Thursday, November 18, 2010

Street Life

Mail :

A club promoter threw himself under a train on the London Underground after missing out on a chance to appear on Big Brother, an inquest heard today.

Allister Logue, 55, made it to the final 80 hopefuls in contention for a place on Channel 4's 11th and final series of the reality show but was not picked as one of the 14 housemates.

And just a month after he appeared as on the launch show of Big Brother on June 9, Mr Logue leapt to his death beneath the wheels of an oncoming Northern line train at Charing Cross underground station.

He had worked as a hair and make-up artists alongside renowned photograher David Bailey in the 1970s and later moved to Ibiza where he became well known as a club promoter and DJ.

Balearics: Allister Logue was a renowned club promoter in Ibiza

Balearics: Allister Logue was a renowned club promoter in Ibiza

But he had returned to the UK from the Balearics last year and moved to the Lancashire village of Crawshawbooth, where was described as 'down on his luck'.

An inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court heard that on the before his death on July 24, Mr Logue had stayed at a Salvation Army hostel in Trafalgar Square.

The following morning at around 8.45am he hurled himself into the path of a tube train at Charing Cross.

It seems - and is - a long time ago that Laban was out clubbing five or six nights a week. This song struck me then, as now.

"Street life - but you'd better not get old,
Street life - or you're gonna feel the cold"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"This Irish Miracle"

Written in 2006, quoted by Joseph Cotterill (his added links and emboldening, too) at FT Alphaville :

Ireland is no longer on the edge of Europe but is instead an Atlantic bridge. High-tech companies such as Intel, Oracle and Apple have chosen to base their European operations there. I will be asking Google executives today why they set up in Dublin, not London… What has caused this Irish miracle, and how can we in Britain emulate it?

… in a world where cheap, rapid communication means that investment decisions are made on a global basis, capital will go wherever investment is most attractive. Ireland’s business tax rates are only 12.5 per cent, while Britain’s are becoming among the highest in the developed world.

World-class education, high rates of innovation and an attractive climate for investment: these are all elements that have helped to raise productivity in Ireland. It is not the only advanced economy to have achieved this uplift. Last week in Washington the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, told me about the impact that the sustained increase in productivity growth had made in generating prosperity in the US…

The new global economy poses real long-term challenges to Britain, but also real opportunities for us to prosper and succeed. In Ireland they understand this. They have freed their markets, developed the skills of their workforce, encouraged enterprise and innovation and created a dynamic economy. They have much to teach us, if only we are willing to learn.

Good job we're slow learners, or we might be in even worse economic shape, were that possible.

But what manner of man can this be, who hails the tremendous prosperity of the US and Irish economies, and obviously cannot see a cloud in the economic sky? Surely, while a talented polemicist, he should be kept well away from any influence over actual decision-making?

Er... oh. Oh dear, oh dear. Most unfortunate.

UPDATE - to be fair, the SNP's Alex Salmond, currently heading up the Provisional Government of Scotland, went one better, lauding the economies of both Iceland(c) and Ireland(r) as the template for a future independent Scottish economy. Had he got his way, it might have been the shortest independence ever and the greatest disaster for the Scottish economy since the Darien scheme - which led directly to union with England.

Big Meteor Last Night

About ten past midnight, east to west - big enough to light up the clouds. I was taking the dog for his bedtime 'ablutions'.

Apparently there are quite a few about. Meteors, not dogs.

Galloway To Stand In Oldham East Re-Run ?

The battle for the Muslim vote at the re-run election in Oldham (see my post here) is really going to be interesting, if this comment, on the story of the EDL disrupting a meeting in Oldham's Pakistani Community Centre (the English Community Centre being unavailable) is correct :

Five thugs attempted to attack a Respect open planning meeting in Oldham. They were completely repulsed, immobilized and Greater Manchester Police were alerted and moved in to arrest. None of those in the meeting were hurt.

The meeting was led by George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley. It was called to consider an electoral challenge in the forthcoming Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. The consensus of the meeting was that a challenge will be necessary.

