Bills gets bought

Not sure this is exactly a good thing, but the guy who runs the Ivy in London has invested in Bills, the cafe/greengrocers in Lewes and Brighton, with the promise of a big expansion. Will more mean worse, or will they be able to preserve their excellent Scrambled Eggs on Toast?

Why I will never understand Italian media

I’ve just been reading the coverage of the woeful Italy-Spain game over at Corriere dello Sport, and not for the first time I’ve come across a feature that makes me wonder what they put in the water of Italian media companies. Under the title “Beauties on the sidelines”, Corriere has a selection of 40 shots of female Italy supporters in the crowd in Vienna tonight. Unusual in itself by British standards, perhaps. Then the Italian media twist – you have to vote Yes or No on whether they’re hot or not.


A couple of belated thoughts on Ghent, which was a lovely place and not nearly as touristy as Bruges.
Top B&B: Four Corners run by the super-friendly Karin Verhaest. Details at
Top bar: 't Zuiden van Europa at Vrijdagmarkt 30

Democratic debate, nice while it lasted

I posted this over at Metafilter, but it's very much what I've been feeling today, so I thought I post it here too.

"What's depressed me about the whole Davis thing is realising how the blogs and comments on British media sites are starting to sound like Free Republic or Fox News. If I hear the words fascism, ZaNuLabour or Stalin again, I will scream. British political debate is being taken over by this angry self-righteous hate-filled tone and, as someone who believes in democracy, it's just killing me. 

Britain today is nothing like a fascist state, nothing like Zimbabwe and nothing like Stalinism. People are comparing the Government to real historical regimes that really killed millions of real people, and what are they talking about? Speed cameras! European treaties! Income tax rates! Petrol Prices! Get over yourselves, for God's sake. If you don't agree, vote Tory at the next election, don't pretend you're some sort of heroic fighter for freedom and democracy. 

I completely respect people who don't agree with 42 days, or speed cameras, or whatever. I stop respecting those people when they turn into tantruming six year olds and scream "I can do what I want! You're the worst Government ever and I hate you! Nazi!"

Location, Location, Propaganda

Extraordinary segment on Location, Location, Location today, where Kirstie Allsopp launched a campaign to persuade the Government to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers. This is the same Kirstie Allsopp who is a Conservative party advisor on housing policy, and who has been in the media backing the Conservative party campaign to … er … scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Just in case viewers didn’t get the point that this was a Conservative party political broadcast, Ms Allsopp mentioned that she had been involved in the Conservative party’s work, but said that the issue was ‘beyond politics’. This must surely be the first time that an issue of current partisan controversy has been described as ‘beyond politics’.