Category Archives: Media

Don’t call me Paki, Mac.

Now that we are seeing EU migrants leaving the UK at an ever accelerating rate, the bleating has started – which is a surprise because when the government announced that  it wanted foreigners to arrive in ‘tens of thousands’ rather than hundreds of thousands, there was hardly a whimper.  Now we have moaning about labour shortages and how vital cheap foreign workers are to our spluttering economy…..but it’s no more that we deserve.

Our government’s style has rarely been proactive. For instance, once the referendum farce had been settled, the government should have affirmed the importance as well as the ‘safety’ of all foreigners already living and working in the UK….but instead, it played its usual ‘wait and see’ game because anything else would have needed a decision!

However, it is not just political incompetence and intransigence which is to blame for the coming exodus. There is a much more sinister undercurrent at play and it is to do with the Brits’ very strong herding instinct whose tendency is to reject rather than to assimilate.

The most racist people on the planet are the Brits – so why the hypocrisy?  Here in the UK, the Blacks get it, as do the Welsh and the Jocks – as well as the Micks. The English don’t like the Germans or the French – and as for anyone from the Indian sub-continent……….and  don’t even mention the Chinks. The Italians are a joke and of course, Hitler was Austrian. Don’t even get me started on fat Americans or those boorish Aussies.

The English acquire racism like a family heirloom which travels through the generations. Consequently, the stem-cells of racism begin to develop very early. How many English people reading this (and I include all politicians) have ever seen the inside of an immigrant’s house here in the UK? How many have had a Bangladeshi, West Indian or Chinese family over for dinner.

My own mother lived in the UK for 60 years and never saw the inside of any of her her English neighbours’ houses. Mind you – she did have an accent! I am not surprised because first generation immigrants rarely integrate into the wider society – usually for cultural and language reasons – a phenomenon which politicians appear to be totally unaware of as they bang on about our ‘multi-cultural society’.

In the 1960s, I was one of the trailblazers for Johny Foreigner. My parents were from Eastern Europe and at school, I was one of the few children with a foreign name. In spite of the fact that I was born in Huntingdon and was indistinguishable from my school friends, i.e no accent or colour, I was a nevertheless a target for racist abuse.

Over fifty years later, I still remember the first time that I was called a f****** Pole. My accuser was a pikey (oops!) short-trousered seven year-old and I am not ashamed to say that I hit him – and guess what?  I was caned. Thinking back, I truly believe that the seven-year old’s parents should have been flogged instead of me because the eloquent slogans of British racism tend to be passed down the generations. No child was ever born spouting racist bile.

As recently as a year ago I was told “Go back to where you came from!” by a seventy-something Englishman who knows nothing about me except that I have a foreign name. On that occasion I reported the matter to the Police  – who did nothing except file a couple of statements.

History repeats itself. My own children went to school in France and their strange English accents really interested their French counterparts and within weeks they had fully integrated .  Within a couple of months, they were accepted as  honorary little Frenchmen. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that their French friends  and teaching staff were quite  proud of the fact that they had two English boys at their school.

Several years later, we returned to live in the UK. Guess what?  Within one day, my sons came back from school crying, telling me that they did not want to go back because their new school friends were calling them “Frogs”.

I had to have a quiet chat with the headteacher . He found the whole thing very amusing and treated me to the usual “boys will be boys” routine.

So let’s PLEASE stop the hypocrisy because collectively and democratically, we wished for a huge decrease in migration for all sorts of spurious reasons……and as you know, you should always beware what you wish for.

A.Foreigner.

 

Beyond Fashion with Paclantic


Beijing Fashion Week reminds us that today’s Chinese designers are very much in demand, both at home as well as all over the world, notably the West, where they are being increasingly recognised by both American and European fashion houses as being totally ‘on-trend’ and pointing the way forward for the rest of the fashion industry.

The exhibitors at this month’s Beijing Fashion Week are going to be showing everything from the high-end of the market, right down to everyday streetwear, including the most highly accelerating sector, which is children’s clothing.

With China’s new prosperity there comes a great demand for designer children’s clothing, not only aimed at the domestic market, but of a quality high enough to attack the entire global market. One of the great market leaders within the industry is the Pine Crane Tai Company, better known as PacLantic Co Ltd which specialises in children’s and infant’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

Their products are specifically designed for children from ages 0 to 14…..and their designs are very much in demand. Consequently, they enjoy a world-wide market and distribute to Eastern Europe, North America as well as Central and South America.

The company is well-established, having been formed in 1994 and consistently present in the top three companies in its sector, ranked by market share. In fact, usually it is firmly embedded at number one.

The reason I’m highlighting Paclantic is because of its ethos, mission statement and simply the way it goes about its business. As you might expect, it is extremely information technology-intensive, but its very modern approach is linked to an exceptionally high level of creativity. Couple this to its unparalleled management and you will be not surprised to hear that it has obtained its ISO9001 quality certification as it moves from strength-to-strength.

The entire company’s ethos not only exemplifies the modern Chinese attitude to business, but there is also what we call a ‘soft edge’ which has become of paramount importance in recent years.

‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ is one of those management buzz phrases that you hear in high-level executive meetings with maybe a paragraph or two on the annual report and accounts. Paclantic is different in that it practices what it preaches.

Because the company designs and produces children’s clothing, it has decided to make a mark among a disenfranchised and often forgotten group of children through the medium of creative art. The children are encouraged to practice within company sponsored specialist rehabilitation centres, which Paclantic is using as a source of both inspiration and actual design for some of its products.

Let me give you an example :

Bon Cloud is a Bejing based international video content producer and distributor. It has worked with Beijing Fashion Week and exhibitor fashion brand Paclantic, to produce a CSR story featuring design inspiration from austistic children. This is a perfect combination of art and autism, art with CSR.

Their client Paclantic asked them to visit the Golden Wings Art Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children which they sponsor.

There they spoke to Jia Jing, who is the mother of one of the pupils. His name is Kang Rui and he is quite severely autistic, but like many autistic children, enjoys an art form of one sort or another. He enjoys painting and has been painting since the age of five.


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He is now 17 and a regular attendee at the Golden Wings Centre and his progress has been nothing short of remarkable and he can now not only create beautiful art, but through his painting he’s also learning to express himself to others.

His mother takes up the story by saying that at one time he had hardly any friends because he did not know how to communicate. Today, his communication medium is the humble paintbrush and the change in his character and demenour has been nothing short of miraculous.

His designs will be incorporated in the Paclantic exhibition at the Beijing Fashion Week.

THAT is real CSR in action!

Golden Wings founder Zhang Junru was interviewed at the Paclantic-sponsored, beautifully designed, open-planned and very well equipped rehabilitation centre. She confirmed that she is fully aware that children can learn through the creative arts about both language and socialising. She knows that for autistic children those can be major obstacles.

She continued by suggesting that what makes art such a useful and powerful vehicle is that it does not require language because a child’s energy and love are distilled and captured forever in the art that they create – and so the bridge between autistic children and the rest of the world through art is completed.

Zhang Junru then produced an environmentally-friendly bag which was printed with Kang Rui’s work. It was called ‘Warmth’ and the heart-warming emotion from Kang painted into the work was amazing.

Kang’s mother Jia Jing took up the story by saying that she would like to see many more platforms which create a link between an autistic child, his or her art and the outside world – something which Paclantic’s founder and CEO Michael Luo confirms that the company is only too pleased to showcase, adding that he feels very happy about the fact that he knows that this straight-from-the-heart work will touch many people.

Finally, it is evident in both Jia Jing’s face and words that she is so proud not only of her son, but of Paclantic and the platform they have created, which is helping so many children not only to fulfil themselves, but confirms that they are appreciated and recognised by society.

You will find the video of the Bon Cloud visit to the Golden Wings Centre HERE.

So there you have it, a top up-to-date fashion house designing top of the range children’s clothing, perhaps showing not only other companies but us too the importance of genuine integration into society by adding value not only to themselves, but to the children which it supports.

It is reassuring to know that Beijing Fashion Week has depths which we had no idea existed until we spoke to Paclantic and its revolutionary initiative.

 

Victorian Diseases.

Many years ago, I was in East Germany (don’t ask!) and recall a Keep Britain Tidy demonstration being reported in a Russian newspaper. The strapline was “The average Englishman throws his rubbish onto the street.” I knew what they meant but the impression given was horrific. This week, the following article made it to the Independent. Here’s what is being reported about the United Kingdom and its ‘hardworking people’………………..‘Victorian’ diseases rise as Tories fail to tackle food poverty http://bit.ly/1S9nI6A

The Paris Love-in.

The Summer of Love, Woodstock and now Je Suis Charlie…….. Love-ins are doubtless very motivational, inspirational and emotionally regenerative but unfortunately, they carry with them a large dose of exponential decay.

Other demonstrations such as Solidarność worked because they were not-only inclusive but they also hinted at revolution and violence……..undercurrents which are (by definition) always missing from love-ins.

Make no mistake, the events in Paris yesterday were wonderful and uplifting but regrettably, not transformational. They were no more than a herd coming together after a few of its members had been attacked and killed by predators. We were all looking for emotional warmth, safety, reassurance, a feeling of belonging and motivation of the sort which only a herd can provide.

It was all terribly emotional but in time, emotions grow dim.

Words of love and respect were spoken by members of all denominations and class. Politicians delivered their obligatory words of defiance. Social and Political commentators provided analysis and words of caution as well as optimism. Mothers brought their children for that “I was there” moment….but feelings will pass and memories fade.

We are currently watching the emergence of  a rogue herd which is not yet ready for the pragmatism of rubbing along peacefully with all the other herds. The Islamic State will be “l’étranger” for some time to come. Showing it love and respect is impossible for the rest of us because for the moment, in spite of our numbers, it is they who are the predators and we are the hunted.

However, looking at the magnificent sight of two million individuals sweeping slowly through the streets of Paris reminds us that  it is not only time which is on our side but that it will always be a numbers game.

Yesterday, the human herd grew….both in numbers and stature.

Cameron in the “you know what”…..Again!

The judge in the British phone-hacking trial criticised Prime Minister David Cameron  for not waiting until all verdicts were in before commenting on Andy Coulson, his former media chief who is facing jail.

Less than two hours after yesterday’s verdict, Cameron issued what he called a “full and frank” apology, saying he had taken Coulson’s assurances of innocence at the time at face value, something he now realised was a mistake.

The jury was however still deliberating on two further charges on Coulson.

“I asked for an explanation from the Prime Minister as to why he had issued his statement while the jury were still considering verdicts” the judge, John Saunders, said in court.

“My sole concern is to ensure that justice is done. Politicians have other imperatives and I understand that. Whether the political imperative was such that statements could not await all the verdicts, I leave to others to judge.”

In addition, the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, referred to Coulson as “a Criminal” !

The jury was discharged today after failing to reach agreement on whether Coulson was guilty of authorising illegal payments and it would now seem that Coulson will NOT be tried on the two remaining charges against him because of the premature outbursts by clueless politicians.

In spite of Cameron’s very dramatic waving-about of the Leveson report during PMQs, like some executive Teddy Bear or talisman designed to protect him from any suggestion of wrongdoing in hiring Coulson….he still doesn’t get it!

The Root Cause of this mess is not “I am innocent of negligence because I was given ASSURANCES ” but in the amateurish recruitment procedures on Planet Politics.

“I hear that he’s a good bloke”……….” I knew his father”………… We were at the same school”…….”I shagged his sister”….etc…. STILL take precedence over ability.

Coulson was “recommended”…..and of course, the Conservatives needed to please their benefactor Rupert Murdoch.

( It was Chancellor Osborne who did the recommending…….. What’s his game?)

Christmas Leftovers

I’ve already published a version of this recipe and have adapted it for the traditional Yule turkey and ham which usually ends up in sandwiches, curries or pies.

Many years ago, I was driving through East Germany (don’t ask!)  and heard this on my car radio. It was read out on an English-speaking radio station and the presenter was obviously reading it for the first time, because after he’d read it out, he appeared to have a  severe coughing fit.

I won’t bother with a list of ingredients because there aren’t many but I guarantee that you WILL want to try this:

Preheat your oven to LOW but DO NOT attempt this dish in a gas oven. Use Electric or better-still, an Aga !

Take equal quantities of turkey and ham…but if you have no ham, then cooked sausage-meat will do.

500g of each is ideal but the weight may be varied.

Place the meat in the middle of a large sheet of foil (with a bit of luck, you should have some turkey foil left over).

Fashion the meat into a log shape, season with salt and pepper and fold the foil around it. Then roll it in the foil as tightly as possible and twist the ends so that you have an object resembling a large boiled sweet.

Place this on the rack of a high-sided roasting tin – the sort that in which you might have roasted your Christmas turkey. However, make sure that the roasting tin is very clean. Arrange sliced lemon segments around the perimeter of the roasting tin.

For the gravy: Into the roasting tin, pour one bottle of Gordon’s Gin and one bottle of Smirnoff Vodka and (if there’s room), half a bottle of Grouse Whisky.

Place the whole lot on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and cook for 30 seconds.

Remove from the oven.

Discard the foil-wrapped meat.

Drink the gravy!

Happy New Year!

The Inequality and Iniquity of Growth.

This Christmas there will be millions of puzzled and sometimes hungry people staring at their televisions. Their hunger is easily explained – they are poor but what will confuse them will be the newsflashes showing smiling people shopping and talking about ‘Tablets’ at £500 each, Champagne, and a million other expensive items and yes…even Christmas turkeys!

Then they will see celebrity chefs cooking Brussels sprouts with pancetta, more champagne, the perennial debate about goose fat versus oil on roasties and how we’ll ALL be ‘over-indulging’ and falling asleep on the sofa! An alien world which some will have tasted but sadly, too many – especially children, will never inhabit.

This (to them) is a ‘make-believe’ world of plenty. They know it exists somewhere near them but it is like the parallel universe of science fiction….there but impossible to access.

They see shiny, smug politicians saying words about ‘the recession being over’….something the poor haven’t been too acutely aware of because what the politician calls ‘recession’ and ‘austerity’, they call “LIFE”.

‘The economy’ appears to be doing very well! …………..By the way….what is that?

The disparity between the most affluent Brits and the rest is hurting the economy. This chasm between rich and poor appears to have become an unacknowledged issue, primarily as the result of too many of the Cabinet belonging to ‘the Affs’. It is apparent that few understand that everyone (up to middle class) has seen their income stagnate, whilst wealthy households have really thrived.

Note: I propose to dispense with euphemisms such as “the well-off” and “society’s disadvantaged”. Let’s stick to rich and poor.

Bonuses, higher salaries, higher profits and exceptional stock market gains are flowing almost exclusively to the already-rich. Proportionately, however, the affluent household ‘spend’ represents much less of their money than that of  low and middle-income consumers.

One of the priorities of this government should be to engineer a much broader spending base – one which encompasses the poor……allowing them to actually participate in the economy.

Currently, there is a very distorted  picture of consumer spending because it is driven by the rich. The poor and the poorer are doing their best to keep up but inevitably need to borrow in order to spend – thus making themselves even poorer. Meanwhile, many rich are gaining profits from  bank or lending company shares which are fueled by the poors’ accelerating poverty….but the rich have something else which the poor have never had: OPTIONS or CHOICE!

One very profitable option this year has been the stock market – but once the markets have calmed down (which they will!) and gains are no longer eye-wateringly high, the affluent (As and Bs) will stop spending or at least, cut back dramatically.

THAT will have an immediate and devastating effect on this virtual economic recovery. SO, it is in the government’s interest to sustain the recovery illusion by keeping interest rates low and Quantitative Easing flowing to the banks so that , from an investment point of view, the equity markets (stocks and shares) remain the only game in town, so that the rich retain their mega spending power for as long as possible – at least until May 2015!

That is a very dangerous game for any government to play.

This is the phenomenon which has created and is sustaining the ever more bitter ‘CLASS’ debate and is in danger of feeding Populism and ultimately, major unrest.

Income Inequality and not airports or trains should be the government’s priority.

There is now little doubt that in spite of government policy, the United Kingdom’s economic growth is picking up….as it is everywhere else (Global Economy!)

NOW, while the mini-recovery lasts, would be a good time for the government to tackle the INEQUALITY OF GROWTH which is not an iniquity but the iniquity of modern times.

At the Ministry of Truth in  George Orwell’s 1984,  “Freedom is Slavery”. Here in the United Kingdom we not-only have our own embryonic Ministry of Truth but the prospect of Press Slavery which, in true Orwellian spirit will continue to be promulgated  by the politicians as “Press Freedom”. In reality, it is a Charter for society’s influencers to behave disgracefully without  sanction. Journalism provides the most powerful Control on behalf of the people. It questions, it exposes and sometimes it gets it badly wrong . The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the occasional collateral damage is worth all the positive outcomes. Today, the expenses fiddlers, the paedophiles, the criminals and the liars are all breathing a collective sigh of relief while several professional “victims” contemplate a new career.

Media Regulation? No point!

What is the POINT of Regulation?  IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK!!!!

Before our politicians scratch each others’ eyes out on Monday, fighting over Royal Commissions and Press Regulation, they should consider what good a similar process did to the Financial Services Industry.

Regulation of any sort never works 100%.

Pre the various Financial Services Acts which spawned the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Services Industry was by no means perfect but is was self-regulated.

There was the occasional mis-selling scandal, life assurance salespeople occasionally confused clients’ money with their own and the standard of technical knowledge was below average. Bankers were boring but well-behaved and Building Societies were firmly rooted in the  nineteenth century.

Then suddenly, products became more complicated, less client friendly, building societies wanted to be like banks, banks wanted to be like building societies AND insurance companies AND stockbrokers!! Shiny-new MBAs were hired!

………and oh yes………financial product design became marginally MORE complicated than Rocket Science.

More training, more technical knowledge and REGULATION were needed.

So what did all that regulation achieve – apart from creating a self-perpetuating multi-million pound regulation industry?

Well, since the financial regulator arrived on the scene, we’ve been subjected to many new experiences. For starters, there was the 2008 banking meltdown. Then we had PPI mis-selling by the Retail Banks, followed by LIBOR rigging by the Investment Banks. Then of course we had those VERY naughty Interest Rate Swaps which so many SMEs signed up to. There are still many major issues which will have to be dealt with by the regulators, the hugest one being the continued use of Off-Balance Sheet Accounting by the banks.

Regulation? Code of Conduct? Snooping through Filing Cabinets? Reporting Systems? Yet another Quango?

A fat lot of good they all did in financial services!

A basic Media Code of Conduct and SELF-regulation is the ONLY way forward.

Royal Charter or no Royal Charter, self-regulation of the media or a Regulator supported by law and a Bible full of Rules and Regulations will make absolutely NO difference, either to the conduct of individuals or the behaviour of privately-owned media corporations.

Yes, it is an important issue and Lord Justice Leveson has highlighted ALL the right issues but whichever approach is taken, it will make little difference.

The only thing which is important is that the media is NEVER controlled by the State plus that the legislators learn the lesson of the car-crash that is the regulated financial services industry

50 Predictions for 2013

Last year’s predictions are HERE.

Some were right, some were nearly right whilst others were nowhere near! That’s because most forecasting is a mixture of extrapolation, conjecture, wishful-thinking and luck…………..apart, that is, political and economic divination , which also includes an unhealthy slice of blind optimism.

My interests are mainly political and economic although the list below contains a few random “fun” ones!

I have not included too much of the blindingly obvious, such as the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, where the United Kingdom will be in the bottom THREE and the most likely winner will be Scandinavian.

Wishful thinking has been avoided. For example I do wish that Mo Farah would stop sticking his hands on his head and doing an impression of a demented Pretzel in a vest!

Conjecture, based on past performance suggests that there will NOT be any banking reorganisation because of vested interests and political cowardice. Governments have it within their power to keep that particular pot boiling for years!

All Eurozone Crisis predictions of the last four years vastly underestimated politicians’ capacity for procrastination, ineptitude and political self-interest.

However, I do perceive that European countries with reasonably strong economies will begin to see the advantage of NOT prolonging the Euro agony and once again, striking out on their own, setting their own interest rates and returning to the Lira or Peseta!

These are my predictions:

1. Gold will skyrocket in value.

2. Brazil will finally become THE place to invest(shares and currency)….but see 41 & 42 below.

3. Germany will accelerate the sale of its Bunds, in spite of the fact that it hopes to sell about only about €250 billion Euros’ worth which is lower than in 2012.

4. As predicted last year, Silvio Berlusconi will reappear in Italian Politics – much to Frau Merkel’s chagrin.

5. Pressure will increase on Chancellor George Osborne to be replaced (It’s the ONLY way that the Coalition can move to Plan B without too much loss of face).

6. The banks will continue to rebuild their balance sheets as the value of their assets diminishes, resulting in an increase of non-bank lending. Credit Unions, peer-to-per lending, asset leasing, community finance organisations and  invoice finance will all accelerate as the banking system continues its introspection.

7. United Kingdom property prices will fall by 25%.

8. Frau Merkel will be re-elected and continue as Germany’s Chancellor.

9. Italy will talk about leaving the Euro and readopting the Lira…………..and Berlusconi will be accused of blackmailing Europe.

10. People-power will win-out in Greece and it too will (finally) seriously consider leaving the Euro as its austerity programme is given a violent  “thumbs down” by its people.

11. The theoretical €30 billion in French tax hikes will have a negligible effect on its tax “take”. High net worth individuals and businesses will continue the exodus which began in late 2012.

12. Greek banks will begin to totter as loan defaults by Greek borrowers (both personal and commercial) continue to accelerate.

13. The “restructuring” of Spanish banks will fail.

14. David Cameron and other members of the UK Coalition Government will continue to add 100,000 to the ” number of new jobs we have created in the Private Sector” every time they make a speech. By mid-2013, the “figure” will have swollen to over 1.5 million. Unfortunately without the associated increase in tax-take which one may be forgiven for having expected.

