The Human Centipede Model For Leadership In A Hung Parliament

Human Centipede is a schlock horror movie whereby a mad doctor who specialises in separating conjoined twins creates a… The clue’s in the title, he surgically attaches three hapless victims together, anus to mouth, to form an organism with one digestive tract, biologically implausible as that may be. Nevertheless such high concept body horror meets torture porn hijinks is doing its job causing sensation and gasps of horror which should translate into a healthy profit for the producers. It’s not called Showart, it’s Showbusiness people! Here below is the mad doctor with a helpful diagram for victims and viewers on his overhead projector (this immediately sets off alarm bells as to his competence, it’s 2010, Keynote, Powerpoint? Hello?)-

I say Cameron for the -worst- middle position, after all he already has that shit-eating grin…Clegg for front and Brown bringing up the rear, with Miliband following with the bucket & spade and a Look, you’ve punished us enough about Iraq, all right? So don’t start punishing yourself.’ T-shirt.

The question then arises for the consensus state, could this creature be mated with a suitable female host to produce a new super race of neoliberal politician? Or are plans already afoot?

An antidote to such horror.

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Great Moments In Online Polling

An Online YouGov oracle survey today:-

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John McDonnell’s Letter To The Guardian Re: RMT Ballot

The media treatment of RMT and Bob Crow over the last 48 hours over the Network Rail strike ballot has been the worst example of a concerted campaign of media bias against a trade union that we have seen since the 1980s miners’ strike. John Humphrys’s interview of Bob Crow, with his references to ballot-rigging, and the BBC’s subsequent headline of “RMT’s Bob Crow denies ballot rigging”, was that disgusting classic of the old hack lawyer’s tactic of asking the defendant: “When did you stop beating your wife?”

Even the Guardian’s editorial (2 March) ignorantly weighed in with “No union that conducts its ballots properly according to the reasonable requirements of the law … would be in danger of being injuncted.” This reference to “reasonable requirements of the law” is patent rubbish. To hold a ballot the union must construct and supply the employer with a detailed and complex matrix of information setting out which members it is balloting, their job titles, grades, departments and work locations. The employer is under no obligation to co-operate with the union to ensure this is accurate. If there is the slightest inaccuracy, even where it did not affect the result, the ballot is open to being challenged by the employer and quashed by the courts.

There can be no question of the union ballot-rigging or interfering in the balloting process because it is undertaken by an independent scrutineer, usually the Electoral Reform Society, and all ballot papers are sent by post to the homes of the members being balloted, and returned to the ERS for counting. The union at no time handles the ballot papers.

On at least four occasions in the last three years I have tried in parliament on behalf of RMT and other TUC-affiliated unions to amend employment law to require employers to co-operate with unions in the balloting process so these problems can be overcome. Employers’ organisations, the Conservatives and the government have all opposed this reform.

The result is not fewer strikes but a deteriorating industrial relations climate as people become increasingly angry that their democratic wishes are frustrated by one-sided anti-trade-union laws.

John McDonnell MP

Also see SU

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Total Terror

It is impressive that the media is so cynical and hysteria so unremarkable that they can spin this as actually still terrifyingly dangerous with a straight face-

Al-Qaida seen eyeing less complex attacks on US
Now it appears that the group, which has prided itself on its ideological purism, seems to be eyeing a more pragmatic and perhaps more dangerous shift in tactics. The emerging message appears to be that big successes are great, but sometimes simply trying can be just as good.

Exclusive- Al Qaeda calling you late at night and shouting Boo down the phone! Next Week- Totally None Existent Threat May Never Happen! What is our government doing to protect us from this!

BBC Find New Role As Serco & The UKBA’s PR Pimp

A tour of Yarl’s Wood-

I was given a guided tour by Dawn Elaine, the Serco manager, who runs the centre.

I saw no obvious signs of distress amongst residents. But then there were a lot of closed doors.

Positive steps have been taken since Serco took over, including a new school. It’s a lovely airy chalet-style building away from the main block.

