Malaysian plane still not news news.


A friend and I discussed this the other day – before this story slipped to page 5 of most news nodes.

Is ‘the absence of something’ more or less newsworthy, the longer the absence continues?

We are certainly used to seeing Tabloids making non news into long running story arcs – (“Lady Diana was killed by….” “The McCanns were not using…”).  In this case however what we have is a deepening mystery, but no news. As such, the usual 7-10 day law of the news story arc tends to apply.
It’s been fun to see various outlets feature certain types of expert on this matter – Radio 4 found a “Catastrophe insurance expert” talking about the possibility that the controls of the aircraft were remotely taken over by computer – since this had happened with a drone that was landed safely by a third party (should have had fully comp – Ed.). This could be done without the involvement of the pilot she said…

Well there is some pet theory fun to be had there, sure, but a drone doesn’t have expert crew and 200+ passengers in possession of mobile phones –  so the safe landing theory surely has to take a bit of a tumble unless it has some heavy duty hijackers thrown into the mix.

Applying Occam’s razor to this story doesn’t give you a nice simple solution, but it does rule out a fair few of the more lurid speculations about the fate of this Boeing 777 “smart plane” – and I find it hard to think of any of the Razor cut down ideas involving living passengers.  We should not be surprised that there have been several false dawns and leads – when there is no real news speculation and media hunger can quickly turn a genuine news story into a “Fox news” story.  None of these have changed the basic picture one iota…The most obvious answer to me is that, while someone did manage to turn off communications and do something weird – like try and fly the plane incognito to an unknown destination – their plan went wrong (passenger revolt as in United 93?) and the plane sank without trace into some deep ocean… as it is fully entitled to do under the laws of gravity.

The frustrating thing is that, given the search area is now over a few billion square miles,  it is also perfectly feasible for this to be a mystery that outlasts your and my lifespans. Now that’s non-news.

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Sun Chiefs: Committing massive crimes is OK if we do them.



Funny how the anti-Leveson Redtops are so keen on the non news of 40 years ago, as if this headline wasn’t bordering on the libellous…

but they are not busily reporting how Coulson, Brooks and Murdoch sanctioned bribing police officers, hacking phones, monstering the vulnerable, slandering Scousers, and faking photos and stories to suit their xenophobic, homophobic, misanthropic, screamingly ignorant, arrogant, bullshit fountain.

Yup, funny that.

Seeing as that behaviour is all current, relevant and something they are responsible for, whereas this Dacre & Murdoch boiled up bullshit is from before most of their readers were born.

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Conversations with a Daily Vile reader


I have actually  tried this.

I mean I occasionally meet people who appear in many other ways to be humane, thinking, intelligent people, but suddenly I notice that there is this weird rag on one of their occasional tables and my blood chills and slows a little. The Daily Vile sells… why?

On twitter there are thousands of people who, with varying degrees of wit, savagely satirise Paul Dacre’s tiny minded organ, but then also many who, in doing so, link to the MailOnline and thus help them laugh all the way to the bank by driving up their advertising revenue. Their habit of printing ripped off stories, badly misconstrued and distorted by perverse editorial minds is apparently no deterrent to “readers”. Nor the fact that it is all accompanied by the cheapest sort of soft smut that titillates sucker buyers and offends anyone with half an eye out for hypocrisy.

So why do people buy this epitome of vileness?

Yes – it supports some widely held prejudices, xenophobic, sexist and homophobic tendencies – that will of course attract a wide range of morons, but as I mentioned, many readers at least appear to be outside that, we should hope, much to be diminished set of backward deadbrains.

So I occasionally ask one of these acquaintances, “Why do you choose that… thing to read?”, and despite them sometimes having said that they are all for humane freedoms,  this crumbles upon scrutiny.  In fact, it is soon revealed that my initial judgement of them as acceptable and intelligent acquaintances was misplaced.  It becomes apparent that their previously disguised prejudices are against anything remotely liberal – not as in party politics, as in, promoting personal freedom and equal opportunity. Oh sure, they may be nice to small children and animals …but so was Hitler.  While no one is all good or all bad, I have decided that having a conversation with a Mail reader about anything other than small children and animals is probably unwise and definitely unproductive.

So no more conversations with Daily Mail readers.  It is bad for me as well as for the post medieval world.


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IDS stuns Christian charity with brilliant impression of Satan.

Iain the devil wannabeThe Trussell trust, a Christian charity that has been desperately developing food-banks to cope with demand, is non-plussed.

