May 21, 2007

Hey guys, I've been to the future.

And in the future I saw the six o’clock news. This was the top story:

“It’s been just over one year and two weeks since the now five-year old Madeleine McCann was abducted from a holiday resort in Algarve.

Portugeuse police insist they are making progress with the case, despite media speculation that they are no closer to finding Madeleine than they were when she first went missing.

Detectives looking into Madeleine’s disappearance have complained that the case is being hampered by the fact that they are obliged to stop for a minute’s silence to think about Madeleine, once every ten minutes. However, these claims have been dismissed by many as ‘callous’, and just more excuses from an inept and incompetent police force.

Meanwhile, Madeleine’s grieving parents, Gerry and Kate, move into a permanent residence in Portugal today. The magnificent golden palace, paid for by the Madeleine Fund, will be their home indefinitely while they await their daughter’s safe return.

Back home, the reward for finding Madeleine has soared to an amazing 10 billion pounds, with literally hundreds of celebrities donating money to the cause. Recent celebrities to offer reward money include TV chef Ainsley Harriot, ex-tennis player turned gameshow host Tim Henman, and the Chuckle Brothers.”

The other news items were a bit less interesting and important, but I think they were vaguely something like this.

“Hundreds die as suicide bombers target newly renovated precinct in Baghdad”

“No survivors in Bolivian aircrash”

“Crime soars in Portugal, as every available police officer is drafted onto the Madeleine case”

And:

“Shares for flower companies at an all time high, thought to be a result of the public’s insistence on leaving flowers for Madeleine on every public monument in Britain until she’s found”


- 46 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. M

    If you can’t feel sympathy for those poor parents and their pain you are letting the paedophiles win. Losing a child is every parents worst nightmare. I can’t believe you would stoop so low as to make jokes about something like that.

    21 May 2007, 19:36

  2. What paedophiles? There is as yet no evidence of what’s happened to her, certainly none of paedophilia. It is certainly a very serious possibility, but it’s not certain. Meanwhile, the whole world seems to have gone mad, turning a personal tragedy into a very distasteful media circus.

    21 May 2007, 19:44

  3. Chris May

    ‘M.’ fails to see the point, I fear.

    Paedophiles don’t “win” any more, or less, whether Luke feels sympathy or not, and it absolutely the case that there are a whole lot more parents losing their children every day, who go unreported and un-supported because their circumstances are less media-friendly.

    21 May 2007, 19:45

  4. The media plays the tune, the public dances a silly jig.

    Incidentally M, I’m currently using up all my compassion on an ugly little black girl that’s gone missing in East London, a case that has been woefully unreported by the mass media.

    Or perhaps I’m wrong, and I should reserve all my sympathy for people who are white and middle class? Let me know!

    21 May 2007, 19:51

  5. Spot on again. I wish I’d bothered to write something about this when it all kicked off, but I was too afraid of re-treading old ground after the prostitute murderer, and now it’s too late. I actually find it extremely offensive that this story still commands a place in the national news – it is not just farcical, but extraordinarily disrespectful to the horrific plights that the media perpetually overlooks because they don’t think they’ll be able to fill football stadiums with banners about them.

    21 May 2007, 20:17

  6. I was just about to comment but James has pretty much said exactly what I think.

    21 May 2007, 20:34

  7. Patrick Telford

    A couple of little excerpts from comments in the facebook group dedicated to ‘raising awareness’ of the situation:

    “[...] At the end of the day what is wrong in this world is not just starvation and suffering in third world countries however bad that is why not try and work on that but i also think that the WORLD wide abuse that children and and anyone else suffers at the hands of a seriouly sick individual needs tackling to peado’s and abusive people be it mental or pysical need abolishing! If you dont agree with that then im sorry but you and anyone else with your views are as just as bad and tis person who took maddie!!!!!!!!”.

    “WHY IS NO1 GETTING A WARRENT TO SEARCH EVERY LOCAL HOUSE?
    IF THEY HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, THEY WILL VOLUNTARILY LET THE POLICE SEARCHIF NOTGET A WARRENT BECAUSE THEY WILL SURE AS HELL HAVE HER!”

    “What a effin sin. Shes so fucking adorable. Whoever took her should burn in the pits of hell and be fed shit for the rest of their natural born life.[...]”

    That’s what warms my heart. The overwhelmingly positive attitude of the public to these cases.

