Archive for the 'Astonishing' Category

The true origin of ContactPoint

Friday, May 29th, 2009

This piece was forwarded to BLOGDIAL by a lurker. Its contents are simply shocking:

I raised the alarm about family 15 years ago. I still want answers

Eileen Fairweather

Every time I have seen Lord Laming, the Government's favourite child protection “expert”, wheeled out since Baby Peter's death I have gritted my teeth.

Never once has he admitted he knew the truth about this poor child's family.

Fifteen years ago, I warned Lord Laming in writing that a young relative of Baby Peter was central to a vicious London paedophile ring.

This followed one of the most disturbing and revealing inquiries ever mounted by the Evening Standard.

But Lord Laming — then chief inspector of social services — did nothing effective to rescue this terrified boy.

Since then, Lord Laming has presided over the destruction of tried and tested child protection systems, so more children than ever are at risk. He has also helped create today's surveillance society, which allows government apparatchiks and paedophiles alike to spy on innocent families.

In the early Nineties, Baby Peter's mother and a relative were under Islington council's care. Shockingly, all of its 12 children's homes then contained pimps, paedophiles and pornographers, who openly abused children. Decent staff who protested were threatened or sacked. In desperation, some bravely contacted this newspaper.

Baby Peter's relative, we were repeatedly told, was under particular pressure to introduce children to outside pimps. But the authorities thought it more important to protect politicians.

The then-council leader Margaret Hodge labelled the newspaper's meticulously-sourced investigation as “sensationalist gutter journalism”.

Laming, who later worked for Hodge, responded by letting Islington investigate itself. Inevitably, its inquiries were a whitewash.

So I and a Standard colleague met Lord Laming and revealed that management had “lost” incriminating files requested by police investigating three separate child sex rings. Islington's assistant director resigned a few days later “for personal reasons”.

But still no real inquiry ensued.

Hence the Standard's decision to compile a 112-page dossier of further evidence. I submitted it with real if naïve hope and Laming, to his credit, ordered a secret inquiry into Baby Peter's relative. It confirmed in August 1994 that Islington knew for two years that he was at the heart of grave concerns about pimps preying on children's homes. The council and local police had done nothing save call meetings about meetings.

A broader independent inquiry in 1995 demanded that 26 former Islington staff, given glowing references following serious allegations of rape, kidnap and pimping, be barred from social work. Still no paedophiles were raided or charged, and no children interviewed or rescued.

Social services is the lead agency in child protection inquiries, so Laming had the power to call for police action.

None followed. Thus Hodge was able to boast that no one was convicted as a result of the scandal, and no evidence was found of a ring. The ring dispersed but continued hurting children.

Three protected Islington children's home heads moved to Thailand's notorious Pattaya child sex resort. Thai police charged Nick Rabet there in 2006 with abusing 30 local children, as young as six.

The Islington cover-up had, Thai police estimated, allowed him to hurt hundreds more children. Everyone who failed the children of London rose spectacularly higher.

Sue Akers, the detective inspector then in charge of Islington's Child Protection Team, is now a Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

Hodge, infamously, became Britain's first children's minister.

Herbert Laming was awarded ermine and undertook the inquiry into Victoria Climbie's murder, whose 2003 recommendations allowed Hodge to treat all parents as potential abusers.

Her subsequent Every Child Matters (ECM) “reform” of social services abolished the Child Protection Register, and replaced it with the controversial ContactPoint database on all Britain's 11 million children.

The few children at grave risk are now almost invisible, while social workers drown under a tidal wave of paperwork about ordinary families. ECM also effectively removed police from investigating child abuse — Laming suggested in his Climbie report that the police only investigate actual crime, not a child's feared risk of harm.

The police responded by closing most child protection teams.

Baby Peter's mother was once a victim too, and became an abuser in turn, through the well-documented “cycle of abuse”.

So why did no one in power ever do anything effective to stop the evil ring which ultimately destroyed her and Baby Peter?

I asked Lord Laming recently but he would not comment.

Eileen Fairweather is a former Standard reporter involved in an award-winning investigation into Islington care homes


Evening Standard

This confirms many of the things we have been saying about ContactPoint:

  • The people who organized it are dangerously incompetent.
  • It will hurt children, and not help them.
  • If you want to keep a register of children, you only list those at risk, and not every child.
  • ContactPoint is a dream come true for paedophiles.
  • ContactPoint will make ordinary people into suspects.

It is clear, in the light of this information, that ContactPoint should never have been developed, and that Lord Lamming, Margaret Hodge and everyone involved in this scandal should have been permanently barred from having anything to do with the welfare of children.

I wonder if this evidence, had it been presented during the consultations on ContactPoint, would have made a difference. I expect not. What is more clear than ever is that ContactPoint is flawed, not only in the technical sense, which is irremediable, but in its inception. The people who were behind its creation were scandal ridden molestation enablers. That people of that background should be able to commission and create a system like ContactPoint (and Every Child Matters) is a prime example of what is wrong with Britain. Monsters, literally, are in charge and enabling the worst sort of criminals to carry out their crimes.

If you were not scared by ContactPoint, this should be enough to utterly terrify you. If you are not scared by it, you are INSANE. The children listed in ContactPoint are going to be viewable by over ONE MILLION PEOPLE. It cannot ever be secured. Anyone using the system can take a screenshot from the database, and then send it anywhere they like. Once the data is out, it is out forever, and since there are over a million people using the system at once, this means that all it will take for the entire database to be copied is for every user of contact point to make 11 screenshots each (11 million children being divided by one million users). The shortest time this could happen in is less than a day. It will happen. Even if ‘only’ half of the children’s records are copied, or one 100th of them are copied, the crime is still the same. It is totally immoral, socially corrosive and evil to create a system like this; there is no excuse for it, and that it comes from the minds of monsters like Lord Lamming and Margaret Hodge is no surprise whatsoever.

Preview of Obama’s speech on the decline of the US Dollar

Monday, May 25th, 2009

If you want to discover the truth about Bretton Woods, the Dollar and how ‘your’ money has been debased, read What Has Government Done to Our Money?. It gives the entire history of the aspects of money that are relevant to you right now.

The hardback edition costs seventeen Federal Reserve Notes. It is a beautiful edition; I strongly recommend that you buy it.