15. Japan printing money will result in a currency battle, primarily involving the American dollar.

16. Greek Tax authorities (in spite of all those reorganisation noises!) will still fail to collect the taxes.

17. David Cameron will realise that UKIP is a clear and present danger and will begin the fight-back by the only way possible. He will adopt their policies and reinforce that by continuing to spray copious volumes of testosterone in Brussels.

18. Mario Monti will stand for election in Italy in a last-ditch attempt to maintain the stranglehold on European politics by Goldman Sachs old boys.

19. The Euro will make its annual journey “to the brink”.

20. Protests will accelerate across Europe – into the United Kingdom….as voters wake-up to the politicians’ ineptitude, procrastination and complacency. Voting-out incompetent governments and merely replacing them with incompetent outfits of another flavour will no longer be viewed as the solution.

21. In France, Francois Hollande will continue to demonstrate why the French don’t really appreciate Presidents who are Socialist.

22. The ECB’s Mario Draghi will once again tell the world that he will do “all it takes” to keep the Euro intact…..including the ruination of millions of Euro lives.

23. Someone, somewhere will wake up to the fact that the banking system is not working and has morphed into a fat, ever-hungry cash cow which no longer executes the functions which it was designed for (to support individuals, commerce and government).

24. Youth Unemployment in Greece and Spain will approach 60%.

25. By the end of 2013,the Catalans and  the Basques will decide on their self-determination.

26. There will be a massive surge in the Spanish anti-Royalist movement and the Spanish Royal family will feel “unloved” as demands are made for the abdication of King Juan-Carlos.

27.The Franco-German Euro Axis will be consigned to the poubelle of history as Frau Merkel finds herself another “favourite”.

28.There will be an exodus of high-earners from France in protest to the Socialist-style “Politics of Envy” taxes on those earning over €1 million.

29. British P.M David Cameron will continue to bang-on about “the mess that Labour left behind” – THREE years after coming to office. That will remind the electorate that in spite of the PR, the Coalition still has no idea about how to deal with the budget deficit, except to adopt the bad part of the Merkel Model.

30. Japan’s money-printing programme will drive up its inflation, to match (and exceed) that of the USA, possibly achieving “hyper” levels. Then, they’ll print some more!

31. USA: There will be no “Fiscal Cliff”. The cracks in policy will be papered over by compromise and political expediency………. as America lurches towards the next crisis.

32. In the UK, the Church of England will continue to fret about sex-related matters such as gays, gay marriage and lady bishops. Hopefully, some of them will find  a bit of time for their God and congregation!

33. The winners of the X-factor and Britain’s got Talent will have no discernible…………talent. (That’s my annual, sure-fire, 24-carat banker!)

34. In Europe (as usual), neither Barroso nor Van Rompuy will say anything REMOTELY interesting or pertinent.

35. Europe will continue to TALK of fiscal and political integration………but that’s what it will remain…..TALK. Why? Because one of the by-products would have to be some form of Debt-Mutualisation which so far,  remains a deal-breaker.

36. German resistance to European supervision of the banks will result in the smaller banks remaining unsupervised.

37. In Italy, Mario Monti has clearly demonstrated the usefulness of a government of Technocrats: they have pushed through economic reforms and budget cuts which a properly-elected government would have NO CHANCE of implementing. However, the honeymoon appears to be over and Italy will return to a Berlusconi-led coalition.

38. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel will strengthen her position as de facto European leader as other (weaker, male) European leaders (half of who are on their way out – including the UK administration) continue to defer to her.

39. After the German elections, Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats will form a new coalition with the Social Democrats.

40. Stagnation, Recession and Depression will continue in Europe. Greece will remain in depression (yes!), as will Spain and Portugal.

41. If you’re an investor, you could do worse than keep an eye on Mongolia’s mining boom which will pick up speed in 2013.

42. If you’re a gambling person, here’s an interesting “double”. Lord Patten to resign as BBC Chair . Then, invest your winnings on anything in Macau whose economy is booked to grow by about 15% in 2013.

43. The “in denial”  UK Coalition Government will continue to spout meaningless statistics as the retail trade continues its slow-motion collapse and accelerating volumes of businesses go into administration and bankruptcy.

44. The Protestant Church will begin to turn more to Bible-centred Christianity – away from the airy-fairy, trendy, unleaded and flaccid Christianity of the Rowan Williams era. More “splintering”.

45. Last year I predicted a dismembering of the UK’s Coalition government but now realise that it was just wishful thinking. I underestimated how much Tory crap Nick Clegg could swallow. Last year, his capacity seemed infinite. However, for 2013, I predict that Europe will provide the catalyst for an all-out Coalition Civil War.

46. Unless the Chancellor can sell 5G, 6G and all the other “G” Futures and assuming he collects for 4G, there will be a massive government Welfare Review designed to further butcher Public Spending. ( He has no choice because of his rather stunted economic repertoire). That will finally shake the Libdems from their collective coma and fight the Tories. Otherwise…….Libdem Oblivion.

47. “Dead-tree” journalism will continue to atrophy and die with an announcement that at least one major newspaper is to go exclusively digital. (My money is on the Guardian).

48. Massive Solar storms may envelop the Earth which, according to NASA, could render the above predictions both irrelevant and obsolete. Keep an eye on www.swpc.noaa.gov

49. Andrew Mitchell MP will make a return appearance in the Cabinet after the nonsense of allowing the police to investigate themselves in what is increasingly looking like the fit-up of the year.

50. William Hague and Hillary Clinton will keep-on “condemning”  the Syrian Authorities as they continue to murder with impunity. Western powers have learned that when they intervene in the Middle East – only one group ever benefits: The Construction Industry.

Chipping Norton Net

David Cameron must be feeling a bit uncomfortable with the thought of his friend Rebekah with friend and former employee Andy Coulson facing the prospect of prison.

Needless to say, both of their initial reactions are of the “I’m totally innocent or I’ve been fitted-up” variety.

Otherwise, there’ll be yet another soap-on-a-rope in the post.

The Older Woman Rocks….

There has been a lot of debate about the “older woman” TV presenter and the comparison between her and the young airhead “Autocutie”.

Thankfully, mature lady presenters are making a major comeback but one cannot help but wonder about the relationship between them and the new TV-types who seem to be mostly can-wearing teenagers with clipboards.

A couple of years ago, I met broadcaster Anna Ford and she was (and still is) a very beautiful lady. Her voice still resonated with the mellifluous lower-register tones of the professional broadcaster and  she exuded a velvet steeliness and confidence which I imagine would be frightening to most career-building media hobbits.

So is it about looks? No – but it is about age and what it has brought – and I do not mean wrinkles.

Here are a few  reasons why we should appreciate and cherish women who are over 50 and in this list, you will probably find the reasons why these women can frighten younger men:

1. They can run faster – because they tend to wear sensible shoes.

2. If you behave like an arsehole, they will tell you.

3. They no longer have wishy-washy views and will probably have developed proper healthy right-wing attitudes.

4. They are intimidating to young males with low self-esteem and are not impressed by 28 year-olds with  Media Studies degrees.

5. For every stunning 60 or 70 year-old woman there are two myopic, balding, beer-gutted males.

6. They are dignified so they will not engage you in a slanging match but will destroy you by sheer force of intellect.

7. Older women have had their fill of “meaningful relationships” and “long-term commitments”. Your professional or personal relationship with them is based on your merit.

8. They often have an undeserved reputation as “ballcrunchers”. Get past that and you’re “in”.

9. They will never accuse you of “using” them. They are using you.

10. Their already off-scale assertiveness is still developing and you will need to have had some serious coaching before you can deal with them satisfactorily.

11. They never announce that they’re pregnant.

So, when we think that the argument is about “ageism” it is not necessarily about a number.

It is more about the time-honed intensity of character and the fear of God that these women can instill in lesser mortals.

Harriet on Jerermy

Much as one hates to agree with Harriet Harman, in this case she is 100% right.

Politicians have one attribute which business-people have tapped into for years – vanity and an over-amplified sense of self-importance.

In common with many politicians before him, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt fell in love with the idea of rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Murdochs.

He has to go. Soon.

50 Predictions for 2012

An economy used to depend on the interactions between consumers, commerce, politics and investors. Nowadays, we have to add banks (which used to be no more than a service industry) as an additional entity.

Keynesian economics are all well and good in a Steady State situation but we have well and truly entered times when Chaos Theory rules economics. Consequently, the motley collection of politicians-who-meet do not have the intellectual capacity to deal with what has become a multi-causal international problem with more parameters (known and unknown) than wines served at a G20 banquet.

My 2012 predictions are in no particular order, either in content or importance. They are random.

1. For several years, I have been writing about the Bank of England’s appalling forecasts. Finally, they have admitted that their forecasting model is wrong so they are spending £2.5 million on a new one. Their V-shaped recovery will become a straight-line depression and their 2% inflation forecasts will double.

2.  The prominence and dominance of Central Banks will continue to grow as politicians continue to struggle with sovereign debt.

3. Europe will continue  its recession with an estimated average contraction (negative growth) of -0.5%.

4. Sovereign monetary policy as well as the actions of Central banks will continue  to be driven by the same factor which has been dominant for the last few years: Political Ineptitude.

5. The European Central Bank has begun the process of Quantitative Easing and this will accelerate during 2012.

6. European Banks have 6 months within which to raise their Tier 1 Capital Ratios to 9%. This has already resulted in a Tsunami of deleveraging. This will continue to impact badly on economic growth.

7. Euro fiscal integration will continue to be discussed as will the ECB’s support for the (broken) bond markets.

8. Eurobond yields will continue to rise to record levels until even the Germans wake up to the fact that the whole thing has become unsustainable.

9. I continue to envisage the failure of the Euro which should have happened during 2011. There will be bank and government collapses.  French banks and the Spanish government will lead the way.

10. Contrary to what Mario Draghi has suggested, the ECB will leap into the Bond Market and begin to buy-up Government Bonds.

11. Italy will suffer massive Civil Unrest as the Monti government introduces unsustainable austerity policies and the economy is plunged into serious recession.

12. Spain is already in recession but more austerity will be announced .

13. The ECB will take centre-stage in Europe and will slash interest rates to zero (and below!).

14. The nonsense of the Bank of England’s “independence” will be put to the test with at least £150 billion in Gilt purchases during 2012.

15. The United Kingdom’s official unemployment figures will cross 3.5 million, producing an acceleration in forced sales and a subsequent collapse in the housing market with 25-30% wiped from house values.

16. UK consumption will remain weak, primarily as a result of increasing unemployment and a rising RPI.

17. Last year I predicted a UK General Election for October 2011. I now predict a General Election during 2012, following a vote of no confidence. The smart money is on Q2  – whilst the Conservatives continue to ride high in the polls and Ed Miliband remains Labour leader.

18. I predicted 2011 as the Year of the Riot. During 2012, every European capital will be affected by rioting.

19. America will make a surprising accelerated economic  recovery.

20. The next President of the United States will be…..Barack Obama.

21. Civil unrest will continue to accelerate in the Middle East as the people realise that they have been manipulated by the external forces of self-interest and that Western-style “democracy” is really not for them.

22. We will gradually realise that our intention to halt natural Global Warming was no more than a manifestation of our arrogance.

23. There will be  new Pope.

24. There will be an unusually high number of United Kingdom  by-elections.

25. Last year I predicted a Beckham divorce because I felt a momentous happening. They let me down by producing a baby (Harper Seven) instead. This year (for some reason), I see them setting up separate homes.

26. China will bail-out Italy from its economic woes. In return for gold. (Italy is the world’s 4th highest gold owner).

27. Gold will cross the $2000 per ounce barrier, then the $3000 barrier and possibly $4000.

28. FTSE  100 will cross 4000 on its way down and the Dow Jones will  hit 8500.

29. Nicolas Sarkozy will cease to be French President in May 2012 but his fate is very much intertwined with the Euro and much will depend on how long Mario Draghi of the ECB (the new man in charge) can help the politicians to string things out.

30. Turkey will be the beneficiary from  IPA (Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance), which is yet another Euro fund. 233 million euros have been earmarked for Turkey and will be spent on judicial reforms, climate change and environmental projects.

31. Turkey’s integration with Europe will produce an unexpected benefit to Greece. A non-economic excuse to leave the Euro.

32. When Greece leaves the Euro, possibly followed by Germany, a full-blown European recession will begin.

33. Last year I predicted a pre-emptive strike strike by Israel on Iran. It was very close but will happen during 2012. Uncle Sam demands it.

34. The United States will avoid a recession because consumers have begun to consume. However, much will depend on the volume of support America continues to provide to a broken Europe.

35. Crumbling economies will have a good effect on inflation and commodity prices will slide downwards.

36. The Euro will achieve parity with the American $.

37. If there is a “burst” of the Chinese property bubble, there will be a very sharp slowdown in China’s economic growth with a massive effect on commodity exporters everywhere.

38.  Greece will continue its death rattle until it wakes up and has the courage to exit the Eurozone shambles and default on ALL of its debt. Then it will receive proper support from unexpected sources and once-and-for-all break its links with Goldman Sachs.

39. The CIA-inspired Arab Spring will continue to become unglued as bloodshed in Egypt increases and the Libyans begin to wake up from the dreams of “democracy”. I foresee a Libyan Civil war.

40. There is only ONE logical end-game in Syria. An assassination and permanent removal of the Assad dynasty.

41. Britain and the United States have left Iraq and in keeping with modern tradition, it now looks more like a giant litter tray than the ancient  Cradle of Civilisation. Once again, Civil War, more bloodshed and extremists going “boom” beckon. No number of tin ballot boxes can prevent factional interests jockeying for position.

42. My favourite politician of 2011 will make a very welcome return to the European political scene and continue to annoy the Jedward of the Eurozone , Merkel and Sarkozy, now of course, known as Merkozy. Let’s hope that he doesn’t refer to Merkel as an “unfuckable lardarse” again. That  (quote of 2011) would be totally unacceptable!

43. ONLY because I am a great Harry Redknapp fan , I predict that Tottenham Hotspur will win the Premiership.

44. This is not a prediction but a hope that during 2012, somewhere a politician wakes up and realises that in any consumer-driven society, Quantitative Easing is best aimed directly at the consumer and not at the Prima Donna banks, who are not quite sure what to do with it anyway. Never feed a gambling habit.

45. In December 2012, the Chancellor and the Business Secretary (whoever they are) will ask the bankers to show “restraint” in respect of their bonus payments.

46. The United Kingdom’s Political Parties will BOTH realise that they have the wrong man in charge.

47. The Liberals will miss even more opportunities than they did in 2011 but will continue to make macho noises to impress the electorate and each other.

48.  The Labour Party will continue to support Ed Miliband and tell us that “Ed is a great leader and the man for the job” – until the moment that he begins to feel stabbing pains between the shoulder-blades.

49. The X-factor will be won by an entity with no discernible talent. (OK – that was an easy one!)

50. The skids will be bolted under the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Cameron’s Speech – the Tevez Way!

“ANYONE SEEN BORIS?”

Yesterday, during David Cameron’s Speech to the Conservative conference, I took off my microphone and left it in front of the radio . Unfortunately, I forgot to switch-off the mic.

The mic was still connected to my voice-recognition software which as some of you may know, is tuned just for my voice.

Below is the result. The scary thing is that it makes perfect sense – with a twist of Tevez (and Stanley Unwin).

I have not included the whole speech ( for health reasons!)

This week’s Liz Barclay at show discipline the unity and that is that is a lot of classy. I’m proud of my team and I are members and gradually the art but most of all I’m proud to you made this week the success that I believe it. Then run on it and run people have very clear instructions. The site of this economic is a way that is fair and right as you don’t please build something worth while for us and our children. Clear instructions clear objectives and really a clear understanding that any times is leadership and to get are probably get our society works at Hay.

Pitiable while the options to show everyone what would really is the first. I’ll say something to everyone in this will add despite predictions in one elections are wrapped treatments may to S a great campaign or one Hassan (of the something in the AEE). Get you a certain is that you keep that institutional banking system up the political agenda. Bred generations about the benefit of the next letters make sure with the gay week by Boris and wiki London observance of all is this is all inserted.

It went when the schedule is so much that the spirit of what some in Bristol which reporting all your books well below is very carefully at. But my colleagues chose George knew exactly what you want a widespread that the matter would begin so either over or is is that instead he chose the joy site. Are the one I chose person I said Ken this little crime and punishment I’ll read it twice.

Yesterday we should all be reading what it is likely they were children and that you remember what it helps the police to catch the blood that will keep in touch. And hours that never were and earlier this year some people said it here that is not our concern the business don’t let anyone say that it wasn’t in our national interest will remember what exactly did you know it’s sent text the IRA immobilisation. And the police officer in a square and is not what they may disguise a weblog so I say let us be right what we did doubt if it will take back that much of it in the remaining within writing is greatly any little rock of it.

Wales will benefit baby and we are on target to bring the low end of 2040 days in a incredible origins and I know that everyone is all want to send a message in to our Armed Forces in our beliefs. And to those of you who keep a safe terrorism on streets we are proud of what you write leadership will that will bring as much.

A right of the month ago I was in Nigeria on a trade mission while I was there I visited acceleration and experience I will never again.  It was very hot bring basic allowance. Go on but in the 80s is that was once one of the nurses told that it was made many of the babies and employers time this country will help vaccinate all the world’s poorest children are now able to do what they will make sure you’re on a post-it note will do it where it is an account but I elegantly in spite of all out of this the right thing to do it in our country and our people never turn our backs on the world’s poorest and I believe.

I will never pretend there are shortcuts to success. Success will come with the right idea right to write leadership. Leadership job to set the direction was taken and the choices you must make but you should also do for the end that will read another success of our politicians. Or double if the people and the spirit of some people say that to succeed in this world we need an eye on the approach I will still I say to you by us the real us hard-working high end and yet optimistic carried out as a spirited and I’m thinking it’s a small country that does read it while boasting a successful history.

Of one of… I believe is alive and well today. I set to Sydney Roberts headteacher I note in Norwich who started a response from scratch at South Alterman oversubscribed what her ambition to do it all over again and leadership. I see it did not object easy access to technical  the network patients in the country free treatment in our history the RHS and leadership. I said in all we saw this he watched the rise and fall onto the set now they are just be the chance to clear up kicker.

It is set out all without this started social people picked up rooms and reclaim our streets to the argument I want to make today leadership works I know how things are 1 min underestimate how I repeat the weather is about making ends meet state of the world the truth is right now when the amateur is not paralysed by group the of the world as long.

Sells –  it is describing it and the rest just let them decide what is written about our country we don’t set that success in this century automatically belongs is just have to remember the origin. She the people Britain taking it as why much of it was much more why each is about unleashing your English chance to see the opportunity sub for a while and get it done again.

Everyone wants to build it, but are working on taking responsibility will be well rewarded and Solaris project the pessimism that rebel group is this some energy at right I’d better get your rock country rate in Britain. It wasn’t so it will we should do it is the right as you it was that so many people actually written could do something like that and any of your fellow passengers the economic future of social and political system our best days are behind is where I’ll certain.

I’m here to tell you at Sydney is true because they said around and hope the best the rest will need a spot in a cell with raw network society and our children which will give ourselves we can get these things at black corrected us states that fronting best interest they’ll likely as well and you put in thethat’s desirable   at a meeting in Manchester the threat to the world the following and written is as serious as in 2008 when world recession the Eurozone is in crisis threat even people finds the normally require.

You were this time it’s not like people to know that the good times so long in coming the answer it’s straightforward about this was in session the things will work with you to get the clear understood into recession.

Riot Overkill

Looking at the increasingly worrying sentencing discrepancies, it looks as if Judges are sentencing people NOT for the mainly minor offences committed but for the fact that people participated in  rioting.  Opportunist pilferers should NOT be treated as harshly as those who torched buildings, vandalised or killed.

What is currently occurring is NOT justice – it is retribution.

That does NOT belong in the once fiercely independent British Judicial system.

They are acting like Cameron’s lackeys.

Long sentence!

A Southampton 18 year-old who set up a Facebook page which appeared to incite people to riot was kept in custody overnight  and then released without charge.

That does not compare well with the two morons who were handed down sentences of FOUR YEARS each in Chester for doing exactly the same thing. Although judges are only given sentencing guidelines, there is far too much variation in sentencing. THAT will generate appeals and once again, we have a multi-million Lawyer Benefit on the horizon.

The inevitably violent?

We live in a  society where success is measured by consumption – the ability to buy. In recent years, the buying-game has  become a celebrity sport which is advertised daily in the media. The “haves” flaunt their riches whereas all that the “have nots” can do is look at the pictures and dream.

Eventually there comes a time when the hard realisation hits. You are NEVER going to either win the lottery or become famous. No-one gives a shit about you or your dreams. Then comes the day when you realise that even the mantra “Anyone can do it – anyone can become a success” is a lie  spouted by the few lucky ones.

You used to eye the Beckhams, the Royal Wedding, the Prime Minister and other rich people with envy but now you envy anyone who has a job. Like your father , mother and grandparents, you will live and die anonymous. History will never know you. You are a nobody.

Your grandparents didn’t give your own parents that most precious of commodities – the one which all decent parents give to their children – their time and love. Your parents (if you ever met them) deprived YOU in the same way.

Your parents assumed that you would do badly at school and  you didn’t disappoint.

Now, you are thick, inarticulate and poor. Just like the rest of your family. Your future is measured weekend-to-weekend. Anything beyond that is too scary to contemplate , yet it is already mapped out for you – right up until the day you die. You will live and die within a few hundred yards of where you were born.

Money is NOT a great motivator but lack of it is. It is the greatest demotivator of them all – bar none. It doesn’t matter to you because you will never possess it and neither will your own unfortunate offspring. You will be permanently and terminally poor – the only legacy which you will pass on to your descendants. After many generations, poverty and the chronic inferiority complex which only the poor understand  have been hard-coded into your genes. They will follow you for ever.

So what do you do to generate a bit of false self-esteem? You are incapable of surviving on your own but you do need to bolster your ego. You have no money with which to impress but you DO need to be admired. Your refuge is the only hiding-place of the poor brainless male:

The hotbed that is the homo-erotic haven of  The Gang.

