Shakespeare's R&J

So I want to see Shakespeare's R&J with Mary and Afonso tonight. I thought I'd blog about it, since it was excellent and I haven't seen a single review on the web that accurately explains why it's so good. SPOILERS GALORE, so if you have a chance of seeing this play in real life (it runs until the 8th of November in London) you should probably stop now. The plot Or rather, the plots. The basic premise of the play is the story of four schoolboys at a very strict catholic private school, repressed and regimented all day, who find escape and release through a copy of Romeo and Juliet, which they act out nightly. Other reviewers seem to have got the idea that the book is banned at the school, which doesn't make much sense for the classical education a "public"* school provides. Simply, it is an activity after lights-out, and hence is illicit. The boys initially giggle at every word in the play, and appear confused by the language and embarrassed by the emotions in it, as you would expect four schoolboys to...
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Smallville

So, the season premiere of Smallville series was Wednesday, I think -- my downloaded copy arrived last night, a mere 9 months in advance of its scheduled release in the UK... :-) Am I the only one who watches this show? It's my guilty secret. [Spoiler alert! If you do watch the show and haven't seen this episode, stop reading now!] Anyway, in case anyone does watch the show, AAAAAAAAAAAAH! What the fuck is going on? The plot holes from the season finale are just ridiculous! How are they explaining Clark's mysterious three-month abscence, and the huge crater in the middle of the Kent farm from the explosion? Why did Lex's wife suddenly become evil? How is Lana explaining away the fact that Clark is in two cities at the same time? If everybody is going apeshit looking for him, why the hell didn't Chloe mention that she's known where he is for two months, and if she's so hell-bent on keeping it a secret, why did she suddenly blurt it out just because Lana was looking a bit bummed? How the hell are...
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UK footballer rape update

More Google fodder... I'm a willful sod, aren't I? That post containing the alleged names again: Thought you may be interested to know this. Those Premiership players in the gang-rape story are Newcastle: Bramble, Dyer, Bellamy, Ameobi, Bernard, Ambrose and Jenas. The other player, with whom she consented, is Carlton Cole (Chelsea). Interestingly, Bernard has been previously accused of rape (along with four "unnamed others") and cleared because of "insufficient evidence". So in his case, he's already been publically accused of rape -- so is it still "damaging his reputation" to say it again? Looks like Google's found me... I'm the second result for "premiership rapists" (oh, the joy...). Things will probably get interesting from this point. Meanwhile, a few people have e-mailed to scold me for posting this information, saying it will ruin these players careers, even if it's untrue. And of course, a few accuse me of libel. li·bel A false publication, as in writing, print, signs,...
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To quote Neo...

"Whoa." 2000 hits in the last 24 hours since Google indexed me (up from ~300 usually). Ya'll come back now, y'hear? Anyway, the girl's story is looking less credible all the time. As I already mentioned, I've read that Bernard has an alibi -- he was in the hotel, but with another girl who vouches that he was with her the whole time. And U.TV (and this morning's Metro) both carry claims by Nicholas Meikle, a regular clubbing chum of famous footballers, that there were fewer people present than eight, and that she in any case consented. It does seem a bit odd that she had breakfast with them the next morning. But who knows? I'm not one to judge; I'm not even one to speculate; I'm going to be in enough hot water as it is :-)
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October 12th-18th is Gay Sex Week. Dear god, please let someone organize a fundraiser... I want to...

October 12th-18th is Gay Sex Week. Dear god, please let someone organize a fundraiser... I want to see this on CNN :-) I also don't want to see what Google is going to make of "gay sex" and "rape" so close together on the same page. Oh dear. I swear I don't do this kind of stuff on purpose. Why couldn't I have been posting more intellectually uplifting stuff the last week? I write sappy poetry, I swear!
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We may be looking at a sand gap

My housemate Dave and I were discussing recyclable packaging materials this evening. More specifically, we were arguing whether the new reusable-but-plastic Oystercards are better for the environment than the zillions of paper tickets they currently use on the Underground): D: Basically, paper is the best, most environmentally friendly material because it's so recyclable. S: Well, except glass, but it's not like you can package lots of things in glass. D: Yeah, but glass doesn't grow. S: But it comes from sand! There's no shortage of sand, mate*! D: Those fucking arabs 'ave got everything. I found this hilarious. YMMV. * I speak Bloke when talking to my housemates.
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Aww yeah

He WON! This is gonna be GREAT. All hail the Governator! Watch California and the American democratic process collapse! Woohoo! Incidentally, did you know he has a degree in business and economics? Or that he was a self-made millionaire (selling mail-order body-building equipment) by the age of 22 -- long before he made any movies? Maybe, just maybe, I'll reserve judgement.
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Just sometimes...

