Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Knighthood, Sainthood, Hoodwink : Monetisation theory

This presentation has again been inspired by our Glorious Leader H.H. Prof Dr Lord Obreption of Rockall GCOO

Introduction by the Bursuivant of Ells Bells MOO

My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen

We are pleased to present the Memorial Lecture to the memory of Sir Francis Grant, who is sadly missed and is seen in this beautiful picture in the company of the Duke of York, played by George VI and not Colin Fourth. 

This is the prequel to the King’s Speech and shows the influence of the late Sir Francis Grant, who was an expert in heraldry and such an authority that one dares to imagine what he would have said about the cash for honours scandal which has engulfed the Daily Mail exclusive. 

It appears that ‘Father’ Michael Seed, a well-known celebrity catholytic converter, has been accused of peddling papal trinkets for a lot of money to well-meaning charities such as Armageddon AG.  There has been no great denial on the story and suffice it to say we will be pleased to publish one should Mr Seed and his order decide to issue one…


- a great council was held in London today to decide on the Heirs Apparent of King Idris of Libya.  Mr Gaddafi is none too pleased about the proposals made by the ‘coalition’ for his removal and the restructuring of the democratic process... 

- in the USA, pension fund evaluation has been seriously covered in the Boston Globe.  Apparently, some nuns have questioned the propriety of the Archdiocese of Boston, accusing them – allegedly – of ‘pension abuse’ … 

- in Manchester the Great Spirit of Life ‘festival’ has incurred the wrath of the Daily Irae  (dies irae).  This conveniently follows on from the sale of papal knighthoods by a bird seed merchant on twitter. 

Obreption has decreed these Statutes of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of Obreption.  We are trying to get some suitable images (murti) not idols for the above mentioned orders.  Qualified candidates must have an approved doctoral thesis, must not be accused of skulduggery, and must be unblemished with scandal. 

The following grades have followed the orders in use in the Kingdom of Thailand.  These are:

MOO: member
OOO: officer
KOO: knight
DOO: dame
GOO: knight grand cross

The motto of the said order shall be “fidelis fortis semper”. 

Supporters:   Mary Queen of Scots (cabossed) : dexter
                  Julian of Norwich (fundraiser rampant) sinister
                  shield: gold bars (Barry or) within a triple tressure

Downloaded this day at Austin, TX on MA Twitter (Diva)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Taiping Rebellion: previous missions


This paper has been put together by the inspiration of our great leader Professor Dr Obreption, who is currently researching and checking out various innovations in Austin, TX. Through a very unreliable communication link, caused no doubt by the time change and the ‘whacky’ nature of this part of Texas, the support staff at headquarters have had to do some research extrapolation and research on our own. 

In a recent In Our Time, Lord Melvyn Bragg discussed the Taiping Rebellion.  (see the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00yqvqt).  The Rebellion is said to have caused the deaths of 20 million people and was based on an encounter with some Baptists Missionaries from Tennessee.  The siren words on the BBC broadcast, which included Professor Rana Mitter, were acculturation and acclimatization, and these triggered an expectancy of some other sociological descriptors.  This programme was certainly not theological and those of our readers with theological nervous dispositions should not read further. 

The syncretic traditions of China and to some extent Japan are well noted.  Many Asian societies are quite happy to mix Buddhist philosophies with Shinto, Taoism and Confucius.  Accordingly, if a religious poll is carried out in some Asian societies, people would assume that that society is a 120% religious. 

The Taiping Rebellion can be researched through listening to the programme (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00yqvqt) and reading the material recommended.  It goes to show what happens when people think they are related to ‘Jesus Christ’.  This is not some Dan Brown story.  This really DID happen. 

The Taiping state was based in Nanjing and there is now a museum there to commemorate the Rebellion:

As Chou En Lai said when talking about the French Revolution, it's too early to say what effect Taiping had on current Chinese philosophy and economic theory.  To some extent the same could be said of the influence of the dissenting Presbyterians and their thought processes on Thomas Jefferson and the US Constitutional theory. 

