Our Peterloo

This has been a while in the brewer so bear with me while I lay this out.

We are living in times of bizarre through-the-looking-glass twists, where everything means its opposite. Where right is left and left is right, up is down, good is bad.

Where huge financial behemoths are allowed to grab countries and turn them upside down and shake them till their pennies drop.

The political language of left and right has no meaning any more as all of our parties are simply a distraction, while backroom brokers carve up our world and lives, about which we have no say.

Which brings me to The Guardian. It has a long history – set up in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre – a pro democracy, anti poverty rally that the establishment decided to silence with sabre wielding cavalry charges.

And here we are almost 200 years later facing encroachment of our democratic rights and facing indentured slavery while those that should be doing their utmost to protect our freedoms are standing idly by, and while the police are used to shield those that want our freedoms.

So here’s the thing – why is it the most incisive commentaries come not from the Guardian journalists and contributors but from those commenting on the omissions from the articles they write? Why is it politicians are given a soft ride at a time when we should be using any pressure we can to force them to face the issues for us, in a way that will benefit us, and not the self-interest groups that “donate” to them?

At what point does an article stop being an article and start being a commercial presentation?

At what point does a journalist stop being a journalist and simply become an astroturfer for his or her backer?

How many of the contrarians posting inflammatory comments are on the Guardian payroll?

Unfortunately the moderation policy doesn’t allow these issues to be discussed openly in CiF – the punishments varying from deletions through to total bans.

Is this the same Guardian? Perhaps it has just forgotten how far it has fallen.
Feel free to copy one of the graphics above and use it as your CiF avatar – it will cost you nothing, yet it is doing something – it is reminding the journalists to do their job.

How to use these

– right click on the image of your choice and save it to your computer
– got to your CiF profile click Edit Avatar (under your existing one)
– click on the browse button and in the area marked “Upload an avatar”
and navigate to the file you downloaded, select it and click “upload”

and that’s it – it won’t show up immediately but just be patient.
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Grabbism: more pearls.

Grabbism: rebranding Freidman (click to visit/navigate the tree)

So you know the deal during a debate you made some posts which you think you’d like to refer back to on CiF. What this normally means for me, is logging into CiF clicking on my profile, then the link to display all my comments and scrolling about. Depending on the amount of posts I’ve made in the interim, I may even have to use the search function to find the phrase I’m intending to repost or link to, while opening separate browser windows for any source docs I may have used.

What you can see above is a screen grab of a sub-tree, where I’ve bookmarked each post, dragged them into chronological order and set their names to key phrases contained within, and I’ve also included some background docs. You can click on the image above if you want to navigate the tree in real time.


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Mapping the web – pearltrees

As I’m a visual kind of person, I like visual methods of mapping abstract information.  Which is pearltrees – part blog, part social media, part flow chart.

It is made up of “nodes” (the pearls). Each node is fully customisable – descritpions, notes,  custom icons, which are then anchored on a root node (the base of the tree).It sounds more complicated than it actually is, here is me prepping articles about the Rothschilds’ influence on UK politics for example:

My pearltree showing my bookmarks for The Rothschilds influence on UK politics

Mousing over a node will open up a mini view of the page linked to

What's that "Bloody Milton" thingie....? (click to visit/navigate)

Anyone can browse a pearltree, go on have a play – http://pearltrees.com/sirdigbycc – however an account is needed to actually make one.

It’s fully web 2.0, with feeds for twitter, facebook et al, and you can also check for similar content in other users pearl trees, meaning you will often find things that interest you that you may not have normally come across. You can freely copy pearls from other trees, likewise they from yours and you can set up group curated perl trees.

Used in conjunction with browser add-ons (see below) it’s painless, and most importantly your trees are fully exportable. In other words it’s easy to back up and even more essential easy to take your shit and leave if you fall out.

The Nitty Gritty

The following browsers have add ons available for total integration:

google chrome, firefox.

While for IE. Safari or Opera – there’s a  bookmarklet.


Still puzzled?

Pearltree video presentation here:


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It has been pointed out to me that aubergines were badly misrepresented by the Camergine – being delicious it’s not their fault their waxy complexion is the perfection Cameron’s skin regime aspires to. I have to say I actually like aubergines, I have had many a memorable evening with some of them, so please don’t label me as vegetabalist.

However casting about for an alternative did leave me with a puzzle as to what could be shiny whilst getting closer to the Nasty side of Cameron?

A-a-a-a-a-nd things just sort of came together: white van man + Cameron

Glad to say I finally figured out to to ears that look like ears 😀

More Camergine sculpting

Had another stab at Blender sculpt. I certainly felt more in control than I did yesterday but still managed to make his ears look like melted curlywurlies.

Overall I’m happier with the techniques but I feel I lost sight of the bigger picture as it were, and ended up with a middle aged Beavis.

The Camergine

During a discussion about what it was that makes David Cameron’s face so smooth which starts around about here, Zapthecrap opportuned that it was actually because Cameron was an aubergine.

