Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It is clearly recycling day in Islington

I'll add the link when it goes up on the blog, but there are a lot of "old friends" in Nick's column in the paper Standard this week. Supercasinos, BritArt is offensive and doesn't appeal to me, and over-zealous traffic wardens (I think that "over-zealous traffic wardens" might be close to some sort of long service award if it appears many more times). The main bit is on loans for lordships and how it's absolutely ludicrous for people to demand a forensic standard of proof before we start saying "there's something a bit dodgy there". Which is obviously the AW party line too (unless one of you guys disagrees), so fair enough. However there is a bit of a Seal O' Dacre alert, because the way that Nick phrases this is to say:
"[...] as soon as we start asking why it was that Bernie Ecclestone, Enron, Lakshmi Mittal and all the rest of the crew gave gifts then got rewards, some buck-toothed, empty-headed public-school boy from the BBC pops up and sneers: "Where's your smoking gun? Where's your proof beyond reasonable doubt?""

This is a bit weird; the BBC has done a perfectly fine job on these stories although some people in the media (coughAarocough) haven't. The only BBC employee who I can think of who is buck-toothed and public school is Michael Crick and he certainly doesn't deserve this charge.

Why the hell is it that the BBC is, in Nick's mind, the perfect synecdoche for the upper middle class, the media, and a whole lot of other strange little psychological complexes? Surely this is not just about Gilligan and the war, is it? Who at the BBC has pissed in Nick's cornflakes recently? Own up in comments if it was you.

Update BD 11:49 pm 24/3/06. Here's the link: An Inspector Calls. Nick's spent some time in the clippings library, or more likely on Google, though we shouldn't discount the possibility that his Oxford education is repeating on him like an ill-advised late night vindaloo. Here's Nick on the 81 years since the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act of 1925 which "made the buying and selling of honours a criminal offence that should carry a maximum punishment of two years in prison."

It has been left to the press to blow the whistle ever since.

Nick doesn't say who has left this duty to the press, or who else may have blown the whistle before the act. If anyone has, that person is Chai Patel (though not intentionally), which torpedoes Nick's statement. A later paragraph is just weird.

Independently minded MPs who want to do what MPs are meant to do and hold the executive to account are just as feeble. If your refuse to answer the questions of the US Congress, you can go to jail for contempt. If there’s a whiff of corruption about you in Italy, prosecutors and magistrates will storm in – as Tessa Jowell’s dumped husband has learned to his cost.

Nick doesn't say why the "[i]ndependently minded MPs... are just as feeble." He just asserts it and drops it into a paragraph where it seems to be followed by two more concrete facts. Except these aren't. Anyone remember anyone in the past 80 or so years who was held in contempt by Congress? Or any cases where this power actually led to someone answering incriminating questions? And if "prosecutors and magistrates" in Italy have "stormed in" anywhere, that's a use of storm as in a "storm in a marmite jar". They've been pursuing David Mills since around 1990. Blitzkreig it ain't.


Blogger Backword Dave said...

Is Crick a BBC employee? It seems possible because he shows up on Newsnight every so often, but I thought he was more of a freelancer. Anyway, I think calling him buck-toothed is a bit much. And he went to Manchester Grammar (is that a grammar or a public school? I'm not au fait with these distinctions, being a comprehensive product myself). As you say, Michael Crick doesn't deserve the charge. If anyone dug dirt on the Lib Dems recently it was him. Nick preferred to stick to the "He used to drive a BMW" line of political invective.

(Hmm. Could that be a Crick reference anyway? Crick wrote the biography of Jeffrey Archer, and Archer wrote a play called "Beyond Reasonable Doubt." Nah, too convoluted.)

I think he's talking about Andrew Marr, who was a public schoolboy.

3/23/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

NC doesn't seem to get the gigs that DA does (Question Time, Newsnight Review), but it may be less a rivalry with his fellow/rival Decent as 'Why can't I get to defend Blair/Iraq on prime time?' or words to that effect.

3/23/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

ahhhh Marr. But surely that would be "jug-eared public schoolboy"?

Perhaps we should run a competition "Buckiest Teeth At The Beeb"

3/23/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Red, DA's been a TV producer, leader writer, and President of the NUS. His CV says, in effect, can appear on the box and be coherent.

