Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bob Diamond, CEO of Barclays: Sociopath

Sociopathy, or Anti-Social/Dissocial Personality Disorder is loosely defined but is described by the World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association as including the following behavourial indications -

Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
Deception, repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
Irritability and aggressiveness;
Reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
Consistent irresponsibility, repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
Lack of remorse, incapacity to experience guilt being indifferent to or rationalising having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
Prone to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalisations, for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.
(Basically, you could say that the individual lacks a conscience.)

If someone exhibits three or more of these characteristics then further clinical examination would follow to establish the level of sociopathy present. There is apparently a genetic element so investigations would have to be made into family background too. It cannot be 'cured' but treatment with psychoactive drugs and cognitive therapy can succesfully manage the condition.

In the time since he's been in the public eye i.e. since the banking crisis of 2007/ 2008 and up to date, Bob Diamond has shown a lack of remorse, callous unconcern for others, deception, irritability and aggressiveness, consistent irresponsibility, an incapacity to experience guilt, and has tended to blame others for his dysfunctional behaviour. I reckon this makes him a suitable case for further investigation at least, and if his employers at Barclays Bank had any sense of compassion they would put him on extended sick leave. If he or his employers deny that Mr Diamond is suffering from this condition then we must conclude that his anti-social behaviour is deliberate, and despite his conscience, in which case he should be fired and investigated for fraud.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

I Love Jeremy Paxman

Sir Gideon Osborne's latest about-turn, postponing the rise in fuel duty despite previously insisting it was essential, was discussed on BBC2's Newsnight programme alongside a report on Sir Gideon's penchant for changing his mind and generalised inconsistency. At the end of the piece The Blessed Jeremy Paxman interviewed Chloe Smith MP who is apparently the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. It was excrutiatingly embarassing for Smith who was clearly out of her depth as well as simply ignorant. Paxman was on top form, ripping the the wretched woman to shreds. I like the bit where he says to her "Is this some kind of joke?" but I think he is being a bit of a bully when he asks "Are you incompetent?"
Incidentally, Smith studied English Literature at University and worked briefly as a 'management consultant'. Splendid qualifications for the job of Economic Secretary! (Paxman also studied English but then he's a journalist and broadcaster so that kind of follows.)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Helix Pomatia Apprehended In Flagrante Delicto

Ugh. Our garden has been under attack from snails (helix pomatia) once again. These two little blighters were discovered this morning lying engorged after sating their guzzling appetites on a pot containing three young Dahlias. Judgment has been swift and certain.
My preferrred option is to deal with these pests organically i.e. throw them over the hedge at the back into the road where they can take their chances with a passing bus or joyrider. But their invasiveness has been such that we shall have to resort to merciless all-out warfare involving weapons of mass destruction of a chemical or biological nature.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Scouts in Bondage

Sorry to disappoint all you perverts out there. It's fascinating how changing times and historical and social contexts can alter meaning...
From gyrovagueness :
"A professor engages the Scouts to help dig up remains of a ruined chapel, seeking blocks of masonry with inscriptions. Assembled together these reveal the location of a secret treasure, actually a document which restores the rightful owners to the local mansion... I had expected the Scouts to be trapped or imprisoned by the baddies - perhaps escaping using Scouting skills, like lighting a fire with only two matches. But no Scout is confined in any way. I had expected scenes of imprisonment so prolonged and claustrophobic that I'd be grateful for the knowledge that it must, eventually, end. Instead - nothing. The only 'bondage' is the Scouts deal with the professor, whereby they dig for stone in return for a new hut - a kind of economic serfdom."

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Christiano Ronaldo is a Bit of a Ponce

We always suspected as much but here is the photographic evidence of Christiano Ronaldo having his hair and make up done before the match. No doubt the pregnant lady in the picture is one of his 'sub-contractors'.
One wonders what  footballers of an earlier generation like Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner would make of this. Mincemeat, probably.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Why It All Went Wrong

A physicist, a mechanical engineer and a software developer were travelling in a car which broke down. The physicist suggested reviewing the laws of physics to figure out why the car would not work. The mechanical engineer suggested looking under the bonnet. And the software developer proposed that everyone should get out, then get back in again to see if that would reboot the motor. There was a banker in the car too. He said "Give me a fiver each and I'll hire a cab for you three when I've walked back to that town we just passed".
So they did, but they didn't see the banker again. And they are still waiting for the cab.

Monday, 4 June 2012


When the architect designed our penthouse suite he didn't think he needed to include specifications for what to do about the plumbing as he assumed the builder would just sort it out using his common sense. The builder, however, has no sense at all. He just left it to the plumber. He figured, oh well, I'll just put pipes where they'll go, making it up as he went along. So no provision was made for the pipes to be integral; they are on the outside of the building.
We've since had to renew the plumbing in the old flat because the pipes had corroded - this has meant our new plumber having to add to the circumlocutory nature of the supplies of water to bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Here's a short movie of the result.

Saturday, 2 June 2012


In case you were wondering what happened to all those wretched souls who were formerly employed by the East German Government in the infamous Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, aka The Stasi, I think I may have located several of them now doing their thing on a sub-contractor basis in Airport Security. Most of them are to be found in the USA putting on weight as part of the Transportation Security Agency, an adjunct of the Department of Homeland Security. Organisations which are there ostensibly to protect the citizens but which make a bigger contribution in terms of generating a sense of paranoia that whoever our current enemy is might be about to blow us up. Meanwhile, freedoms are gradually chipped away, things get ridiculous, and we all sigh.
I had dutifully put my bag and laptop into separate trays to be passed through the x-ray machine, and asked whether it was required that I should remove my shoes. No, I could keep my shoes on but I must put my watch in the tray as it would alarm the metal detector. I had never been told to do this by other functionaries and expressed surprise as I had first-hand experience of my watch not setting off the metal detector.
"Ah, but it's plastic," I said.
"Bot it iss a votch!" replied the Fraulein functionary.
"Yes. It's a plastic watch."
"Bot it iss a votch!", she urged.
"Plastic. Won't set off the detector."
"Bot it iss a votch!" The functionary's eyes narrowed, and I started to feel uneasy.
"OK. It's a watch. It's plastic." I sighed. I could see the Fraulein begin to look around her as if to summon the armed guards and thought better of any further discussion. A votch is a votch, after all, so I put it in the tray.
"Und your belt." She said through clenched teeth, eyes glaring.
"I'm not wearing a belt." Fraulein Votchspotter made no attempt to lift up my shirt and check, however. I raised my eyebrows and beamed at the Fraulein, passed through the metal detector unbeeped and unmolested, and my trays sailed through the x-ray machine without comment.
The irony is that in my typically absent-minded way I had forgotten that there were items in my bag that I really should have packed in my suitcase, rather than risk confiscation:
A Swiss Army penknife, a small spanner, a small pair of pliers, a miniature screw driver, a small pair of scissors, a miniature Swiss Army penknife, and various other items that might come in handy including a piece of string, a spirit level, metal tape measure and two torches. Any of which could be used by even a semi-skilled ne'er do well to cause unrest of one kind or another, but none of which were detected by the vigilant Fraulein Votchspotter or the expensive equipment.
Ho hum. I suppose it's all worthwhile...

Better Out Than In

From Chip Shop Awards