Category Archives: Unanswerable Questions

Lord Arsonist of Invergowrie

Setting a fire in an inhabited building is a crime of violence.

Mike Watson, Lord Watson of InvergowrieAt the Scottish Politician of the Year awards ceremony at the Prestonfield House Hotel in November 2004, Mike Watson got very drunk. He’d been drunk at the dinner, he got even more drunk at the VIP party after the dinner, and as the hotel staff were clearing up, he was “asking forcefully for more wine” and they gave him an open bottle, evidently hoping he’d go away.
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Filed under Justice, Politics, Unanswerable Questions

Pig Cam

You can imagine the Daily Express editor’s thoughts as he tasked Tom Parfit with writing this story.

David Cameron, pig semen“Wait: aren’t we smearing that Corbyn chap? But… THIS IS TOO GOOD. It may not be true… but it’s TOO GOOD NOT TO PRINT. Especially as we have so many photos of David Cameron cuddling pigs! SO MANY. Of David Cameron. CUDDLING PIGS.”

(Helpful subordinate: “Also there was that story a couple of years ago about Cameron getting pig semen from China!” – Daily Express editor “No, that was no relation.”)

The story is that during an “initiation ritual” for the Piers Gaveston Society (which David Cameron joined while he was reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Brasenose College, Oxford, between 1985 and 1988) the to-be-Prime Minister put a “private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a pig.

The pig would have been dead and decapitated at the time, of course.
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Filed under George Orwell, Unanswerable Questions

Chutzpah: Julian Assange

It surely cannot be the case that Assange can rely on his own refusal to go to Sweden to escape answering the allegations. However, this does seem to be the case.

It would seem that, in the circumstances, any charge will require an investigation to close; and, in turn, for an investigation to close requires there to be an interview with the suspect. David Allen Green, lawyer & legal blogger

Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as

“gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts’, presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to”.

Famously, Rosten defines the term chutzpah as

“that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan”.

Julian AssangeThe Oxford English Dictionary will need to add a new definition to chutzpah: Julian Assange.

In Swedish legal procedure, to be charged with a crime you have to be interviewed by the police. Julian Assange has now permanently evaded being charged with sexual assault in Sweden by the following series of actions.

First, Assange left Sweden.

Julian Assange had applied for residency in Sweden on 18th August 2010. On 31st August 2010 he was questioned by the police and told of the accusations: the investigation was re-opened. Assange left Sweden on 27th September 2010, and went to the UK. He did not return. On 18th October 2010, the Swedish Migration Board denied Assange a residency permit: Assange was still in the UK.

On 18th November 2010, the Stockholm District Court approved a request to detain Julian Assange for “questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion”. Marianne Nye, the Swedish Director of Prosecution, told the court that Assange he has “not been available for questioning”.
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Filed under Unanswerable Questions, Women

Does Ed Miliband want to be Prime Minister?

Ed Miliband: This England in The SunIf Ed Miliband and David Cameron have both learned something terrible is coming before 2020 that they would rather be in Opposition than have to deal with as Prime Minister, this could explain both David Cameron’s lacklustre campaigning and Ed Miliband’s curious statement last night on Question Time: neither one wants to be Prime Minister.

However, this does seem improbable to me.

Take it as a given: Ed Miliband wants to be Prime Minister.

Yet, on Question Time on 30th April, with just a week to go to the election, he seemed to reject the job:

“I am not going to have a Labour government if it means deals or coalitions with the Scottish National Party.”

“If the price of having a Labour government is a deal or coalition with the SNP, it’s not going to happen.”

What was Miliband thinking?
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Filed under Corruption, Elections, GE2015, Politics, Unanswerable Questions

GE2015: Liberal Democats

Liberal Democats

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Filed under Cats, Feng Shui Kitten Fixes Stuff

Incest and Scottish Country Dancing

You know the cartoon I mean.

Steve Bell at Dundee University in 2007Complaining that Steve Bell is offensive is pointless.

Steve Bell has been offending people for decades.

The problem with Steve Bell’s foggily unfunny attempts to satirise the SNP / Sturgeon / Salmond, is that cutting-edge political satire depends on an intimate knowledge of the political scene: and too-evidently, Steve Bell is too ignorant of Scottish politics to be able to provide any of his usually fine satire.

The Guardian readers’ editor thinks that Bell is satirising “the roots of nationalism, not people, and he uses 18th century weapons of caricature”, and the Guardian’s Scotland correspondent tweets “we also defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to offend and @GdnScotland should not censor @BellBelltoons either”.

When discussing a political cartoonist who used to do cutting-edge satire that was funny because it was true, the key issue is not “is he offensive?” but “is his satire any good?”

Steve Bell isn’t coping with the change that requires him to learn about Scottish politics in order to satirise them. It would be kinder to let him go on sabbatical, rather than let him display his copelessness in public, but as Bell himself was never kind, why demand kindness for him?

This isn’t about censorship. This is about quality.

Afterthought: the alarming thing for those of us who are (or were) Steve Bell fans is that if the polls are borne out and 40+ SNP MPs go to Westminster and Labour is perforce obliged to enter a Lab/SNP coalition, there will be unprecedented opportunities for satire – all of which it seems Steve Bell plans to throw away because he seems to think “ha ha Scottish people” is sufficient for a joke.

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What would your name have been?

My given name is the seventh most popular for girls in the 1960s. In classes through primary and secondary school, there were never less than two other girls with the same name, and one term there were five.

Stephen - from Us&ThemIf I had been a boy, the seventh most popular name for boys in the 1960s was Stephen. (Curiously enough, throughout primary school there were always at least two Stephens in the class – varying spellings – and in adulthood, though I know only a few women with the same given name as me, every other man seems to be called Steve.
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