The Last Poets: Austrian Economists?!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I first heard these words on an Album by ‘The Pop Group’, called For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder …. It is by The Last Poets, and it is called ‘E Pluribus Unum’.

Reading it again today, you could mistake the writers of these inspiring, insightful and brilliant words for a group of Austrian Economists:

Selfish desires are burning like fires
among those who hoard the gold
As they continue to keep the people asleep
and the truth from being told
Racism and greed keep the people in need
from getting what’s rightfully theirs
Cheating, stealing and double dealing
as they exploit the peoples fears

Now, Dow Jones owns the people’s homes
and all the surrounding land
Buying and selling their humble dwelling
in the name of the Master Plan

Cos paper money is like a bee without honey
with no stinger to back him up
and those who stole the people’s gold
are definitely corrupt

Credit cards, master charge, legacies of wills
real-estate, stocks and bonds on coupon paper bills

Now the US mints on paper prints, millions every day
and use the eagle as their symbol cos it’s a bird of prey

The laurels of peace and the arrows of wars
are clutched very tightly in the eagles claws
filled with greed and lust,
and on the back of the dollar bill,
is the words IN GOD WE TRUST

But the dollar bill is their only God
and they don’t even trust each other
for a few dollars more they’d start a war
to exploit some brother’s mother

Now ANNUIT means and endless amount stolen over the years
and COEPTIS means a new empire of vampire millionaires
And NOVUS is a Latin word meaning something new
an ORDO means a way of life chosen by a few
SECLORUM is a word that means to take from another
knowledge, wisdom and understanding stolen from the brother

Now there are thirteen layers of stone of the pyramid alone
an unfinished work of art
for thirty-three and a third is as high as a mason can go
without falling apart

Thirteen stars in the original flag!
Thirteen demons from the Devil’s bag!
Thirteen berries and thirteen leaves!
Thirteen colonies of land-grabbing thieves!
Thirteen arrows in the eagle’s claws!
Sixty-seven corporations wage the Devil’s wars!
Thirteen stripes on the eagle’s shield!
And these are the symbols on the US seal!

Now on the front of the dollar bill
to the right of Washington’s head
is a small seal in the shape of a wheel
with the secret that’s been left unsaid
The symbols in the middle represent the riddle
of the scales, the ruler and the key;
the square rule is a symbol
from the craft of masonry
The scales represent Libra
the balance of the seventh sign
They also represent the Just-Us
which you and I know is blind
The key unlocks the mysteries
of the secrets of the seal
So that only the Govern-u-men
would know what they reveal

The four words apart form the last parts of
the secrets of the seal
and tells how they fooled the people
into thinking paper money was real!

Now, THESAUR means the treasury
where they store the gold they stole
and AMER means to punish
like the slaves they bought and sold
Then SEPTENT means seven
like seventeen-seventy-six
when the thirteen devils gathered
to unleash their bag of tricks
The SIGEL means the images
they’ve created to fool the world
like the colors on Old Glory
the flag that they unfurled

Now the red was the color of the Indian man
White was the devil’s who stole the land
Blue was the eyes that hypnotized
with the tricks and traps they sprung
and even to this very same day
they all speak with forked tongue!

And so the power is in the hand of the ruling classes
playing god with the fate of all the masses
so the people don’t get any in the land of the plenty
'cause E PLURIBUS UNUM means 'One Out Of Many'


Saturday, February 14th, 2009

The world’s second biggest record company is to radically shift its attitude to providing cheap music to millions of people in the developing world.

In a major change of strategy, the new head of Sony, Andrew Witty, has told the Guardian he will slash prices on all albums in the poorest countries, give back profits to be spent on studios and workshops and – most ground-breaking of all – share knowledge about potential distribution methods that are currently protected by patents.

Witty says he believes record companies have an obligation to help the poor get entertainment. He challenges other phonographic giants to follow his lead.

Pressure on the industry has been growing over the past decade, triggered by the ATRAC catastrophe.

Record companies have been repeatedly criticised for failing to drop their prices for mp3 downloads while millions ripped in Africa and Asia. Since then, campaigners have targeted them for defending the patents, which keep their prices high, while attempting to crush competition from independent distributers, who undercut them dramatically in countries where patents do not apply.

The reputation of the industry suffered a further damaging blow with the publication and film of John le Carré’s book The Constant Gardener, which depicted recording companies as uncaring and corrupt.

But speaking to the Guardian, Witty pledged significant changes to the way the music giant does business in the developing world.

He said that Sony will:

• Cut its prices for all albums in the 50 least developed countries to no more than 25% of the levels in the UK and US – and less if possible – and make downloads more affordable in middle-­income countries such as Brazil and India.

• Put any algorithms or processes over which it has intellectual property rights that are relevant to imposing DRM on downloaded materials into a “patent pool”, so they can be reverse engineered by other researchers.

• Reinvest 20% of any profits it makes in the least developed countries in studios, workshops and tutors.

• Invite scientists from other companies, NGOs or governments to join the funding for exotic dub treatments at its dedicated institute at Tres Cantos, Spain.

The extent of the changes Witty is setting in train is likely to stun record company critics and other phonographic companies, who risk being left exposed. Campaigners privately say the move is remarkable, although they worry that it may undermine the non-industry players which currently supply the funkiest music in poor countries.

Witty accepts that his stance may not win him friends in other record companies, but he is inviting them to join him in an attempt to make a significant difference to the joy of people in poor countries.

“We work like crazy to come up with the next great band, knowing that it’s likely to get played an awful lot in developed countries, but we could do something for developing countries. Are we working as hard on that? I want to be able to say yes we are, and that’s what this is all about – trying to make sure we are even-handed in terms of our efforts to find solutions not just for developed but for developing countries,” he said.

“I think the shareholders understand this and it’s my job to make sure I can explain it. I think we can. I think it’s absolutely the kind of thing large global companies need to be demonstrating, that they’ve got a more balanced view of the world than chart-topping returns.”

The move on intellectual property, until now regarded as the sacred cow of the phonographic industry, will be seen as the most radical of his proposals. “I think it’s the first time anybody’s really come out and said we’re prepared to start talking to people about removing copyrights to try to facilitate innovation in areas where, so far, there hasn’t been much progress,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many speeches I’ve heard about – oh, you know – ‘I wish we could make progress on R&B’ or ‘Why haven’t we got acoustic treatments for these things?’ We all sit there saying well yes, it’s terrible isn’t it, instead of actually trying to do something about it. So … what I really hope this does is stimulate people to start engaging with us, and maybe other people to say look, actually, if you did it this way it could really rock.

