Thursday, November 30, 2006

JJB Sports boss sacks strike leader....

Unbelievable…. Rich capitalist vindictive tosser , David Whelan (he of JJB Sports) has taken the decision to sack the GMB steward and strike leader, Chris Riley.

The GMB is accusing JJB Sports of reneging on a “no-victimising” clause in a deal which ended strike action over pay this month. Riley, was fired on Tuesday for “gross misconduct” and Whelan had his muddy paw prints all over the sacking. If he is not reinstated then there will be an all-out stoppage at the company’s main warehouse in Wigan. Whelan refutes any agreement on victimisation was ever agreed in the first place.

Sandra Blight from the GMB says: “GMB members at JJB Sports are very angry at this latest turn of events .This is the second time in these talks that Mr Whelan has scuppered negotiations between Mr Knight and GMB. GMB members will not stand idly by and allow multi millionaire Mr Whelan to victimise their Shop Steward Chris Riley”.

Oh and no comment was forthcoming from that scabby company. Wonder why..?

Reinstate Chris Riley!

Update: Check this blog as it tells you how you can show your support for the reinstatement of Chris Riley

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Debt-crisis New Labour

The Labour Party are in the red and seemingly on their uppers. Oh dear. The Electoral Commission, has revealed that the Labour Party owes more than £23m in loans.

Accounts released yesterday show that Labour, which has sold its headquarters, must repay £5.5m by the end of next month, followed by more than £11m by November next year, unless it can reschedule more of its debts.

Sir Christopher Evans, one rich donor, has decided not to claw back his loan instead has given Labour more time to repay.

Labour has admitted it was facing "acute cash-flow problems" and was appealing to their donors to get them more time. They are also hoping that the loans are converted to donations. But Sir Christopher has maintained that he wants his cash back.....

A Labour spokesperson said: "The Labour Party is currently in discussion with these creditors to development a repayment programme that meets the terms of these commercial loans as seen as possible."

The police are investigating whether the loans are truly commerical. Many of Labour's loans are at an interest rate under 7% and some are for an indefinite period. If they are not judged to be genuinely commerical terms, the loans could be deemed donations, which should have been declared. This is because a low interest loan is effectively a gift of the amount that would otherwise have been paid in interest. On the sorts of figures involved this would be several million pounds over a a number of years. It is this amount that has effectively been concealed from the electoral authorities.

And the fact that the membership of the Labour Party is plummenting very quickly. There isn't that solid activist base, which existed in the past. They can't get that level of support now as they are serving the establishment.

Blair beware of the bailiffs........

Monday, November 27, 2006

Harriet Harman: desperately seeking deputy leadership

Oh dear, poor 'ickle Harriet Harman is desperate to show she is a heavyweight contender for deputy leader that she commissioned her own poll. YouGov found that 15% of voters would be inclined to vote Labour if she succeeded John Prescott. Non-entity Hilary Benn was second in the pecking order with 12%.

None of the other candidates - Hazel Blears, Peter Hain, John Cruddas and Alan Johnson - were favoured by more than 10% of the voters.

"It is understood that Ms Harman commissioned the poll to confirm her belief that she was best placed to bolster Labour's fortunes at the next election". If the findings had been against her she would have "reflected" on the matter.

I mean, come off it, she commissioned her own "independent" (ha!) poll. That just smacks of utter desperation. She is like the rest of the Blairites. Spineless, opportunistic and cynical. She is rubbish like the rest of 'em.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Women bloggers can't live by sex alone (tho' we'll give it a serious try.....!!)

Reading this month's Marie Claire there's a piece about women bloggers and this relatively new social phenomenon. I can't link as it is sub only so you will have to take my word, your honour. Something like 56% of bloggers are women but there is no breakdown of these statistics. I would be interested in the number of women bloggers who write about politics as from my experience it seems so male dominated. Dr Caroline Bassett from Sussex University, digital media expert says that usage of the web by men is primarily a functional tool while for women it is another way communicating.

Is it true that men blog for different reasons than women?

The article does give a brief snapshot of women writing about all areas of life (sex, life experiences, work, family and so on) though they emphasise women bloggers who give frank accounts of their sex lives (not many women give this kind of graphic account of their sex lives!)and funnily enough, all have had book deals and have sold thousands. Belle de Jour, Stephanie Klein and the one book I have read, The Girl With A One Track Mind by "Abby Lee" (have only recently checked out her blog).

I read her book as I had very long train to get through and 'cos I had heard of her and it had been described as "explicit". Well, that sold it for me.... I found parts of her book funny. I know I am digressing a tad but I did find the sex rather too polished, choreographed and organised. There was nothing disorganised, spontaneous, humourous, sweaty or that "lost in the moment" experience. Maybe it is just me. I was just hoping for a more realistic approach with dialogue such as , "Ouch, there's a loose bed spring sticking in my leg" or "Ouch, I have got cramp in my neck.." or "A bit to the left, mate". OK, OK, maybe it is just me who has these experiences.
But the book did disappoint as towards the end she conformed to a stereotype of a woman wanting a bloke. I suppose I was expecting something different, more transgressive.

Anyway, less of my tuppence h'alfpenny on "Abby Lee" and more on the subject on women bloggers.

One argument in the piece is that it has given women a platform to get their voice across and expressing themselves in the way they want to. This is no bad thing at all but it doesn't give all women the chance to be heard.

The reason I blog is primarily, as a socialist feminist, to bridge the gap between the feminist and male-dominated lefty blogs. Stroppyblog, for me, is not a "confessional" diary in the same way "Abby Lee" or others as it is not personalised. It is more the "personal is political" as I can write about political situations but sometimes put forward my own personal experience as it adds a kind of reality. I would be interested to know the reasons why other lefty women blog. Are they similar to mine?

The "virtual world" is a strange experience as you can say so much or so little and you don't really know who you are communicating with but it can also make the conditions permissible to talk about issues you wouldn't normally talk about in public. That's the beauty in some contradictory way of the blogsphere. It does build your confidence.

Lisa Stone (BlogHer, an online meeting place for women bloggers) argues: "There is a raising of confidence - women becoming more comfortable with discussion and debate".

Blogging is just another medium for women to get their message across and to be heard.....

Galloway, Portuguese porn and naked Courtney Love...

See how many hits that title gets!
Anyway, what's the title about and does it bear any relation to the post? Well yes, its all linked . Nope I am not suggesting Galloway watches Portuguese porn with Courtney, that's just a reference to spotting the gorgeous one on Friday .

