I saw just the tail end of this, a little bit

Finally, a story that, while strictly speaking has nothing to do with language, deserves repeating. It comes from an obituary of long-time Daily Mirror journalist John Knight, a noted bon vivant of Fleet Street.

He once went on a three-day lunch and on his return to the office was asked where he had been. “On the piss,” he replied. “Oh thank goodness for that,” said his editor. “We were worried in case you were ill.” Ah, truly those were halcyon days.

Not on Fleet Street but in some work I did for a few advertising agencies. Monumental lunches where no food was eaten….

Umm, yes Tone

Politics is not an exact science. After the vote, there will be a ledger. On one side will be hard or no-deal Brexit with Farage and the Tory fellow travellers. On the other will be those who want an end to Brexit and those who believe that, after this degree of mess and on a decision of this magnitude, the final say should be with the people.

Isn’t that what the vote was? The people having their say?

So universities should brand the socially suspect now, should they?

One of the little things about Stalin’s Russia – Soviet Union if you prefer – was the manner in which your social origins followed you through the system. Children of the bourgeois were deliberately overlooked for such things as university places, those entry portals into the professional classes. True sons of the proletariat were identified and promoted.

Some people seem to be taking Stalinist policies as a guide book, not a warning:

Universities should introduce “privilege flags” so admissions tutors know when students are from affluent backgrounds, it has been suggested.

Dr Rachel Carr OBE, chief executive of IntoUniversity, a charity that raises aspiration among underprivileged children, said this would allow institutions to see who has had a “better start” in life.

“Lots of universities already use participation flags to identify students,” she said. “How about we also use ‘privilege flags’ so we can see the students who already have a much better start and a much better likelihood of success.”

This would not apply to people of proven social value of course – Tony Benn’s grandchildren say, now the fifth – or is it sixth – generation of those to wibble about progressive politics and the necessity of overthrowing inherited privilege. I can’t actually recall Hilary Benn’s antecedents. Was he a third or fourth generation Cabinet Minister? Forth or fifth generation MP?

Can’t say I’m enamoured of such a system, to be honest. Neither the Stalinism nor the Benns.

Well, yes, I suppose so

Isil extremists are using Instagram to promote jihad and incite support for terror attacks on the West, an investigation by The Telegraph has found.

They are circumventing the platform’s security checks to post images and text celebrating the killings of “kafir” (unbelievers) accompanied by images of dead soldiers and beheadings as well as threatening terrorist atrocities on the scale of the Sri Lankan suicide bombings that claimed 253 lives.

Some posts brazenly use Isil’s logo or images of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as their profile pictures and urge followers to join jihad.

The investigation exposes serious flaws in the ability…

People use method of communication to communicate.


Well, actually, we know, don’t we? This is the modern world so we don’t have a Stasi that listens to all telephone calls. That would be using taxpayer money, money that could be better spent upon diversity advisers. No, instead, BT must censor the conversations of callers on its own dime.

Hmm? What? The telephone company, as a common carrier, isn’t held responsible for what people say? And yet Instagram, Facebook, are? A purely historical mistake that, who thinks the prodnoses wouldn’t impost that duty upon BT if they could?

Yes, we know, but why is what we want to know

This isn’t to comment on the decision itself – about which I know nothing, Rather, the ghastly bureaucratese of the justification.

Oxford University in ageism row as celebrated poets ineligible for top job because they are too old

Well, OK. It’s this that grates:

A spokesperson for the university said: “The University of Oxford operates an Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) for employees in all academic posts.

“From 1 October 2017, the University has adopted an EJRA of 30 September before the employee’s 69th birthday. Despite its unusual appointment process and duties, as an employed professorship the Professorship of Poetry is subject to the EJRA.”

Yes, yes, we know what you’ve done. What we want to know is why?

Aren’t MPs just the cards?

MPs including a minister are boosting their expenses by claiming for adult children “dependent” upon them, The Telegraph can disclose.

Rules introduced in 2017 allow MPs to claim additional second home expenses of up to £5,400 per child.

The rule was originally intended to help MPs with children rent bigger homes but The Telegraph has discovered, following changes to the regulations, several are using the allowance to claim for adult children in their 20s.

Claire Perry, an energy minister who earns £111,148 a year, claimed £9,846 on top of her £22,760 standard allowance by citing her three children aged 17, 19 and 22. Ms Perry said: “All claims are made completely in accordance with the Ipsa…

Presumably HMRC would not look askance at a private sector worker gaining the same sort of expenses? They would be tax free would they?

Err, Polly?

Britain may be in the mood for a nationalist prime minister who is prepared to see minorities lose out, according to an alarming poll on populism in Prospect magazine. The poll mines a worrying seam of anti-democratic, anti-civil rights instincts on the right, with Conservatism moving rapidly rightwards.

By 61% to a meagre 18%, voters agree with the sentiment that “a prime minister should always put the British majority first even if it means minorities lose out”.

The people getting what the people want, good and hard, is democracy. It may well not be civil liberty, that’s true. But then that also goes for all those other sorts of democracy too, like economic democracy…..

How the left colonises

This is not least the case for victims of online abuse; sites like Facebook and Twitter have become breeding grounds for very real hate. New research by the disability charity Leonard Cheshire, released today, shows online disability hate crime has soared in the last year, with recorded incidents up by almost a third.

Leonard Cheshire himself simply took in and cared for someone who needed it. Then did it again, again, and built a system that has done it thousands of times.

He’s not been dead that long but now that provision of glorious charity is colonised by the sort of idiots who worry about Tweets.

Sad really, but then that’s colonialism for you.

