Friday, December 31, 2010

Favourite Image of 2010

The moment when Gordon Brown realised his true personality accidentally got broadcast live via a Sky News microphone.

A bullying control freak, he accused a Labour supporting voter (for no other type were allowed near him) of being a bigot for expressing concern about immigration in the local area. He then looks to blame someone. "Who put me with that woman?" he demands to know. What kind of incompetent allows someone with actual opinions near the great man? The brief was clear: toadies and brown (Brown?) noses only. I just hoped that there were no mobile phones or easily thrown office equipment nearby the next time he clapped eyes on the guilty party.

Even the most deluded of Brownite Labour supporters were finally forced to realise what a massive liability this man was as party leader and Prime Minister. It must have been very depressing for them. Meanwhile, the rest of us just had a brilliant laugh.

Note that he tries to criticise Sky News for broadcasting the private conversation. Funnily enough, we're not hearing the same outrage from Labour's "leadership" following Vince Cable's recent indiscretions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grumpy Old Man

Vince Cable's outburst to undercover Telegraph journalists posing as constituents shows him up as the self regarding pompous egotist he is.

He thinks so much of himself that he considers his resignation from the government would amount to a fatal blow. He really believes that the coalition couldn't survive without his glorious presence, his wise council, faultless economic insights etc. etc.

Well, I have to say I, and no doubt many other political observers, don't share his estimable view of himself. He's encouraged the view that he is a semi-detached member of the cabinet, holding his nose to even be in the same room as a Tory and only doing it to get his policies enacted. He's always been the Bookies favourite to be the first Lib Dem to resign and I think he now should, or be sacked.

He can then join the rest of the malcontents on the left of the Lib Dems & right of the Conservatives. He'd be in good company; Paddy Ashdown, Charlie Kennedy, Ming Campbell, Simon Hughes, David Davis, Norman Tebbit, Bill Cash etc. What an ensemble they would be. They could create their own club called the Grumpy Old Men and bathe in their love of oppositionism (is that a word..? it is now).

Because, when you look at the rebels on both the left and the right of the Coalition, you see men who, when they had more influence on the agenda of their parties, helped keep it in opposition, and would have done so perpetually had their influence not been broken.

I know what you may be thinking, surely Norman Tebbit helped maintain Thatcher in power with his no nonsense common sense and ideological clarity? True, especially when a forthright, no compromise approach was required, such as during the battles with the Unions, for example. But his approach grated with the electorate after the enemies within were defeated and attention turned to public sector reform, regardless of how right he may have been ideologically. Since then he's been an opponent of change in the Tory party and a catalyst for those who dream of a return to the party of the 80s despite the fact that time has long since got on its bike and moved on.

You may agree with him, as I do, on many subjects, but you get nothing done in opposition, although you can comfortably mouth off at those in power and that is what the likes of Vince Cable are missing so much. They crave the freedom to snipe and moan without fear that their own ideas and credibility will ever be tested in the real world.

The Coalition government needs unity to continue to be effective and to retain the confidence of the electorate. Cable's outburst threatens that unity and merely adds to the evidence that he is more of a liability that an asset.

By all means fight your corner in internal discussions, Vince. But don't boast to constituents about how difficult you are being or how you think you can hold the government to ransom in order to get your way. It makes you look like a self regarding arrogant tosspot. This isn't the make believe world you lived in all the time you've been a Liberal Democrat, this is real power in the the real world and unity matters. Your other Lib Dem colleagues in government are showing real courage and leadership, either support them or go.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Glorious Dead vs An Inglorious Bastard

The inglorious bastard in this picture, whose exact sex has been much debated, has been identified as the privileged son of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour - Charlie Gilmour.

The poor mite, who must be seriously considering whether he can afford to continue his education, is currently in his 2nd year at Cambridge University, where he is reading history at Girton College. Apparently he didn't understand the significance of the Cenotaph and regrets any offence caused. The best education his Daddy's money could buy?

But then, as his Dad would say, "We don't need no education". Although I would recommend some thought control in the future, Charlie boy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not Waving But Drowning

After David Cameron's drubbing of Little Ed at this weeks PMQs, this (slightly altered) image of a sign is my suggestion for outside the House of Commons...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where They Fell

An interesting illustration from the BBC of where our soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice since 1914...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quote of The Day 07/07/10

It's a massive shame it's hidden behind a pay wall, but there's a great piece in The Sunday Times by Rod Liddle about Jon "Poppygate" Snow. Here's a link if you have access.

My favourite quote comes near the start:

It is very difficult to know whose side to take in the great Poppygate dispute — Channel 4’s brilliant left-wing broadcaster Jon Snow, or the million or so British soldiers who died in the two world wars of the last century.

I think you can guess which side of the argument Mr Liddle came down on.

Picture of the Week

From Friday's Times...

Ken Clarke simulates his cum face at the Tory party conference after describing how he's going to "release thousands of prisoners like spermatozoa over the face of society" - It didn't go down at all well.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quote Of The Day - 3rd November 2010

During PMQs David Cameron faced critical questioning about the tuition fee and housing benefit reforms. The PM seized on the fact that the tuition fee reforms were less severe than the recommendation from Lord Browne's report (a report Labour had initiated) and a quote from Ed Miliband suggesting he used to be in favour of cutting housing benefit:

"The level of opportunism is so great that even when we introduce their policies, they oppose them."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hallowe'en Hater

I never know what you are supposed to say on Hallowe'en. "Happy Hallowe'en" doesn't seem right. "Have a scary Hallowe'en" seems more apt. But, to be honest, I don't really care. I've never got into all the hullabaloo that surrounds the event, especially nowadays.

Without wishing to sound like a grumpy old man but then going on to do exactly that; I see the whole affair as an over hyped Americanism.

But now I have children old enough to trick or treat, I can't very well deny them the opportunity of going around other peoples houses to beg for food.

Still, the idea of demanding treats with menaces is troubling. The trick element is now, thankfully, an empty threat, although you do still hear the odd story of kids damaging property or posting unmentionables through the letter box when no treats are forthcoming. It comes to something when the same kind of harassment meted out to suspected paedophiles by local vigilantes is seen as appropriate for people who simply refuse to act as a free tuck shop once a year.

And walking round the neighbourhood asking for sweets from, mostly, complete strangers doesn't strike me as a sensible or particularly safe way for children to spend their time either. But as long as the children are accompanied by a responsible adult there shouldn't be much risk for them.

My biggest problem with Hallowe'en trick or treating is when you get a sulk* of older teenagers knocking at your door. What in their unwashed world do they expect to receive as a treat? Most households would be stocked up to supply lollipops and penny sweets but I can't imagine these would satisfy the average modern teenager. That's why I make sure I've got plenty of fags, PSPs, cider and aerosol cans (for graffiti and inhaling), just in case a sulk* or two turns up.

I feel better for this rant.

I'm almost 40 years old. Expect much more of this kind of thing.

* I assume "sulk" is the correct collective noun for a group of teenagers

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Really Nasty Party

As they continue to lose the main political arguments facing the country today, the leftists' bitterness grows and grows.

You have to feel for them. They are desperately trying to deny their complete and utter irrelevance to the needs of a country their statist ideology has brought to its knees. So, instead of engaging in a sensible debate about the way forward for Britain, which would require some degree of honest reflection on their role in creating the mess, they are reduced to pathetic name calling and offensive caricaturisation of government policy.

First the delusional Polly Toynbee calls the coalition's housing benefit cap proposal the "final solution for the poor" as if restricting those receiving the benefit to the average level of income for a working person is comparable to the attempted systematic murder of a whole race of people.