After the near miss of almost sharing restaurant space with the great leader, Dave and I pottered home via the local Blockbusters. There were nice couples wandering around deciding to watch DVD's such as 'Sliding Doors' . My reaction was to mimic puking. Dave spotted some foreign films that seemed to really amount to arty porn for the middle classes. As we then picked out all the arty foreign titles with naked bodies on the cover,purely research of course, we realised they were also the ones that were already taken out.
This made us ponder the nature of porn, as you do in Blockbusters. Well I pondered while Dave read out the blurbs from the DVD's and moved onto to the 'urban' section that featured 'bling babes' in very little clothes. It seemed to me that if the film is in a foreign language, then the middle class chattering north London types feel ok to watch it. Words such as class and race were thrown into the write up of one. In reality it was posh types shagging the lower orders, very lady Chatterley.

So what would porn look like under socialism . I take it as given that it would involve fair working conditions and women equally in control . In terms of content one of the issues I have is that at present its very much a male viewpoint . Would that differ? I would hope there would be more from a female viewpoint, and that's not meaning slushy Mills and Boon or Mr Darcy fantasies. It may give men a more balanced view of women's sexuality , rather than the silicone enhanced women faking it for the cameras.

So onto what I like to call Stroppyporn !
Courtney has posed for pics for an 'arty' trendy magazine, Pop, having turned down offers in the past from men's mags. I have uploaded one of the pics here. I quite like them. Of course there was probably some airbrushing, but it is not some silicone enhanced plastic surgery babe on show. Its Courtney, with her car crash life and propensity to flash her tits. She has a bad attitude , unlike many naked pin ups.
I would argue as well that she is more than just Kurt Cobain's widow. She has made some good albums and her acting was not bad in The People vs. Larry Flynt .

I like her because she messes up, behaves badly and doesn't act her age or grow old gracefully. The media vilify her as a bad mother and wife who somehow lead Kurt astray. After his death she was criticised for getting wasted . Many felt she had driven him to his death and few really sympathised or showed any understanding. As someone whose father committed suicide I know what guilt , even irrational , can do. I know what its like for people to wonder why and what did his family do. Courtney went through that in the blaze of a media spotlight.

So for those reasons I like Courtney, in all her fucked up naked glory !

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Silver screen goddess at the NFT

When I was a teenager I had a poster of the photograph taken by Horst of Jean Harlow on my bedroom wall and a postcard of Louise Brooks stuck next to it. I also had postcards of Kollontai, Zetkin and Luxemburg on the wall as well but that's another post. I liked and still like those wisecracking, disreputable, intelligent and independently (and dirty) minded women of the 1920s/1930s Hollywood silver screen such as Louise Brooks, Tallulah Bankhead ("My father warned me about men and booze but he never mentioned a word about women and cocaine".) Jean Harlow, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and Dorothy Parker (yes, I know, she didn't act but oh could she write).

So, I was pleased to see that the National Film Theatre are having a Louise Brooks season next month and there was also a piece in yesterday's Guardian about her. It is about time she was rehabilitated. She was one gorgeous, provocative looking woman with that famous black bob, luscious eyes and full pert lips. But her work as an actress was never really fully realised as she wouldn't submit herself to the Hollywood machine. Brooks bucked the trend. She took herself off to Germany to star in GW Pabst's Pandora's Box and A Diary of a Lost Girl. The character Lulu was born. Brooks retired from films and started to write. In the 1970s she was rediscovered by critic Kenneth Tynan. She died in 1985.

But that vampish look has been updated and the spirit of Lulu lives on. For me, she was the original sexy femme fatale and what an icon she still is......

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sex toys are a coming on a telly near you...

Well, I can just imagine Shocked from Surrey choking on their mug of coco when viewing this commercial from tomorrow night.

Picture the scene, woman with bloke (why so hetero?) and he slips her something hard and pleasurable.
…. Indeed a gift-wrapped box with a sex toy inside and not your usual engagement rock. The woman exclaims, ‘I do…’

Well, it gives a whole new meaning to ‘I do’ doesn’t it? Who needs a diamond ring when you can have a penis ring, which vibrates? Hell, I would say ‘I do’ amongst other things as well and I don't believe in marriage....

These commercials can be seen on Channel 4 and 5 after 11pm (I am staying up well past my bedtime the rebel I am…). By the way, the sex toys are made by Durex.

Rock on Durex!

I wonder if they will sell them in the machines in the toilets? Just a thought.....

Tory Tossers

Ok, I realise that the title of this post is stating the obvious, but I have just seen the bright new idea from the Cameronies.

Now over at Osler's site he mentions that business is feeling unloved, even by the Tories. Wonder what they will make of this. Its telling people to be sensible with their spending.

Its going to come up with tips on how to take responsibility for debt and other issues. It also wants ideas on what to tackle next. Anyone want to help them out there.

Apparently getting into debt, loans sharks etc is not down to capitalism but the fact we all have an 'inner tosser'. Hmm, that should go down well with the home counties blue rinse brigade.

Of course it seems prudence with the money doesn't apply to the Shadow Chancellor,who has splashed the cash courtesy of having a trust fund, on a new pad in Notting Hill.

I must admit the site is beyond parody. There is talk of bling, 'crumpet' and someone grabbing their crotch a la Michael Jackson. Ewww.

It makes webcameron and hug a hoodie seem positively old skool Tory .

As they say in the Tories check out the stuff here dude ...

Hat tip : Harry's Place

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cleaners picket Goldman Sachs

Cleaners at Goldman Sachs earn £11,000 a year with no sick pay or pension but get 4 weeks holiday. Fandabidozi....
I mean, you can save up for a trip of a life time on 11 grand, can't you?

Unlike.....banker earns £273,000 a year (perks and bonuses etc.)

But Goldman Sachs say blame the contractors and that it has nothing to with them. Well they would say that, wouldn't they!

While Tony Woodley of the T&G says, "The City fat cats are living the high life while cleaners are scraping by". Quite.

Strange goings on in the blogosphere !

Hmmm. Just had a look at the blog stats and found a very odd thing.
I found a link from Dave's site to Stroppy. But it was not the usual Dave or Stroppy site .

Check out the sites :

I then clicked on some of the links and found various bloggers have changed sex overnight !

Paul is Paula, Dave is Dawn and Davida . Funnily enough Stroppy is still bird and Louise still Louise .

Both Jims are now Jill. Jon is now Joyce .

Best one though is Will is Wilma. Though Andy as Andrea , Mistress of Ceremionies has quite a ring to it. Makes me think of riding crops for some reason...

This seems to be the home page

So anyone know anymore, is this an evil plot by Wilma perhaps ;-)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Film director Robert Altman has died...

