Wednesday, 20 January 2016

I need a haircut - but I might leave it for a bit just so I can get a "man braid"

I'm thinking maybe they should retitle it the "Death Wish" for the UK and the "Major League Asshole" for the US.


  1. Look, we all go through a difficult phase. It's clearly a school photo from the 60's and the link with the one at the top of the blog is obvious to all. When did you decide the earring was not a good look for you?

  2. Kevin Pietersen goes transgender and gets a part in "Rheingold" as one of the maidens?

  3. Cooler - Than - Thou - Detachment21 January 2016 at 09:51

    This braided creature looks "somewhat less than gruntled" as Plum famously wrote about an uncooperative Aunt.

    Perhaps Mark Steyn's question has relevance here :
    "How do you make a fruit cordial?"

    "Give him a huge smile."

  4. Shami Chakrabarti [ret.]22 January 2016 at 16:53

    On behalf of the LGBT and the BLT communities, Stonewall, Peter Tatchell and Mark Oaten I forgive you for your fruit cordial reference. If you are born as bent as a butcher's hook then it is not a matter for levity.

  5. Cooler - Than - Thou - Detachment22 January 2016 at 21:48

    The bracketed reference to 'retarded' seems a little harsh.

  6. Honestly! I'm sensing a lack of openness, inclusiveness, tolerance and appropriateness in these comments. And a deplorable unwillingness to celebrate and embrace alternative lifestyles. I think we should all try to be a little less judgmental - after all, you wouldn't catch liberals judging conservative heterosexuals in this sort of fashion. Would you?

    1. I agree.

      These people wouldn't survive a moment at the BBC ...

      ... nor in the civil service.

      Sir Jeremy Heywood, man-braided Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, published his month-by-month review of calendar 2015 on Twitter:

      Jan – @dawes_melanie announced as the new Civil Service Gender Champion

      March – the CS Talent Plan is refreshed to help under-represented groups succeed in #ourcivilservice

      May - new CS disability champ @PhilipRutnam sets out plans to increase support for disabled colleagues

      July - Sue Owen appointed #ourcivilservice Diversity Champion & Jon Thompson Social Mobility Champion

      July – latest survey shows progress in increasing the number of women appointed to public boards

      September – Latest figures show #ourcivilservice has hired record number of ethnic minority graduates

      Sep – 4 expert diversity advisers appointed to support #ourcivilservice to become more representative

      October – Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Awards recognise those who #ChampionDifference

  7. Sir Robert Armstrong27 January 2016 at 11:57

    Thank you , David Moss , for not being economical with the truth.

    1. Sir Robert, a pleasure to hear from you as always, but your generosity is misplaced, I am deeply guilty of economy with the truth. Moments after posting my hymn to Sir Jeremy, Melanie Dawes (qv) published Mentoring and its importance for diversity and inclusion on the civil service blog and, although it cries out for sharing, I couldn't face it. Not man enough.

      "There is a buzz and an optimism about diversity and inclusion", says Ms Dawes. How profligately true.

      "We have published an ambitious new plan and all permanent secretaries have diversity objectives. But even more important than the words is the action we are now seeing on so many fronts ... face-to-face unconscious bias training, now the norm for leaders and managers ...". I am even now seeking out an experienced mentor (with no conscious disrespect to inexperienced mentors).

      I am hoping that Sue Owen herself (also qv) may agree to lead me out of darkness. She is incredibly busy in her rôle as Civil Service LGB&TI Champion but she is possessed of immense energy and compassion. It must be all that buzz and optimism. She even somehow fits in being permanent secretary at the Department for Culture Media and Sport. Otherwise, Melanie Dawes, permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, is the obvious choice ...

      ... unless perhaps I approach Sarah Rapson, Director General, UK Visas and Immigration. She can't have much to do at the moment. And she's the Gender and Home Office Women Board level Champion. Come to think of it, it's marvellous that there is so much choice. So much diversity. Helping us all to think the same.

  8. Sir Robert Armstrong29 January 2016 at 06:07

    Thank you, DM, for the further and better particulars.

    I suppose this pretty pass has been reached because the Civil Service has , tragically, lost control of the appointments process and the PM , a man who resigned from White's because of the non - admittance of women members, now has the final say.