Then, as if to show that Labour aren't just highly offensive in their delusional state but utterly pathetic as well, Harriet Harman (ex political correctness ultra Equalities Minister who was dedicated to helping minority groups) describes red headed Danny Alexander as a "Ginger rodent". Nice. In doing so insults all red heads.

God knows the poor copper headed sun dodgers* have enough on their plate without this kind of prejudiced insult.

* I am allowed to insult red heads as I married one, one of my children is one and a significant proportion of my facial hair (when allowed to grow) is that hue.

Great response from Danny Alexander:

@dannyalexander: I am proud to be ginger and rodents do valuable work cleaning up mess others leave behind. Red squirrel deserves to survive, unlike Labour.

He shows himself to be a more gracious and humorous person than sad old Hattie.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Euro Billions

Cameron is right to resist the European parliament's demand for a 6% hike in European funding. He clearly wanted a freeze or cut, but it seems that is not a possibility.

Some suggest he should refuse to pay but, sadly and especially since the Labour government ratification of the Lisbon treaty, this is not a realistic position to take. We are reduced to fighting for the least worst outcome.

There was an interesting graphic in The Times yesterday illustrating where our money goes in Europe.

It's episodes like this, a funding boost at a time of austerity for member states, that shows just how long over due it is to have a serious look at what the EU is good for and where it should withdraw and leave individual countries to run their own affairs. It would be worth checking how your Euro MEP voted on the budget increase proposal. It's hard to believe the European Parliament's decision to ask for a 6% increase is a democratic reflection of public opinion.

Cameron should be lobbying for future cuts in budgets, especially given our own austerity measures are yet to bite. But, as his government is doing at home, those cuts should be allied with serious reform so public confidence can be restored in the EU and people can start to feel they get value for money.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Look At The Size of My Gun

It seems that there is an upsurge in white segregation in South Africa. As depressing as the story is the picture they used to illustrate it was amusing...

Big guns for men with big hands and their disinterested sons.

The Great Fairness Debate

The reaction to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) has been nothing if not wholly predictable. Leftists popping up all over the shop to denounce the cuts as savage, regressive and unfair. But what does constitute fairness?

Matthew Parris writes on the subject in The Times yesterday (behind a pay wall). He makes the point that fairness is more than some arithmetic calculation of who loses most or whether the cuts are "progressive" or not...

"The essential point about the word “fair” is that it doesn’t add anything to words like “right”, “just”, “reasonable” or “ought”. “Fair” doesn’t (contrary to what the IFS assumes) imply a number, a quantity, a mathematical relationship between two different portions. It doesn’t (contrary to what the Labour Party thinks) imply equality: of outcome, opportunity, pain, gain, or anything else. When a speaker says “fair” he appeals to his hearer’s sense of what people do or don’t deserve.
Without this sense of deserving, any analysis of mere numbers is sterile. The raw, unprocessed arithmetic of financial gain or loss makes no impact on the moral imagination of the public unless illustrated by real cases of real groups about whom we may have an opinion — I stress: opinion — on each group’s moral claim on welfare. Accountants’ formulae for deeming cuts “progressive” or “regressive” are counterfeit, unless weighted by moral judgment.

A crude example: many people would think that, in a queue for an expensive lung operation, it would be “unfair” to put a penniless, jobless and incorrigible chain-smoker ahead of a hard-working young mother who had never smoked — although on the IFS calculation the decision would be “progressive” because it redistributes income from a richer citizen to a poorer one."

This is an important point and, as Parris suggests in his article, not one the coalition is making very effectively. The debate needs to move on from the "progressive" / "reactive" terms, that the left have managed to keep the focus on for decades, and start thinking about what truly is "fair".

The coalition has made a rod for its back by insisting on referring to its plans to reign in Labour's budget overspend as being "progressive". This term means, to most people, that the rich pay more (not just in absolute terms but proportionately) than the poor. Surely, that is fair?

Redistribution of wealth is not, in of itself, fair. Taking from the "haves" and giving to the "have nots" may have a Robin Hoodesque romantic appeal but it doesn't follow that it is fair in all circumstances. When choosing what to cut and what to spare the Chancellor had to made many individual decisions on what was fair and what wasn't.

This is where we see the fundamental difference between the Tory and Labour approach to fairness. Leftists think the main objective should be to redistribute wealth from the better off to the poor. Thus they hope to alleviate poverty and create a more equal society. This, they tell us, is "progressive". For them it would be enough to be able to prove statistically that they were taking more from the better off than the worse off. That's fairness in their book.

Osborne's starting point was more specific; that it wasn't fair to run up unsustainable debt levels for our children's generation to pay off at great expense. In truth Labour already had, but his point is still valid. We should not continue to grow that debt level by continuing to spend more than we can afford for years and years to come. Remember, all the government is proposing is to stop adding to the national debt, they're not planning on paying any of it back before the end of this Parliament at least.

From there the Chancellor had to make a number of fairness judgements. Inevitably these judgements are influenced by the values of the people making them (which, these being politicians who want to be reelected, in turn are influenced by the broad consensus in the country). Matthew Parris describes the kind of judgements he would make and they clearly tally with the Chancellors'...

"Here are mine; and I wouldn’t trouble you with them if I wasn’t convinced they are shared by tens of millions in our country.
I say it isn’t “fair”, if you’re only on an average wage, to have something approaching half your earnings confiscated through income, council, excise, fuel and spending taxes, and redistributed, even though it was your efforts that earned the money.

It isn’t “fair” that people housed by the State at your expense should be given homes for life, rather than only for so long as they cannot afford to pay market rates.

It isn’t “fair” — from the viewpoint of those who would expect their own grown-up children to rent a room if they lacked the funds to buy a house — that a person assessed as being in housing need, once he passes the age of 25, gets a right to a home of his own rather than just a place in shared accommodation.

It isn’t “fair” that the benefits system provides an incentive to jobless people with a medical condition to claim, and stay on, incapacity living allowance, even if they have a partner in work who can support them; and it isn’t “fair” that the costs and numbers of such claimants have swelled so enormously in recent years, without any evidence that the nation has become more ill or disabled.

It isn’t “fair” that workers in the public sector — whose jobs have been safer and whose salaries have risen faster than those in the private sector — should enjoy pension provisions so much more generous than what the rest of the country gets, paid for partly from the taxes of people in less secure jobs with inferior pension rights.

In every one of the five examples I’ve just cited, I’d bet that a shift in resources away from the recipients of state welfare would be seen by a majority in Britain as “fair”. But any fiscal calculation of the “progressive” versus “regressive” effect of the shift would conclude that the cut was “regressive”."

So, fairness is in the eyes of the beholder. To my eyes the CSR has got it about right. There will be a lot more controversy to come as the details pan out over time. Hopefully the coalition can get their fairness narrative sorted before long, otherwise they'll struggle to convince people to accept the pain being inflicted.

And when you hear those leftist politicians, celebrities and journalists berating the government for their actions it would be worth remembering the glee with which many of them welcomed the recession The First Post reminds us. Follow the link and have read if you time. They were happy to accept hard times for the poor, as long as it was framed in anti-consumption, environmentalist terms.

Further to the progressive/fairness debate, I see Guido has an excellent post on the same subject that is worth a read.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Champaign Socialism Is Alive And Well

While the coalition starts taking an axe to universal benefits that go to the needy and well off alike, it's good to see Lord Scandelson making sure he gets what's rightfully his, albeit from the EU this time.