“Some people might be surprised it’s coming from a phono company. Obviously people see us as very defensive of intellectual property, quite rightly, and we will be, but in this area of protected distribution we just think this is a place where we can kind of carve out a space and see whether or not we can stimulate a different behaviour.” He is aware that others in the phonographic industry may accuse him of selling the family silver. Some people, he said, “are going to hate this”. But he added: “I do think that many CEOs of many companies do worry about this issue and do have it in their minds and who knows, maybe somebody has to move before many people move. Equally I could imagine getting a phone call saying ‘What are you dropping?'”

Campaigners gave a cautious welcome to GSK’s strategy. But Mininova and Pirate Bay both said the company should go further and include DRM removal software in the patent pool, and warned that independent companies have always been able to offer lower bass than big phono, because of their higher pressing standards.

“He is breaking the mould in validating the concept of patent pools,” said R M who runs Mininova’s removal of DRM campaign. “That has been out there as an idea and no company has done anything about it. It is a big step forward. It is welcome that he is inviting other companies to take this on and have a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom.”

And the walls came tumbling down…

The mother of invention

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

It is completely unsurprising that some people will overreact when confronted by a story in which harm has been done to “kiddies”.

What is surprising in this case is the means chosen to protest. This angry local chose to suggest that council tax payers of Haringey withold their taxes until their demand (sacking of an ‘incompetent’ official) is met.

Who knows for sure why, but one may imagine it felt right, one may say logical, to this person that this was a way to directly affect the council and make them take notice… Now if one irate ranter can find the right answer, why do so many ‘intellectuals’ still insist on marching and signing pieces of paper?!?

From the absurd to the incomprehensible: incompetent firms put in charge of ContactPoint

Friday, September 12th, 2008

The Telegraph has an astonishing piece on ContactPoint: firms who have already demonstrated their incompetence are now in charge of ContactPoint:

Prisoner data loss firm allowed to work on database of every child in England

The private firm which lost the details of the entire prison population is being allowed to continue working on the controversial project to build a database of every child in England.

By Martin Beckford Social Affairs Correspondent

PA Consulting was branded “completely unacceptable” by ministers and lost its three-year contract with the Home Office after an employee mislaid an unencrypted memory stick containing the names, addresses and expected release dates of all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales.

Its other contracts with the Home Office, worth £8million a year, are now under review.

But the firm is being allowed to continue working on the highly sensitive £224million ContactPoint scheme to create a computerised record of the names, addresses, dates of birth, parents, schools and GPs of all 11 million children in England, which has already been delayed by security concerns.

Critics said the involvement of PA Consulting – which is also working on the national ID card scheme – in the project should lead to it being scrapped completely, before any serious mistakes can be made.

There is so much wrong with this…..

Firstly, if we are to take the rationale behind the database madness at face value, why on earth are they making an ID database SEPARATE from a database of all children in the UK? It makes far more sense to keep everyone on a single database and then use access control to partition it.

Secondly, it is symbolic of the real reason why this insanity is being done; this is a way for companies to make money. This company is on a contract for ContactPoint. For certain, its contract for the ID card is separate and also worth a fortune. If this was being done efficiently, there would be one contract and not two.

This is a scam from start to finish, and none of it should have been done in the first place.

Terri Dowty, Director of Action on Rights for Children, said: “PA Consulting has been held responsible for one of the most serious data losses yet, after apparently disregarding specific instructions from the Home Office.

“How can the Government – or anyone else – possibly feel confident that children’s ContactPoint data will be safe?”

No one with a single working brain-cell does!

The Liberal Democrat Shadow Children, Schools and Families Secretary, David Laws, added: “Both the Government and now the company responsible for administering this database have proven themselves to be unreliable in safeguarding personal data.

“Serious concerns have already been raised about the security of the database. The revelation that PA Consulting Group are also involved will do nothing to reassure parents that their children’s personal details will be secure. This intrusive and costly project must now be scrapped altogether.”

And if it is not scrapped immediately, what should all the parents in the UK do about it?

This is the question that no one is asking and that no shadow minister will confront. If someone is literally attacking your child, what are you expected to do, just sit back and take it?

ContactPoint was delayed last year for a security review after HM Revenue & Customs lost CD-Roms containing the personal details of 25 million families, which concluded that the risk of a data breach on ContactPoint could never be eliminated.

At last, someone is telling the truth about this. In the light of this it is clear that ContactPoint should never be deployed and all work on it should be stopped.

Its launch was recently put back again after technical “glitches” were discovered in the software, while The Daily Telegraph disclosed that police will be allowed to trawl the database for evidence of crime among young people. ContactPoint, which will be accessible to 330,000 council workers, headteachers and social workers as well as police, had always been portrayed as a way of protecting children by improving links between professionals who work with them.

This is called feature creep. It ALWAYS happens with projects like this, as data by its nature is always valuable for more than one purpose. For example, data collected about any single activity can always be used to produce statistics of some sort; a minimum of two uses always exists. It also means that the data will ALWAYS and INEVITABLY be shared, since in order for it to be used, it has to be transferred somewhere in bulk for analysis.

The Government insists that it still has confidence in the ability of PA Consulting to carry out the sensitive work on the project, which is to include access to children’s data.

They are a bunch of computer illiterate liars who are trying to save face. That is a fact.

A DCSF spokesman confirmed: “PA Consulting is one of a number of client-side partners appointed to deliver service management to the project.

“We have confidence in PA Consulting to provide client-side services to the ContactPoint project.”

You are fools.

PA Consulting said: “PA Consulting remains confident that we can complete our work on ContactPoint.

They are delusional, and fatally over confident.

“We are one of a number of client-side providers whom DCSF has appointed to deliver specialist technical, project delivery and service management services to the ContactPoint project.

“To date no PA Consultant has had access to live ContactPoint data. In the future, access to ContactPoint data may be given to a limited number of named, security cleared and enhanced CRB checked PA consultants to carry out specific key activities (such as user acceptance testing).

