Maccabeen there done that

You might think I’ve plumbed the very depths of Channukah-based humour but we’ll see. If you want to be updated when I’m next back, put your email address into the box on the right.

It’s that time of year again; let there be light, oil, latkes and presents. And if you’re having trouble finding decent, why not browse this year’s hot-off-the-press-edition catalogue from GABRIEL FESTIVE INNOVATIONS!

gabriel festive innovations 2014 masthead

Other Channukoid news

JC comparisonAnd on which point…


Parliamentary news

The Penny Drops; or, One Major Cock-up
The Penny Drops; or, One Major Cock-up

Portsmouth MP Penny Mourdaunt had a bet on to try and slip the word ‘cock’ as many times as possible into a speech to the House of Commons, while David Cameron had a similar bet on to try and slip as many stupid policies into a five-year term as Prime Minister.

Gosh, how childish.

But she’s not the only one: Nigel Mills MP (Amber Valley, Con.) was filmed playing ‘Candy Crush’ on his iPad for two and a half hours while he was at a meeting of the Work & Pensions Select Committee. Mills admitted that he “shouldn’t do it […] I shall try not to do it in future.”

He’ll try not to sit in a meeting, get out his iPad, switch it on, select ‘Candy Crush’ and sit playing it for extended periods of time. He’ll make an effort not to do that.

I think it’s heartwarming how committed Nigel Mills is to conquering his demons.

The Sussex trade

badger tribunal caseThe case of University of Sussex v Information Commissioner and Webber (EA/2014/0148) continues apace. Last week Sussex student newspaper The dear old Badger turned me into an infographic [left]; and yesterday they published an article about my Guardian Runner-up Student Reporter of the Year award for uncovering Lapelgate. (Slightly sad to be so old that I get invited to share my war stories with a young cub reporter.)

Interestingly Sussex University itself hasn’t yet found time to report that one of their alumni won a prestigious journalism award like they did when someone won last year. They managed to report someone else winning one though so I guess it must just be an oversight.

Anyway, reading through the legal bundles with which they’ve filled my front room, one gets a pretty rosy picture of how lovely they are. They began every one of their letters over the legal case with the sentence:

The University would again stress its ongoing commitment to the Freedom of Information regime and the openness and transparency that it promotes.

Well, that seems jolly good of them! They sounded almost hurt that I’d made a formal FOI request rather than simply asking them for the information I wanted man-to-man.

freedomofinformation[1]However, this “ongoing commitment” to FOI apparently developed fairly recently (or is just completely contrived; I guess that’s a theoretical possiblity) because in 2012 the University of Sussex made the following submission to a Parliamentary select committee:

On the whole it [the Freedom of Information Act] is not used for the purposes of encouraging transparency […] It can be deliberately used for time-wasting or mischievous questions […] We suggest that the FOIA enquirer should be required to present a specific public-interest rationale for each request, which the receiving body should be able to challenge.

It’s lovely when public authorities are so committed to transparency that they want to retaint for themselves the power to decide whether or not a request for information is worthwhile. “You want to know about our Board’s three-month fully-funded trip to Tahiti? No, I don’t think you need bother your pretty little head with that.”

Lusm transparency.


And a happy new year

Gabrielquotes Plc. wishes all of its readers a joyful winter season, Limmud, new year etc., and we’ll be back presently with more tempting tidbits.

See ya then!


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