Sunday, 28 February 2010

Obituary: Rose Gray, founder of the River Cafe

Rose Gray, who has died of cancer aged 71, was the co-founder, along with Ruth Rogers, of the iconic River Cafe in London, and was one of Britain's most influential modern chefs and cookery writers. In a 23-year partnership with Ruthie, she revolutionised Italian cooking in this country through an emphasis on freshness, seasonality and simplicity, and, with a bestselling series of ground-breaking and beautifully designed books, established a worldwide reputation for herself and the restaurant.

River Café owners Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray

Read the full article in the Guardian

Lord Ashcroft injects £1.1m into Tory marginals

The full extent of controversial Tory Lord Ashcroft's plan to buy the election has been revealed in figures showing a £6million cash injection for target seats.  Belize-based Michael Ashcroft, who refuses to say if he pays tax in Britain, is helping the Tories plough millions into campaigns in swing constituencies. The peer has given the party over £5million since 2003 through a firm called Bearwood Corporate Services.

The new figures show that £1.1million was sent directly to 56 marginals from Conservative headquarters, where deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft holds the purse strings, while £5million was raised locally by Tory activists.  In Harlow, where Labour have a tiny majority, local Tories received £121,800 for their campaigning.

Donations through Bearwood have been under investigation by the Electoral Commission since 2008.

Source: Daily Mirror

Your choice

Scarfe, Sunday Times

Unused Conservative campaign poster

Gordon Brown on course to win election

Gordon Brown  is on course to remain prime minister after the general election as a new Sunday Times poll reveals that Labour is now just two points behind the Tories.  The YouGov survey places David Cameron’s Conservatives on 37%, as against 35% for Labour - the closest gap between the parties in more than two years.  It means Labour is heading for a total of 317 seats, nine short of an overall majority, with the Tories languishing on a total of just 263 MPs. Such an outcome would mean Brown could stay in office and deny Cameron the keys to No 10.  The poll result presents the Conservative leader with one of the greatest challenges of his leadership today as he makes the keynote speech to his party’s spring forum.

“The only thing I haven’t been accused of recently is killing Archie Mitchell in Eastenders."

Read the full Times article here

The Conservatives in Brighton

The shadow chancellor.

Dear Aaron Ramsey

I hope by now that, in addition to numbing your pain, the drugs have well and truly blurred your sense of judgement for I've been thinking that, while you're lying there doing nothing for the next six months, you may aswell take up the post of planetpmc football correspondent with an emphasis on the World Cup plus  Arsenal backroom gossip like does Vermaelen think as highly of Herman van Rompuy as Nigel Farage does and why does Bendtner get caught in nightclubs with his jeans around his ankles, that sort of thing.

I thought a reasonable deposit for you to pay me in order to secure this position would be a signed pair of your football boots. I mean let's face it you're not going to need them for a while and when you do they'll have to be specially made with lifts in the heels etc.

Obviously, once up and running, you will be able to make ends meet with Google's very reasonable advertising scam scheme of 1p per 10,000 clicks and in no time at all you'll be able to afford the bus ticket for your mam to come and visit you in hospital once a month. Just think of all that homemade lamb and leek hotpot.

Anyway, get back to me asap - I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to hold this position.  Take care bbz, ta ra.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Chelsea 2 - 4 Manchester City

Shame you didn't get one of those for the missus, mate.

Strike warning over BBC plans 'to cut services'

Union leaders have warned of industrial action after reports the BBC is planning to close two national radio stations and scale back its website. Leaders of Bectu and the NUJ said they met a BBC director on Friday and were told the reports in the Times newspaper were "largely correct" [see ARCHIVEpmc BBC signals end to an era]

Phill Jupitus ain't happy.

Read full BBC article here

War in the EU as Herman Van Rompuy makes grab for power

National governments, led by Germany, are incensed by an attempt by Mr Van Rompuy to take on new powers he claims were agreed at an informal summit two weeks ago. There has been particular anger over a letter he sent to EU leaders following the chaotic Feb 11 meeting in Brussels that was dominated by the economic crisis in Greece and talk of a European bail-out. Despite the fact that the meeting only lasted three hours, with Greece the main topic of discussion, Mr Van Rompuy insisted that eight to ten specific points were agreed, a view that has been disputed by most EU leaders.

