Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Just two quick points on today's before anyone else has a chance to Watch it.

1. This sort of thing was sanctimonious horseshit when it was called "the bias against understanding" and was being churned out by the yard by Dave's mentor Brian Walden. It has not improved with age.

2. Get this:

Among other sex crimes alleged by The Mail on Sunday was that Mr Prescott had attended a memorial service with the Queen and “then went straight back to his grace-and-favour flat in Admiralty House and had sex”. Actually it’s hard to tell which part of this is supposed to be shocking — having sex shortly after seeing the Queen (some kind of obscure lèse-majesté), or having sex in a grace-and-favour flat (as opposed to a flat that you have paid for). Perhaps the author of this piece, the political editor of The MoS, Simon Walters, could advise our more anxious readers on the correct interval between sharing a space with Her Majesty and having an orgasm.

If I was Reg Keys, or any other relative of someone who had died in Iraq, I might find this in pretty poor taste, since the memorial service in question was the Iraq memorial, for casualties of the war in Iraq, a war which Dave supported loudly and vocally. The Iraq war appears to have been erased from Dave's column for quite some time now.


Blogger Matthew said...

The Met's crime statistics tend to run through a financial year, and homicides in 2005/2006 one were down 10.8% to 175, from 195. However this is excluding the London bombings - though Aaro says 'bus bombings' - is there a reason to exclude the Tube? (not that they should be included for comparision sakes)

I'm not so sure however that the London murder rate - which is known to fluctuate for reasons not wholly under the Police's control - is really of that great importance to the entire nation.

5/02/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Bloody hell. His post marathon column was pretty good. The Hewitt thing was a mistake (if he wants to help her, the best thing to do is let Clarke and Prescott take all the flak). This is simply horrible.

I think DA uses the word "significantly" incorrectly here. He's talking about statistical variation. And a single year isn't statistically significant. Why isn't government doing a better job of getting its message across? What is the point of NuLab if it's not to spin news? No one believes a thing they or their tame journalists say now.

5/02/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

as far as I can see, he's using the word "significantly" to mean "a lot" rather than to mean "significantly" in the statistical sense, but trying to claim some of the intellectual gravitas of the technical meaning. This was a "trope" [the word "trope" is (c) Norman Geras and if it isn't it should be] of the Walden/Birt Weekend World years.

5/02/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous backword Dave said...

Well said, BB. You've got my point, and expressed it better than I did. He should -- he does -- know better than to use technical terms for gravitas. And he ought to know, but possibly doesn't, that if the murder rate hadn't fallen "a lot" in London the previous year, he'd have found some other statistic to make his case. And that's not on. You can show that several Euston Manifestation signers are journalists, and therefore they're not excluded from 'the media' -- because that's a one-dimensional issue. "The Home Office is doing a good job on crime" is a claim which has to be measured on many dimensions, and picking one proves nothing.

Is 'trope' really a Geras usage? I only skim him these days.

5/02/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

It is in my mind, which is where I live most of the time these days.

Interestingly, Aaro hasn't signed the EM and now presumably won't (he hasn't written about it either).

5/02/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous hillman said...

Give over. Had Prescott pleasured his date in full view of the grieving, we'd all be scandalised. But short of asking what everyone else did in their private hours after the service, why get so excitable about Prezza? What's more problematic is that Aaronovitch fails to deal with the more troubling aspects of the DPM's alleged sexual encounters, namely the old-school groping and leering innuendo. May not be a resignation issue, but it still sits badly in the people's party.

5/02/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Hillman, I completely agree with the second part of your comment. I think Prescott's behaviour tips over into sexual harrassment, while his general boorishness sits badly with the stated aims of Labour since around the time of the Sexual Discrimination Act (1976).

However, BB's point was that Aaro swerved round the memorial service (which was mentioned in every account) and only left in the part about Her Majesty, making Prescott's nookie seem like an almost republican act. It may not have been a bad thing; but it certainly wasn't a brave act of proletarian defiance or part of the overthrow of the old order either.

5/02/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

Is 'trope' really a Geras usage? I only skim him these days.

He's very keen on his tropes, is Geras. I think his definition is "argument which no-one has actually made, but which I feel more comfortable arguing against than the opinion I'm actually quoting."

5/02/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Clive said...

A couple of points.

Is it illegal to have sex in private at home after a memorial service? Surely the bad taste is for the MoS to publish this. You shouldn't be griping at Aaronovitch.

Secondly, what exactly would you like Aaronovitch to say about Iraq? We all know the situation there and what has to be done. It's down to the Iraqis to sort out their own government now - there's nothing dramatic to say, really, apart from: get a move on!

5/03/2006 03:44:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

Is it illegal to have sex in private at home after a memorial service?

No, but (call me Malcolm Muggeridge here) I think it's actually quite strange to come home from a memorial service with the horn, particularly when it was a memorial service for a war which was started by a government you're part of. Am I weird here or does everyone else enjoy a good old post-Armistice shag?

Secondly, what exactly would you like Aaronovitch to say about Iraq?

What I find funny is the way that he has completely edited Iraq out of existence. Even in contexts where it doesn't reflect badly on him, he pretends that Prescott had attended "a memorial service" and that the Mail was alll worked up about it because the queen was there.