Because you are among other nobodies, you can challenge and outdo each other. That’s lucky because there is absolutely no way in which you could compare yourself to somebody with an education or money in their pocket. You are stuck among your own – and there is no way out.

These  days TV studios are  full of overweight black social workers and scruffy white psychologists. They all (wrongly) believe they have the answer to your problems. The only trouble is that you do not see your lifestyle as a problem because you have never actually entered a normal person’s life. You have no idea about a warm loving home. In fact, you haven’t much idea about anything.

All the social workers and psychologists in the world couldn’t retrospectively give you what you REALLY need – a normal upbringing. It is too late.

Everything about us all is either Nature of Nurture or a combination of both. Nature has genetically programmed you to be a failure in ALL departments with the final flourish of the Lack of Nurture provided by your parents, cementing your character and outlook.

The Gang provides you with the means to exhibit some creativity – unfortunately, the only way that you KNOW how to express yourself is through the medium of violence – but only within the cocoon provided by your peers. That is because you do not have the social tools with which to be able to act independently.  You are even crap at being violent.

So in conclusion, my sad little hooded friend – you will inconvenience “nice” people for a few days. That will give you a taste and glimpse of an alien world to which you will never belong. You will touch shiny things that you have only seen in pictures and you will covet them –  but you will never really own them. Your escapades will make you even MORE bitter as you briefly taste how the rest of the human race has evolved.

We, on the other hand are looking at you with the wide-eyed wonderment of a young child on its first visit to the zoo. We knew that you lived around here somewhere but most of us have never seen you – our biological  cousins  who have once again confirmed Darwin’s Theory.

Traditionally, we have always either shot or caged a new species. In your case, because we live in enlightened times, you will be locked up for a bit, someone might study you for a while and then you will be released back into the wild of the inner-city.

Different species have always managed to live in parallel – as long as they respect each others territory. Urban foxes have learned to co-exist peacefully – why shouldn’t you?

Tell you what – you stay out of our lands  and we’ll leave you alone to continue your own evolution on the understanding that there will be times when you do feel the need to stray into our Land of Plenty in order to carry out the occasional raid.

You never know, there may come a day when you feel able to embrace our ways, even  learn the language and perhaps return to the main evolutionary flow.

One day, Homo Riotus Vulgaris may even evolve into a species similar to our own Homo Sapiens.

(Am loving the Nikes)

All Coppers (and Rebekah) are NOT Bastards!

Delegation is very topical at the moment because it looks as if we’re in for a few weeks of  various News of the World-related individuals indulging in that most British of blood sports of “throwing oneself on one’s sword”.  As you can see from its name, it is an ancient ritual which the traditionally-minded British have not yet been able to shake off.

The misguided premis is that the “honourable” thing to do is to commit symbolic Seppuku as a gesture to appease.  It is neither honourable, practical nor does it appease. It is an “empty” gesture. From a practical point of view, it also means that when a high-level manager or director commits professional suicide through the medium of  “the resignation”, he has to be replaced – usually by a second or third-choice inferior being.

One of the more important components of the ritual is The Letter – which bizzarely (but traditionally)  expresses  “thanks and support” and usually alludes to a “rewarding experience”.

It is, of course all ritualistic nonsense and what we are SUPPOSED to do when these letters are put into the public domain (which they ALWAYS are) is to “nudge-nudge…wink-wink” and “read between the lines” and wonder “was he pushed or did he jump?”

So what causes this organisational equivalent of self-immolation?  There are only THREE   reasons for professional suicide or corporate sacrifice. The first is an indiscretion, the second is being caught with one’s fingers in the till (stealing, taking backhanders etc) and the final one is bad delegation and a lack of management skills.

The News of the World fiasco clearly demonstrated all of the above.

Rebekah Brooks was thrown on the pyre because she had been promoted to above her level of incompetence and she did not understand that when she delegated, she should have managed. Although she had delegated responsibility, the accountability remained her property. That meant that as soon as one of her underlings screwed-up, her head would be alongside theirs on the block. What is known as a “laissez-faire” style of management carries great risks.

Instead of delegating, Rebekkah had abdicated her responsibility. That means that she simply gave it away and allowed the system or process of news-gathering to be managed by others or, worst of all, she allowed processes to continue without management.

She, in common with others, claimed that she had no idea of what had been going on.  She was either lying or (more likely), she was an incompetent non-leader.

It is most likely that Rebekah Brooks’ sin was not naughtiness – just incompetence. She was too busy schmoozing to notice what was going on. When she did find out – it was too late.

The corporate position in which she found herself was not an unusual one. Many people are promoted because they are perceived as being good at a totally unrelated job to the one into which they are promoted. A great reporter may NOT be a good Editor and a great Editor may be a lousy corporate executive. All three jobs require different sets of skills.

If that was the case, then the fault rests entirely with Murdoch for giving her a rank which she was not ready for.

The other type of manager or director who tends not to know what is going on is the tyrant – the one who rules by fear. That type of manager creates such a culture of suspicion and mistrust that he or she is only ever given the good news. Consequently they are often completely oblivious to anything even vaguely irregular.

That highlights yet another issue which is extremely common. Companies hand out senior positions as a “rank” and not as a job function. Once again, if Murdoch had perceived Rebekah as having done a good job as Editor, he may have viewed her promotion  to CEO as a reward –  the corporate equivalent of a Damehood. That was his mistake.

The Poisoned Chalice of Metropolitan Commissioner is also about to change hands after the “resignation ” of the present incumbent.

Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation statement last night suggested that he was pushed onto his sword. His sin was the comparatively innocent one of someone under him hiring an ex-News of the World assistant editor plus not paying for a  stay at a health farm.

Sir Paul was NOT an incompetent manager. As an undoubted asset to the Metropolitan Police, he should have been assured that no matter what, his position was safe and that he had not only the support of the Prime Minister but that of the increasingly arrogant and out-of-control Mayor of London. But as they say, you cannot satisfy all the Buller boys all of the time.

His resignation has highlighted the management incompetence of the Mayor of London and to a lesser extent, that of the Prime Minister. The Mayor of London has appeared to be in need of a puppet Metropolitan Commissioner for some time now and finally, he will have his wish. That will dilute police management even further.

We need an independent police force and not one which is in the pocket of a “here-today-gone-tomorrow” tinpot dictator.

What of the Prime Minister’s sins in hiring Andy Coulson? A lack of diligence and an over-keenness to please News International when it decided  to call-in the favour of having become a Conservative Party supporter .

From the MPs’ expenses fiasco to the current News International shenanigans – the root cause of the lack of continuity in public (and media) life has a very straightforward root cause  – an alarming shortage of people with appropriate management and organisational skills.

Finally, if we carry on trashing the careers of our best  senior people, we are in severe danger of gradually dissuading “the best”  from even considering high office.

That is already becoming evident in the standard of the last three parliamentary intakes.

Murdoch, Fox and 9/11

Up to now, we, the British public have had our share of fun and entertainment at News International’s expense. However, the whole circus is about to move into a new and darker phase. The only brief piece of theatre (or should I say “farce”) will be the performance of the  Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee as it attempts to bamboozle the Murdochs into incriminating themselves. Or even better-still, to self-flagellate in front of the British population. I have news for them – it ain’t going to happen.

Not one of the Committee has any “big company” experience. Therefore there is a definite danger that they will not understand that in spite of the fact Rupert Murdoch   ostensibly runs the whole corporation, he probably was NOT aware of the fact that certain rodent reporters were behaving illegally. In the same way that a Prime Minister would not be expected to know that certain MPs were submitting expenses claims for duck houses and batteries for their wind-up torches.

Murdoch sits at the very pinnacle of a very large corporate pyramid which employs tens of thousands of people. Consequently, his only contact with the “shop-floor” is via several layers of management. That means that the information which he is fed is extremely selective. Plus, if any part of an organisation is performing “to-plan” or even exceeding targets, the questions asked by management tend to be of the gentler variety. Possible naughtiness is rarely on the agenda.

Directors and very often CEOs do NOT micro-manage; their focus is NOT on the day-to-day running of a department . They look towards the horizon. The weekly focus is provided by the supervisors, the monthly focus by the managers, the quarterly view by  senior managers and so on, up the pyramid. The Directors tend to devote themselves to the long-term strategic stuff.

Just like Army Generals, they have no idea that Private X screwed Private Y or that Private Z ran out of bullets.

A few years ago, I chaired a Citibank meeting and took to the stage with the UK board. I was the question-master and referee. Prior to this momentous and unique staff meeting, I had asked employees to let me have written questions well before the event  because I have always believed in a “no-surprises”  management culture.

The meeting progressed very well as I  invited ready-primed, chosen  members of staff to ask their pre-submitted questions. That enabled board members to demonstrate their “I can think on my feet” abilities, without the staff necessarily suspecting that it had all been well-rehearsed.

The meeting went so smoothly that we finished ten minutes early. The Chairman , who was sitting next to me turned to me and whispered,  “As we have some time, why don’t we take a few random questions from the floor?” I whispered back, “Mr Chairman – I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m sure that they’ll all appreciate leaving the meeting a few minutes early.”

“Nonsense!” bellowed the Chairman. He stood up, grabbed the microphone and announced to the assembled staff “We have a few minutes…so…. are there any further  questions on maybe a few things which we have NOT covered? … Anything at all?” I could see a hand shoot up at the back of the hall.

“Fuck!” I thought.

Harry was a 65 year-old post boy who thought that management was “the enemy”. His moment had come. His 15 minutes! The Chairman had no idea who this person was. He pointed towards a smiling Harry.

I could see Harry pull out what appeared to be a ream of folded A4 from his inside jacket pocket.

“Mr Chairman. Are you aware that there are no bandages in the 5th floor First Aid box and that is contrary to……..” Harry went on an on…and on…., clearly demonstrating that this oversight by “the management” was yet another clear manifestation of the management’s and indeed the directors’ total lack of care or respect towards the staff. Harry was an ex-union man and made a very impressive speech which all but destroyed all of the goodwill which we had created in the previous 90 minutes.

When Harry had finally exhausted himself and had sat down to tumultuous applause, the Chairman turned to be and said: “Why the bloody hell was I not briefed on this?”

Chairmen have NO IDEA of what goes on within a business. They are interested in RoI, RoE, 5 year forecasts, cash-flows, share price etc. They don’t know or even give a shit about day-to-day operations.

That makes me suspect that Murdoch will be asked questions that he genuinely will not have the answers to. That is because his interrogators have neither the background nor the “feel” to understand exactly what goes on within a huge organisation such as NewsCorp.

Here in the UK, after more corporate obfuscation, a tsunami or PR, several newly-created lawyer millionaires and an inquiry, Murdoch will be rehabilitated, some of his ex-management team will be banged-up and by 2020, life will return to normal. THAT is how we do things.

The United States – that’s another matter. They have a darker tinge to the way that they operate.

Over here, the politicians have rolled out the Dowler family, Gordon Brown has made his assault on recent history and a few celebs have been upset. Nothing that a few quid, a bit of political sincero-talk and a good old-fashioned grovel from Murdoch won’t sort-out. Even Max Clifford should score a few grand.

In the States, it looks as if certain NewsCorp  journalists tapped and hacked the phones belonging to family members of 9/11 victims. That was a VERY bad sin! “Distraught” relatives of the dead are making public statements with accusing fingers already pointed at Fox News.

Anyone in America who lost a relative on 9/11 has a special exalted status – that of a latter-day martyr-saint-by-association. You cannot and should not mess with those people.

If Fox News – that video-comic of the American Right is shown to have abused this precious sainted group, it will lose its broadcast licences. THAT’s how serious life may become for the Murdoch Dynasty.

So at worst, next week’s questioning by Tom Watson MP and the Gang will be a mild entertainment – not just for us but for the Murdochs too!

Compared to what could be awaiting them in the States, this will be a walk in the park.

p.s. Rebekah Brooks has gone. In spite of the Murdochs wishing to retain her services and possibly persuade her to “take the bullet”, we have to remember that although Murdoch claimed that she was “one 0f the family”, she never was and never could have been. She was the hired help and as such, she was and remains expendable.

Toynbee or not Toynbee?

The daily circulation of the Sun newspaper is just over 3 million, closely followed by the Daily Mail at 2.14 million with the once-great Daily Mirror at a struggling 1.2million.

At the other end of the scale ( below the Daily Star and the Daily Record) , the Guardian limps in at 275,000 and the Independent at 185,000.

The Times, Financial Times, Guardian and Independent , together with the Daily Record  represent the bottom 5.

So who is writing for whom? What differentiates the Guardian from say, the Sun? Which is the more influential?

The reader ship can be split into three main groups:

1. Those who believe everything they read

2. Those who no longer believe anything

3. Those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.

The above groupings are important because the decision as to who , for instance governs the country,  is in the gift of the numerically strongest group –  the first one.

It is the Sun and Mail readers who call the shots.

The thick and the credulous have inherited the power to make or break governments.

Here in the United Kingdom, the whole ‘mix’ is further complicated by the once-trendy but now dead-hand of the Oxbridge Socialists. The ones who feed  the Guardian and Independent readers.

During Tony Blair’s tenure, these middle-class ‘Beau monde’ Socialists had their admirers. They were even briefly identified as ‘Champagne Socialists’. Teachers, middle managers, council white-collar workers and media people decided that the new Beau Monde Socialism was for them.  After all, Chief Druid Blair was from a middle-class public-school Tory background, so it had to be OK for the aspirational classes to think of themselves as ‘Socialist’. For a while, the bandwagon creaked.

Now that Blair has disappeared, the High Priests and  Priestesses of Beau Monde Socialism are beginning to struggle because it is now perfectly acceptable to be and think like a modern Conservative.

Now they are neither Socialist nor Conservative.  Nevertheless, they should be identified as a unique political species.

The collapse in the Guardian and Independent readership  has been largely driven by the very transparent insincerity of that particular flavour of Beau Monde Socialism whose roots developed  around   heavy  pine kitchen tables and  Notting Hill Agas.  This posh Socialism was nothing to do with the working classes.  It was (and still is) merely a rib ripped from the side of traditional Socialism.

In the 70s and 80s , Beau Monde Socialism developed in the intellectually-castrated Oxbridge canteens and cafes where second-hand ideas led to a third-rate pretend- ideology .

This Elito-Socialism, as for instance practised by Oxford dropout and occasional Guardian Columnist Polly Toynbee already feels a bit anachronistic and is certainly out-of-touch with the far less polarised political thinking of today.

Last week, for instance, Ms Toynbee wrote a convoluted piece on ‘chavs’. Her primary purpose was to weave in a couple of book ‘plugs’ but the poor old dear nevertheless managed to show how completely out-of-touch  she is with modern word usage and the current social scene.  She wrote as if the word ‘chav’ was a class-insult aimed at the poor.

Fifteen years ago she may have been right but nowadays the word is used as a mild insult which merely flags-up a lack of style or possibly bad behaviour.

It would seem that Elito-Socialism froze solid in the mid-90s. Modern Elito-Socialists should sometimes look-up from their Ipads and Macbooks to listen and see rather than surmise and sermonise.

Theirs  is not the ‘dirty hands’ socialism of the Welsh miner. That seemed so uncomplicated just 50 years ago. This is a Socialism borne of Chardonnay-fuelled discussion and  the over-intellectualisation of borrowed (proper) socialist views which have somehow mutated into comfortable middle-class chatter – but always with a decent shot of Guardian-spawned pseudo-intellect and the odd hand-made metaphor.

Instead of a defence of Workers’ rights, you are far more likely to hear Chomsky, Engels or Howard Zinn slip into the conversation. The substance is in the discussion and the end-product is the misconstructed and often fallacious idea.

It was refreshing to have clear evidence of this dying and once never-noble political breed.

Meanwhile, the Sun reader grunts as he runs his finger along the words.  Polly who?

( I would have added that Middle-of-the-Road Liberal Conservatism is the new Black but Ms Toynbee may have accused me of racism.)

Lords minority groups (Is it ‘cos I is Black?)

Lord Taylor

I’m not sure why, but the conviction and imprisonment of Lord Taylor has made me uncomfortable. He is obviously NOT a crook and if we accept that Westminster expenses fiddling was a pretty ancient sport, his prosecution seems a bit extreme. Deep-down we also perceive that many of  Their Lordships have got away with it.

At £65K, our MPs are underpaid and I cannot think of a worse honour than becoming a Lord on a daily attendance allowance of £300 per day. If those incomes are annualised the actual  hourly rates are probably somewhere approaching the minimum wage.

The “forced” demographic profile of both Houses is another aspect of modern government which is beginning to look more and more ‘token’ and more decorative than practical. Why?  After many years of the “Let’s get some Johny Foreigners and coloureds in”policy, ethnic minorities continue to be under-represented at senior political level. It’s a national disgrace.

However, that does NOT appear to be the case as far as Lords who have been ‘busted’ in the expenses scandal. That is a list where minority groups are over-represented.

The whole expenses  affair (Lords and Commons) is symptomatic of the British unaccomodating and obdurate attitude  towards money and commerce.

THAT’S why we are unable to turn the occasional blind eye and why we continue to elect governments which allow their drumbeat to be set by the media.

THAT’S why we failed in our World Cup bid and that’s why we’re still moaning about Sepp Blatter’s election as President of FIFA.

THAT’S why we will never again win the Eurovision Song Contest.

THAT’S why appearances continue to matter more than pragmatism and success.

THAT’S why enjoy national self-flagellation  and the  ruining of public servants’ careers because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. (Is it right to break an individuals career for £15K?)

Admittedly, the Brits do not have that Jewish, Middle Eastern, or even Far Eastern ‘merchant mentality’ in which the goal is the deal and the deal is the goal, where financial ‘flexibility’ or  ‘an understanding’ wins the day.

NOT a po-faced inflexibility, commercial rigor mortis and constant accusation of dishonesty, misappropriation and banditry in others.

We are Victorians who have yet to awaken. Until then, the United Kingdom will move from having been a country which 100 years ago made things happen to a country which will soon be wondering what happened.

Here is the list of the Lords who were busted (note the ‘ethnics’):

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, LABOUR

Yorkshireman Clive Brooke pocketed more than £140,000 of overnight subsistence allowance in seven years by claiming for his mortgage-free house in Brighton instead of his £700,000 townhouse in Battersea, South London.

Viscount Falkland, LIB DEM

Hereditary peer Lucius Edward William Plantagenet Cary registered a two-bed house owned by his wife’s aunt near Maidstone in Kent as his main residence, paid no rent but spent most of his time at £500,000 townhouse in Clapham, South London.

Lord Rosser, LABOUR

Former union man Richard Andrew Rosser received £50,000 in overnight subsistence allowances since buying a flat in Chippenham, Wiltshire, in 2007 and ‘flipping’ his main residence from £750,000 four-bedroom home in Uxbridge, West London.

Baroness Neuberger, LABOUR

Rabbi Julia Babette Sarah Neuberger claimed £80,000 overnight subsistence allowances in five years by designating £237,000 flat in Leamington Spa instead of family’s £2.3million townhouse in Regent’s Park, central London.

Lord Taylor of Warwick, TORY

John David Becket Taylor, who is of Jamaican extraction,  claimed £70,000 over six years by saying his main residence was his dead mother’s house in Solihull – which had been sold – then his nephew’s friend’s house in Oxford, all while living in family home in Ealing, West London.

Baroness Goudie of Roundwood, LABOUR

Mary Teresa Goudie claimed £150,000 over eight years by saying her main residence is a Glasgow flat she bought for £200,000 in 2001, not the £1.5million mews house in Belgravia she shares with her husband.

Lord Paul, LABOUR

Indian-born Swraj Paul claimed £38,000 in less than two years by telling the Lords his main residence was the one-bed manager’s flat attached to a hotel owned by one of his companies in Chesterton, Oxfordshire, not his central London family home.

Lord Sheldon, LABOUR

Robert Edward Sheldon Claimed £130,000 over six years whilst owning a  £1.3million mortgage-free  flat in central London, he told authorities his main residence was a house in Manchester, which he in fact gave to his son in 2003.

Lord Bhatia, LABOUR

Tanzanian-born  Amirali Alibhai “Amir” Bhatia claimed more than £20,000 in two years by flipping main residence from £1.5 million family home in south London to a two-bed rented flat in Reigate, Surrey, occupied by his brother.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead, LABOUR

Former union man Anthony James Clarke claimed up to £18,000 a year despite often staying with friends for free or going back to his home in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Baroness Uddin, LABOUR

Bandladesh-born Manzila Pola Uddin claimed £125,000 between 2005 and 2009,  second home allowance on her London property, claiming that she lived in Maudstone.

Lord Hanningfield, Conservative

Paul Edward Winston White has been found guilty of fiddling his House of Lords expenses and will be sentenced within six weeks.

Obama at the No 10 Barbecue

Large men wearing shades, wires dangling from cauliflower ears and overcoats neatly folded in front of them stand very still. They are watching a little man running about putting the last touches to the seating arrangements. Sweat is pouring down his pink face. He looked quite neat when he arrived with the milk at 4.00 a.m. Now he looks like a sweating anaemic blood orange in a crumpled grey suit. 

At last his master summons him.  “Clegg!” 

The Prime Minister, looking very casual in his white shirt, navy blue suit trousers, black brogues, pulls off his tie and hands it to the hapless Clegg. “Get rid of this. Don’t lose it. When my bestest chums Barack and Michelle arrive, take their coats and put them somewhere safe. Can you manage that? I don’t want any more fuck-ups. Speaking of fuck ups, how’s the Huhne thing going?”

“Well, your Highness……….”stammers Clegg, “I…..I…..I. Sorry your Eminent and Serene…..Highness….”

“Just shut the fuck up and get rid of the tie, Make sure that you fold it properly.”

Clegg scuttles off pausing only to be searched and for the tenth time, have a metal detector waved over him by a gorilla in RayBans.

He runs into No 10, through the French windows, up a short flight of stairs, into the lavatory. He decides to have a quick pee but in his blind haste, he wets the Prime Minister’s tie. “Fuck!”  he mutters. Another bollocking.

