Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • A breed apart

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    Intriguing insight into the Royal Family in today's Mail:

    Royal favourite and TV pundit Alastair Bruce will remember his recent
    stay with the Queen for all the wrong reasons  -  for the Falklands
    veteran ended up in hospital after choking on a piece of beetroot over

    looked worse than it actually was,' Bruce, national events commentator
    for Sky, told friends. A member of the Royal Company of Archers  -  the
    Queen's bodyguards in Scotland  -  and a herald of the College of Arms,
    Alastair was among 20 guests invited to an intimate dinner with the
    Queen at Windsor Castle.

  • Hidden from it all

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    I got home late last night and went straight to bed. I've not yet looked at a paper this morning. And I couldn't face Today on the way in, so I listened to some Bach.

    All of which means I am, as of this moment, one of the few people on the planet to have heard not a sound and seen not one single image from Wacko Jacko's memorial. 

    If only I could ensure it stayed like that for the rest of the day...but the papers beckon.

  • Major Miller's au revoir again

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    Well, that was a damp squib. Uttoxeter was abandoned last night after being unable to clear a waterlogged crossing on the course and an ambulance got stuck in the mud.

    So with Nicky Henderson being unable to make entries, it looks like that's it for the summer. That's racing...

    UPDATE: Change of plan. He is being moved to Oliver Sherwood so we can get another run into him, and will be entered for Worcester and Uttoxeter a week today.

  • Where's more expensive; London or Tel Aviv?

    Candice Krieger
    Jul 7, 2009

    London is the 16th most expensive city in the world to live in, according to the latest figures by consultants Mercer. While it has dropped 13 places from last year, it is still above Tel Aviv, but only just. The Israeli city is sitting just behind in 17th. Tokyo has knocked Mexico off the top spot. Must be all that sushi.

    Here's the full list, courtesy of Mercer's survey: 

  • Out to lunch

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 7, 2009

    Ed Balls has just posted a bizarre tweet:

    on way to Cabinet.9am start not v family-friendly.Thank goodness for grandparents...

    What time does he think most people start their jobs? 10.30, 11? I'd guess that most people start work at or by 9am. 

  • Ecclestone and Mandelson, hand in hand still

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 7, 2009

    Yesterday we carried on this site a JC interview with Bernie Ecclestone in which he apologised for his remarks about Hitler.

    It's not surprising that he wanted to kill off the story asap - his remarks on Saturday had gone round the world with the speed at which the internet disseminates news and were (in fact, they still are) threatening to undermine, if not destroy, his position. 

    I now know who was advising Mr Ecclestone on his crisis management strategy. Step forward Lord Mandelson, who had at least one lengthy conversation with Bernie Ecclestone yesterday and who told him what best to do to kill off the story. 

  • Puff at your peril

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 7, 2009

    Out and about yesterday, I was surprised to see a couple of men in kippot standing outside a kosher restaurant having a cigarette. Smoking Jews are an increasingly uncommon sight these days and rabbis have debated whether tobacco should be proscribed.

  • Major Miller's summer au revoir

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 7, 2009

    It's the big day. I know you're all eager with anticipation and counting the minutes down until the 8.50 at Uttoxeter this evening.

    Yes, it's Major Miller's last run until his summer holidays. After his fall last time at Aintree he's back over hurdles in a 3 mile handicap. It's a tough ask, because he has to carry 11 stone 11, but Nicky Henderson says he hasn't ever had him moving so well before.

    He's 9/1 at the moment. I'll have a small each way bet.

  • Tweet your prayer

    Jessica Elgot
    Jul 6, 2009

    The Kotel, (@thekotel) a Twitter service is allowing Jews around the world to post their prayers to the Western Wall in Jerusalem...via Twitter.

    They explain on their website the service they offer includes a delivery of your tweet-prayer directly to the wall.

    "All you need to do is to tweet your prayers and wishes, and they’ll be printed on real paper, cut down to small notes, and placed in the Wall."

  • Jihadists are fine in the civil service, but not anonymous expenses rip-off posts

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 6, 2009

    Excellent post on Harry's Place pointing out the discrepancy between the treatment by the civil service of Lisa Greenwood and Azad Ali:

    the one hand we have Lisa Greenwood getting sacked for anonymously
    expressing her outrage over MP the expenses scandal. On the other we
    have Azad Ali openly glorifying jihad.
    are Civil Servants governed by the same code of conduct, but only one
    gets sacked – and it’s not the one lambasting the British state or
    promoting violence against Israel.
    What a disgrace.