    21 May 2007, 21:20

  8. I was just about to comment but I agree with DWC agreeing with JH and yet would not turn down the opportunity to comment again.

    Another example: 33 die in Virginia Tech high school shooting on the same day over 100 die in Iraq through insurgents. Guess which stayed in the headlines for longer.

    21 May 2007, 21:47

  9. I am Disgusted by the Way The Media Cares More About Cute White British Children Than Foreigners. Thank god that I am intelligent enough to see that this is so unlike those who don’t care about Iraq and Africa (except that I don’t believe in god because I am a middle class liberal) – I’d hate to be one of them.

    21 May 2007, 23:15

  10. I am so confused by the amount of irony in that last statement that I cannot remember what I wanted to say.

    22 May 2007, 00:00

  11. I decided to delete the long comment, as most people have already said that things that I would have added.
    I will point out that hundreds go missing every year and the media picks out very few to highlight. And the ones that are picked follow a very similar pattern.
    What if Madeline had been cross eyed, with buck teeth and eczema?

    M – You’re a prat and miss the point. And while it does not detract from the fact that she’s missing, which is really not very nice at all: 3 year old, two year old, two year old. I’m not a parent, but I wouldn’t leave them on their own and the vast majority of the population would agree with me.

    22 May 2007, 01:43

  12. I am so confused by the amount of irony in that last statement that I cannot remember what I wanted to say.

    It’s the “so unlike those that don’t” which does it.

    22 May 2007, 07:39

  13. “Meanwhile, the whole world seems to have gone mad, turning a personal tragedy into a very distasteful media circus.”
    How accurate. I would also say that while I feel sorry for Madeleine, surely her parents should have taken her, in fact all their children, with them when they left the hotel? It’s plain irresponsible to leave a young child unattended even for a short while, because the moment you turn your back is the moment something happens, which this case has unfortunately proved. So I can only feel limited sympathy for Mr and Mrs McCann, because they should have had the sense not to leave their children alone sleeping by an open window on the ground floor of a hotel while they went out to a restaurant.

    22 May 2007, 11:02

  14. James

    First, the parents were very foolish in leaving the children unattended. Not, in my opinion, because of the risk of paedophiles, which must surely be very low, but because there is no end to the risks that a three year old could generate if unsupervised. Any parent should know that a sleeping child, even if she is one that usually sleeps without waking at a particular time, CAN awake and then cause trouble – or even simply be upset and require her parents’ reassurance. It is not as though they had anything pressing to leave the children for – they had simply gone to dinner. They should have made other arrangements.

    That said, whatever the source of the media interest, the coverage is beneficial to the case as it might assist finding the girl. The parents I suspect have realised their mistake now, to put it mildly, and of course just because they did something silly doesn’t mean I wish them, still less their little daughter, any harm. Maybe the media wouldn’t be as interested as with other children, but that’s not really the point, is it?

    99% of media stories could be answered with “but it’s not as important as Iraq” (or the NHS or Dafur) but that isn’t and never has been how the media works. They tend to give the public what the public wants – supply and demand, after all.

    22 May 2007, 11:34

  15. I know I’m going to regret this…....

    Unless you have children its difficult to comment on the rights and wrongs of leaving them. For the record I have 3 children (twins aged 6 and a 4yr old) and I have left them alone in similar circumstances. Why? Because as a a parent you get very good at taking a risk assessmnet based on the chances of something happening.

    For example – once my children are asleep, it is very rare that they will wake up until morning. It is also very rare that they fall out of bed. If the room is locked and secure you assume it is a safe environment. Based on these factors I, and I know many other parents, would pop to the bar or whatever and monitor via regular visits or baby monitor. Particularly in a resort which has nannies patrolling the corridors doing exactly that!

    If I tried to mitigate every single risk faced by my children on a daily basis, I’d never let them out of the home. Except most accidents happen there!!!! I cannot and will not live every moment of my (and their) lives on a fearing the worst basis. Its very easy to be wise after the event, but parents will do what they feel is right and safe for their children.

    Parenting is incredibly hard and believe me its nice on holiday to pop to the bar for a quiet adult moment. But you only do it once you’re sure you have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure your child is safe.

