A postscript on the Invisible Finger and Twitter.

I refuse to believe this is anything but a temporary co-incidence, but…

There’s a road I’ve been using a lot recently. It’s a twisty and technical road, but it’s also a main thoroughfare for local traffic.

A couple of weeks back, I was frustrated to be stuck in a queue of traffic for the third time that week, behind a slow moving lorry. For reasons I can only speculate about, on each occasion it was a Sainsbury’s lorry. Plenty of other lorries use the road, but apparently none as slowly as the Sainsbury’s lorries, and it was starting to piss me off.

So I when I finished my journey, I tweeted @Sainsburys explaining in my exasperation, that each future occasion I got stuck on that road behind one of their lorries, I would abandon a trolley load of perishables in one of their stores.

Hyperbolic, of course, but maybe – just maybe – it got their attention. I followed that up with a couple more tweets and retweets, but I never received a response.

Nevertheless, in the last 7 business days, I travelled that route approx 10 times, and I haven’t seen a Sainsbury’s lorry, let alone been held up by one.

Like I said, pure coincidence. Isn’t it?



The Power of Twitter to Uncloak the Invisible Finger

This is a topic that many Twitter users have mixed feelings about.

It’s becoming increasingly common for corporations to dredge Twitter for mentions of their organisation.

For why?

Well, various reasons, I’m sure. It must have been a hell of a wake-up call to some of them, to see, in real-time, hundreds or perhaps thousands of comments every hour – many of which are likely to be sarcastic or vituperative. Such is the nature of Twitter as a medium.

Some customers have found their Twitter-fed gripes being responded to by the maligned corporation itself.

BT are the most memorable entrant in this category. Let’s all point and laugh at the Daily Mail’s take on the matter.


Some of Britain’s biggest firms were last night accused of ‘spying’ on their customers after they admitted ‘listening in’ on disgruntled conversations on the internet.

The companies include BT, which uses specially developed software to scan for negative comments about it on websites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You just can’t parody that, can you? Software so secret, that the name of it appears at the end of every message sent.

 Classified information hidden on Twitter, yesterday.

There it is – Debatescape.

And spying? Hell no. Anything you type and send using Twitter etc. is visible to the whole world, including the object of the comment. Ask Paul Chambers. (Incidentally, his appeal gets underway next week. Keep ‘em peeled.)

So what’s my point? Well it’s this: The Invisible Finger. A corollary to Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Fuck you, you corporate whorebags.

It is the invisible finger that consumers give to organisations that give poor service or value. It’s part of the market’s self-regulating nature. Reputation matters.

Via tools like Debatescape and Tweetdeck, Web 2.0 has uncloaked the invisible finger for all to see.

My experience that prompted this post was a moan I had, on Twitter, about Rightmove. Typically ribald, it read as follows:


My point being, that if I’ve been receiving automated emails from some web based presence for months on end, I don’t want to have to dig out my password for the site, should I decide I don’t need to receive that email any more. Typically you just click the unsubscribe link in the email and that’s the end of it.

It’s life’s tiny irritations that erode the quality of one’s day. **

I was slightly surprised, though, to receive communications from Rightmove a few hours later.


I responded, somewhat more politely, making the point as above. I would hope now, that fixing that irritation is on their developer’s to-do list.

In restrospect, all of the above considered, I should not have been surprised.

Anyway. Would I have been any more polite, had I considered that Rightmove would indeed have an employee reading and would indeed respond? Perhaps I would have, yes.

Although I was in a pretty dark mood earlier on. Way too much refreshment last night.

This is power, people. Use it well.


** As it happens, I was just being obtuse. I have an encrypted password database, where I keep all my passwords – a key internet security principle being the use of a different complex/unmemorable password on every site you use.

Think about it – if your Amazon account is compromised, most likely from within, do you really want those people to also be able to log into your Hotmail and Facebook?

The world has gone completely fucking mad.

This week has been one of infuriatingly intense work, so while I’ve been watching our national descent into madness, I’ve been less disposed to comment on it at length.

A supermarket is being prosecuted over the way it packages a joint of beef, “but it will be hard to appease campaigners”. A Belgian Chechen Islamist boxer blew himself up in Copenhagen, in an apparent attempt to destroy the offices of a newspaper that is in an altogether different city.

A man in a white dress is visiting the UK, to promote his new exercise DVD. Waving is definitely going to be the next big craze. Even armchair athletes can join in the fun. Everyone on the internet is already getting quite exercised about the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Jeff Randall has cottoned on to something The Devil has been banging on about for quite a while now. namely, that the slash and burn ConDems are, in fact, going to spend more of our money than Gordon Brown ever did, yet at the same time, they are locked into a dance of mutually assured destruction with the unions. Charlotte Gore is inexplicably happy.

Here’s something to keep you distracted from the horrible reality.




Non-stories, gubbins and gibberish.

There’s practically nothing else about at the moment, so I’ll summarise.

The Hague thing. A non-story about him sharing a hotel room with his special advisor, who is a bloke. Salacious nonsense obscuring the only legitimate question, which is whether Hague misused public funds in any way.

On-going denormalisation of smokers in the rented property market. A non-story based on a poorly interpreted marketing survey. Most landlords are pragmatic in my experience, and the ones that aren’t don’t remain landlords for very long.

It’s remains to be seen whether or not the matter of #metgate is a non-story or not.

Not so much a non-story as a ‘well, what a surprise’ story, in which a front company for Tesco buys up a town centre, allows it to become run down, then along comes Tesco offering to ‘do the town a favour’ by building a massive Tesco store in its place.