Meanwhile Obreption was in Austin checking out the tele-evangelist Monetisation and noted that a few faces were missing from the usual roster of Sunday morning worship and hermeneutics.  Obreption has an aversion to the BBC Radio 4 programme called Sunday which is usually referred to as Today Lite.  Other national BBC programmes in Wales, Scotland and Ulster are occasionally dipped into.  For some reason the BBC iPlayer was not available to overseas listeners, though a programme presented by Lynda Bryans of Radio Ulster regarding the philosopher Francis Hutcheson was available.  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00zn6jy/In_the_Footsteps_Episode_4/)

Knowing Obreptions views that Smith, Hume and Kant put the full stop on philosophy and economics, it was interesting to hear the roots of Francis Hutcheson of Saintfield via Glasgow, Smith, Hume, Jefferson and the mayhem that they all caused.  During Hutcheson's time in Glasgow, where he was professor, there were many turbulent times.  He also spent time in Dublin and is buried there.  His influence on Smith and the Enlightenment is significant and can be researched in any decent website - for example: http://www.scottishphilosophy.org/francishutcheson.html

As the presenter said, the British Isles were responsible for some interesting thoughts.  Even Jeremy Bentham’s phrase “Greatest good for the greatest number” is said to have originated with Hutcheson, as was J.F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you” quote.

Obreption’s last intelligible words, while sipping a Lenten brunch special Bloody Mary and a couple of Tequila slammers were: get them to look up Utilitarianism, acculturation, syncretism and check out rebellions, marches; and something about the state of Nelson’s column which we think is still in Trafalgar Square in London.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

We are very big in phthalic

by our budget team Phthalic Ann Hyde-Ride and Dr Kafka Esk

The Orthoxylene Deficit

Professor Lord Obreption of Rockall is still in Florida and he has been advising his specialists to remember the structural deficit of Orthoxylene.  The structure is being hunted down by US Marshals and the deficit is believed to have arisen by the conversion of a huge volume of OX to PA.  The structure is shown below:

source: http://chemistry.about.com/od/factsstructures/ig/Chemical-Structures---P/Phthalic-Anhydride.htm

Note:  It is possible to insert your favourite politician in the Ring, though Cleggs have been cited as destabilising. 
When the twitter feeds came in from Der Spiegel (see http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,752527,00.html & http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,632514,00.html), Obreption asked to re-tweet interested parties about the said risk to certain plasticisers in baby articles such as toys.  At this time the team all remembered the joke about a senior politician boasting that they were very big in Phthalic.  This got us so excited, we decided to check out various toys which adults might use around the house.  If  you're worried about your toys, please see: http://www.plastemart.com/upload/Literature/Plasticizers-and-concerns-of-their-effects-on-human-health-and-environment.asp

Various eminent celebrities had their opinion on the deficit crisis.  Their views are summarised below:

Dr A.V.O’Gadro: Sure I’ve got lots of plastic ducks in the bath.  Don’t tell me they’re oestrogen mimickers.  I can’t think who would want to imitate a man with a very high voice who delivers discussions on the Orthoxylene deficit.

Rev. Dr R.A. Footman (Papal Nuncio to Berwick):  I’ve lost my mitre and I don’t know where I left it.  I’m always doing these things.  It’s so distressing.  I must get the application for my Tablet to remind me of the catechesis.

‘Dame’ Cleo of Paxos: I was on Midweek this morning explaining the virtual reality of retreats.  We are much better than Lourdes and we can guarantee that all our material culture is tack-free.  We can assure our visitors that our Alpha courses and Omega courses are salt free and contain only ordinary Anglicans as approved by Farm St.
Dame Giselle Foot-Stomper DBE (Imperial Ballet): I remember when I was playing Queen of the Willis.  We were so jealous of that ghastly reporter Miss Ann Hyde-Ride, that we cracked her with a catalyst and sent her back for metamorphosis.  She was further converted from Paraxylene to Polyester via the DMT route and we are pleased to say that our Tutus are made of polyester as we incur no cruelty to silkworms. 