    22 May 2007, 13:17

  16. Chris May

    Just to pose the counterpoint, I too have 3 children (5,3,and <1), and I wouldn’t consider leaving them (even just the older two) out of earshot. Not,particularly, because I’m worried about them being abducted, but because of the likelihood of one or both of them falling out of bed, being sick, waking up in a panic, having a nightmare, raiding the fridge, or doing any one of the bazillion other troublesome things that they’ve demonstrated themselves able to do after I think they’ve gone to sleep for the night.

    I’d consider going out with a monitor if I had line-of-sight to their room, but other than that, it just seems to me like asking for trouble. I’d be uncomfortable about leaving them locked into a room unless I was very confident of the fire escaping options – hotel fires aren’t exactly uncommon. I’d sooner sit on the balcony with a beer, and save the pub for when I get home.

    22 May 2007, 13:31

  17. The parents shouldn;t have left her unattended but even good parents do silly things sometimes. They don’t deserve to lose their dughter as a consequence.

    However, I have always been uncomfortable with way people get so deeply involved in someone’s grief whom they do not know. I believe it goes much further than just empathy with the parents.

    It turns into a real life soap opera which doesn’t offer any dignity to the situation. I don’t believe those who detest the media spectacle that surrounds child abductions care any less about the plight of the parents or indeed the child.

    In fact I would question the real motives of those who get caught up in the drama.

    22 May 2007, 14:38

  18. James

    In assessing risk, as all of us (especially parents) do continuously, it seems to me that there are three major steps:

    1. Estimate what possible adverse consequences might occur,

    2. Estimate what the chances of each of those consequences are, and

    3. Consider how important it is that the action is pursued at all.

    Crossing the road constitutes a risk. But there’s a distinction in respect of 1 and 2 between crossing on a signal on a normal suburban street, and crossing the M25. Thus, one should only consider the latter if factor (3) was particularly strong, say if you had to save someone who was stranded helpless on one of the lanes. Even then you still wouldn’t do it if you ascertained that 1 and 2 were so strong you’d kill yourself in the process.

    Now to Madeline. There are all manner of things that could fall into step 1 – child falling out of bed, child leaving room and pulling kettle on head, simply child waking up and being distressed. Then of course there’s the risk of abduction. Abduction might be so rare that ordinarily we would discount it when at step 2 of my reasoning. But the other things that might occur would be a lot more probable. Therefore, they should have concluded that they should not leave the children at step 2.

    THEN, however, one reaches step 3 – and this to me is equally conclusive. There was no need to leave their children to go out to dinner whilst on holiday. If they couldn’t find a trustworthy babysitter, then tough for them – they should have stayed in. I can say with 100% certainty that my parents never left their three children at that age on their own whilst on holiday under similar circumstances. Ever. It might make for less interesting meals, but that’s one of the burdens of having children.

    As for the media interest, the family asked for it, after all, to heighten the chances of the girl being spotted or information coming forward.

    22 May 2007, 15:51

  19. “There was no need to leave their children to go out to dinner whilst on holiday.”

    Maybe not, but I don’t see the relevance. Child has now been abducted. Hardly benefits anyone to say ‘you shouldn’t have left her on her own’. And I doubt most parents are as anal as you are with doing a risk assessment every time they do something.

    Whether the parents could have been more careful or not has no bearing on how I react to the abduction of a child.

    Whether or not the family asked for the interest I still question the motives of those who get overly emtoionally involved in what has turned out to be a real life soap opera.

    22 May 2007, 17:10

  20. James

    1. I never said it did have any bearing on the abduction – as if the parents doing something foolish could possibly affect the morality of the situation, which is that they and their daughter have been victims of a shocking crime. There is a common misconception one finds in public debate between being morally wrong and being foolish. Leaving your windows and doors open would be silly, but the moral fault for an ensuing burglary would be that of the burglar alone.

    2. What I was doing was spelling out a reasoning process that people do subconsciously – I wasn’t suggesting they do it in an ‘anal’ fashion. Call me ‘anal’ if it makes you feel better, but schoolground behaviour hardly enhances the validity of your comment. The fact is that many (including others on this thread) have raised the issue of the parents’ actions – as a quite separate question from other aspects of this case.

    “Whether or not the family asked for the interest I still question the motives of those who get overly emtoionally involved in what has turned out to be a real life soap opera.”

    That has no bearing on how others react either. Who are these people whose motives you wish to question?

    22 May 2007, 19:19

  21. Here we go…..

    ‘I never said it did have any bearing on the abduction…What I was doing was spelling out a reasoning process that people do subconsciously’

    And why feel the need to spell out people’s subconscious reasoning? Are you teaching us something? Are we not aware of the reasoning process so we need it spelling out to us? Or do you see it as an opportunity to show us how great your analysis is. Such arrogance. What on earth has this got to do with anything?