Well, another Hollywood Great has died and this time it is director Robert Altman. He was 81. He directed classics such as MASH and later in his career films such Short Cuts and Pret-a-Porter. Though my favourite has to be The Player, it has more Hollywood stars than you can shake a stick at (and they gave their services for free....), loaded with insider jokes but the script is a tongue-in-cheek attack on Hollywood and Tim Robbins is exceptional as slimy studio exective Griffin Mill. Altman was up for Best Director Oscar but lost which was a great shame. You obviously don't get awards for biting the hand that feeds you!!It is a great film nonetheless.

Altman film career was kinda uneven and idiosyncratic. He did direct some crud and I have to admit that I like Short Cuts but it coulda done with better editing and slicing at least 60mins off the end product. But with Gosford Park Altman returned to form with great direction, camera work and the ensemble cast. Though I was terribly disappointed when Clive Owen took off to shirt and revealed he was wearing a .....vest!

Blair the biggest delinquent on the block....

A team of supernannies are to be parachuted into deprived areas to help parents control their anti-social offspring. Areas, which have high teenage pregnancies, truancy and “unruly behaviour”. Blair explains why he is doing in this in that liberal super sensitive newspaper, the Sun (yes, yes, a pinch of sarcasm).

He says: Life isn’t normal if you’ve got 12- year- olds out every night drinking and creating a nuisance on the street without their parents knowing or caring”. And this coming from the biggest middle-aged delinquent of all time…..

So, are we talking about middle class fears of unruly and out-of-control proles?

Hey I wonder, does that include Blair’s no. 1 son who was found face down pissed in a gutter a couple of years ago? I suppose that incident is more of “youthful exuberance” as opposed to “unruly behaviour”!!

What narks me about these bloody daft proposals is that they are not coming from a standpoint, which tries to understand why this is happening and not demonising hoodie-wearing teenagers. Is this a new social phenomenon? Are kids out of control? I mean, haven’t people been moaning and groaning about teenagers such the dawn of time?

Is it me or are these proposals utterly patronising? It just seems more of the same from the authoritarian Blairite agenda.

As Paul Cavadino from Nacro sensibly says: “Parents need support not punitive actions”. What about tackling poverty, improving wages, housing, more green spaces and places teenagers can actually socialise?

But coming from a socialist feminist standpoint I would also argue that the nature of the family is oppressive under patriarchal capitalism and that it does straightjacket people but that deserves a fuller theoretical post some other time (and I can’t be bothered as my brain is not functioning today..)

I was a hoping a taskforce of supernannies could be sent to deal with an “unruly” prime minister along with his spineless badly behaved chums. Yes, I can just imagine it, Queen of Supernannies, Jo Frost (from that Channel 4 programme) ordering Blair, Reid and Brown into the naughty corner and if they kick up a fuss then it is 5 extra minutes with no backchat!! And after they have calmed down and become more manageable she will ask them to apologise for being a bunch of anti-social bullying war mongers. And if they don’t do what they are told then it is straight back into the naughty corner with a kick to see them on their way.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Torture: the American way

Just watched this disturbing and harrowing footage of a young Iranian student being stunned with a taser by cops at UCLA because he didn't have any ID on him. You hear the student shout at the cops about the Patriot Act.

Various student and civil rights groups have demanded there be an independent investigation into the incident. This is the shape of things to come.

Hat tip: 'ickle Lenin

Teenager usurps Banksy as king of the graffiti artists....

This item on was on London news tonight and it is a hoot! Give this teenager a commission. He deserves it as he gave those snooty snotty starchy snobs at the British Museum a run for their money (I worked at the British Library when it was still based in the British Museum... 'nuff said!)

"Cartrain" produced a plate and sneaked it into the British Museum as a piece of antiquity called Nike Footware. The accompanying information estimated the plate to "be from 2800 BC" and was "made for pennies and sold for pounds". And it was not created by the artist Bankyimus Maximus but Cartrain. The British Museum argued that they spotted the plate in hours yet Cartrain maintains that when he returned 3 days later the plate was still hanging.

Rock 'n' roll Cartrain!

I hope someone just someone or anyone pulls a similar stunt for the Turner Prize. That load of pompous and prententious balderdash that takes place in early December, which gives art a bad name. It deserves to be lampooned and satirised especially those artless, arrogant fools who judge it (....and I have worked with some of them 'nuff said!)

Gimme shelter: 40 years on from Cathy Come Home

A tutor of mine from years ago gave a graphic account of being made homeless when her marriage broke down during the mid 1960s. She struggled to find accomodation with her three kids under 10 years. She struggled to hold down a job as a part/time teacher. She didn't tell anyone really of her plight. Then the play Cathy Come Home was shown one night and millions watched. She said there was an actual change in attitudes overnight towards homelessness and housing as she listened to her work colleagues discuss what they had watched and their surprise that people can fall through the cracks. They were shocked when she told them about her plight and that it never occurred to them that someone in their profession could become homeless. Her response was, "Anyone can become homeless"!

Reading this stark report about housing depressed me especially in the context that it is 40 years on from Ken Loach's film Cathy Come Home. The report is part of the Observer in conjunction with Crisis and the Housing Corporation special report on homelessness (can't find a link unfortunately). There was a massive outcry about housing after the first showing of Loach's film (11.8 million people watched it) and the organisation Shelter was set up.

But what has been achieved 40 years on. Well, the number of homeless households now stands at 95,000, including 130,000 kids. That tally has doubled over the last ten years. A combination of Thatcherism and the Blarite project has ultimately attacked and marginalised the poor. Would there be such a public outcry now if Cathy Come Home was shown? I very much doubt it.

During the mid-1960s, 400,000 homes a year had been built. Only 170,000 get built a year now. The average price of a home increased by £12,000 to £170,000.

People who are in vulnerable and powerless positions in society are finding it ever difficult to find housing. An example of this is a woman escaping domestic violence (bloody red tape, bureaucracy and the "intentionally homeless" rule) increases the obstacles for her to access social housing.

The number of homeless people with mental distress has almost doubled in 15 years. When I was a teenager in and out of the psychiatric system I was homeless and that experience still haunts me as I worry that I could one day find myself in that situation again. Housing is so precarious and not seen as an absolute right. Having a roof over your head isn't a sodding luxury. It is never simple, straightforward or easy to get access to housing whether you are a private tenant with limited rights, trying to buy somewhere is a joke especially if you are on a meagre salary and forget council housing....