At this point there was a loud noise of tweets, blackberries and a huge raspberry from the Guardian about Mr Osbo and his dreadful speech.  Meanwhile back at the Carlton, plaudits were being raised concerning Mr Osbo and they thought Ed Milliband was quite funny (in parts). 

PS: It looks as if Vedanta is overtaking the Vatican for the element currently occupied by Vanadium.   

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Philadelphia story continues ...

Philadelphia Is the Ireland of America


This story virtually wrote itself as posts with comments from the USA appeared on the blog.  We have also inserted a link to patheos.com, which may be useful in looking at some theology issues, if you're that way inclined.  On the other hand, you may be interested to know that we will be returning to some fascinating facts and leave this page to speak for itself.

Below is a list of links that readers have kindly sent us.  We have included them as part of this post for ease of access.

Bishop Dolan's interview with CBS's 60 minutes

An article by Riazat Butt in the Guardian on the Irish abuse issue

Arizona "John Doe" Behind Latest Priest-Abuse Lawsuit Against Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cross reprieved – European Court of Human Rights says

by our Prasad specialist Prof. Clegg from Clegg Bakeries (Hot Cross Buns)

Judgment Lautsi and Others v. Italy
Traditional Hot Cross Buns recipe

As an atheist, though married to a Roman Catholic, I am pleased to announce that Hot Cross buns will continue to be allowed in the marketplace.  There has been some doubt concerning the giving of prasad after certain religious ceremonies and there has been some hysterical claims made by Mr Hilary Benn MP regarding Westminster Cathedral being sued for giving out free food, soup, tea and other forms of nutrition to the homeless. 


I would like to state that our Hot Cross buns have been approved by the Ministry of Defence as being fit for purpose for our brave boys as they fight over Libya.  My friend Dave Cameron has been leading the world in ensuring that Libyans will always be able to put a cross on their ballot papers in the same way as you will be able to do in our democratic referendum on AV ...

At this point, Nick Clegg cancelled all his engagements as a pile of rock cakes, stale bread and wasted food was piled on him to the sounds of Things Can  Only Get Better.  Professor Brian Cox announced that instead of crosses being placed in state schools, there ought to be a photograph of an eminent professor who can inspire all our young people to recognise the true values of science and not the mumbo jumbo of the symbology of the hot cross buns. 

We are told by the Evening Standard that Mrs Gove (Sarah Vine of the Times of London) interrupted and shouted out 'that Professor Cox's ego was "a body so large ... that it threatens to obscure ... the sun itself ... Not even Narcissus ... would have had the brass neck to stipulate ... long lingering shots of himself ..." Unfortunately, the rest was undecipherable as the paper had been used to cover a fish and chip takeaway and the words were obscured by vinegar (acetic acid) stains.  She did say afterwards that Michael loved to have 'heddock' from Peterhead, chips and guacamole on Fridays.

Ruth Archer, Religion commentator (Times of Ambridge), announced: I can’t  make hot cross buns for toffee, but my mother-in-law can make them very  well.  She always wins the WI prize and her simnel cakes, which are truly spiritual and very organic.  Our cows are sick and my cats’ just had kittens.  Oh NO ….

Mrs Lansley advised that: hot cross buns should be fat free, salt free, carbohydrate free, sugar free, and available in pill form from one of my consulting firms. 

The theological expert Theo Hobbs-Bunn said the theatre of the hot cross bun distribution is an important part of English spiritual ecclesiastical and liturgical tradition.  This ruling from the court is both ontologically and eat-ologically  sound.  Can we turn the noise down please! 

source: http://www.ganeshblog.com/practice-prayers

Prof Obreption sums up as follows:

This ruling has annoyed many atheists and humanists.  They would prefer to have deprived us of income streams from the sales of edible tack.  First they tried to ban chocolate eggs during Lent, then they tried to ban devout Calvinists from inserting the Ten Commandments into Tesco Finest chocolate eggs at risk to themselves.  We need more material culture.  While the rich can afford lovely crucifixes, the poor are always with us and can have their hot cross buns in peace.  