    “call me ‘anal’ if it makes you feel better, but schoolground behaviour hardly enhances the validity of your comment.”

    I have treated your irrelevant comment with flippancy. If you think that is immature then so be it. I am not attempting to put any ‘validity’ to my comment. Where’s the argument here? I don’t have anything to prove or any argument to make.

    Perhaps only ever showing your forename on these blogs is down to a sense of inadequacy that you should have left behind in the playground?

    This is a blog on an abducted child not an academic exercise. Grow-up son.

    22 May 2007, 22:15

  22. Coolio – a ruckus that I wasn’t anything to do with. There’s a first.

    Mr E – I think it’s a little unfair to label James as arrogant simply because he decided to elaborate on a point made earlier. “Teaching us something.” – Well I think most of the views and statements made here are things we knew anyway, so really what’s the point of any of this?

    I think that raising awarenes on how she went missing is important, as it’s more than likely that even fewer parents will leave their children unattended now. At least for the near future anyway.
    Intersting point – I can’t think of any body I know that had parents that would leave them on their own in their own house before the age of about 10. Those three children had a combined age of only 7…

    22 May 2007, 23:48

  23. don’t leave your kids unattended. Simple as. It’s just poor practice, Chronicle, if you’re actually telling the truth. I think you would fail your own “test before you’re allowed to have kids” thing. James and Gavin have the correct prudent line.

    24 May 2007, 01:34

  24. James

    Four others have commented on the same issue, so it was not irrelevant. Their views aren’t all the same, either (Mr Chronicle taking the minority line).

    The rest of Mr Ezekiel’s post doesn’t merit any further comment.

    24 May 2007, 09:50

  25. They have ‘James’ but they haven’t descended into a rediculously analysios of the thought processes one goes through when looking after their kids. I am sure kids are going to have a bundle of laughs with their father.

    “The rest of Mr Ezekiel’s post doesn’t merit any further comment”

    Is that not a comment James with no surname?

    And why do you have a problem with using your surname? I am not used to ‘men’ conversing without identifying themselves. Are you a famous person who doesn’t want his status to affect perception of his comments? Just curious.

    24 May 2007, 10:47

  26. Sorry, that was meant to read, ‘I am sure your kids’ as well as ’ a ridiculous analysis’....can’t edit on this thing

    24 May 2007, 10:49

  27. “If I tried to mitigate every single risk faced by my children on a daily basis, I’d never let them out of the home. Except most accidents happen there!!!! I cannot and will not live every moment of my (and their) lives on a fearing the worst basis. Its very easy to be wise after the event, but parents will do what they feel is right and safe for their children.”

    Although I don’t agree with leaving very young children unnattended even for short periods of time (it is actually unlawful in this country to do so) your comment raises an important, although somewhat off-topic, point. That is how over-protective parents are these days with their children.

    In order for children to grow (as opposed to being manufactured) they need to be given the opportunity to explore the world with increasing freedom as they get older. However many parents live in such fear of their children being abducted they deprive them of the freedoms that I believe are essential for development.

    24 May 2007, 11:05

  28. David – actually it is perfectly legal to leave your children alone: If you leave them and nothing happens – no law broken.
    What does the law say?
    English law does not specify an age when a child can be left unsupervised. However, parents may be prosecuted for neglect if they leave a child alone
    “in a manner which is likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health”
    (Children and Young Persons Act, 1933).

    Vincent – for the record, I can think of two instances recently where they were alone – we were close by and monitoring with baby listener on each occassion. Perfectly safely IMHO. At least as safe as being in your own house http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/6197718.stm

    24 May 2007, 11:18

  29. Just to be clear here – as I think few people have missed the point. I would not leave my kids for a moment if I was concerned that they regularly – fell out of bed, woke up, had nightmares, raided the fridge, stuck their heads down the loo, drank bleach, looked up porn on the web, called Australia, set fire to the house etc.

    But they don’t – once they are asleep that’s it for the night. Therefore I would/have left them when safe to do so with checks made by baby monitor. I may be in a minority here, but in other debates on the subject (where most people have children) the result is 50:50.