Imperceptibly, the mood in the Rose Garden changes. The Special Service psychos suddenly stand a bit straighter whilst the biggest one – the one with shoulders like an overstuffed sofa speaks into his sleeve. They’re here! 

An immaculate and very cool Obama sweeps through into the garden . Michelle, looking casual yet expensively glamorous follows discreetly.

The “Mwwwah! Mwwwah” ceremony between the Camerons and the Obamas is quickly concluded as the rest of the Cabinet lines up for the handshakes. Hague is looking especially resplendent in his New York Yankees baseball hat, multi-coloured Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and Argos trainers. Cameron looks across at Hague, just as the Foreign Secretary says to Michelle ” Hello, Nice day”.

“Twat!” thinks Cameron as he watches Sam fuss over the pre-cooked, pre-tasted,  Texan burgers on the grill .

” Would you like a burger, Barack?”  he shouts over to the President who at that moment stands shaking hands with the Home Secretary who once again is wearing her leopard print “Fuck me” shoes.

The President is relieved to have finished the gladhanding , grabs Michelle by the hand and returns to the comparative sanctuary of the blazing-hot barbecue.

Cameron repeats: ” Burger Barack?”

Barack pulls a sheet of paper from his trouser pocket.

“As the white-hot fingers of the London sun caress the pale face of this momentous day in this Rose Garden, I would ask something of you – my fellow  human being and servant of the people…Mr Prime Minister………..something that I am not just asking of you. It is something that I would ask of anyone. Take your wooden tongs , and reach…………yes, reach for that burger bun ( Yes we can!) and having split it with the ice-sharp steel of your artisan knife – thrust into it one , just one  onion-laced beef patty and hand it to me –  for I am like you . I am your brother and I know that you also feel my hunger and the hunger of the people, your people, my people……OUR PEOPLE!  The people of the world! We are the people!  And when you have handed it to me, I will endeavour to accomplish what has been instituted by families up and down this great land of Ingerland since the mists of time parted.  They parted to reveal our forebear – the common man ( Yes we can!). I am not asking for anything more that a bite – or if it pleases you, my dear and gracious Prime Minister Cameroon –  just the opportunity of a bite. Now if that bite seems unpleasant or offensive in any way – we neither make nor demand apology  – we simply ask the one question that matters – ketchup or none? Cheeze or no cheeze I do not yet know the answer but…..we shall begin our journey, this barbecue journey together and  we shall find out! It will be our quest! We may not get it right first time but one day soon  we will know! Maybe even before the end of this great day! God Bless the County of Ingerland and  the United States of America!”

Cameron and Sam are now beginning to look quite ill-at-ease. Sam turns to her husband who appears to have gone into “shut-down”. “What the fuck was that all about. Does he want a fucking burger or not?”

Just  as President Obama pauses for applause an embarrassed Michelle steps in. The only person clapping, jumping up and down, waving an American flag  is Clegg. One of the Secret Service gorillas looks as if he is about to shoot the Limey faggot with the wet stains down the front of his trousers.

Michelle helps the Camerons ” He means ‘yes please’. Can you please give him a burger in a bun. Sorry about that but I’m always having to do this. He does get carried away”

Clegg approaches the great man. He is clutching a worn schoolboy autograph book.

“Can I have your autograph, please?”  He is barely managing to hold back the tears of joy.

” Of course, Clegg. Should I do it ‘to Nick’ ?” Clegg is so overcome, all that he can do is nod.

Cameron signs his name. “Now piss off and help with the washing up.”

Sex, Brits and Injunctions

 

We Brits are not very good at sex but by God, we like to read about others doing it. There’s nothing we enjoy more, except perhaps witnessing a successful person’s life unravelling  whilst we  wallow in those delicious Sunday-morning waves of schadenfreude as we thumb through the weekend red-tops. 

Nowadays, publicist Max Clifford appears to contribute the first ten pages to both the News of the World and Sunday Mirror. It is usually sex-based showbiz dross with either a real or engineered theme of celebrity crisis. It can be anything from Jordan’s split hair to an Antipodean bimbette being excluded from a talent-show panel. However, by far the best kind of celeb crisis is the one which contains sex, infidelity and a broken relationship. We lap it up.

That is why the alleged Ryan Giggs affair with Imogen Thomas has captivated a nation hungry for any hint of celebrity depravity. If there is any shortage of filth – we can join-up the dots ourselves. Think about it – what do we have so far? We have a millionaire footballer with a wife and children, an inexperienced Welsh former beauty queen, a super-injunction-busting Member of Parliament who himself hasn’t been slow in the trouser department  and the undivided attention of a slavering media. Can we bear to wait until next Sunday?

The end-game will be the usual ” Mr and Mrs ……………….. ask that you respect their privacy through this difficult time as they try to save their marriage.”  Then we’ll have the obligatory advice from the Fleet Street Harpies along the lines of  “Should she leave him or should she stay with him?” It’s the usual script – only the main players have changed.

Our very synthetic outrage (how could he?) (the children) belies the fact that we’re glad. Any sympathy we express is sham. What we really want are all the gory details, we want to see those sentences with “hotel room”, “sex act” (usually a blow-job), “well-endowed”, six times (why always six?), “I loved him”,”he promised”,”he was gentle” etc.

So why do footballers and celebrities in general, take those risks?  The answer is simple – Money and Opportunity. In fact, the former facilitates the latter – especially if you are a young fit famous footballer with a permanent hard-on, a Black Amex Card and a Bentley. 

They say that erect prick has no conscience – and sad to say, that is true. Fidelity is not a state of mind or belief, it is a clause in a contract. Every person, given the right opportunity will screw someone who is not his or her partner. The difference between normal mortals and celebrities is that they are handed those opportunities over and over again. Opportunities which most ordinary people never experience.   Inevitably, some of those opportunities will be too difficult to resist.

The ONLY things which can ever prevent an individual from straying sexually are either deep-held religious or cultural beliefs which have instilled the conviction that certain activities can be wrong. Regrettably, these days that type of education has largely gone AWOL.

Nowadays, morality, morals and sexual activity are three separate concepts – no longer viewed as being an intertwined trinity.

To many, the sex act is a bodily function which does not need the veneer of either love or ‘right and wrong.’

The ones who dispense judgement on those who are ‘caught’  fall into just two  groups. Those who haven’t been caught or those who who have never had the opportunity. There is one final (minor) group which is rapidly approaching extinction – those who genuinely believe that sexual intercourse can sometimes be wrong or a sin and should never be played away from home.

Once a couple arrives at the ‘sex-by-numbers’ stage, it is often merely the lack of opportunity which flimsily binds them to each other. That is the time when sex truly does just become an ‘act’.  That should be a time for reappraisal and re-invention. However, unless the couple has that rare 100% bond which enables them to say to each other “I didn’t like that” or ” This is getting boring” etc. , tension , stress, frustration and the danger of straying are constantly self-amplifying.

Having said all that – we are certainly not in the business of sympathising with a footballer who screwed a beauty queen and created Twitter mayhem. The only thing to remember is that there are no heroes or villains in this  ‘whodunit’. Anyway, it has just morphed from ‘whodunit’  to  soap opera!

Let’s just not pretend that we’re not loving every single moment.

(By the way, those things that I said  about relationships and sex just applies to the others and not to you. )

 

Boyle over?

“Offensive or funny?”

 

Please do NOT read this if you are easily offended. It contains very rude and several  socially unaceptable words and concepts.

The newspaper which appears to have its pages written by Max Clifford and should be renamed Hello-lite has fallen right into the trap. Frankie Boyle is on today’s Daily Mirror  front page because he said “Paki”, “Cunt” and “Nigger” on last night’s programme “Tramadol Nights”.

(By the way,  Tramadol is a synthetic pain-killing opiate, so just the title of Frankie’s programme should hold a clue to the fact that it may have anti-social content)

Hacks searching for angles have been writing about comedians “pushing the envelope” and “crashing through barriers” and any number of ridiculous metaphors which are supposed to suggest that Frankie is somehow “leading edge”. He is not leading edge at all. He is a rude fucker who is out to offend and thus achieve publicity.

But he is VERY, VERY funny.

His show is not the sort that I would watch with either my 13 year-old daughter or my 97 year-old mother-in-law because they would be upset and offended but it is Frankie’s right to use any material that he wishes. After all, it is his programme editors and Channel 4 who make the decision to transmit.

Frankie Boyle’s TV show is not transmitted live so it is obviously subject to editing and censorship. There is a long warning before the programme that there will be what is euphemistically referred to as “adult content”.

Julian Assange has offended many people by releasing previously classified and censored material. Material which has upset senior politicians and diplomats – yet most agree that Wikileaks should not be subject to censorship. Freedom of speech and all that. Frankie Boyle’s case is no different.

Twitter has become the playground of the sad middle classes, including many who have joined the site in order to be offended or to experience a certain “frisson” when they see naughty words in print. Don’t believe me? Have a look at http://bit.ly/fWzN3u  and then click on http://bit.ly/hqekzv  .

There is always a nagging doubt that had St Stephen Fry  said “cunt” or “nigger” on TV, it would have been more acceptable that to have it uttered by a working class comedian whose Glaswegian delivery has the subtlety of a used condom is a church font.

Jokes about  “spazzies” can be offensive  but once again, similar to cunt, nigger or paki, the word “spaz” is in common use (http://bit.ly/eU3ZbY )

Remember Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s  Derek and Clive and their “Who are you calling cunt, cunt?” sketch? http://bit.ly/UWSKe  They did that nearly 50 years ago and it is still funny. Why? Because it is so ridiculous. “Fucking” and “cunt” are repeated so many times as to render them down to nothingness and meaninglessness. That sketch has also  become acceptable because it has the veneer of Footlights humour protecting it from the latter-day Mary Whitehouses of this world.

The context is all-important. If the Queen said “fuck” it would be funny. If my child said it to me, it would be offensive. When Derek and Clive or Frankie Boyle say it, it is silly but totally inoffensive.

The Army refers to Arabs as “sand-niggers”, politicians have been heard to say what the media coyly refers-to as the “n-word” 

Here’s a quote from Inspector Phazey who was once  a  BNP candidate for the  European Parliament:

“Of course you heard words like Paki and nigger, but it didn’t mean much more than someone saying Paddy for an Irishman or Jerry for a German. It was just the language of working-class blokes. There was a fair bit of leg-pulling but it was never malicious. I remember there was one officer who, whenever an Asian officer came into the room, would go, “Coon, coon”, like he was making the noise of a pigeon. But it was a joke. It’s like saying Paddies are as thick as two short planks or Jocks [i.e. Scots] are tight-fisted. It was just jokes in the canteen.”

One hates to agree with a BNP moron but he does have a point.

The most racist and sexually repressed people are the British. They poke fun at the French (garlic-chewing surrender monkeys), Germans (no explanation necessary), Americans (fat and insular), Irish ( terminally stupid), Welsh(sheep shaggers), etc etc. In fact, try to think of a nation that the British do not have a joke about. The words “Coon” and “Nig-nog” used to be very common on British Television and it is  only the British who could ” bracket” sex with violence into an every-day phrase.

For the British sex and “appearances” go hand-in-hand. Remember the thousands of pregnant girls from the 60s and 70s who were either forced to have an abortion or who were farmed out to distant relatives to give birth and then have their baby wrenched away from them. They are all still suffering.
Now THAT WAS offensive.
They were treated in this way because of “what will ‘they’ think?”  The mysterious “they” who believed  that all sex and sexual words were offensive no matter what the context. Hopefully we’ve moved on from those Victorian days.

As for racism – most of you reading this would not have experienced racism so you imagine that just  a word can be “racist”.  Let me explain racism.

As a 10 year-old, I was lucky enough to go to a very good school and I was the first at the school who’ arrived with a foreign surname. On the afternoon of my first day, an eleven-year-old spat at me and said “Fucking Pole”. Needless to say, I made a very good attempt to remove his face and eventually we became good friends but that 11 year-old learned about “fucking poles” from an adult. There’s no way that he had introduced himself to the concept. That was offensive.

Fast-forward five years.  A  school disco had been organised and there were posters all around the school and quadrangle (yes, quadrangle!!).  By then we had ONE Indian boy at the school.  His name was Ash and we had such a laugh when we saw that on one of the posters for the School Disco, some moron had scrawled “NO PAKIS”. That was funny.

My eldest two sons were brought up in France. When they returned to England as 11 and 10 year olds, they came back from school crying saying that children were calling them “Frogs”. The headmaster told me that it was just harmless fun and he thought that it was very funny. That was offensive.

Words are only “racist” when they are delivered with hatred or menace.

Many sexual words are only offensive because we have been taught that we should be offended by the “What will they think” generation. The mysterios “they”.

So what of a comedian who is in a hurry for his 15 minutes of fame and KNOWS what an emotionally and socially constipated lot we are and is using our repression as a free PR exercise?

He is just one sad cunt of a council estate  Jock.

 

If you ignored the warning at the top of this page and are now “offended” – just fuck off.

Cable, Assange. Two of a kind.

The main two players in the news recently have been Vince Cable and Julian Assange – and they both appear to be victims of nothing more serious than male vanity which, in both their cases, seems to have tipped over into arrogance.

What is more pleasing to a man of a certain age than two pretty young things giggling at your jokes and engaging in a bit of harmless flirtation. It is no accident that the Daily Telegraph sent a brace of young journettes to pose as Vince’s constituents. Very quickly they appear to have massaged his ego to such an extent that he went all the way in trying to overstate both his importance, his position in the government hierarchy and the length of his political willy.

If the newspaper has sent along two crusty old male journos, there’s no way in a million years that Vince would have succumbed to their charms in the way that he did with the ladies.

His craving for “esteem in the eyes of others” suggests that perhaps he needs a “fix” of what are called “brain needs” possibly because his basic physical and/or psychological needs are not being totally satisfied either at home or  the workplace. The sad old duffer obviously needs affirmation. If it is not dished out by his superiors, he will satiate the need as soon as the opportunity presents itself. That is why the honey trap sprung by young Telegraph totty worked so beautifully.

Exaggeration of our own professional importance, our experience and our qualifications, believe it or not, is a normal activity. It starts as early as our first job. When your parents asked you as an 18 year-old what you did at the office. It is never….”Well, I made the tea, received two bollockings and spent the rest of the day staring at my computer screen, did a bit on ebay and then an hour on Facebook….” It would be nearer to:  ” The boss asked me for my opinion on X, then I attended a marketing meeting  where I made a short presentation etc etc. Yes…it looks really promising…”

It is normal to exaggerate one’s own importance. Vince did not do it for physical or financial need. His need was purely emotional/psychological. It was “ego-food” and it would seem that he ate his fill. In true warrior-hunter-gatherer style, he imagined himself as Rupert Murdoch’s adversary and suggested that he had already won the battle. However, the sad fact is that he doesn’t even belong in the same arena as Murdoch. Cable is a former academic, economist and now, through the accident of a bad (in his opinion) electoral system,  Secretary of State.

Meanwhile Murdoch is one of the world’s best businessmen who not-only doesn’t take prisoners, he shoots the wounded. To him, Cable’s status in no more than that of a very minor irritant.

Vince can dream of being a hard-nosed testosterone-fuelled tough guy business-psycho but in reality, he is an academic bean counter who got lucky.

Remember when he was everyone’s favourite political uncle? Remember when he delivered that swingeing put-down to Chairman Brown?  You know, the Stalin to Mr Bean  joke? Now, Vince looks like a sad old git whose sell-by date has been tattooed on his forehead and who will be given Transport or Culture at the next reshuffle or, he will confirm that there is life after death by accepting a peerage.

One hates to watch a corpse twich but there is no way back.

Now that he has been stripped of the power to rule on Murdoch’s bid for control of BSkyB, Vince is well-and-truly fatally wouded. That makes him a potential danger to the Government and  both Cameron and Clegg know it. There have been several coy references  to the original quote but the fact is that Cameron would prefer to have Vince inside the tent pissing out rather that outside the tent pissing in.

Cameron’s advisers will probably be spending this coming weekend working out what sort of role Cable would accept without damaging the coalition…and Cable? He will be at home, continuing to cringe and probably still muttering the F-word. Lots.

Assange is also suffering from terminal vanity and you may be surprised to hear that both he and Cable probably share the same psychometric profile. Both are analyticals but whereas Cable is an Analytical-Expressive, Assange seems to be exhibiting all the classic traits of an Analytical-Driver. The starting point for both is a love of facts and figures.

 Citizens of  Nerdania.

The big difference is that Cable does have the added bonus of emotion whereas Assange is probably a sociopath. READ HERE and see if , from what you have seen and heard of Assange, you can perceive him as behaving according to type.

Assange has probably never been properly emotionally involved and his interests will be  sexual rather than emotional. If you listen to his version of the “rapes”, you may notice that he portrays himself as the victim, irrespective of the Swedish technicalities  and  interpretations of the concept of rape.

The Wikileak disclosures have given him worldwide fame and he will be feeling invincible – even though he may be in for some local trouble in Sweden as a result of those rape allegations. Make no mistake he will welcome the proceedings to extradite him to  the States because that will give him even more notoriety and fame and because he knows that the process may take years to complete.

By far the best way to deal with him would be to starve him and his ego of the oxygen of publicity and notoriety.

What Wikileaks is doing is sound but it is unfortunate that it is headed by such an arrogant publicity addict. Regrettably, the media continues to feed his over-active ego.

So we have Cable,  the Analytical-Expressive who is mortified and embarrassed by his own clumsiness and on the other hand, we have Assange the Analytical-Driver who does not feel even remotely humiliated by accusations of rape and who continues to wallow in the discomfort of indiscreet politicians.

Within the media, the indiscreet politician Cable has become a figure of fun whereas Assange, in spite of his obvious personal failings is portrayed as a hero of free-speech and non-censorship.

Both are vain men and both have made mistakes. But……………

Inglaterra to win?

“I make you da offer you can understand”

John Terry gave the game away after the full-time whistle was blown when he and his team-mates were putting together their staged “let’s form a team circle” stunt.

They were celebrating a  1-0 defeat of the Slovenians who are from a tiny country with a population  2 million  and a first division of ten teams, formed as recently as 1991. 

Did you notice Terry (who seems to have forgotten that he has been relieved of the England captaincy) formed a small huddle with several other players and was waving at others to join the circle in a show of  “ersatz” camaraderie and “teamship”.

During the game, commentators appeared to be creaming themselves and breaking open the hyperboles at machine gun speed whilst their grammar deteriorated back to normal. The footie-hysteria had well and truly returned and the country once again lost touch with reality.

Meanwhile, Defoe scored after a cross bounced off his shin at point-blank range,  “captain” Gerrard carried the jolly air of an undertaker’s apprentice with Aids, Terry made too many mistakes and Rooney looked lumbering and unfit with  a face like a trodden-on anaemic blood orange.

“Postman Pat” Capello strutted the line gurning in Italian and treating us to a show of arm-waving which looked like Roman semaphore – probably the best way for him to communicate.  Who recorded his Linguaphone lessons? Chico Marx?  “To winner yew needa da goal.”

Profound.

This is from the Marx Brothers Duck Soup. Is this where Capello found his “inpiratione”?

 Wednesday we went to the ball game, he fool us and no show up.
Thursday he go to the ball game, but we fool him and we no show up.
Friday it was a double header, nobody show up.

Let’s hope everyone shows up on Sunday. We need you for the penalties.

 

…..and with profound apologies: 

Stuart Pearce:  “That kind of play we should eliminate.”
Fabio:  “Atsa fine. I’ll have a nice cold glassa liminate.”

RIP English football.

Capello and Friend

We football fans need heroes, we need supermen to represent us and to show the world what we’re made of.  We believe that we are the chosen ones. So where are our English heroes? Where are the latter-day longbowmen of England? What happened to them? Have they become too lazy and spoiled? Have they had it too easy? They have to be found before it’s too late.

I have loved football all my life and many of my early memories are of  playing not on well-drained and manicured lawns but on pitches with penalty areas so boggy that it was an effort to lift ones boots out of the ground. The stinging sensation on a frozen thigh as a water-logged ball smashed into it – and the less said about heading a wet ball, the better. Chilblains as you stepped into a hot shower after 2 hours running about in horizontal sleet.

There was a sliding tackle in the 60s which I remember so clearly to this day.  I only remember it  because I snapped my thumb in an iron-hard frozen rut as I tried to slide-tackle the opposing team’s too-fast centre-forward. Our trainer rushed onto the pitch, grabbed my thumb and decided that it was maybe just dislocated. He then proceeded  to manoeuvre it as you would a gear lever on a non-synchromesh gearbox.

Once my screaming had died down, he told me not to be a pussy and to carry on. By the time the game was over, the pain had gone because luckily, I had lost all sensation right up to the elbow and my hand had turned greeny-grey through a combination of frost and pain. By the end of the game, my concentration was solely on my long-gone stomach muscles which were aching from the forty minutes-or-so of non-stop pain-induced retching.

Half-times used to be  spent in the middle of the pitch.  Even when the temperature was sub-zero. there would be orange segments, sometimes so sour that your scrotum would involuntarily contract in the  genetically-programmed  “flee” reflex.

The changing rooms always smelled of feet, piss and disinfectant and there were many occasions when we sat after a game, our hands so frozen that we could not even begin to untie our laces. I even recall occasions when we would stand in the shower fully clothed in our football strip, shivering as we waited for the thawing process to kick-in.

Another memory which still makes my teeth itch, took place on a sloping, frozen pitch somewhere in Leicester. I was running very fast towards a left-back who had the ball at his feet. I had already  realised that there was little chance of me stopping because the stopping distance on a frozen field a 15 mph is more-or-less infinite.  My purple legged adversary took two quick steps back and hoofed the 2-lb water-logged semi-frozen mud-spattered ball, presumably in a vain attempt to hoist it over my head. Whatever happened, I knew that a collision  was inevitable.

That’s the last thing that I remember until I found myself supported by two team-mates who’d dragged me to my feet and were holding me under the arms. The trainer then proceeded  to pump me up and down as he screamed into the gale:  “He’s only winded. He’ll be OK in a minute!”