Gordon Brown has stated that social housing will be a priority in next year's comprehensive spending review. I will see that to believe it. Shelter estimates that Brown will have to find £1.25bn. The Barker Review, published in 2004, recommended that 23,000 extra homes were built a year yet the Government has only committed itself to 10,000.

At the end of Cathy Come Home, Cathy had her kids taken off her. Now she would at least receive support and advice and a place in temporary accomodation. But getting access to a proper home will be very difficult. Things may have moved on but getting access to adequate social housing is still an impossible reality.

And think of all those 300,000 empty homes which exist around the UK going begging!

Iraq Occupation Focus: strategy day

Sorry about the length of the post but it was a very productive day.....
Yesterday I attended the Iraq Occupation Focus strategy meeting, which was held at the Friends Meeting House. The opening speaker was Sami Ramadani who discussed the need to end the occupation. It will be a long and protacted process and US withdrawal is a pipedream. He said that there has to be a united anti-occupation movement in Iraq and an united global anti-war movement. Sami spoke of the argument used by people who believe that troops should stay because civil war would break out. He spoke about the resistance and there was a debate about the nature of the resistance.

Prolonging the occupation means mass murder and war crimes and the argument that troops should stay is a distortion of the reality and this lie is whipped up constantly. There has to be an immediate end to the occupation and self-determination of the Iraqi people. Occupation crimes and death squads have to be highlighted and exposing who is behind them. There has been testimony from US soldiers about US death squads operating after the invasion. Who controls Iraq? Well, it is not the Iraqi people. It's the US embassy which is heavily guarded around the Green Zone. The number of CIA operatives in Iraq has massively increased. In 2004 - 05, 200,000 Kalashnikov guns were smuggled by the US into Iraq.

Nobody knows who they have been given to and 200,000 weapons are a mighty big number. This can only exacerbate civil strife. Sami made an analogy to Vietnam and that there are similar scenerios. Though there is nothing conparable to the FLN in Iraq.
Sami agreed with Milan Rai's analysis that Iraq is central to US strategy in the Middle East along with the Israeli State. And because of this there won't be a withdrawal and there will be expanding wars within the Middle East.

One of the reasons I came along was to hear Ewa Jasiewicz and Milan Rai. I heard both of them speak at the Labour Against the War AGM in early 2005 (same fateful day as the "final" Socialist Alliance conference). Neither of them spoke much which was a shame though Ewa gave a brief talk about civil resistance and that we hear so much about military resistance and hardly anything about the former. Because of time constraints she didn't expand as much as I would have hoped. Like I said I heard Milan Rai speak before about his book "Regime Unchanged" at the LAtW AGM and thought he was very good. He too spoke briefly yesterday about the need for a multi-national task force in Iraq, which I must say is utterly wrong and many other people felt the same. For me it goes against self-determination of the Iraqi people.

We were split into discussion groups to talk about the anti-occupation work and where now for 2007. I have to say I found this bizarre. We were all assigned a number (I am not a number...) and we all went to our little groups (in the same big hall, 6 of them all in all). I hate small workshoppy groups where we sit around with a marker pen and paper from a flipchart. We talked about practicalities for taking the movement forward. I don't want to go into too much detail as the proposals will be posted on the IOF website. Oh and the demo at Brize Norton was flagged up

I attended the workshop in the afternoon on getting MPs to oppose the occupation. What came out of this workshop was discussion about an Early Day Motion (EDM) for an immediate withdrawal. And Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell will be involved in this. Writing letters to MPs, postcards, legal challenges, tax strikes, peoples strike and so on. Discussions about direct action and the usefulness of just relying on parliamentary pressure. There has to be more grass roots activism and the public are on the anti-war side. Another issue was getting the message across on the web and the blogshere. It is no substitution for grass roots activism but the two can go together.

There was also a workshop about oil corporations in Iraq introduced by Ewa Jasiewicz and Greg Muttit. Greg highlighted the need to expose the way that the oil corporations are using "production sharing agreements" to rip-off the oil-wealth of Iraq. The Oil currently belongs to the Iraq people and is extremely important politcally and economically. The oil rip off will mean that Iraq will be condemned to many decades of repression to ensure that the oil profits flow towards the oil company shareholders.

Ewa spoke about the role of the oil workers union, whish is struggling to build itself as the protector of its members and of the Iraq oil industry as a publicly owned asset operated for the benefit of ordinary Iraqis. The oil workers have won some important victories but the main battle will be over privatisation via the production sharing agreements. This will be a life and death struggle (this is not a metaphor, people will lose their lives as a result of standing with their union) that deserves the full support of both anti-imperialists and trade unionists throughout the world.

Finally, Haifa Zangana, spoke about the grants the US State Department has handed out to womens organisations, which are committed to supporting Bush and the occupation. Organisations like Women for a Free Iraq and Women's Alliance for a Democratic Iraq. She describes them, interestingly, as "colonial feminists". And the cash comes from organisations like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) where Newt Gingrich is described as a "distinguished advisor"..... One of there grants has built a women's centre in Fallujah where women are talk about their "problems". Hmmmm. Will women be "allowed" to talk about their homes being blitzed and troops committing war crimes? I doubt it.

We finished on time as well.....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

James Bond: the violent thug is back....

Well, everyone’s favourite pro-west, pro-imperialist violent thug is back. Yep, that’s right, British intelligence’s finest ….James Bond. And there’s a new kid on the block playing him and that’s dirty blonde Daniel Craig aka Geordie from the telly series Our Friends in the North. You know a proper actor. He looks kinda like the Robert Shaw assassin in From Russia with Love.

OK, OK, I admit it. I like the James Bond films. Look, I am hanging my head in shame. They are reactionary pap and yes, it is an utter contradiction to like them. But I do!

Now that I have admitted my secret shame I can give my opinion on the latest offering, Casino Royale. It has a high octane script, the action is roller coaster like and the fight scenes were gritty and Bond, shock! horror! bleeds. Daniel Craig makes a stunning but flawed Bond (he feels ya know and has shock! horror! emotions). But the "emotional" Bond doesn’t last.
There is a tongue in cheek nod to Dr No where a beefed up Daniel Craig emerges from the sea Ursula Andress style.

No Q therefore no real gadgets but that gives the film a sharper edge as we aren’t distracted from the plot. But there are the usual Bond trademarks such as the Aston Martin, Walther PPK and the Vodka Martini …shaken not stirred, corny sex scenes and Bond women.

Ah yes, the Bond women. One of the women isn’t in the film for that long but she is the usual cliché. A Bond woman is typically one dimensional walking bikini making inane comments like: “Oh James, Oh James, Oh James…” ad nauseum.