    24 May 2007, 11:26

  30. “if you leave them and nothing happens – no law broken”

    You are right to say there is no age specifically at which children can be left unnattended but neglect happens not when things go pear shaped but when the risk is taken by leaving the child unnattended. It is just the authorities aren’t aware of the potential for an offence until soemthing bad happens.

    Using a baby monitor, is not, in my view, leaving a child unnattended. As is someone patrolling the building they are in. Should anything unusual happen you will be made aware soon enough.

    24 May 2007, 12:12

  31. Can I just point out that ‘James’ is not me? Can I? Oh go on, let me.

    25 May 2007, 16:44

  32. James

    He certainly isn’t.

    Other than continuing to be riled by my initial shot across his bows, I’m not really sure what David E’s on about.

    1. First he gets annoyed with me for being” irrelevant” (I was responding to others, so certainly wasn’t being irrelevant)

    2. Then he gets annoyed with me for inferring that a remark of his was immature (it was).

    3. Then he makes a completely irrelevant personal attack (what does my surname have to do with the validity or otherwise of my comments? If he’s desperate to know it’s easy to find out. I thought comments can be judged independently of the person making them. In any event, how do we know David Ezekiel’s his real name? Would anyone care?) as well as yet more immaturity (“I am sure kids are going to have a bundle of laughs with their father” – well seems like you are something of a kid yourself with that level of remark)

    4. Then he tries to be smart (this maturity things subjective I suppose): “The rest of Mr Ezekiel’s post doesn’t merit any further comment”

    Is that not a comment James with no surname?”

    Further comment, but yes really funny all the same.

    5. Then he posts a couple of times on the very thing which he originally claimed was irrelevant – the wisdom or otherwise of the parents’ actions in leaving the children.

    Well, whatever. That was something I was mildly interested in, but I seem to be in danger of stooping to his level. Oddly enough his conclusions on such matters of substance he’s posted on aren’t dissimilar to mine. But I can’t be bothered with any more of this. You carry on amongst yourselves though.

    25 May 2007, 20:46

  33. Other than continuing to be riled by my initial shot across his bows, I’m not really sure what David E’s on about.
    Rest assured ‘James’ you are deluded if you think you rile me. You are not significant enough to do so (not an insult, a fact). It is unfortunate the text doesn’t convey this. But I would add my initial assessment of your arrogance has been substantiated to some extent by this delusion.

    1. First he gets annoyed with me for being” irrelevant” (I was responding to others, so certainly wasn’t being irrelevant)

    I reitierate, I wasn’t annoyed. The academic analysis was irrelevant ‘James’ not the subject matter. You seem to struggle with this so I will spell it out. You are clearly an intelligent and well educated young man but not every subject up for discussion can be distilled to an analysis such as the one you applied to the problem.

    2. Then he gets annoyed with me for inferring that a remark of his was immature (it was).

    If you can step down from your ivory tower for one moment you might comprehend what I am saying. Your analysis was ‘anal’. I don’t believe it innapropriate to use this expression. If you see it as immature than I suggest it shows I am able to express myself on more levels than you are and when you develop this ability (and I sincerely hope you do) then you will able to more effectively comment on real life discussions such as the one we are referring to. Not every problem can be distilled into a purely academic analysis.

    3. Then he makes a completely irrelevant personal attack (what does my surname have to do with the validity or otherwise of my comments? If he’s desperate to know it’s easy to find out. I thought comments can be judged independently of the person making them.

    No more of a personal attack than saying I am immature. Maybe your ‘attack’ is a product of your intellect and education so can be passed off as something other than an ‘attack’, whereas my comment was just a good old fashioned ‘personal attack’. I don’t buy it James.

    As for not revealing your surname I seen no purpose in it unless you are well known and we would have pre-conceived ideas that might distort our perception of your comments. As you haven’t said you are well known and as we all know that ‘James’ is usually the same person because you appear to be the only person using the tag and the construct of your posts are quite notable then I see no benefit from it.

    It leads me to believe that you are a confident young man behind a PC or with your head in your textbooks but perhaps socially inept. You are very good at academic analysis but, in my view, lack the rounded character that is useful for the subject matter up for discussion. If you take that as an insult them so be it. It is an observation.

    (“I am sure kids are going to have a bundle of laughs with their father” – well seems like you are something of a kid yourself with that level of remark) Maybe ‘James’ but your response merely reinforces my view that you are unable to have anything other than an intellectual take on the subject.