The report mentions the recent abuse but not the ongoing hunger strike and does not talk to or report testimony from any of the victims of the abuse instead the reporter vaguely probes the manager who denies it and it is left there. If I was in the media relations department of either Serco or UKBA I would be livid, the BBC have just stolen my job, why employ people to bullshit for Yarl’s Wood when the BBC volunteers to do it? The detention centres and the UKBA have already been found to be racist and institutionally incapable of performing a humane function (precisely because they are not meant to by the tabloid appeasing race baiting New Labour govt.) and deliberately operating a complaints system designed to stifle complaints. And this is known, reports have been published but nothing changes except…the migrant gulag steps up its PR war. Hutton really did make the BBC obedient. And this I love-

I asked her if she would come down heavy-handedly on anyone who did cross that line? “Absolutely,” she said. “It would not be tolerated. They would not stay as part of the team.”

*I asked her if she was thoroughly wonderful and she admitted that yes, she was.* Hard hitting investigative journalism eh?

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Out Of Sight

Current Google trends snapshot-

While Al Maliki is being spun as a cautious winner by the US & UK mainstream, the secular nationalist bloc Al-Iraqiya is showing some legs, although lots of claims of corruption, bans, terrorism and an occupation don’t help (not to mention ongoing birth defects caused by the invaders). But as the above image shows, the people of the nation who drove us into this war and occupation remain relatively uninterested in the world around them, imperialism might fleetingly be glimpsed in relation to a marketing event dressed as film awards ceremony (of which many seem unsure of the date & time it takes place) and that’s about it.

PS. Oops I tell a lie, Iraq Election is  No. 2 in US topics, though not searches, Oscars of course is number 1.

David Cameron Knowingly Employs A Cowardly Bully- Andy Coulson

Update: A real bullying charity -Bullying UK- has reported NBH to the charity commission. NBH has breached  confidentiality which puts people at risk in order to help a Conservative party political campaign, Prof Cary Cooper a director has resigned over this.

Gordon Brown does appear to be a bully (and a wildly in denial neoliberal chump), but as Adam Bienkov has shown the National Bullying Helpline is a dodgy outfit and here in a repost from three months ago, Cameron knowingly employs a bully, Andy Coulson, as his head of communications/spin doctor. Where was the ‘non political’ NBH then? Both bullies should be called out, Coulson can easily be fired, Brown is slightly more tricky due to him being PM and we can’t even get one of those for war crimes, but there should be sanctions (or better yet he stands down and we have an election, John McDonnell for leader!) and the message bullying is not tolerated, so far both parties are giving the opposite message. Here is that older post:-

A News of the World reporter who suffered from a culture of bullying led by former editor Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron’s head of communications, has been awarded almost £800,000 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

Matt Driscoll, a sports reporter sacked in April 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression, was awarded £792,736 by the east London employment tribunal. It is believed to be the highest payout of its kind in the media, and legal costs could take News International’s total bill well over the £1m mark.

The award will cause fresh embarrassment for Coulson, who resigned in January 2007 from the newspaper after the former royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed for hacking into the phone messages of aides to the royal family.

Earlier this year, Coulson faced renewed pressure, after the Guardian revealed that the News of the World’s owner, News International, had paid out £1m to settle claims from Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, and other victims of phone hacking.

Driscoll, who has not been in a full-time job since his dismissal, said the award reflected the severity of the case. (ht2 Anton Vowl)

So the Tories have a problem, their top spin doctor is shown in court to be a bully, not just an also ran but the ring leader, how can any schools operate an anti bullying strategy under a Conservative government that employs a proven bully in a senior position? What message does it send, for all the fine words Cameron and chums might speak over bullying, until he fires Coulson his actions clearly say- bullying is ok with me and I reward, at the highest level and value, bullies in my team, bullying will get you where you want to go. Not to mention bugging.

Just how many ‘second chances’ will Cameron give, and anyway a second chance is what you give someone who shows genuine remorse and contrition, none so far has been forthcoming from Coulson. Now this is all pretty well much unsurprising, people are not shocked Conservatives are bigots, crooks and bullies. Yet it is unfair and wrong to hold that as a prejudice, so here’s a chance for Cameron to show they are not unremittingly awful human beings by firing Coulson, however I would advise him to ensure Coulson has proper medical help. We can’t know why Coulson has this problem, maybe his mother abused him or his father hated him, maybe he is a sociopath, superficially charming yet unable to feel empathy or a wide range of normal human emotions. Maybe a physical malformation of parts of his brain are its cause. While he is in positions of power his personal failings are a source of concern and great potential harm to those affected by his actions, when properly kept in a situation where he cannot harm himself and others he should have our sympathy. Perhaps this will lead to Cameron committing to tax the vast unearned wealth of his supporters to fund proper mental health provision under the NHS, so that Andy might no longer cowardly victimise others, avoiding responsibility for his actions while his underlying personal and mental problems go unaddressed. For those having to work with Coulson, solidarity is the key tactic for deterring bullying, forming strong supportive co-operatives or unions will defeat the bully.

