Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • More Miller disappointment

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 15, 2009

    So this time Major Miller looked as if he would win again. He was leading by four lengths, cantering and it was a matter of how far he would win by. And then he clobbered the rail by the penultimate hurdle, and that was that. He downed tools and virtually stopped.

  • Let's all swear at Goldman's

    Candice Krieger
    Jul 15, 2009

    Forgive me for jumping on the Goldman Sachs-bashing bandwagon but quite frankly, it is too good an opportunity to pass up. The tune, I hear, goes something like this (please note these are not real names):

    Shocked member of the public number one: "Can you believe that bankers at Goldman Sachs are on track for average pay packets of more than £475,000 this year after the investment bank reported record profits"
    Flabbergasted member of the public number two: "Haven't they heard of the recession?!"

    I am sure they have heard of it. They have probably just forgotten we are in one, in the same way that they have forgotten that it wasn't so long ago that Goldman's was being bailed out with a $10 bn loan from the US government. And of course there is us, the taxpayers, who have had to stump up huge sums of money to keep the financial system afloat, after the banking sector racked up considerable losses. In fact, if it wasn't for all the public money being ploughed into the banking system, the surviving banks such as Goldman Sachs, BarCap and Morgan Stanley, might not still be err surviving.

  • As if by magic...

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 15, 2009

    There are very few occasions on which I am struck entirely dumb. I've just had one of them, for the very best of reasons.

    We've just had our 32 week scan. Having taken all sorts of measurements and pictures the scanner put them through the 4D software. We were then presented with a series of crystal clear pictures of our daughter, as if she was sitting in front us staring into a camera. 

    Truly magical. I'm sitting here staring at them, trying to edit the paper, and with my mind somewhere else altogether!

  • A Reaganite, Thatcherite Conservative leader

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 15, 2009

    There's an excellent post at Conservative Home by Dan Hannan, on the election of Michał Kamiński as leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR):

    When Michal made his first speech as an MEP, he hymned the praises
    of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, to the unfeigned horror of the
    EPP. He is, in short, the closest thing to a British Tory outside the
    Carlton Club.

    In a sense, Michal’s election was accidental. It had
    originally been planned that he would take a parliamentary
    Vice-Presidency while a Briton became the first leader of the European
    Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). But my erstwhile colleague Edward
    Macmillan-Scott decided to have a go at the Vice-Presidency himself,
    which upset all the calculations (Edward lost the Conservative Whip in

  • Postcard from Lod

    Danny Caro
    Jul 14, 2009

    Do not enter. That is the sign I was expecting to see after hearing some unfavourable reports about Lod – the venue for Team GB’s Open Cricket match against South Africa.

    The drugs capital of Israel, as described by my driver Ami, who reminds me of Mr T, is somewhere one should try to avoid. Ami is no weakling. He regularly lifts heavy weights and is built like a brickhouse. He has given me plenty of sound advice since I arrived to cover the Maccabiah, so when he talks, I listen.

    The fact that he was less than enthusiastic about taking me there said everything I needed to know.

  • The Whitehouse

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 14, 2009

    Watching the Daily Politics on BBC2. The caption under Andrew Roberts reads:

    Andrew has dined in the Whitehouse with...

    We hand over our earnings, under threat of imprisonment, for this.

  • Libido gum

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 14, 2009

    Hamas have discovered a dastardly plot:

    Is Israel targeting the Palestinian population in Gaza by distributing libido-increasing chewing gum in the Strip? A Hamas police spokesman in the Gaza Strip Islam Shahwan claimed Monday that Israeli intelligence operatives are attempting to "destroy" the young generation by distributing such materials in the coastal enclave.