Sunday, 21 December 2008

Going Down

Two views of the world:

Gordon Brown pretending he's in charge and "things can only get better" as written by the great Nick Robinson:

And the reality, from two of my other heros, ComRes and Dizzy:

Roll on that election.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Surreal Life

I appear to live in a society where:

The state pays you for not working.
The state will pay for your housing.
The state pays more for your housing the more children you have.
The income outlined above will in almost all circumstances add up to more than you could earn even if you earned double the national average wage.
The state will pick up these tabs even if you are not British and even if you are an alien who has been refused entry to this country several times.
The state will pay for all your children to be educated up to doctorate level.
The state will pay for all your health costs for your whole life.
When you are in your dotage, the state will pay you for being old.
And now, it will also make a contribution to your heating costs.

Why does anyone who is only going to earn around the national average wage bother working?

Thursday, 18 December 2008


I came across an interesting comment in an article in Total Politics (a rather good newish political magazine for politically minded geeks) the essence of which is that being a politician is a balance between intellect and ego.

I have ruminated on this and the more I think about it, the more profound I find the comment. They all have to have overly large egos to want to stand for office in the first place, so let's take that as read. But in my experience - and I'll let you into a Cragsbury secret here, I once was a local politician who like all of them harboured secret desires of being Prime Minister - many confuse their ego for their talent...or lack of it.

So here is a first stab at the current crop that fall into the obvious three categories:

Too intellectual to be understood by earthlings

David Willetts
Oliver Letwin
Frank Field
George Osborne
John Redwood
Ed Milliband
Lord Adonis

Too much ego not enough talent

Gordon Brown
David Davis
George Galloway
Harriet Harman
Peter Mandleson (huge talent but ego of intergalactic proportions)
Simon Hughes
John Prescott
Liam Fox
Robert Kilroy Silk
John McCain
Hilary Clinton
Sarah Palin

Reasonably well balanced (ie considerable talent and normally keep their egos in check)

Tony Blair
Vince Cable
David Cameron
Jack Straw
William Hague
David Laws
Alan Johnson
Nick Clegg
Ken Clarke
Bill Clinton (although his ego almost kills him from time to time)

I am also on a quest to find single words that accurately sum up a well known politician. Now these are not just any old words to denigrate one of our great leaders. No, these are very specific words that completely capture the essence of the individual. So far:

Buffoon - Boris Johnson
Twerp - Michael Gove
Vacuous - Harriet Harman
Mendacious - Peter Mandleson
Smug - Alex Salmond
Curmudgeonly - John Prescott

More please...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Perfect Storm

The Government’s fiddling of the official stats on knife crime has made me think about how campaigners misuse data for their own benefit. The rise of the ‘single issue fanatic’ (often called a SIF in the trade) has been astounding in the last 20 years (tobacco, phone masts, MMR, 4x4s, dangerous dogs, handguns etc). Why? I think a number of factors have been instrumental:

a. Weak politicians who are desperate to appear relevant
b. The 24/7 news agenda that simply must be filled
c. The all dominating dogma of the ‘human interest’ angle on every topic
d. The quite astonishing human appetite for conspiracy theories

(These last two are the lifeblood of the soft left ‘media luvvie’ intelligentsia who dominate control of the media).

Thus, you can get anything banned if you know how. Below, the 10 steps to the perfect storm.

I am an SIF and want to get Government to crack down on…whatever it is I am against…let’s say, Bic biros for sake of argument.

Campaign Plan

1. Procure research showing a theoretical health concern

Anything will do really. Just a rogue bloke whose first name is ‘Professor’ or ‘Doctor’ will suffice. Actually a woman is better, especially if she is vaguely attractive. The fact that the risk is in the 0.000 range simply doesn’t matter.

2. Calculate a ‘theoretical body count’

Remember to turn “one in 1,000,000 children could be at risk” into “millions of children could be at risk”. (In reality, 60 children in the UK could be at risk, probably about as many that could be at risk of being struck by lightning or being in a car accident with a member of the Royal family in fact).

3. Ramp up the ‘theoretical body count’

Go global baby: “100s of millions of children could be at risk worldwide”. Now we’re cooking.