Who said satire was dead?

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Wanker Of The Week

He always was a total wanker, Richard Madeley defending Blair’s war crimes (ht2 AD). This is just waiting for the comedy remixes which I expect are already being made. Also I hear that Hitler was a nice chap (hey Madeley started it with the V2 nonsense, somehow Iraq becomes Nazi Germany to Dickhead).

Of course the serious point is he is an important part of the popular media establishment, who think they are well informed if they read a newspaper or two then some minister gives them some ‘insider gossip’ and verily they know the truth, they then pimp it out to viewers of varying levels of gullibility. Less seriously it’s the style they have chosen for this awful clip, like a mid 90’s educational film about the need to wear condoms by a celebrity, or Hitler will win, Churchill wore condoms and no one hauled him up before an inquiry. Or something… It’s almost as funny as the disingenuous nonsense -dealt with by Though Cowards Flinch–  by the Young Fabians (sadly there is crossover with Left Foot Forward). The witless are really oozing out of the woodwork now their idol risks his halo being dislodged in the popular memory.

Oldies But Goldies

An almost evergreen hold on popularity that Cliff Richard would envy and as with many corporate pop stars the whys and wherefores of who actually performs the vocals and who wrote it really don’t matter, nor should we ponder too hard whether a fanbase is the the same thing as an effective military organisation. Osama rocks the mic, don’t let the naysayers steal your fear thrill (level: Severe! Get the fuck down to that, imagine the level if robot drones were invading our sky and wiping us out at will, level: Awesome, The Bringer Of Freedom & Democracy™)-

“What my work is actually trying to do is debunk conspiracy theories by saying that the world is complex, fragmented and that as those in power increasingly run out of ideas – which I think they have done since the 90s – they themselves have turned to conspiracy theories in order to justify their flailing exercise of power without any vision.” He talks in lighter, more childish voice than the rich gravitas with which he narrates his films and his rather babyish face lights up as he leans across the table, becoming excited as he spins the accusations against him back onto his accusers. “I mean who’s the bigger conspiracy theorist, me or the people who allege that there’s an international terrorist organisation run by a man in a cave, stroking a cat? I went and interviewed some journalists – who would only talk to me if it was off the record – and they said ‘Oh yeah we make it up. It’s not like there’s an al-Qaeda press office that is going to come back and complain’. The idea of a vast network of sleeper cells waiting to rise up at bin Laden’s command was a completely fake, fictional thing and I did my best to tear it apart.” (ht2 Bill)

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NYT’s Dishonest Coverage Of Palestine

This is how they report the Viva Palestina convoy, by Ethan Bronner who has been taken to task extensively on Mondoweiss. Not remotely surprising but just thought it worth re-mentioning.

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Honduras- Cracking The Coup

For more, including unedited interview with Lisa Sullivan, Latin America coordinator at School of the Americas Watch go to

This past June, a military coup ousted the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya Rosales. On November 29th, Honduras took global center-stage again when conservative businessman, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, was declared the new President Elect. But the election is mired in controversy and world reaction is split. The U.S. is offering cautious support for the win while other nations, like Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina, refuse to recognize the results. They say the election was held under an unlawful government.

On this edition, independent producer Chris Thomas takes us to the streets of Honduras to look at the roots of a long-standing conflict between a powerful oligarchy and the poor and dispossessed majority who fought back for their rights.


Berta Cáceres, Indigenous Peoples Council of Honduras (COPINH) Leader, ex-vice-presidential candidate on independent ticket, National Resistance Front Against the Coup Member; Salvador Zúñiga, COPINH Leader National Resistance Front Against the Coup Member; Adelay Reyes, Center for Women´s Rights (CDM), Feminists in Resistance; Guillermo Amador, National Pedagogical University Student Leader, National Resistance Front Against the Coup Member; Carlos H. Reyes, Ex-presidential candidate on the independent ticket, Union of Beverage and Related Industry Workers President, National Resistance Front Against the Coup Member;Adolfo Facussé, Powerful business leader, National Industrial Association of Honduras President; Roberto Micheletti, Congressman of nearly three decades and de facto president of Honduras; Amilcar Bulnes, Business leader and Honduran National Business Council President; Luis Guillermo, Secretary General of the International Human Rights Federation; Laura Carlson, Americas Policy Program Director.