Ex EU commissioners can claim a "transition allowance" that is intended to make up for the sudden loss of earnings once they leave post. Fair enough, you probably aren't thinking, but God knows, most of them are fairly unemployable in any normal job (Neil Kinnock was one, for example).

It should come as no surprise that the ex-trade commissioner, Mandelson, is making sure he squeezes every last drop of sauce out of the European high greed gravy train. From the Sunday Times...

Lord Mandelson has channelled fees and royalties from his autobiography into a private company, enabling him to qualify for up to half his former salary as a European commissioner two years after leaving the job.

His book royalties and speaking engagement fees (estimated at £350,000) are paid to Willbury, his firm. This enables him to claim up to £104,000 a year, intended to cushion former commissioners while they look for new work.

This “transitional allowance” is withdrawn if yearly earnings exceed £208,000. The commission must be informed of new activities generating personal income, including the publication of books.

Mandelson is thought to have earned £350,000 from his book, The Third Man, yet is still entitled to the allowance until October 2011. By paying his earnings into a company of which he is a director, he can tell Brussels he has no other private income.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Student Loan Compromise

I've just read that the Government is close announcing they've agreed on one of the most contentious policies between the Tory and LibDem coalition partners - student tuition fees and student loans.

It seems likely that they have settled on a "progressive graduate contribution" - a loan repayment scheme that increases in proportion if the graduate succeeds in earning more than average. The idea being that those students that earn less will end up not having to pay back as much as higher earners.

The agreement, and the likely recommendation from the Lord Browne review (due to be published on Tuesday), is that the tuition fee cap will raise from £3,290 to £7,000. This will be a major issue for the LibDems whose manifesto promised no tuition fee increase, but the hope is that the progressive nature of the new loan payback plan will satisfy their concerns.

For my part I'm happier with this idea than Cable's graduate tax but still not convinced it is completely sensible.

The tuition fee does not have to be paid upfront, it goes towards the amount owed after the course is finished. So, there's no upfront cost to make each potential student think deeply about whether or not they are really committed to achieving a good degree or, indeed, if it's the right thing for them and their aspirations. I'd like to see a modest initial fee, payable within the first year, that would really focus the mind of a student. It would discourage some from going to University, but I think we need to move away from the idea that the more Uni educated people the better. It should be about quality, not quantity.

Then there's the "progressive" element of the proposal. Once graduated, there'll be a real disincentive to succeed. Although it's not clear what the exact figures will be, it seems that higher earners will pay a bigger percentage of interest on their loans than lower earners. Those that end up
forging ahead with their careers will be penalised for no other reason than they dared to succeed. Those that aren't so bothered, or worse, only went to Uni to avoid work for a few extra years, will earn less and will not be expected to pay back as much. Some will say that it's only fair that the better paid pay more, but they do anyway - in taxes. They earn more so they pay more. There's no justification for making them pay more for their loans.

There's no easy answer. But I'd have preferred to see a system that encourages young people to make the right choices for their aspirations and abilities while encouraging ambition and a drive to succeed once graduated. This proposal looks like a political compromise and it doesn't seem to do either.

We'll have to wait to see the actual details of the proposal. There could be a lot more to it than we're seeing in the latest leaks. I certainly hope there is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Have The Censors Gone Too Far...

...Harmless fun from the chaps (I imagine they were all chaps) at Diesel Jeans with a little help, it seems, from Disney.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quote Of The Weekend

William Hague on the first day of the Tory party conference:

The last Labour government was "a government that raised taxes 178 times, raided the pension funds, sold the gold, and borrowed more than all previous governments put together, but still managed to leave more people on welfare, school and health inequalities wider, severe poverty growing and poor communities suffering most from crime"

It's No Tax and Spend For Ed Miliband

It's not really a new story but the Sunday Times is reporting on Ed Miliband's utter hypocrisy in his exploitation of property tax loopholes. The article is hidden behind a pay wall, of course, but here's a link if you have access: Ed Miliband nets fortune with tax ruses.

Personally, I've not got a problem with him limiting the amount of money the state taxes his father's estate. The issue is "Red Ed's" attack on those who have done the same kind of thing in avoiding tax in his speech last week.

As I say, this is not a new story. It flared up last during the Labour leadership election when Ed M's camp threw mud at his older brother, accusing him of benefiting from exactly the sort of tax loop hole he himself benefited from. See Paul Waugh's piece in the Evening Standard.

What does this tell us about "Red Ed" Miliband? Probably not a lot more than we either knew or suspected about him in the first place. He's not the only leftist high profile figure to exhibit hypocrtical behaviour. Fellow leadership candidate, Diane Abbott sent her son to a private school despite wanting to deny the same opportunities to others. Harriet Harman did the same thing and Tony Blair sent his sons across London to a Grant Maintained school. Labour was opposed to running schools in such a way and proceeded to abolish them, thus denying others of the advantages. It wasn't long until he realised this was a mistake and reintroduced the idea in the form of Academies, so perhaps he can be forgiven? Labour's attack on Lord Ashcroft for being a non-dom was the height of hypocrisy as they had many non-dom financial supporters themselves, some in the Lords (you'll remember that a hefty donation to Labour bought one a peerage not so long ago).

I could go on. The point is, Ed Miliband will really struggle to portray himself as a break with the past. Especially the bits of the past that people most came to hate Labour for; the hypocrisy, lies and spin.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Explosive Propaganda

You have to wonder about the how tuned into the real world some green activists are.

I'm not a climate change sceptic, I believe there's a real problem out there and if there's any chance my actions are making matters worse and threatening the quality of life of my children and (future, I hope) grandchildren, then I'm keen to do what I can.

However, recently the case for global warming has been undermined by a few, more exuberant proponents, who have attempted to answer tricky questions, not by cool, thoughtful analysis and explanation but by issuing, sometimes, misleading propaganda.

I can understand the frustration of having to respond to the more fanciful conspiracy theorists. But some of the questions are valid and deserve attention and research to help understand what the correct course of action is to combat the problem. I'd propose ignoring the conspiracy theorists and entering into a calm dialogue with the constructive doubters, using scientifically proven evidence to back up the argument. But, all to often it seems that we get this kind of thing...

What do they think this will achieve? Anybody with any doubts about global warming aren't going to change their opinion on the back of watching this. They're more likely to have their suspicions about the credibility of the case for climate change confirmed - that it's all propaganda from over-zealous greens, celebs and leftists.

I see this is being portrayed as an attempt to get maximum publicity for the 10:10 campaign. The idea being all publicity is good publicity. But this will not convince a single doubter to do their bit and reduce their carbon emissions. Only those already committed to the cause will see the funny side.

Not Richard Curtis' finest work. It's shit actually.

After viewing it again I've come to the conclusion this video could work if the only person blown up was Jemima (the schoolgirl, whose family have been using their car less and she's going to cycle to school). She really does deserve it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

David Miliband's Not So Selfless Act

David Miliband standing down
from front line politics is a massive blow to his brother. For Labour it's bad enough the more electable Miliband isn't leader, to lose him from the team completely is a disaster.

Yes he's a ditherer, yes he was cowardly for not challenging Brown when he had the chance, but the elder Miliband looks head and shoulders above all the other shadow cabinet candidates. And he knows it.