The other woman in Casino Royale, Vesper Lynd (great ride and a star) is quite a solid character, confident and holds her own when bantering with Bond. A Bond woman can not be on equal terms with Bond instead she eventually submits to the “charms” of 007. But I remind myself that this is James Bond and the scriptwriters haven’t studied feminist discourse! Though I wish they would buck the sexist trend and transgress a bit.

I prefer the baddie Bond women as you know they are gonna get bumped off but hey, at least you get the best lines. My favourite being Xenia Onatopp from GoldenEye who used to wrap her legs around unsuspecting blokes necks choking them between her thighs. What a way to go! I liked her. But I digress….

Anyway, Daniel Craig shocked me as I was one of those doubters believing that he just didn’t have “it”. Well, I was soooooo wrong and really, to my surprise, enjoyed the film. And it cured my hangover!

Incidentally, my claim to fame is that I was given a lift home a couple years ago from a former Bond woman. OK, I was a bit in awe as it is not everyday you get a lift home from a 1960s icon. She talked about equal pay or the lack of it and that women in the early Bond films were sold short. No surprise there.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Matthew Taylor on uppity bloggers ...

According to Blair's outgoing policy chief, Matthew Taylor, we bloggers are getting a bit too uppity. In a talk to an e-democracy conference, he said the web is as well and good , but we are not very respectful apparently of politicians.
What bit of 'democracy' does he not understand ?

Seems the internet is a bit to outspoken :

"At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had.
"It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis."
The internet, he told the conference, was part of that "crisis".

"What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It's basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are. "

So the lack of distrust is nothing to do with politicians then , all the nasty media and blogs doing.
Of course if politicians really have nothing to worry about, what's wrong with a little critical scrutiny . To paraphrase the ID and surveillance arguments of the Govt, if you are innocent you have nothing to be worried about.

Matthew goes on :

"I want people to have more power, but I want them to have more power in the context of a more mature discourse about the responsibilities of government and the responsibilities of citizens," Mr Taylor told delegates.
Part of the problem, he added, was the "net-head" culture itself, which was rooted in libertarianism and "anti-establishment" attitudes.

Why are those attitudes a problem? What's wrong with healthy criticism and debate? What's immature about questioning our politicians and holding them to account?

Healthy debate is not about stage managed conferences and hand picked audiences. Its about answering the difficult questions. If a politician is honest and can argue their case then any criticism can be handled in the 'mature' debate.

The internet, though still limited to those who can afford access to it, has opened up the debate to a wider audience. That has to be welcomed and not controlled .

I for one will carry on being stroppy , questioning , libertarian, anti -establishment and argumentative ...oh and 'shrill'.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

John McDonnell's alternative to the Queen's Speech

Here’s John McDonnell’s alternative to the Queen’s Speech. See what you think....

Hat tip: Jon Rogers

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Queen's Speech devoted to law and order

I can see myself in years to come talking to my fictitious kids or grandkids and explaining to them when they ask me.... "What are civil liberties"?

No surprises then in the Queen’s Speech as it was devoted to crime, anti-social behaviour and terrorism. Though there was something on pensions regarding restoring the link between earnings and giving women more access to the state pension. The age of retirement age may be increased from 65 to 68. I waiting for it to be "work until you drop". Retirement? Ha!

But it also included nasties such as moves to strengthen border controls, prevent anyone deemed "illegal" working and push ahead with ID cards. Oh and there are renewed talks about pushing the detention of terrorism suspects from 28 days to up to 90 days. Hark! A continuation of the erosion of civil liberties....

Oh and this will please the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Not. An amendment from the abandoned Mental Health Bill is likely to permit people with severe personality disorders to be given compulsory detention and treatment.

Haven't had much time to have a real look at what's coming up so have included the edited highlights so please feel free to talk amongst yourselves......

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bectu members strike hitting state opening of Parliament

Around 100 technicians and engineers working for the BBC will stage a 24-hour strike from tonight hitting coverage of the state opening of Parliament tomorrow. Bectu say the strike is happening because the BBC has scrapped long established rotas and tearing up local agreements. Around 95% members affected by these changes voted in favour of strike action. Further strikes are planned for the 23rd and 24th November.

BECTU Supervisory official Luke Crawley said: "We expect the strike action to be well supported and the fact that our members will not be at work will cause the BBC major problems in covering the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday 15th."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Jack Straw answers the questions.....badly

Oh the woes of Monday morning were vanquished as soon as I saw Jack Straw in today’s Indie as part of You Ask The Questions. You can just imagine him squirming especially as many of them were glorified “You are truly crap” questions.

Two of my fave questions:

Do you ever hanker for the old days of student radicalism?
Yes. They were huge fun - and I think we did good.

Have you ever used illegal drugs? If not why not?
No. Mainly, I guess, because they were not around much in Leeds when I was there.

Next week is the turn of Alan Johnson. You can email a question at

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not been about much...

I have not been posting much lately . I haven't got bored or lazy, just real life is getting in the way. To quote can be shite sometimes. I will still do some posts but my mind is otherwise occupied with my mum being ill. I will be about though as it is a bit of an escape from the real world.

Just want to say thanks to Louise who is holding the fort admirably .
Thanks also to Osler, who though an arsey old git is also a real sweetie who is putting up with an even more stroppy Stroppy.

OK, enough touchy feely stuff...

Kylie is back

Time for a light post ‘cos they don’t call me chuckles for nowt.

I haven’t mentioned Kylie for ages and just wanted to say welcome back Neighbours One (she’s touring now). Also, it is a treat for the Young “don’t cheek your elders" Kitster ‘cos he’s her biggest fan as he can’t get her out of his head. Not like I am a big Kylie fan or anything as I should be so lucky. I mean, I’m listening to the Sugababes writing this. No cheeky comments please.

She was in Sydney last night and duetted with Bono on the song Kids. Bono? Why Bono? He is the biggest wanker on the planet next to Sting. I know it may be the case of better the devil you know but Bono?! So Kylie, if you ever feel the need to you can confide in me......

Any Bono and/or Sting fans who feel offended and traumatised by this post. One word. Good.

US vetoes 'biased' UN resolution

This kinda raised my hackles this morning when I read this. The States have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel in the wake of the artillery attack which killed 18 Palestinian civilians last week in the town of Beit Hanoun. Britain abstained by the way while, France and Russia voted in favour.

US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said “does not display an even-handed characterisation of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace”.

Even-handed? The Palestinians are under occupation or hasn't Mr Bolton woken-up to that fact. The States continue to prop up the Israeli State as it has a vested interest in doing precisely that.