This is quite fascinating

Penis extensions don’t work, study finds
Procedures carry high risk of complications ‘and should almost never be carried out’


“These procedures should almost never be done,” said Muir.


“Many men who wish to undergo penis enlargement procedures have an average-sized penis but believe their size to be inadequate. Sadly, some clinics seem to ignore this. Surgeons in the private sector should not do this. It’s wrong on every level.”

An unknown number of men who seek such treatment have either body dysmorphic disorder or penile dysfunction disorder, both of which involve an obsessive dissatisfaction with their appearance.

Body dysmorphia should not be treated by not very effective surgery.



Teachers and police officers will not have a national exemption from a controversial workplace parking tax agreed by the SNP and Greens, under plans lodged in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Greens tabled amendments to a Transport Bill, agreed with the Scottish Government, that will allow councils to introduce the new levy.

They included a “national exemption” for hospitals and NHS properties and, following complaints from doctors and charities, specified this should include GP practices and hospices.

Blue badge holders will also not have to pay the charge but pleas by teachers and other groups that they should be extended the same privilege fell on deaf ears.

How wide should the exemption be? Politicians? Bureaucrats? Employees of vital exporting firms? Members of political parties?

Dr Google

A teenager given a one per cent chance of surviving a dangerous infection has been saved by an experimental cocktail of viruses.

Scientists have hailed the “remarkable” recovery of 17-year-old Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway, who came down with a bug related to tuberculosis following a lung transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

No previous transplant patient to have been infected with Mycobacterium abscessus at the hospital has survived.

However, Isabelle, who was born with cystic fibrosis, is now out of grave danger after being given untested “phage therapy”.

Also known as bacteriophages, phages are a naturally occurring virus that attacks bacteria rather than the body’s own cells.

Yes, excellent.

The Great Ormond Street team obtained phages from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US after Isabelle’s mother Jo read about the treatment on the internet.


Maybe the appendix actually does something then?

People who have their appendix removed are three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, new research indicates.

The largest ever study of the relationship between the gut and the debilitating nervous system disorder involved the analysis of more than 62 million patients records.

Researchers found that patients who had their appendix removed were more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those whose appendix remained in place.

I offer no guidance on whether this is silly or not. Only that it’s interesting – have they found some actual use for the appendix, finally?

Bit of an odd thing to note this late tho’. Both Parkinson’s and appendectomy have been around and known a long time.

One other thought:

The researchers analysed electronic health records representing more than 62.2 million patients and identified those who had appendectomies and were diagnosed with Parkinson’s at least six months later.

Is this a rare use of data mining working properly?

Why we must wipe out British farming with true free trade

Britain’s farmers are almost 18 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average industrial worker, and the fatality rate is increasing. Look through the government’s summary of the 33 fatal farm, forestry and fishing accidents in 2017/18 and there were a number of types of fatalities such as falls, crushes, electrocutions and equipment malfunctions. Most people (but not farmers) might be surprised to learn that work with cows is particularly dangerous – “crushed by a bull” was the single most common cause of death.

So what can be done?

Buy our food from elsewhere thereby saving any English people from having to do such a dangerous job, obviously.

There are two ways of reading this

From a PR email:

Dismay as new report reveals that health inequalities continue to disadvantage older LGBT people

· – LGBT men and women aged 50+ have poorer self-rated health and are more likely to have other conditions that impact their health and wellbeing

· – Action is needed to improve health outcomes of the older LGBT community by enhancing inclusivity of mainstream health and care provision, strengthening training of health and care staff and enhancing data collection

Could be that the entire NHS is homophobic, sure. Or lesbophobic, qphobic and so on.

Could be that not being heterosexual is damaging to your health. And there are certainly good reasons why the second could be true. Anal sex is more likely among the male and gay, anal sex plus promiscuity is well known as an HIV risk. Lesbians are less likely to have children than hetero women, the largest risk for breast cancer is to not bring a fetus to term and then breast feed it – that’s why nuns have such a high incidence.

I do not insist on either answer. But we do need to find out before we decide what to do about it.

Well, there’s good for your health and then there’s good for your health

Authorities have warned people against eating raw marmot meat because it can carry Yersinia pestis, the plague germ. Some people ignore the warnings as they believe that consuming the innards of the large rodent is good for their health.

Each year in Mongolia at least one person dies of the plague, mostly due to consuming such meat, according to the US National Center for Zoonotic Disease.

So, when do we invade Poland?

Prince Charles to celebrate Royal Family’s German heritage in major speech on ‘Brexit tour’

When’s the Crusade into Lithuania? Busbys would look good on the Champs Elysee it has to be said. Switching entirely to a diet of sausages and potatoes might not quite suit but perhaps we can get Hugo Boss to do the spiffy uniforms once again?

Mother Nature’s a bitch

In the past, our ancestors were subjected to full-strength, undiluted, CFC-free, pure-organic, additive-free natural selection. The biggest recipients were young children, for which evolution had the greatest appetite of all. Those with the least useful mutations could look forward to a horrific death by starvation, predators, cannibalism, disease, drought, flash floods, drowning and much more besides. During an average 30 to 40 year human life span, mothers would produce eight to ten children only to see four to five of them die before reaching the age where they might pass their genes to the next generation.

Interesting but really?

Keeping fit protects against getting cancer and dying from it, the largest study of its kind has concluded.

The fittest people more than halved their risk of bowel or lung cancer and cut their risk of dying of it, researchers in the US found.

So, smoking but keeping fit as well leaves you with no increased risk of lung cancer?

Or they already defining being fit as not smoking?