    _4. Then he tries to be smart (this maturity things subjective I suppose): “The rest of Mr Ezekiel’s post doesn’t merit any further comment”

    Is that not a comment James with no surname?”

    Further comment, but yes really funny all the same._

    And of course you, by using Julian’s and my surname you weren’t attempting to be funny were you? Again perhaps your attempts at ‘smart’ comments don’t count but mine do.

    25 May 2007, 22:33

  34. 5. Then he posts a couple of times on the very thing which he originally claimed was irrelevant – the wisdom or otherwise of the parents’ actions in leaving the children.

    I never claimed it was irrelevant. If you care to read what I said you may begin to comprehend that I claimed your ANALysis was irrelevant. You continue to make my point for me James.

    By way of exmaple you said Julian is in the minority. The claim by parents as to whether or not they leave their kids ‘unnattended’ is actually split 50/50. Chris and Julian.

    The claim by others that they wouldn’t do so if they had kids appears to be unanimous.

    I would suggest that what we do and what we say we would do are substantially different. The former reflects real life and I further suggest that real life experience helps to compliment the ability to make a purely academic analysis of the subject matter.

    Well, whatever. That was something I was mildly interested in, but I seem to be in danger of stooping to his level. Oddly enough his conclusions on such matters of substance he’s posted on aren’t dissimilar to mine. But I can’t be bothered with any more of this. You carry on amongst yourselves though.

    Of course James; I exist on a level below you. A further example of your arrogance. There is more to life than intellectual posturing, hopefully when you become a father you will lighten up a bit and learn this. In the meantime you can delude yourself that you are in some way better than me if it makes you feel better or more confident that others will believe the assertion.

    25 May 2007, 22:33

  35. James

    A lengthy response (full of ad hominem remarks) indeed for someone who claims not to be riled by my earlier comments … especially considering I’ve posted before as have many others who’ve used first names or psuedonames etc. You have latched onto that as an immature attempt to retaliate for my inference that you said something immature.

    Your biographical assumptions are amusingly inaccurate, your cod psychology hilarious. Still, I’ve been called worse. After all, who wouldn’t want to be young, articulate and with an expanding social circle and children to look forward to?

    27 May 2007, 09:57

  36. “A lengthy response (full of ad hominem remarks) indeed for someone who claims not to be riled by my earlier comments … ”
    Not riled at all James. I find this amusing. So do you have a surname? If so what is the reason for not using it? (no need to use Latin, English will do).

    “especially considering I’ve posted before as have many others who’ve used first names or psuedonames etc. You have latched onto that as an immature attempt to retaliate for my inference that you said something immature.”

    And of course using the word immature twice in one sentence gives it validity does it not? The difference is no-one else is prolific as you on these blogs without actually saying who they are. So what is your surname James? Or at least why do you not want to admit it? I am intrigued.

    “Your biographical assumptions are amusingly inaccurate, your cod psychology hilarious.”

    I reckon they’re closer to the truth than you like to admit. You are soically inadequate but intellectually able. Your response demonstrates this. Unless you are genuinely deluded into thinking intelligence and a good education are the making of a man. Then of course, you are more of a man than I will ever be.

    “Still, I’ve been called worse. After all, who wouldn’t want to be young, articulate and with an expanding social circle and children to look forward to?”

    I am sure that is what you aspire to be James but I bet it’s not working out as well as you’d like is it?
    In order to have children you need to find someone willing to have sex with you. I am sure there is someone out there impressed with your sense of superiority and obsession with intellectual analysis. Perhaps she has been brought up in the same vein as you have.

    As I said, your kids, assuming you find that elusive woman James, are going to have a great childhood with you as their father. No doubt they will go to a good school and get a good job but as individuals what are their chances of development when their father is so anal.

    Broaden your outlook on life young man. Lose that sense of superiority and you may do well. In any even, back to my original point, your capacity to comment meaningfully on the subject of this blog will be vastly improved.

    For the sake of repetiton. Not every subject of discussion can be distilled into an academic analysis. You haven’t demonstrated from your responses any ability whatsoever outside this limited skill of yours.

    27 May 2007, 18:55

  37. Perko

    I don’t think there’s any need to get personal, it’s very unpleasant and detracts from the discussion.

    28 May 2007, 01:04

  38. Let’s leave aside the ‘I’m finding this argument funny, but actually to everyone else it’s quite obviously that I’m taking it very seriously’ personal deconstructions, and settle this like real men.