The vetoed text substituted the word “massacre” to describe the shelling with “military operation”. Again this shows how words can serve to dehumanise and minimise the reality of what happens to people. A massacre is a massacre which ever way you slice it and no mealy-mouthed changes will alter that.

Both Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem have called for a fuller investigation into Wednesday’s killings.

Oh and there is a mention of a two-states solution by Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni. Is she serious? Two States = Bantustan for the Palestinians. Some blinking solution.

Here's a thought, she should read the excellent book, A Civilian Occupation (which was censored when it was first published) about the politics of occupation in relationship to architecture and the continued expansion of the Israeli State.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jack Palance: The Western baddie is dead

"The only two things you can truly depend upon are gravity and greed".

Well, Jack Palance is dead. Remembered for roles such as Shane, Le Mepris, Che! (he played Castro, by the way...), City Slickers 1 +2 and the best forgotten Cyborg 2 with Angelina Jolie. He was into Method Acting before it became trendy in Hollywood (with the exception of Marlon "I coulda been a contender" Brando) and if you saw his name in a film you expected him to be the baddie.

But hey, they don't make 'em like they used to.........

Friday, November 10, 2006

Corporate capitalism and violent scabbing: JJB warehouse strikers update

I posted about this impending strike a couple of weeks ago. Three JJB warehouse strikers were injured on the picket line by a truck delivering goods. The GMB said it would press for criminal charges against the driver of the lorry. The driver deliberately collided with the canopy of a GMB promotional trailer. The trailer was shunted into the strikers and three union members were injured, one needing hospital treatment.

Two further strikes have been called by the GMB next Wednesday and Thursday for better pay and against the bonus system. There are also protests to be held at various JJB outlets in 10 cities across the UK. There will also be protests by Wigan Football Club fans tomorrow and a benefit has been organised next month.

Victory to the JJB strikers!

The working class getting screwed by the rich

More from the greedy world of corporate capitalism.....

Reading the business section of The Indie ('cos I am a serious political blogger....) I was struck by the piece written by Jeremy Warner about interest rate rises. He argues: "Everthing from house prices to commodities, fine wines, art commercial property and shares have been rising strongly".

In other words inflation is going into assets and the rich are getting, wait for it.... richer. Bankers are getting big bonuses and you can't let them down, can you? What's Gordon Brown's greatest creation? The independent Bank of England, of course. So what does the Bank of England do? Put up interest rates so ordinary working class people have to pay for the excesses of the rich and who do they have to pay it back to...? You guessed it... the bankers.

"I'm an arsey blogger, get me out of here"

I noticed in the BBC news site that there is another series starting of "I'm a celebrity get me out of here". Judging by the line up its a very loose definition of the word celebrity , but it did get me thinking of an alternative version, more political. Who would I like to see in the jungle having to eat bugs and put their hands in nests of snakes and creepy crawlies. Who would it be amusing, in my slightly sick version, to put together to bicker.

So, any suggestions for "I'm an arsey blogger, get me out of here".

I'll start :

Will . Bound to argue with most people , but does appear to be able to cook.
People that Will particularly hates ...Graham from HP, Lenny and Ed. Sure there are many many more.
Volty . Quite argumentative of late here and on Osler's. One of our favourites, so he can have a nice tent to himself.
Paddy . We can all vote for him to do lots of icky things.
Jim D . He can bring the drink, poodle's (are they hunting dogs perhaps ) and sit ranting.
Louise, she can argue about trot groups in Brum with Jim D.
Osler, just because he would hate it. Also he is being so cheery and upbeat at the moment I'm sure he would be an asset in building a positive team spirit :-)
Kit , who could listen to Jim D, Louise and Osler talk about the good old days of the 80's and how trots aren't what they used to be.

I suppose if we want to up the ratings with some degeneracy then the Unison lot should be there.
Oh and if I can throw in some non bloggers, how about Yvonne Ridley and Gorgeous George, specially for Jim D .

Any other suggestions...

George Bush needs your help....

George Bush admitted he is 'open to any idea or suggestion' on how to end the war in Iraq.

Well, answers on a postcard to George Bush, The White House, Washingto DC. I sure emails will be welcome as he sure needs help since his old mate Donald Rumsfeld has been shown the door. Here’s my own tuppence h'alfpenny worth George, how about ending the occupation and sending the troops home. Just a suggestion.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Women and the glass ceiling

So women are failing to smash through the glass ceiling in FTSE boardrooms. Fewer women are reaching these prestigious positions. A quarter of FTSE 100 has no female directors. The number of directorship held by women fell in 2006 after steadily rising over the years. Well, aint that a shame.....

This research published by Cranfield University narked me. As a socialist feminist, should I give a damn about women not reaching the upper echelons of corporate capitalism? Should I support women, like their male counterparts, sticking their greedy capitalist noses in the trough? Nope.

These women negotiate their astronomical salaries and receive big bucks in bonuses. By the way, the average pay in British boardrooms has jumped by 28% compared with just 3% for most of the population. Next year, Brown wants a 3 year freeze on pay settlements to around 2% for low paid public sector workers and many of them are women.

Then consider this, women working full-time earn less than three-quarters of a man's weekly wage, even less when she is working part-time. It is estimated 4.7 million women earn less than £5 an hour (that is 43% of all women employees). And 80% of women working p/t earn below the Council of Europe's decency threshold. Because of this low pay, women are usually unable to build up savings as they earn too little to make NI contributions. Therefore they will be unable to claim contributory benefits such as state pensions or statutory sick pay.

But, hey, the pay gap is widening between the rich and poor. The top 10% earn more that £851 per week while the bottom 10% earn less than £235. Between 2004-05 the distribution of gross weekly pay widened, with 2.1% increase at the bottom decile and a 4.3% increase at the top decile.

I am sick of this glass ceiling which cynically refers to equality. It doesn't. I am also sick of this dog-eat-dog mentality and individualistic nonsense (hey woman, you too can get to the top by treading on the backs of the poor many of them women!).

Majority of women earn less than men and many live below the poverty line. What about equality for them? I really don't give a toss about the lack of boardroom women as they represent a social class I despise.

Oh yeah, talking of people I can't stand, Cherie Booth spoke at the Global Banking Alliance for Women World Summit. She argued: "There is still a long way to go before the barriers to equality are removed".