He's clearly calculated his brother's leadership will end in failure and defeat. He spins his standing down as a selfless act the give his brother Ed more space and to help him build party unity but his real motivation is self interest. He knows that when his brother fails the party may well turn to him. But they're only likely to do that if he keeps his half of the Miliband brand untainted by his brother's failure. By withdrawing now he's is indeed allowing his brother space or, more accurately, rope with which to hang himself. Then MiliD can come riding back into town and the Labour MPs and party members, that always preferred him anyway, will back him in greater numbers, enough this time to outnumber any Union vote for a left winger, if one bothers to stand against him.

David Cameron would do well to think about a nice rich gravy train of a role for David Miliband. One that ties him up for at least 5 years but not one with a very high profile in the UK. Something in the EU perhaps?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ed's First Blow

The IMF has issued a report praising the coalition government's economic strategy to reduce the deficit, calling it "strong and credible" and "essential to ensure debt sustainability".

“The plan greatly reduces the risk of a costly loss of confidence in public finances and supports a balanced recovery. Fiscal tightening will dampen short-term growth but not stop it as other sectors of the economy emerge as drivers of recovery, supported by continued monetary stimulus.”

This really couldn't have come at a worse time for new Labour leader, Ed "better than my brother" Miliband. Deficit denial may have been a position that got him the backing of the Unions and therefore the leadership, but it's looking increasingly delusional and he must now be able to see that it's an untenable position to maintain any longer.

Look out for a humiliating climb down over the next few weeks/months. If he gifts the Shadow Chancellorship to his brother he can at least make it look like a concession to his defeated sibling, in the name of party unity. But it's by no means certain brother David will accept the offer.

Surely now, Ed Balls has no chance of replacing poor old Alistair Darling. Darling's plans were woefully inadequate, leaving the government spending at a level that continued to add to the already enormous mountain of debt wracked up by Labour, even after a whole parliament. But the Eds (Balls & Miliband) seem to think even Darling was too prudent. Why not draw down a few more £100 millions on the old over-draught, if it means a few extra votes?

But Ed is not stupid. He did what he had to do to beat his brother and get elected, now he has to face up to the real world. It's difficult to see how he can change course without looking chameleonesque - saying one the to Labour and the Unions and another the the general public, but not changing his mind is worse in the long run. Unless, that is, the global downturn we've seen evidence of recently in the US and Ireland, leads the UK into another recession (no matter how short). Even though such an event would have happened regardless of government, Labour will portray it as the result of cutting public expenditure. Because for them public spending = the economy.

The IMF believe a double dip recession is very unlikely but point out that the global economy can be unpredictable.

Unless he changes course on the economy, Ed Miliband must hope the unlikely double dip comes to pass and that the British electorate will be gullible enough to believe his diagnosis of the cause. Otherwise, at the next election, he'll continue to look as irrelevant as he and his party does today.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is Ed Miliband Just An Inbetweener Leader?

As Ed Miliband gets his first day as Labour leader out of the way, there are many questions that he'll need to answer to start to build his credibility in his new role. But the most pressing question for many commentators, especially on Twitter, seems to be - who does Ed Miliband look like.

Suggestions I've seen have included Forrest Gump, Mr Bean and Bert from Bert and Ernie.

For me, I can't help thinking of Will (Simon Bird) from The Inbetweeners when I see him awkwardly walking onto the conference stage...

The Inbetweeners

Ed Miliband - chuffed that girls want to talk to him all of a sudden
Once this important question is answered we can move on to finding out if Ed really is going to lurch Labour to the left as he implied he would during the campaign and in the Sunday Mirror today or whether he's actually middle England's friend, not a taxer and spender like Gordon, as he said in The Sunday Telegraph. It's worth noting that spell checkers want to change Miliband to Militant - Prove positive that the man's a raving communist! And even more pressingly, how is he going to unite the Labour party given that he failed to garner the majority support of MPs, MEPs or the party membership (even the inbetweener leader of the Tories Iain Duncan Smith managed to get the support of the party membership, if not the MPs).

Inbetweener may be apt for another reason. Bookmakers have lengthened the odds on Labour winning the next election following his victory. It seems, at first glance, that he is not going to be the next Labour PM. He could just be an inbetweener.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Decision Time For Labour - Banana Man or Forrest Gump

It's not long now until one of the Milibands gets elected to the position of leader of the Labour Party. The world waits with disinterested breath (what do you mean that doesn't make any sense?) for the result announcement at 4 sometime or other, later today.

Will Labour veer to the left with David or lurch to the left with Ed? For both candidates served under New Labour but have played to the Real Labour agenda that the party membership, unions and many MPs wish they could return to.

Between the two Milibands, David is seen as the most moderate and "New Labour"; Ed has been dubbed Red Ed due to his left wing rhetoric and increasingly delusional deficit denying that is almost on a par with Ed Balls' position.

Clearly David would be the more electable candidate but he has promised a left turn (even if not as sharp a one as his brother) to the Labour/Union electorate and they will expect him to deliver, damaging the party's chances of getting back in. That's good news for the country but it could be even better...

I've always thought Ed had a good chance of winning even though David's been the clear favourite up to very recently. That's because of Labour tripartite electoral college and the AV electoral system that means 2nd preference votes can make a big difference to the result. It seems to me that most Brownites will vote for Ed Balls but give their 2nd prefs to Ed Miliband. While the other leftists will split their 1st pref votes among Balls, Abbot and Burnham but, knowing it's really going to be between D and E Miliband will place a 2nd pref vote for the one taking a more leftist position - Red Ed. So David could win on 1st preference votes - clearly the most sensible result for Labour, but if it's close and 2nd preferences become relevant he could lose due to tactical preferential voting. Labour would be left (in both senses of the word) with a candidate no one really wanted.

David must be praying it isn't close and that he wins outright. Otherwise, how he'll regret his cowardice when he shrank from dislodging the obviously failing Gordon Brown earlier this year. He could have seized the day back then and relieved us all of Brown's malign influence sooner than was otherwise the case. Instead, he put his personal interest (didn't want to lead a party likely to lose the next election and feared the Brownite backlash) before the country's and even his party's.

Pity poor Labour. Their choice is between two barely humanoid nerds, one a coward and one an unelectable leftist looky-likey of Forrest Gump.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Safe Sex In So Many Words

The definitive list of trite slogans guaranteed to stop you using condoms...

• Cover your stump before you hump
• Before you attack her, wrap your whacker
• Don’t be silly, protect your Willie
• When in doubt shroud you spout
• Don’t be a loner, cover your boner
• You can’t go wrong, if you shield your dong
• If your not going to sack it, go home and whack it
• If you think she’s spunky, cover your monkey
• It will be sweeter if you wrap your peter
• If you slip between her thighs, condomize
• She won’t get sick if you wrap your dick
• If you go into heat, package your meat
• While your undressing Venus, dress up your penis
• When you take off her pants and blouse, suit up your mouse
• Especially in December, gift wrap your member
• Never ever deck her, with an unwrapped pecker
• Don’t be a fool, vulcanize your tool
• The right selection, is to protect your erection
• Wrap it in foil, before you check her oil
• A crank with armor, will never harm her
• If you really love her, wear a cover
• Don’t make a mistake, cover your snake
• Sex is cleaner with a packaged wiener
• If you can’t shield your rocket, leave it in your pocket
• No glove, no love
• If you think she’ll sigh, cover old one eye
• Even If she’s eager, protect her beaver
• Shield her from the hunt until you shoot her in the cunt
• Avoid a frown, contain your clown
• Harness the pygmy man before entering the bearded clam
• Constrain the little head before you stick it in the shed
• Put a condom on your dink before you dart it in her sink
• The weasel you must surround before you please her on the ground
• Cloak the joker before you poke her
• Encase that torch before you paint her porch

I've seen this list a couple of times on the internet. It's not my own work, honestly! However, I'll give it a go...