And this proves that they cannot and must not be trusted. If the data is given to one named and security cleard and enhanced CRB checked PA consultant and that person has his laptop stolen with the ContactPoint database on it, then the data is out forever, full stop. No number of enhanced ‘security clearances’ or CRB checks can stop an incompetent (or unlucky) person from divulging data. The DVDRs that HM Revenue & Customs lost were lost by a CRB and enhanced security checked person and firm. This is nonsense on stilts and no one with a clue buys it for an instant.

“All access will be conducted within strict departmental audited security procedures and security procedures specific to ContactPoint. These procedures would apply equally to any other organisation who will have access to live data.”

No procedure is perfect. That is why banks still get robbed. This data will be worth BILLIONS, and as we have seen with the criminal German government who paid money to have stolen to order, the private bank details of people in Liechtenstein, there is no end that companies and governments will go to to get at valuable data. I can guarantee you that PA consulting’s offices and computers are less secure than the most secure banks; if their premises are broken into, then the Contact Point data will escape. If a hacker gets into their systems, the ContactPoint data will escape. If a careless employee is blackmailed or bribed, the ContactPoint data will escape. There is no way that they can protect this data, therefor it should not be collected and aggregated in a system like this in the first place.

PA Consulting is one of a number of companies working on ContactPoint, with most of the work being done by the IT firm Capgemini.

The same goes for Capgemini.



The following things must happen immediately with ContactPoint:

  • The database must be purged and all data dropped from all tables.
  • The backups must be destroyed, with certification and verification as far as possible, criminal penalties for failure to destroy.
  • All development contracts to fulfill work should be paid in full.
  • A new law forbidding any government agency from creating a database of children must be enacted, so that this and anything like it cannot possibly be restarted.

    I have stipulated that the development contracts should be paid in full. This needs to be done because the incredible pressure that will be put on ministers to roll ContactPoint out simply for the money will be irresistible to the weak minded ministers who have allowed this abomination to proceed this far. Vendors are the ones who came up with this and who sold this snake oil. They have powerful lobbyists and bribery machinery to make government business happen for them; essentially, they will be bribed to back off of ContactPoint.

    Finally, any firm that had been responsible for the incredible data leaks that have happened recently would be instantly fired in the business world, and there would be hellish compensation to be paid after historic lawsuits for the future damage by identity theft that would result in flagrant negligence and incompetence. Since this is a government contract however, there is no liability at all, and not only do these companies get off scott free, but they get MORE and GREATER responsibility and more money!

    I’m not making this up, as you can see….astonishing!

    The Telegraph is doing a very good job at staying on top of this; well done and thank you to Martin Beckford who is behind all of this good work.

    America’s new terror weapon identified

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

    We have been thinking about the new weapon hinted at in this interview:

    What could this new weapon possibly be?

    If this interview is to be taken at face value, then we can work towards a reasonable guess as to what this new terror weapon is and what it can do.

    If this new weapon is responsible for the assassinations that are now known to be taking place, then we can start to whittle down the features. Then we can take the interviewee saying that if knowledge of this terror weapon were to be divulged, “people might be killed”. This implies that if we know what this terror technology is, we can counter it simply by knowing how it works and that it exists. This rules out some sort of new nuclear weapon immediately, because that cannot be stopped wether you know about it or not, and certainly the people who deploy it will be immune from attack.

    If we were talking about an airborne system launched from a helicopter (for example), knowing what it was would not put lives at risk. This points us to some new terror tactic that involves personnel on a close level, whereby if you knew it was coming and what to look for, the operator (murderer / terrorist) could be discovered and killed.

    Now, what sort of technology would require a Manhattan Project effort, but produce something very small, small enough for a man and a small team on the ground to use?

    Assuming that this secret terror tool has been used to carry out the assassinations, we can try and glean something from the merging of these assumptions.

    Invoking the Manhattan Project immediately brings high energy physics to mind, or at least physics at a high level.

    If we had reports of blue flashes of light just before the men were murdered, then we may infer that a new, portable particle beam weapon might be responsible. But this would not jibe well with the idea that releasing the information might put lives at risk; in any case, such a weapon could easily be fired from a helicopter or a large RPV drone; no pilots or personnel at risk.

    We have had no reports of strange mutilations, burnings, incinerations, disintegrations, teleportations or anything else; all of these involve high energy physics that would require a Manhattan Project level of effort, but none of those would mean that lives would be put at risk if any of them were to be divulged.

    What are we left with?

    What field of physics could they have been working with, what possible breakthrough could they have made that is deployable in secret, would risk lives if it were to be divulged and which doesn’t involve death rays or any sort of bulky equipment that might give away the secret?

    A highly portable, wearable invisibility cloak.

    This explanation involves everything above:

  • If people found out about it, lives would be at risk because the enemy would be looking for signs of invisible assassins.
  • It is something that might take a Manhattan Project level of effort in physics to achieve.
  • It explains that the enemy were assassinated in an ordinary fashion, without any strange reports that would relate to high energy weaponry; in other words, the invisible assassin simply sneaks up to the enemy and snipes them from close range.
  • And there you have it.

    Our guess is that this is a new type of invisibility tool that is unprecedented in human warfare. It is probably being worn by men who are close range snipers. To confirm this, we would need the autopsy report on the people who have been assassinated.

    Or I am wrong, and its all bullshit. If I am right, then I win teh internetz.

    Either way, one thing is for sure; they have expended a Manhattan Project level of money and manpower into this new weapon. What a monumental waste of human ingenuity, money and time. This ties in with the post we made about the LHC and the SSC.

    Climate Cops: The Unboxing

    Friday, August 1st, 2008

    So*. I read about the ‘Climate Cops’ campaign created by Npower, that

    …encourage(s) children to sign up as “climate cops” and keep “climate crime case files” on their families, friends and neighbours.

    The ads, run by Npower, promote a website at where “trainees” must complete three missions before they can join the “elite cadets” and “train to become a climate cop”.

    These missions basically consist of a barrage of eco propaganda which the child must simply engage in in order to be accepted as a special agent of the green brigade.

    The site offers a selection of downloads, including a pack of “climate crime cards“, which instruct recruits to spy on families, friends and relatives, encouraging each of them to build up a written “climate crime case file”.


    Sounds nasty ay?

    I surfed over to the Climate Cops website, played some of the dreadful Flash games, and read some of the propaganda. Its all as described by Infowars; pure Orwellian propaganda, junk science and brainwashing.