And I say to our followers in the LGBT section: there will be plenty of x-rated buns for your delectation.  You can have these after the banns have been read 3 times and the cock has crowed for your marriage at our special event piazza in Westminster - if we can get Westminster city council and the Archbishop of Westminster to agree on the liturgy and the composition of the said buns, and remember the Good Book says: Turn the Other Cheek!  There will be manna in heaven tonight. 
R Men!

ps:  the Dustbin Men collective wish to point out that these job creation schemes are good value for money.  We've had some technical problems with Obreption's transmissions between St Patrick's Day and Purim. The ethanol count has made the gamma-GT levels soar, resulting in some oracular dysfunction in the divination of the TOR message.  It had something to do with a side-dish of onion rings and ketchup.   

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Letter from Philadelphia, PA : to the Romans

From St Paul and St Minnie

Philadelphia has been much in the news recently on account of the Grand Jury announcement in the city.  The District Attorney's office had some documents relating to various grand jury reports and we are attaching them here for the sake of good order.  There has been quite a lot 'shouting' in the media and several outbursts by alleged accused lawyers and even the judge. 
Given the sad news in Japan comparison has also been made with the nuclear meltdown scare in Three Mile Island and the recent announcement that the situation in Fukushima was worse than that of Pennsylvania, but it was not as bad as Chernobyl.

Religious specialists have not helped in the discusion of the tragedy in Japan.  We are calling a Lenten truce on very daft nuclear physics and quantum mechanics for the time being.  Recent research programmes into Buddhism and Middle East uprisings have been postponed, and we may have to censor postings.

Below are a list of links relevant to the Philadelphia case:


New York Times: 

Avenging Altar Boy (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/opinion/16dowd.html?_r=2)

The Inquirer/Daily News on-line:
Accused priest declares innocence, discusses accuser on radio show
From the website of the Office of the District Attorney, Philadelphia:
Arrest of Four Clergy Members and a Teacher

Copies of the Grand Jury verdicts of 2005 and 2011 can be found on:
PS:  It’s not all bad news!  For Roman Catholics in England and Wales, the following is a link to those Anglicans who have undergone a conversion to Roman Catholicism.  Obreption has asked us to comment, that it is indeed most satisfying to see that special ceremonies will be undertaken by this church within a Church.  It is to be hoped that the income stream generated by these latter day converts will be enough to keep the universal church solvent given that the lawyers’ fees and reparations may be very costly indeed.  It may be wise to reflect on some verses from the prophet Samuel in relation to King Saul and David in terms of statistical analyses: 1 Samuel 18:6,7.  The New English Bible has some interesting expressions, though many will feel more at home with the King James version, which is celebrating its 400 anniversary.  That lesser James, Mr Naughtie, is reporting from Japan for the BBC and we wish him well. 

From the website of the Catholic Church in England and Wales:

People from all walks of life take a significant step towards becoming Catholics


Monday, 14 March 2011

Suggested Logo for Unloved Political Party

by Mr I Scanner & Roger Sole

The following chemical molecular structure requires adoption.  Under the Equal Opportunities Act, we positively welcome new parents of any persuasion, leaning, sexual preference, orientation, mapping or even those in an unstable partnership such as a coalition. 