Hmm. Never a dull moment, is there ?

Those Student Fee Increases

this blog, last week - against the student tuition fee increases :

"the Gove option will mean that a lot of bright working or lower-middle class kids will look at a potential £60,000 debt and they won't bother - unless they're at Oxbridge or doing a course with a pretty much guaranteed career at the end of it. Outside this small subset of courses, university will be restricted to those whose parents can subsidise them - i.e. the very rich.

That's not all bad - I can see cultural studies departments being disbanded across England and Wales. Economic forces will cut away swathes of courses and institutions, correcting the insane growth of the last 25 years.

But at that kind of cost the idea of education as a good in itself will wither away. Who's going to do archaeology without a private income ?"

I'm pleased to say that Goldsmiths Cultural Studies lecturer - now professor - John Hutnyk has got together with some likeminded souls, and very kindly put together a suggested hitlist of disciplines (and indeed, individuals) for the chop.

As he rightly points out, "Browne’s plans will drive whole fields of knowledge into decline" - such fields of knowledge as :

Race and Cultural Studies

Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics

Contemporary Literature and Culture

Cultural History

Women’s Studies

English and Cultural Studies

Media Arts

Women’s and Gender History

Visual Cultures

Memory Studies ( I forget what that is - LT)

I guess every cloud has a silver lining ...


How they got there - good piece at WSJ. The banks, the regulators and the big accountants don't come out well.

Mr. Bacon suggested the government buy loans from the banks at discounted prices, effectively handing them cash and easing doubts about their viability. By insisting on steep discounts, Ireland would be less likely to lose money on the purchases. On the flip side, bargain prices would trigger losses at the banks—which the government would probably have to patch with more capital. The taxpayer would foot the bill either way, but at least Ireland would understand how big it was.

The approach "has the merit of certainty and clarity," Mr. Bacon argued. But, he added, it would only work if "the projection of the extent of impairment is accurate in the first place."

It wasn't.

It seems that the Irish government were given incorrect information, not once but several times, on the extent of the financial damage - on the basis of which they guaranteed the banks and most of their debt.

A correspondent writes :

The British magazine Punch used to depict Irish people as thick-browed, ape-like, half-humans, concerned only about one dimensional matters like eating and drinking. We railed against the racist stereotype. We were wrong. We are, after all, a shamelessly base people that clearly cannot sit at the same table as the more civilised peoples of Europe.

Does anyone ever wonder if the endless process of ethnic cleansing we call emigration, might have had a devastating affect on our gene pool, in a form of natural selection? Have we exported the good genes, and retained the genes for selfishness and stupidity?

A view from the ground - an Irish farmer fills in the politics for the Englishman :

Meanwhile, we have a government with a majority of 2. This arithmetic depends on the green party, who don't have a lot to contribute in the way of sound financial management (!) and 2 independents. One of these independents has told the Government that he will only support the budget (December 7th) if it includes MORE money for Kerry, while overall it must cut total public spending by more than 10%. There's a by-election next thursday, which the government will lose. They know this, which is why they delayed holding it for 17 months and were eventually forced to by a legal action brought to the courts by that well known champion of democracy, Sinn Fein. There are 3 more by-elections which are also long overdue for the same reason, and despite the judgement about the first one, the government is using the delays inherent in the court process to delay holding these three till after the budget. The boss, Brian Cowen, has an opinion poll rating of just 11% and a track record as finance minister 2002-2007.

The excellent Kevin Myers doesn't think much of the new Lansdowne Road either :

The combined resources of the GAA, the FAI and the IRFU could have created a 100,000-seater super-stadium. But instead, the lords of IRFU settled for an almost studio-sized ground at their old haunt on Lansdowne Road: with not the 83,000 spectators at the present Croke Park -- which was filled for every home international including Italy -- and certainly not the 100,000 of some future all-code Croke Park, but with just 50,000.

Which other sporting organisation in the entire world has built a stadium that is known to be 30,000 seats below market demand?

