Safe for now

Leveson or no, this blog will live to see another day. To receive automatic email updates of this other day, leave your address in the box on the right.

I’ve had sleepless nights worrying about the possibility of being sued under the new Leveson plans. Not that this blog would offend many people, of course, but were I to end up in court I could end up with a legal bill so large that even the Daily Mail would hide behind the Human Rights Act to avoid it, undignified as they must find that position. Only this month, they quoted an MP describing human rights as “frivolous nonsense.”

The annual 'Gabrielquotes' staff photos shows that we have fewer than 10 employees.
The annual ‘Gabrielquotes’ staff photos shows that we have fewer than 10 employees.

However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A new provision in the Royal Charter will exclude small-scale “micro-blogs” from its bailiwick, meaning that “micro bloggers” (even tall ones) will not be forced to sign up to a revamped Press Complaints Commission.

Micro-blogs are defined as “those with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover below £2m.” So I’m safe for now.


And did those feet…

The same number of police as were called to Sussex University a few weeks ago
The ‘boys in blue’ go undercover by wearing yellow.

Just as the Cambridge May Ball takes place a month later, in June, the English Defence League’s so-called March for England doesn’t take place in March but in April.

A supremacy of fascists held their St George’s Day rally along the seafront, in an attempt to push back the droves of illegal immigrants who swim over from Europe every hour.

The event received the oxygen of publicity thanks to a similar number of anti-fascists, who, by holding their regular counterdemonstration, also helpfully provided the EDL with the incentive to do it again next year. Symbiotic extremism: trebles all round.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

The new one-stop online shop for central government,, this week won a design award and has generally been hailed as an exciting new step into the future.

For instance, ministers are aiming for over 70% of benefit claims to be made paperlessly, via the Internet portal, within a few years.

BrokenlaptopHowever, it may be some time before even the first claim is made.

“This service does not work properly with Macs or other Unix-based systems,” warns the small-print.

“You are also likely to have problems if you use Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10, Windows Vista or a smartphone,” it adds.

And the grand finale: “There is also a high risk that if you use Chrome, Safari or Firefox, the service will prevent you from successfully completing or submitting the form.”

So perhaps the ‘Design of the Year’ award should be withdrawn until the website is accessible to the 99.63% of the population that have chosen not to use unsecure, outdated browsers from before 2006.

Everybody ought to have a chance to feed a camel…

Every little child is wild about that mammal...
Every little child is wild about that mammal…

So the song says. But should everybody have the chance to feed off a camel?

That’s the question being asked after the government of Mali has had to present French president François Hollande with a second camel, after the first camel which he received as an official gift was eaten by a family in Timbuktu. (Could happen to anyone. -Ed.)

The Guardian reports, “France’s defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was tasked with giving Hollande regular updates on the camel’s status and had to inform him of its death last week.”

According to a Malian spokesperson, “The new camel will be sent to Paris,” where it will hopefully be safe from locals’ stomachs given that it is not a frog, snail or horse.

Wot no panda car?

Katy Bourne has a corrupt colleague. Richard Rhodes, former churchwarden and first Police & Crime Commissioner for Cumbria (Conservative), has been a bit naughty.

I describe his actions – claiming £700 of taxpayer-funded expenses for the use of a chauffeur – as ‘naughty’ rather than ‘staggeringly corrupt’ because it wasn’t really Mr Rhodes’ fault: apparently he “failed to check the cost of the car and driver before using it,” so he is naturally completely blameless in this regard.

Richard Rhodes: taking the taxpayer for a ride?
Richard Rhodes: taking the taxpayer for a ride?

Once the story came to light, he agreed to repay the money. He’s also agreed that in future he won’t hire chauffeurs but will instead use his official £23k taxpayer-funded Hyundai as, erm, a car.

But as well as mending his ways (or at least putting them back together with duct tape, intending to mend them properly later) Rhodes has traced the leak of his expenses and had the three responsible staff members arrested.

He had them arrested for passing information to a local newspaper… even though he was actually legally required to publish it on his official website anyway.

Still: at least five or six people voted for him in November, so he’s every democratic right to do that sort of thing. Maybe he’ll hire a racist-homophobe too? Or, worse, a Tory?

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions“For those who were in my lecture on Tuesday, I’m sorry. It was crap. I bored myself. Also, there won’t be a lecture next week: there’s nothing more I want to say. I’ve got nothing more to give!”

“I want to write my essay about Congressional committees.” / Professor: “Really? People don’t usually write about that, because it sounds so boring.”

“You’ll need me to approve your essay titles, and as a matter of policy I won’t be around in the week before the deadline.” / Student: “Really?” / “No, not really, it was a bluff. I won’t be away. I have nowhere to go.”

Welcoming all web browsers…
In tonight’s episode, Maria Miller MP kindly recognised that I earn less than £2m a year. The Department for Work and Pensions made it really, really difficult to claim benefits: fancy that! The Malian government got the hump. Richard Rhodes had a driving ambition. This was an Gabrielquotes production

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