Celebrating the chemistry of -ole based on nitrogen, phosphorous and arseNICK.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arsole.png

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Melvyn is the New Manganese

Manganese to be called Melvyn

In Our Time and the joy of being talked up to

In praise of… Melvyn Bragg
source: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soubor:Potassium-permanganate-solution.png

Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg of Wigton, presented the 500th edition of In Our Time on BBC Radio 4 this week.  The website is one of the best in the BBC and over the next few weeks and months, much more archive material is going to be put on.  The committee considered that the name Melvyn should be awarded to a man of distinction, a real big hitter.  Manganese is a very useful element and potassium paermanganate has a lovely colour.  Dr A.V. O'Gadro, the vice chair of CREDO*, has said that Melvyn reminds him of Deep Purple (the rock group) and that Potassium Permanganate embodies the colour purple (not the Whoopi variety), i.e. an element on its own.    

Just to show off with our new super and sub script system, the formula for potassium permanaganate is KMNO4.  The compound itself is almost jet black in the crystalline form, but forms a deep purple solution in water.  Interestingly, you can get the purple to turn green with a lot of pH control.  The oxide, manganese dioxide, is often used in catalysis.  This is nothing to do with cats, and there are two types of catalysis: homogeneous and heterogeneous.
Some 10 years ago, Melvyn was considered too Labour-leaning for the BBC flagship programme Start the Week, so he was moved to the Thursday slot, leaving Andrew Marr to do the book plug programme on a Monday.  We have a few links to the the In Our Time website, and you can see that Obreption has waxed lyrical on the Telegraph blog concerning Melvyn's programme (see link at the top).  Dr Tony has said that he has also blogged in favour of Melvyn, though under an assumed name to avoid hostility with the the anti-Reithian, right-wing, little Englanders of a prominent broadsheet, and well-kknown media mogul allegedly riddled with make-believe of which no more anon.
Therefore, while the auction for V has been very keen, the CREDO committee has no greater pleasure than to award the symbol Mn to Melvyn.

source: www.liboxgoa.com/potassium%20permanganate.html

In Our Time:

In Our Time archive:

*The CREDO stands for Commission for the Realisation  of Enlightenment Despite Obscurants. There is a nasty outfit named DEECREDO which does the opposite.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Inter-faith Symposium: Palm Springs, CA, 2011: an exegesis

Report by Herman New-Tack

Setting the context

This event has traditionally been a ‘patriachs only’ function, but given the rapid rise of eastern and mystical religions in California, the Palm Springs symposium included a new executive chair – the reincarnation of Lakshmi.

While the main conference was considering the great monotheistic faiths (GMF), there had to be some inclusion of Hindu influences, bearing in mind recent scandals that have rocked religions worldwide.  During the Prasad break, there was much talk of sex and the swami, the swami has fakeered-off, and variations on the old Robert Maxwell joke (allegedly told by Prince Andrew).

One of the other topics considered by the committee was the rebranding of the Salton Sea as the un-dead sea as a contingency.  The successful rebranding of some Nashville based churches was evaluated with footfall, turnstile and GPS valorisation techniques.  Drive-ins are still popular and the bike-in option has been reserved for very young evangelicals with green pretensions. 

Obreption had given his keynote PowerPoint, 3D presentation on proselytisation : monetise, valorise, vapourise.  Obreption said this was equivalent of kinetic energy as expressed in the formula E = 1 / 2 mv2.  Having delivered the groundbreaking and thought-provoking lecture Lord Obreption decided to join the spouse programme for these events.  Given that this was held on International Women’s Day, Obreption thought that it might be useful to pick up some more tips from the real business end of the community, i.e. the spouses. 

In the spouse programme lounge, before the bus tour of a date farm (http://www.browndategarden.com/) and trip to the Salton Sea, Obreption engaged in the issues of spouses of great material wealth (culture).  There were present the following:

Mona, wife of The Revd. Dr Nathaniel Lott
Rachel, wife of Conservative  (Masorti) Rabbi Nathan Burns
Dorothy, friend of Anglo-Catholic Bishop Natty Dressor, Diocese of Sodom and Begorrah ( http://www.theanglocatholic.com/tag/bad-vestments/ )
Sri Dr Manoj, spouse of The Goddess Mayawati  (no relation to Hiawathi of the Americas, or Megawati of Indonesia, or James Watty of the Presbyterians and father of the steam engine!) http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_mayawati-our-living-goddess-bsp_1362056
Natanz, No. 1 wife of Sheikh Nizam, Sufi community leader in Burbank

