Daily Archives: 20 March 2007

How elections work

Ignore me. I’m talking shite.

More quality journalism from the BBC (cf From fact to headline: how the media distorts news):

Headline: Brown ‘may not face leader vote’

Okay, so this presumably means that a) the other potential candidates are unlikely to stand or b) that if he is the only candidate he will be declared unopposed.

First para: Gordon Brown will not face a vote if he is the only candidate to succeed Tony Blair as Labour leader, the party’s National Executive Committee has said.

Okay, so (b) it is then. But no:

Para halfway down article: Tuesday’s decision, during a day-long meeting of the NEC at Westminster, spares Mr Brown having to go through an “affirmative ballot” if he is the only candidate.

So even if he’s the only candidate, he WILL face a vote. What did that headline say again?

What makes me wonder is how the monkey who wrote this thinks it might work.

Boris Again

A point that I forgot to mention in my post about the Tories and the environment yesterday. Boris Johnson is quoted as saying:

I associate road humps with the Liberal Democrats. I blame the Lib Dems for speed humps, which necessitate the need for 4x4s.

It is an interesting causal link. The flaw in this statement though should be apparent to anyone who has ever visited the London Borough of Barnet. Here, the Tory administration drained its highways budget for years ripping out traffic calming measures. I don’t know of any near where I live. Yet, if you throw a stone anywhere in the borough, it is likely to hit a 4×4.

I know it’s just good old Boris saying outrageous things in that posh, bumbling manner of his, but does anyone know when the man has anything that actually worth listening to?

Is racism Levy’s middle name?

Curious dead horse flogging from Lynne Featherstone yesterday, which I’m rebutting here in a vain attempt to stop yet another conspiracy theory gaining ground:

But there is one point that has struck me as valid – why do we keep on being told Lord Levy’s middle name? It’s Abraham – and so telling us his middle name in a news report emphasises, deliberately or not, that he’s Jewish.

All a bit rum. I’m very loathe to leap to the assumption that people in the BBC and elsewhere in the media are being deliberately anti-Semitic, and I’d like to think that even a charge of inadvertent anti-Semitism can be explained away, but I’m stumped for a decent explanation for the repeated use of “Abraham”.

As I pointed out on her comments, the explanation is pretty mundane. Look up Levy in Dod’s and you’ll find his full name listed as “Michael Abraham Levy”. I suspect it is listed in the same way in Who’s Who. Levy has control over both of these entries. Ruth Turner is certainly not listed in the former, and, given its snootiness regarding ordinary people without titles, lots of money or a high profile media career, presumably not included in the latter.

Journalists, being lazy working to tight deadlines, rely on such sources to quickly find out biographical information about people. In short, if you choose to have yourself listed as “Michael Abraham Levy,” then you are bound to find people call you “Michael Abraham Levy.” If Levy preferred to call himself “Michael Levy,” that would be a different matter, but he doesn’t.

But the most bizarre thing about this claim is that the man is called Levy, which is about as Jewish a name as you can get. If you’re intention is to make him ‘sound’ Jewish, why would you emphasise Abraham, a prophet recognised by the Christian and Islamic traditions? Should we now be restricted to calling him Mike, just to make sure we don’t offend anyone?


Jonathan Calder has nominated me as a thogger – i.e. a blogger who makes him think.

This is all very flattering, but leaves me in a bit of a quandary – I now have to come up with five more names, ideally missing out the ones that have already been mentioned. And Jonathan has already taken most of the ones I would nominate!

Well, I’ll do my best: