Monthly Archives: January 2010

Amazon can be amazing

An unusual outburst from dour old Malcolm: a paeon of praise for Amazon’s mail-order.

Yesterday morning, Wednesday, Malcolm placed an order for two novels with Amazon.

Amazon acknowledged at 8:34 AM.

Yesterday evening came the confirmation that the order had been despatched.

Soon after 3:00 PM today, Thursday, Malcolm received the two books.

For the record there was no express delivery: the order came free postage.


[The two books, which may deserve further comment from the ol’ fella, are:


Yeah: he’s been slow off the mark with the latter.]

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Filed under Literature, reading

Another story that provokes “Extraordinary!”

09:34 am: Malcolm reads news-story:

LATEST: London Mayor Boris Johnson standing down as head of Metropolitan Police Authority

Malcolm mutters: “Extraordinary!”

09:44 am: Malcolm attends to small task, brain still rotating on why and how: incompetence? inappropriateness? inadequacy? incompatibility? Did he go or was he pushed?

Still, “Extraordinary!”

09:54 am: Curiosity overcomes application. Malcolm goes and looks it up again. Fuller story now on line:

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he is stepping down as the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA).

It is believed he made the decision because he was finding it difficult to devote enough time to the job.
So it’s the old “can’t hack it” line. But, as he said himself, BoJo is not a “details man”.
Even so, it’s another in the long line of broken pledges:
When he was elected, Mr Johnson said he would personally take charge of the police to tackle crime in the capital.
That, in effect, amounted to three things:
  • claiming that the already-falling crime statistics, a legacy from his predecessor, were somehow the result of his intervention;
  • the odd appearance in a hi-viz jerkin;
  • kiboshing Commissioner Sir Ian Blair in an “extraordinary” piece of political revenge.
And now … no more.

The current MPA vice chairman Kit Malthouse will replace him.
Ah, the “extraordinary” all-purpose, all-singing, omnipresent Malthouse. Is there anything the man cannot step in to do? Are there any other levers of power he cannot assume for himself?

“Tom”, over at, has long had Malthouse’s number, itemising
Deputy Mayor ‘Weapon Cat’ Malthouse’s mental ticks (banning prostitute cards, Thames Estuary airport, tunnels under Park Lane, Dangerous Dogs – it’s a litany of moribund Tory big ideas really) …
This was prompted by Malthouse proposing licensed gunmen liquidating offensive pooches. Then “Tom” nailed the real feral beast:
Malthouse appears to be essentially a top-down authoritarian, where society is best structured with solid, reasonable True Blue chaps (K. Malthouse) at the top telling everyone what they can and can’t do.  Boris, of course, recoils instinctively from that in favour of a freewheeling English anarchy held together with the milk of human kindness and corporate sponsorship …
Welcome to London, and its new-style policing, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria style.


It seems as if BoJo has also checked out of the London Waste and Recycling Board chair.
So let’s have no snappy adjacencies of “time”, “waste” and “Johnson”.

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Conservative Party policy., human waste, London

More devious dubious Cameroonie manoevres in the dark

Another day, another dollar. Still no signs of comprehension from the massed “intellect” of Tory blog-artists.

Overnight, the story gets more complex, thanks to Henry McDonald in the Irish edition of today’s Observer. For some inscrutable reason, it seems this dynamite had to be kept away from the rest of the UK readership.

What we know for certain is that the Tories, the UUP and the DUP inner circle met up at Hatfield House a week back. Already the story enters the realms of surreality: the modern progressive Tory Party doesn’t revert to Edwardian skullduggery in the country house of the Lords Salisbury (hereditary owners of the Tory Party) ? But it did.

Subsequently two totally opposing narratives have emerged:

One is that Owen Paterson, the Tory Shadow for Northern Ireland,  was doing the decent thing, elbowing aside Secretary of State Woodward, and oiling the squealing wheels of Unionist Policing and Justice “policy”. Therein lies another preconception: that Peter Robinson and the DUP leadership want such movement. For reasons nobody has yet explained, all this ultra-altruism needed to be kept from public scrutiny.

The other is that the Hatfield House Cabal was in part or in whole a stitch-up of NI constituencies to benefit the London Tory machine. For very obvious reasons this had to kept away from the public, and indeed most of the UUP and DUP. When this was realised by the poor bloody infantry back in Northern Ireland, three would-be Tory candidates pulled the plug on their potential nominations. What adds spice to the pot is the three candidates were:

  • Peter McCann, a BBC producer for Top Gear, who must on any grounds qualify as one of Cameron’s A-listers, but who happens also to be a West Belfast Roman Catholic;
  • Sheila Davidson, a high-profile businesswoman, another “star” candidate, who happens also to be a Roman Catholic;


  • Deirdre Nelson, a Ballymena councillor who defected from the DUP to the Tories last summer.

On the surface, three highly eligible and photogenic potential candidates. Yet, two RCs and two women: not qualities which command respect from your average DUP stalwart.

So we are left wondering: did they jump precipitately, or were they sensing that the wind had changed and they were no longer welcome?

All of which is part, but only one part of a far greater story:

Why are the Tories and their London megaphones ignoring the dark depths of this story?

As if we couldn’t guess.


Filed under bigotry, blogging, Conservative Party policy., DUP, Northern Ireland, Northern Irish politics, prejudice, Tories.

Silence is golden …

A sixth of your Party’s candidates (sorry: “nominees”) stand down because they don’t trust the leadership.

Surely a story?

Except that these are Tories (no longer) standing in Northern Ireland: in East and South Belfast and the Lagan Valley constituencies. At least one of those was a Tory (sorry :”UCUNF”) possible, another an outside chance.

Now, that story has been out and running for some time.

So far:

Guido Fawkes: nothing;
ConHome: nothing;
Iain Dale: nothing.

So no sign of bias there, then.

As a previous Tory leader would have put it:

a quarrel in a far away country by people of which we know little


Twelve hours on, and no change. What about Dale’s “bigger scoops than Ben and Jerry’s?” Or the famed “blog of plots, rumours and conspiracies”?

And, equally, nothing on Politicshome.

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Filed under ConHome, Conservative Party policy., Iain Dale, Northern Irish politics, Paul Staines, Tories.

Definitely one for the Home Service

Today Malcolm found himself doing the extraordinary: contacting the Conservative soft-soap machine.

His message went like this:

1. I notice that you do not have a separate policy topic on “education”. What you do have is a section on “schools”. The two are not synonymous.

Under which topic should the following query be submitted? —

What do you plan to do about the educational needs of the 1 in 100 children with autism, many of whom need intensive specialist teaching from age 2?

2. Equally, you conflate “Universities and skills”, implicitly implying that higher education is largely vocational. Why?

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Filed under Conservative family values, Conservative Party policy., David Cameron, education

Plan B: back to Blogger!

Malcolm Redfellow’s World Service

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Filed under Uncategorized