Before you release your man-fat, make sure you wear a cock-hat.

I'll give up there I think. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cat In A Bin... They Love It Really

I see the, now infamous, cat dumper Mary Bale has been charged with animal cruelty.

Good. However, if she ever saw a cat doing this, perhaps she's stupid enough to think she was helping her feline victim out...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kennedy Rumour Mongering

Charlie Kennedy's unreliability at this weeks LibDem conference is inevitably generating rumours that his drink problem has flared up again. A rumour they are more than happy to add to with this picture...

Prime material for a caption competition??

"Are you ok Charlie?"

"Where's me cabinet post ya posh BASTARD?

I love you, you know."

Seriously though. Let's hope he's put those demons behind him and if they have reemerged, I hope he can put them back in their bottle.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Miliband Same Room Shocker Revealed...

The Labour leadership race was thrown into turmoil today by the revelation that Edward "Ed" Miliband and David "David" Miliband have, in the past, shared a room together. The allegations (made by this blog) are reminiscent of the intrigue surrounding William Hague after a similar rumour, on Guido Fawkes (much better) blog, involving Hague (or the "the bummer Hague" as Guido calls him) and a young male special advisor.

However, a political analyst (well, me) has pointed out that the Miliband allegations have added scandal potential given that it has also emerged that the Miliband Brothers are also brothers, sharing as they do the same parents. The Milibands are understood to have shared a room when they lived at home and, on occasion, in hotel rooms when on holiday. The woman, that both men call mother, is a life long member of the Labour party but has said she refuses to vote for either of them in the leadership election. Clear proof that she is aware of their incestuous relationship and doesn't want the party damaged by their sick brother on brother bum love.

The recruitment of Hague's special advisor was questioned when it came to light that he wasn't well qualified for the role. The same concerns are being levelled at the Milibands with regard to their ability to run the Labour party, let alone a country. The similarities between the Hague case and the new Miliband case are numerous and both are equally as likely to be true.

Oooh... fancy a banana?
Earlier in the campaign Ed Miliband was quoted as saying he "loved" his brother and that they were "best friends". These words show their relationship has clearly gone beyond casual sausage hiding between parliamentary votes. David Miliband was also overheard suggesting to his brother that either of them could "lick Balls", a reference to the rumoured equality within their relationship, where they share the role of "taker" equally between themselves - both have made numerous mentions of equality in their public speeches. David Miliband is also renowned for playing suggestively with bananas, even in public. These words and actions were initially considered perfectly innocent, now we know better.

Both Miliband brothers deny having an improper relationship. All of the other leadership candidates refused to comment, apart from Ed Balls, who said "There's nothing wrong with being gay... But I'm not gay, I like girls and sports and DIY".

Friday, September 3, 2010

Scaping the Political Celeb Barrel

The Wife of The Speaker

This William Hague story seems to be forcing the media to scrape the barrel to find vaguely political personalities to offer their mostly irrelevant and always vacuous opinions. I was subjected to the-bloody-Hamiltons on the TV news, yesterday. I guess the subconscious message they wanted to put across was "a return to Tory sleaze". All very silly.

I-Mu speaker. Sally's 2nd husband?
But The BBC has outdone its media rivals by wheeling out a woman who has no other qualification to comment on political matters than being unable to get selected to run for Labour as a councillor and being married to the shortest speaker since the I-Mu - Sally Bercow. As reported in The Telegraph she opines that William Hague should not have issued such a detailed personal statement in defence of the rumours of him having an extra-marital gay affair with a special advisor. It's been a line of attack used by the political opponents of the Tories and others a lot over the past few days in order to keep the story alive and add to the perception that there is more to this than Hague is letting on.

Firstly, it ill behoves someone who issued an undeniably unnecessary personal exposé of her life when she was in her mid-twenties to lecture someone else on being to revealing in their public statements. Either in the hope of making a name for herself or spiking any negative stories that may have come out about her, she admitted to being "out of control" and "binge-drinking; having one night stands".  Frankly, I didn't give a frig (although she probably has been given a few in pub car parks etc.), it all sounds fairly normal to me, this is not Victorian England, after all. But the column inches it generated helped build her celebrity far more than just being "the wife of The Speaker of the House of Commons". Job done

Secondly, there is a good reason for Hague to bring up the intensely personal information such the heart break that he and Ffion have suffered over the years with multiple miscarriages as they attempt to start a family. That they were childless after 13 years of marriage was a fact that is being used to insinuate that the marriage was a sham. It is the most tawdry part of this whole saga and exposes the rumour mongers (including those making money from appearing in the media to comment and keep the story alive) as the turds they are.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Looks great, doesn't it...?

...This chap didn't realise until he'd dipped a marshmallow, that this was the output from the filtering process at the colostomy bag recycling plant upstairs.

PS Sorry. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Are Exams Designed to Discriminate Against The Motivationally Challenged?

After Gary Liniker blamed his son's school for his failure to get good enough results to get into university, research in America has shown that it may be the exams themselves that are discriminating against lazy kids...

In The Know: Are Exams Designed to Discriminate Against The Motivationally Challenged?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Silly Dunt... Deficit Deniers, The Holocaust & PR

Ian Dunt writes on that the use of the phrase "deficit denier" is unacceptable. Of course, we're used to being told what words we can and can't use by those on the left. But it's worth looking at this argument as there is, at least partial, truth in what he says.

Dunt gives two main reasons for not using the "deficit deniers" phrase, the first of which we can dismiss out of hand. He refers to it having "overtones of the Holocaust", because it is a derivation from the phrase "Holocaust denier". Again, a typically silly over appliance of political correctness to address some perceived offence that could be causes by a phrase used by political opponents that you'd expect from the mind of someone on the left.

Now, as it happens, I've not been using the phrase a lot myself but there is nothing offensive about it. To my mind, and others who share the view that there are those in the Labour party who want to continue the reckless and unsustainable spending of the previous government, the phrase sums up their delusional view of the world. The deficit exists, fact. The Holocaust happened, fact. As such the phrases are comparable. Using the phrase "deficit denier" doesn't suggest they are comparable to Nazis, as Dunt seems to think it does. Merely, that they are as deluded as those that deny the truth of the Holocaust. Indeed, not all Holocaust deniers are Nazis, necessarily. Some are just hopeless conspiracy theorists. Use of the phrase does not imply an equality of seriousness either. No one is suggesting the deficit run up by Labour is as horrific as the systematic murder of millions of people, that is, surely, obvious. But, this is not his main point. His second argument has (slightly) more substance to it, in my opinion.

He points out that Coalition politicians are using the phrase to discredit and suppress any alternative argument on how to manage the economy through the next few years.

Of course his main concern is that the phrase accurately and effectively sums up some left wingers' position of public spending and is being picked up by the media and public as it chimes with their own views on the subject. In reality this makes the Coalition's opponents feel uncomfortable as the arguments they'd like to see winning the debate are not gaining traction partly because this phrase so concisely sums up the alternative's argument as delusional and allows the idea to be transmitted easily. He knows the phrase effectively undermines the left's position and he'd prefer it be struck off the list of acceptable phrases.

