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Well, this sucks.

BBC Brandishes its Daily Mail morals
McCain waits on Murphy's Law
Glock pulls Hamilton out of the fire

BBC Brandishes its Daily Mail morals

Sigh. The Daily Mail wins again.

I'm sure you all know what’s happened regarding Russell Brand, Jonathan Ross and the 'satanic slut' granddaughter of a certain Fawlty Towers star, but for those deaf, blind hole-dwelling Martians amongst you, here's the gist. Russell Brand invites Jonathan Ross to his Saturday night show on Radio 2, and before long the two start discussing Brand's relationship with Georgina Baillie, the granddaughter of Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel in the classic sitcom Fawlty Towers. Brand mentions that she belongs to "a baroque dance group called the", and that he and she had done the dirty. The pair leave four messages on Andrew Sachs' answerphone, in which they such things as "he fucked your granddaughter" and "She was bent over the couch." A condensed transcript is here.

Since then, all hell has broken loose (this is the good thing about doing this blog only once a week: even if some things aren't up to date, you can look at a whole story as it develops – here's a useful BBC timeline of the affair). Jonathan Ross has been suspended from the BBC for three months without pay, Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas has resigned and Russell Brand has voluntarily left the BBC. Gordon Brown and David Cameron have waded into the affair. Even Noel Gallagher has an opinion, though why he thinks we should care is beyond me. This is the mountain of all molehills.

People's opinions on the broadcast vary. Some say it's sickening and Brand and Ross should lose their jobs. Some say it shouldn't have happened, but the level of outcry is ridiculous. And some say the broadcast is brilliant. Personally, I just don't think it's very funny. Brand's a hit-and-miss comedian, and this is not one of his finer moments.

I do, however, have renewed respect for him that he fell on his sword, leaving the BBC, not because he should have done – and I don't think he should have done – but because he took responsibility for something only partially his fault (the show being pre-recorded, the producers have to take some of the blame). As for Ross, he'll suffer more from the incident, and perhaps correctly: the transcript will show you that he basically started the whole thing and has very little comedy to add to the proceedings anyway.

But the long and short of it is that their punishments were triggered by The Mail On Sunday, which started a campaign against them (and also ran ridiculous non-stories with badly captioned pictures such as this). There were only two actual complaints about the show – both against Ross' language. Then The Mail got involved with its sense of moral outrage, raised the pitchfork-wielding masses into action and two talented men have their careers in jeopardy for something admittedly stupid but so inoffensive that Andrew Sachs himself didn’t feel it was necessary to do anything about it.

And now The Mail gloats. I don't think I could hate that paper more.

McCain waits on Murphy's Law

So, it looks like Wednesday's headlines – or, given the epic counting process, more like Thursday's or even next week's – will be 'Obama wins election in historic landslide'. Or, if you're a tabloid reader, 'MCCAINED'. Or, if you're a Daily Mail reader, 'Terror sweeps nation as black man holds world at his feet'.

Everyone needs to calm down a bit. It's not won yet. I know it would take something approaching a statistical miracle for Obama to lose now; that he has a six-point lead and the Republicans are already planning post-election strategies. McCain even looks like he's going to lose Arizona, his home state. Regardless of who is your incumbent, if you're losing Arizona to the Democrats you're really not having a good election.

I'm just saying: don't rule out a freak McCain victory. The main principle of Murphy's Law stipulates that "if anything bad can happen, it will happen" – and I can't think of anything worse than this.

McCain does seem to be trying his best to lose though. He's even talked about his plans to retire and spend more time with his family after the election. Don't say that! Never talk about what you're going to do if you lose. What makes it even worse for him is that the main concern for Republican voters is over his age – telling them you're all set up for a white picket fence and a rocking chair is the worst thing you can do. I'm all for honesty in politicians – sometimes, unrealistically so – but even if he was asked a direct question to this effect he wouldn't have to lie. Just say, "We can still win this" – which they can, even if it has to involve meteorites, a strangely specific outbreak of plague among Democrat voters and, in the words of Oliver Burkeman in G2, Obama having "an extramarital affair with a gay terrorist".

I'm less optimistic. McCain can still win this election, and stranger things have happened. If Obama wins, you've got plenty of time to celebrate – four years, if he doesn't cock everything up somehow. I know it sounds stupid to worry about tempting fate, and that is literally all I have this argument based on. But, at least for me, if not America and the world, just keep that champagne in the fridge for now, OK?

Glock pulls Hamilton out of the fire

You lucky, lucky bastard.

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