Rachel:      Thank you all for your support in getting rid off all these designs by that wretch Galliano.  I trust it hasn’t affected your balance sheets or caused too much inconvenience. 
Mona:        Well, we never liked Galliano.  Doesn’t match our image, our choir is decked out in Ralph Lauren Pastel
Natanz:      Yes, this could have blown up out of proportion, but we’ve managed to restock the restaurant chain with some other designer soft furnishings. 
Dorothy:     I’m afraid Natty’s quite sad about parting with all his vestments, which had been handmade in Barking, England from those wretched designs by that unspeakable man.  It’s broken Natty’s heart, but the LGBT community have gathered round and are making a quilt from the remains.  They should be cutting it up about now for Ash Wednesday. 
Sri Manoj:  You don’t think we use that Galliano muck.  I’m looking for some Britisher to play a sinister part in a movie set in the Deccan and based on some Annie Proulx, EM Forster back drop .  I’ve been hearing a lot about muscular liberalism.  There’s an article here in the Telegraph about some men called Bryant, Delingpole and Clegg.  Can they act? 
Women all cry out together:
They can only play act.  They’re useless and rant.  We get enough of that already!
Rachel:      I’ve checked that we all use the same cosmetic surgeon for our face lifts.  At least he’s not making anti-Semitic noises, though he’s not one of us. 
Dorothy:    I don’t know if Natty is circumcised.  I’ll have to ask Richard, his boyfriend.  I don’t suppose it’s something you can undo.  Wouldn’t it be awful if one of those Harley Street clinics turned out to have anti-Semitic tendencies.  I wonder what Tara thinks about this. 

Obreption smiles, amused that the spouses are not at all concerned with sex scandals, money scandals, abuse scandals; and feels sorry that nice Mrs Doyle who makes a nice cup of tea is having to work in the PR office of the Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Boston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, San Antonio, Dublin ...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Bond Practice Run Contingency: Obreption

By our Security Staff

Over the weekend, it emerged that a secret diplomatic mission with an escort of 'special forces' tough guys got themselves ‘arrested’ by the eastern Libyan provisional authority.  According to diplomatic sources there was a misunderstanding, but there has been much laughing by the navy and a lot of schadenfreude about this ‘practice’ run in preparation for the real thing.  There were many non-comments and, being the weekend, there was a lack of full-time journalism, so it took a while to realise that the brave boys of the 'special forces' had wandered into a radio set in Birmingham based on that well-known soap opera The Archers. 

This story combined with a royal story about Prince Andrew, Duke of York, took the heat off Nick Clegg -  for now.    In parliament (House of Commons), William Hague (Foreign Secretary) made his statement and his shadow, Douglas Alexander, replied.  This can all be heard on BBC Parliament reports, though Douglas Alexander had written a piece for the Guardian on Sunday  March 6th.  

There were some interesting posts on this blog, though sadly mine was removed and I am now subject to pre-moderation.  They seem to be quite strict at the Guardian, and it may be that the middle class liberals found me a bit too waspish for a lunch time bit of Realpolitik.  The following has been self-censored, though I did treat it quite seriously – or so I thought.

“Douglas Alexander’s post has a tinge of Edward VIII in that ‘something must be done’.  In the case of the coalition government, they simply didn’t have a clue on what had to be done.  When the Bahrain uprising was at its peak, I mentioned that Bahrain was a Sunday school picnic compared with what could happen in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.  While most people comment on the oil, we tend to forget the cities, the water supplies, the power stations, the British expats (tax payers or not), the Commonwealth expats from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, let alone US and European expats.  If Libya proved to be a disaster for British foreign policy, I would like to know who is dreaming up contingency plans for the Saudi ‘event’.  The Shia minority are in the eastern province and after some trouble in the late 1980s with security in Jubail, they were severely restricted from access to high tech jobs.   I know it’s not Mr Alexander’s job to handle this now, but I am unconvinced concerning noises coming from Washington and London.  This sets the ‘fuel stabiliser’ in context – a gimmick from Osborne.  Alan Duncan, who does understand oil, probably has a better view of it:  £2 a litre and up!”

