Don’t make me keep saying this

Another of those polls that make you worry about the quality of some teachers and wonder what all the endless inspections they have to undergo are supposed to have achieved. A MORI poll found that

More than a quarter of science teachers in state schools believe that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science lessons, according to a national poll of primary and secondary teachers. (From James Randerson in the Guardian)

This is pretty much what the Teachers TV poll suggested in November. Maybe it’s the same poll and the Guardian’s confusing breaking news with news that Randerson already wrote about months ago. I can only hope so.

Steve Jones and Dawkins responded, using phrases like “very depressing” and ” a national disgrace.” Quite.

Lord Palmerston vs Pitt the Elder

The Tories have been playing a game that looks a lot like the bar room argument from an old Simpsons episode.

At Moe’s Tavern…

Barney: And I say, England’s greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!
Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!!
Barney: Lord Palmerston!!!
Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!!!! [pokes Barney]
Barney: Okay, you asked for it, bud! [punches him out]
Moe: Yeah, that’s showing him, Barney! [scoffing] Pitt the Elder…
Barney: Lord Palmerston!!!! [punches Moe] (from

Except in the Tories’ case, it’s a survey on “greatest Tory ever” and the Conservative Party show less understanding of political reality than Barney and Moe.

(I won’t make any jokes like “the only good Tory is..” Some, eg David Davies, have even been known to do the right thing on occasion.)

Ironically, given the present global meltdown of the financial system, they chose Mrs Thatcher over alternative Tory leaders such as Churchill and Disraeli. Hmm. (Lord Palmerston was both a Tory (Conservative) and a Whig (Liberal) according to wikipedia, so maybe he doesn’t count. Pitt the Elder was a Whig so he definitely wouldn’t count anyway.)

You can’t just blame Margaret Thatcher – you can blame the idiots who fawned on her and voted for her, for a start. Mainly, you can blame the global tide of neo-liberal economic policies.

But it was her mission to dismantle most of what remained of the UK manufacturing sector, giving people the bizarre ideas that

  • as long as the rich are getting ever richer, the economy must be sound
  • messing about with money is a reliable basis on which to base a national economy
  • rising property prices are somehow putting wealth into the economy as a whole rather than making a few property speculators wealthy
  • private companies are so much more efficient than nationalised companies that the taxpayer will magically save money by letting private companies profit from providing public services
  • and plenty more than doesn’t stand the test of a moment’s consideration, if you factor in the awareness that markets fluctuate
  • but makes lots of sense if your backers are going to profit from your “reforms”

(Amazingly, the nuLab part of the Labour Party is also mesmerised by this tosh.)

It’s quite funny that the Tories are choosing the moment at which the mad vapour-industries of finance are self-destructing to align themselves with the personification of the stupidity that allowed these industries free rein. Not as funny as the Simpsons, admittedly. Moe and Barney could probably form a more effective government.

Regime change

The world is pretty unanimous about the need for regime change in a rogue state, long known to carry out torture of detainees and to have WMD that can be despatched at a mere 3 minutes notice.

Democrat Mr Obama was favoured by a four-to-one margin across the 22,500 people polled in 22 countries (from the BBC)

However, another poll, taken from within the rogue state itself, suggests that many women have been subject to the traditional tribal brainectomy, according to the Independent.

Women voters flock to McCain despite new Palin disclosures
By David Usborne in New York
John McCain has benefited in the polls since announcing his running mate was Sarah Palin, the ‘hockey mom’ Alaskan Governor
Democrats may not want to believe it but there is fresh evidence that the addition of Sarah Palin, the “hockey mom” Governor of Alaska, to John McCain’s ticket is winning him women voters in droves.

Well, I’m not even a Yank and certainly don’t want to believe it. The whole article could have penned by Stereotype Central. Usborne says that

…enormous numbers of women who previously favoured Barack Obama have had their heads turned since the introduction of Mrs Palin, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll.

Had their heads turned….. (!!!!) So American women apparently thought that nice Mr Obama was so charming but now they’re sticking up for the gals and want to see a hardworking mom win.

(Cue Americanism.) Gimme a break. Why didn’t Hillary Clinton get chosen then, if femaleness is all it takes to engage women voters?

Approximately half of the population is male. Are the guys now supposed to be rooting for Obama solely because he can’t bear his own offspring?

The single, low-income women who turned out for Mrs Clinton – some 18 million – are increasingly balanced by Republican women, ecstatic about Mrs Palin’s deeply conservative religious views.

Excuse me if I misunderstand US politics even more than usual, but doesn’t “Republican women” mean “women who identify with the Republican party?” Wouldn’t that make them McCain voters anyway, even if he had indeed picked a farmyard animal wearing Max Factor lipstick as a running mate?

As the BBC reported, the rest of the world is unsurprisingly not “ecstatic” about “deeply conservative religious views.”

USA, we respect your exotic tribal culture and your quaint religious beliefs and all that, but please don’t let them spill out on the rest of us.


On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, Keith Vaz cited a poll that showed that the 42 day detention madness was supported by 65% of the public. This poll was carried out for the Daily Telegraph However, this could hardly be seen as “good news” for the government, as it also showed only 26% support for Labour.

(Temporarily assuming, for the sake of argument, that a Telegraph poll is somehow likely to represent the truth…) surely, the vast majority of these pro-42 day people are planning to vote for the Tories. Are these Tory votes going to change to Labour over 42-day detention?

Obviously not, or they wouldn’t be saying they will vote Tory, at exactly the same time that they are saying that 42-detention is a great idea, would they?

Whereas, the main threat to Labour must surely be the fact that a fair part of its traditional voter base is decidedly unimpressed by the ongoing extension of illiberal measures to every area of life. I suspect that there are many Labour voters who can bring themselves to vote for the Liberal Democrats, if the LibDems make a principled stand on the issues of Liberalism and Democracy (that their party’s name is supposed to represent.) And there are many more Labour voters who will just refuse to vote …..

Throwing away Labour’s core supporters, with genius actions like compulsory ID, 10p extra tax on the poorest – with its fumbled half-recovery – is getting to be a Labour party habit. (*heavy sarcasm* Turning away from the unions as a funding source, in favour of secret business loans, was such a clever idea. It’s not as if businesses demand anything in return. )

Brown is nowhere near as unpleasant as Blair – he hasn’t invaded anywhere yet, for a start. He could make some efforts to get back the traditional voters by stopping going for the Daily Mail constituency. Read my lips: The imaginary army of disgruntled “ex-pat” right-wing nutters are never going to vote for you, fool.

Any Labour MPs that want to rebel against the vote, should remember that, although senior ministers can make their Parliamentary careers seem (temporarily) doomed if they don’t support it their traditional voters are the ones who can put them on the dole. Be selfish on this, MPS. Save yourselves, not Jacqui Smith’s face.

By the way, Andrew Marr made some excellent points in challenging the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. (MI5 don’t particularly want it; the complexity of a threat is not the same as the seriousness of a threat; the 42 day limit seems to have been chosen just because it’s the most they can get away with.)
The BBC even blogged its own show, which seems a mite self-congratulatory.