Sunday, October 18, 2009

Britblog Roundup 244: The one that hates the Daily Mail

Welcome to this week's selection of the best in the British blogosphere.

Oil companies and libel lawyers are trying to stop the reporting of questions in Parliament or even prevent their being asked at all. The British government is trying to prevent the courts from revealing its complicity in torture.

But as far as the nominations received, the most important story this week is...

Jan Moir and Stephen Gately

New readers start here. Friday's Daily Mail carried an article on Stephen Gately's death that combined ignorance and prejudice to an extent remarkable even for that newspaper. Written by Jan Moir, it argued that it was impossible for a young man to die of natural causes and that Gately - like Kevin McGee before him - had therefore died of being gay.

Noxious stuff, but I am not convinced the bloggers nominated offer something that much better
in return.

Writing on Liberal Conspiracy, Laurie Penny called Moir a "frothing baghack" but did go on to say some useful things about the Mail's treatment of violence to women.

Clairwil headed her posting on the subject "Let's Hope Jan Moir Dies Fucking a Goat", which seems hard for the goat if nothing else.

And Feminazery believes "Jan Moir is a vile, homophobic, horrid waste of perfectly good oxygen".

If you want to join the chorus of protest - perhaps in a slightly more balanced way - try the complaints page of the Press Complaints Commission website.

But - and I speak with all the authority of someone who went to school with Allison Pearson - sometimes being against the Daily Mail takes the place of constructive thought on the left. What exactly is a "baghack" - frothing or otherwise - for instance?


We begin in the 12th century with Elizabeth Chadwick: Living the History and the career of John Marshal, who was "formidable in the Kennet Valley and North East Wiltshire".

Then on to Camden Kiwi and "Bloody Poetry", Howard Brenton's play about the meeting of Byron and the Shelleys on the shores of Lake Geneva. Though if Brenton really believes this took place in 1916, it has to go down as revisionist history.

And Philobiblon visits Austerity Britain, finding parallels between the post-era and our present-day travails.


Mixed news from the English Channel.

Tony's Musings says we should not worry about the suicide rate on Jersey. Voice for Children says we should worry about child abuse on the island.


The F Word starts the section off by pointing us to nine inspiring examples of women's climate activism.

Then The Daily (Maybe) looks at the the decision of Tory members to scupper a London Assembly motion supporting the 10:10 campaign - and at the lack of coverage this move has received.

Earthenwitch offers a diary of country life in October

And Peter Cranie shows that greens - or at least Greens - can be as sly as the rest of us by casting aspersions on Nick Clegg's honesty. So if you are Clegg's gardener, do please drop him a line.

Tom Watson MP

The Labour member for West Bromwich East is the envy of his pals at Westminster. He has a BBRU section all to himself.

Tom Watson is trying to persuade the Post Office to make postcode date freely available to the public. In a letter to Adam Crozier, he says:
I take the position that the postcode file and the data set of physical co-ordinates that go with it should be freely available to any UK citizen. I understand, though, that in the short term the entrepreneurs in your organisation have monatised their monopoly supply of the file to generate income of £11 million a year.
And two other bloggers - Pirate Party UK and Stand Up Diggers All - have written about his campaign against government plans to force ISPs to disconnect people who share files.

Memo to record companies: a business model based on suing music fans is not viable in the long run.


Next week Nick Griffin will appear on "Question Time". Personally I fell out of love with the programme long ago. I know what I think about things and don't want to listen to a lot of other people giving their stupid opinions - especially not the comedians they insist on putting on the panel these days. I am never going to be an MP, so I don't have to worry how I would answer the questions (unless I decide to become a comedian instead). And there's David bloody Dimbleby.

But how should we respond to Griffin?

The Mysterious World of Matt Blackall says the BBC is right to let him appear. Keeping him off the programme would only reinforce the BNP myth that they are the victims of a conspiracy by an effete liberal media. Heresy Corner takes a similar line on the visit of Geert Wilders to Britain.

Dodgeblogium takes issue with the Independent columnist Johann Hari. He argues that BNP supporters are not right-wing Conservatives, as Hari imagines, but disaffected working-class Labour voters.

Speech-making guru Max Atkinson writes about public reaction to David Cameron's Tory Conference speech, with illustrations from the edition of "Question Time" that went out that evening.

Mark Reckons writes about another big story of the week: the Conservative Party's open primary to choose a new candidate for Bracknell. Iain Dale and Rory Stewart (aka Lawrence of Belgavia) lost out to the nearest thing the shortlist had to a local candidate.

They care about their clean and local air in Bracknell too, apparently.

Chris Coltrane thinks he knows how to solve the current postal strikes. Bristol Blogger offers lively coverage of politics in the city, here writing about the salaries of senior council officers.

Slugger O'Toole shows they have expenses scandals in the Irish parliament too. Letters from a Tory is not impressed by the line his party's shadow home secretary is taking on the retention of DNA data.


It's sui generis time.

Stroppyblog writes about her seven-year-old son's Asperger's syndrome.

Mark Pack looks forward to Amazon and Google competing to dominate the future of e-books:
The forthcoming struggle between Google and Amazon, both distinguished by that highly unusual feature of internet businesses of being large and profitable enough to compare with the biggest of non-internet firms, should be a sight to see. With a bit of luck, the competitive edge will drive down prices whilst driving up quality of service and technology. That should benefit both authors and readers in the long run.

Long Aye-lander in Glasgow writes about an advertisement in the Herald for someone at £140 a day to translate Glaswegian slang for foreign business people who struggle to understand the local dialect. That was a Stanley Baxter sketch about 35 years ago.

While we are at it, SwissToni's Place could do with someone to translate business jargon too.

One Man Blogs did not get a Ferrari for his birthday. Again.

And The New Adventures of Juliette says her cat smoked 80 cigarettes and lived to be 23.

Sure it did. But I bet it wasn't gay.

Next week

Next week's Roundup will be in the care of Nourishing Obscurity.

As ever, please send your nominations to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.


David said...

Camden Kiwi's report on Brenton's play about Byron's meeting with Shelley in Switzerland (1816 not 1916) doesn't mention that this was also the setting for Ken Russell's film "Gothic" released in 1986:

Anonymous said...

What is incredible is that Peter Cranie (it has to be admitted not without some justification) has complained about the leaflets of Liverpool Lib Dems, but repeating the Jo Anglezarke’s nasty slur, he surrenders the moral high-ground and shows he can be just as negative.

James Higham said...

Actually, this week's Britblog is at Nourishing Obscurity. Could you adjust this please?


Jonathan Calder said...


James Higham said...

Ladies and gentlemen, it appears I shall not be doing the Britblog after all. I was asked but it seems other other parallel arrangements have been made. When I know who's doing it, I shall leave a comment here.

Jonathan Calder said...

It will be hosted by Clairwil.