When the ball had hit me it clobbered me in the testicles so hard that I had temporarily blacked-out. However, the momentum had still carried me full-on into the full-back and I was indeed winded by the impact – but it was the excutiating pain between my legs which was making me puke.

I spent the next few days lying on my side with one of my mum’s very nice embroidered cushions between my legs with nuts the size of hand-grenades.

The faces of my old team mates are still there in my head and I can still remember goals that I scored decades ago. Sometimes there were tears when we lost but most of all I remember the wins. THAT is why football can be so addictive and such joy. The “ups” are so intense that you want to take them home to bed.  The “downs” cause intense pain. They hurt so much  because when you lose a match and lose it properly, you are spent. The energy has been burned off,  you self-esteem is nowhere and you can hardly lift that pint as you drink to forget.

The young prancing English prima donnas with their silk suits, hotel-houses, large fish tanks, orange wives and Ferraris know nothing of the “coarse” football which we played and which even professionals played a version of, until quite recently.

They have become a freak show, an obscenity, a band of pampered illiterates. Many were plucked from their schools before they could write properly or construct a sentence (and it shows) because they could kick a ball – because they had “talent”.

Nevertheless, youngsters still look up to them because they are heroes. There was a time when I imagined myself pulling on a white shirt with three lions on the chest. Why? Because I too wanted to be a hero, a superman – a god. I wanted to feel unashamed pride in my country of birth.

Unfortunately, our present  footballing heroes are men of straw with hollow insides. The whole country is trying to decide why. We don’t understand – even now,  after the queue of media psychologists has given its last TV and radio interview.

Why do Englishmen “choke” at the slightest hint of success. The answer is surprisingly simple.

The overpaid ball-kicking thickos are mostly working-class scumbags who have retained the world-famous English class-inferiority complex – added to which, they are stupid. ( Don’t believe me?  Listen to any post-match interview)

The mock-Elizabethan mansion, electric gates etc are there because these are essentially working-class dunces who need to show-off. It is exactly the same principle which turns a lottery winner from a normal well-balanced factory worker (remember those?) into a raving Ferrari-driving nutter.

They are all seeking esteem from others. They need that esteem because their own real self-esteem is so low.  They cannot elicit esteem from others through the force of their intellect because they have none. Neither can the majority enjoy the admiration of others because of their sparkling personalities. The trappings of wealth are all that they have.

Their confidence flows from their self-esteem, which needs the esteem of others as a catalyst.

The present England team in South Africa looks lost and totally lacking in confidence.  Add to that the fact that they have been celibate for a few weeks and all you have left (for all intents and purposes) is a bunch of depressed eunuchs wandering around a field in their underwear kicking a ball – when they can get hold of it.

If  the incomprehensible Gerrard, thuggish Terry, drooling Lampard  et al could arrive and be greeted like heroes as they are at Wembley, if they were  confident that everyone knew them and possibly seen their photo-spread in Hello magazine or read about them crashing their Lambo into a tree  somewhere in Cheshire – they would be happy and they would have their self-esteem intact and firing on all twelve designer cylinders.

Unfortunately  the Vuvuzela-toting South African crowd doesn’t know most of them from a bar of soap. Here, they are just footballers. The small pink, beer-bellied contingent of English fans cannot make itself heard, it cannot cheer its heroes and so the life-blood of the English players egos has been temporarily interrupted.

Ah, you may ask – but what about all the others? What about the Brazilians, the Koreans and the rest? Why are they not “choking”. Well, strangely enough, many of the over-pampered ones have choked. Just look at France and Italy. It is the ones who had to fight for their football, the ones who came from the stench of  the slums , shanties, favellas  and townships who are playing with both their hearts and minds.

They do not need the mental crutch of adoration.  To them the B-flat of the Vuvuzela is a clarion-cry and not a distraction.

The English manager and Postman Pat impersonator, Fabio Capello is floundering. He cannot massage his charges’  egos or deliver a Churchillian address because he cannot speak English.

Can you imagine Fabio doing a Henry V – mind you, rent-a-moron wouldn’t understand what he was talking about anyway:

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

The solution? Stop believing that England can ever win the World Cup. We don’t deserve it.

p.s. Just to demonstrate the “sprit” off the English team: Did you notice how many English players put their arms round Robert Green or consoled him in any way after he’d made that dreadful goalkeeping error against the USA?  That’s right.  None. They all walked away and left him to suffer on his own.

World Cup depresssion

“The (round) Jabulani ball”

The way that the  World Cup is shaping up for England does not look too good. You know, the West Ham goalie with a ball-catching problem, a centre-forward who does not score goals, ITV presenter Adrian Chiles who has the air of  a garage mechanic who’s waiting for the Samaritans to call back and thick football pundits who are in permanent cliché mode:

 “It’s a big ask” ;  “Watching Brazil play is just like watching Brazil play”; “Only just offside”; ” It’s their usual passing game.”; “Set their stall out”;  “Clinical Finish”; “The referee was right on that occasion”; “Spirit of 1966″;  ” He’s facing a fitness race”;  “All credit to the lads;  “Quality; “That’s what the World Cup is all about”; “At the end of the day”;  ” The ball hits the back of the net” (Actually – it’s the front of the net. If it hits the back, it isn’t a goal!  etc. etc.

Let’s hope that the pundits don’t run out of clichés half-way through the tournament – otherwise, we’ll be in real trouble.

I could lip-read Rooney referring to an American opponent as a “boundah and a popinjay” and on another occasion I’m sure that he said that their goalkeeper was “a thoroughly bad egg” and “not quite the sort”. However, it was amazing how he made each phrase look as if it started with the letter “F”!  Now that’s real talent.

During interviews, Jamie Carragher still appears to be speaking Swahili.

So the new Jabulani ball is too round, is it? Robert Green, the England goalkeeper would probably benefit from a Velcro ball with corners and a couple of handles on it.

They say that he was so depressed after the USA game that he threw himself under a train. Unfortunately it went under him.

Lastly – the Vuvuzela , a  plastic trumpet which plays B♭(admittedly not everyone’s favourite note)  has come in for a bit of unnecessary criticism from both players and spectators. They have obviously forgotten the good old days of the wooden football rattles, which made the fillings in your teeth resonate and fall out by half-time.

During the England-USA game, I found the constant buzz of the Vuvuzela quite soothing. It helped me to sleep.

If the definition of a cliché is a word or phrase which has become stale though overuse, here are some racist examples which pundits and commentators use to stereotype: Germans- efficient; Latin Americans – temperamental; Black players – panther like; Asians-  industrious; English – shite. 

 

“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Obama – Oil spill is Cameron’s fault.

 

Q:  What do you call something black, thick and  crude which ruins lives?

A:   Mr President.

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has now cost BP £1.1bn ($1.6bn) and the pressure on the oil giant is likely to intensify over the next few days.

Over 51,000 claims have been submitted since the MC252 oil well blew up in the Gulf of Mexico in April, and more than 26,500 payments have already been made, totalling over £42 million ($62m).

Meanwhile, the REAL (American) culprits appear to be playing possum and allowing BP to take all the publicity and blame.

The Build-up of methane in the Deepwater Horizon rig which caused the explosion , fire and subsequent out-of-control spillage  could have been prevented if the valve which had been installed to cut-off the oil flow, had operated properly. The explosion-prevention valve was manufactured and (supposedly) maintained by American oil contractor Cameron International and it was reported to have sprung a leak several hours before the explosion.

BP has not been known as “British Petroleum” for over 10 years, since its merger with Amoco but President Obama still continues his anti-British rhetoric.

The companies standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the dock alongside BP will all be American but meanwhile it continues to suit this misinformed President to mud-sling at the British people.

Cameron International has halted all of its oil exploration activities presumably because there are other such valves on other rigs which now present a danger.

The Cameron BOP (Blow-Out Preventer) is not new technology as it was first designed and produced in the 1920s.

BP’s senior vice president for the Gulf,  James Dupree has blamed the Cameron BOP for the explosion on Deepwater Horizon which killed 11 people and continues to spill 40,000 barrels per day into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Last month,  Democrat member of the Congressional Committee,  Bart Stupak  reported that the blowout preventer “apparently had a significant leak”. He said that the BOP  had also been modified in “unexpected ways,”  and may not have been strong enough to shut the well.

Meanwhile Jack Moore, the Director, President and CEO of Houston-based Cameron International says that until the BOP is properly examined, it is “too early” to blame his company for the catastrophe.

It seems that Obama owes someone an apology and would probably benefit from some coaching in order to learn to engage his brain before opening his mouth. Sadly, he, like BP is beginning to look a little accident-prone.

The most effective thing that he could do would be to adopt a positive stance and invite BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward to the White House and not  try to make a martyr of him.

Finally, I bet the CIA is currently working hard to establish a link between Cameron International and our Prime Minister.

Holy Homo!

There has been another mealy-mouthed apology from Pope Ratz. Another apology without acceptance of either liability or accountability.

Satan wasn’t mentioned but the Vatican  has already   indicated that he is implicated. Otherwise, how could the Vatican possibly accept the well-established fact that Catholic priests  have been buggering children for several hundred years. It seems that “vulnerable” priests succumbed to Satan while god wasn’t looking.

Below is the latest apology offered and recited by the pope. The apology offered was for the “little ones” with the addendum of a rather ambitious promise that “such abuse will never happen again.”  Such extravagant words  seem to imply that Satan has been defeated so, in effect none of us need worry.

Pope Ratz has tamed Satan. Job done.

These are the words spoken by Ratz during last Friday’s mass which was attended by about 15,000 priests who were marking the end of the Roman Catholic Year for Priests.

“We, too, insistently beg forgiveness from god and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again…………In admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey,”  pledged 83-year-old man of the world and geriatric virgin, Pope Ratz. 

“Accompany priests along their journey”?  It always helps if you have someone alongside to hold your cassock – prevents it from becoming too creased.

No-one has yet put-forward any indication how the Catholic church intends to weed-out any paedophiles or rapists during the priest-selection process. Young men who attend a church school, followed by a seminary are unlikely to be assessed accurately before they celebrate their first mass  and are  then let loose into communities containing all that irresistible soft young flesh.

You never know. There have been occasions when  that Satan has shown himself to be a pretty crafty customer and theoretically could put temptation before them.

This is said to be the pope’s most direct apology for the many thousands of cases of clerical abuse. However, surely it would put everyone’s mind at rest if the Vatican told us what the problem is. Is it a poor selection process? Is it the unnatural state of celibacy? Perhaps a predilection to homosexual paedophilia is compulsory?

Whatever the problem is, it is time for the Catholic church to acknowledge it. Otherwise, it will continue to treat the symptom and not the root cause.

Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) have said that  they aren’t buying the latest apology.

“We’ve heard apologies over and over again. It’s not a credible apology until you’re  willing to do something about it,” said SNAP   coordinator Peter Pollard.

SNAP says they want to see more responsibility from the Catholic hierarchy.

“Accountability helps a lot, when someone is accountable it’s a lot easier to forgive,” Pollard said.

Meanwhile a Catholic spokesman has said,  “We agree words aren’t enough and that’s why the Catholic church has put in comprehensive programes to make sure abuse doesn’t happen again.”

However, the Vatican has not indicated what those “programmes” are. Furthermore, the Vatican, Pope Ratz and his band of men in dresses and pointy hats need to let us know how many perverts are still celebrating mass every Sunday. Perhaps a register of priests who have offended would be a good start. A sex offenders’ register is good enough for the laity – let’s have one for the priesthood. The United States has Megan’s Law, the United Kingdom has Sarah’s Law, so why not a Benedict’s Law?

Whatever the effect of the Pope’s words, some Catholics are hoping they’ll at least see some action. One would have thought that by now, the pope and the Vatican would have already received some sort of word or guidance from their god. They have to understand that the Catholic hierarchy cannot be allowed to continue to lurch from inquiry to inquiry whilst young children continue to be molested and screwed senseless by  institutional depravity supported by management misinformation and intransigence.

The general consensus seems to be that something needs to be done and it needs to be done NOW. 

Gordon the Goofer Part 2

” So how about a Damehood, a ride in the Jag AND new double-glazing?”

Even before it all kicked-off, this mini-tragedy had the all edgy qualities of Borat at a W.I meeting.  The Prologue  had it all. We witnessed not-only  the social skills of Borat, the communication skills of an accountant-farmer, the smile of a tomcat regurgitating a fur-ball and the dress-sense of a demobbed Albanian but there was a co-star!  The co-star was an  opinionated grandmother in a bizarre red-lapelled coat. This was the accident waiting to happen. AND.IT.WAS.GOOD!! 

The electoral campaign was just one week too long for Gordon Brown. He had made it so far. Admittedly by this stage, the Labour Grandees’ fingernails   were even shorter than  Brown’s but it did look as if he may just fall over the line without too many  injuries or accidents. Then Rochdale happened. Brown  blundered into the first major gaffe. 

 An open microphone captured him being dismissively rude about a voter who had expressed an opinion.

Brown, apparently forgetting that he’d left a television microphone pinned to his chest, called 66-year-old Gillian Duffy a “bigoted woman” as he was being driven from a public meeting where (he imagined) she had needled him on immigration.

Within minutes the bad-tempered aside had exploded across the media and within a couple of hours Brown was rushing back to Mrs Duffy’s home to beg her forgiveness and emailing his supporters to make clear he’d apologised.

The subsequent 24 hours have seen the cringe-inducing drama replayed on television, radio and  the Internet .  Murdoch’s Sky appears to have the whole thing on a loop. The debacle has dealt Brown a big setback on the eve of the last TV debate ahead of the May 6 vote.

Mrs Duffy, a retired widow and lifelong Labourite from a long line of Labour supporters  met  the prime minister at a campaign stop in Rochdale. She  questioned him about the influx of eastern European immigrants.  Nothing wrong with the question but Brown does not have the spontaneity to answer any question which does not afford him the opportunity to list Labour’s meagre achievements. Consequently, he was rattled. He was also aware that there are immigrant voters with television sets.

He attempted to answer her potentially emotive question with figures and statistics and began his customary sleep-inducing stumble through “facts” such as “X-number of immigrants had arrived”  but “a large number of Brits and Immigrants had  left“. He forgot that she was only interested in her own environment – Rochdale and not in UK statistics. In fact, one wonders whether he had been briefed at all about Rochdale.

He effectively brushed her question aside when he explained that Britons were also working in Europe. His aides sensed that Brown was running out of steam so he was quickly ushered into the ministerial Jaguar. As soon as he was cocooned in the Jag he relaxed and began to complain to an aide about the encounter from Hell.

“That was a disaster, they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous,” Brown is heard to say.

When asked what Duffy had said to upset him, Brown told the aide: “Everything. She’s just a sort of bigoted woman.”

Mrs Duffy  had questioned Brown on taxes, university fees and Britain’s record deficit of £152.84 billion. She had displayed no bigotry whatsoever and her question on  immigration was just that – a request for information. She had expressed no personal view about immigrants.

Brown’s negative reaction was much more to do with his own shortcomings as a communicator rather than Mrs Duffy’s robust questioning.

Brown’s gaffe was immediately broadcast and he was then grilled about it by Jeremy Vine on his Radio 2 show. The show was televised. Slumped over with his head in his hand, Brown said he realised he had made a mistake and regretted the remarks.

“He’s an educated person, why has he come out with words like that?” Duffy said. “He’s calling an ordinary woman who’s just come up and asked questions … a bigot.”  It is still not clear whether Mrs Duffy, her interviewed relatives and all the other Rochdale Vox Pops know exactly what a “bigot” is but they all seem to think that it is a “bad word” – and in this context is is a very bad word – especially for Gordon Brown.

Duffy said Brown had initially appeared receptive as they discussed policy. “I thought he was understanding but he wasn’t, was he?” said Duffy, who said she had planned to vote Labour but would now most likely abstain.

Brown later telephoned Duffy to apologise, then unexpectedly showed up at her home. Damage limitation time.

Smiling broadly but awkwardly, Brown emerged 40 minutes later and said “Gillian” had accepted his apology. Mrs Duffy remained indoors and refused to face the cameras. Overnight, the Red-tops have been pushing envelopes with financial offers through her letter-box and it is rumoured that she has agreed to a deal with one of them.

“She has accepted that there was a misunderstanding and she has accepted my apology,” Brown told reporters through gritted teeth. “If you like, I am a penitent sinner.”

It seems that a statement such as ” She’s just a sort of bigoted woman” is quite unequivocal and Gordon Brown has not yet explained where the “misunderstanding “ occurred. The fact is that he was caught bang to rights and no amount of mealy-mouthed excuses will help him.

As to whether he should have gone back to Mrs Duffy’s house for the 40-minute grovel is debatable. There is a saying that when you have dug yourself into a hole, sometimes  it is a good idea to stop digging.

The political consequences of Brown’s blunder could be severe since he already is third in opinion polls and desperate to show his supposedly statesmanlike credentials to dispatch his less experienced rivals. David Cameron and Nick Clegg  could never have dreamed of being presented with such a luscious target so close to polling day and it will be interesting to see what their speech writers have prepared for tonight’s final televised debate.

In an ironic twist, Brown’s campaign team had even overhauled its election strategy this week — betting that more contact between their leader and ordinary people would revive his flagging election hopes. Had they consulted ANY Public Relations company, they would have been advised to keep Brown in a box until after next Thursday’s vote.

Brown had a previous gaffe last year when he sent a handwritten note to a mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan. He had misspelled the soldier’s name and once again, was forced into an embarrassingly grovelling apology.

Brown’s foes could barely disguise their delight at his high-profile cock-up. “The thing about general elections is that they reveal the truth about people,” said George Osborne in a remarkably restrained statement.

Charlie Whelan, a former aide to Brown, used Twitter to defend the former leader. “Who has not let off steam under stress and strain of a campaign?” he wrote. “He’s apologized, move on.” No surprises there.

Chancellor Alistair Darling offered,  “This is something that he knows he shouldn’t have said.”

Even the reptilian Lord  Mandelson briefly stopped his tongue-flicking  to say  “Gordon didn’t mean it. Ssssssssss. Trusssssst in me.”

Bookmaker William Hill said the gaffe could dent Brown’s election chances, immediately lengthening the odds of a victory for Labour to 16/1 .  William Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe said.  “It could prove to be a very damaging blow to his chances of retaining power.”  The bookies are seldom wrong.

Many commentators say that in order to recoup credibility and votes, Gordon Brown will have to produce a bravura performance at tonight’s debate. Prepare for smiles and statistics.

 

p.s. The open microphone was transmitting “pooled” sound to the media, i.e they all had access to it and they all heard Brown’s remarks. The company which released Brown’s words was Sky.

 

Cheryl Cole minor strife

Ashley and Cheryl Cole – two thick working-class pikeys who we somehow expect to behave respectably, simply because of the very thin veneer of respectability afforded them by the presence of a shed-load of money. Cheryl Cole is a convicted thug as is her brother Andrew  Tweedy who has 70 convictions.  So far, Ashley Cole only has the usual array of a footballer’s driving convictions but his current claim to fame is his infidelity.

Footballers are not renowned for their intellect – in fact, most of them are inarticulate meatheads who also enjoy the advantage of not being overburdened with any obvious value system. The result is that they are only dimly aware that they may be doing something wrong when they are unfaithful, grope strange women, crash their cars, beat people up or spit at each other.

Cheryl Cole is a Newcastle council-estate-reared girl who happens to have been through the showbiz “star machine”. If  she hadn’t got lucky, what would she be? A doctor, an artist, a geologist?  Unlikely.  At the age of 27, she would most probably be on a Tesco checkout with three children of various shades in the local crêche.

The saying  “Put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig”  applies in equal measure to both Ashley and Cheryl.

Designer trainers, frocks, 50K watches, shoes and handbags only serve to paper-over the lack of class – the inner person remains a fully paid-up resident of pikeydom. They are the absolute  equivalent of the  lottery winner who blows his wad within two years and then admits that he has always felt better when claiming Social Security. That is what he and they are designed for. They will always be well outside their natural comfort zones. The stained velour tracksuit and rust-encrusted Ford Escort are  only several pay-cheques away.

Cheryl had a pushy mum who helped an average girl realise a mother’s dream. There are thousands of wide-eyed hopefuls with ambitious mothers, but only a few make it. It is a combination of work, luck  and barefaced chutzpah but for the few successful ones, it is  the equivalent of a lottery win. Unfortunately,  when they do “make it”  they never have the class to cope.

The journalist who invented the WAGS classification was the first to realise that we are dealing with a whole new sub-species which was crying out for its own label.  We do not admire them – we mock them. The only group that  does admire WAGS is the next generation of aspirational bimbos who have themselves been bred and reared to be WAGS.

To the rest of us, people such as the Coles are not people we either admire or aspire-to. They are merely an entertainment. Three pages in a Sunday red-top. The formula is simple – Act One: wife on holiday, being “comforted” . Act Two: husband pays big bucks to publicists and lawyers to keep as much garbage out of the press as possible. Act Three: Enter a posse of bimbos with their brains between their legs.  Act Four: A grovel  by the randy husband and usually a reconciliation.

These are only FOUR elements to this 21st century morality tale.

In the last few weeks, we’ve had Tiger Woods, John Terry and now Ashley Cole. There are many more waiting in journalist’s notebooks, folders and hard drives.

The formula is now well established so all that the story needs to keep it interesting is an occasional change of cast.

What is the next Act in the Cole saga?  That’s easy – it’s approching time for the public grovel so let’s hope that Ashley Cole does not use the same writers that screwed up the script for last week’s Tiger Show !

The epilogue is usually in two parts – firstly, the “other women” hire a publicist ( usually Max Clifford)  and their stories are published. Finally, the husband and wife are photographed on their “make-or-break” holiday.

Final line: “The trouble is that I really love him.”

Exit to the sound of clicking snappers, as the brand-new diamond necklace/bracelet/ ring  twinkles in the Ivy candlelight.

National Treasure

Actor, writer,  dramatist, filmmaker,  theatre director, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster and television presenter.