Well, actually, he has a point. Not the politically correct one, obviously, but the point about attempting to suppress another argument through clever phraseology and PR. There is a legitimate alternative position to the Coalition's approach to tackling the deficit. To be fair, under Alistair Darling, Labour took it up during the election campaign. That was: Yes, deep cuts are necessary, but with slightly different timing and not quite as much, at first anyway. For those on the Left making that point, the phrase deficit denier is inaccurate and unfair. It doesn't fit well into the "new politics" approach if anyone is trying to portray all opposition politicians in that light. That kind of tactic is too reminiscent of the ruthless and sinister Labour propaganda machine that we all came to hate. The Coalition would do well not to emulate, or be seen to emulate, it.

However, since the election, that more realistic view of the deficit has all but disappeared from our TV screens when we hear Labour spokespersons oppose each and every Government action to reduce the deficit. There has been no mention of it during the Labour leadership campaign and in this respect, there really does seem to be a sense of delusional deficit denial running deeply through Labour at the highest level.

But Coalition politicians do need to be careful not to generalise all Labour people as deficit deniers. Certainly, the likes of Ed Balls should be exposed as an arch denier. He has said himself and it's been confirmed in the auto-biographies, that he opposed Labour's deficit reduction plans before the election. But, Alistair Darling may have planned a woefully inadequate reduction in the deficit, meaning we'd still be adding to our £1 Trillion++ in 4 years time, but at least he understood the deficit needed reducing. In that respect, he and others like him in Labour are not deficit deniers. The Coalition will be better advised to argue their case against these "deficit inadequates" if they are to continue the "new politics" approach that so sharply distinguishes them from their Labour predecessors.

Customer Service At Its Best

As seen on

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our House ConDem'ed - Best Thing For It

I read that Ed Balls is now suggesting that George Osborne is "removing the foundations of the house, just as the hurricane is about to hit".

A house, it should be noted, that the previous tenants conspired to leave with a criminally neglected roof, despite ample clement weather during which repairs could have been made.

To stretch the analogy much further than should be legal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Blog Post Readers Act, the house has had to be condemned and now needs to be completely rebuilt.

The foundations seem to me to be the best place to start.

Sinister In A Rubbish Way

I've often thought David Miliband looked sinister, but never as much as in this picture from The Guardian.

It was said that Michael Howard had "something of the night" about him. But what with Miliband's record of cowardice in standing up to the disastrous premiership of Gordon Brown (he could have brought him down), his aimless and intellectually bankrupt leadership campaign and his (and his brother's) God-awful Tony Blair aping style of public speaking, he would be more accurately described as having "something of the shite about him".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Comrade Miliband

I love this picture (from The Sunday Times) of comrade Ed Miliband.

He's putting on his best Khrushchev style "The party know best" glare as he applauds, what I can only imagine are, a procession of uniformly dressed young people who have just graduated from Labour's Institute of Correct Thought and Propaganda. The very institute Ms Ellie Gellard graduated from. Only she is supporting his pugnacious leadership opponent, Ed Balls. So, he must hope pictures like this will appeal to that kind of pre-programmed socialist, perhaps winning their first, or at least second, preference votes.

Obviously, he'll need a completely different image when (or rather if) he becomes leader as he'll need to appeal to normal people. I'm sure comrade Campbell is waiting in the wings to deploy his polishing skills on whatever turd emerges as leader.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Damn You Sexist Media!

I have to admit, in previous years, I've never consciously realised why I've been inexplicably more interested in the news of A-level results than is really justifiable for one who has no personal stake in them.

It was a tweet from Andrew Collins that opened my eyes to the reason... the gratuitous use of pretty young ladies to sell the story (and so their papers and TV shows). What a terrible state of affairs! Those poor naive girls, used by sexist men to sell their tawdry media output. Tch!

But what would be a more acceptable image?

Would you rather this...

All A-level students are attractive women, mostly with blonde hair

Or this...

Give us a kiss and I'll get you a place at University

I know which I find more unacceptable.

PS. Actually, I'm a big fan of Mr Gove. But he is a bit odd looking, isn't he?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Benefits With The Apple iPhone

I was amused and then slightly outraged (in a Daily Mail kind of a way) when I happened upon this app for the iPhone in the Apple iStore...
It strikes me as somewhat incongruous with the reality of people who are so hard up they need to claim benefits that they would own an iPhone (or iPad and or iTouch) in the first place. These things aren't cheap, usually come with a hefty monthly contract and are hardly staple to surviving on a pittance.

Of course, it is a sign of the times that benefits are not now limited to the hard up. In fact, the comments left by users of this app point to how helpful the app is for assisting in claiming child benefit and tax credit, benefits that are not restricted to the poor.

The (not so) slow creep of benefit dependency, so central to the political strategy of the last government, has led to many in the middle class being eligible for tax credits, universal benefits, child trust funds etc as well as generously funded government programmes like Sure Start. The less well off were supported and encouraged to stay as long as possible on benefits. Can't work or won't work? It matters not. As long as you vote Labour - cause them nasty Tories will take all this away, you know.

So, the ploy was to get people (the poor and well off alike) so accustomed to their "entitlements" that they would flock to the ballot boxes to return Labour time and time again - at least for fear of losing their money for nothing (sadly, there were no chicks for free but it did lead to Dire Straits).

Their strategy didn't work, obviously.

Instead, people saw through the bribery to the serious damage being done to the whole nation's future prospects by the enormous borrowing that was required to support this kind of spending. The challenge the Coalition government has is to start to dismantle this web of benefits for the better off, work shy and down right fraudulent, while supporting the genuinely vulnerable and keeping people focused on the necessity of the mission to save the country from Labour's deficit. It'll be no mean feat as, in politics, a week is a long time, so you can't expect the electorate to remember why they rejected the old lot for this lot when their incomes are being directly affected. But perhaps I'm being patronising. Voters haven't shown any sign of rejecting the governments bitter pill so far. I hope that will continue to be the case when the side effects start to be felt.

Perhaps what we need is an iPhone app that records how much you, as an individual, saved the tax payer by, say supporting a local school or helping with a community project or, perhaps even, not spending that money on a new iPhone but on food for your family instead. But then of course you wouldn't have an iPhone to run the app on. Gosh, this deficit reduction thing isn't as simple as it looks, is it?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thomas Hungry But Tired...

Adam & Joe's Classic Comedy Song Remakes

I have been enjoying Adam and Joe's remakes of these classic songs from their radio and much missed TV show...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Christopher Hitchens Talks About Cancer

Christopher Hitchens talks candidly and wittily about his esophageal cancer in this Vanity Fair article, and to Jeffrey Goldberg in this video (with an appearence by Martin Amis)...

Although he says the prognosis isn't great for him, let's hope his treatment is successful and he doesn't get to not meet his maker (as he doesn't really exist) any time soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Father, Son And Holy Ghost

I saw this on Sickipedia, contributed by Beeltrystig...

"I'm going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I'm going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born in human form.

Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself. To save you from the sin I originally condemned you to. Ta dah!"

- God, master of logic since the beginning of time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kylie Minogue in Secret Teddy Sex Romp Shame

I recently added a picture to my Facebook page. I found it mildly amusing and thought others might enjoy it.

As you can see, the picture shows Kylie Minogue holding a teddy with, what I assume to be, a microphone between its legs.

I know not if this pose was struck deliberately or by accident. I prefer to think it's unintentional, as that's funnier.

I was surprised a few hours later to see that the image had disappeared from my page. I was even more surprised, the next day, to receive an email from Facebook telling me I'd uploaded an image that had violated their user policy.

"Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence or other violations of the Terms of Use."