    What piqued my interest was the offer of a ‘teaching pack’ available for the asking. So I asked.

    A few days later, I received a 450g package in the post, 2nd class, filled with gloss varnished paper. I will now do an Apple product style ‘unboxing’ for you:

    The package consists of:

    • 1 A4 sheet printed on one side in two colors (letter)
    • A CDROM holding folder, printed on both sides, 4 color process, UV varnish
    • A CDROM
    • A 16 page A4 pamphlet, cover thick UV varnished card, interior pages unvarnished, 4 color process throughout, staple bound (teacher notes)
    • 1 A4 sheet (teacher evaluation form)
    • 8 A4 sheets, printed 4 color process both sides (information cards)
    • 3 A2 sheets on thick card,, 4 color process, UV varnished, folded twice (posters)
    • 1 A3 envelope, one color (freepost response envelope)

    The smell of ink and solvents from this package was very strong, as you can imagine.

    This is an extraordinarily wasteful product, completely unnecessary in the age of the internets, which also asks teachers to print out materials for their students wasting toner and even more paper once this paper bomb arrives at its target.

    Now, lets go into some of the detail of what is printed in this appalling package.

    This teaching resource uses PowerPoint presentations and games to guide the student into believing Global Warming propaganda. It leaves out a staggering amount of science, uses gutter street talk in an attempt to appeal to the illiterate student, and is a transparent and foul instrument of deception.

    Lets take lesson 3 as an example.

    In ‘Lesson 3 – GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE’ the stated learning objectives are:

    The fourth item is the one that is interesting to us; to do it, they use a series of lies and glaring omissions. Lets take a look at one or two.

    The first glaring omission. Nowhere in this pack is the carbon life cycle mentioned. There is no mention of photosynthesis, or the fact that plants convert CO2 to O2. There is no chemistry, only the most dumbed down talking points.

    The word ‘plant’ does not appear in the worksheets and related materials; the phrase ‘tree planting’ appears once, in the Sustainable Development slideshow (PDF), which is given as the answer to the question, “2) List three examples of carbon offsetting”. The phrase tree planting is left by itself, without any explanation of why it would work to ameliorate the ‘problem’. Of course this answer is in the context of the plan to measure everyone’s ‘carbon footprint’ the pretext and basis for world wide taxation and micro-management of every aspect of life.

    Look at this page:

    The astonishingly over-simplified diagram in the centre makes no mention of the plant life of the earth that absorbs the very gas that these liars say is causing all the problem. Why? Because the schoolchildren will instantly conclude that if plants absorb greenhouse gas (CO2), then all we have to do is plant like crazy to solve the problem. Every pre idiocracy schoolboy knows about the carbon life cycle. By leaving out the truth about the carbon life cycle of the earth (a lie of omission) they are disarming these hapless students, removing their ability to argue logically about this subject.

    The makers of this package put the following pseudo disclaimer into a slideshow to be shown to students (PDF):

    But then on the subsequent page are still propagating the now discredited IPCC report as if its claims are the absolute truth:

    I think you get the gist of all this.

    It is nauseating propaganda for the educationally submnormal.

    “My house is proper old; and it is not insulated or double-glazed”.

    That is the sort of English in this pack. That is the ‘thinking’. Of course, Etonians and Hone Schoolers will not be subjected to this garbage; the latter may do so only to demonstrate how utterly stupid the masses are, and how they are being corralled like pigs into the squeeze chutes….but I digress.

    Finally, lets look at a particularly odius section.

    Now, the person who was operating Adobe InDesign CS3 (5.0) on this occassion, forgot to put the image of the star beneath the list of Climate Change created disasters, so here they are:

    2004 tsunami in South East Asia
    2005 earthquake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir
    2005 flooding in New Orleans, USA
    2005 tornado in Birmingham
    2006 drought in Australia
    2006 eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador
    2007 flooding in the UK
    2007 flooding in South East Asia
    2007 forest fires in Greece
    2006 drought in Australia
    2006 eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador
    2007 flooding in the UK
    2007 flooding in South East Asia
    2007 forest fires in Greece

    Now, at the bottom right of this page, in the smallest possible type:

    comes this disclaimer:

    *This activity is speculative. It is not currently possible to provide concrete scientific evidence to suggest that climate change is responsible for any of these events.

    I wonder how many people would not bother to read the disclaimer, or who would read it and dismiss it. The sort of children who are spoken to with phrases like ‘Our house is proper old’ are not the fine print reading sort.

    Make of it what you will.

    The propaganda push for the Global Warming hoax is still going strong. They are repeating the same discredited lies over and over, and what is worse, they are recruiting an army of Orwellian snoops to enforce the new and completely insane regulations, so that everyone goes around with unwashed clothes, unwashed bodies, no fun, no freedom and a standard of living so reduced as to render this and the other technologically advanced countries unrecognizable to its citizens that will remember what life used to (and should) be like.

    Of course, none of this needs to happen; what is for sure, is that the way out will not come from the classrooms where this propaganda is being spread.

    * I loathe writing that contains sentences that begin with the word “so” don’t you?

    Monster Music 12

    Monday, June 9th, 2008


    Geophagy in Haiti

    Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

    Rising Food Costs Force Haiti’s Poor to Resort to Eating Dirt


    It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.

    The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

    Yolen Jeunky arranges dried mud cookies for sale in a bucket in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Nov. 29, 2007. (Ariana Cubillos/ AP Photo)

    “When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day,” Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

    Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. “When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too,” she said.

    Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

    A woman dries mud cookies in the sun on the the roof of Fort Dimanche, once a prison, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Nov. 29, 2007. Rising prices and food shortages are threatening Haiti’s fragile stability, and the mud cookies, made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening, are one of very few options the poorest people have to stave off hunger. (Ariana Cubillos/ AP Photo)

    The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

    The global price hikes, together with floods and crop damage from the 2007 hurricane season, prompted the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency to declare states of emergency in Haiti and several other Caribbean countries. Caribbean leaders held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports.

    At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

    The hand of a woman is covered in mud as she makes mud cookies on the roof of Fort Dimanche, Nov. 30, 2007. (Ariana Cubillos/ AP Photo)

    Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

    Merchants truck the dirt from the central town of Hinche to the La Saline market, a maze of tables of vegetables and meat swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies in places such as Fort Dimanche, a nearby shanty town.