    What I’m saying is, I think David and James should have a fight. I’m prepared to regard whoever kicks the other one’s head in best as the undisputed winner of the argument, since I don’t really even know what you’re arguing about anymore.

    29 May 2007, 02:12

  39. Neither do I to be honest. I think you can be serious about how you amuse yourself so long as you don’t believe people actually think you win or lose in these situations. And I don’t.

    29 May 2007, 17:49

  40. Is this the right entry for an argument?

    30 May 2007, 14:38

  41. James

    No it isn’t. But DE seems to be spending a lot of time on it. He really is off on a fantasy now, though still proving amusing with his very wide of the mark indeed assumptions. If you think I only write academic analyses then click on the link on my name and see for yourself (actually I mostly do on the blog, as it happens!). I don’t splash biographical details all over it but a modicum of effort will find the answers to (i) my full name, (ii) how many children I have (1 + 1 on the way) and even (iii) a hint about my love life (there’s something of an answer lurking in (ii)). Funnily enough a couple of people had just such a squabble about names real and unreal here: http://cricketandcivilisation.blogspot.com/2007/01/still-more-on-discrimination.html

    But someone should really call a halt to this. Accordingly, I promise not to blog on this entry again (I know I did before, but still). DE can have the last say that he seems keen on.

    Anyway, I recommend that everyone here goes and argues with Fidel Castro. Neither DE’s fantasy biography of me nor the actual one is as interesting as Fidel’s life story, I’ll be the first to admit. An article of his has appeared on the Guardian’s website here: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/fidel_castro/2007/05/ideas_cannot_be_killed.html

    31 May 2007, 11:27

  42. Felicity

    No matter how hard I try I can’t understand the rules of cricket and I don’t think I ever will, it seems to go at such a slow pace I get completely bored with it.

    31 May 2007, 14:48

  43. James

    By the way DE, just a tip, chanting ‘I’m sexier than you! I’m sexier than you!’ which is about all your recent posts amount to, tends to be the stuff of 14 year old schoolkids. Might work in your circles, of course, in which case good luck to you.

    Hi Felicity, to us devoted fans the byzantine nature of the laws of cricket are part of its appeal … :-) Each to his or her own, of course, personally I can’t be bothered with football – the season lasts so long it becomes dull and I really can’t stand the way they fake injuries all the time to try and get penalties. Cricket at the international level is a much more dangerous sport, yet the players do the reverse – always try not to show they’ve been hurt by the ball or play it down (which happened a lot during Ashes ‘05). Same with rugby and rugby league.

    31 May 2007, 16:55

  44. In fairness, I’m a lot sexier than all of you. Just, y’know, for the record.

    31 May 2007, 17:21

  45. So James, what is your surname and if you are so keen not to disclose it would you like to explain the real reason for not doing so?

    Quote James: “No it isn’t. But DE seems to be spending a lot of time on it. He really is off on a fantasy now, though still proving amusing with his very wide of the mark indeed assumptions.”

    Not assumptions, James ‘i’m not confident enough to enter into a discussion as person’ whatever your surname is.

    My assessment of you is based on what you have written here, elsewhere and the thick end of 40 years experience in dealing with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. Of course; one day you may grow up out of your sheltered academic existence and learn this. Maybe you wont. But I think your responses are the product of bravado and perhaps my comments have hit a nerve. That sensitivity seems consistent with your lack of confidence in dealing with people openly.

    “But someone should really call a halt to this. Accordingly, I promise not to blog on this entry again (I know I did before, but still). DE can have the last say that he seems keen on.”

    I am sure I will have the last word but think back young man. It was your over-reaction to the use of the word ‘anal’ that seems to have started all this. ‘Anal’ is a perfectly acceptable word for a discussion of this nature but you can’t grasp that in your narrow academic mind of yours.

    As for me being sexier than you I am sure that is the case in real life but what you have failed so clearly to comprehend or perhaps admit is that you can’t use purely your intellect to overcome criticism of your views.

    And going back to my original point the subject matter up for discussion, in my view, requires a more rounded approach than a simple academic anal ysis.

    02 Jun 2007, 14:53

  46. crash course

    I think your post and the subsequent comments illustrates that we care more about one British girl who is missing than the thousands of equally innocent people (including children but the news never mentions them and never tells us their names) being killed in Iraq.

    20 Sep 2007, 13:15


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