Hey Cherie, who are talking about, your other 'alf? And are you speaking for ALL women and not the privileged few.... like yourself?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I need your help

I am in the process of buying a digital camera (before you say anything I keep telling you I am well behind the times….). Any suggestions? Any recommendations? I don’t want supa-dupa expensive or cheap and nasty but something in the middle. I just want a camera which aims and shoots.
At the moment I am using my dependable rinky dinky compact “state of the art” Motorola mobile phone to take pics. Anyone who is able to guide my virtual self through the pitfalls and complexities of buying a digital camera will be appreciated. It is probably dead easy but I am …crap at this sort of thing and this is from someone who used to read T3 (Tomorrow’s Technology Today) magazine!

So please, help a comrade out.

Milburn questioned .

Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke...

Ex-minister and 2005 election supremo Alan Milburn has been interviewed by police probing the cash-for-honours affair, the BBC has learned.
Chancellor Gordon Brown and Deputy PM John Prescott have also been contacted about the loans made to Labour before the election, it is understood.

Blair next ?

The officer in charge of the investigation, John Yates, has previously told MPs that "you go where the evidence takes you".
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said it was for this reason that friends of Prime Minister Tony Blair expect him to be interviewed - possibly under caution - in the weeks to come.
However, they insist Mr Blair, who sits on the NEC, has had no contact with the police as yet.

Democrats win in mid-term elections

Looks like the Democrats have seized control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections. Iraq was pivotal as two-thirds of voters said it was a very important issue. The Senate hangs in the balance.
There have been cries of foul play in Virginia and wait for it… Florida. The new touch screen computers weren’t operating properly. Mmmm. You get the feeling of déjà vu.

Bernie Sanders, the first self-proclaimed socialist to take a seat in Senate. He'll be interesting to watch...

There were also state referendums where voters in South Dakota have over turned a near total ban on abortion (55% to 45%), which was passed by state legislature earlier this year. Hooray for good sense!!!!! Another good outcome was that Missouri voted to back a measure to support stem cell research.

Arizona was the first state to defeat an amendment to ban gay marriage. Though shamefully the homophobic bigot is still at large as Colorado, Idaho, S. Carolina, S. Dakota (good sense not prevailing on that), Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all voted to approve the ban.

Arnie "Terminator" Schwarzenegger has won a second term as Governor of California.

Seems like Daniel Ortega has definitely won the presidential elections in Nicaragua. Will the US carry out their threat of sanctions? They say they are willing to work with Nicaragua's leader if they back democracy. Yeah well, the US knows all about backing democracy in Latin America during the past 50-odd years, don't they?!

As Hugo Chavez argues: "Latin America is leaving forever its role as the backyard of the North American empire. Yankee go home!"

(Hat tip: F Word Blog)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It gives a whole new meaning to Burger King

Why travel to Amsterdam to visit a coffee shop to sample the delights of hash cakes when you have Burger King.

I am off to Burger King for lunch. See you there….

It's all happening around the world....

It is all up for the grabs in the US as mid-term elections are happening today. Who ya putting your hard earned on? Republicans are said to be closing the gap. But can you really believe the polls?

Talking of elections, Daniel Ortega has won the Nicaraguan presidential election in the first round though there have been calls of foul play by the opposition. Oh and what a surprise, the US are warning they will impose sanctions if Ortega wins….

Oh and Saddam Hussein is appearing in court for his second trial. Wonder if he will get a fair trial second time around?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lobby of Parliament over the Mental Health Bill - 28/11/06

As someone who has sampled the open-minded services of the mental health system (hint of sarcasm there) I just wanted to make people aware that the dreaded streamlined Mental Health Bill is being published this month and the Mental Health Alliance (umbrella of groups campaigning against this Bill) have organised a mass lobby of Parliament on November 28th.

According to the campaign, the lobby will be to raise awareness among MPs and persuade them to support our campaign against worrying aspects of the proposed Mental Health Bill. It is crucial that we get as many people along as possible to show our MPs how much of an effect the proposed Mental Health Bill will have on people's lives.

A taster of the proposals include:

Extending compulsory treatment into the community

Independent advocacy has not been included in the Bill

Changing the definition of Mental Disorder

The shortened version of the Bill keeps many of the proposals from the previous scrapped Bill (March 2006). There are also plans regarding personality disorder.

So, the civil liberties of people labelled with mental distress will be going even quicker down the sink. More coercion and containment but hey, at least society will be safer as us nutters will be locked up!

Don’cha feel safer already?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

John4Leader - Brighton meeting 8th November

Info re meeting

Brighton Meeting

Wednesday 8 November, 7.30pm

Brighthelm Centre

Speakers from;

Save Omar Campaign
Sussex Action for Peace – George Fairbrother
Friends of the Earth
Hands Off Venezuela - Jorge Martin

Chair – Councillor Joyce Edmond-Smith

Keynote speaker – John McDonnell, MP, socialist candidate for Leader of the Labour Party

Come and hear speakers from local campaigns and discuss with John McDonnell the policies we need from a real Labour Government.

Electing John4Leader is the last chance we have to get a Prime Minister who represents the Working class for a number of years to come. John has proved over the years that he keeps to his principles from his days as Deputy Leader of the GLC to his record in Parliament. It is literally a choice between him and Brown/Cameron policies during this and the next parliament.

What kind of blogger are you??

You are a Pundit Blogger

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few.
Mmmmm. Basking in the glory of those comments. Yes, but can answers to questionnaires be truthful..? Well, not the way I answered them. Ha!

Ahem, doesn’t mention being a serious political blogger though. Damnit!
Thanks goes to the Snarky One at the "Unofficial"Dave Osler Fan Club

Saddam Hussein sentenced to death

Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death. Well, did anyone seriously believe he was going to be given community service? He couldn’t have phoned a friend like one Donald Rumsfeld and asked him for better legal intervention. The trial was a foregone conclusion. The US group Human Rights Watch say that Saddam Hussein never got a fair trial. That’s pretty much obvious as his lawyers kept getting bumped off. The Bush administration will be desperate for a speedy execution so that his secrets will go with him and how these implicate past/present US administrations. In reality, they are up to their necks in it.

Oh and I am just waiting for some American official to say that this execution will act as “closure” to the Iraqi people. As if.

Hands off Venezuela conference

I went to the second conference of the Hands of Venezuela campaign today, which was attended by over 200+ people. What struck me was the number of young people there (yeah and I felt old!). Speakers included Jeremy Dear, Diana Raby, Alan Woods who all spoke about the historical and current situation in Venezuela and especially so with elections impending in early December 2006. Solidarity and unity with the Bolivarian revolution was expressed. Jeremy Dear discussed the importance of trade union support and spoke about attending the National Workers Union (UNT) conference. There has been redistribution of land, healthcare, education and so on. The ongoing revolution in Venezuela is having a global impact.