    Carrying buckets of dirt and water up ladders to the roof of the former prison for which the slum is named, they strain out rocks and clumps on a sheet, and stir in shortening and salt. Then they pat the mixture into mud cookies and leave them to dry under the scorching sun.

    The finished cookies are carried in buckets to markets or sold on the streets.

    A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.

    Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.

    Haitian doctors say depending on the cookies for sustenance risks malnutrition.

    Yolen Jeunky prepares cookies made of dirt, water, salt and butter on the the roof of Fort Dimanche. (Ariana Cubillos/ AP Photo)

    “Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it,” said Dr. Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of Haiti’s health ministry.

    Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

    “I’m hoping one day I’ll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these,” she said. “I know it’s not good for me.”

    By JONATHAN M. KATZ Associated Press Writer
    Jan 29, 2008
    The Associated Press


    Noor’s List

    Arizona fires a warning shot….Civil War!

    Thursday, May 15th, 2008
     ¦ REFERENCE TITLE: abolish federal government; state sovereignty ¦
     ¦                                                             ¦
     ¦                                                             ¦
     ¦                                                             ¦
     ¦ State of Arizona                                            ¦
     ¦ House of Representatives                                    ¦
     ¦ Forty-fourth Legislature                                    ¦
     ¦ Second Regular Session                                      ¦
     ¦ 2000                                                        ¦
     ¦                                                             ¦
     ¦                                                             ¦
     ¦                          HCR 2034                           ¦
     ¦                       Introduced by                         ¦
     ¦              Representatives Johnson, Cooley                ¦




    Whereas, on July 4, 1776, our founding fathers proclaimed that the people had the right to alter or abolish their government and declared thirteen British colonies to be free and independent, or sovereign, states; and

    Whereas, on March 1, 1781, the thirteen states formed a central government they called the United States of America under a charter known as the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which stated that “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence”; and

    Whereas, on September 17, 1787, the leaders of the Continental Congress signed the present Constitution of the United States, which was then transmitted to the thirteen states for ratification and the formation of a new central government; and

    Whereas, several of the states delayed ratification of the Constitution and three states made clear their position regarding sovereignty by stating that “the powers of government may be resumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness”; and

    Whereas, eventually all thirteen of the independent states ratified the Constitution of the United States and joined the new Union, while retaining their sovereignty as states. The states made the new central government sovereign only to the extent that the states delegated to it limited and specific powers; and

    Whereas, the Constitution of the United States is merely a treaty among sovereigns, and under treaty law when one party violates the treaty the other parties are automatically released from further adherence to it unless they wish to continue; and

    Whereas, the fifty current principals, or signatories, to the treaty have done well in honoring and obeying it, yet the federal agent has, for decades, violated it in both word and spirit. The many violations of the Constitution of the United States by the federal government include disposing of federal property without the approval of Congress, usurping jurisdiction from the states in such matters as abortion and firearms rights and seeking control of public lands within state borders; and

    Whereas, under Article V, Constitution of the United States, three-fourths of the states may abolish the federal government. In the alternative, if the states choose to exercise their inherent right as sovereigns, fewer than thirty-eight states may lawfully choose to ignore Article V, Constitution of the United States, and establish a new federal government for themselves by following the precedent established by Article VII, Constitution of the United States, in which nine of the existing thirteen states dissolved the existing Union under the Articles of Confederation and automatically superceded the Articles.


    Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring:

    1. That when or if the President of the United States, the Congress of the United States or any other federal agent or agency declares the Constitution of the United States to be suspended or abolished, if the President or any other federal entity attempts to institute martial law or its equivalent without an official declaration in one or more of the states without the consent of that state or if any federal order attempts to make it unlawful for individual Americans to own firearms or to confiscate firearms, the State of Arizona, when joined by thirty-four of the other fifty states, declares as follows: that the states resume all state powers delegated by the Constitution of the United States and assume total sovereignty; that the states re-ratify and re-establish the present Constitution of the United States as the charter for the formation of a new federal government, to be followed by the election of a new Congress and President and the reorganization of a new judiciary, similarly following the precedent and procedures of the founding fathers; that individual members of the military return to their respective states and report to the Governor until a new President is elected; that each state assume a negotiated, prorated share of the national debt; that all land within the borders of a state belongs to the state until sold or ceded to the central government by the state’s Legislature and Governor; and that once thirty-five states have agreed to form a new government, each of the remaining fifteen be permitted to join the new confederation on application.

    2. That the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona transmit copies of this Resolution to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each Member of Congress from the State of Arizona.


    This is taken directly from the official web site of the Arizona State Legislature.

    This time it’s for real. We are reaching a tipping point, where the number of awake people will outnumber the sleeping and their collective momentum will be so great that the media will not be able to re-somnabulize them.

    This is one of the greatest things I have ever read!

    Dumbing down done properly

    Monday, May 5th, 2008

    Still going strong, 666 episodes into the series.

    Watch, a mans passion undimmed.

    What does this say?

    Sunday, April 20th, 2008

    You KNOW what it says, in every way, since you read BLOGDIAL.
    The original.
    The post I snarfed it from.
    Linked from Lew Rockwell.
    One Real American’s take.

    How one thing leads to another

    Saturday, April 19th, 2008

    I’ve just listened to Faultline’s ‘Colder Closer’ side 2. Forgotten how much I like it.

    Reminds me of buying a Pole LP and listening to it for months at 33, loving it…. Then one day a ‘friend’ tells me ‘shouldn’t it be on 45?’ Never the same, I tells ya.

    And then seeing Pan Sonic at Highbury Garage, supporting Suicide. I knew nothing about them, stood enjoying my pint, waiting. My jaw dropped. The man next to me fell over. What great noises. We have had some fun.

    From there, the memories are too numerous to share, but I share them. I am a lucky man.

    Anyway, it means Ilpo Vaisenenenenenen… whatever… Liima versions over 2 10″s are next up.

    Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1’

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

    Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV“). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.

    Botros is an unusual figure onscreen: robed, with a huge cross around his neck, he sits with both the Koran and the Bible in easy reach. Egypt’s Copts — members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East — have in many respects come to personify the demeaning Islamic institution of “dhimmitude” (which demands submissiveness from non-Muslims, in accordance with Koran 9:29). But the fiery Botros does not submit, and minces no words. He has famously made of Islam “ten demands,” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.

