back to article Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Why is the UK taxpayer funding a millionaire supermodel and actress to build a website that replicates the "Help Needed" pages of Craigslist and Freecycle? Using information gleaned from Freedom of Information requests, we’ve attempted to find out. The model and actress Lily Luahana Cole, a Cambridge University art history …

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Anonymous Coward

'If you're a millionaire, you literally can't fail'

"It is also reasonable to ask if an unknown working class teenager in the North of England would receive the same red carpet"

....Amen to that!

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Re: 'If you're a millionaire, you literally can't fail'

See reg article http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/13/uk_innovation_nesta_fentem/

Where a uk techs attempts in touch screen technology (before the iphone came out) were stunted by Nesta not giving money, maybe he should have put Lilly Coles name on his application.....

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Re: 'If you're a millionaire, you literally can't fail'

To be honest they'd probably spend a lot of it on drinking and partying, I know I would have.

I'm not entirely sure whether or not that's actually a better deal for the taxpayer, I don't think there's that much in it.

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Re: 'If you're a millionaire, you literally can't fail'

They probably gave her the dosh because the "Impossible" enterprise was not intended to enrich her personally. By associating her name and brand with the project (for free), she hoped to promote the cause. I am not going to pee on her charitable enterprise, though the cabinet should obviously check for similar existing serviced first (they did Freecycle no favours).

The main thing highlighted by this article is that the Cabinet Office itself is worthy of several special investigations.

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Re: 'If you're a millionaire, you literally can't fail'

Hmm did David Cameron ride her horse as well?

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so much rubbish

I read that Guardian article you linked to before. It's a typical example of saying words for the sake of saying words, none of which mean anything when said in succession.

Managers are awesome at it and don't realise we all know they're trying to sound smart about something that is either rubbish or that they know nothing about.

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Re: so much rubbish

@Vakeyard - couldn't agree more about management speak, and every adult who indulges in it needs a bucket of water over the head.

Lily Cole deserves slightly more understanding though. She is only 26 and does not write for a living. She is never going to sound like Walt Whitman. Ditto other youngsters who have been accused of vacuous writings eg Peaches Geldof. She was 19, brought up in a millionaire celebrity bubble and some fools lacerated her for not being Earnest Hemmingway

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Re: so much rubbish

quote: "Lily Cole deserves slightly more understanding though. She is only 26 and does not write for a living. She is never going to sound like Walt Whitman. Ditto other youngsters who have been accused of vacuous writings eg Peaches Geldof. She was 19, brought up in a millionaire celebrity bubble and some fools lacerated her for not being Earnest Hemmingway"

Both of those examples are good, however it still doesn't explain why a professional publication would employ someone so demonstrably unskilled at writing to write for them. Think of the rebukes as being aimed at the person who hired them for these positions. Did they not ask for demonstrations of work prior to offering them the role, or was the glare of "celebrity" so great that it eclipsed any requirement for basic writing skills? Because that is what these people are actually griping about, that someone so obviously unsuited for the role has apparently been chosen due to factors unrelated to their capabilities.

It's like hiring programmers because of their cup size or previous modelling work, rather than competence with programming languages. The output is going to be substandard and as a manager, you should expect to get called on it pretty damn quickly.

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Always feel better about my own government waste, fraud and abuse when I see what you Brits spend your tax dollars on.

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All governments waste money, that's why it's stupid to keep on paying taxes when its spent so inefficiently. Better to give direct to business that will provide a similar service or proper charities. I say proper ones, not fake charties that are basically extensions of the government. Many of these fake charities also lobby the governemnt behind their smoke screen of "charity".

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:(

In a country where a subway driver can fail to provide a breath sample for intoxication testing, and yet the tube unions can claim drivers are necessary for passenger safety and driverless trains are dangerous, not very much is that surprising any more.

As I said, :(

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Which government is that? Are you sure it isn't equally absurd but less well monitored and reported upon?

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Anonymous Coward

pounds.

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Re: :(

Thankfully the driver was arrested and the offence is being investigated. If guilty he will probably lose his job and quite right too.

Not sure how you link the story to the union safety concerns though, after all it was a colleague who reported him in the first place.

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Facepalm

Is this a practical joke?

I keep expecting Chris Morris to appear in Impossible.com explaining that "It's all been a joke." The entire Innovation in Giving Fund was created for a new series of Brass Eye.

If any of this is real then the UK is in deeper shit than anyone thought.

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Re: Is this a practical joke?

It isn't and it's not just the UK.

Patronage and connections is the order of the day and has been for decades now.

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Joke

The words of Trillian ring true

"I don't know about impossible but it's very, very improbable."

In fact, it is so improbable I think they must have hooked up the logic circuitry of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian motion generator to get this far.

I'm of to get a really hot cup of tea

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I can't be bothered to visit the site to post this, but...

"I wish public money hadn't been used to fund impossible.com"

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WTF?

Re: I can't be bothered to visit the site to post this, but...

Well - I did and I registered to leave my wish...

I'd like to now unregister, please. Oh, I can't...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't be bothered to visit the site to post this, but...

I actually did do that a couple months back when Bong posted about it. Never went back to check on progress though.

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2014/01/31/bongs_davos_diary/#c_2095571

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Tip of the iceberg

This is almost certainly not the worst waste of public money that is happening,but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth when a millionaire is given £200k of public money, to set up a website for which there appeared to be no demand, and if there was a demand, it could have been done for £200. It's not as if it needs to be hosted anywhere with a lot of bandwidth. Someone's bedroom on ADSL would seem to be plenty.