Whilst the Tories busily help major corporations avoid more tax every quarter than has been falsely claimed from benefits since the Welfare state was invented…

The Trust is astonished that Iain Duncan Smith has rejected talks about how we might deal with the fact that the massive figures, regarding steadily increasing demand for Samaritan-like help, have become a norm due to his Party policies and Welfare deforms.

Remember the quiet man? The man who understands because, whilst he has married into landed gentry millions, has also been “unemployed”, and homeless, twice? The one who the Tories chose to lead them, then booted out before he even fought an election, because he wasn’t enough of an unleashed Rottweiler?

He is now better known as the definition defying man who has been put in charge of Welfare “Reform”,  the universal credit – a system he claims will very soon be both saving money (for the hard working super-tax payer) on benefits paid out, whilst simultaneously helping some of the poorest to be better off on these same benefits. Penn & Teller would already be klaxon-sounding “Bullshit!” at this point – but even they would probably have trouble with the line IDS has taken in attacking the Trussell trust as “self-publicising”, and playing, “overt politics”, with regards to the number of food-banks they have already set up and the demand for more.

Mr Duncan-Smith is implying that the demand is a false one, that the Trussell trust are lying, and that the fact (he would say the suggestion) that welfare screw-ups are causing the impoverishment and the poor’s embarrassing demand for food, is somehow a political slur. This, when recorded cases of suicide over losing such benefits are greater in number than Tory councillors in Sunderland.

It so happens that I sign vouchers for poor adults in one of the comparatively better off, conservative, areas of England:- Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. When I joined the programme I didn’t believe there would be much demand; how wrong I was… the demand comes from embarrassed ordinary, formerly hard working family people, who, due to the failures of the benefits department,  find they cannot feed their children. They are given vouchers for a maximum of three weeks, and gratefully take these up because they would otherwise have children crying for food…

in Gloucestershire, England, Christmas 2013

This, Mr Duncan-Smith,  is why I have no hesitation in suggesting that you have moved into the top five of the list for criminal prosecution when the revolution comes; you sanctimonious, arrogant, over-privileged alien horror from another planet.

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Poor Paul Flowers – so different from the others who haven’t been caught

PAUL-FLOWERSIsolated in ignominy, everyone is having fun monstering Paul Flowers and anyone mad enough to be associated with him.  He has been a silly man, that is true, and as a Methodist minister and failed bank chairman the cries of “Hypocrite!” haven’t been slow to form in the mouths of media men and politicians alike…

Which is a bit rich…

This outraged crew are part of an elite who are morally no superior to the man with inappropriate images on his computer – this kind of corruption, drug taking, fraud, cheating and lying are not a rare exception among this elite group, they are very common. What is rare is being caught.

cabinet poinit







When these guys consistently get away with the biggest lies of all, and an even worse pretence of competence, it feels a little bit like the worst sort of projection from people who may be quietly thinking, “there, but for my Masonic lodge…”

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How the Screwtape Letters confirms my nontheism


The BBC are currently broadcasting this old C.S. Lewis work as its book of the week. With an actor reading his words aloud, we hear his imagination of how devils might correspond as they work, via invisible suggestion, to persuade humans to be evil and “not Church goers”.

That is, “not church of England in the 1950s churchgoers”, it seems. Lewis allows himself to toy with his critique of the Church of that era and with the nature of the human ego, our weaknesses and our misunderstandings of what constitutes virtue. It is clearly supposed to be a worthy attempt to evangelise his belief in churchgoing as a virtuous part of a Christian life that we should all endeavour to pursue. It also echoes his lack of a wider world understanding of the psychology and roots of religion, and concentrates on the insulated world he inhabited. I can remember my vicar father enthusing about its merits and, as a child, enjoying the Narnia books and wondering what was this other “Grown up” book by the fantasy writer.

That is the rub. The Screwtape letters illustrate precisely the nature of the fantasy of the majority of the religious: that there actually is some point in personifying a theistic God, with its traits of interference in a planned human centred world, with equally personified devils as the counterforce. As such it feels to me now to be a childish fantasy.


As soon as someone dares to put this type of fantasy down in developed plot form, the holes in it seem so obvious to me that the edifice of the Biblical stories falls alongside. The pattern-making human being made, and makes, gods wherever he springs from. The middle eastern Gods were accompanied by the fantasy of a life in a temporal post death ego-based manner, typical of a despairingly fearful, self conscious and naive human tribe. Seeing how these stories have all been constructed, it is a little like dissecting a time travel movie, where they blur right over the “paradox” of interfering in your own past… it soon falls apart under scrutiny but the audience is generally carried along by pace and some flashy trompe l’oeil tricks. For equivalent distractions in the Church one can read:- Tradition, architecture, ceremony and repetition.