Hitler used to smile like that.
Read the full Telegraph article here

An embattled Cameron needs to start telling Britain the truth

There was a palpable air of confidence at the Tory Party conference last autumn. Shadow cabinet ministers were pumped up with such high levels of optimism that they arrogantly thought the next General Election was already in the bag. However, the mood this weekend is completely different as delegates meet for their spring conference in Brighton. With just a few weeks to go to polling day, that previously healthy Tory lead has halved to around six per cent, not nearly enough to secure an outright victory. The misplaced triumphalism has gone - to be replaced by nervousness and even quiet desperation.  And if the Daily Mail's thinking that ...

What the ... I was supposed to win this, goddamit!

Read the full Daily Mail article here


Friday, 26 February 2010

The EU rules that could scupper Tory bank plans

The Tories are very interested in banks at the moment, mainly as a trampoline for David Cameron to vault his way through the front window of No 10.  But there is a reason why EU interests may hinder his plans.

The schizophrenia of David Cameron

Read the full This is Money article here

Knock one out for Nancy at Big Weekend Brighton

On the 27th and 28th February the Conservatives will be holding their spring conference in Brighton. Hundreds of their party members will be coming to the city and many will be doorknocking in the three local Labour-held marginal seats: Brighton Pavilion, Brighton Kemptown and Hove and Portslade. These are all target seats that Cameron needs to take if he is to win the General Election. Can you help Labour's Nancy Platts, Simon Burgess and Celia Barlow with some campaigning this weekend using the Virtual Phone Bank?

Can you knock one out for Nancy?

Full Facebook page here

Children 'over-exposed to sexual imagery'

... and we can't have that.

Let's teach them how to read aswell.

Read the full BBC News article here

Charity Commission investigates National Bullying Helpline

The Charity Commission is investigating the charity at the centre of a row over claims of bullying at Downing Street.  It said it had received more than 160 complaints about the National Bullying Helpline and had moved to prevent any more details of calls being disclosed.  Helpline chief executive Christine Pratt was criticised for saying it had been contacted by Downing Street staff amid claims about the PM's behaviour.  The helpline was suspended on Wednesday while the service considers its future.

The Krankies.

Full BBC News article here

UPDATE at 10.33am
The helpline has now re-opened.

Ronaldo, Nike and Battersea Power Station

Cristiano Ronaldo unveils the new Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II boots he will wear for the rest of the domestic season, and at the World Cup, at Battersea Power Station.


Yes, Cristiano, the new lilac and tangerine boots will look great with Portugal's red and green kit!

Vast iceberg may disrupt ocean currents

An iceberg the size of Luxembourg knocked loose from the Antarctic continent earlier this month could disrupt the ocean currents driving weather patterns around the globe.  While the impact would not be felt for decades or longer, a slowdown in the production of colder, dense water could result in less temperate winters in the north Atlantic, scientists said.

Full BBC article here

Tory lead falls to just five points

Although it pains the Telegraph to report, the headline figures are Conservatives 37%, Labour 32% and Lib Dems 19%.  Assuming a uniform national swing, that would leave Labour as the largest single party in a hung parliament, 33 seats short of an overall majority. Even if the Tories perform disproportionately well in the marginals, the latest figures put us on course for the first hung parliament since 1974.

It could be you.

Full Telegraph article here

BBC signals an end to era of expansion

The BBC will close two radio stations, shut half its website and cut spending heavily on imported American programmes in an overhaul of services to be announced next month.  In a wideranging strategic review, he will announce the closure of the digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network and introduce a cap on spending on broadcast rights for sports events of 8.5 per cent of the licence fee, or about £300 million.  He will also pledge to close BBC Switch and Blast!, leaving the lucrative teenage market to ITV and Channel 4. But BBC Three, which is aimed at 16 to 35-year-olds will not be touched.

Cuts at the BBC - sounds good so far.

Full Times article here

Gaddafi calls for jihad against Switzerland

In keeping with Kenny Everett's 'Let's bomb Russia' theme, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi has called for a jihad [holy war] against Switzerland, as an ongoing diplomatic row between the two nations heats up.

