Charon’s Advent calendar: Day Six – C**TGate

Today… and it was on the Today programme – it is a very easy choice for the ‘morsel’.

James Naughtie on  BBC Radio 4 the Today programme managed to do a ‘classic spoonerism’ when trailing that he was going to be talking to Jeremy Hunt MP

And then…Andrew Marr, managed to repeat it…

Wonderful start to the day.  It may get taken down… I do hope not!

It hasn’t been a good day for Radio 4 – here they are interviewing  person who impersonated a Lib-Dem MP.  I heard the interview.  It was a bit bizarre….

Guardian Source

20 thoughts on “Charon’s Advent calendar: Day Six – C**TGate

  1. I’m glad you put quotes round ‘classic spoonerism’ as it is no such thing (and I’m sure James Naughtie knows that).

    A far more likely explanation is that this is an unconscious carry-over from some editorial room banter, or what is commonly known as a Freudian slip.

    Rather interestingly, somebody has edited James Naughtie’s Wikipedia entry to remover the following text and relevant footnotes


    In he referred to the Labour Party as “we” in an interview with Ed Balls.[2][3][4] He said: “If we win the election…”, before correcting his mistake to “If you win the election.”[5]


    However, Wikipedia keeps the previous versions.

    This is what the current version reads (unless the deleted parts have been restored).

  2. au cuntraire, it’s a wonderful day for radio4! especially good that the minister was there to say that high speed broadband will be rolled out years late and funded by money nicked from the bbc. arf! 2015 seems a very good year to promise delivery… now, what else is due to happen that year???

    sources close to the naughty man have revealed that the first draft of the apology read:

    we wish to apologise for referring to the minister as ‘jeremy cunt’. what we should have said was ‘useless cunt’.

    for andrew marr to do the double on start the wank was glorious.

    to give the cunt himself credit, he does seem to have taken the view that you have at least to appear to take it in good part and has tweeted about it. sadly, he used the letter u in the mistaken belief it is an english word. *sighs* what is he in charge of again?

  3. totally off-thread (when am i ever not?) but have you toyed with the idea of having a recent comments widget on you sidebar? it strikes me as very helpful on a blog such as yours where there may be 2 or 3 new posts a day. certainly enables you to follow a thread (or two) even when there may be a few new posts above it.

  4. @SimplyWondered

    “funded by money nicked from the bbc.”

    It must be pointed out that the TV licence fee is a hypothecation tax, and is not money which belongs to the BBC. If you doubt that it’s a tax, or the conditions under which it is passed to the BBC, then this is a House of Lords Select Committee report which quotes the reclassification of the licence fee as a tax by the ONS (which, by any reasonable definition, it always was).

    This is not BBC money – it’s public money. Indeed the BBC gets £500m per year for the one-in-six households that qualify for free TV licences on age grounds, and that comes directly from government coffers. It was a piece of electioneering by Gordon Brown (much better that any such money is paid through increases in State pension system so that those that don’t need it get to pay tax).

    Personally, whilst I love much of what the BBC puts out, I think the monopoly that the BBC has over the taxation revenue for public broadcasting, and the lack of diversity of views is, on balance, not a good thing. There is also a big issue in that some BBC activities (most obviously their Internet Web presence) has the effect of killing many alternative offerings.

    I’m not opposed to hypothecation taxes in principle. Personally I thought the Labour policy of a levy on fixed lines was an equitable way of subsidising broadband roll-out to less populous areas (albeit I would charge it on broadband connections including cable). However, in its absence, then I can quite see why some of the licence fee is being directed that way. After all, the BBC will make increasing use of this means of delivery, and there is already a precedent in the shape of the digital TV roll-out. Also, in the big picture of things, the sums over 5 years are modest indeed and only a small proportion of both the license fee and the total broadband investment.

    There is also a very credible position to say that wide-spread broadband delivery is a major enabler of public communication and broadcasting in its widest sense. Many community groups, schools and the like can, and will, make great use of higher speed broad band. It’s all part of the democratisation of the media and communication

    Frankly I smell something rather close to State monopolist thinking.

  5. It wasn’t Jim Naughtie, nor was it Andy Marr. It was a couple of blokes who had come in for a job interview and accidentally ended up on air.