Nick is a writer and newspaper journalist. Which is another way of saying fond of drink, unpunctual, and self-obsessed.

3/23/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

That maybe so, but NC must wonder how Peter Hitchens (let alone his brother) can frequently get on TV/radio, but not him.

3/23/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Ah, good point. The answer NC seems to have arrived at is, "feign mental illness." I mean, you wouldn't want to meet Peter Hitchens when there's a full moon, would you?

3/23/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm working on a piece of art using "found materials" that provocatively takes an anti war stance by using traffic wardens as a metaphor for the defeated soldiers in Bush and Blar's crazy war.

speaking of crazy people , will any London based Aaro watchers be observing the "march for offensive cartoons" , in the hope of spotting Nick with his new pals ?please do and report here

3/23/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous McGazz said...

> Manchester Grammar (is that a grammar or a public school?

It's a fee-paying school. It's about as posh as it gets in this neck of the woods (although that's not saying a lot).

3/23/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Sonic said...

The march for decency brigade are descending into civil war, might get a bit heated on Saturday judging by the first thread.

3/23/2006 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

The problem with soi-disant 'free speech absolutists' is that almost none of them are actually free speech absolutists, although they sincerely believe themselves to be. So when one of them defines a limit to free speech, all the others throw their toys out of the pram, believing that they themselves have no such limits, and further that no limits should exist. This is especially the case when the limit-definer happens to be the organiser of a 'free expression' march.

This is one of the reasons I thought the march was a really shit idea in the first place.

3/23/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It was strange thought, when Alan (Not the Cabinet Minister) Johnson pulled out because he wouldn't share a platform with the Freedom Association. I agree, but I wouldn't have dared.So full marks.

3/23/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sonic said...

Hopefully someone is going along to take some photographs?

3/23/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

McGazz, thanks. Still my dad went there on a scholarship, so it can't be all bad. And speaking of fee-paying schools how could I ever forget this Wikipedia entry?

Cohen ... is regarded by supporters as belonging to the intellectual tradition of radical writers such as George Orwell and Albert Camus.

You can't trust these public schoolboys. Go to a school where they all wear tailcoats, and you're an enemy of democracy for life, mate. (To be followed by Nick on Sunday: "How an Algerian goalkeeper set back the cause of French existentialism 50 years.")

3/23/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Anonymous evil bruschettaboy, who am I kidding said...

Oh god that "march for free expression" is a train wreck. I wonder if Nick will cover it again?

3/24/2006 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Sonic said...

Will he show up is the question...

3/24/2006 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Can we have a Friday forecast? The HP steer is either Livingstone or the plight of the Vestey's only receiving 50% of the market value of their landholdings in Venezuela. But I don't think even Nick's silly enough to do that.

3/24/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

Will he show up is the question...

He has to show up: otherwise he's against free speech... ;)

3/24/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

And speaking of fee-paying schools how could I ever forget this Wikipedia entry?

I have put back in the 'pinned a large target sign on this country' quote which someone removed, as well as a favourable bit about the Iraqi National Congress. Anyone reading the previous version would think Cohen had been a more-or-less consistent Decent.

3/24/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger dckuk said...

First off, let me say as a "foreign guest" I don't understand the depth of the whole "honours" thing. Not that I am avoiding learning or such, but it isn't that big a deal to us. Kind of settled it in a revolution or some such...

One thing I am going to comment on though is this "if you want me to obey the law you have to make me" culture. It sucks. There, said.

Now before all of you get worked up, consider this:

Do you always drive at the speed limit, speed camera/traffic officer/flashing sign/nagging partner (sorry Hon) or not?
Do you always make sure to keep your Car Tax and MOT up to date BEFORE it expires?
Do you ever use/talk on/text on/look at your mobile phone when driving, unless its totally hands free and out of line of sight?

There are many, many other similar situations, some minor, but also some rather serious, where "average" people seem to think that its ball right to break the law unless someone is MAKING you do what's right.

It is no small wonder either of these situations exist; its more a sign of the failure of us (myself included) as members of society to do what is right, and best for society as a whole, not just what is being enforced at the time. Perhaps its time for Politicians, the media, and the public to wake up and lead by example, whether you are on CCTV or not...

1/05/2007 11:10:00 AM  

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