Perhaps the censor thought I was actually suggesting Kylie wanked off a real bear and the image was of his real engorged member throbbing in Kylie's expert grip? Seems unlikely, so I'm not sure what violation I am guilty of. I wasn't attacking anyone, the bear isn't real and even if it was I don't think it would count as nudity (although bestiality is probably frowned upon as well), there's no violence or drug taking featured (unless you choose to imagine that the bear has been drugged with Rohypnol), so what's the problem?

The only other thing may be that a follower (or friend as Facebook calls them; which doesn't quite provide the same Messiah like feeling as Twitter's followers does, so I refuse to use it), may have complained.

If that's the case, the poor sod who was in charge of reviewing reported abuse on Facebook that night would have been more reasonable if he'd filed the complaint in the over sensitive kill joy file (which is also the bin).

To be honest, it wouldn't have bothered me if it hadn't been for the fact that, on the same day, Facebook had refused to take down a page dedicated to the 'legend' Raoul Moat following a request from 10 Downing St. A page that, apart from aggrandising the callous, rapist, kid beating, murderer, apparently attracted a lot of unsavoury comments about the police and his victims. The owner of the group finally took it down after realising it was exposing her as a massive fuckwit.

My own personal opinion is that both my silly little post and the Moat group should not have been taken down. Not that I equate the offensiveness of my post with that vile group, but the principle should be the same. We all have the right to express our opinions and humour (or in this case share a picture that made me chuckle), even if that means we make cocks of ourselves. The Moat group exposed its creator, and members, as half wits and opened them up to ridicule. My post may have offended one or two teddy bear rights activists but they can be protected from my evil teddy bear abuse pictures by simply unfriending me, sorted, everyone is happy (apart from the poor East European teddy bears being systematically abused by celebrities... but that's another story).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not Really Apples With Apples

I read that Gordon Brown compares himself to Barack Obama in his first interview since he finally gave the British people a chance to decide if they wanted him or not. As we know (and knew long before the day) they didn't and Labour's vote slumped to sub Michael Foot 1983 election levels.

There's one big difference between Brown and Obama... well there's lots... but there is one major difference that I think Brown can't ever bring himself to admit to. And it's not that he's not black; he came to terms with that after that awful YouTube gurning incident. No, it's that he was never elected Prime Minister. He really shouldn't be comparing himself with genuine, elected leaders.

Meanwhile, during his speech earlier, Mr Brown had made light of losing the British general election in May.

He said he was someone who "spent some time as a politician before becoming a community organiser".

Mr Brown contrasted himself with President Barack Obama "who spent some time as a community organiser before becoming a politician".

Interesting that he can only bring himself to surface in public abroad. He clearly feels more comfortable in Africa than at home. I imagine Zimbabwe will need a new unelected dictator soon. Even Gordon couldn't fuck up that economy any more than it already is... or could he?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blair Faced Cheek!

Is see Labour just keep on costing us...

It's being reported that our last (elected) PM's bodyguards alone are costing the tax payer £250,000 a year, in expenses.

Tony Blair really does have some bare faced, (orangey) cheek. Don't get me wrong, I fully accept the need to protect ex-PMs. And I understand that a relatively young and still active one, like Blair, is going to cost a substantial amount of dosh to protect. But it seems some of the cost is down to the numerous holidays the Blair's take. I can only hope it was the Labour Party that met the cost of Tony's visit during the General Election. But the point is that in this new age of austerity, it really isn't on to be spending thousands of pounds protecting a very well paid individual while he, and his also very well paid wife, sun themselves on exclusive beaches.

My suggestion would be to offer a generous maximum amount of paid protection to ex-PMs and then expect them to pay any additional costs incurred on top of that by their swanning around the world, unless their activities were directly in the interests of Britain. The days of issuing blank cheques at the public's expense are over and that should extend to the likes of the Blairs as much as everyone else.

Luckily, Gordon is all but unemployable following his disastrous premiership. So he won't be jetting hither and dither at anyones expense.

However, as the people of Britain begin to pay the price for his profligacy with higher taxes and lower public spending, I suspect the cost of protecting him will be a lot less if he's abroad than if he's at home. In fact, perhaps he's already worked this out and has fled the country. That would explain the little that's been seen of him (doing what he's paid for) in Parliament recently.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nasty Hypocrisy

I've got a lot of time for the Labour MP Tom Harris. I don't agree with him politically, obviously, but he seems to be one of a dimishing number of Labour politicians that doesn't come across as totally deluded and, even more rarely, he honestly expresses his opinions which are usually reasonable.

I say usually because of this blog post. It attempts to provide evidence of the tired old anti-Tory charge that they are the "nasty party". I've no reason to think that what Labour's top blogger claims about the behaviour of a couple of Tory backbenchers is untrue (although he's hardly an inpatial witness), but the final paragraph raises my eye brows.
"(Now, I’m going to take bets on this one: a prize for the first Tory (or LibDem – same difference) commenter who brings up Damien McBride. And a special prize for the first Tory (or LibDem – same difference) commenter who actually condemns this behaviour rather than seeks to defend it. Come on – who’s first…?)"
I suspect what happened here was Mr Harris MP finished writing his post, realised that anyone with even the shortest political memory would know what utter hypocrisy it is for a member of the Labour party to call any other party "nasty" and realised he needed pre-empt people pointing this out.

So, he picks on one possible (and in the bloggersphere, probably the most renowned) example of New Labour's endemic nastiness - Damian Mcbride's Smeargate and attempts to discredit what he knows to be the inevitable charge of hypocrisy by casting the subject as some kind of cliché.

The problem for Tom is that Smeargate was just one of many examples of Labour nastiness he could have mentioned.

  • There's the contempt with which Labour hold the electorate (and even their own supporters) as illustrated by Bigot-gate;
  • The appalling treatment of Dr David Kelly (leaking his identity, his humiliation by a Labour MP at a select committee hearing);
  • The systematic undermining of anyone they consider to be critical of them by briefing against them. For example, members of the public (i.e. bullygate) all the way up to Generals, the BBC (Kelly again) and even their own senior people (Alistair Darling's "forces of hell" and the constant negative briefings between Blair and Brown etc);
  • Alastair Campbell (no more needs to be said about this nasty piece of work).
That's just a few off the top of my head, I could go on, but I think the list, says it all.  It is Labour, not the Tories or Liberal Democrats that are "nasty". To extrapolate the behaviour of a couple of new backbench MPs to represent the approach of a whole party isn't very believable. 

Personally, I think the whole use of the word "nasty" is childish. I know it was Theresa May that started the whole thing off years ago in a clumsy attempt to illustrate the image problem the Tory party suffered from that was causing them to keep losing elections, but Labour jumped on it and have thrashed it to death over the years. For Labour, I'd prefer the words: dishonest, vindictive, bullying, controlling and poisonous. Hmmm, perhaps nasty does actually sum that lot up quite well.

I'd like to say that Tom Harris has never been part of that nastiness. The hypocrisy in his piece arises from his support for the real nasty party and its leadership (including all the likely winning candidates in the current Labour leadership election), not from his own personal behaviour.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Caption Competition - Huhne & Law

Chris Huhne:  "Nice butt, if only I was gay I'd have a piece of that."
David Law: "Don't touch what you can't afford."

Friday, June 18, 2010

After Saville Let's Hope We Never Go Back To This...

How many of you can remember the terror of the IRA's "bomb dogs"?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Armies and Civil Rights Protesters Just Don't Mix

So, after 12 year and almost £200,000,000 spent, the Saville report is finally complete and published. Its conclusions are clear. The victims were innocent and the shootings could not be justified.