As I sit here, five terminal windows open, 24 emacs buffers open, 3 browser windows with a few tabs each, operating on two operating systems in four separate languages, juggling data streams and file formats, weaving together a coherent information system using nothing but little words I type into a cheap plastic keyboard, I am reminded of the power and the beauty of code: I can take my thoughts, make them concrete and plastic at the same time. I can write down a little piece of my brain, and get it to run separately, whizzing away while I make more and more of them, creating a huge spinning machine much more powerful than the mind which invented each piece. There are times when I love my job. It's sort of sad, but sort of cool at the same time. Am I weird to think this? Or are there other coders who occasionally look at what they're doing and think "Wow. This is so cool!"? ...and on a completely unrelated note: oooh! Shiny!
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Comments on censorship and freedom of information

Bob and the rest of you, your comments are genius, so I'm pulling them out of the Javascript-obscured comments [0] and putting them onto the main page, where Google can find them -- let me know if that pisses you off. Freedom of access to information is the whole point of this conversation, after all. Meanwhile, hits are holding steady at about 1000 per day, coming from all over the world, with search strings like "Carlton Cole rumours". It's conversations like this, rare as they are, that make a blog really worth having. Un-annotated comments follow (I have restored the line breaks that my rather crude comment system removes; use HTML in the comments!): Bob wrote: I tend to agree with liberal policies, being on the side of transparency, freedom, autonomy, bottom-up power, and any number of other buzzwords. For me this is very important, and even has a deeply rooted philosophical underpinning, being linked to my views on Popperian epistemology and politics. However, thing is, no matter much we...
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Response to comments on freedom of information

This is my latest response to a continuing conversation in the comments for this month; please continue commenting into the system, I will export it to the public page. Bob: you defeat yourself when you say that this story could be interesting in the context of "how a group of high status males can collectively rape a single individual, if it were true, or how a single individual could either inaccurately reconstruct in her own mind or lie about events that took place, if it is not". That's not one, but two counter-examples to this case of censorship, which on the surface seems fairly straightforwardly biased towards supressing the information. If it were censored, somebody trawling the web for a dozen or so case studies of group rape (for example) would not have this example to draw upon. If all such stories were similarly censored, they would have no examples to draw upon, and the information would be lost. Now you might argue that the information would eventually become available in an...
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UK premiership footballer rape names

The recent massive, deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking posts about freedom of information (see below) have pushed the original postings past the size limits of Google's indexing, so here yet again is the quoted post containing the rumoured names of the footballers accused of rape by a 17-year-old girl in London: Those Premiership players in the gang-rape story are Newcastle: Bramble, Dyer, Bellamy, Ameobi, Bernard, Ambrose and Jenas. The other player, with whom she consented, is Carlton Cole (Chelsea). From a freedom of information point of view, it's not entirely necessary to keep this going once it's been posted once, but all the media attention to this story has been pushing posts containing the actual names out of the top results, so it's necessary to keep it fresh to maintain that all-important pagerank. In further updates: the News of the World (bless those tabloids) and the Metro this morning both broke with the name of Nicholas Meikle, the clubbing compatriot of the footballers...
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Shoes. Butter. Together.

This has been your moment of Zen. Meanwhile, the BBC has an amusing collection of topical limericks: A mind-reader picked up a gun Hardly anyone's idea of fun But it's still knocks the socks Off that git in the box Good to see he's been finally outdone!
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"No, seriously, you have to see the ladies' loos..."

A memorable quote from a fairly excellent weekend. Friday: Will turned up (eventually) from Warwick and we toddled off to Popstarz as per usual. I danced, I met a cute boi (who I am going to call after I've done typing this...) and I generally had a good time. On the way home, Will learned a valuable lesson about kebab-buying: even if you don't want one, you will want one as soon as you smell somebody else's. So buy one then, because other people are not always willing to share their kebabs. I am pleased to have been a part of the instructional process. Saturday: Will and I dragged ourselves out of bed and set off (late) to Central, mainly because Wabson.org is broken at the moment so Will needed to spend some time screaming at it. At Central (aka Leicester Square) we met Michael and Mary, and went for the World's Fastest Brunch™ record at a nearby O'Neill's, so that we could be in time for the movie. Milly joined us a mere 10 minutes after it started. The movie was CAMP in every possible sense of the...
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Uh, like brotherly love?