Actually, nothing was censored and I remain mystified as to what was offensive about my comment.  It was hardly a national security issue.  It merely highlighted what had been said concerning the 2005 London bombings: “a contingency plan is only as good as the last time it was exercised.”  

Any further study should refer to that instructive film used for training purposes only – i.e. for the camel – starring Phil Silvers and Kenneth Williams - Carry on Follow that Camel.  


Glasgow revisited

By our Scottish correspondent

Some up-market newspapers have opportunities for revisiting and reflecting on the issues at stake.  When I left Glasgow it was merely rioting students and Billy Bragg, though last week a real punch up took place on and off the pitch with many arrested, many sent off and – you guessed it – ‘why o why’ handwringing ...  

This post appeared yesterday on the Guardian website and though I had posted a comment on it, it got taken off along with the others.  The original is available for a fat fee, and I have cleaned it up somewhat.  It is extremely mild compared with the vitriol that poured out and was allowed by the moderators.  On this occasion I am imposing some censorship - indicated by italics. 

First, some contextualisation and some de-contextualisation for those not familiar with BBC Radio 4 programmes. 

BBC Radio 4 has a programme called Any Questions which goes out on Fridays.  It’s usually very middle-class and tends to include politicians, thinkers, journalists and other parts of the establishment.  The programme seldom travels very far north and only occasionally does it travel to Scotland.  The people selected to ask questions seldom have authentic Scottish accents and the bulk of the questions focus on non-Scottish issues.  When they do focus on Scotland, they’re usually about Scotland’s problems or the Loch Ness Monster or both. 

Start of comment

“I don’t know if anyone listened to Any Questions on Radio 4, which came from Balfron which isn’t too far from Bearsden and Milngavie.  The panel were all Scottish, although 2 (Charles Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton and Lyn Faulds Wood) would be  regarded as Uncle Donald and Aunt Lizzie who have moved to England and have been acculturated and acclimatised.   The other 2 were Nicola Sturgeon* (whose Scottish parliament constituency includes Ibrox, the Glasgow Rangers’ stadium) and Annabel Goldie** (Scottish Conservative). The Chairman Jonathon Dimbleby was totally out of it (more than usual!) when he raised the issue of Glasgow football and sectarianism.  There was a lot of handwringing, ‘why o why’, how it was bad for tourism – it was so bad, that one of my RSS feeds came up with the headline ‘sectarian violence breaks out ...’ (it was in Bahrain not Glasgow, but it could have been). 

There was a recent programme on Radio 4 concerning Glasgow’s mortality statistics.***  That was surely the real shame of Glasgow, where the chances of being knifed and dying of liver failure are way ahead of Liverpool and Manchester. 

Perhaps we only hear about a stupid football match played by very rich players, refereed by numpties and managed by characters from another era.  So much for the Enlightenment.  It’s just ‘cant Kant’ and unintelligible commentary."  
end of comment

* Nicola Sturgeon, MSP, is the Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

** Annabel Goldie, MSP, is the Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party in the Scottish Parliament.

*** A summary of this programme can be found on the BBC Radio 4 website.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

When will the nightmare end?

Lib Dems come in 6th in Barnsley Central. 

The Lib Dems produced an assortment of befuddled reasons why they were shat on by the good people of Barnsley Central.  The results of this by-election could have been foretold before Eric Ilsley decided to ask for ‘a room under the Crown.  This was Barnsley Central and given Mr Ilsley’s jail sentence, it would have taken a tsunami of psephologists to predict that the Lib Dem candidate would come 6th and that UKIP would come 2nd.

