About OyiaBrown

Please send me, as a comment to this page, any old material you have for inclusion in The Daily Joke Alert - to help enable us all to have our fancy tickled regularly! Never mind the state it's in as I tidy everything up prior to publication. Don't let good material go to waste - and so much does. In the interests of the environment we should always try to re-cycle everything, especially jokes. You know that makes sense! You may find some historical stuff here, but this does not really matter as humor is fairly timeless.

Benedict Brogan – The Telegraph

Good morning. For a politician who has described his faith as a bit like the reception of Magic FM in the Chilterns – it comes in and out – David Cameron is showing a distinct religious streak. The Telegraph leads with “Cameron puts God back into politics”, and his intervention gets coverage in most of the papers (though inside, and less than I might have imagined). He has recently spoken about the importance of his Christianity and prayer, the peace he has found from the Eucharist, and now discusses his vision for a more active Christianity in Britain in an Easter article for the Church Times. We had imagined Mr Cameron as low-key CoE, but the fervour with which he has discussed “our Saviour” and – today – urged fellow Christians to be “more evangelical” about their faith reveals him as something altogether more muscular. Arguably, his faith is a private thing and so we cannot know what is in his heart. I suspect he is not quite ready to fall to his knees and pray with an American president, for example. But his approach is a striking departure from the “we don’t do God” policy imposed on Tony Blair (without a lot of success, it must be said) by Alastair Campbell.
There was a time of course when faith and Christianity were part of the everyday political discourse. Latterly, and to the often-expressed dismay of senior clerics from all faiths, the subject has been shunted out of the public square. Expressions of faith, or the depiction of Britain as a country not just of faith, but a specifically Christian one, have been frowned upon. The reasons are complex – a combination of militant political secularism, notably in the Labour party, and an anxiety about the growing numerical importance and militancy of other faiths. Politicians have learned to tread carefully, and those whose work is guided by their faith stand out.

Why is Mr Cameron speaking out? It does not follow, after all, that he should make public his private beliefs. We have learned to be sceptical of our politicians and that applies in this case. Could it be that Mr Cameron is anxious to counter the militancy of Christian leaders who have been attacking Government welfare policy? Cardinal Nichols did it this year for the Catholics; yesterday Anglican bishops criticised the growth in for banks. Could it be too that the Prime Minister is aware that part of Ukip’s appeal is based on a retro view of Britain? Burnishing his Church credentials speaks, perhaps, to the fears that immigration – Ukip’s big issue – is in some way diluting Britain’s Christian identity.

There is danger here for Mr Cameron. As our leader argues, “most voters do not want religion squeezed out of public life – but nor do they want to see it used for political purposes”. Mr Cameron must tread the line between speaking out for what he believes – good – and appearing to be playing the sectarian card for political advantage. We have been told to see everything the Conservatives do at the moment as being designed to maximise their vote in a tight election, and in particular to see off the threat from the right. They are particularly anxious to win back older, white voters who – coincidentally – are more likely to be preoccupied by thoughts of religion. If it’s a choice though, then better he says what he believes, and loudly. Voters can then decide whether they believe in him.

The Morning Briefing will be marking the holiday too, by taking a break. Back – with extra Tim Wigmore – on Tuesday. I wish all readers a most happy Easter.


The day after coverage of the economic numbers hasn’t worked out for Labour. It didn’t help that Ed Balls was discovered to have done a runner after bumping a car. The headlines about police investigations into his actions aren’t helpful, and everyone is making jokes about not giving Labour the keys to the car. I’ve summarised some of that on my blog. The FT says: “The challenges for Labour pile up – Miliband must say how he will improve the cost of living”: its gist is that Labour must work out an answer to a Government with a clear economic plan that is working. The Indy leader cautions – rightly – that there is a long way to go. The Mail raises Labour “frustrations” with Mr Balls, and the resulting crisis for the “Two Eds”. The Times – like the FT – evokes how yesterday saw two milestones reached (wages outpacing inflation, unemployment below 7pc).


In its lead the FT reports that major companies led by BP are lobbying ministers against Russian sanctions – what it calls a “barrage of corporate lobbying”. BP is among those to have told ministers that “they are at risk” if the EU decides to penalise Russia. “Are the member states united on this? No. Are they willing to die for Ukraine? I don’t think so,” a European official tells the paper. Our rolling courage is here.


The Times have had another go, but inside this time. Around a picture of a younger Mr Farage, they raise the question of £287,000 in “other” costs that are unaccounted for.


Ephraim Hardcastle relays Vince Cable’s account of the time he led a young woman in an “unruly jive” in Kiev, and was frogmarched out by “a couple of heavies”.


Austin Mitchell announced last night he will stand down as MP for Great Grimsby next year. He has served Labour for nearly 40 years. His seat is one of those in the North being eyed-up by Ukip, so poses a challenge to whoever Labour choses to succeed him.


Latest YouGov/Sun poll – Con 33%, Lab 39%, LD 9%, UKIP 11%


In the Telegraph

Harry de Quetteville – Twitter is the worst forum for expressing grief
Dan Hodges – Those exciting Labour policies you were waiting for? There aren’t any
Sue Cameron – Why should the innocent pay for justice?

Best of the rest

Martin Kettle – The UK is on shifting sands – we can’t assume survival
David Aaranovitch – Farage and Salmond want you to live in Outopia

Can you spot the woman?

