Newspaper Watch

Timmy Elsewhere

Rather than retype this, a cut and paste of a comment at CiF.

Err, can I try and get your argument straight here? You\’re saying that because various Europeans make good records, throw good parties, cook good food and make decent movies, we should therefore be in favour of a specific style and structure of governance? Said style and structure of governance actually having nothing whatsoever to do with food, music, parties or films?

Might I use this logic in other areas? That the US makes good movies, New Orleans has good food, certainly I\’ve been to the odd good party or two there, there\’s even been known to be the odd good record or two come out of the place. Does this then show that George Bush and the style and structure of governance in that country is somthing we should all support?

If not (and I would assume that most here would say not) then why should that logical structure apply to Europe?

Two other minor things. The accepting euros bit by The Might Boosh: you do know that was John Major\’s idea, yes? The Hard Ecu as it was called at the time? Instead of our adopting the euro, simply make it a legal currency which people could choose to use or not, as they wished, running along side the pound? Or perhaps you don\’t know that.

Oh, and Gisele? Second Guardian piece this week (Alexander Chancellor\’s being the first that I saw) which was based on, how to put this, less than adequate research:

"Gisele Bundchen\’s manager sister has denied reports the supermodel demands to be paid in Euros instead of U.S. dollars, insisting the claims are "ridiculous". The Brazilian beauty was alleged to have refused payment in American currency because the dollar is "too weak".

However her sister Patricia Bundchen, who was credited for the quotes, has denied making any such comment and claims the supermodel is simply "bemused" by the reports.

Patricia says, "It\’s a joke by some journalist, it\’s ridiculous. I never said that to any press organization. We never talk about Gisele\’s contracts, and even less so the money involved. (Gisele) is continuing to sign her contracts in dollars or euros, as she has always done. She is bemused by these reactions. This information is not true … I do not recall ever having said anything that could be interpreted in that way."  "

I agree that\’s not the most stunningly reliable source of course, perhaps someone might hire a journalist somewhere and check out which version of the story is true?

Sam Leith and Privacy

Well, yes:

It used to be quite tricky and labour-intensive for reporters to run down photographs, workmates, friends, and school contemporaries of people in the public eye. Now you run the risk of being a front-page story simply by standing next to someone newsworthy in a Facebook photograph.

Me, I\’m going à la carte. I\’m adjusting my privacy settings, burning off my fingerprints, "tickling" Foxy Knoxy, and pulling my tinfoil stetson down low.

Anyone comes near me with a digital camera, it\’s on with the burqa.

This might have more effect if this gentleman desirous of a low profile were not a national newspaper columnist who has, in the couse of writing such things, told us that  he\’s a heterosexual, smoking, cat owning, computer game playing, scruffy, cardigan wearing (and that\’s just what I can remember off the top of my head) 33 year old.

Good Old Will

Reliable as ever is Will Hutton. I agree with parts of his analysis, that bidders are indeed tryingto dump the losses at Northern Rock onto the taxpayer while claiming the profits for themselves: that\’s pretty obvious. It\’s also what any sensible person would try to do, even if they can\’t quite manage to pull it off. However, Will\’s logic then goes a tad awry.

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has made some woeful misjudgments over this crisis, but at least he wanted to show private sector sharks some cold steel. No such attitude seems to exist in Whitehall.

The problem is with the politicians, their being muppets essentially. Agreed.

So Will thinks that the politicians should take over the whole bank, nationalise it.


Accuracy in Reporting At The Guardian

This is good from Alexander Chancellor:


So it is with Google, the latest wealth-spewing monster of the internet. Its two young founders – Larry Page and Sergey Brin – are each worth around $20bn, much the same as Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 13th richest person in the world. But unlike him, they don\’t have private jets, Rolls-Royces, yachts or any of the other pointless accoutrements of the super-rich. The Prince has just bought a new A389 superjumbo, the world\’s biggest passenger aircraft (list price $319m), as his own private plane, which he will convert into a flying luxury hotel and use to carry his fleet of limousines with him around the world. Page and Brin each own nothing more flashy than a modest Toyota Prius, the environmentally virtuous hybrid car.


Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the low-key co-founders of Google Inc., set tongues wagging last year when they bought a used Boeing 767 widebody as an unusually large private jet. The 767-200 typically carries 180 passengers and is three times as heavy as a conventional executive plane. Mr. Page said last year that he and Mr. Brin would use it for personal travel, including taking "large numbers of people to places such as Africa." He said it would hold about 50 passengers when refurbished, but declined to comment on other details of the plane, which has been kept ultra secret.