Someone called Tony Blair has a book out. In it, he reveals that always was, and still is, a complete and utter cunt. Still, with any luck, it will cause enough enmity in the Labour party to keep the wrecking bastards in unelectability hell for a generation or two.

The Director General of the BBC seems to have taken to referring to the present in the past tense. He has ‘has admitted the corporation was guilty of a ‘massive’ Left-wing bias in the past’. As if it’s gone away. Pfffft.

In other news, top fungal blogger Simon Cooke has decided to poke Jack of Kent in the eye over his apparently contradictory definition of his own liberalism.

I’m fast arriving at the conclusion that Jack of Kent is a cult leader & I have little doubt that he’s in the process of setting up a compound for all his faithful believers in deepest Kent. Jack of Koresh more like.

Mr  Cooke has also, in case you missed them previously, written some good stuff on the emergent New Puritans.

More anon, doubtless.


Laugh? Cry? Fucked if I know.

My first reaction was to laugh. I had to think again.


WTF? Really? Damn, I’m strong for just driving straight past that McDonalds today, even though I fancied a Big Mac. Yeah.

The logic and ‘science’ in the article is comical in itself. But it was completely eclipsed by the comments that followed it:


Trolling, right?

I wish I could be sure.


Other peoples words

A spot of mid-week CBA syndrome as the garden beckons.

So here’s some stuff I’ve found to be splendid in the last week or so.

Charlotte Gore:


Old Holborn:

Salted Slug:

Dick Puddlecote:


Bella Gerens:

Mummy Long Legs:




Stuff otherwhere

CBA syndrome playing up today, but here are some things you should read:

Mummylonglegs gets all Metabloggical.

Possibly, in part, because Constantly Furious is calling it a day.

Maybe because Man Widdicombe is having his world torn asunder.

B&D speak out on the Israel Flotilla thing. Dizzy has video. More sources of info here.

The Oracle of Cullingworth speaks of contrarian virtues.

The New Statesman thinks wage controls should be introduced into the private sector. A bunch of comedians called Compass thinks we should do this. In 13 years of Labour government, it didn’t happen. Now? Who can say.

Here’s why I don’t want an iPad, however much I think I need one.

Some halfwitted American woman is suing Google due to the directions she got from Google Maps, that caused her to get run over. /headdesk.

Interesting to watch things unfold over at Jack of Kent’s place, as he examines the Gary McKinnon case.

I want one of these :o(

Charon QC seems to have taken the wrong bottle out of the cupboard again.

I have the same tables as Charlotte Gore. Dollars to donuts we don’t use them for the same purposes.

Giles Coren wonders why we’re not buying his book, when we can read the columns therein for free on the web. He also complains about The Times’ paywall for making his stuff no longer available for free.



To summarise

.. because I’ve got stuff to do, and other people have been writing things you should be reading.

David Mitchell on the Paul Chambers case. For once he’s managed to make a case without me reaching for a house-brick. Progress indeed.


Next, beware Facebook. I’ve never had an FB account, and that situation is unlikely to ever change.


Jack of Kent has written about the Dave Osler libel case, which was binned by Judge Eady last week.


More on the ‘killer fungus’ afflicting Afghan poppy crops.


How the other half tweets.


David Cameron appoints Oxymoron Tsar:


Finally, Dungeekin explains the rules of Formula 1:




VE Day

Sixty-five years on.


Southern Europe is in economic turmoil. The Germans are propping up the Greeks, soon to be followed by the Portuguese, Spanish and Italians.

The German volk are not happy about the products of their earnestness and industriousness are being used to prop up the lazy lizards of the Med.

The UK is in political turmoil. We face entry into a period of coalition government. The last stable coalition was formed in 1935. This government went on to appease Hitler until the position became catastrophically unsustainable in 1939.

Just sayin’ is all.




Strange Days

After four weeks of teeth-grindingly awful campaign news, today we have some bizarre happenings.

Nigel Farage injured in a plane crash:


A Tory PPC pulls a lorry driver free of his overturned rig:


And apparently, oil has been struck off the Falkland Islands.


Interesting times.

Hope Nigel Farage will be okay. If I was voting in Buckingham today, I’d at least want to know if Bercow could survive a plane crash before I’d cast my vote for him.


UPDATE: Man Widdicombe suspects foul play.

The importance of family

He may have been a vicious killer, but he was also a loving father, a son, a brother, a husband and a friend who will be missed by many.


Carl Williams was seen off in an appropriately ostentatious style at a ceremony in Melbourne attended by more than 100 guests, plus 12 police guards brought in to keep the peace.

During the service, a montage of photographs of the man once known as the "smiling assassin" was showed to mourners, accompanied by the Tina Turner song Simply the Best.

The service was dominated by stories of Williams showering his daughter and stepchildren with gifts and playing the joker.

"You gave me $500 after my teeth fell out, because you were drunk," said his stepdaughter Bree. "You were my best friend."

His daughter Dhakota spoke of her love for her father and gave a frank account of how he used to annoy her mother by changing song lyrics around to tease her.

Williams, a major player in a vicious gangland war that terrorised Melbourne during the 1990s and first years of the new millennium, died last week after a fellow inmate bludgeoned him over the head with part of an exercise bike.



Please hold, caller

The evil workplace demands my attention once more.

Oh and I’m off to pick up a newly acquired car later. The price of petrol means it’s no longer viable to get by with just one car for all purposes. I need one that I can hammer all week long without it emptying my wallet like a socialist with a champagne habit, and I need one that’ll blast your peasant conveyances into the weeds at the weekend. Go libertarianism!

So read other stuff, or better still go outside and check out the big yellow wotsit in the sky. You know the one… Nick Clegg.