Eventually as a teenager I saw the Biblical analogies of Lewis’ Narnia chronicles, his thinly veiled racism and anti-Islam stance via the characterisation of the Talmorenes – and realised that my childhood adventure stories had a rather crude agenda.  Hearing the Screwtape letters now, I cannot help but think that the datedness is, yet again, a key factor that exposes the weakness of those “original” redeemer stories that emerged from a primitive middle east. They have mysteriously been allowed to retain a dominant position in the arena of exploration of the numinous but these crude theist institutions are revealed as a prop for the deluded as soon as they are properly exposed to a modern world where dogma just doesn’t cut it.

The Screwtape letters sits cosily among the Sunday hats and flower arrangements, and miles away from an adult discussion of the nature of consciousness, time and a non material universe, that I feel drawn to discuss away from this church.


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“In the current climate…”

Policeman from the Blue LampIn light of my post some weeks back about the insanity of the Halifax behaving like idiots and getting the police onto me

- I thought it might pay to look at the casual use of the concept of “In the current climate”.

By this, the policeman who rang me made it clear, he meant the climate of terror threats as writ large in the press following the murder of a soldier wearing a “Help for heroes” T shirt.

What climate of terror is this that I am supposed to feel, and for how long has it existed?

Is it the one made visible in airport security the world over since 2003 and which occasioned Richard Dawkins to declaim the bureaucracy’s stooges as “Dundriges” because he broke the rules with a jar of honey?

Or the one that clearly must be eaten and ruminated upon daily, with hate-immigrant toast and tit-sauce, on the Tabloid editor’s desks, as they find an easy fear with which to sell prejudice to the public?

Or the one in which the insurance companies officially admit they do not bother to calculate a risk for insuring against death from terrorist action in the USA or UK, since that risk is somewhat lower than that of falling under a 97 bus due to wearing your pants over your head…

This “current climate” is a permanent one… of idiocy among the establishment classes who believe the same Tabloid rags as they feed with their patronisingly dumb rules about security against terrorism… that minimal extant terrorism they promote themselves by a history of unjust behaviour in foreign relations.

In the real world there is a climate that really should be causing politicians, serious journalists, and the wider world to fear, and that fear to be for the lives of millions, and for generations to come, more millions. It is a climate that has a risk attached to it related to burning fossil fuels and being smugly arrogant about it in the face of overwhelming evidence, and panic among the insurance industry heads as they see their risk coverage becoming untenable…

Fear is a tool that politicians and Tabloid Fatdickheads (see, I can make up new insulting names too, Mr Dawkins) love to use to sell their agenda. But if the rational fears of a real world collapse in infrastructure, agriculture and ecosystems were to be used that way – they can see themselves being quickly out of a job and a tabloid reading, TV mainlining, public out of control. So they hush it up…

“Keep driving, throw another lump of coal on the fire, it may never happen,”

but unlike a victory for terrorism, it will.

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Fu..Fu..Fu..Fu Kfashion

facehairI hear those who defend fashion as an art form - the way it then progresses to High Street clothing that enables us to celebrate our individuality in a free and attractive manner.

I also know that the anti-fashion brigade can come across as so many old has-beens who have no need to attract a mate and so can afford the luxury of saving effort and money on this. My feeling that fashion is one big con is, however, partly a lament for the days of punk, I mean the early days, before shops tried to cash in on safety pins.

At the Stowaway club in Newport, on a Wednesday night each week, kids with little cash and no feeling of belonging to the establishment, came to punk gigs wearing jumble sale clothes, uncovered spots and an attitude of “So fucking what!?” we all had a great time, let off a bit of steam and found ways of surviving the late 70s…

Nowadays I find that almost my entire wardrobe is bought from a charity shop, instead of jumble sale junk and a leather jacket of dubious origin – but I have suits as well, for work. This is my anti-fashion compromise, profiting from the profligacy of others.

I may buy clothes that are deemed to be in the right basic fashion bracket for my age – but I don’t change them because some “trendsetter” says “button down collars are out” – or “that style of coat is so last year” – I call Bullshit to that. Clothes are for wearing, until worn out, and we westerners have seen the results of ever increasing pressures to have fashion clothing we can consume voraciously – dead children in burned out sweat shops in India/Pakistan.

The Punks I was pogoing alongside back in 1977 are watching you Topshopprimarkgeorge new-clothes-each-month brigade and seeing shallowness on a scale that is quite shameful.