This needs to be seen against the background of disabled people being made homeless because they had a spare bedroom, of the same people being told they are well enough to work (including a friend of mine who died of terminal cancer 3 days after the letter telling him he was well enough to work was written), of cuts to the NHS, cuts in roads, education and just about everywhere you might need a service from the government. The only place not being cut is the government and their immediate support network. We are really not all in this together are we.

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Re: Tip of the iceberg

£200k of public money, to set up a website for which there appeared to be no demand, and if there was a demand, it could have been done for £200

And £200 that she could easily have found herself if she thought it was so important and worthwhile.

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I wish ...

I wish UK govt had spent this money on nurses or something.

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I know I've posted it before, but

A charity that gets most of its funding from government is no more a charity than a prostitute is your girlfriend. Paul Staines (Guido Fawkes)

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I have

both reviewed and been an 'associate' (read my organisation has a joint programme - deal with it) with NESTA in the past. They do some very interesting stuff, BUT, far too much in the past was driven by individual ministerial interests, and far too much relies on the impact projects will have on their management layers. Charity allows no FOI - wonderful and a way to avoid past excesses.

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Re: I have

"a way to avoid revealing past excesses"?

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Maybe the money buys them a chunk and they're hoping for another twitter or WhatsApp. Meantime it's jobs for the boys and keeps a bunch of 'new media gurus' busy writing carefully-faked 'wish' posts and not out in the real world irritating everybody. What's not to like?

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I wish...

...that someone would develop a stupid fucking website that I can spunk meaningless drivel onto. I would gladly see some of my tax money diverted from essential services to support development of such a service.

I thought it was my lucky day but I tried impossible.com and it doesn't fucking work in Chrome 33 or IE9 on Windows 7 FFS.

I anyone knows of an alternative I would be much obliged.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I wish...

how about the comments on the register - you're doing great so far!

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Re: I wish...

http://www.facebook.com

http://instagram.com

http://www.twitter.com

http://www.dailymail.co.uk (But I think you have to pass some kind of test called a 'Job Interview' before you get to post on this one properly)

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Facepalm

"Even following very heavy media promotion"

First I've EVER heard of it.

PR money well spent then eh?

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Re: "Even following very heavy media promotion"

Well, consider that the PR firm was Freud Communications. That's the employer of Kate Garvey, who is Jimmy Wales' (third) spouse. Jimmy Wales was fully on this Impossible.com bandwagon as soon as he heard state money could be garnered. He's described Lily Cole as "like a daughter to me". So, it all comes full-circle, as a family affair.

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I Wish

I could have my #£200000 back

--- A Taxpayer

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Re: I Wish

A "hard working" taxpayer - the only sort that counts these days.

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Stop

Figurehead?

Not to be too blunt, but Ms Cole really does come across as thick as two short planks, which makes me wonder if she's not just the figurehead for some more politically-aware parasites that saw a good scam.

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thick as two short planks?

Let's see: Lily Luahana Cole, a Cambridge University (going well so far) art history graduate (bugger). Art History - that's what royals do, isn't it - neither Art nor History, a bit like taking a degree in French Chemistry.

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Re: Figurehead?

ISTR the young lady got sent off to the Amazon and in an interview afterwards said summat like "I never realised that rubber comes from trees".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Figurehead?

I bet she knows her summat from her something.

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Happy

Re: Chris Miller Re: thick as two short planks?

".... Cambridge University (going well so far) art history graduate (bugger)...." Double penetration - she also has a degree from Glasgow Caledonoian, only it's an honorary degree for being a caring luvvie.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: thick as two short planks?

As someone who actually has a degree in Chemistry with French (which I'd argue is actually harder than degrees solely in either chemistry or French) I object!

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Re: thick as two short planks?

Chris, looks like you managed to upset the only French Chemist on the web...

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Anonymous Coward

I wish

People would write "I wish I could..." instead if "I wish I can..." on impossible.vom

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It's good to be rich

I'm reminded of something a friend of mine once said:

"I want to be a millionaire, not because I want loads of money, but because when you're a millionaire people give you stuff. Not useless stuff, but stuff that you'd have bought anyway. And they give it to you for free, just because you're rich enough to be able to buy it if you wanted it! It's brilliant!"

It was true then, it's true now.

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Re: It's good to be rich

There are one or two stories (movies) around of people pretending to be rich, and getting stuff for free just off the back of that. Free samples in anticipation of future purchases. Of cause, the character never needed to buy anything, and lived off the free samples.

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Re: It's good to be rich

It's GOOD to be the king!

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Yes

"The Cole story raises several fascinating questions. It vividly illustrates the lack of accountability in government, with the state apparently set on autopilot."

Yes. Yes. And more Yes. This.

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Re: Yes

"with the state apparently set on autopilot"

And heading for the Southern Indian Ocean

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200k is NOT small

to people used to dealing with billions of £s in budget, 200k may seem like a small amount to piss away here and there

but that's like the entire working life of numerous people right there, their entire lives' contributions, pissed away on a shit website

but it's "budgetted for" and a small amount compared to anything else, and is therefore fine

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Waste of Taxpayers Money #142859345

To add to Dr Dre and others above:

How about the £30-40 Meeeeelion about to be handed to MS because the DoH can't recruit IT Managers who can migrate an to a new OS once in 10 years.

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Re: Waste of Taxpayers Money #142859345

Say what?!

More info please.

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