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Thursday, August 17, 2006 

Is this a joke?

Some days, and today is just one of legions, you have to wonder whether the news is being made up by a better satire writer than the likes of Inigo Wilson. (I'll come to him later.)

The BBC tonight is going into the collective orgasm of managing to get something approaching a "scoop". Officers searching woods in High Wycombe have apparently found a suitcase, "containing items which could be used to construct a bomb". A police source mutters sweet nothings into the ear of a BBC journalist, informing them "the case contained everything you would need to make an improvised device". The police themselves are refusing to comment further, only saying a "suitcase" has been found.

Assuming the police source is telling the truth, this would be the first major find in a week of searching, apart from the "firearms" apparently found, and the "martyrdom video" which may or may not have led to the police acting, according to which reports you believe. Let's also assume that the suitcase contains explosive materials which the politicians, media and police have been telling us were going to be mixed in mid-air. It might then be worth reading Thomas C Greene, who thoroughly debunks the idea that someone would be able to create TATP aboard a flight without either be detected, or without the mixture blowing up in the evil one's face. Even if the terrorist managed to against all the odds get a decent mixture of TATP, it seems unlikely that it would be able to bring a plane down, as Ramzi Yousef comprehensively failed to do in his test run. Craig Murray has had similar thoughts to Greene.

Not that this stops the media from reporting ever more dubious links between those arrested and the higher ranks of the al-Qaida leadership. "Staff and agencies" on the Grauniad website are reporting that Ayman al-Zawahiri, who certainly is a dangerous man, had probably cleared the plot. Where did this come from? From the interrogation of suspects, who it seems unlikely have yet to have lawyers made available to them. It also seems increasingly obvious that the suspects are being tortured, and are agreeing with any old crap which the men with cattle prods are putting into their heads. This doesn't warrant a mention, because it may just render the story to being the nonsense it almost undoubtedly is.

Away from the shock and awe of fear, today's Independent reported that John Prescott had called the Bush administration "crap." A few hours later, and Prescott denied doing so. That the man denies what's probably the most intelligent thing to leave his lips in months, if not years, pretty much sums up the current irony which is underpinning everything.

The annual outcry that exams are getting easier is also here once again. This year 24.1% achieved maximum A grades, while 96.6% passed. That somehow the press cannot imagine that either students are being better drilled and taught to the exam, which is most likely the reason, or that those growing up now are genuinely more intelligent, despite all the evidence which modern culture throws up to suggest the opposite, seems beyond them. (It's also down to how those who didn't want to learn and who were disruptive leave at 16 and leave those who want to get on with their studies in peace.) Exams are obviously getting easier! The claims that students are insulted and offended by this happening every year are also wide of the mark - they're more interested in getting drunk on the day of results, or sorting out clearing if they have to, than worrying about what the increasingly reactionary old fogies think. Still, at least we can look forward to tomorrow's Mail, Express and Telegraph having lots of photos of fruity 18-year-old girls leaping for joy and exposing their midriffs on discovering their results.

And so we come to poor old Inigo Wilson, the man suspended from his job as the err, "community affairs" manager for Orange. Let's start by examining what his likes, dislikes, turn ons and turn offs are:

Inigo Wilson manages community affairs for a large telecoms company. He lives with his wife and young daughter in Fulham. His favourite blogs are ‘the Belmont club’ and ConservativeHome. He is a regular reader of Commentary, National Review and The Spectator.

In other words, he's a regular bundle of laughs, as his article proves. Another question I'd like to have asked is whether he prefers pink or brown, which may challenge him judging by his obvious distaste for both the Palestinians and Muslims, even when it comes to sex acts.

Here's a small sample of his hilarious attacks on lefty jargon:

Critique - media, academia: same as 'rebuttal'. When a Lefty alleges that someone's writing is 'riddled with factual inaccuracies' then mysteriously fails to identify any.

Disproportionate - foreign affairs: Describes any act by USA or Israel.

Egalitarian - “if I can’t have one, then neither can you”. Shared misery much better than unevenly scattered joy.

Fascism/Nazism - apparently the 'opposite' of Socialism - despite sharing party members, ideology and - in National Socialism - the name.

Palestinians - archetype 'victims' no matter how many teenagers they murder in bars and fast food outlets. Never responsible for anything they do – or done in their name - because of 'root causes' or ‘legitimate grievances’.

And so it goes on, very boringly, for quite a while. The thing is that Wilson does have something of a point: New Labour has introduced a whole dictionary worth of jargon which strangles the English language and stops it from being something that can be endlessly beautiful and inventive (Text/internet slang perform much the same function). Private Eye and parliamentary sketch writers have focused on this for a long time, and they've done it while actually being funny and not stupidly right-wing. Any idiot that genuinely thinks socialism shares the same members and ideology as National Socialism wouldn't pass GCSE History, let alone A Level, dumbed down exams or not.

Normally Wilson would only have attracted his fawning right-wing chums, as his article did to start with. Then those on the boards of the MPAC spotted it, and decided to complain to Orange. Cue the "community affairs" manager probably getting the sack. It's rather sad that those over at the MPAC thought it better to complain than tackling Wilson's easy to debunk and stupidly hostile article, but internet communities often go for low blows and vigilante action than working things out. Even so, there's no justification for Wilson being suspended. There's nothing in the post which suggests he's unsuitable for his job, just that's he a London-based right-wing snob, and there's just as many of those as there are left-wing snobs. As such, I thoroughly agree with Chicken Yogurt, as this shows just what type of Tory still dwells below the Cameron retint. It also highlights the major disagreement at the Tory grassroots over the position of Cameron and Hague in calling the Israeli military action in Lebanon "disproportionate".

Then there's the biggest joke of the day. Graham Norton, possibly the least funny and least talented man to ever possess a job on the television, is having his contract renewed by the BBC, who seem to be gluttons for punishment in their attitude to light entertainment. More reality shows! More people getting humiliated! More money for these idiots to keep coming up with these crap shows!

Nurse! The screens!

Update: Pickled Politics suggests that Inigo Wilson may have been suspended over other aspects of his article, namely the "Consultation" part:

Counsultation - a formal system for ignoring public views while patronising them at the same time. London’s Congestion Charge for instance.

Wilson's job is.... to consult local communities on the positioning of mobile phone masts. Doh!

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