But what kind of revolution is it? There was brief discussion about the state of the revolution and what stage it is at (lots of theory, chaps, on Lenin, Trotsky and Trotsky’s theory on permanent revolution).

The situation in Mexico and the recent events in Oaxaca were discussed (an emergency resolution was passed). A documentary called Solidarity was shown which showed done globally by the Hands off Venezuela campaign (I can’t find a link for it but it is worth buying it as it is only 10mins long and good to show at TU meetings etc.). Also another documentary was advertised called 5 Factories.

Student leader Ronny Pante spoke along with activist Francisco Rivero. There were questions about the role of women in the revolution. There’s the film by Global Women’s Strike called Journey with the Revolution. Educational opportunities have improved for women and training women in a trade. Third of ministers are women. Women also are 70% of the military reserve. Women are integral to the revolution. There is that quote from Chavez regarding women: “Capitalism is sexist, socialism cannot be sexist. Only women have the commitment, the passion and the love needed to make the revolution; to be motor, cutting edge and fire of the revolution.”
I wish there was more of a discussion on women and there was a woman from Venezuela who spoke briefly but in general terms about Venezuela.

John McDonnell spoke of the bloody record of US imperialism in Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador, Chile and so on… He spoke about the need to support and protect the revolution as there is the potential threat (and we shouldn’t be complacent).

During the day there were resolutions passed pretty much unanimously but one which was a sticking point was whether to support John McDonnell as leader campaign. Some comrades felt that the HoV campaign shouldn’t take a position. I believe that we had to take a position and to show to the people of Venezuela that the Labour Party has committed socialists in the ranks who are opposed to Blair and New Labour. We have to make that perfectly clear and especially since John McDonnell is joint vice president of the HoV and has an impeccable record. It is perfectly reasonable for a campaign like HoV to take a position over this.

It was a long day and I was knackered. I saw David Broder and he asked questions around workers control and expropriation. I had a chat with Liam to see who could get their report on the blog first and it will be interesting to see how he sums the day up as he had a different position over the McDonnell campaign than me.

Btw: Congratulations to Liam for getting elected onto the HoV steering committee

Friday, November 03, 2006

Peter Hain on democracy and Gordon Brown: don't make me laugh...

Contender for the deputy leadership, Peter Hain (wasn’t he once radical or have I mistaken him for someone else?) says that Gordon Brown would, “prefer a contest to a coronation”. But, “you can’t make it happen. It’s got to happen voluntarily, by democratic decision of the party”…

So Peter, are you gonna be nominating John McDonnell then, for the good of the party and democracy? Won’t hold my breath….

Oh and 3 cheers for the witless Hazel Blears as she may be another contender for the “Deputy Leadership Show”. Or should that be the Weakest Link?

How many is that now? I have lost count.

Bryan Gould on Tony Blair: "Tony has lost it, he's living in a world of his own, and - as most will say - he's deluded on Iraq."

But no mention of John McDonnell standing as leader. Wonder why that is…? Media censorship?!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Spooks: it's not real....

In this week's Public magazine (sub only) there is a very funny (intentionally or not) article of the telly programme Spooks. Firstly, folks, it is not real. Not real? Not real..!! Well, I am utterly disillusioned now.Totally ruined it for me.

"Enjoy the show but don't, please, use it as a guide to really existing government."
And there's me thinking MI5 had gone all touchy-feely liberal.They could be selling Socialist Worker next.

I like Spooks though I wasn't a big fan with the original cast as it had a chunky, clunky and boring script back then. I was sooooo pleased when Matthew MacFadyen left and went back to period dramas.

Interestingly, according to the article, they did have a "security consultant" for the first series but he/she got their P45 quite soon after and the makers of Spooks decided to make it up as they went along. Much better.

Now the lead male protagonist, Adam (the luscious Rupert Penry-Jones) rolls his sleeves up, gets his hands dirty and has fist fights with Mossad agents. It is frenetic, has fancy cinematography, and a sharp script. Though they have swiped the idea from 24 of dividing up the screen with different scenes. The topical scripts deal with the "enemy within", Christian fundamentalists, Mossad agents and much, much more for your TV licence. I am even warming to Ice Maiden Ros.

Btw: if you thinking of going to work for MI5 remember, they have a height requirement of no higher than 5ft 11ins.

Oh yeah, on the tube once I saw some bloke filling in his MI5 application form. I wonder if he was successful? I mean, just how clever is it to fill in your details in a public place. I could’ve been anyone you know……

Isn't it the final episode next Monday?

Trigger happy cops

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Trigger happy cops who shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes have been involved in another shooting it has emerged. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will be investigating. Yes, and how many of you will have confidence in that investigation being thorough and open to public scrutiny ‘cos I certainly won’t!

Not just fucking, fisting and fishnets...

I did a post on this last night and when trying to edit it I managed to delete it. So start again.

Stroppyblog has topped the poll over at Comrade Osler's site as the second best lefty blog (and none of this democracy malarkey as he put his own blog top!).

Some , such as a Mr P Puritan, have said that all this blog offers is 'tits and fishnets'. Well it did help in getting Dave to fix the vote .What I do for this blog. Louise, you owe me;-) A few JDs and some fishnets stockings will do.

Anyway thanks to those who voted for us.

So here's to more of the same... bad TV, sex, and a bit of politics thrown in. Hey we never said we were a serious political blog.

The rise and rise of the DVD box set

As a seasoned telly addict I was interested in this piece by Mark Lawson about the phenomenon that is the DVD box set. Now, I don’t own a DVD nor a swanky telly The one I own has piss-poor reception (like watching a snow storm) with the exception of Channel 5 obviously it too likes CSI but with a clear picture…

The gadgets I own are firmly rooted in the 20th century as opposed to the 21st. I don’t have cable either (cue the sound of violins…). It seems that instead of having to wait for your fave programme to appear on E4, More 4, C4, Crap 4 and so on, people just wait until the box set appears and watch the lot, usually, in one sitting. People organise nights in with mates/loved ones/family (delete which is not applicable) devoted to watching their fave show. If anyone is considering having a “Sopranos night” send me an invite … please. Please!

Btw: the biggest selling disc of any kind over the past 3 months has been… The West Wing. Box sets are becoming a big money spinner and especially so with the Festive Season coming up. So here is my wish list for Dear Old Comrade Claus:

DVD player (I have to get off my lazy arse and buy one)
Flat screen 50” high definition digital plasma telly (dream on lady…)
Box sets of the Sopranos (it gonna be ages for it to hit Channel 4) Dr Who, and CSI: Las Vegas ‘cos it’s better than the other two.