How do you amputate thieves?

In a four-page letter to MEPs, the kingdom’s mission to the EU called for “tolerance, respect and understanding” with regard to the country’s desire to preserve its traditional values and “family lineage”.

The new penal code, which also provides for the amputation of thieves and whipping of people wearing clothes associated with the opposite sex, was brought in on 3 April, despite international condemnation.

An amputation upon a thief perhaps, the amputation of a hand of a thief, but an amputation of a thief?

The Telegraph might need a new Senior US Technology Correspondent

This is, well, umm:

The British founder of Bebo has emerged as one of the winners from Pinterest’s $10bn (£7.7bn) flotation after backing the photo sharing app eight years ago.

Michael Birch, who sold the now-defunct social network for $850m in 2008, first invested in Pinterest in 2011 when the company was worth just $52m.

The San Francisco photo-sharing app’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday valued it at more than $10bn, and its value rose to almost $13bn after shares rose by 25pc in early trading.

Pinterest as a photo sharing app? Well, no, not really. The usual American phrase for it is “scrapbooking”. And, well, sure, piccies do get shared but that’s not a useful description of what is being done there.

Seriously, buck up Telegraph.

This isn’t neoliberalism

George Monbiot’s analysis of suffocating bureaucracy in the “marketised” public sector was as accurate as it was depressing to read (We were promised freedom. Privatisation doesn’t deliver it, 10 April). I work in higher education and my wife works in the NHS, and both of us have been driven to despair by the relentless growth of managerial control since the 1990s. The rigid rules and regulations we are bound by, which stipulate not merely which procedures have to be followed for each activity, but how these must be performed, make it impossible for us to do our jobs effectively. The bureaucratic tail now wags the professional dog.

Even while frontline staff are told that lack of funding means posts must remain unfilled, and redundancies imposed, the number of managers increases regardless. These managers then bury already overstretched and stressed frontline staff with more targets, appraisals, medium-term strategic reviews, annual reviews, five-year plans, framework agreements, mission statements, new or revised guidelines, compulsory training courses and away days. As if this was not bad enough, public sector workers are also expected to read a relentless cascade of unintelligible, jargon-filled documentation explaining how they should do their jobs, and what results they are expected to achieve. It is this Soviet-style regime, actually encouraged and embedded by the Tories, that breeds inefficiency, not a lack of professionalism or competence, among frontline staff in the public sector. Doctors, nurses, police officers, probation officers, social workers, teachers and university lecturers desperately want to be allowed to do their jobs enthusiastically and professionally (while fully accepting the need for accountability and efficiency), but the sheer scale of politically imposed bureaucracy and layers of management throughout the public sector makes it impossible.
Pete Dorey
Bath, Somerset

From The Guardian’s letters page.

That might be Blairite managerialism but it’s not neoliberalism, is it? And how demented do you have to be to believe that it is?

Ghastly bastards

Now that Virgin Trains is out of the running on west coast after refusing to back a multibillion- pound deficit in the rail staff pension fund,

That’s the Observer.

The actual thing being that there are pension deficits. And how much should the franchisee be responsible, the franchisee running the trains today and tomorrow, for the deficit run up yesterday?

Roughly, the government’s position is that we’ll let you know. The potential franchisee’s is that we need to know today so as to be able to bid the right amount – the right amount obviously including whatever past pension costs we’re going to be asked to cover.

That not being the way The Observer covers it – the bastards.

This lack of consistency has, largely, benefited the private sector, while simultaneously undermining the rationale of the franchising system. Virgin and Stagecoach were stripped of the east coast franchise last year after admitting they could not meet the promised £3.3bn in contract payments, but were under no obligation to meet that forgone financial promise. It was the third time in 12 years that a private operator had been removed from Britain’s most prestigious rail route after failing to deliver the billions of pounds they had promised to the taxpayer.

Neither of these cases sparked much of a public outcry because, in reflection of what matters most to passengers, safety and punctuality records on east coast have not been disastrous. This is thanks to a UK-wide, multibillion-pound investment programme underwritten by the state and carried out by Network Rail, the government-owned operator of tracks and stations.

The reason they wouldn’t meet the payments? Network Rail was late – again – on that promised upgrade of the line.