4. Find a couple of case studies

Get said academic to trawl A&E records to find the three children who died from swallowing a Bic biro top in the last five years. Sign the parents up. Film interviews with them – cue shots of parents looking at pictures of their dead children on the mantelpiece, sitting on the sofa leafing through the family photo album, must make them cry though, that sort of thing.

5. Establish a website with some factsheets

‘Facts that Bic don’t want you to know’. Easy. Done in a day.

7. Scare a trio of backbench MPs (one from each main party)

Ideally these should be constituency MPs of signed up parents. Film ‘rent-a-quote’ MPs outside Parliament: “One death is one death too many”. Prepare Early Day Motion, demand for meetings with ministers (“Legislation required at the very least”). MPs must call for Government action. You know the score.

8. Day before launch

Call up Bic at one minute to five o’clock in the afternoon and demand to know what they are doing. Must ask on tape: “How many children has your product killed in the last year alone?” Record the inevitable “No Comment”, probably from the receptionist or night security guard.

9. Launch campaign

Run a big media story in the Saturday Daily Mail. “We asked Bic to speak to us but they were unavailable for comment”. Sit back and wait for the telephone to ring off the hook.

10. Feed story to all media outlets for Sunday

Best targets: Sunday Mirror, News of the World, Observer, BBC TV news. Ensure academic, crying parents and tame MPs available for all Sunday TV bulletins and political chat shows.

Result: for sure on Monday a Government minister will cry crocodile tears on every channel and explain the outline legislation that the Government “has been working on for months”.

Job done.

Monday, 15 December 2008

It's Not Just Me

So the great Irwin Stelzer, economic comentator to the stars - well, Rupert Murdoch anyway - agrees with MC. Read it here:

Things That Piss Me Off (Number 2344)

'Strictly' fans that we are, Mrs C and I huddled around the flatscreen on Saturday to view Argentine tangos, sequins et al in great excitement. The simple maths of the voting system failed, so Tom got through. Hurrah. Roll on next Saturday.

But is this a main news item? Does it really merit prime time news coverage? Do the BBC need to be leading with it all morning today, two days later?

And for that matter, as happy as I am that this Bangladeshi NHS doctor has been released from her parents and is being sent back home to East London, should this item have received constant wrap around coverage since Friday? I bet when she lands at Heathrow, there will be TV news crews jostling to film her with breathless coverage of her arrival, her first steps on British soil, her first words, interviews with her neighbours, her local newsagent, someone who once studied with her blah, blah, blah.

How fucking soft focus is the news these days!

For fuck's sake, has the war in Congo stopped? Has Russia stopped threatening to cease energy supplies to Ukraine? Have elections in countries all over the world ceased? Has the murderous wanker in charge of Zimbabwe left office and the place turned the corner?

No. The soft left complacent wankers who run our TV news just cannot see through their PC haze and understand what's important anymore. Soft focus crap all the way. Oh and as much advertising as possible for other BBC programmes during BBC news.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The 21st Century Great Excuse: Health and Safety

So when this happened on Friday evening, I knew I was going to write a post about it. But I wanted a couple of days to go by so that I could calm down and be objective. Here's what happened:

Mrs C wants a coat for Xmas. Harrods had a 30% off week for its most loyal customers, which thanks to Mrs C's ludicrous spending habits, seems to mean us. Mrs C went, looked around and waited for me to finish work. So at around 1730 hrs on Friday I arrived at Horrids carrying my briefcase (a black, fabric, airline style affair with 2 wheels and a retractable handle). I was also carrying a large shopping bag full of another present for Mrs C bought earlier in the day.

As I arrived at the door, I retracted the briefcase's handle, picked it up in my hand and made to enter but was stopped in my tracks by a gruff Horrids security guard who looked and was acting as if he was being confronted by a major threat to Horrids security.

Guard: "Sorry but you can't bring that in here".
MC: "Sorry, bring what in here?"
Guard: "That bag, sir. It has wheels."
MC: "It's just my briefcase."
Guard: "Sorry sir. It has wheels and that's against Horrids policy."
MC: "Why?"
Guard: "Because you might wheel it and someone might fall over it."
MC: "But you let pushchairs in here, right?"
Guard: "Yes we do."
MC: "And prams?"
Guard: "Yes."
MC: "And if I had 20 big shopping bags like this one in my other hand, you would let me in, right?"
Guard: "Yes."
MC: "And you sell these wheely briefcases in the store as well?"
Guard: "Maybe sir but it is company policy that bags with wheels are not allowed into the store. You can leave it at Door 3."