There were as it turns out nearly 20,000 empty seats in Cardiff a week ago, not as I guessed 10,000 - and not many more on Saturday, either. Lansdowne Road had 15,000 empty seats.

A/c/t Kevin Myers, the President of the IRFU earns 400,000 Euros a year - which maybe why they think 430 euros (about £320) is a reasonable price for four rugby matches.

Monday, November 15, 2010

That Oldham Election

The approved narrative of the Phil Woolas brouhaha in Oldham East is :

a) the Lib Dems were gaining on him, leveraging their anti-war credentials to attract Muslim voters

b) Woolas' team saw this, realised they were losing Muslim votes and that it could be touch and go

c) Desperate times, desperate measures - a decision was taken to try and up the turnout among the despised white working class

d) method - leaflets (probably wrongly) associating the Lib Dems with the sort of extremists who call for beheadings, (rightly) pointing out the Lib Dem support for an immigration amnesty (Tory leaflets also mentioned this), and calling on voters to 'Stand By Phil'

Although what probably did for Woolas in the court case was an allegation that the Lib Dims were taking Saudi gold, it was the attempts to 'get the white vote angry' that led white lefties to choke on their lattes.

I assumed that narrative was pretty much OK, until I looked at the actual results :

General Election 2010: Oldham East and Saddleworth[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%

Labour Phil Woolas 14,186 31.9 −10.7

Liberal Democrat Elwyn Watkins 14,083 31.6 −0.5

Conservative Kashif Ali 11,773 26.4 +8.7

BNP Alwyn Stott 2,546 5.7 +0.8

UKIP David Bentley 1,720 3.9 +1.8

Christian Gulzar Nazir 212 0.5 N/A
Majority 103 0.2 −10.2
Turnout 44,520 61.2 +4.4

Hang on - the resurgent Lib Dems actually lost vote share compared to 2005!

I hadn’t realised that the big difference in Oldham 2010 was the drop in the Labour vote, not an increase in the Lib Dem vote. Lib Dems lost just a couple of hundred votes compared to 2005 (despite an increase in turnout from 57.3% to 61.2%), Labour lost about 3,800.

The Tory vote went up by 3,000 – presumably 3,000 ex-Labour voters. The Tory increase is all the more impressive given that UKIP increased their vote by 900-odd – presumably patriotic ex-Tories. The BNP added 400 votes - probably mostly ex-Labour, too.

The swing to the Tories of 8.2% was more than twice the national average of 3.8%.

So what did 2010 Tory candidate Kashif Ali (11,773 votes, 26.4%) have that 2005 Tory candidate Keith Chapman (7,901 votes, 18.2%) didn’t have ?

Could it be that the formerly Labour Muslim votes were never heading to the Lib Dems, but, on grounds of "friendship, family ties or tribalism" (as the anti-Woolas Muslim Public Affairs Committee put it) to their Tory co-religionist ?

UPDATE - apparently Mr Kashif was parachuted in by CCO against the local party's wishes :

Traditionalists have been angered by Mr Cameron’s plans to take control of shortlists to impose women and ethnic minority candidates to boost their numbers in Parliament. Constituency party chair Mrs Barbara Jackson, an active member for 30 years, claimed two candidates were removed from the selection list at the last minute and others weren’t allowed to stand.

She claimed Mr Ali had threatened management that he would recruit family as members to take over the association if he was not selected.

Mrs Jackson said she had been labelled racist for complaining, but added: “They paint it as a race issue but it’s nothing to do with race. I won’t give in to bullying tactics from anyone no matter what the race, colour or sex. I’m still a Conservative but I’m very disappointed with the party. “The way they have done it is just wrong because the electorate deserve a choice. They have decided who our candidate is and that’s it, full stop. The constituency should be guiding the candidates, not the other way round. Very able people in our constituency have been rejected. Why they think it’s acceptable I can’t understand. It’s an exercise in ticking boxes and positive discrimination. They want women and Asians.”