A great wit and raconteur and for much of his career, a fixture on television  talk shows and the occasional lecturer and debater.  A respected intellectual and friend to the stars with a uniquely idiosyncratic  approach to the English language.

Winner of numerous awards as well as being a poet, novelist and playwright .

A true National Treasure. Yes, Peter Ustinov was a great man – a true “one-off”.

There will never be another.

Clarkson on Mandelson

 

The following article by Jeremy Clarkson was to be  published in the  Sunday Times but was  ‘pulled’ – probably by the subject of the article, Mandelson. 

But poor old  Darth Mandelson fails to appreciate how the blogsphere works and in no time  at all, the article is going viral all around the world.  Thanks to him, the article will now be read by several million people instead of just the  forty-three people who normally read the Sunday Times.

    
 
   Jeremy Clarkson Sunday Times 15/11/09:

   I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought all week, and I’m afraid I’ve
 
   decided that it’s no good putting Peter Mandelson in a prison. I’m afraid he
 
   will have to be tied to the front of a van and driven round the country
 
   until he isn’t alive any more. He announced last week that middle-class
 
   children will simply not be allowed into the country’s top universities even
 
   if they have 4,000 A-levels, because all the places will be taken by
 
   Albanians and guillemots and whatever other stupid bandwagon the conniving
 
   idiot has leapt on.
 
    
 
   I hate Peter Mandelson. I hate his fondness for extremely pale blue jeans
 
   and I hate that preposterous moustache he used to sport in the days when he
 
   didn’t bother trying to cover up his left-wing fanaticism. I hate the way he
 
   quite literally lords it over us even though he’s resigned in disgrace
 
   twice, and now holds an important decision-making job for which he was not
 
   elected. Mostly, though, I hate him because his one-man war on the bright
 
   and the witty and the successful means that half my friends now seem to be
 
   taking leave of their senses.
 
    
 
   There’s talk of emigration in the air. It’s everywhere I go. Parties. Work.
 
   In the supermarket. My daughter is working herself half to death to get good
 
   grades at GSCE and can’t see the point because she won’t be going to
 
   university, because she doesn’t have a beak or flippers or a qualification
 
   in washing windscreens at the lights. She wonders, often, why we don’t live
 
   in America ..
 
    
 
   Then you have the chaps and chapesses who can’t stand the constant raids on
 
   their wallets and their privacy. They can’t understand why they are taxed at
 
   50% on their income and then taxed again for driving into the nation’s
 
   capital. They can’t understand what happened to the hunt for the weapons of
 
   mass destruction. They can’t understand anything. They see the Highway
 
   Wombles in those brand new 4x4s that they paid for, and they see the M4 bus
 
   lane and they see the speed cameras and the community support officers and
 
   they see the Albanians stealing their wheelbarrows and nothing can be done
 
   because it’s racist.
 
    
 
   And they see Alistair Darling handing over £4,350 of their money to not sort
 
   out the banking crisis that he doesn’t understand because he’s a small-town
 
   solicitor, and they see the stupid war on drugs and the war on drink and the
 
   war on smoking and the war on hunting and the war on fun and the war on
 
   scientists and the obsession with the climate and the price of train fares
 
   soaring past £1,000 and the Guardian power-brokers getting uppity about one
 
   shot baboon and not uppity at all about all the dead soldiers in
 
   Afghanistan, and how they got rid of Blair only to find the lying twerp is
 
   now going to come back even more powerful than ever, and they think, “I’ve
 
   had enough of this. I’m off.”
 
    
 
   It’s a lovely idea, to get out of this stupid, Fairtrade, Brown-stained,
 
   Mandelson-skewed, equal-opportunities, multicultural, carbon-neutral,
 
   trendily left, regionally assembled, big-government, trilingual,
 
   mosque-drenched, all-the-pigs-are-equal, property-is-theft hellhole and set
 
   up shop somewhere else. But where?
 
    
 
   You can’t go to France because you need to complete 17 forms in triplicate
 
   every time you want to build a greenhouse, and you can’t go to Switzerland
 
   because you will be reported to your neighbours by the police and
 
   subsequently shot in the head if you don’t sweep your lawn properly, and you
 
   can’t go to Italy because you’ll soon tire of waking up in the morning to
 
   find a horse’s head in your bed because you forgot to give a man called Don
 
   a bundle of used notes for “organising” a plumber.
 
    
 
   You can’t go to Australia because it’s full of things that will eat you, you
 
   can’t go to New Zealand because they don’t accept anyone who is more than 40
 
   and you can’t go to Monte Carlo because they don’t accept anyone who has
 
   less than 40 mill. And you can’t go to Spain because you’re not called Del
 
   and you weren’t involved in the Walthamstow blag. And you can’t go to
 
    Germany … because you just can’t.
 
    
 
   The Caribbean sounds tempting, but there is no work, which means that one
 
   day, whether you like it or not, you’ll end up like all the other expats,
 
   with a nose like a burst beetroot, wondering if it’s okay to have a small
 
   sharpener at 10 in the morning. And, as I keep explaining to my daughter, we
 
   can’t go to America because if you catch a cold over there, the health
 
   system is designed in such a way that you end up without a house. Or dead.
 
    
 
   Canada’s full of people pretending to be French, South Africa’s too risky,
 
   Russia’s worse and everywhere else is too full of snow, too full of flies or
 
   too full of people who want to cut your head off on the internet. So you can
 
   dream all you like about upping sticks and moving to a country that doesn’t
 
   help itself to half of everything you earn and then spend the money it gets
 
   on bus lanes and advertisements about the dangers of salt. But wherever you
 
   go you’ll wind up an alcoholic or dead or bored or in a cellar, in an orange
 
   jumpsuit, gently wetting yourself on the web. All of these things are worse
 
   than being persecuted for eating a sandwich at the wheel.
 
    
 
   I see no reason to be miserable. Yes, Britain now is worse than it’s been
 
   for decades, but the lunatics who’ve made it so ghastly are on their way
 
   out. Soon, they will be back in Hackney with their South African
 
   nuclear-free peace polenta. And instead the show will be run by a bloke
 
   whose dad has a wallpaper shop and possibly, terrifyingly, a twerp in
 
   Belgium whose fruitless game of hunt-the-WMD has netted him £15m on the
 
   lecture circuit.
 
    
 
   So actually I do see a reason to be miserable. Which is why I think it’s a
 
   good idea to tie Peter Mandelson to a van. Such an act would be cruel and
 
   barbaric and inhuman. But it would at least cheer everyone up a bit.

Twenty-one 2010 predictions

On 15th May 2008, I predicted the nationalisation of British Banks. 

On 20th April 2009, I predicted that by the end of the year the FTSE 100 would fall to below 2500

On 3rd November 2009, I predicted the collapse of the dollar and of the pound-sterling 

The first prediction has come to pass – in all but name. The third prediction is about to come true. The FTSE 100 prediction of 2500 was out by a factor of over 100% – so what happened? Quantitative Easing is what happened. Very few of us could have predicted that the Bank of England would start to generate free money, hand it to the banks and allow them to use it to gamble on the stock markets and continue to declare false profits.

Currently, the FTSE 100 stands at over 5400 but this value is totally unsustainable. It is a false dawn. Bankers are now daring to predict that we will not have a “double-dip” recession and that everything seems to be looking rosy. When the dollar and pound collapse and the pound is worth the same or less that the Euro, we will see some real (genuine) action on the world’s stock exchanges.

The critical time in 2010 will not be the first quarter but the second –  because Q2 will contain not-only the beginning of the new tax year but also the General Election and the frightening spectre of the Liberals holding the balance of power. The only good thing that would come out of such a result would be Vince Cable as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Here are the 2010 predictions.

1. The collapse of the dollar and the pound – with the pound achieving a value of 0.9 Euros and the dollar achieving parity with the pound.

2. An accelerated move away from the concept of Anthropogenic (Man made) Global Warming.

3. The United Kingdom being down-graded by the rating agencies – based on its inability to service its current debts.

4. Bankers, Financiers and financial journalists will finally run out of metaphors to describe the apalling state of the British economy.

5. Conservatives will win the  General Election but without an overall majority.

6. Stock Market crash  .

7. 10% more British retailers to go out of business.

8. Arsenal to win the Premiership.

9. The beginnings of civil unrest in the United Kingdom. 

10. AFNAJ ( Artist formerly known as Jordan) hospitalised – inevitable progression. Woo Woo land beckons.

11. Another scandal involving Jeffrey Archer – it’s about time and will include at least one of his editors or maybe Jeffrey’s well-travelled trouser department or maybe the Kurds’ missing millions. We’ll see what we can do.

12. A well-known rock star will succumb to “prescription drugs”. (That’s an easy one because it is an annual event.)

13. The Queen will visit China. It’s about time and someone has to hold the begging bowl.

14. United Kingdom unemployment will be over 3 million.

15. At least one large bank will move its operations offshore.

16. The Americans will threaten to invade Iran. The Russians and Chinese will tell them to “butt-out”.

17. The cost of an  iPhone will be halved because of competition from Google and Android.

18. iSlate will be the “must have” 2010 Christmas present. (Apple has just bought islate.com)

19. The Miliband brothers will be tasked with rebuilding the Labour Party.

20. Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah will write a book and become a television chat-show host.

21. Someone from Goldman Sachs will tell the world how Executive Order 12631 has been abused both to their and the US Government’s benefit.

Tiger Nuts

So we’ve discovered that Tiger finds it difficult to keep it in his trousers. Everyone has views – even the Grand Dames of Fleet Street have spoken and the consensus seems to be that Tiger has been a bad person. Lovely wife, beautiful children and lots of money.  Ergo the man has had everything and he blew it.

Newspapers are crossing-off his sponsors slightly too gleefully and we are all experiencing that comforting touch of “schadenfreude” and are secretly almost glad  that  Tiger has been exposed as a  philandering bastard. It is very likely that he will go down the Michael Douglas route and the hide behind  the American-invented celebrity “illness” of sex-addiction.

The fact is, ladies, that very successful men – without exception have a very high sex-drive. Whether it has something to do with money or whether it is power, doesn’t matter. It exists. It is not an excuse for naughtiness but it is certainly a contributor.

Over the years, I have met many high-powered individuals who travel the world, dispense life-changing decisions and who are hero-worshipped by their underlings. Most are married and most (not all) engage in extra-marital sex of one sort or another.

How many times have you heard women saying to each other “He left his wife for THAT woman. Look at her!”. It happens more than you think and it is a generally accepted fact that the most successful men are on (at least) their second or third partner.

There is always an element of “exponential decay” in any couple’s sex-life and unfortunately, by the time most men achieve professional power  and their sex-drive once again launches into warp-speed, ‘er indoors is usually not the little raver that she used to be  in the days before the family arrived. Because of Tiger’s extreme talent, all this has happened to him and his wife when they are both comparatively young and it has all been amplified by intense media scrutiny.

Men stray from their wives for what they perceive to be better sex although they will say the inevitable  “I’ve never felt like this about anyone before”  to the new lady. That’s normal – even Tiger said it to one of his “friends”.  Women, on the other hand, leave their men for love. They really DO believe that they’ve “Never felt like this”.

Well, someone had to say it.

Incidentally, men do not always stray for a better-looking woman because the whole phenomenon has little to do with looks – or age. It is about sex. I am not suggesting that for instance, those “doyens of dirt”- the Rock stars who have shagged their way through quite a statistically significant slice of the female population are in any way not responsible for their actions – but they suffer from the same syndrome. It is NOT an illness – it is life.

Currently, Tiger Woods’ sex-drive will be very very low and that’s because he will not be experiencing the highs of power and success but hopefully he will recover . Mind you, if his career does recover and it’s “situation normal” in a couple of years, he will have to learn to behave and to control himself – otherwise he will have to rebuild his golf-swing.

It’s not easy hitting a golf ball if you’re packing a permanent hard-on.

Gobbledygook awards

Congratulations.The Plain English Campaign has awarded the Golden Bull to the following (translations are provided in brackets):

Peter Mandelson: Perhaps we need not more people looking round more corners but the same people looking round more corners more thoroughly to avoid the small things detracting from the big things the Prime Minister is getting right. (MPs need better scrutiny – not more scrutiny)

The Department of Health: Primary prevention includes health promotion and requires action on the determinants of health to prevent disease occurring. It has been described as refocusing upstream to stop people falling in the waters of disease. ( Doctors can prevent diseases)

Equity Red Star Insurance: Any endorsement number shown in this schedule but not included in the endorsement appendix shall be deemed to apply and form part of the appendix the endorsements bearing such number(s) being attached or previously applied. ( The listed endorsement do apply to this policy)

Learning an Skills Development Service: The government calls insistently for more innovation. But doing things in a new way will not necessarily lead to better outcomes. So, what do we mean by innovation? We share the thinking of, for example, the Work Foundation, which sees innovation not ‘as a set of discrete and singular moments of change’ but rather as ‘a culture or process in which drivers of change are embedded in and facilitated by the strategic outlook of the organisation. To draw an analogy from nature, innovation may be thought of as the new season’s growth rather than a series of isolated bright ideas. ( It’s Change, init?) 

Dublin Airport: Neither the execution and delivery by the Consultant of this Agreement nor the consummation by it of any of the transactions contemplated hereby, requires, with respect to it, the consent or approval of the giving of notice to, the registration, with the record or filing of any document with, or the taking of any other action in respect of any government authority, except such as are not yet required (as to which it has no reason to believe that the same will not be readily obtainable in the ordinary course of business upon due application therefore) or which have been duly obtained and are in full force and effect. (This contract has you by the balls.)

Coca Cola: To outsource some aspects of our finance transactional processing activities… we will be transitioning certain transactional activities… there will be two primary impacts to your organisation… does not impact your current terms… aiming to minimise any disruption to our business, and we expect our performance levels to stabilise soon after the transition period. ( We will pay your invoice when we feel like it.)

JMJ Associates – Health and Safety Manual: Principle 4: IIF begins with a conversation for possibility… In the domain of safety, we have found people often do not distinguish between the conversations for possibility and conversations for probability, two vastly different conversations that produce vastly different results. Conversations for probability are common in organisational life, and they help predict the future based on what has occurred in the past. Conversations for possibility are much less common and they help us create futures that we could not have predicted from the past, something ‘making the impossible possible’. The language of probability owns the mind and the language of possibility owns the heart; once the heart has embraced what is possible, the mind will never see things the same again.”  (Shit happens. Be ready)

Balaclava Public School. Letter to parents:

Dear parent/Guardians,

The Grade 7 Science classes are nearing the completion for the unit Pure Substances and Mixtures. In this unit, students have been introduced to the Particle Theory of Matter, and to some of the terminology related to the field of chemistry. They have also been given the opportunity to explore, and conduct experiments related to the properties of solutions and mechanical mixtures. At this time all students are encouraged to discuss with you the content and expectations of the culminating task along with how it will be assessed. This culminating task allows students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that he/she has learned throughout the module. Although students are responsible to independently complete this task, we would very much appreciate your assistance for the experimenting component, as students require access to a kitchen and some ingredients to develop their own mixture.

Thank you in advance for your interest and co-operation.

( Your child will be making cupcakes at home.) 

Great tits

I have just spotted an “I’m a Celebrity” photo in one of the down-market Sunday red-tops and it’s making me feel a bit squiffy. I can hardly keep the roast down.

It is a snap of the tit-obsessed, delusional  panto dame Kim Woodburn. She is sitting on a log, legs wide apart, eating rice and beans.

Still, I suppose she’s keeping the flies off everyone else’s food.

Stacey Rat

It has taken many weeks for some of us to figure this one out.  The “lightbulb moment” arrived near the beginning of last night’s X-Factor.

 

Stacey Solomon was wearing a hat and it was the hat which made it all so obvious. It then became totally clear when Dermot interviewed her after the first song. She sounds (and looks) like Roland Rat’s sister! It’s uncanny.

The head-shaking, the teeth, the accent and the way she manages to make whole sentences sound like long words.  Good luck tonight Stacey Fans!

Yeeaahhh!

Water Mess!

 

 ” I could have sworn there was a pipe here!”

Just watch those Water Industry shares go down the toilet! OFWAT  has told them that over the next five years, their prices cannot rise higher than 5% below inflation. Scottish Water has also been told to reduce leaks by a third.

The worst-hit companies will be those with a coastline because they have the added expense of keeping beaches clean. Plus the Sewer Adoption Scheme is due to go live in April or October 2011. That will hit them hard as well.

The Water Industry has had it very easy  for a very long time because they have a captive audience and they are each a monopoly – they have no competition whatsoever. They are the ultimate cash-cow. From a revenue point of view, all that they have to do is sit back and watch the money roll in.

The average bill of £340 will fall by £3 by 2015 – that’s before  inflation is considered and the bills will be 10% lower than the Water Industry demanded.

To add insult to injury, the industry has been told that over the next five years, it has to make a total investment of £22 billion to improve infrastructure and 25% of the “spend” has to be on improving water quality and the environment.

Thames Water has already issued a statement voicing its dissent.

As recently as April 2009, the 10 big combined water and sewage companies  asked for water regulator OFWAT’s permission to raise their annual charges by an average 1.7% a year above inflation. Ofwat  was asked to approve an average rise in bills of £23 per household over five years.

The companies said that they needed the extra cash to improve drinking water and sewers and their rationale for the increase was that they needed to spend £24 billion on infrastructure and services. Perhaps they are now regretting giving OFWAT such a high figure in justification for their proposed price increases. OFWAT has now told them that they HAVE to make that investment – but without the extra cash.

Many Water Companies are still run like the Indian Civil Service and have a strong pre-privatisation mentality. Others are run as private fiefdoms. Perhaps their management will now allow itself to be properly tested  and apply itself by looking at where it can make internal savings.  However, many Water Industry management “throwbacks” would probably not survive in proper commerce – so it looks as if they will bite the bullet, see who else they can complain to and then “tread water” until they are allowed to increase bills once again.

It looks as if they may have to attempt the transition from fat and lazy to lean and mean because it looks as if the easy days of caning the consumer have gone.

They will now have to go to their shareholders and bankers for the money.  So if you were thinking of investing in a Water Company – hold onto your cash for the moment.

Price of Jordan.

Apparently ALL books, perfume, underwear, horse-riding gear etc which are being distributed under the Jordan brand are taking a bit of a nose-dive. Lower sales and an unwillingness of major stores to even distribute the goods appears to indicate the end of the  Jordan obsession.

That was all happening BEFORE Ms Price walked out of “I’m a Celebrity”. Those in the know think that leaving the show was a major mistake.

Here’s what Max Clifford has said:

“In terms of PR, what Jordan did last night was not a good move at all.

“It’s clear the public don’t like her because she kept getting nominated for all the trials. By storming off, that has been cemented.”

Max added: “She could have used the jungle to her advantage but she’s done the opposite.

“It could be the beginning of the end for her. Next year could be it. Her career is starting to show elements of diminishing returns.

“The public have seen the real Kate Price over the past few months and they don’t like what they see.”

Max should know and he is right.

It seems that Jordan has finally been found-out. Even an army of ghost-writers and PR men will not be able to put Jordan together again.

Incidentally, she ought to sue the plastic surgeon who “did” her face – especially the platypus-like top lip and the catalogue nose.

Gordon’s note – again

 

“Gotcha! You Pommie bastard.”

 

 

 

One cannot help but feel sorry for Jacqui Janes. Her son Jamie was killed in Afghanistan and she feels that he may have lived had a helicopter been available to transport him away from the war zone. The poor boy bled to death. The truth is that we’ll never know.

I have never been Gordon Brown’s greatest fan but in spite of his apparent lack of decision-making capabilities, he is a profoundly decent man and  should be believed when he says that the note which he wrote to Mrs Janes was done with good heart.

Unfortunately for Mr Brown, Rupert Murdoch and his Sun “newspaper” think otherwise. The Sun scum who masquerade as journalists have gathered around the Prime Minister like a pack of slavering hyenas. They sensed a wounded Brown and have encircled him and drawn blood. Thankfully, other editors – those who are not Murdoch batty boys have kept clear of the furore. They understand the difference between journalism and mindless comic-book opportunism.

Gordon Brown was not-only sincere but visibly upset when he delivered today’s statement and apology to Mrs Janes. Remember that he does not need lessons in losing a child.

If Murdoch insists on continuing the anti-Brown crusade, he should instruct his Sun underlings to develop their campaigns from  news and pay no heed to an attention-seeking idiot of a woman who appears to be using her son’s death (no matter how tragic) to grab her 15 minutes of fame. The Sun journos must have messed their pants in excitement when they were approached by Mrs Janes and the Prime Minister’s apparently hastily-scribbled note.

My own current bet would be that Murdoch has done Gordon Brown a big favour by making him look vulnerable, human and empathetic to both war victims and their families.

Mrs Janes recorded her telephone conversation with the Prime Minister – or to put accurately, she was scripted by the Sun comic, whose representatives  were surrounding her when the Prime Minister telephoned last night.

There is a vast difference between news-gathering and news creation. Murdoch is a hate-filled  crumbling relic who has just overstepped the mark.

Leave British politics to the British, you colonial pillock.

(I tried to find Murdoch’s Spitting Image puppet as an illustration but apparently it has been melted down and moulded into an asshole)

 

Tried “Hotlegging”?

EVEN SOLDIERS PISS ON MONUMENTS

Give pees a chance

Pissing in public has always been a great student sport. Shop doorways, car parks, lifts, telephone boxes, graveyards and many other quiet venues  have had their fair share. The secret is to do it discreetly and quickly.

However Philip Laing,  a 19-year-old student not only urinated over a poppy-wreath which happened to be on a war memorial but he was photographed doing it. His mum must be so proud – especially  as the photo was plastered over several newspapers. Needless to say, he has been charged by the police and has already been up before the beak.  

“The image of your urinating over the poppy wreath on the war memorial in this city will make most turn away in disgust, shock and sadness,” said District Judge Anthony Browne.

“It has undoubtedly distressed and upset many. The war memorial is a sacred and a special place.”