  6. steve – your comment is bollocks. the bbc is a non-partisan piece of wonder as their new hard-hitting documentary ‘sam cam you’re an over-privileged horsefaced bitch in a 4×4’ is about to prove. who was it said ‘quality worth every penny’.?

    yeah ok, the licence fee is outmoded nonsense but it annoys the fuck out of murdoch as the bbc is one thing he can never buy and that’s all that matters in this world. non?
    (and it is true isn’t it that if having a licence fee that funds tv and radio is a bit of a push, randomly taking part of that and paying for highspeed broadband is a massive shove). the one justification i have heard from the govt for highspeed broadband is that doing it will create jobs.

    it all sounds rather old labour to me…

  7. @simplywondered

    The telecoms industry is something I know a little of. First thing is that it’s been good for the exchequer. Gordon Brown made £24bn from flogging 3G bandwidth (bid up by an excitable teleco industry helped along by a couple of government backed bidders in the shape of Deutches Telecom & France Telecom). That’s before the finances all went bang.

    The there was the revenue for flogging BT. It raised (adjusted for inflation) around double what the company is now capitalised at. It also received shed loads of corporation tax back when it was making £3bn a year. More importantly, it’s dumped the pension liability for 340,000 pensioners (the vast majority of which we employed before privatisation) onto the private sector. Unless the government and Ofcom are silly enough to let it go broke and pick up the £8bn deficit, then that’s a weight off them. Of course, the shareholders have taken a bath – they normally do. Especialy those who paid £4 a share in the last share tranche or put money into the rights issue. In 1984 almost all the local telephone changes were nice electro-mechanical devices design by an American undertaker called Strowger. Almost nothing in the current UK telco network save copper local pairs, ducts/poles & buildings remain.

    Then there’s the TV cable network. All the original investors lost their shirts. It’s on a reasonably even keel now, but both shareholders and the banks lost a packet. Fortunately without damage to the tax payer.

    However, to take the economic value of broadband. Firstly, it has a massive impact on the efficiency of business. It means that many people can work from home, it avoids business travel and pollution (I know – my mileage has reduced enormously). It means that the likes of Bob Crow can’t cripple the London economy. It means the costs of distribution of information has collapsed. It allows knowledge businesses to be established in relatively poor and remote areas.

    If only the UK had a viable porn industry, we could make proper use of the Internet. It shows the limitations of the BBC.

    Nb. it appears according to research that the first thing that the supporters of the winning side do during an election is to visit porn sites. Left or right – it’s apparently the surge of testosterone. It might even work for the supporters of winning cricket teams.

  8. @Simplywondered

    Ah well, they can have that debate with Anna Arrowsmith who was famously selected as LibDem candidate for Gravesham in Kent with her “female friendly” porn…

    Problem is that the activists are often fighting basic human nature when they think they are dealing with political institutions. Very probably this attempt to replace old-fashioned religiously-driven ethics with a modern secular version is going to fall over the same old issue of the imperfectability of human nature.

    Of course there’s always chemical intervention – that might work. Reputedly the army tried it putting stuff in NaaFI tea, although Spike Milligan’s view in his slightly jazzed up autobiography

    “I don’t think the bromide had any lasting effect, the only way to stop a British soldier feeling randy is to load bromide into a 300 lb shell and fire it at him from the waist down.”

  9. ‘Problem is that the activists are often fighting basic human nature when they think they are dealing with political institutions.’

    and there is a wealth of pretty well-informed debate on that too and what is and isn’t hard-wired into human beings.

  10. @Simplywondered

    And loads more speculative mumbo-jumbo. I don’t know if you’ve read

    “Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science”

    It’s written be a couple of liberal US academics. They chronicle many of the issues when the politically minded start dealing with science that they don’t understand.

  11. no – haven’t seen it. it’s not really something i get into too much. what is clear is that science, history, anthropology – oh you name it have been the province of a monolithic male-centred scholarship and there are other views.

    some of which as you point out are ‘speculative mumbo-jumbo’ but that’s always the way and not the case for all of it. it’s certainly true that when free from the blinkers of male privilege new and instructive opinions come out. a lot of interesting stuff on anthropology at the us blog reclusive leftist. in a pleasantly circular way, there is a debate about assange going on there as we write.

  12. @simplywondered

    I’m rather thinking that you won’t like the book I recommended. I studied Physics (with a very heavy mathematics content), and the book tackles those very issues. There is a huge difference in limited female representation in those subjects, and whether it actually changes the nature of the subject. Frankly I doubt very much if an electron cares too much who invented the concept and the incompleteness theorem doesn’t depend too much on gender issues. However, there are some radical academics who do think so, and those are one target of the book.

    Anthropology is, in truth, not much of a science (at least in the sense of a natural science). Much closer to a humanity and rather more similar to subjects such as history. By their very nature, it’s extremely difficult to try and be objective. Subjectivity, motivation and the like are in their very bones. Indeed much of many historians obsessed with motivations – those who would deal with the characters in history, rather than (say) the role of technology, science or industry.