Bastards is too mild, isn’t it?

Silly business

Rupert Murdoch has been told he must overhaul independent oversight of The Times and The Sunday Times to win government approval for newsroom cuts.

Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, said he was “minded to” approve an application from News UK, the media mogul’s British operation, to lift a ban on staff journalists working across both titles.

However, he said he was “unable to accept the proposed undertakings in their current form” due to concerns about “lack [of] clarity and certainty over roles and responsibilities” under a special governance regime meant to curb Mr Murdoch’s influence over UK media.

The rules were agreed with the Government when he bought both newspapers in 1981 amid fears…

The newspaper business has rather changed since 1981, no? But the bureaucracy carries on as if it hasn’t. Huzzah for regulatory control of the economy then, eh?

Telegraph numbers….

The number of diagnoses of type 2 diabetes has fallen in an ‘encouraging’ sign, the charity Diabetes UK has said. Although three people are still being diagnosed every three minutes the equivalent of 552 cases per day, it is 27 cases fewer each day than in 2016 when there were 579 every 24 hours, nearly one person every two minutes.

That’ll be one person every three minutes then, not three.

So which is the April Fool?

This seems an obvious contender:

British April Fool’s jokes have been banned this year under an archaic parliamentary order, amid warnings the public can no longer tell the difference between reality and farce.

The statute from 1653 states that the issuing of false reports is strictly prohibited and punishable by the splitting of an offender’s ribs.

Officials in the Cabinet Office have taken the unusual step of asking media outlets to refrain from publishing the traditional stories on April 1 in case they trigger panic buying or spark riots.

The original statute was imposed by Oliver Cromwell when he became convinced that the public’s mocking of his warts was undermining attempts to crush royalists after the civil war.

The Daily Mash would have written that up rather better I fear.

Umm, yes

Beatles fans looking to visit the Abbey Road crossing have wasted thousands of pounds taking a long and winding road to the wrong station.

Rather than going to St John’s Wood Tube station, in north-west London, many Beatlemaniacs instead went to Abbey Road station in the city’s east.

A Freedom of Information request by Telegraph Money showed that 1,171 journeys were made from the Abbey Road station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to St John’s Wood on the Jubilee line in 2018. The majority of these are thought to have been lost Beatles fans.

Assuming these were all adult single fares, fans would have spent £2,959.40 to get back to the right location.

Must have been a very boring afternoon in the Telegraph offices when they cooked up that info request….

O Tempora, O Mores

She said that in principal restorative policies are fine but poor implementation can lead to teachers becoming “disempowered” and discipline getting worse.

The Telegraph used to catch those….

In recent years there has been a rise in popularity of restorative justice policies in schools, prompted by a greater focus in the principle in the criminal justice system, according to Ms Keates.



I am sick of being silenced by social-justice warriors whose self-assurance is only matched by their ignorance

I share the distaste for the cultural fascists. But silenced when you’ve a national newspaper column?

What’s this despite?

Nigel Farage added nearly £400,000 last year to the coffers of a company that has acted as a repository for the former Ukip leader’s earnings from media appearances and the lecture circuit.

Despite claiming in 2017 that he was “skint”, filings to Companies House suggest the picture may have changed in the period since he stepped down as leader.

Thorn in the Side Ltd, of which Farage is the sole director, had assets of £548,573 for the year to May 2018 – a substantial jump from assets of just over £157,000 recorded for the previous year.

He’s skint, he goes to work and earns some money. What’s this “despite” then?


Wait, seriously? This is actually a real news report?

Absolutely nothing has changed,” says Rashid, a young asylum seeker on his own in Britain who was among the people who met the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, when he visited the UK in November. “I am still living on £5 a day, struggling with travel, struggling with food, struggling with making friends. I thought that was going to be changed to something like £50 a day, but I am still hoping and waiting for change. I don’t know what I have to do.”

We’re to run the economy according to the delusions of children now?

Umm, no

Kennel Club warns premium White Swiss Shepherd dogs could be sold off as cheaper German cousins ahead of Crufts debut

Not really:

Pet owners have been warned to be vigilant by the Kennel Club when buying White Swiss Shepherd dogs amid fears premium priced puppies are being passed off as their cheaper German cousins.

Why would someone want to lose money that way?