Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

 
Bore's Bore of the Year, 2006

But what about the real issues that real people care about, on the doorstep, and such like? The average blog reader doesn't care about Freakonomics, or Philip Glass or any of this arty farty political crap. They want to hear about the real issues that matter to them in their real life, in the workplace, about our public services, on the doorstep. They want to know about … secondary education administration in Peterborough!

Well, term started yesterday so by the time you read this, no fewer than two playtimes will have been missed. Looking at the news coverage, it is fairly positive - I was tempted to discount this article in the Observer as it is so absurdly, Pravdaistically boosterish, but the Peterborough Evening Telegraph also appears to be starstruck.

I am guessing that the shock of the new will be enough to forestall protests for the time being, so maybe we should look at this again in a month's time when the novelty has worn off and the tiredness is beginning to set in; that's when complaints about the school day might start to rear up. McMurdo continues to claim that the no-playtimes policy is under constant review, although one shouldn't take him at his word as administrators often say this when it isn't true.

Local protests - still nada, as far as I can find. TDA parents are pissed off at the cost of the uniform, but otherwise nish. The online petition topped out at 445 signatures, including a lot of duplicates and fakes, and I haven't managed to dig up any mention of the offline one at all, which suggests to me that it hasn't reached the threshold of 1500 signatures which I thought would be the benchmark of significant local opposition. The Skibbereen Eagle has its eye on this one …

In related "like a dog returns to its vomit" news, there is still precious little sign of the "European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism". When it was set up, Pollard said that "will have a website to highlight existing research, but we will also commission our own work". As far as I can tell, it doesn't have a website, it hasn't published anything and the only references to it online are in the biographies of Pollard and Douglas Murray, who is on its advisory board. Pollard himself only appears to have mentioned it twice in the last year, once to add a touch of gravitas to an article about how the prosecution of Lord Levy wasn't anti-Semitic, and once to add emphasis to his supporting England when they were playing against Israel. He almost always refers to himself at the end of Telegraph pieces by his affiliation with the "Centre for the New Europe", despite the fact that he is only a "Senior Fellow" there (a title which frankly is given out like lollipops at most thinktanks - I have not yet seen an advert for "Senior Fellow Vacancy - must have experience in repairing all kinds of vending machines and photocopiers" but it can't be far off). He is Chairman! Of the whole thing!!1! at the EISCA-S but doesn't mention it half as much as a more lowly post at a proper thinktank. Frankly I am beginning to believe that the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism is somewhere between a brass plate office and a sinecure. Its name is also confusingly similar to that of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, and if I was them I think I might consider asking Pollard to knock it off, particularly as his funding pitch for the EISCA-S was that nobody was doing serious research into contemporary anti-Semitism in the UK.

Update!: Pollard is now the President of the CNE!!11!!ONE! Not a mere Senior Fellow! Yay Stevie P! I was wrongfooted because the Times and Telegraph seem to have stopped including the institutional affiliation in the straplines. Wow. To think that I once helped Chris Brooke googlebomb that guy with the words "ignorant git", without ever realising that I was talking about a future President of the Centre for the New Europe. His new responsibilities as President, plus the ongoing commitment of the Spectator blog, will surely eat into the time he has available to be Chairman of the EISCA-S, won't they? I worry that he may be spreading himself a bit too thin.

Further update Digging around at the Jewish Chronicle turns up a few other details. Apparently one of Pollard's other advisory board members at the EISCA (apparently they don't use the hyphen-s) is "Dr Winston Pickett", who is presumably tired of people asking him to sing a few bars of "Midnight Hour" or "Land of 1000 Dances". Pollard's Institute is set up with support from the Jewish Leadership Council, which also appears from this JC article to be something that nobody's quite sure what it's for. It also has a director on the board representing the Community Security Trust, which is a proper organisation with staff and everything, but they don't really appear to be that committed to it - it doesn't get a mention on the relevant page of their website, or anywhere else for that matter.

I am still not seeing much evidence that the EISCA is a 4-real institution. It seems to have a number of solid and reputable individuals associated with its board (as in, it is not a two man Steve 'n' Doug show as I'd suspected), but it is absolutely nowhere near having achieved what it claimed was going to be "up and running in a few weeks" back in January, and I can't actually see any evidence that it's done anything at all. Presumably this hasn't cost anyone any money, but I can't help having a slightly queasy feeling about it all - a kind of sense that there's some small net disbenefit to the state of public affairs from the small amount of spurious gravitas added to someone's arguments because of their sponsorship of a Potemkin thinktank. What really troubles me is that I only bothered to look into this as part of a general program of teasing Pollard. How many of the other sonorous sounding Directors of Institutes who clag up our morning newspapers are playing the same game?

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