A contrite Laing, appeared in the dock wearing a poppy (bad advice!) and pleaded guilty to outraging public decency. The photographic evidence suggests that he did not have much choice in the plea department!! Technically, however, it was the moron who sent the photograph to the Daily Mail who really  outraged public decency. The Daily Mail then put the photo up on its website, so that even more people could be outraged. Nice work! 

The judge adjourned sentencing for reports, saying all options including custody, were open.

In mitigation, Laing’s lawyer said that the student  had drunk a bottle of whisky before attending an organised student drinking session and had no recollection of what had happened. Mind you, he was standing, had managed to undo his trousers and his aim appeared quite good.

The court was told,  “The disgusting and reprehensible act the defendant carried out was in no way premeditated, targeted or politically motivated,”  and  “His actions were sadly the result of having consumed large amounts of alcohol.”

Let us all hope that the poor boy is not banged-up or that his parents ( he’s a student) will not be fined too much. He appears to have been punished enough by the publicity and ridicule.

Unfortunately, we are in the uber-emotional body-bag induced throes of  soldier worship as a result of current military escapades; so pissing on a war-memorial may not have been the best move. Let’s hope that the judge remembers his own student days.

Laing was released on bail until the next hearing on November 26.

 

Hotlegs

I’ve just been reminded of the old football-terrace sport of “hot-legging”. This sport was very popular  until all-seater football stadia were introduced – especially in Scotland. 

When attending a football match, it was a mystery to the uninitiated as to why so many spectators carried newspapers into the football ground. In actual fact, the newspaper was an essential piece of equipment, especially if you had been in the pub immediately prior to the game.

When you had the urge to pee and you were standing on an overcrowded terrace, it was a simple matter of discreetly rolling up the newspaper,  putting the far-end of the rolled-up newspaper into the coat pocket of the person immediately in front of you and directing your stream of pee into the other end of the newspaper.

Quite easy unless your team scored and the person in front of you suddenly started to jump up and down. Very painful (so I’m told). After a few minutes, as your efforts soaked through the lining of his overcoat, your victim would begin to experience “hot leg”.

Ah…. the good old days.

Bonfire Night

Lewes in East Sussex is the epicentre of bonfire and firework-related activities in the United KIngdom. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts of all nationalities pile into the town to watch the torchlit processions organised by all of the county’s Bonfire Societies.  Then, after the processions, it’s off to the various giant bonfires which are distributed around the outskirts of the town. It’s a fabulous evening with a really “safe” carnival atmosphere – only ever ruined by the OTT police presence. They do their best but most of them appear to be imported plod who don’t really want to be there.

And tomorrow? A thin pall of smoke will hang over the town as volunteers clean up the streets of tons of the most amazing mixture of debris – everything from bottles and cans, burger boxes, spent fireworks, burnt-out torches as well as the odd reveller. The vast bonfires will be still producing a surprising amount of heat but they too are tamped down as the town begins to plan next year’s bonfire night.

I love the smell of baked hedgehog in the morning.

Naughty pirates

DANGER-POLITICIANS NEGOTIATING

Who said this?  “Piracy and the taking of hostages is unacceptable in any circumstances. We call on those people who have taken the British citizens hostage to release them as soon as possible. They should abide by international law.”

Those Somali pirates must be really crapping themselves now that Gordon Brown  has told them that they should “abide by international law”. Gordon, you muppet – these are pirates and  NOT abiding by the law is not-only implicit in their job title but also in their job description. Kidnapping people is their JOB. Continue reading Naughty pirates

Question Slime

 

 “Mr Griffin, stop holding that comb under you nose and do please put your arm down.”

The British are instinctively racist – and that’s in spite of enjoying what is culturally the most diverse population in the world. There has been a growing fascination with the political far-Right since Fascism’s heyday of the 1930s. Even King Edward Vlll experienced a certain “frisson” when in the company of either Adolf Hitler or Oswald Mosley. Many of England’s ruling classes found a certain glamour in their association with extremists. Continue reading Question Slime

CWU – An Assisted Suicide.

 

The modern face of Royal Mail

So the Royal Mail strike is on. It has been booked to continue for only two days but the fallout will last for the next few weeks. The Royal Mail system will not suddenly right itself after two days of inactivity. Letters, people, vans and parcels will not magically materialise at the depot where they are supposed to be. Continue reading CWU – An Assisted Suicide.

Postman Prat

  • Royal Mail is going to hire 30,000 workers to “help” during the impending strike. Usually the  Post Office hires only an additional 15,000 staff for the Christmas rush. Let us hope that this blatantly provocative gesture by the Royal Mail management does not backfire. Let us also hope that in their haste, they do not forget to run proper background checks on the people that they hire and so keep the number of thieves and terrorists to a minimum. Expensive temporary labour plus the millions in lost revenue, plus the damage to the business does not, on the face of it look like the ideal plan. Adam Crozier, Royal Mail’s boss has taken a leaf out of Rupert Murdoch’s lexicon of nastiness. Remember when there was that big falling out with the print unions? Murdoch had an alternative workforce “ready to go” when the unions objected to modernisation and job losses. Where is that all-powerful print union nowadays? Continue reading Postman Prat

Friday October 2nd 2009

  • Ethiopia has suddenly become the focus for all anthropologists. An ancient  skeleton was found in 1992 and it has taken 17 years for the research team to rebuild it. Why all the excitement? The skeleton belongs to an in-between species of humanoid about 4.4 million years old. It has been designated Ardipithecus Ramidus. It is not “the missing link” but by extrapolation, it appears that it is probably about 9 million years since the division between apes and humans. So where was John Prescott this week?
  • The East of England Minister Barbara Follett is to stand-down from Parliament. She is (was) Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism. Her reasons for leaving? Yes, it’s the old chestnut: “For family reasons – to spend more time with my family”. Heard her name before? She’s the MP who claimed £500 to repair a Chinese rug ( don’t we all?) and she also claimed £25,000 “for security reasons”. She has since repaid all of the money. So how could she afford to sign such a large cheque? Her husband is millionaire pulp fiction writer, Ken Follett. Barbara and Ken epitomise the “champagne socialist” and are chums of Tony and Cherie Blair.
  • Jobs for the boys. Former Northern Rock boss, Adam Applegarth is now an advisor to Apollo Management. They are an American Equity firm. Adam is advising them on the purchase of bad loans, including parts of Northern Rock bank, the former Building Society he brought to its knees. Perhaps a touch ironic but perfectly legal. He will earn about 200,000 per year which is a lot more than the thousands of people who lost their jobs at Northern Rock. It’s all very worrying.
  • Today, Ireland will vote in favour of the Treaty of Lisbon. It’s their second attempt. The Irish economy is currently in such an appalling state that they appear to have little choice. However, if they do not support the Treaty, then it’s curtains for the Treaty.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that the British economy will grow by 0.9% next year. That’s about four times the current politicians’ prediction. House prices have returned to their pre-crunch 2008 levels, the FTSE 100 index is UP. As one of the few people who predicted nationalisation of the banks, I am still not sure whether to put the Bolly on ice just yet.
  • Vanessa George, Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen. They are the three baby-abusing perverts who are spread all over the newspapers today. Angela Allen is the one from Little Ted’s Day Nursery in Plymouth. She photographed herself sexually abusing babies as young as 12 months. Whichever prison they end up in, they are guaranteed some very close attention from other inmates. The burglars, drug dealers, fraudsters etc look almost honourable professionals next to these degenerates. I do hope that the other prisoners are not too gentle with them.

Wednesday September 30th 2009

  • So the Sun will not be supporting the Labour Party. No real problems there, except the usual one. Why should an Australian like Rupert Murdoch have any say in which newspaper supports which Party. The Sun is read largely by the drooling classes who are very susceptible but regrettably, there is very little that can be done. The Sun’s sister paper , the News of the World, no doubt is poised with some salacious Labour politician scandal ready-to-go.

 

  • The Sun will not just be pro-Cameron  – it will be strongly anti-Gordon Brown. The Sun will do the same assassination job on Brown as it did on Neil Kinnock . The Sun has a circulation of 3 million which means a readership of about 9 million – so  when the Labour Party says – ” it’s people who decide elections”  – they are not really being naïve because they know deep-down that seven months of relentless mickey-taking of Gordon Brown by the Sun will have a profound effect on working class views. Remember that this is the paper that helped Margaret Thatcher to power – they’re THAT good – and relentless. Incidentally, did you know that one James Murdoch is a pal of David Cameron? Coincidence? Er…No.

  • Today’s Conference speeches by Ed Balls and Andy Burnham are very likely to be delivered to a near-empty Brighton Centre. Quite right too.

  • One hesitates to dispense advice to Labour MPs but those who are screwing either their secretaries or researchers should beware  – at least until the First Thursday in May 2010. Whatever you’re doing that is naughty, illegal or vaguely interesting – stop doing it immediately. The News of the World will be releasing the hounds at any minute. For all you know, they already have their snouts in your dustbin.

  • Why was Gordon Brown banging-on about “change”? They’ve had 12 years. It’s a bit late with only a few months to go.

  • Gordon Brown has announced a referendum on how we vote in future – a subject always popular with minority parties. Which counting system will the referendum use? First Past the Post, the Single Transferable Vote or the Alternative Vote method? I think that Gordon looks like a Schulze Method man.

  • Good to see Martin McGuiness attending a Party at the Grand Hotel. Wouldn’t it have been ironic if someone had blown up the hotel – just like his IRA did in 1984?

  • 350,000 old people are to receive free home help. The only good thing about that is the fact that the £400 milllion cost is being made available by cutting some “bolt-on” NHS departments such as Marketing(!) and Communications. Get rid of them anyway.

  • Nero’s revolving dining room has been discovered in Rome. I’ve been in lots of rotating dining rooms in my time  – funnily enough, they usually begin rotating at about 11.00 p.m on a Saturday evening. We call it the “whirling pits”.

  • Tuesday September 29th 2009

    • Interesting statistic which doesn’t appear to be receiving the publicity that it deserves: In the United States, a house is foreclosed or repossessed every 7.5 seconds. As usual, the politicians are taking care of business at the macro-level, while the grass-roots are burning.

    • It is an excellent idea for Gordon Brown to take-on the other two Party leaders in televised debates. Any future Conservative or Liberal vote should be a “pro” Conservative or Liberal vote and not an anti-Labour vote. The Labour backroom boys, led by Darth Mandelson are obviously running a campaign centred-around the comparative inexperience and youth of the other two leaders. That’s fair, because that’s exactly what the Tories did  to Tony Blair in 1997. Admittedly, David Cameron and the Liberal David Whassisname look fresh and youthful compared to Brown – who currently looks as if he has been cage-fighting with his hands in his pockets but in spite of his comparative lack of political fitness, he is not to be underestimated. He will be boring but he will come out fighting. There will be blood. We’ll know by late next week whether David Cameron and George Osborne have steel and substance. Constant criticism and sniping at the Government by the Opposition is quite entertaining but when it comes to a General Election, we will need to witness views and hear policies. Having said all that, remember that PERCEPTION is king and if in spite of brand-new shiny policies from the Tories, the Labour spin machine manages to make David Cameron look like a shallow “oik” then the forthcoming election will be much closer that we currently perceive.

    • One of the ideas being kicked about at the moment is the saving of millions of Education pounds by  cutting teaching assistant jobs in schools. In the UK there are 40,000 teaching assistants – they’re the ones who sit in the classroom with “challenged” children or take them on zoo trips. They are all very nice people, I’m sure –  but a waste of money. Many of the children don’t need a glorified baby-sitter – they need specialist teaching. While we’re on the subject of cuts , I would take an immediate horizontal slice through the current Education Department bureaucracy and take-out all those school advisers – the ones in the designer suits with Series 3 BMWs. They are a waste of time but unfortunately , many are ex-teachers. 

    • Conference time is the time when politicians churn out populist crap in order to grab newspaper headlines and cheap applause. Gordon Brown now says that he will turn 11,500 Post Offices into the “Peoples Bank”. That’s what Building Societies used to be. There was one other bank which used to be popular with the “people”. Now what was that called?…… Oh yes, it was called the Trustee Savings Bank. Whatever happened to that? Here’s a quote from Gordon: “I want the Post Office to step in to help hardworking families to save and access their money easily with banking for the people in our neighbourhoods”. If Brown thinks that he is going to create a new banking system in under eight months, then perhaps Andrew Marr was right about the happy pills. Brown is obviously playing without the full complement of marbles. Oh yes – one final thing. “Hardworking” working class families need JOBS. They rarely save their Giro cheques.

    • Today’s the day that Gordon Brown will either  read the best speech of his life or stumble his way through the world’s most-boring and longest-ever suicide note. Whichever way it swings – there will be lots of applause, back-slapping and standing-up.

    • If you keep putting rats in a cage and keep adding rats, there comes a time when they start eating each other. The human equivalent is the run-down council estate. Weak rats are prey to the bigger and stronger rats. That is exactly the phenomenon which killed Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter Francecca. Mrs Pilkington was driven to such desperation through being goaded and verbally abused by a gang of young pikeys that she set-fire to herself and her daughter. Not the best way to die. Needless to say there will be enquiries, lessons will be learned, the Social Services will be exonerated, the Police will make excuses, the local Council will hold a press conference and make a statement. By now, the whole process is probably in an Operations Manual somewhere.

    • Jack Straw is surprisingly eloquent today. The trouble is that The Brighton Centre seems half-empty or as the Tories might say “half-full” or as the Liberals would say “too big”. Let’s hope it fills up when the leader performs. The Labour Party is going to play dirty this time. Straw mentioned Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act. This was repealed by Labour in 2000 and was the section of the 1988 Act which stated that a Local Authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. They should stop dragging up 20-year old legislation (under which there wasn’t a single prosecution). Homosexuality is not an issue in 2009 and “New” Labour is clearly demonstrating what little legislative success it has had in the last 12 years. Occasionally they still bang-on about 13 years of Tory Rule!!! Labour should fight on current policies. By the way, when Jack sat down, the reception was at best muted, at worst underwhelming. As the spin doctors might say: He received a seated ovation.

    • Fiona Phillips off the telly is speaking but she is having difficulty speaking because she appears to have  her tongue well-stuck up Alan Johnson’s well-groomed backside. She is acting, flicking her hair and simpering like a love-struck typist who’s just shagged the boss. At least Johnson, who looks (and sounds) more Bookie’s runner than Statesman has the good grace to look embarrassed. What the f*** was all that about? “Airhead introduces Postman Pat”? 

    • There is one session that we presenters and speakers like to avoid – if given the choice. It is the session immediately after lunch when your audience arrives full of food and drink and whose brains are temporarily in semi-shutdown as their stomachs begin the digestion process. We call it the Graveyard Session. Wonder who’s speaking this afternoon? Oh yes! Him! Perhaps the audience needs to be semi-comatose. If it isn’t, it soon will be.

    • I’ve just been watching a recording of John Denham speaking at the Labour Conference. Is it me, but doesn’t he look like a Conference League Football Referee? He’s another one who disapproves of David Cameron’s “Notting Hill” Policies. All Labour speakers are talking-up the social gap between the poor and the Conservative Party. A dangerous and desperate strategy. Only Mandelson has verbally placed the Labour Party firmly in the middle of the political spectrum but he also took the opportunity to accuse the Tories of lurching to the right as soon as they are elected. The Socialists are going to defend  that middle ground to the death. That is where the election will be fought. The Labour strategy appears to be to make the electorate perceive the Tories as a gang of inexperienced extreme right-wing Notting Hill hoorays.

    • Have you noticed how the Party that’s behind in the polls always accuses the BBC of “bias”. Today we have anti-Government bias – in the old days, under Her Thatcherness and John Major, we had BBC left-wing bias. Apparently the BBC is capable of bias in all sorts of delicious flavours and colours.

    • Gordon Brown has started his speech with a list of Labour achievements. That’s the first five minutes gone. He has obviously structured his speech very simply. The next list is one of his cabinet and their achievements. That will probably be another ten minutes. Luckily I have a hairdressers appointment at 3 o’clock. He’s just mentioned Northern Rock. Talking off-script? He started with a smile but has now forgotten it and his expression has returned to looking as if he’s defusing a Taliban bomb. I notice that his <pauses for applause> seem to be immediately after he has mentioned a large number of some sort and his intonation changes as if he’s saying “Crackerjack pencil! “He’s mentioned Harriet and Alistair but has now stopped naming Cabinet members. My current thought is that his speechwriters should be ritually disemboweled and fed to Darth Mandelson. His speech has now become the usual drone. As he is slagging-off the bankers, I fear that it is time to go. If you listen to his speeches, you will notice that he seldom uses adjectives or adverbs. I just killed a fly and wonder whether I should turn the Aga back on today, in  spite of the sunny weather. Our field was cut a couple of days ago but I just cannot summon the energy to cut the lawn. It takes two hours. Gordon Brown is still talking. He doesn’t like banks, does he? Surprising therefore that he’s invested so much of our money in them. I’ll record it and come back later after a couple of Bushmills. He’s just used the most exciting phrase of the whole speech – Economic Model. Enough. He’s off on his pre-leaked Post Office bollocks.  Low carbon Zones? He knows how to give his audience a good time.

    • What’s all this about “Middle England”?  Why don’t they just say Northamptonshire? Or do they mean Middle Earth?

    • In the USA, the Federal Housing Association has a leverage ratio ( What it owes compared to what it owns) of 50-1. Interestingly, that’s just about the same as Bear Stearns had on the eve of its collapse. The FHA insures about $750 billion in mortgage debt. In the UK, “leverage” is known as “gearing”. They are both euphemisms for debt.

    • Have you noticed that the £-Sterling is just about to achieve parity with the Euro?

    • An ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and it is usually given out to pikeys and their parents. The trouble is that most of them are so thick that they probably think that an ASBO is a qualification which will be worth a few points on their UCAS form when they go to University to study demolition or vehicle hotwiring. I’ve just seen some ASBO-pikeys being interviewed and it seems that the sub-species favours a single earring and a tattooed neck (men) and the women have to be very fat with bleached hair. Their natural habitat is either a bus shelter or a stained sofa which faces a television. They only eat orange-coloured food – as long as it doesn’t contain fruit or vegetables.

    • Just saw a re-run of Sarah Brown introducing Gordon. She was good. She will be a major Labour weapon in the forthcoming General Election. I wonder if David Cameron’s wife Samantha is taking Powerpoint and sincero-talk lessons?

    Monday September 28th 2009

    • Excellent headline grabbing by that jug-eared gargoyle Andrew Marr. He is without doubt a supreme journalist but his questioning of Gordon Brown yesterday was inexcusable. Suggesting that Brown needs prescription drugs to get through the day, followed by Brown’s admission that he has trouble with his eyesight was a direction that no journalist should steer. There is a real danger that if the Tory Press goes down the  ” Brown’s a sick man and therefore unfit for office” route, there will be a swell of pro-Brown sympathy. Then, if the Socialists succeed in portraying the Tory Shadow Cabinet as a bunch of hoorays lounging about in the senior common room with David Cameron as a self-serving Head Boy, there is a very real possibility that Labour will retain office. Undecided voters are driven by PERCEPTION and not by policies  or past performance. Remember John Major’s victory in 1992? He was behind in the polls, yet in that year claimed the most votes in British electoral history. Leading up to the 1992 election, Labour had been ahead in the polls since 1989 plus the economy had entered a recession under the Tories. Yet Major won and remained in power until 1997.  He won because the electorate liked him and thought that Neil Kinnockwasaprat. Nothing to do with policies.

    • Alistair Darling is going to deliver his usual speech on bank bonuses. “Clawback”, “Unacceptable” “Deferred” etc.will all  make their appearances – as they have done for many months. Alistair Darling will “pledge” to clean-up the banking industry. The proposed Fiscal Responsibility Act sounds like another focus group creation and no doubt, there will be another Financial Services Act close on its heels. He is obviously working on the principle of “If you can’t win the argument – legislate”. It’s all a monumental waste of time but look on the bright side – we will be living in a society where the highest earners are footballers and pop singers. Something which our children can really aspire-to.

    • Gordon Brown says that he won’t  ”roll over”. I do wish that his speechwriters would give him words that he is comfortable with. What’s next? “I ain’t goin’ to be no Tory dude’s bitch. Shabba”?

    • Roman Polanski arrested on a 31-year-old warrant. Apparently in 1978 there was a plea-bargain andhewasto receive a nominal sentence if he pleaded “guilty”. The judge then reneged on the deal so Polanski absconded. Originally, Polanski has been charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14 but the plea-bargain reduced the charges to  a single charge ofunlawful sex with a minor. Polanski was six years old when WW2 broke out and like many Polish children who grew-up during the war, he was damaged. Add to this the horrors of the Manson murders and the killing of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, it is doubtful whether Polanski has ever been in what we might call a normal psychological state. However, the fact remains that he did horrible things to a 13 year-old girl and is a convicted criminal who probably still poses a danger. There is no Statute of Limitations for this type of crime but as his victim has forgiven him and so much time has passed, one hopes that the high-level diplomatic activity currently taking place will result in some sort of amnesty. There should be a White House statement soon.

    • The next Labour Prime Minister is the new the darling of Conference. Yes, Peter Mandelson earned a standing ovation and became the Labour Party joker today after delivering an appalling speech. He stumbled over the funny lines, his timing was out and his voice was its usual oleaginous drawl. However, the Conference highlight up to that point had been Alistair Darling and had it not been for Mandelson, they audience would have been engaging in synchronised self-harming. That’s how dire it had been. He is going to extend the scrappage scheme <applause>. Sadly, he appeared to be talking about motor cars and not the Cabinet. The scrappage scheme will keep the Japanese, German and Korean car industries going for a couple more months so let’s hope that their own governments can take over soon after that. 

    • Tomorrow Gordon Brown is widely expected to give “the speech of his life”.  That good eh? He’s probably in his hotel room practicing by reading the instructions on his Corby trouser press – that’s just about the level of excitement that he’ll generate tomorrow. But the Labouristas will clap and there will be a standing ovation. Is it true that the conference-hall doors lock from the outside?

