all, who wants to design a new world and then tell everyone how it’s going to be if some prole can just mention facts against it?

Polly is actually proposing A Civil Service coup here – Oh Where Art Thous Treason Act?

The sense of violation of democracy reverberates everywhere. But what should civil servants do when power is seized in front of their eyes? Do they carry on obeying orders to drive the country into a no-deal Brexit disaster when they see parliament barred from that nation-changing decision? I asked Bob Kerslake, former head of the civil service, where their duty lies in this unprecedented situation.

“We are reaching the point where the civil service must consider putting its stewardship of the country ahead of service to the government of the day,” he said. That is a devastating verdict.

Mark Sedwill, the current head, should, along with all other senior civil servants indeed consider the democratic validity of any instruction to facilitate a no-deal Brexit without parliamentary assent. A no-deal Brexit was never proposed in the referendum, three-quarters of the public are against it, along with the overwhelming majority of MPs. Johnson has not been elected, commands no majority, avoids interviews and now sends parliament away. Consider, in her favour, how many times Theresa May was willing to stand in parliament taking the pain on Brexit statements for hour after hour, out of respect for parliament.

Damn that Tony Blair, eh?

My recommendation would be to take more water with it love

The biggest elite lie fed to the middle class in modern history is that ‘progress’ is linear. In fact, steroidic globalised innovation is dangerously circular. Medievalism is not some 600-year-old blood spatter fading into forgottenness in the history hardbacks that British students increasingly spurn. These days feudalism wears a white lab coat and is using technology to destroy capitalism.

The internet is a backwards plutocracy where human value does not derive from profit-driving labour but from personal data, seized by our tech masters in the shadows without any payment in exchange.


The robotic middle class is trapped in The Matrix, but is there a way to escape?

Or perhaps ingest fewer mushrooms.