    The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. More recently, al-Jazeera noted Life TV’s “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world. Several factors account for the Botros phenomenon.

    First, the new media — particularly satellite TV and the Internet (the main conduits for Life TV) — have made it possible for questions about Islam to be made public without fear of reprisal. It is unprecedented to hear Muslims from around the Islamic world — even from Saudi Arabia, where imported Bibles are confiscated and burned — call into the show to argue with Botros and his colleagues, and sometimes, to accept Christ.

    Secondly, Botros’s broadcasts are in Arabic — the language of some 200 million people, most of them Muslim. While several Western writers have published persuasive critiques of Islam, their arguments go largely unnoticed in the Islamic world. Botros’s mastery of classical Arabic not only allows him to reach a broader audience, it enables him to delve deeply into the voluminous Arabic literature — much of it untapped by Western writers who rely on translations — and so report to the average Muslim on the discrepancies and affronts to moral common sense found within this vast corpus.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    A most intrusive and nauseating operation

    Monday, March 17th, 2008

    Who is Phorm anyway?
    Phorm is an internet marketing company. They make money by selling advertising on web pages to various companies through their brokerage which they call the Open Internet Exchange (OIX). You can find out more about Phorm and the OIX from their website ( but beware of the marketing-speak!

    What’s so different about that, google has been doing it for years!
    Google’s advertising relies solely on Google’s own database to ‘target’ it’s adverts. It does this based on the content of the page you’re viewing, and doesn’t use any kind of browsing history unless you specifically opt-in (by creating a Google account). Phorm on the other hand targets it’s advertising based solely on your browsing history, which it collects direct from your ISP. You can opt-out of Phorm’s tracking by allowing a cookie to be set on your PC.

    So you’re saying I’m automatically opted in?
    Yes. If your ISP is Virgin Media, BT or Talk Talk, your browsing details WILL be sent to Phorm by default, you will require to disable the Phorm system by opting out on every browser that uses your network connection. There is no way to ‘globaly opt out’ of the Phorm system.

    So what do they actually see?
    Phorm doesn’t just see the URL of every page you visit, they see the entire content of every single web page (with the exception of encrypted pages). That means they can read your mail if you use most types of webmail, view all the posts you make or read on web forums, obtain the content of most webforms you complete, in fact just about anything you do on the web that is not encrypted can be hoovered up by Phorm. Phorm claim they do not store this information for more than 14 days.

    What do they store?
    According to their website, Phorm store an aggregate history of your browsing, not a detailed history of each page you visit. Even so, such a history would reveal considerable detail about your browsing and potentially about your personal life.

    Can this history be tied to my identity?
    Phorm claim they do not store any personally identifiable information (including IP addresses) or interface with any ISP systems that would allow them to identify you, however they assign each user a unique ‘tracking ID’ which relates directly to their browsing profile. If someone connected the ID to any piece of personally identifying information your browsing history would no longer be anonymous.

    I heard Phorm was associated with a rootkit, is that true?
    Phorm is not, however their predecessor company (121 Media) was. This has been confirmed by Phorm’s current CEO, who was also involved with 121 Media.

    Someone said Phorm was linked to Russia, is it true?
    Yes, there is a clear link between Phorm and Russia. Phorm employ Russian programmers (“The development team for the new software was recruited from Moscow’s elite Lebedev Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering, a vital part of of the Cold War spying effort and still a centre for developing Russia’s ‘national security’ computer systems.– Mail on Sunday article)  and have been indirectly linked to the Russian security services by a Mail on Sunday article (full article is here)


    It had to happen.

    Given that governments everywhere want access to all your browsing habbits, it was inevitable that someone, somewhere would say, “but we can make money out of this!”.

    and here is an update:

    Web creator rejects net tracking
    By Rory Cellan-Jones
    Technology correspondent, BBC News

    The creator of the web has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet.

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system.

    Plans by leading internet providers to use Phorm, a company which tracks web activity to create personalised adverts, have sparked controversy.

    Sir Tim said he did not want his ISP to track which websites he visited.

    “I want to know if I look up a whole lot of books about some form of cancer that that’s not going to get to my insurance company and I’m going to find my insurance premium is going to go up by 5% because they’ve figured I’m looking at those books,” he said.

    Sir Tim said his data and web history belonged to him.

    He said: “It’s mine – you can’t have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me. I have to agree, I have to understand what I’m getting in return.”

    Phorm has said its system offers security benefits which will warn users about potential phishing sites – websites which attempt to con users into handing over personal data.

    Kent Ertugrul, chief executive, of Phorm, told BBC News: “We have not had the chance to describe to Tim Berners-Lee how the system works and we look forward to doing that.

    “We believe Phorm makes the internet a more vibrant and interesting place. Phorm protects personal privacy and unlike the hundreds of other cookies on your PC, it comes with an on/off switch.”

    The advertising system created by Phorm highlights a growing trend for online advertising tools – using personal data and web habits to target advertising.

    Social network Facebook was widely criticised when it attempted to introduce an ad system, called Beacon, which leveraged people’s habits on and off the site in order to provide personal ads.

    ‘No strings’

    The company was forced to give customers a universal opt out after negative coverage in the media.

    Sir Tim added: “I myself feel that it is very important that my ISP supplies internet to my house like the water company supplies water to my house. It supplies connectivity with no strings attached. My ISP doesn’t control which websites I go to, it doesn’t monitor which websites I go to.”

    Talk Talk has said its customers would have to opt in to use Phorm, while the two other companies which have signed up – BT and Virgin – are still considering both opt in or opt out options.

    Sir Tim said he supported an opt-in system.

    “I think consumers rights in this are very important. We haven’t seen the results of these systems being used.”

    Privacy campaigners have questioned the legality of ISPs intercepting their customers’ web-surfing habits.

    But the Home Office in the UK has drawn up guidance which suggests the ISPs will conform with the law if customers have given consent.

    Sir Tim also said the spread of social networks like Facebook and MySpace was a good example of increasing involvement in the web. But he had a warning for young people about putting personal data on these sites.

    “Imagine that everything you are typing is being read by the person you are applying to for your first job. Imagine that it’s all going to be seen by your parents and your grandparents and your grandchildren as well.”

    But he said he had tried out several of the sites, and thought they might in the end be even more popular with the elderly than with young people.