    But then I rather tend to think that when politicians pretend to certainty (and humanities are overwhelmingly the subjects of politicians) then disaster can await.

    The histories that I prefer are those of the late Jacob Bronowski who chronicled that of humanity in the “Ascent of Man”. Of course his daughter, Lisa Jardine, is an immensely respected academic in this very discipline.

    I’m reminded of this quote from the episode “Knowledge or Certainty”. I don’t care much for the certainties of politicians, of polemicists, of posturers, of incanters of arcane political slogans, of the class warriors, the genderists or those that would create separations. I’m little more than a technologist and a manager myself. I am sceptical of the great, sweeping political statements.


    “It’s said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That’s false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

    Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ: Think it possible you may be mistaken.”

    I owe it as a scientist to my friend Leo Szilard, I owe it as a human being to the many members of my family who died here, to stand here as a survivor and a witness. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.”

  13. no, i probably wouldn’t like the book much.
    a) i get a bit bored with anything beyond popular science books;
    b) i mistrust anyone who claims that knowledge, being inevitably filtered through a human brain is an absolute, preferring instead to remember that even the physicists held that the mere observation of a phenomenon has the potential to affect that phenomenon.

    i’m not sure you are quite with me – i’m not talking just about limited female representation in any one field but rather the entire social construct by which learning and knowledge are shaped. the filter through which everythng passes. the ownership of ‘truth’.

    funny you should mention lisa jardine; before her more recent writing on science (and, critically, the personalities involved), she wrote extensively on the literary representation of women (inter alia) and renaissance self-fashioning, casting herself broadly alongside the new historicists (though i’m sure she would rightly say it’s unfair to pigeonhole too narrowly what she was saying). it was all about how those in power whether by virtue of wealth or gender sought to cast the world order as beyond questioning and ‘just the way it is’. (isotta nogarola frinstance is a really interesting study).

    she (jardine) is fascinated with the artificial divisions between science and the arts (just as she was with the arbitrary categorisation of writing into canon and non-canon and literature and history). and of course that is a product of who she is and where she came from. try asking her to define the word ‘objective’. you will be in for a very interesting few weeks!

    may i suggest (and i am not attempting to patronise you) that you read a little of what is being said about the overarching structure by alternative voices and refrain from comment for a while. just take in without expressing a view. (emphatically NOT my strong suit) it has such a radically different starting point that i find you need a bit of immersion before you can resist the kneejerk that comes from the privilege you have always breathed. properly to listen to the alternative voice takes an effort of will and some silence, but i think it’s worthwhile.

    anyhoo, it’s not about what the electron thinks, it’s about what we think and why. which is pretty much what bronowski is saying above. dontcha think?

  14. @simplywondered

    The book I mention has no science in it. It’s about the academic environment in the US.

    As for artificial barriers between science and art, then Jacob Bronowski also bridged the two. It clearly runs in the family. He did, after all, move to Majorca to be near Robert Graves.

    Of course laws of physics, concepts of electrons and he like are all artificial constructs. Mathematical metaphors and you have to go back to Plato to the issues about whether there is an objective reality of not. No sensible natural scientist would claim anything else, but we do at least have some models that appear to work. It’s difficult to claim the same for humanities, if for no other reason that there are just so many different and contradictory theories. How am I to square Hobsbawn with Niall Ferguson when they some to such different thoughts. What am I to make of a Christopher Hitchens who has jumped from Marxist certainty in a previous life to being aligned with Neo-Cons.

    Of there’s Germaine Greer (who was a guest speaker at adinner I attended in my undergraduate days). She seems at times to be at unacknowledged odds with her own past views.

    No, these people are interesting and produce interesting ideas, but I find the reality of human beings is too complex to be summarised in a few books, no matter how long.

    Anyway, best we leave it here. You’ve declared your view that, at best, I have a narrow education and am generally ignorant. Leave it at that.

  15. ‘You’ve declared your view that, at best, I have a narrow education and am generally ignorant. Leave it at that.’

    it’s not what i think and my apologies if i gave that impression. re-reading my penultimate paragraph i can see where it came from. that was really badly expressed – sorry again – substitute ‘one’ for ‘you’ and let me clarify that the suggestion to read without commenting in no way applied to this site. (quite apart from it being a huge discourtesy to our host).

    it was a plea to someone who writes intelligently to see if they can tap into a slightly different viewpoint (at somewhere like reclusive leftist) and grasp a part of where that comes from without necessarily accepting it as your own. it comes from the lessons i learned when i first bumped into some feminist thought online.
    i honestly didn’t intend to patronise – i think that just makes the writer look small as opposed to the intended patronisee(?)

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