If the call to “grow up” means, copy those teenagers of the late 70s in rebelling against this blinding blandness of the soul, get your kicks by rejecting this consumerist bullshit and truly celebrate your independence – then…

“F*+*ing Grow up!”

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A lesson for the top management from Mr Successful

eiji-toyoda“Our workers provide 1.5 million suggestions a year, and 95 percent of them are put to practical use. There is an almost tangible concern for improvement in the air at Toyota.”

Let’s try that with our statutory services…

“Our workers provide over 40 suggestions a year, and 95 percent of them are put straight in the waste bin. There is almost no tangible concern for improvement in the air at most hospitals”

Eiji Toyoda has died aged 100 – but his legacy (no, not the car model) has been picked up by more than 100 consultancy firms.

The lovely irony in the Toyota story was this man’s travels to find out what made Ford successful in the late 1950s, and then Ford coming over to Japan to see why he was wiping the floor with their sales figures in the ’70s. The methods he introduced would not translate to the command and control management thinking of the west – they tried to implement them using their old top down formula, a failure of understanding that is being repeated to this day.

“One of the features of the Japanese workers is that they use their brains as well as their hands,”

and herein lies the problem…

Sure, we have capable workers at all levels of the NHS, sure they can use their brains, except they are restricted and prevented from doing so in the workplace.  Today I hear more and more how “super management teams” are going to take the failing NHS trusts under their wing and make their systems work better.

OK, so that would be undoing years of:- imposed targets, multiple and contradictory performance measures, documentation orders multiplied upon documentation orders, hierarchical instructions that come to ward staff as Chinese whispers, and managers staying in their offices to work at computers and meetings of the top brass… would it?

Toyota conquered two worlds,

yes, one was all about manufacturing and production of goods, but the more important one was about thinking and systems of management. They achieved success only when managers came alongside the workers to observe and hear all these suggestions and make the system work to support them. The big question left for me is, “How to convince a whole world of career oriented decision makers that ALL decisions should be made from alongside the front line..?”

Then, maybe, we could see a truth in the notion, “Our workers provide 2.5 million suggestions a year, and 95 percent of them are put to practical use. There is an almost tangible concern for improvement in the air at the NHS”

and, “One of the features of the NHS workers is that they are encouraged and empowered to use their brains as well as their hands”.

Am I pursuing a silly dream?

Eiji Toyoda seems to have proved it is no such thing.

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Halifux: the bank of Kafka

HalifuxThe alarm rings rudely, loudly – no, hang on… that’s the phone,

I pick up… “This is the automated online payments checking system from Halifax, if you have…”

I put the phone down, wide awake now. I look at the clock – its 11.00a.m. in Kabul, 6:30a.m. here. I have had these calls before, at 6.00 in the morning on my day off, they are not for me but my daughter, who is in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Halifax appear to have spent 3 years trying to find Afghanistan on the map, and failed. My daughter calls and writes to them but as she changes addresses out there and the phone system is a bitch, and since this is her default home address they are, of course, unable to change their records.

Sometimes an actual human being from Halifax rings us. You can tell it’s a human because they don’t call at 6:00 in the morning, they tend to call in the afternoons or early evenings.

Their calls go like this:

“Can I speak to L******* *******?”

“No, she is in Afghanistan, as we, and she, have told you a hundred times “.

“Oh, I am sorry, do you mean she is not available?”

“….She has given you her contact details in Kabul a hundred times, why can you not change your records and call her there? her number is ***** **** ***”

“I’m sorry but we cannot take information from anyone but her”.

“Well that means you are going to keep on ringing here and messing with our sleep for ever, doesn’t it?”

“We’ll write to her”.

“At this address again no doubt!… how many more times does she have to tell you where she is and that it’s a troubled foreign country? Your automated system calls to check her online payments at 6:00 in the morning (when we are fearful that it might be that dreaded call to say the Taliban have killed her for trying to promote democracy in that troubled land), and we can do nothing, you write to her here – we forward to her, she curses you out to us, calls you, and you do nothing, she calls you at great expense many times, and you do nothing – except keep on calling us here… this is gross incompetence..”

“I’m sorry but I am not allowed to discuss this with you, goodbye”.

So we are stuck in Kafka’s world of Halifux banking. If I can get hold of the Chief Exec’s home number or address he will suddenly and repeatedly learn what a completely insane bunch of bureaucrats he is presiding over.

And L***** ,  if you are reading this… please change banks so you are not still with them when I blow the place sky high…

note: emboldened following astonishing news as per comment below

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