"Let us wage jihad against Switzerland, Zionism and foreign aggression," 
said the Betty Legs Diamond of Libya.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wayne Bridge withdraws early from England selection

I didn't realise he was aware of such practice.

Lucky bitch.

Read the full BBC Sport article here

RBS to pay £1.7bn in bonuses despite £3.6bn loss

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is 84 per cent owned by the British taxpayer, will pay out up to £1.7 billion in bonuses to its bankers after reporting a £3.6 billion pre-tax loss for the past financial year.  The loss for the 12 months to December 31 is less than the £5 billion expected and far below the £24.3 billion loss that RBS reported for 2008, a record for any British company.  Stephen Hester, the chief executive of RBS, who replaced Sir Fred Goodwin, said that he was obliged to pay out commercially competitive bonuses to retain staff, adding that the “thousands of best-performing people” who left last year could have increased the banks’ profits by £1 billion.


George Osborne's brother, a doctor, suspended for giving drugs to his prostitute lover

The charges relating to the woman, Miss B, stem from an "encounter" on May 12 2008 when she met Dr Osborne in the car park of his hospital [dogging, I believe they call it]. She was having hallucinations and displaying psychotic behaviour because of her cocaine use, the GMC was told.  Rather than take her into the hospital with him, Dr Osborne went in alone and wrote out a prescription for her but made up a surname because he did not know her real one.  The doctor was denied the drugs because staff could not match the patient's name to anyone registered at the hospital, so he drove to a pharmacy where he handed over a second prescription without a name or address and obtained the drugs.  He then proceeded to shag her senselessly doggy-style in the back of his Cortina.  No, I made that bit up.

Christ, you'd need drugs, wouldn't you?

George Osborne's doctor brother suspended - Mail Online

I had to laugh ...

... as Nigel Farage unleashed a volley of insults at the EU president Herman van Rompuy. Well, it's only what we were all thinking.

BBC News - Tirade against 'damp rag' EU president shocks MEPs

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Even faggots get to vote these days!

LGBT Labour will be campaigning hard for a Labour victory and will be supporting Labour candidates across the country. They will also be organising campaigning events for LGBT candidates.  Follow the link for details.

LGBT Labour

Tony Cameron/Dave Blair/Tony Bear/Tory Blair whatever

The pudgy-faced opportunist reveals his true self.  Taken from Armando Iannucci's Time Trumpet (2006).  Watch here.

Tories attract double the funds raised by Labour

New figures released on Wednesday confirmed that the Conservative party is raising vastly more money than Labour in the run-up to the UK general election this spring.  The Tories attracted £10.5m in the three months to the end of December – more than double the £5m for the governing Labour party. The Liberal Democrats attracted barely £1m.

Donald and Ivana Trump - Tories attract double the funds raised by Labour

PLANETPMC supports the Labour Party. You can too here.

National Bullying Helpline press release

Swindon's not near Dewsbury, is it?

Read the press release here

Former police commander Ali Dizaei assaulted in prison

Shamed police commander Ali Dizaei was assaulted while in prison, sources said today.  The senior Metropolitan police officer is serving a four-year jail sentence for assaulting and falsely arresting a young businessman before trying to frame him.  Another inmate at HMP Edmunds Hill, Suffolk poured a slop bucket over Dizaei's head on Monday, the Daily Mirror reported, and the former police officer was then punched in the face and knocked out.

Well, what can you say?

Ali Dizaei assaulted in prison

140 MPs stepping down at next election

Peter Kilfoyle, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, is the latest honourable member to get out while the golden handshake's still good - health reasons, dontcha know.

This brings the staggering totals so far to:

Labour 89
Conservatives 35
Lib Dems 7 [that just leaves Nick and Vince, no?]
Others 9

MPs stepping down and retiring at the 2010 general election


Held at Victoria Park, London over 16th, 17th and 18th July, Roxy Music will headline on the Saturday.

Watch the 'advert' on youtube

Tickets available here from Ticketmaster


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Senior bishops call for gay weddings in churches

In a letter to today's Times, a group of senior clerics, including the Bishop of Salisbury, the Dean of Southwark and four retired bishops, have suggested that religious denominations should be allowed to choose whether to register civil partnerships on their premises.