  9. We can declare a vintage.

    In that short feline passage, Baron Armstrong of Ilminster has surpassed himself with the equally hilarious suggestions that the Civil Service has lost any power and that the Prime Minister has gained any.

    That's for private consumption, at White's.

    For hoi polloi, the immaculate public servant's suggestions of a dutiful public service under uncontested political control are equally useful.

    Something there for everyone. What do we call that? "Economical".

    If the Civil Service comes to a "pretty" pass, or even a man-braided one, it deals with it. Survival. "Refreshing" the talent plan is an obvious and easy response. And correct.

  10. Sir Robert Armstrong29 January 2016 at 22:57

    During Mrs Thatcher's Premiership the Civil Service lost one hundred and seventyone thousand jobs.

    As Lord John Russell is said to have remarked when informed of the Irish Potato Famine's considerable death toll, " I fear that is hardly enough."

  11. "Press release: PM: Time to tear down the barriers at elite universities"

    That's what it said in my inbox at 00:18.

    Apparently "the Prime Minister today announced plans to require universities to publish statistical data on admissions by gender, class and ethnic background".

    It's not clear that making that announcement amounts to tearing down any barriers, let alone elite ones.

    It is clear that the notion of merit has been replaced with a mutilated form of the notion of representation.

    1. How divisive and exclusionist! What about statistical data on the percentage of illiterate morons studying at each university? We'll never achieve true equality until really stupid people are performing brain surgery, designing rockets and running the economy (oh, hang on - I think we've got the last one covered).

    2. The Prime Minister is quoted in the press release as saying "too many in our country are held back – often invisibly – because of their background or the colour of their skin".

      You can have confidence in any surgeon, for example, if you only check first that he isn't being held back invisibly.

      Our Business Secretary, incidentally, is also quoted: "Only by working together can we tear down barriers and create a genuine level playing field for those with the potential to study at our world-class universities". Apply the same logic to the selection of our test cricket team and ...

    3. Sometimes I wonder about the Prime Minister's alleged PR skills.

      The Sunday Telegraph newspaper chose not to cover his press release at all, which can't have been his intention.

      And the Sunday Times newspaper splashed with ‘A young black man is more likely to be in prison than at a top university’, which is begging to be misquoted at the next general election.

    4. I've never understood the "being held back invisibly" argument (except for when it's being done by a defender in football, of course). Is Cameron seriously suggesting that the top universities are run by old white racist toffs determined to fail black candidates? Does he honestly not realise that our best universities are almost entirely run by left-liberal compassion-mongers who'd be delighted to let in more ethnic candidates? And, if he's so damned worried about a lack of "representation", why doesn't he simply impose black election candidates on his local Conservative Party associations? You'd think the amount of blacks in the prison population was somehow the fault of Oxbridge academics. What the bloody hell is the silly sausage playing at? Tiresome man.

  12. Proud to be half way up to the crossbar

    I've never understood the "being held back invisibly" argument (except for when it's being done by a defender in football, of course).

    I, personally, am being invisibly held back. Only when I am keeping goal for the England team will we have won the equality the Prime Minister seeks in his Sunday Times article.

    "Last month I spoke about the subtle social inequality that can hold people back. It can start with poor parenting, and that damage can then be compounded in a poor or coasting school", says the Prime Minister.

    The obvious solution?

    "Today I can announce a further step. We intend to legislate to place a new transparency duty on universities to publish data routinely about the people who apply to their institution, the subject they want to study, and who gets offered a place" + more transparency for the police, the criminal justice system in general and the armed forces.

  13. "Today I can announce" is an admission that he has never come across the term 'bathos' or Horace Odes II. "Parturient montes et nascetur ridiculus mus".

    The 'can' is particularly pompous and deserves to be kicked down the road, as if it is only forces (no doubt of conservatism) outside the control of the most powerful man in the country that have held him back for years from his long and fiercely held ambition to introduce legislation to rip the cloak off the imperfections of the universities and replace it with a transparent veil. He has obviously not worked out that in the crowded penalty area of life, a transparent veil renders you more likely to be invisibly held back than if you wear a light mac. Or indeed a dark brown overcoat.