SOAW– Leaders of the human rights community [in Honduras] have requested a constant presence of international visitors to bring attention to this situation and help protect the lives of Hondurans. We are urging SOA Watch activists to join the Task Force on the Americas delegation to Honduras from March 13-20, 2010 (for more information write Dale Sorensen,, a Quixote Center delegation (contact Jenny Atlee, or the January 24-31, 2010 Rights Action delegation (contact Grahame Russell,

That Newsnight Piece Trafigura Want Memory Holed

(Trafigura dumps toxic waste, people suffer & die on the Ivory Coast, Trafigura uses Carter Ruck to silence reporting with our draconian libel laws etc. I was mid real world stuff so missed out on the first round of this with the commons question stuff) From Don’t Get Fooled Again Via D-Notice (and more linksCensored Newsnight Story-pdf)-

I have downloaded the clips in case it disappears, please repost and spread it around. Google cache of the missing page here.

PS. Another report is still up (which had me confused at first) worth a read too.

PPS. On an ontological tangent, I take back ‘real world stuff’ this is real world too, I should say I was too busy with immediate family concerns to do much reading/surfing.

Atlanticists Eyeing The Blogoshpere

NATO hosts first ever briefing for bloggers organised by the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom which is NATO’s PR arm-

The Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom is an independent non-governmental organisation based in London. Its mission is to explain and promote the benefits the UK enjoys from its membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the constructive role the nation can play in ensuring global peace and security.

Gordon Brown
“NATO has emerged from the Cold War with a new sense of purpose, and I am keen that the UK is a driving force behind its continued development and strong leadership role; the
Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom has an important part to play in spreading this message”

David Cameron
“I am delighted to be a Partron of the
Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom and am wholly supportive of both theCouncil and its mission”

Nick Clegg

“I fully support the work of the
Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom in promoting and explaining the role of NATO and am delighted to act as Patron”

Mmmm, smell the party political consensus in the 51st state. So blogs are a taken seriously in NATO’s information operations we may now conclude. Interesting.

30 Killed In Airstrikes Is A Con

Excerpts from RawStory

…unnamed military affairs blogger has published a list of recent air strikes against militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an amazing pattern has emerged: It seems that just about every time an air strike is reported in the news, the Taliban casualty figure cited is 30.

Why 30, well…

(LA TIMES) in 2007, Marc Garlasco, the Pentagon’s former chief of high-value targeting, offered a glimpse when he told Salon magazine that in 2003, “the magic number was 30.” That meant that if an attack was anticipated to kill more than 30 civilians, it needed the explicit approval of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld or President George W. Bush. If the expected civilian death toll was less than 30, the strike could be OKd by the legal and military commanders on the ground.

(RAWSTORY)… the Rumsfeld-era casualty policy applied to civilian casualties, not insurgent casualties. Yet the series of news reports this year cite the 30 number for Taliban casualties, and cite varying figures for civilian casualties, if any are cited at all. It would be hard to argue that the Pentagon believes the American public can only stomach 30 Taliban casualties at a time.

So the likelier explanation is that the Pentagon doesn’t know how many insurgents were killed…

So the 30 figure is made up, so the military do not get into trouble for not asking the higher ups (plus having to ask slows things up) and the rest is no revelation, they just kill a bunch of people and say ‘insurgents’ to the press who dutifully print it, when there has ever been any investigations the military has been found to have lied, try and act surprised. So…we have no idea how many people are being killed in the airstrikes in the Afghan war and how many of those are civilians and… our militaries do not care and do not want you to know both that they do not care (we are there to protect the Afghans from extremists blah de blah etc) and how many people our taxes are slaughtering in the Nobel Prize winning war. All of which reminds me of a Slowpoke cartoon I saw yesterday-

Dispatches: Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby

Can be seen on YouTube here.

PS. Guardian on it (& Lorna Fitzsimons from a while back).

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