“Heh-heh” I thought, and ran off to do something spiffy on that theme. I can’t say I’m terribly proud of what I ended up with :

The Camergine 1.0

At this point I began to think about exactly how you could achieve something better, and always willing to try my hand at new things came up with this, which all things considered (ie I had to learn how to draw caricatures) didn’t come out too bad:

The Camergine 2.0

Then I remembered that trusty old Blender had a sculpt feature. It took a bit of getting used to but here’s what I ended up with, entirely hand sculpted (and if you look closely you’ll see the odd digital thumb print):

The Camergine 3.0?

The Camergine 3.0?

He looks a bit like someone’s worried uncle, but I enjoyed the experience enough to try it again.

Missing presumed dead.

the Disappeared

Ahh the final day of the Lib Dem conference and what an odd day it was.

It started fairly normally, a post first thing on the nearest liberal themed blog in CiF highlighting the questions about finances. Then I got this from Haventaclu

Hey Digby – I got first post on the Conference rolling blog – and now it’s been moderated!!

Well, whaddya know!!!

Well now that’s just unfriendly.

Wondering if  perhaps the repetition of the message had finally got to the mods, I started posting in pieces of the story which answered the questions about the untoward relationship between the Lib Dems and C & C Alpha group.

I did eventually suffer a take down -the above post  – but  I’ve no idea why. What was it the moderator found objectionable in comparison to the previous posts, I’ll let you be the judge :

DigbyChickenCeasar   21 September 2011 1:19PM

the Independant Monday, 19 September 2005

When his colleague David Laws MP, in an article in the now notorious Orange Book broached the question of reforming the NHS, he was almost lynched by his colleagues. But Nick Clegg isn’t content to hide behind the safe prosaic rhetoric that surrounds most health service debates. He rejects old platitudes and, in a refreshingly honest and outspoken intervention, declares bluntly the NHS should be “broken up”.


Given that this is from 2005, when did it become LibDem policy?

DigbyChickenCeasar 21 September 2011 2:20PM

Donor to Lib Dems is client of Lord Clement-Jones‘s lobbying firm

The Times May 6, 2008
Lord Clement-Jones, the Lib Dems’ chief fundraiser since 2005, has come under scrutiny because he helped to get a peerage for a director who sits on the sister companies of Alpha Healthcare, the Lib Dems’ donor.

The discovery of the lobbying link comes as an all-party committee of MPs is to meet on Thursday to consider whether more light should be shed on politicians who are also lobbyists.

I’m sure it’s all above board.

DigbyChickenCeasar 21 September 2011 2:36PM

Alpha plans healthcare arm float.(Business)

Article from: The Mail on Sunday (London, England) | May 9, 2010 | Copyright


C&C ALPHA Group, a major donor to the Liberal Democrats, is preparing a listing for its healthcare division for hundreds of millions of pounds.

The privately owned investment company has begun a beauty parade of advisers, which include HSBC and Citigroup, to float C&C Alpha Healthcare this year.

Executive director Bhanu Choudhrie said an investment bank would be chosen in the next two weeks.

The division includes Alpha Hospitals, providing psychiatric care services with three hospitals and more than 300 beds in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Surrey, as well as Alpha Care Homes, with 13 homes and 640 beds in the Midlands and …

This is the same Alpha Health I presume.

(next was the missing post:)

the Disappeared

DigbyChickenCeasar21 September 2011 3:13PM

so –

given the background which I’ve highlighted so far in this thread,

and given that we re talking about a party that is in government,

and given they must have, in the course of the jobs, at least come across the names and the situations I’ve mentioned here

and given at least 1 of the questions I asked was passed to them on day 3
can I ask the guardian journalists why have they appear to be unwilling to express an opinion about this issue which I have been asking about now for 5 days?

And then came this post from Gordi:


21 September 2011 4:38PM

3.32pm: Clegg’s speech has started. Tom Clark tweets:

“we’re in nobody’s pocket” earns by far best cheer so far – a good line

Digbychickenceasar asked:
What do you think about C & C Alpha Group, who own Alpha Hospitals, donating 200,000 pounds to the LibDems in Q2 of 2011, coming as it did in the run up to debating NHS reforms?

Digbychickenceasar you have your answer.

The LibDems are in nobody’s pockets. That’s very reassuring to know, particularly coming from Nick Clegg, a man always consistent and truthful in with what he says. Digbychickenceasar you have your answer, the LibDems are in nobody’s pockets, Nick Clegg says so, it must be true…

DigbyChickenCeasar21 21 September 2011 5:08PM


wait – you’re saying Nick Clegg answered my question?

JessicaReed can you ask the journalists if in fact Nick Clegg was replying to the question I and other posters have been asking on the conference threads?

Recommended (3)

Now you may call me delusional, or even slightly derranged, but (cue “Land of Hope and Glory” playing gently in the background) I like to think, that in some small way, that “we’re in nobody’s pocket” is directed at me and all the others like Haventaclue and Gordi, who refused to be silent and stood up to be counted – CiFers I salute you!

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