Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Democracy. Take it or leave it.

    Danny Caro
    Jul 30, 2009

    Whilst living in a democracy has many advantages, there are many things that are still wrong with this country.

    For one reason or another, we have fallen into recession and I think it is only fair to say that bankers and the money men must taken their share of the blame.

    Then there are the weather forecasters. I am not saying that their job is easy but either it is going to rain or it isn’t. Either it’s going to be windy or there might be a light breeze. But how wrong they have been in recent weeks?

  • Is there something Rubens isn't telling us?

    Marcus Dysch
    Jul 29, 2009

    Watching the closing stages of last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, my mother pointed out an appendage on top of driver Rubens Barrichello’s helmet.

    The 37-year-old Brazilian was, seemingly, wearing a Star of David. Right in shot of the car’s on-board camera.

    I’ve been watching Formula One on and off for quite a few years. Long enough to have seen Barrichello racing around circuits all over the world. I couldn’t remember ever having seen the symbol on his helmet before. Nor had I any recollection of him having any Jewish heritage.

  • What an Ace Pepper

    Candice Krieger
    Jul 29, 2009

    To you and me, they may look like ordinary peppers but don't be fooled. They are credited with claiming more vitamins than any other variety. Called the ACE pepper, they were discovered in Israel (of course) and are now being developed by Marks & Spencer in Waltham Cross, Essex, where they are grown without pesticides.

    Apparently eating just one of the peppers contains all the vitamin C needed for a day, and half the recommended amount of vitamins A and E. Dr Simon Coupe, a fresh-produce technologist for M&S, predicts the vegetable will supersede other peppers in the future. He said: "We spend a lot of time and effort roaming the world trying to find new and inventive products." What next from the holy land, home of high-tech? A solar-powered self-peeling satsuma pehaps.


  • Going shopping

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 27, 2009

    Put yourself in the shoes of an official spokesman for a government which has issues with the US. How would you react to remarks by Hillary Clinton with which you disagree?

    Not like this, I venture to suggest:

    An unnamed North Korean official quoted by the state-run KCNA news
    agency calls Clinton "by no means intelligent" and a "funny lady."

  • Swedes a go-go

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 27, 2009

    Here's a nice little story from the Swedish cabinet (how many times do you get to write that in a lifetime?), from Prospect:

    [O]ne minister recently updated his Facebook profile during a dull cabinet
    meeting, only to receive a reply within minutes. “Shouldn’t you be paying more
    attention to the discussion,” said the message, which turned out to have been
    sent from the other side of the table, by Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl


  • Grrr

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 27, 2009

    Listening to this morning's Today programme I just avoided throwing something at the radio, which was a good thing, since I was driving at the time.
    Sarah Montague was interviewing the International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, who appears to have forgotten how to speak English.
    Was it time, Montague asked, to negotiate with the Taliban? Only, Alexander confidently replied, "if they renunciate violence." "Renunciate"? What's the matter with the word "renounce"? A little later he was warbling about "stabilisation" rather than the word normal people use, "stability."
    Even if Douglas Alexander was actually saying something important, which I beg leave to doubt, any message he had was lost in a forest of word-mangling. It is a disease of politicians, and it is spreading faster than swine flu.