There followed a terrible to do where I went to the next door to be greeted by a similarly brusque guard who had been alerted on the radio by his mate. Pissed off, I told Mrs C to come and get me and we stomped off to the car in high dudgeon.

Mrs C rang to complain, as is her way, and a 'computer says no' conversation ensued, which went nowhere fast where the 21st century officialdom's trump card was inevitably played: "It's against health and safety".

My points:

1. What a stupid fucking rule.
2. Yet another inarticulate dunderhead wanker with a badge wins out over a normal law abiding person, and smirks his way home feeling big about himself.
3. How pathetic is our society now that we are so frightened about health and safety that we err so much on the side of extreme caution that we have shops worried about briefcases on wheels. (We can conqueror the world, thrust into space, wage pointless wars but in Brown's Britain we obsess about PC crap).
4. A great example of British 'gold plating'. Does anyone really think that the HSE would have a problem with wheely briefcases in department stores? Not a real danger are they?
5. What a stupid fucking rule.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Britsh Guilty of Attempted Genocide

From today's BBC Online:

"The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe which has left hundreds dead was caused by the UK, an ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said. Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu described the outbreak as a "genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British". On Thursday, Mr Mugabe said the spread of cholera had been halted. But aid workers warned that the situation was worsening and the outbreak could last for months. In his comments to media in Harare, Mr Ndlovu likened the appearance of cholera in Zimbabwe to a "serious biological chemical weapon" used by the British. He described it as "a calculated, racist, terrorist attack on Zimbabwe". Mr Mugabe has already accused Western powers of plotting to use cholera as an excuse to invade and overthrow him."

Honestly. You couldn't make this shit up, could you?

Friday, 12 December 2008

Good Cash After Bad

Since I seem to be on the economic downturn theme, why would a sensible investor throw their precious money at a fundamentally flawed investment that (a) is failing and will continue to fail and (b) is expected to need further funding sometime soon as it travels further downhill, onto its very uncertain future?

So why oh why is the US taxpayer being forced to pump money into three failing US car manufacturers?

Could it be something to do with weak politicians who won’t say no to unions, their bloated workforce and pampered perks?

The Japanese and European car manufacturing industries have been killing Detroit for decades. Detroit has been making crap cars at a loss for too long. They need some aggressive restructuring. What we need now is strong politicians who are prepared to say: no more money, sort out your businesses, but we will fund retraining for all those you lay off.

So simple. So bold. So unlikely.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Media Miss Brown Target

I am mesmerised by how far the media have missed the target on the politics of the current economic slowdown.

Fact 1 – Labour would like you believe that (a) the recession is entirely the fault of the US sub prime crisis and that (b) Gordy is singlehandedly providing the solution to the global problem.

Fact 2 – The Tories have been woefully pathetic at saying anything serious and original on the crisis, belatedly coming up with their “with Labour’s plan we’re all doomed” mantra, rather hopefully positioning themselves for when it is actually really bad around about the time of the next General Election.

I will now deconstruct both facts. Fact 1:

1. Anyone whom I dealt with in business circles for the last couple of years was clear that we were all sitting on a balloon of debt. At some time, that balloon would burst. So firm and widespread was this view that many of my clients had actually stopped investing in the UK as the market was clearly overheated and due for a correction (aka a crash).

2. The worst of all offenders was the Labour UK Government who (a) laughably began to believe their own spin that they had conquered boom and bust, (b) were either too arrogant or too stupid to see that they were just lucky to be in Government during the back end of the longest boom in recent history, and (c) had lost sight of the fact that the Government was spending more than it earned (see Mr McCawber).

3. So in fact, our deluded Government were more than just complicit: they fuelled the boom and arrogantly thought that bust would never come. The sub prime crisis played its bit-part for sure, but we prolls rely on our leaders to survey the problems on the sea ahead and set our national sails accordingly. This Labour did not do. They binged on cheap money, threw it at the public sector and did not fix the roof while the sun shined.

