Jiggery Pokery

by Harry on October 3, 2010

I’ve been enjoying Duckworth Lewis Method (UK) with the kids for months now. To be honest I had never even heard of Pugwash before, and The Divine Comedy was just a name on a bunch of posters, not a band/person I knew anything about, so it took me a while to get hold of the album. But it is fabulous, full of catchy tunes, melancholic reflection on the game, and sometimes wry humour. For a while my youngest knew the whole of “Meeting Mr Miandad” by heart. My favourite is “Mason on the Boundary”, which somehow makes me think of the last time I was at the Parks (with Swift and my dad), when I caught glimpse of an elderly man in an MCC tie, whose name tag revealed him to be the godfather of a childhood friend, someone whose exploits around the commonwealth were the stuff of legend in said friend’s family. Almost certainly most of it working for her majesty, if you know what I mean. I didn’t say “hi”. There’s even an indirect tribute to CLR James (in “The Age of Revolution”). That the two best books about cricket are by North American marxists is just about ok; that the best songs are by two Irishmen is odd.

Anyway, my eldest daughter, the only one who has watched a lot of cricket, and who was for a while a fan of a certain leg spinner, laughed out loud when she got to the end of “Jiggery Pokery” for the first time. A whole song about a single ball? Gatting must be mortified. And now, with the approval of Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis, a 14 year old girl called Claire has made an animated video for it.

And here, though you have to wait a bit (30 seconds in), is the ball in question:

New Labour and inequality redux

by Chris Bertram on October 3, 2010

I took a fair bit of flak from Yglesias and DeLong last week for welcoming Ed Miliband’s break with New Labour on inequality. But I think I was right in my view that New Labour (or, at least elements of it) had abandoned, in their normative commitments, a concern with distribution. In support of that view, I was interested to read this piece in today’s Observer by Tim Allan, written from a Blairite perspective and worrying about what Ed Miliband has had to say about pay at the top:

bq. … to my mind the most critical and damaging line in your speech was when you said that it is wrong, conference, that a banker [or presumably anybody else] can earn more in a day than a care worker can earn in a year. It is hard to exaggerate the political importance of this position as a break from New Labour. New Labour’s key insight was to recognise that helping the poorest in society could be done without setting limits on people’s aspirations. So it is a line with huge political and practical implications. If it ever moved from conference rhetoric to actual policies, it would raise some difficult practical questions: will a maximum wage really be set at 250 times the wage of a care worker? Why not 25 times, or 2.5 times and what is the rational basis for such distinctions? Would the maximum wage apply also to entrepreneurs earning money from successful companies they have created? Would they have to stop trying to build their business and create new jobs when they reach the threshold? You need quickly to counteract the dangerous perception that you are against success, against wealth creation, and want to dictate economic outcomes for the wealthiest rather than provide economic opportunities for all.

There’s an excellent reply to this from Sunder Katwala over at Next Left.

UPDATE: The original version of this post contained some speculation about the motives of DeLong and Yglesias, and Robert Waldmann commented critically on this. Since I think it is better to take any hint of personal invective out of this, I’ve edited the post to remove this speculation.

Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck

by Henry Farrell on October 3, 2010

Utter genius. But watch it now – I suspect that when “This constitutes a fair use of Disney’s Donald Duck” meets a takedown notice from the Mickey copyright mafia, the takedown notice is going to win.