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Saturday, November 07, 2009 

Weekend links.

No real theme this weekend. Condolences though to the family of Chris Harman, who died suddenly last night. Also worth mourning the demise of Sadie's Tavern (formerly the British Bullshit Foundation), all the more so for the reasoning which I sadly agree with. Anyway, Paul Linford thinks Christopher Kelly's review of parliamentary expenses has gone too far, Neil Robertson defends Obama against the New Statesman, Tom Freeman notes the Times' sudden discovery that using the word autism in a disparaging way can be considered offensive, the Heresiarch sees the contradiction in Gordon Brown's case for staying in Afghanistan, while BenSix has discovered that Liam Fox is next week inviting that well-known humanitarian Henry Kissinger to this country to give him the "Margaret Thatcher Medal of Freedom". That'll be our next overlords welcoming with open arms a war criminal. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Finally, Claude lambasts the inexorable rise of poppy fascism.

In the papers, or at least their sites, Matthew Parris and Paul Flynn argue for the end of the Afghan war, while John Hutton makes the case for the other side. Janice Turner thinks we should turn our ire on the things that matter, Howard Jacobson fights the good fight against trash culture, Andrew Grice notes David Cameron abandoning his European promises, Marina Hyde anticipates the Simon Mann saga, Seumas Milne meets Noam Chomksy while article of the weekend is the Graun's own attack on the rise of poppy fascism. About fucking time.

As for worst tabloid article of the weekend, we have the usual contender from Amanda Platell, once again dealt with by Tabloid Watch, an abortion from the usually decent Peter Oborne on how Gordon Brown is running "a scorched earth campaign", but the winner is this utter pile of cock masquerading as a Sun leader comment:

WHEN the Prime Minister told a radio audience: "I don't think they're very good", we could be forgiven for thinking he was talking about his Cabinet.

But no. He was trying to show how with-it he is by passing a verdict on the X Factor twins John and Edward.

You might reckon he would have better things to talk about with his young listeners in Manchester. Like the war in Afghanistan.

Because he obviously didn't talk about that. He didn't have to work with the questions he was given. The Sun attacking a politician for having his mind on trivia is pretty much about as hypocritical as you can get. That would be bad enough if the paper then didn't use this as an argument:

Yet Google "Gordon Brown and Michael Jackson" and you get 11,400,000 results.

Google "Gordon Brown and Afghanistan" and you get less than a third of that - 3,100,000.

This couldn't possibly be because the internet is more interested in Michael Jackson and the doubtless millions of news stories about him than good old Gordie and Afghanistan, could it? No, it must be Gordon Brown's fault. Jesus wept.

It is the fate of our heroes fighting a cruel and bitter war in that faraway land that should be occupying his every waking moment right now.

Especially as we prepare to honour our forces in tomorrow's Remembrance Sunday ceremonies.

In a year when the death toll of our soldiers will be the highest since the Falklands War we will wear our poppies with extra pride.

As Prime Minister, Gordon Brown should be leading the way.

Quite right. Tomorrow he should be at the cenotaph in sackcloth and ashes, with the biggest, reddest poppy anyone has ever seen. That'll make all the difference.

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That Google statistic becomes even more worthless if you remove the 'and'. "Gordon Brown Michael Jackson" (minus quotation marks) returns 6,680,000 results whereas "Gordon Brown Afghanistan" returns 6,000,000. When did Google results become a reliable metric for anything?

In fact it's a lie. If you google "Gordon Brown and Michael Jackson" as the Sun says to do, you get (for the phrase) 6 hits, one of which is the Sun, and the others are a list of names where Michael Jackson's is the last.

If you google "Gordon Brown and Afghanistan" you get 246,000 hits.

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