Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Holy Smoke

    Marcus Dysch
    Jul 3, 2009

    Non-smokers like me have benefitted from the many advantages of the smoking ban which began two years ago this week.

    For one, you can have a night out at a pub or club and not come home smelling like a chimney sweeper.

    Almost three years ago I suffered a lengthy bout of bronchitis. It wasn’t pleasant and during my recovery I was convinced that I felt worse on a Sunday morning, having more-often-than-not been in a smoke-filled club the night before.

  • No future

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 3, 2009

    "The plague of intermarriage and assimilation is sapping us of our people in a way as deadly as gas chambers."

  • One for Sudoku Fans

    Candice Krieger
    Jul 2, 2009

    Earlier this year, I wrote about Israeli architect Eyal Amitzur who created a three-dimensional version of the popular puzzle Sudoku.
    His version, called Tredoku, uses the same rules as Sudoku but comes as a 3D image on the page. The game has since taken off appearing in syndication in newspapers around the world, including The Times. The game even has its own Facebook group with more than 4,500 fans.
    A freelance architect working in Tel Aviv, Mr Amitzur, 33, runs games design company Mindome. He was introduced to Sudoku two years ago but says he found it monotonous. Genius. My new line: "I don't do Sudoku because it's monotonous. Nothing to do with it being too hard." Anyway, he created a harder version that uses an infinite number of possible 3D shapes. I predict it will soon become a household to rival Sudoku. Watch this space (if, like me, you are unable to fill it in).

  • Press TV and censorship

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 2, 2009

    It's heartening that Press TV is, at last, getting the scrutiny it deserves. The propaganda arm of the Iranian government is being invesigated by OFCOM, Newsnight had a discussion last night with its MD and Martin Bright (which was, one has to say, embarassing given how awful the MD was) and presenters and commentators such as Nick Ferrari are leaving the station after it's reprehensible coverage of the Iranian elections.

    (BTW, here's my JC column last week on how TfL is happy to take Press TV's money despite knowing where it comes from and what it funds.)

    But I have to say that whilst I think the station should, as Martin put it on Newsnight, be left to wither and die in the mire of its own absurdity, I don't think it should be banned. I do not think it the business of the state, in the guise of OFCOM, to deternine who can voice their opinions and what they should be allowed to say.

  • A judge who speaks for the rest of us

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 1, 2009

    Can I suggest, please, that we appoint a new Lord Chief Justice? Her name is Angela Morris, and she is currently a recorder.

    Have a read of this and you'll see why:

    A knife-wielding burglar had a shock when he attacked a pensioner in his home - and discovered his victim was a retired boxer.

  • Fatah more popular than Hamas

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 1, 2009

    Haaretz published an interesting poll this week, which found that public support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has fallen to 18.8
    percent, compared with 27.7 percent in its previous poll in January:

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction is now more
    popular than Hamas with a 34.9 percent rating, up from 26 percent in
    January, according to the poll of 1,199 people.

    Khader Khader, head of the media unit at the East
    Jerusalem-based JMCC, said Hamas' popularity was hit by discontent in
    the Gaza Strip, where the group rules, over a lack of movement in
    Egyptian-sponsored unity talks with Fatah and in reopening the
    territory's borders.

  • Lies and more lies

    Stephen Pollard
    Jun 30, 2009

    Ed Balls' lies - the word is now regularly used to describe the deliberately false statements of Gordon Brown and his acolytes - are begining to backfire.

    Daniel Finkelstein rightly refers to the Schools Secretary's performance this morning on Today as a "shameless...piece of political nonsense", and goes on to draw a fascinating conclusion:

    Ed Balls's desire to be Chancellor may have been personal, but Gordon Brown's desire to accede to this request wasn't.