The results of the by-election took a long time to be announced and your intrepid blogger listened to it on BBC Radio5 Live.  The reporter on the scene (name forgotten) obviously had his ski mittens on as his abacus wasn’t swinging.  He had no recollection of numbers and the by-election upset the schedule for many insomniacs.  The drubbing of Clegg was a key focus (surely a focus is key?) for the attention of our great commentators.  As a psephologist in the real world of religious specialities, I can predict a lot more punditry, a lot more opinion, and all the old stalwarts resurrected from the graveyard, with a constitutional experts replacing the ones who have gone before. 

The reaction of most of the ‘broadsheet’ blogs has been to kick Clegg into pulp.  I don’t think I’ve sensed such vitriol towards a politician who one year ago was wowing the Great Unwashed.  If only he had become a Pentecostal minister, or even a bishop, he would have had them wowing in the aisles.  I find it really difficult to explain ‘the British government’ from this last election.  Clegg has had one unforeseen bit of good news for religious specialists – there has been a huge demand for anti-Clegg devices and I hear that the price of a Clegg effigy has soared in the unapproved Clegg Bank market ...

In the United Kingdom, there are a variety of elections taking place in May; the Welsh have just voted in a referendum on Welsh legislation.  There is great apathy about AV.  There have been a lot of candid exchanges in the blogosphere about AV and, without boasting, yours truly got several recommendations* (none of them self-inflicted!).  So far I have been flagged once and removed but that was a case of being too clever and mixing my metaphors.  Given that the turnouts in the Welsh referendum and the Barnsley Central by election were below 40%, one has only to ask if anyone is serious about AV.  The only people who will benefit will be the politicians, lobbyists and a bunch of phony forecasters.  Forecasting is for religious specialists.  We’ve seen it coming before.  We’ve predicted many births and rebirths and have created many ceremonies for ‘significant events.’  Earlier in the week, I heard an insolvency practitioner refer to insolvency events (this terminology floored the BBC Radio 5 journalist at the time).  The latest wheeze is multi-channelling.  I can feel Caitlan Matthews crooning and keening through the fractal plane …

For logistical reasons our article on Calvinism, Freemasonry in Saudi Arabia has been banned by order of the Saudi government.  In that case, we now have 4 contenders to have the symbol ‘V’ - currently held by Vanadium - redesignated.  Bids will close soon, but the psephologists predict a close competition with 4 variables, including Vedanta, Vatican, Vicariousness and Vanity. 
To our American viewers, we admit there were a few errors in our post from Nashville.  This was due to some instability on the internet and the article going on a bit.  Obviously Gordon was too keen, putting too many labels and even Google gave up.  Still it appears that Mike Huckabee, according to Time, has serious geographical awareness issues and should make a fine team if he and Nick Clegg ever get to discuss joint US-European foreign policy. 
If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau revolution in Kenya is very different from ours.”
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, stating incorrectly in a radio interview that President Obama grew up in Kenya; he later issued a statement saying he “misspoke” and “meant to say Indonesia,” where the Hawaii-born Obama spent some childhood years.  (source Time, March 14,2011)
When the voting system is changed (if), this will only encourage LibDems telling everyone that 'this seat is a tight marginal and we have the edge'. A friend of mine suffered LibDem pester and it turned out they came in a very poor 3rd after a boundary change. The British opinion polls can barely handle a choice of 3 parties. That's why America only has 2 parties. They rough up the candidates in the primaries. I've yet to hear any sense from Strathclyde's psephologist on the 4 variables in Wales or Scotland for the devolved elections.

During the last Scottish parliament election, there were many votes, many spoilt papers and a commentator on the BBC said 'surely 150,000 people in Scotland can't be that thick.' It was the commentator who was thick, as there were at least 3 votes held at the same time, but who counts these days...