It's not as if Iraq is out of the news, or nothing has happened there, or it isn't an important part of British politics right now. Aaro has just decided to "move on".

5/03/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

That does seem the case. I suggested at the time of the EM launch (or non-real-world launch) that Dave hadn't signed as:

Actually I get the impression Dave isn't a 'joiner' or he considers himself (with good reason perhaps) rather above this playing at being journalists stuff. AFAIK he didn't sign the Unite Against the Left petition, he doesn't write for Democritya, he stayed away from the undergraduate-bad-idea that was the Henry 'Scoop' Jackson Society, and I don't see his name on this one

Now though I wonder whether it's just because he doesn't want to be reminded of the War. Perhaps Dave's a bit more comfortable with his Hampstead dinner party friends than Nick was, and found Gerard Baker's table manners a bit too uncooth?

What do you think will happen to Decency if the Labour governmentn collapses? Will there be a Decency-In-Exile, forevering muttering about 'stabs in the back', and attempting to destroy a different Labour PM for not being a true believer (ie like the Tory Right and Major) or do you think they'll just jump ship to Cameron/Gove etc?

On Prescott I'd just note to both BB and BD's comments that a lot of that was in response to 200k from the Daily Mail etc, we don't really know any of it happened.

5/03/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

The Melanie Phillips Nazi mention watch:

She is up to 12 mentions again (equalling a recent record.)

She slipped to 8 at one point, but she's gone even more barking again recently.


Plus she has kind words to say about the Euston Manifesto, although the Decents are rather quiet about her plug. Can't think why.

5/03/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Ben, if you can't stay on topic, go back to Harry's Place.

5/03/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Hillman said...

bruschettaboy said "it's actually quite strange to come home from a memorial service with the horn". You might be verging on the Muggeridge here - the few times I've been scared witless I found myself strangely in the mood. David Lodge once wrote powerfully of a character f**king himself back to life after a near encounter with death. Doubtless there's already a student at the cutting edge of evolutionary science postulating that, confronted with stark reminders of death, we react by impulsively trying to procreate. Or something.

5/03/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous rioja kid said...

More likely the memorial service was some boring fucking thing a minister has to do, so he occupied the time thinking about shagging his diary secretary and then went on to perform the deed. It may be too much to expect sincerity from ministers, but they could wait for more than half an hour before dropping their pants and rutting.

"What do you think will happen to Decency if the Labour governmentn collapses?"

They already seem to have a policy close to "no enemies on the right" and my guess is that a good number of them will go all the way over. Either that, or compete with the Spiked/LM crew for the competition to win the prize as Britain's LaRouchies.

I think this is why Dave's steering clear. A respectable fellow like him has no business with political cult formation, no matter how much sympathy he may have for individuals within it. Also, getting burned by HP over "the wrong Berry" might have led to a certain distrust of Decents and the numerous enterprises.

5/03/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Backword Dave

Sorry, old boy. Just can't get very interested in the Prescott saga. Anyway, I suppose I shouldn't be particularly surprised by DA's loyalty to (and defence of) all things New Labour.

It's kind of ironic for a recipient of the George Orwell prize though.

In his latest defence he says: "A mature democracy badly needs more than media frenzy."

Yes. It needs tenacious investigative journalists uncovering the corruption and cynicism that lies behind the scandal of cash for peerages. Don't be waiting on DA to do that spadework though.

5/03/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Ben, if the thread doesn't interest you, don't post a fucking comment. And don't just copy and paste your timesome waffle from DA's blog. Once is enough, eh?

5/03/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Backword Dave

Hey, chill. I must note that some others have strayed already in this thread.

"DA's blog"? Not his actually, The Times'. (Sorry to be a pedant but property, ownership, proprietorship and that sort of thing are important, especially in journalism.)

I am hardly a frequent poster here or at "DA's blog", so relax.

DA got all huffy about my joke involving Sainsbury's and pasta, so I thought I will let him be, poor man. :-)

Now, Mr Backword, enough said, old boy, and back to Two Shags!

5/03/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Just stop trying to draw attention to yourself all the time and fuck off.

5/04/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Exclusion zone

Sir, David Aaronovitch writes (May 2) that “modern media stories with all their dramatic requirements exclude far more that is important than they include”. He says I reported in The Mail on Sunday that Mr Prescott “attended a memorial service with the Queen” and “then went straight back to his grace-and-favour flat and had sex”.
Mr Aaronovitch observes it is “hard to tell which part of this is supposed to be shocking” and asks me to advise. The most shocking aspect is that the memorial service was for the Iraq war, an important fact which was inexplicably excluded from Mr Aaronovitch’s article.

Political Editor,
The Mail on Sunday
London W8

5/04/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Hunter said...

Oddly makes me more likely to think Aaronovitch had a point. The MoS wants us to feel better for wallowing in pages of Max Clifford-laundered smut so it creates a wholly new offence of which Prezza is found guilty - bonking too soon after...(fill in to taste). Doesn't matter much whether it was meeting HMQ or mourning the Iraq dead. By all means hang Prescott out to dry, but for something we all care about.

5/04/2006 03:28:00 PM  

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