It seems an awful lot of time and money to put into a review of a 38 year old event but, regardless of the questions around how long it took and how expensive it was, the report probably is a necessary step in the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland.

For me, one message comes out clearly from this report and from recent events off the coast of the Gaza. That is that armies and civil rights protesters don't mix.

The difficulty for governments facing civil unrest is that there normal police forces are usually not equipped or trained to deal with well organised and intense violence. That was certainly the case in the early 70's in Britain. The army were sent into Northern Ireland to quell the violence on both sides of the troubles. Indeed, it was concern for the catholic/nationalist minority that contributed to the then Labour government deploying the army in the first place. Subsequent governments maintained and strengthened the army's presence as the violence escalated as the nationalist community started to regard the army as an occupying force and turned on them.

I'm not going to pretend I know enough about the Troubles to pass judgement on whether the army deployment was right or wrong, but Bloody Sunday and the recent Israeli flotilla incident do highlight the consequences of placing trained, armed killers amongst hot headed, fanatical activists.

Our natural sympathies are for the "unarmed" protesters. Of course, "unarmed" usually means no guns but sticks, knives, petrol bombs, stones etc, are usually involved. And whatever the rights and wrongs on both incidents in Derry and off the coast of Gaza, you have to feel for the young men put in positions of danger with live weapons in their hands being confronted with a mob of "unarmed" but violent protesters. These guys are trained to fight against an enemy, and yes, they are trained to deal with civilians, but they are also trained to kill when they feel sufficiently threatened. So it should be no surprise that this is often the outcome in these situations.

The miners' strike in the 80's taught the authorities a lot about dealing with violent protests and I think our police are now immeasurable better prepared to cope compared with the late 60s/early 70s. However, such was the intensity of the violence in Northern Ireland I doubt even our modern police could have coped and we would still deploy the army if the same unrest was happening today.

At the end of the day, if you are going to throw rocks and try to break through a barrier defended by armed men, you are taking your own life in your hands. I'm not saying any of the dead on Bloody Sunday were armed with anything other than a deep desire to protest against a draconian internment policy. But the army were duty bound to stop them marching through a loyalist area and specifically to stop the march altogether as it was illegal at the time to march (as it was seen as being deliberately inflammatory to the other side - which usually they were). Just as, having decided to have an exclusion zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip to help stop the smuggling of weapons for Hamas terrorists to use against Israel, the Israeli military had to stop the flotilla as it was breaking their government's rules.

People felt strongly that these rules were wrong and oppressive and challenged them. In my opinion, in both cases, the feelings were inflamed by political beliefs, and probably by terrorist organisations, that polarised the views of the protesters and drove many to act violently towards their "oppressors". Had nothing gone wrong, in either case, no doubt the army could have contained the situation without loss of life and they should have done. But things do go wrong. People make the wrong decisions, there's chaos and confusion everywhere and people get frightened. Frighten people will use their weapons and, tragically, that often ends up with deaths and injuries to innocents in the area as well as those actually attacking.

It's right there's been an enquiry, I'm glad we know the individuals killed are innocent. But lets not have a witch hunt for the soldiers involved at the time. Certainly question the operational decisions made on the day but, really, that should only be for lessons to be learnt for similar situations in the future.

And governments need to think long and hard about deploying military personnel to police civilian unrest as, almost inevitably, that leads to events like these that ends up just inflaming a bad situation and making matters worse for everyone. If you can't avoid deployment, then deal with events like these quickly and honestly or otherwise allow your enemies to use them as recruiting sergents.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Darling Loses Balls

I see the Labour leadership candidates have started to turn on each other already. It should be no surprise that it's the pugnacious Ed Balls that breaks ranks and starts blaming others for Labour's disastrous defeat at the election. How typical of anyone who models themselves on Gordon Brown to look for others to blame. Now the toady faced dissembler is calling for his party to be more robust in its opposition to the attempts by the Government to tackle Labour's debt mountain.

In his latest blog post, Ed "mini-Brown" Balls states...
Over 13 years, Labour made many big decisions on tax and spending: how to reduce the national debt in 1997, how to fund extra NHS investment in 2001, and last year how to reduce the deficit once the recovery was secured.
Let's quickly challenge the misleading suggestion that Labour made any positive contribution to how Britain reduced the national debt from 1997. They didn't, they stuck to Conservative taxation and spending plans for most of their first parliament in power and rode the wave of economic recovery that started when we regained control of our own interest rates following our exit from the disastrous Exchange Rate Mechanism and that was maintained subsequently by Ken Clarke's chancellorship. It was after that period of sensible economic management, that Labour started putting its own stamp on taxation and spending, by increasing both, a lot. But spending even more than tax, hence our current predicament.

Following this fallacious claim, his blog post goes on to make the point that at no point in Labour's 13 years did they raise VAT and that they should oppose any such move by the Government as well as opposing changes to the Child Trust Fund and tax credits to reduce their availability to better off people (or lower and middle income earners as he, again, lies about the policy). It is this approach to opposition that is the becoming a trend amongst the shadow cabinet. They have chosen to oppose the measures necessary to address the debt crisis they got this country into, but at the same time, refuse to spell out how they would clear up the mess.

Alistair Darling, one of the idiots that wouldn't listen to him and therefore lost Labour the election, according to Balls, recently claimed that Cameron would owe him a "very big apology" if the state of the public finances wasn't as bad as had been predicted. This is another line they are deploying. They point to recent figures that show that the Government didn't borrow as much as expected last year and that growth was slightly higher than expected. Let's be clear exactly what the proportions are of these "improvements" - £7bn less borrowing last year. Well, whoopy shit! That still left us having to borrow £156bn in 2009. With the IFS predicting that, of all the advanced and emerging economies, only Ireland and Latvia will borrow more than the UK, you get some idea of the mess we're in. They also predict, that once the new, independent Office for Budget Responsibility reports, we could be looking at a more honest total accumulated national indebtedness of £1.8 Trillion, taking into account PFI and pension liabilities.That's one hell of an overdraft!

Until we eliminate our yearly national overspend we will only be adding to that astronomical overdraft figure. This year's £6bn spending reduction seems pathetically small, put into context. And, of course, the larger that total amount of debt gets, the more debt interest we have to pay and therefore even less money is available for public services.

So, the next time you hear a Labour spokesman asking for an apology because one economic figure is slightly less eye wateringly disastrous than expected, you know what the answer should be from the Government on behalf of the tax payer, it starts with an "F" and ends in "uck off". And the next time you hear a Labour shadow minister or supporter criticising a specific spending cut proposal, don't take them seriously unless they explain how they would make the same saving in a different area of public spending.

UPDATE: following OBR Report

The Office for Budget Responsibility has reported and, as expected, Alistair Darling's growth forecasts are found wanting. The OBR say 2011 will see 2.6% against Darling's 3.25%.

The OBR have decided to avoid using a conservative (note the small 'c'!) central growth forecast to base their figures on. This wa the norm previously and is partly responsible for a slight drop in the overall borrowing prediction. But the most worrying aspect of today's report is the estimated growth of the structural deficit.

Read Stephanie Flanders' blog for a more knowledgable view on the figures! I love some of the delusional comment left by Labour supporters - 'This is now the coalition's mess, they cannot blame the "previous government" anymore' (Disnaymatter at 11:12am). They are so desparate for their party to be exonerated from responsibility for the debt crisis they will say and believe anything.

Here's a telling graph (lifted from the Telegraph):