Originally posted on Richard Wiseman:

First, we have just released the Night School Sleep music on iTunes.  This 30 minute piece is scientifically designed to help you fall asleep and can be downloaded here .

Second, James F sent me this rather lovely illusion.  This ‘parrot’ is actually a female model posing for body painter Johannes Stötter. Can you spot her? If not, there are clues after the break.


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Deadly Fighting in East Ukraine

Originally posted on Peace and Freedom:

By Lukas I. Alpert
The Wall Street Journal

A man climbs up a post to remove a Ukrainian flag as protesters hold a rally outside the mayor’s office in Mariupol, Ukraine, April 13, 2014. Reuters

MOSCOW—Three pro-Russian protesters were killed and 13 wounded in an overnight clash with Ukrainian authorities at a military installation in the southeastern city of Mariupol, the country’s Interior Ministry said Thursday.

The violence marked the bloodiest altercation yet since the start of an “antiterrorist” military operation by the Ukrainian government to drive out pro-Russian militants who have seized control of 10 cities in the largely Russian-speaking east.

The attack began late Wednesday, when around 300 people tried to storm a national guard base in the coastal city after the guards there refused the crowd’s demand to lay down their weapons and switch sides. The protesters then opened fired on the guards and began hurling Molotov cocktails…

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From Michael Howard to Andy Coulson, inept spin has always raised a laugh.

Originally posted on The Slog.:

coulsonsex Although many threaders here obviously think I’m a miserable bugger, the truth is that during any given day I laugh on average about 20 times more than most people. This has probably got something to do with reading 20 times more news: but whether the equality-forcers like it or not, it’s also because older, more intelligent and worldly folks know it’s laughable, and the overwhelmingly majority don’t even know (or care about) what the issues are.

Why should they? They pay their taxes to have soi-disant ‘professionals’ sort this stuff out for them. They think those people know better. And anyway, the semi-final of The Voice is on tomorrow. Between 65 and 80% of the population in the West consume media on most of the issues of the day, and only rarely spot when they’re being manipulated. I was talking to a friend yesterday whose theory is that advertising (or…

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Asia Watches High Stakes Legal Fight Between the Philippines and China

Originally posted on Peace and Freedom:

Philippine marines gesturing at a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea last month. A loss for the Philippines in challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea could diminish the legal grounds on which the claims of Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei stand. — PHOTO: REUTERS

- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/eye-the-world/story/high-stakes-philippines-its-legal-fight-china-20140417#sthash.77gvg6Bq.dpuf

By Raul Dancel Philippines In Manila
The Straits Times

As far as diplomatic gambits go, the stakes don’t get any higher than the Philippines’ decision to challenge China’s contentious South China Sea territorial claims at a United Nations tribunal.

The 4,000-page plea that Manila filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on March 30 essentially argues that China’s claims – based on the “nine-dash line”, a map which suggests that Beijing controls 90 per cent of the South China Sea – are “exaggerated” and “illegal”.

Beijing has said it will not be…

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Seagull in flight – Ajaytao

Originally posted on Ajaytao 2010:

Seagull in flight - Ajaytao

Seagull in flight – Ajaytao

A lonely seagull flies the winds
Majestic… soaring…gliding wings
A single screech sounds from the sky
Come fly with me… come here and fly

My spirit floats to be a part
I feel the beating of its heart
My soul, one with this bird of sea
Now knows the meaning to fly free

I feel the winds caress my soul
And soar the streams without a goal
My being trembles of delight
A treasure I received tonight

The seagull’s flight of soaring high
The gift of what it means to fly


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Ukraine: War is coming, part 2

Originally posted on Russell Chapman:

Maybe I should have called this post ‘How wars start by accident’

In my last post I made the Afghanistan comparison to show that in the face of a smaller less well equipped enemy the Russians could not win a decisive war. The same for Chechnya, they basically had to destroy the country and even then the Chechen militia were not finished off, in the end the Russians had to change their strategy from direct military intervention in order to bring some form of order to that country.

Ukraine is different, yes her fighting force is smaller but ironically, in many ways is better equipped than their Russian counterparts, Ukraine was until recently an exporter of arms to Russia, but they stopped exports due to the current crisis, in fact it is one of the global leaders of arms exports as its quality control and engineering is seen as being…

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Why are veiled women denied entry to bars in Egypt?

Originally posted on Egyptian Streets:

Egyptian women line up to vote in 2012

Egyptian women line up to vote in 2012

By Anya Vanecek, Aswat Masriya

At the top of Ahmed Orabi Street, seven Americans smiled impishly at the Cairo Jazz Club bouncer. Not one was carrying an ID – or over the minimum age of 25; he didn’t seem to mind. From the centre of the pack, I twirled the hanging ends of my Spanish-styled headscarf. He did mind that. Pointing directly at my covered head, the bouncer demanded I show my ID. Adopting a pointed American accent, I replied, “I don’t carry it with me.” The bouncer scolded me, but allowed me to follow my friends into the club. “Bring it with you next time,” he warned.

Cairo Jazz Club is one of many high-end, alcohol-serving establishments which have come under fire in recent years for turning veiled women away – allegedly for morality’s sake. An article published four years ago by Ashraf…

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