"Straight couples have the choice between civil marriage and religious marriage. Gay couples are denied a similar choice. To deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory," they write.

Well, bugger me.

Bishopric bukkake

It’s discrimination to stop gay couples taking vows in church -Times Online

Hung parliament looms as Tory support crumbles

Support for David Cameron's Conservative party has crumbled to its lowest point for nearly two years, according to the latest monthly Guardian/ICM poll, leaving Britain on course for a hung parliament at the coming general election.  The survey, showing the Conservatives holding only a seven-point lead, will come as a relief to Gordon Brown as he continued to fend off potentially lethal claims over his complex character, including suggestions that he bullies staff.

Bullied Britain

Hung parliament looms as Tory support crumbles -

Brighton Pavilion

A poll for the Brighton Argus last Friday brought some surprising news for the Greens who, if their own publicity machine is to be believed, thought they had it in the bag!

Seems like a change of bag is required.

Graph courtesy of cravenite

Monday, 22 February 2010

Odeon cinemas will not show Alice in Wonderland

... apart from the Royal Premiere at Leicester Square, obviously.

Alice in Wonderland will not be shown in Odeon cinemas

Anne Widdecombe becomes third bullying helpline patron to quit over Downing Street row

The story so far:

Extracts from a new book by Observer chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley, being serialised in the newspaper, claim Downing Street staff were intimidated by abusive outbursts from Gordon Brown;

No 10 says it has looked into the allegations and they are not true;

Lord Mandelson also dismisses the claims, saying the book shows a man "who gets angry but chiefly with himself, who doesn't bully people";

Christine Pratt, chief executive of the National Bullying Helpline, says several people in the prime minister's office had contacted the anti-bullying charity in recent years;

She later clarifies that none of the allegations was about Mr Brown;

Prof Cary Cooper, an expert on workplace stress, resigns as a patron of the charity, saying Mrs Pratt had breached confidentiality.

Sarah Cawood resigns.  No, i'd never heard of her before either.  Her wikibio explains why: wikibio Sarah Cawood
BBC News - Second bullying helpline patron quits over No 10 row

And the patron of the National Anti-bullying Helpline is ... ?

YES!  It's Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe; and it quotes support from David Cameron on its website. Widdecombe said she would have preferred the helpline to stay out of the row, as its cases should remain confidential [yeah .. but ... ?]. The charity has another Conservative patron, councillor Mary O'Connor, but Widdecombe defended the organisation as "utterly non-political". However, government sources questioned the charity's credentials, suggesting it had made no contact with No 10 and operated only two doors away from the local Conservative party.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Observer to re-launch tomorrow

I was looking forward to this.  However, following their decision to run with Andrew Rawnsley's sensationalised account of Gordon Brown's temper, they can stick it up their arse.

Besides, we can all do a re-launch.

Observer to relaunch - the Guardian

Austrian monastery offers weekend visits

A monastery near Vienna, Austria is offering men the chance to be a monk for a weekend. Franciscans from Maria Enzersdorf, site of a monastery since the 15th Century, are opening their doors as they need recruits. During the weekend they will have the chance to work and pray with the monks.  The Franciscans say they want to provide people with a realistic impression of life as a monk, and are accepting men up to the age of 40 (how gaydar is that). The scheme, which is free, started in October last year and since then, the chaplain says, three people are now considering becoming monks. And it is not just for men - an order of Franciscan nuns is also offering weekend introductions to the sisterhood.

Maybe if James Purnell has a spare weekend ...

BBC News - Austrian monastery offers weekend visits

Obituary: James Purnell

Asked to define what he would do differently to Gordon Brown and what specific policies he was advocating, Purnell replied:
"I think what we need to do is to renew ourselves and I think that goes through idealism. I think it goes through going back to our basic principles and articulating them for today."  LOL

The government, the party and the taxpayer will be better off without you.

Friday, 19 February 2010

ICA Fundraiser Gala Party 2010

Bryan Ferry is to perform at Koko, Camden on 24th March as part of the ICA Fundraiser Gala Party. Lesser mortals may join in the fun for a mere £95. Oh yeah.