4. This was not a banking failure therefore, it was a regulatory failure. The Government sets the banking rules and they allowed the rules to be too lax for their own gain. But as we all know, when the shit hits, Government searches for someone to blame and corporate fat cats are an easy target.

Now for Fact 2:

5. The current problem on the sea ahead is deflation. No serious economist believes that there is any other way of avoiding a deflationary cycle by anything other than throwing everything you’ve got at trying to boost the economy. Hence, the Government’s reflationary efforts.

6. To try to say, as the Tories are, that we should just cut Government spending (and any readers will know that I always think Government spending should be cut) and that this will somehow save us from deflationary oblivion is plain deluded.

7. What the Tories should be saying instead is that Labour is merely tinkering with reflation as they do not have any real money to throw at the problem because they did not save for the inevitable rainy day. They mismanaged the economy and are now trying to ‘throw’ the blame.

What amazes me is that the media can’t, don’t or won’t see through any of this.

What Government needs to do urgently is to free up the credit markets, rather than silly pointless stunts like saving us all £2.50 on every £100 we spend for the next few months (as if this will make any material difference). If this does not happen, we really are all doomed.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Police in Parliament

Don't you just love it. The Labour Party endlessly used civil service leaks when it was in opposition. Now the Tories are doing the same. Both parties when in Government feign outrage at such reprehensible behaviour and demand a search for those evil leakers.

The only difference between the two parties at the moment seems to be how they behave when faced with the problem.

The Tories put up with it, I suppose accepting that it was just one of the natural issues a Government has to deal with.

New Labour, control freaks that they are, have (a) got the now highly politicised civil service to complain to the police (who have done what the police always do and having received a complaint, in fear that they will be criticised for not acting, have begun an investigation) and (b) through their highly biased and incompetent Speaker 'placeman' allowed the police to charge into Parliament and arrest and search who and what they want.

This is a fundamental moment for our democracy. We cannot allow any Government to frustrate the activities of the opposition. A democracy is a democracy, however inconvenient for the Government of the day.

Where next? Arrest of those who hold unfashionable political views despite the inconvenient fact that there is no court testable evidence to convict them of anything? Oh no, hold on, actually New Labour's already done that with the radical Muslims that they haven't tried but keep under house arrest.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Political Integrity

In 1982 when the Argentineans invaded The Falklands, the then Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, resigned his post. His reason was simple: he was the guy in charge when a disaster occurred.

How times have changed.

The Council Leader and Cabinet Member of Haringey have had to be hounded out of office before they would take responsibility for the Council’s woeful and fatal performance. In recent years, cabinet ministers have taken illegal loans and interfered in due process before finally being forced from office. Our previous Prime Minister led from the front when he took money from FI mogul Bernie Eccelstone with one hand, whilst concurrently taking decisions that protected Ecclestone’s and FI’s wealth with the other. And our illustrious MPs, led by that beacon of decency and democracy Speaker Michael Martin, have slaved away to stop us prolls finding out how they spend taxpayers’ money on themselves.

Political integrity is long gone.

Monday, 1 December 2008

St Max Mosely

So a regular topic of this blog will inevitably be the unbridled, unregulated and malign power of the media.

Now, you may challenge my 'unregulated' comment all you want, but we all know that the PCC is a toothless and ineffectual fig leaf which allows the media to carry on and do its usual ghastly stuff.

I am sure I will turn to St Max Mosely and his fight with the News of the World and others again and again, not because I want to defend people who rent hookers and enjoy sado-masochism, each to their own on that one (but it should be pointed out that what Mosely did was legal and consensual), but because the media in that instance invaded a private individual's privacy so that they could make themselves richer (by running a 'shock, horror' headline and story, thus selling more newspapers to us prolls).

Anyone who has any misgivings about my view here should read the judge's words where he lays bare the unethical and manipulative methods of our illustrious media:

What the judge says is instructive about our media:

1. The editor of NoW and the journalist who ran the story were extremely unreliable witnesses who tried to blackmail the women involved.

2. They ran a salacious story and, when challenged, retrospectively concocted a 'public interest' argument in order to justify their actions.

I rest my case, M'lud.

No St Max's beatification is due to the fact that he had the balls to take the bastards on. Sadly, the judge did not award punitive damages against the NoW, and until a judge does this the media will continue to 'rape' private individuals in order to make more profit for themselves.