    Sir Tim was on a short visit to Britain from his base at MIT in Boston, during which he met government ministers, academics and major corporations, to promote a new subject, Web Science.

    This is a multi-disciplinary effort to study the web and try to guide its future. Sir Tim explained that there were now more web pages than there are neurons in the human brain, yet the shape and growth of the web were still not properly understood.

    “We should look out for snags in the future,” he said, pointing to the way email had been swamped by spam as an example of how things could go wrong. “Things can change so fast on the internet.”

    But he promised that what web scientists would produce over the coming years “will blow our minds”.


    At last, SOMEONE standing up for what is right.

    The Meaning Of Culture

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

    The Proms attract too narrow a section of society, culture minister Margaret Hodge has suggested in a speech.

    Margaret Hodge biography includes:

    Margaret entered politics in 1973 as a councillor for the London Borough of Islington where she was Chair of the Housing Committee from 1975 to 1979 and Deputy Leader from 1981 to 1982, before becoming Leader from 1982 to 1992. She spent two years as a consultant for Price Waterhouse from 1992 to 1994.

    She was educated at Bromley High School and Oxford High School before obtaining a BSc at the London School of Economics. Margaret Hodge is married with four children and one grandchild.

    So, the qualifications to be a Minister for Culture are…? I would prefer to see Brian Sewell, Mark Kermode, Jon Wozencroft, Bruce Gilbert.. even Rolf Harris!

    She praised “icons of a common culture” from Coronation Street to the Angel of the North and said culture could “enhance a sense of shared identity”.

    Icons of a common culture? The Angel of the North? To share a liking (or a dislike!) for a particular sculpture does not ‘enhance a sense of shared identity’.

    As for Coronation Street, Hodge clearly misinterprets a commercial vehicle designed to attract the largest audience of a particular category in order to sell premium advertising time as a piece of ‘art’ through which one can connect with peers from all manner of social backgrounds.

    But the Proms was one of several major cultural events many people did not feel comfortable attending, she said.

    So by extension, any public performance (or ‘major cultural event’) should be dragged down to the lowest common denominator. Is classical music, as a part of culture, not intended to push boundaries, to increase our understanding of each other and ourselves through the generation of shared emotions? Why then should anyone feel excluded? Everyone has the personal choice to go or not. When the Hodges of this world start telling you what you may and may not enjoy as part of our ‘culture’ then something is seriously awry.

    Tory leader David Cameron said she did not “get it” and said the Proms were a “great symbol of our Britishness”.

    He is kind of right, but he only really means that non-skinheads get to wave the Union flag without getting beaten by policemen. The Proms are certainly a symbol of openess. Look at this list of concerts at last year’s Proms, the sheer breadth of music should be lauded as a wonderful acheivement, moreover since every night is sold out. That does not strike me as a series of concerts failing in their task.

    He also stressed the numbers of other Proms during the concert season – such as Proms in the Park and the Electric Proms.

    ‘Feel at ease’

    In a speech to the IPPR think tank on Britishness, Heritage and the Arts, Mrs Hodge said a “shared sense of common cultural identity” was a key part of social integration and cohesion.

    Since the rise of the British Empire, how can the population of Britain possibly have a shared sense of common cultural identity? This statement is either based on a misunderstanding of ‘cultural identity’, possibly mistaking ‘living in Britain’ with ‘being British’, or a misunderstanding of what constitutes ‘culture’. Living near Stamford Hill in London did not let me share a cultural identity with the Jewish community. My living in Hackney did not encourage my muslim neighbours to drink ale or eat black pudding, things I may place as part of my cultural identity. By not choosing to get hideously drunk on tasteless lager while wearing a short-sleeved shirt in all weathers and letching at anything with 2 X chromosomes every Friday and Saturday night I am culturally alienated from a large part of my generation. What should I do?

    But then what does Hodge mean by ‘culture‘? It is a word with a particularly broad meaning, and I would very much like to hear her definition.

    She said she wanted to “challenge our sectors square on”.

    I would also like to hear what the blue blazes “challenge our sectors square on” means!

    “The audiences for some of many of our greatest cultural events – I’m thinking particularly of the Proms – is still a long way from demonstrating that people from different backgrounds feel at ease in being part of this,” she added.

    Just as culture pushes the boundaries it can make some people proud to belong, it can make others feel isolated and deeply offended Margaret Hodge
    Culture minister

    “I know this is not about making every audience completely representative, but if we claim great things for our sectors in terms of their power to bring people together, then we have a right to expect they will do that wherever they can.”

    Hodge should try reading Lydgate (and Lincoln)

    “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

    If one point of art (and culture, of which art is a part) is to challenge, then not everyone will like everything. It’s no more than common sense, Margaret. Is she determined to demonstrate exactly why Rolf would make a better Minister than her?

    In her speech, Mrs Hodge praised other institutions for “creating the icons of a common culture that everybody can feel a part of” – such as the Angel of the North, the British Museum and the Eden project as well as TV and radio shows “from Coronation Street to the Archers” and shared public holidays.

    Well, I can take or leave the Angel… I’m certain some of Britain’s Greek, Mexican, Egyptian, Italian, Indian (et al.) communities are offended by the contents of the British Museum (or, rather, by the fact that the British Museum contains THEIR stolen cultural artefacts while portraying them as part of Great Britishness … the Eden project (if one can call it a cultural ICON is highly doubtful) is simply dull compared to the natural landscape of Bodmin Moor, for example, or the Cornish Coast, or Yorkshire Dales, Highlands… Coronation Street we have covered, and I abhor it… and if there is one programme which has a particular and non-inclusive audience then it is the Archers on Radio 4!

    National motto

    But she acknowledged that culture could also be divisive – citing the examples of Jerry Springer: The Opera, which Christians said was blasphemous and Behtzi, a play which depicted sex abuse in a Sikh temple and was cancelled after protests.

    “Just as culture pushes the boundaries it can make some people proud to belong, it can make others feel isolated and deeply offended,” she said. […] From BBQ.

    Did she not notice as The Point Of It All flew right over her head? “When a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.”

    I can’t dissect further. Her idiocy is certainly all-inclusive. Her sectors are undoubtedly challenged square-on. Yet this woman has powet to decide ‘cultural priorities for museums and funding projects supported by you and I. It is not funny and it could be very damaging. I would not be surprised if the only culture Margeret Hodge is familiar with is thrush.