For your pleasure.

Institute of Contemporary Arts : Music : ICA Fundraiser: Gala Party 2010

Thursday, 18 February 2010

David Cameron: I love Guinness, darts and Sky+

... which goes some way to explaining why he's a complete twat.

David Cameron: I love Guinness, darts and Sky+ - th Guardian

Co-operative plans for Lambeth Council

A south London council has unveiled plans to become a co-operative - where residents who help run services would get council tax rebates.  Lambeth Council hopes the scheme, based on the business model of the John Lewis Partnership, will save it about £30m.  Under the proposals, residents could vote to turn services, such as primary schools, into citizen-led groups.

Good luck with that.

BBC News - Lambeth Council plans to be a cooperative

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Not to be outdone, Cameron turns on the tears

The Tory leader, talking to the Scottish channel STV, apologised for breaking down. He said: 'I took some time off. Probably not enough, actually.  I probably should have taken a bit longer and had a good stop to think about everything. It is something that just hits you in an incredible way and it takes quite a long time before you can even start to put things back on track.

Is there anything this man won't do?

After Gordon Brown's tears, David Cameron breaks down on STV Mail Online

Kings of Leon to play Hyde Park

Kings of Leon are to play their biggest ever UK headline show this summer when they take over London’s Hyde Park on June 30 for a gig promoted by Live Nation Entertainment.

Music Week - Kings of Leon to rock Hyde Park

Monday, 15 February 2010

Doctor Who tried to bring down Thatcher

while the Wombles of Wimbledon brought down the wall.

In an extraordinary claim, Sylvester McCoy, who played Doctor Who from 1987 to 1989, and Andrew Cartmel, the then script editor, have both admitted that it "seemed the right thing to do".

"Critics, media pundits and politicians certainly didn't pick up on what we were doing. If we had generated controversy and become a cause célèbre we would have got a few more viewers but, sadly, nobody really noticed or cared."


A spokesman for the BBC said it was "baffled" by the claims.

Doctor Who 'had anti-Thatcher agenda' - Telegraph

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tories right on cuts, say economists

Leading economists say the government lacks a credible plan to cut Britain’s budget deficit and that action to reduce the country’s borrowing should start immediately after the election.  In an endorsement of the Conservatives’ position and an attack on Labour — although the economists insist they are non-partisan — they warn that a failure to act could trigger a loss of confidence that could push up interest rates, undermine the pound and threaten the recovery.

Tories right on cuts, say economists - Times Online

Hmmm, funny that. Bridget Rosewell is a former advisor to Ken Clarke; Roger Bootle a Conservative peer; Anne Sibert former member of the Conservative Party's Commission on the Independence of the Bank of England; Thomas Sargent, a friend of John Redwood and known for his extreme free-market views (i.e. criticising Obama's stimulus package); Ken Rogoff, cited in George Osborne's speech to Conservative Conference; David Newbery, the former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party; John Muellbauer, the current economic advisor to the Conservative Party; Sir John Vickers, former conservative politician and on and on and on.

These 'economists' are certainly not impartial, that is, no more impartial than the economists that Labour consults to support their policies. So, please, stop touting these people as though they offer an entirely objective analysis. They all have an agenda; and in this case it is Tory spin. 
The Times they are a-changin'?  No, still the same old shit.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Joan Bakewell condemns Tory 'death tax' poster

Tory posters claiming Labour is planning a £20,000 "death tax" to fund a national carers service have been condemned as "grotesque" and a lie by Dame Joan Bakewell, the former BBC presenter and the government's "voice of older people". She accused the Conservatives of "an insult to older people", and said the collapse of talks designed to reach a cross-party consensus on funding future social care will increase despair about politics.

Tory 'death tax' poster condemned - the Guardian

Cameron will be our next PM, but maybe not for long

"How can they be so hopeless? So many open goals missed, so many own-goals scored, and yet overflowing with more donations than they know what to do with: Cameron and his party are proving breathtakingly incompetent at seizing an election handed to them on a platter," writes Polly Toynbee in today's Gardening for Spinsters.

Cameron will be our next PM, but maybe not for long - The Guardian