Chez: have you seen the new england rugby shirts? Laurie: Probably not, though my house are big on their rugby. Laurie*: They were all over today for the first game of the season. Chez*: first game of the world cup, you mean Laurie: Yeah, something like that :-> Laurie: Needless to say, I wasn't watching. Chez: am v tempted to buy one of the new shirts Chez: they're collarless and tight Chez: though, it doesn't appear you can get them yet. so I don't have to worry about fitting my stomach into one Chez: why not? men in small shorts.. Laurie: The attractive men:time spent watching ratio is too low. Chez: hmm.. yeah, but big men? jonny wilkinson? jason robinson? * Laurie does not know of them Chez: you Chez: do Chez: not Chez: know Chez: who Chez: jonny Chez: wilkinson Chez: is? Chez: and you claim to be gay? * Laurie googles rapidly Chez: link * Laurie has already found 10 photos and a gallery run by crazed fans Laurie : Meh. Chez: heathen Laurie : He's okay. I definitely...
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You're not a cool, with-it, happening Christian kid unless you've read the Extreme Teen Bible, or...

You're not a cool, with-it, happening Christian kid unless you've read the Extreme Teen Bible, or if you're a girl, Revolve: the complete new testament.
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Should I stay

Gabrielle Here I am, Waiting for a sign, I never seem to know If you want me in your life, Where do I stand I just don't know I never feel I know you 'Cause you blow hot and you blow cold It seems I've grown attached Though we're not the perfect match I just can't explain Should I stay Should I go Could I ever really stand to let you go Can you now find the right words to say That maybe I'm getting in your way I feel your warmth, got me wanting more, you've left the door half open I'm in two minds to explore, But then again am I being honest, Being truthful to myself, Can I see my life without you Could I be with someone else It seems I've grown attached, though we're not the perfect match I just can't explain Should I stay Should I go Could I ever really stand to let you go Can you now find the right words to say That maybe I'm getting in your way Should I stay Should I go Could I ever really stand to let you go Can you now find the right words to...
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Bloggers are like...

Now, I try not to meta-blog too much -- gives you hairy palms and sends you blind -- but there've been two very good pieces recently that I found via the surprisingly good iWire (it's corporate... but clever, dammit!). First is that bloggers are like DJs: they sample the best bits of older, and mix it in new ways with other things, in a way that's equally creative. I'm not sure what that makes ShinyPixel, since Rik is a DJ who blogs, but we'll mix that metaphor when we get to it. The other piece is by William Gibson (the novelist) who says that as a professional writer, he finds blogging is like boiling a kettle with the lid off. It sort of suggests that if I could stop blogging for 24 hours, I might achieve something useful. Which is, to be fair, almost certainly true. But there's no shortage of similies for blogging, so who knows?
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I'm going to be talking about the rise of the Internet over television as the dominant medium...

I'm going to be talking about the rise of the Internet over television as the dominant medium (despite getting only 1% of the advertising) with the BBC as part of a "discussion seminar", going in my role as one of the people "that are at the forefront of technology behaving in a way that is currently niche" -- in particular, the fact that I don't watch TV anymore, I just download shows that interest me. This behaviour is of particular interest to TV companies, although unlike the rest, the BBC doesn't stand to lose any money by becoming irrelevant. It's at lunchtime tomorrow. I'll try to blog about it, but apparently we will have to sign some sort of NDA (which sounds very interesting... what are they planning that they don't want people talking about?) so I'll have to see what I can and cannot say. Former participants in the discussion on freedom of information are welcome to bat me about the head for willingly signing an NDA. But a free lunch is involved!
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Dabs.Com sucks

In case you're wondering, I now recommend OverClockers, who have much less byzantine restrictions concerning shipping, actually respond to customer service e-mails, and have a number you can call with problems. Dabs.com no longer have a customer service number. Shitty e-mail support is all there is. Dabs customer service wrote: > Good day, > Thank you for your e.mail, > According to our records, this has been despatched and now delivered to > you. > > Regards Glenn > Internet Sales Executive > dabs.com Hi Glenn - Yes, my machine arrived today; but that rather misses the point. My complaint centered around the fact that you lost my original reply and then did not follow-up for several days, which led to the delivery being delayed by a week. I was also unhappy with your company's various reponses to my e-mails, which have uniformly consisted of an unhelpful, single sentence -- just like the one you've just sent me. Specifically, when I wrote my original complaint saying I...
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Out Of Reach