Green Party Politics

Leader or no leader?

The supporters of the latter, led by the MEP Caroline Lucas, and Prince Charles\’s favourite Green, Jonathan Porritt, succinctly argued in a letter to this paper on Tuesday that a single identifiable leader who people recognise and trust is the best way of engaging the voters.

If they want to contest elections within the existing system, if there is going to be a Green party, as opposed to a green pressure group, they have to act like players. And in a context of minimal voter attention and celebrity politics, that means the party\’s enviably simple message has to be put across by a single leader.

The Guardian comes out on the side of two of its occasional columnists. Amazing, don\’t you think?

Err, Jasper?

The culture of spin didn\’t actually die; it merely mutated. And against a bacterium this infectious, the public is defenceless. Even the media have succumbed.

Mr. Gerard, as you are part of that media doing the succumbing, isn\’t the answer rather something for you to come up with?

Bay Area Earthquake

Last night there was an earthquake in the Bay Area, about 5.6 on the Richter scale and centered on San Jose.


Sort of a "small earthquake in Chile, not many hurt" type story really.

Quick question. That story of that headline is that Cyril Connoly and mates were trying to invent the silliest or most boring headline possible, wasn\’t it? So the question is, was this just what they came up with in said competition, or was it actually printed?

Err, Jeff?

Yes, I know that small business is important, but this much so?

Small businesses employ more than 10m people, nearly half the private-sector workforce, and contribute almost £1,000bn to the British economy.

The British economy is what, some £1,2 trillion? And we\’re saying that 50% of the private sector workforce alone is providing 83% of that? Don\’t think so, somehow. That\’s the sort of number that should set journalistic alarm bells ringing, surely?

Great Britons

So the Telegraph is running something to try and find the Great Britons. One suggestion:

Or John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith who brought the Conservative Party up to date on green issues – and duly had some of their policies pinched by Labour?

They\’ve clearly lost their minds then.

Whatta Guardian Leader!


Capitalism\’s great advantage is supposed to be that it ensures the economy can learn from failure. That only really happens, though, when someone takes the rap.

Weel quite. But instead of wibbling about managers getting payoffs for failure, why not note that someone has indeed taken the rap? The shareholders?

They are, after all, the capitalists in this capitalism thing so it\’s all working as advertised.

Bollocks Ms. Sarler

Sorry, but this ain\’t true.

The higher moral ground, in a democracy, belongs to consensus drawn from the values of the majority and implemented by the flawed beast that is the law. Those who would exempt themselves from it, no matter how enjoyable the fleeting fame of their martyrdom, deserve no more endorsement or admiration than any other petty delinquent.

That is what is known as the Tyranny of the Majority. It\’s the recipe for an authoritarian State. You must do as we the majority say you should, rather than follow either your individual conscience or desires. There was a majority at one time that said that those who believed in consubstantiation were heretics and so they were burned. Not too many decades distant from that point those who believed in transubstansiation were heretics and thus burned in their turn.

At another point there was a societal consensus that homosexuals were an abomination unto the majority consensus and so were to be hanged. It\’s actually true that in one year (admittedly, I think there was a particularly homophobic Lincoln Assizes at the time) more people were hung in England and Wales for playing shirtlifter than were for murder.

The mark of a free and liberal society is exactly the opposite of Ms. Sarler\’s statement. That flawed beast, the law, should not be used to try and impose the majority\’s moral consensus. Rather, it should protect the individual and their decisions from it.

Oh For Fuck\’s Sake Will!

Jesu Christe and Good God Almighty. How on earth does this man get regarded as an expert on the economy? Will Hutton:

And there is Bruce Wasserstein, the larger-than-life, extravagantly rich current CEO, who now lives in London to escape even the US\’s minimal taxes.

He\’s a US citizen. Thus he pays US taxes. The US is unique in this regard, that you do not escape their minimal taxes (which, in NYC at least, are not minimal, they\’re higher than the UK…when you add Federal to State and City income taxes they\’re over 50%) by moving abroad. You still cough up to Uncle Sam what you would if you lived in the US (barring some minor adjustments fo amounts under $100,000 or so, which certainly aren\’t going to bother someone like Wasserstein).

Not knowing that simple and basic fact really rather makes anything else Hutton has to say on the subject a little suspect, doesn\’t it?

Daily Mail Quandrary!

Just seen the front page today:

"Will We Have Room for Them All?"

or some such.

The UK population will increase by a third, to 81million, in the lifetime of children born today, experts predict.

So a small competitionette: what should the headline have been?

"Immigrants support house prices"?