David Thompson


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May 17, 2011



Monbiot has five allotments.

Someone should notify central planning. Comrade Monbiot sounds like a Kulak in need of a bit of re-education.

Kevin Donnelly

Did you hear Laurie Penny's car-crash of an appearance on Five Live on Sunday morning? In the end Tony Livesey shut her microphone off.



Sadly, no. And it’s no longer available on iPlayer. Imagine my distress.

Kevin Donnelly

Oh dear, that is a shame. It was truly impressive. She interrupted the host, other questioners and, needless to say, anyone who tried to answer her questions.


If you find a link to the LP 'triumph' please let us know.

Kevin Donnelly

It'll be the last twenty minutes or so of this:



In the end Tony Livesey shut her microphone off.

Haha. Brilliant. I had to play it twice.



“Fade her out. Shut that microphone! [ Silence ] Thank goodness for that.”

I shouldn’t be laughing, really. Not with coffee in my hand.

Over at Tim Worstall’s, I posted a comment and got a reply that possibly bears repeating:

Michael Ezra asks, “If she is so bad, why do TV and radio shows keep asking her to make an appearance?” Setting aside the fact that those appearances have generally involved a mix of flustered confabulation and squeaky dogmatism, Mr Ezra doesn’t seem to grasp the pertinence of his own question. Why is Laurie Penny the BBC’s new go-to girl?

Andrew Zalotocky offered this explanation:

Newspapers work on very short deadlines and have very limited space. They need writers who can knock out something attention-grabbing on any subject, at any length, in a couple of hours. TV and radio work under similar constraints, except that they also need people who can talk confidently on air. They all want contributors who share their ideological positions. So if you’re glib, over-confident, and can rush to the studio or produce a comment piece at very short notice, you’ve got it made. That’s the main reason why Penny is “the BBC’s new go-to girl”. Being reliable and ideologically on-message is far more important than knowing what you’re talking about.

Laurie’s output is quite prodigious, at least in the sense there’s an awful lot of it. She also seems to have sudden and passionate opinions on practically any subject, for the most part unhindered by knowledge or any trace of equivocation. It’s almost as if there’s a predetermined worldview that she can plug into and immediately get upset about.

And I suppose that’s a skill.

Kevin Donnelly

Yes, it was great radio. But it was a poor debate, not only because of Laurie's utter lack of thought or consideration, but also because alongside her was Toby Young - it seemed a cheap way of debating important issues. but that's Radio 5 I suppose.

In a way I wish I had been as certain and dogmatic as her, so confident, at that age. I think it must be very comforting to feel so clear about everything, but to be so permanently angry, and to take an ideologically fixed view on everything, must be quite a strain. When I blogged, along with everyone else about 5 years or so ago, I sort of did the same, but in the end you feel that all that shouting, all that hatred and all that blinkered certainty almost defeats the point of having a brain.

I don't quite get Michael Ezra's adoration of her but he winds his fellow HP bloggers up with it something chronic.


Oh, thank you SO much for that clip. Wonderful.

The sense of frustration that gradually consumes Ms Penny as she realises no one agrees with her (obviously an extremely rare experience in her life), is a joy. Hey, Laurie, welcome to our world. That's what it's like to be the non-left for the other 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the time.


In the end Tony Livesey shut her microphone off.

If not for this blatantly sexist oppression she'd have been speaking truth to power.

Peter Risdon

"I wish I had been as certain and dogmatic as her, so confident, at that age"

I think that's common enough. I was. Bob Dylan was 'so much older then, I'm younger than that now'. Certainty is a disease of youth, but it might be one reason why when someone with that level of conviction also happens, coincidentally, to be right, they can achieve so much in maths, physics, business or the arts.

Punditry? I'll take that from people who have a clue what they're talking about.


Monbiot seems to think that there's a fixed amount of housing out there, and that's that.

But of course there isn't. Housing is built and expanded when demand is strong (even in cramped little Britain), and abandoned when demand shrinks.

If people were forced to share housing, they would quit building. Why invest in something that you don't have full ownership and control over? And as a result, a housing shortage would occur, the precise opposite effect Monbiot is looking for.

That's what happens when only look one move down the chess board.


I'm a Georgist, so I wonder how Moonbat can get it so wrong so often.

Land is something they cannot (easily) make more of. The right to exclusive use to that area, and thus the right to exclude others is the proper subject for taxation.





“The iron cross design is one of the most popular among men.”

And nothing says hot stuff like an Iron Cross scrotal medal rendered in adhesive sequins.

Chris S.

Pejazzling? I'm sure Ms. Penny will get right on informing us on how this is oppression... against women.


Oppression against women? Doubtful. Chafing, certainly.

Sarah P


I can't find the 'Lefties' documentary you posted ages ago. Is it still online?



This one?

Incidentally, there’s a search widget above the blogroll on the right.

Sarah P

Thank you!


Why is Laurie Penny the BBC’s new go-to girl?

She was on again this morning being shouty and predictable. She's the Beeb's new Mini-Me.

Col. Milquetoast

David, Sparkly Bits is a classic. Have you considered reviewing Penny's book "Meat Market : Female Flesh Under Capitalism"? Instead of buying a copy, I suggest you write her and ask her to send you a complimentary copy. I wouldn't want you to inadvertently oppress anyone.

AC1, obvious a system of control. I feel oppressed already. But doesn't disco balls seem like the obvious yet unmentioned design option?



“I suggest you write her and ask her to send you a complimentary copy.”

I don’t see that working somehow. It’s worth bearing in mind that the process of sifting through Laurie’s worldview – and that of other “radicals” just like her - isn’t always rewarding. There may be odd moments of unintended comedy, but it’s often quite tedious or faintly depressing. There are usually much more interesting things to do.

sackcloth and ashes

'It'll be the last twenty minutes or so of this:


1:22.30 minutes in.

'Laurie, Laurie, I'm going to have to give you a red card in a minute.
I'm sorry, but nobody is allowing me to speak*
That's because you're not allowing anyone else to speak'.

* The verb 'to speak' here is clearly confused by Ms Penny with 'to rant', 'to shout down', 'to interrupt'.

It's almost like Violet Elizabeth Bott became real. I'm not surprised Tony Livesey's final remarks are 'Cut her off, fade her out ... thank God for that'.

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