Originally by Gabrielle; modified slightly Knew the signs Wasn't right We were stupid all the while Swept away by you But now I feel like a fool So confused, My heart's bruised Was I ever loved by you? Out of reach, so far I never had your heart Out of reach, Couldn't see We were never Meant to be Catch myself From despair I could drown If I stay here Keeping busy everyday I know I will be OK But will you? So confused, My heart's bruised Why'd I give my love to you? Out of reach, so far Did I never have your heart? Out of reach, Couldn't see We were never Meant to be So much hurt, So much pain Takes a while To regain What is lost inside And I hope that in time, You'll be out of my mind And I'll be over you And you me So confused, My heart's bruised Was it love or am I just a fool? Out of reach, So far Seems I never had your heart Out of reach, Couldn't see We were never Meant to be Out of reach, So far I know we gave our hearts We can...
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Ignore this entry

I thought having my life described by the Bridget Jones soundtrack was the most depressing thing. Well, I was wrong. Even more depressing is having to have an argument via reciprocal blog entries, since the entry with the song was totally misinterpreted. So, and this should in no way be considered direct communication to anyone specific since I would never dream of doing that somewhere so public, fuck you. I'm not allowed to try and help, but I'm not allowed to be worried either? I know I'm going to be okay, eventually, because I'm me, so I have all the facts about myself and can make an accurate judgement. I don't know, don't understand, am not allowed to properly find out what's wrong with you, Mr. Hypothetical Non-Specific Person, so I have no idea if you're going to be okay, and the uncertainty has me worried sick. Being worried sick over someone is not the same as being condescending. And "okay" is not the same as "happy". And fuck you, again, for making an irresistible urge to help you...
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The Secret Policeman

For the last 7 months, the BBC has had reporter Mark Daly inside the Greater Manchester Police working as a policeman, including the full five months' training, without the knowledge or cooperation of the force. He has been secretly filming and recording his colleagues at work every day. His report is tonight at 9pm on BBC One, and he claims to have found overwhelming evidence of "institutional racism" within the organization. This is going to be a hell of a story...
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StalkerVision™: The Return

Go nuts with dual-cam madness! I'm not at home, obviously, 'cause I'm at work. Maybe I'll bring a cam to work too... And sticking with (not to say stretching) the theme of secret cameras, the BBC's undercover investigation of racism in the police force is just as controversial as expected. It's a total ratings grab (especially breaking the story a few hours early), but still worthwhile journalism. I fucking love the BBC. Incidentally, I can't believe we had a police officer who thought "Hitler had the right idea". Police chiefs are falling over themselves to express how outraged they are, and rightly so. This is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. At least I know that Chez will soon be along to sort them all out. Unfortunately, this is the nation holding its police to a higher standard than they hold themselves. Britain likes to think of itself as egalitarian these days, but in reality it is still a deeply racist society, even if the expression of that racism is more subdued and subtle than in...
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Basement Jaxx's new album Kish Kash is absolutely genius, just like all their old stuff is. I...

Basement Jaxx's new album Kish Kash is absolutely genius, just like all their old stuff is. I don't say this often -- in fact, never -- but go buy it, right now. No, don't wait until lunch. Don't even stop to get your coat. Grab your wallet and sprint to the nearest record store and beg them to take your money. I like this album, lots. It makes me bounce up and down and want to go dancing, immediately. And sure, songs that do that aren't too rare -- maybe one or two are released every month. It's just rare to find seven of those songs all on one album :-) Right, time to put this album on permanent repeat until I know every word and breakbeat by heart...
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God is broken. Please try again later.

There is growing speculation around the web that Google is broken, including from the most authoritative of sources. The evidence is all over the place, but Google remains tight-lipped about the problem, possibly in light of an upcoming IPO but more likely because they simply don't want to admit that the single most-used technology service in the world is broken. So what's broken, and how is it broken? Well, there are now loads of discovered search word combinations that produce big counts of results, but don't actually list them (first discovered by eager GoogleWhackers). This seems to have been a poorly-designed patch introduced to combat people who are creating link farms and otherwise trying to cheat the index: by blocking them, it also blocked everything useful. However, more serious problems lie underneath. The evidence indicates that Google has a theoretical size limit of 4.1 billion pages because of the way it indexes pages, and that efforts to keep results relevant (a "freshbot") has reserved...
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Early sunday morning, while I was asleep and failing to notice the beginning of daylight savings...

Early sunday morning, while I was asleep and failing to notice the beginning of daylight savings time, I dreamed that I went to a pub on Oxford street with some friends (I can't remember which friends), but my credit card behind the bar, grabbed a megaphone (one was conveniently placed nearby) and announced: "everyone: drinks are on me!" At first people rushed to the bar and ordered drinks as normal. Then the barman realised that if I was paying for everything for everybody, it'd be quicker and easier to let people just grab what they wanted, so he just started placing handfuls of bottles on the bar and let people help themselves. Then it got totally out of control as people poured into the bar, pushing en masse into the VIP section (which was roped off) and continuing the party. In the ensuing melee, I grabbed my card from behind the bar and my friends and I snuck out again. Saturday was pretty much excellent. I met up with Mary and Kiara for coffee, then lunch, and then the Tate, punctuated by...
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I'm Jean-Luc Picard! Woohoo! Kick ass! :-) He also comes with a quote which is extremely in...

I'm Jean-Luc Picard! Woohoo! Kick ass! :-) He also comes with a quote which is extremely in tune with me: "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." Incidentally, this quote is interesting for another reason. It is generally quoted as being spoken by Captain Picard, in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called The Drumhead. However, in the show he's quoting a judge, Aaron Satie, who is also a fictional character from the Star Trek universe. So whose words are these? It's interesting since Star Trek is a very geeky series, and as I've mentioned before, the sentiment behind this quote seems to be an unspoken truth in the geek subculture, so universally accepted that it's not even considered remarkable. Where did this meme come from? And why is it that geeks find it so self-evident, while people with other life experiences find it less compelling? I'm going to write more about this,...
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The Information Revolution

Will Davies of the fascinating iSociety research project is an enormously clever guy, with some really interesting things to say about ICT's effects on society and where we're going. In his most recent post, based on an absolutely brilliant lecture he gave, he decides that we are moving from the information age to the communication age: The internet ends the information age, because it makes information ubiquitous. What is now scarce and difficult is achieving meaningful relationships, having kids, falling in love. Precisely because we now find this so bloody complicated, it is these activities that now define our era. That's a very interesting position, and he expands on it, but he gets somewhat confused. He thinks that ideas like social capital (discussed in the lecture) and reputation-building, such as the incestuous nature of weblogs and Google's PageRank, are important, and I agree. He thinks this is because they increase social interaction, which is a good in its own right. I think he has it...
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Synchronicity rules OK

Hot on the heels of my earlier question about why it is that geeks all seem to have an instinctive desire for the freedom of information, Eric S. Raymond has proposed a logo for hackers (he uses "hacker" in roughly the same sense that I use the word "geek"). It seems people don't like it much, and I have to say it's intellectually okay -- the pattern from the Game of Life is a good idea -- but it's just not satisfying like Tux and the BSD Daemon are. We don't need a logo, we need a mascot. And mascots need to be cute, and modifiable -- a logo is way too corporate and unchanging. However, the interesting part comes with the accompanying How To Be A Hacker guide (and a more cringeworthily-titled document you won't find today). Specifically, ESR states that a fundamental hacker belief is that Freedom Is Good: Authoritarians thrive on censorship and secrecy. And they distrust voluntary cooperation and information-sharing — they only like `cooperation' that they control. So to behave like a hacker, you have...
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Do yourself a favour: try to kill yourself

Slate is running an absolutely fascinating article about the economics of suicide, full of interesting statistics. Did you know that 3% of Americans have attempted suicide? There are more than 1700 suicide attempts every day. And more bizarre still, an unsuccessful suicide attempt raises your income by 20% compared to those who did not attempt suicide. What the hell?
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Rape accusers exposed, redux

This time an American tabloid has exposed Kobe Bryant's accuser in a rape case that is receiving massive levels of publicity in the USA. Salon is having a great time playing the I-know-something-you-don't-know game that "respectable" news outlets play in these circumstances, in order to hold the attention of readers. Cue the usual arguments about whether or not the accuser's name should be published, right? Except in this case the Globe published not only the accuser's name (in half-inch type on the front cover) but also ran a full-colour picture of her in a sexually suggestive pose (taken long before the accusation). Cue a whole new set of arguments, like: this is why rape victims are afraid to come forward. But Ellen Levine, of Good Housekeeping magazine had this to say: "Why does the man get drawn and quartered while the woman is garbed in a journalistic burka?" she asked. "I'm not saying that I know the answer. Just that I think it's a timely question. And of course the Globe's going to choose a...
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On the whole - with the exception of occasional terrifying statements by Oliver Letwin, the only...

On the whole - with the exception of occasional terrifying statements by Oliver Letwin, the only things they do that get any press or interest from the public have been their bi-weekly attempts to commit televised hari-kiri. -- Tom Coates on the Conservative Party. Hehe.
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