    • Alistair Darling’s speech also had all the excitement of a talk on basket-weaving at the local WI . He obviously had gaps in his script indicating <pause for audience reaction>. Unfortunately, the pauses were more exciting and informative than the text. As expected he did some pointless macho posturing on the subject of bank bonuses  – in the certain knowledge that the whole thing will be picked up by “Boy” George Osborne and lost in the mountain of unfinished business that Labour will leave behind in the May 2010 rush to clear their desks.

    • The British Frigate IRON DUKE scored a decent stash of Colombian Marching Powder, weighing 5.5 tons with a street value of £250,000,000. Apparently , the fishing boat containing the stuff was sailing erratically and suspiciously. That’s Coke for you! The only worry is that instead of sinking the boat WITH the cargo, the frigate is now taking the cargo to New York. Let’s hope that H.M.S Iron Duke doesn’t sail up 34th Street all shiny-eyed and twitchy to tie-up outside Macy’s. 

    Sunday September 27th 2009

    • Just down the road in Brighton THEY are arriving for the Labour Party Conference – or should that be the New Labour Party Conference. Did we elect Labour or NEW LABOUR? Anyway, that’s  now just a technicality or a long-forgotten dream of how things could or might have been. Here’s a Labour FACT, given to me by a friend who used to be Chief Barman at the Grand Hotel. More Champagne is consumed at the Labour Party Conference than at all other conferences and he told me stories of vintage Champers being quaffed  – not from a young lady’s glass slipper but from PINT jugs. If I recall correctly, that particular incident involved a gang (?) of Trade Unionists. Now THAT’S Socialism.

    • You know things are bad within the Labour Party when John Prescott begins to look like a Statesman (comparatively speaking). When Johno was Deputy Prime Minister, he used to deliver those grammar-free rabble-rousing “calls to arms” which could have been such fun if we’d understood what he was talking about. This year it’s Harriet’s turn and it won’t be the same. It will be the difference between a drug-crazed, alcohol-fuelled multi-position shagfest anddoingitquietly, Missionary-style with the lights out.

    • Gordon Brown is to introduce a law which is currentl;y being referred-to as the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FSA) (running out of ideas,perhaps?).The Act will oblige all future Governments to reduce the country’s borrowing by a set minimum amount. Needless to say, the amount and timescale are yet to be decided – probably a commission or enquiry… So what will happen if a Government fails to repay the minimum amount in a given year? A fine? Arrests? I suggest firing squads.

    • The Labour spin doctors have decided that David Cameron will be portrayed as a shallow toff – a script and autocue-reading “hooray”. Normally, that would upset the Tories but then they remembered the alternative.

    • Quote from Gordon Brown: “By 2015 we want our country to be fairer, greener, more prosperous and democratic.”  Seems to me that we have several Labour admissions in that sentence.

    • Lord “Darth” Mandelson has referred to David Cameron as “hugely arrogant”. Not really much more to say on that one.

    • Mandelson has said that he believes that the forthcoming election is “up for grabs”. Yes it is – by the Tories.

    • Great interview in the Sunday Mirror today. Vincent Ross interviews Mandelson and re-defines the phrase “butt-kisser”. Perhaps a spin-job awaits at No.10?

    • Iran is launching missiles today. So, they have missiles and they’re developing the capacity to stick nuclear warheads at the missiles’ sharp-end. I am now off to have another “No shit, Sherlock” moment. I shall report when I’ve worked it all out.

    • Why are the authorities making such heavy-weather of Baroness Scotland and “CLEANERGATE”. If they announced an amnesty for all illegals, they would have to hire at least one Wembley Stadium to fit them all into. Leave the Baroness and her cleaner alone. Is it because she’s clever, female, attractive and black? Mind you, she is Labour. See what you mean.

    • Ken Livingston has just married. At London Zoo. There are some things which are way, way beyond parody.

    • “I want this so badly” “It’s been a great journey for me” “Singing is my life” ” I’m doing this for my (sob) brother/mother/ sister etc”  and ” I’m sure he’s looking down on me” The last one is about Simon Cowell. He’s not dead – just incredibly condescending.

    • Great quote from Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan “Shagger” Cole on Jo Wood. ” One of Jo’s big strengths is that she’s alive.”Considering how long she lived with Ronnie Wood- it has to be worth a mention and maybe a box of chocolates. We all hope that Ronnie Wood is reunited with Jo as soon as possible-he is currently risking his life. Some of those Russian girls will do anything for a bowl of Borsch and clean sheets. Anything.

    • In 2008, the NHS collected £112 million in parking charges. With such figures, perhaps the NHS should concentrate on parking and stop the healing and surgery  activities which probably distract them from where the REAL profits are. Perhaps a joint-venture with NCP beckons? Worryingly, £28 million was collected from its own staff. It’s a great wheeze. Tax the sick, tax their families and tax those who look after them. Who helped with the Business Model? Gordon Brown?

    Saturday September 26th 2009

    • The  American Fed has issued the following statement:   To provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets, and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt.”  Now we can watch the demise of the once-mighty American Dollar. Fund Managers and Investors will now start dumping dollars like confetti. A TRILLION is a million millions and in this case, it represents more Quantitative Easing or to be strictly accurate, the purchase of toxic assets with “printed”  i.e non-existent money. The sort that caused the global banking meltdown. This is a case of throwing bad money after bad.

    • President Obama has announced tough new capital requirements for banks as well as more stringent rules on bank borrowings. If you were to ask what these rules are likely to be or when they are to be implemented, the answer would probably be “We haven’t really decided but it will definitely happen later.”  They are saying that  the rules will be phased-in once financial conditions improve and recovery is “assured”. Leaders have been discussing a cap on bank bonuses for a while  but they still haven’t agreed any numbers or timescale. The only thing that they have agreed is that bonus payments should not be guaranteed for many years, should be deferred in part and should not exceed a percentage of the bank’s revenue. That is how vague it is at the moment. When the global economy has healed itself and both governments and banks return to generating profits, most of this will be forgotten because by then, the balance of power will, once again have shifted back towards the banks and the next boom-bust cycle will begin.

    • The least entrepreneurial profession of all is banking. There is a vastly different mental attitude between say, an entrepreneur such as Richard Branson and say, MervynKing, the Governor of the Bank of England. That rule works all the way down the line until we have the small local businessman and the small-town banker. Chalk and Cheeze. Incidentally, when I say “entrepreneurial” – I am referring to people who take risks with their own assets.  Just to reinforce the cultural difference – bankers will gladly take risks with other people’s money – especially in very large amounts – as evidenced by the cause of the current Global Banking crisis. However, when a local business goes to its local bank in order to borrow say £20,000 to purchase a machine, lots of fiery hoops are assembled for the business to jump through, fees are charged, personal guarantees are demanded, forms need to be filled out, cash flows and business plans are sought . So when a  small businessman goes to his bank – the MOST likely answer (especially nowadays) in “NO”.  Perhaps unknowingly, the banking profession is not-only killing itself but it is also slow-strangling the business community. The banker chose to work in a bank because he didn’t want the worry of not having a pay cheque at the end of the month, he did not want to work a 16-hour day and he didn’t want to cold-call  people in order to drive his business forward. What he needed from his life was predictability, order, neatness and a company pension. This is the paradox: The banking profession has managed to evolve itself into something which it was not designed to be and  it has managed to do it by what is known as the “Halo Effect”. There is a saying “Get them by the balls and their hearts and minds are bound to follow.”  Banks now have “business advisers”  ; mostly young people with degrees who cannot possibly have ever tasted the fears of an entrepreneurial businessman.  Bank management has developed a culture of self-importance and inaccessibility.  Remember the time when a bank manager tried to impress you in order to win your business? Now , you have to ask him to welcome you to his club so that he can look after your money. He is now doing YOU a favour – unless it’s ” I’d love to help you but the System  ( or those upstairs) say “NO”. The banking tentacles have moved further into he business community. Local Enterprise Organisations and  Business Clubs are now both Governed and heavily populated by more bankers. Entrepreneurial andmanagementadviceisbeingdispensed by a profession with little or no practical or first-hnd business experience or knowledge. That is the Halo Effect. Put simply, because the banker knows about money and has you by the balls, you assume automatically that he is able to dispense Tax Advice, Marketing Advice, Sales Advice, Organisational Advice, Training Advice, Recruitment Advice, Purchasing  Advice and any other Advice that you need.  The total power of the banking community is evidenced by the fact that Chancellors, Prime Ministers and even  Presidents are having to say “Please do something about your bonuses Mister Banker.”  Banking has developed into a multi-headed all-powerful Frankenstein. It is not a simple case of imposing a few rules. What is really needed is a massive cultural change within the banking industry and a massive perceptual change from both private and business clients. If you’re a businessman or work for yourself in any way, ask yourself – ” Am I comfortable with taking business or financial advice  and all the other captive-audience advice that they like to dish-out, from an organisation populated by people who obviously did not heed their own advice and lost billions but have no idea what really happened?”  WATCH THIS SPACE.

    •  I received a letter from a Member of Parliament today. He addressed me by my Christian Name. What’s going on? Paranoid? Moi?

    • The airlines appear to be learning from the banks. British Airways will be charging us again AFTER they have our business. We book a flight and then pay an additional fee  to get a seat. Genius! Can you bring your own seat and pay corkage?

    • There’s only one thing wrong with an Indian Summer. The Global Warming Mullahs will wake from their torpor and deliver the usual speech about our emissions. I think that 4X4 vehicles should be compulsory. Have to go now and have my dolphin steaks and light the coal fire.

    • In the last two years, 150 teachers have been sacked for sexual misconduct. A loss to the teaching profession but what a bonus for the Vatican’s recruitment team!

    • Gordon Brown has been voted World Statesman of the Year – mostly for giving away any leftover taxpayers’ money that Mervyn King has not given to the banks. Brown has been generous to Africa and quite right too. In addition, he has enjoyed many politicians’ or Pope’s ultimate wet-dream. An embrace from Bonio who , apart from being big in the dog-biscuit trade, is (apparently) some sort of Irish pop singer. He plays in a popular beat combo named after some American spy-plane. U2, I think. Crucial.

    • Remember Gordon Brown selling off the UK’s gold to China a few years ago? Who better to value, melt-down anddoitallover again with that pile of  gold Anglo-Saxon tat recently dug up in Staffordshire – wherever that is. Middle Earth?

    • There’s a very exclusive TV Club – the old dears who used to read the news and appeared on the Christmas Morecambe and Wise show in the 50s and who did high kicks andeithermarriedapolicemanorshagged Jon Snow or went to live on a farm in Scotland. Pretty soon, the pre-teens running the BBC andthecommercialchannel will be  playground-bullied into re-hiring these venerable oldsters.  Prepare for News at Ten to look like a re-run of Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 1.

    • In 1959, Typhoon Vera struck Nagoya in Japan. There was a 20 ft tsunami, 150 mph winds and 5000 people died. Did you know that they managed ALL that without Global Warming! They could do stuff like that in the 50s. We have a lot to learn.

    • TV’sDoctorGorgeousappearedtohaveeverything – but he was struck by the one affliction that even he could not cure. He lost the ability to keep it in his trousers. Marriage, Mistress, Divorce, Mistress, two-timed Mistress, Girlfriend.  Best of luck mate. The definitive case of “Surgeon heal Thyself”.

    • In an average week, I speak to 5 or 6 Chief Executives – guys I’ve either trained, coached or who I know personally. This week I had the most weird experience with a company CEO and company owner. He fancies himself as a “leader” but  is just realising that he has recently reached the upper limits of his incompetence. The stress-levels are phenomenal and I shall devote a whole article to him next week. Look out for it – it WILL be libellous!

    • Fantastic evening for crumblies. ITV is celebrating 250 years of Cliff Richard. He hasn’t changed one bit – apart from wearing Frankie Howard’s old rug. Well, it’s either that or a  very quiet ginger cat.

    Friday September 25th 2009

    Friday September 25th 2009

    • The mole who leaked the MPs’ expenses information to the Daily Telegraph has revealed what motivated him to do so – apart that is, from the £110,000 fee that he was paid. It now appears that his primary motivation was not money but the fact that serving soldiers were “moonlighting” at the House of Commons. They were working in the Security department and protecting the Civil Servants who were dealing with confidential matters – one of which was Members’ expenses. Apparently, it wasn’t long before the soldiers realised the extent and extravagance of MPs’ expenses and so glimpsed the comparative opulence and excesses of the politicians’ lifestyles.  The very people who represented them and who had sent them abroad to be shot at. The sums of money involved in the claims that they either saw or were told about were further amplified by the fact that the soldiers were doing this extra work in order to buy decent boots and body protectors and other items which would make their soldiering duties easier and safer. It is currently very easy for us to feel very emotional  when they hear stories such as this – but we should proceed with extreme caution because it now seems that the mole is trying to justify his actions in leaking the information. He appears to be telling us that he now feels vindicated because of the “poor” soldiers and because MPs have to-date returned over £500,000 in mis-claimed expenses. Planes bearing dead blown-to-bits soldiers, processions through Wootton Bassett and full-page photographs of a recently mutilated soldier paying his last respects to his blown-up dead buddy certainly do tug at the heart-strings. Great propaganda andimmaculatetimingbyourmole. Now the facts: The mole received £110,000 pounds from a right-wing paper. Currently each soldier receives Osprey lightweight body armour and£3500 – worth of state-of-the-art equipment – including boots and shoes. The mole’s motives for leaking the information would not be in question had he not accepted such a large amount of money – which one presumes has been donated to the Army Benevolent Fund. I am not a great supporter either of this Government or of the pointless shenanigans in Afghanistan but sometimes there are over-sugared pills which are just too difficult to swallow.

    • One question remains: Why were security men  -serving soldiers or not- allowed to either view or be given  confidential information.

    • China , India and Brazil are to play a more prominent part in G20 and will also have more IMF votes. Currently, China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared with France’s 4.9%, although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France and  in spite of the fact that China has over 20 Provinces which each has a population greater than that of France. This looks very much like the dawn of the Eastern or New economies and the inevitable sunset for the once all-powerful West. Regrettably, not only is it a question of size and manufacturing power but the West is currently “in hock” to China. Chinese and Indian savers enabled all of us to be borrowers. Now economists are saying that the East has to create the same free-spending and borrowing consumer society that we have enjoyed for so many years: just look where WE are now! Are we really so well-placed as to be dispensing economic advice?

    • Another New Labour piece of legislation which has been languishing in the long grass for a while is the changing or possibly the removal of the Statutory Retirement Age. It is a shame that there are ex-teachers, ex-managers, ex-engineers who happen to be over 65 and who are now either shelf-stacking, working at B&Q or watching Countdown. What a waste. The Government says that the matter will be dealt-with in 2010, in other words, by the Tories. Meanwhile, at least 300 over 65s are taking ex-employers to Tribunals and yet again, lawyers have become involved. That is New Labour’s one big success – through their intransigence and incompetence, they have produced the best-ever Lawyer Job-Creation Scheme. The Brits have always been obsessed with 65 being their time to stop work, relax, take long holidays etc. Unfortunately in many cases it’s retire, sit around for a bit, die.  We are changing as a nation and it is not purely because of the recession or plundered company pension schemes that people wish to carry-on working. Our “retirement mentality” has gradually been disappearing and people genuinely WANT to work for as long as they can. OK, there are very physical jobs where at age 65, you’re clapped-out. For instance, building, mining or farming. You can punish your body to such an extent that by the time you are 50, you start looking forward to the day when you can stop. However, nowadays many of us are engaged in non-physical work which means that we SHOULD be as fit at 65 as we were at 45. Policies should not be driven by a Government with one eye on unemployment statistics because as usual, public opinion is against them. It’s now time for the Statutory Retirement Age to be abolished.

    • Iran is the world’s fourth-biggest oil producer. No wonder they need to make such a vast investment in nuclear energy. You never know! Or, could it be that the Mullahs want to produce nuclear warheads in order obliterate Israel and/or the USA. That’s not possible because the Koran says that Muslims want us all to be their chums. Here are three quotes directly from the Koran (or Quran if you know your Peking from your Beijing). Here goes: “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (5.51)  or :“So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.” (47.4)  or “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement” (5.33) As I said – nothing to worry about. They’re just misunderstood. Talk of fundametalist Muslims being a bunch of fanatical murdering misogynist psychos is very naughty. They want to love us – as we love them. It says so in the Quran. Let them build their nuclear power stations bombs. It’s for our own good. Just think about all that cheap electricity.

    Nearly forgot: “O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand.” (8.65)

    • The often misunderstood and misinterpreted thing which suggests that when a  Muslim blows himself up for the cause , he will be rewarded in Paradise with 40 virgins to shag (presumably) -is wrong. Martyrs in Islam are classified as people who die for their religion whereas people who blow themselves up for women are dying for their own lusts. It’s Hell for them. Presumably you need to die with a hard-on. Not impossible – many men do, apparently.

    These are Iran’s main Nuclear sites:

    Thursday September 24th 2009

    • The Government has criticised the Football Association for not reforming itself. It has also asked the F.A to spend more time and resources on ethnics and women as well as telling them that they should provide better leadership. Perhaps when the F.A has completed its restructuring it can then give H.M Government a few tips. Talk about Pot-Kettle.

    • A recent U.S survey shows that many Americans think that Tony Blair is the British Prime Minister. Someone ought to tell them who the real UK Prime Minister is. Darth Mandelson.

    • Mandelson has been quoted as saying that Gordon Brown ought to “lighten up”  a bit. Not THAT smile again PLEASE!!!!  NOOOO!!!

    • What is it about meetings beginning with a “G”? Why is our expectation level do low? Is it because we know that the post-meeting statement has already been written? Is it because all previous meetings were such a monumental waste a waste of resources, time and money? Anyway – who DOES write that n-page statement which announces the next meeting in 6 months? Gordon Brown’s LAST such meeting.

    • Is it true that Obama snubbed Gordon Brown? Obama has had one-on-one meetings withotherleaders. Why not with our own Prime Minister? Is it because of the Megrahi affair or could it be because of the increasingly prominent sell-by date on Gordon Brown’s forehead?

    • Banks are currently reducing their assets and hoarding cash because of liquidity requirements. Put in simple terms, that means that the magic conjured-up money – the so-called Quantitative Easing is making it in through the banks’ back doors but the front doors remain only slightly ajar. READ REST OF ARTICLE

    • In 1998, the Saville Inquiry began its investigations into the shooting of 29 Civil Rights protesters by soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the British  Parachute Regiment. Five protesters were shot in the back and two injured protesters were run down by Army vehicles. Fourteen people died. This was the Bloody Sunday Massacre which took place on 30th January 1972 in Derry. The original Widgery Tribunal concluded that the  soldiers actions could be best described as “bordering on the reckless” . Unsurprisingly, the Widgery report was widely regarded as a whitewash. Hence the Saville Inquiry. Now we hear that the Saville Inquiry will report in March 2010!!! Apparently, there’s a printing issue that needs to be resolved. Once again , this 11-year inquiry brings into focus two great British institutions – queueing and inquiries. Not to mention a steady income for a whole “shark” of lawyers.

    • The anniversary of Lehman Brothers going down the toilet has passed anditisnowayearsincethesolidsreallyhitthe air-conditioning big time. For those who do not really understand finance – and who really does these days, here’s the deal. Politicians and bankers knew for at leat 18 months before the collapse that there was not enough cash in the system andthatmost, if not ALL banks were now standing on foundations of sand. It was only when Lehman had to admit that there was no real money – only paper ” instruments” which could be worth cash , that it was realised that the real currency that the banks had been  dealing-in was bullshit and promises. Politicians are now beginning to strike heroic poses as they tell us how they saved the banking system and that they only-just managed to avert a financial Armageddon. The real fact is that they knew what was happening all along and lived in the HOPE that somehow (they did not know how), the financial system would self-adjust or self-regulate itself back to stability . It didn’t and the solution that is being applied today is exactly the same as that which caused the collapse. Imaginary money. Eighteen months ago, bankers and politicians were HOPING that the system would sort itself out and that is EXACTLY what they are hoping for today. What is really needed is a total restructuring of the banking system but there isn’t the global political will to make that first all-important move.

    • There’s a (denied) rumour that Gordon Brown is going blind. Obviously we all hope that he is not. In spite of the fact that he has all the leadership qualities of damp Kleenex, he is a decent man. The rumour that he is blind has obviously been started by someone who is confusing his eyesight with his policies and management style.

    Wednesday September 23rd 2009

    • Apparently, there is a small but statistically significant rise in patient deaths when junior doctors start work in August. Perhaps the same survey should be done with slightly different parameters: Before pubs open and after closing time.

    • A friend sent me a cartoon yesterday which, for the first time, explained the constant Midde East conflict . Jewish man  looking up at the sky saying, “Now, let me get this straight God. The Arabs get the oil and you want us to cut the end off our what….?” 

    • This snippet explains better than anything the anonymous nature of the Liberals’ leader. Nick Clegg will be delivering the Leader’s rabble-rousing Conference for the THIRD time!! He will attempt to come cross as a TOUGH leader. Doesn’t compute, does it? He always looks as if he’s just taken a “NICE” pill.

    • Justin-lee Collins has said what many are thinking: Bruce Forsyth should have stopped TV presenting three or four years ago. There’s a touch of the Emperor’s New Clothes about the whole thing. So much so that no-one appears willing to say ” Brucie, you are now coming across as an old twat. Piss off”. Instead the poor old bugger is being patronised, allowed to be unfunny (obviously from the tumbleweed school of humour) and worst of all, he’s being referred-to as “sprightly”.An adjective every man dreads because it is THE word which signifies the beginning of the end. It is NOT a compliment. It means that you are past-it and when you attempt to tap dance avec embarrassing Sammy Davis Jr-esque gurning, you look like a swinging cadaver with a ferret up a wet trouser leg.

    • I have just discovered that Chas & Dave have split up.     p.s. I am writing this on Beachy Head.

    • Kristna Rihanoff whose Strictly Come Dancing partner is Joe Calzaghe celebrated her birthday yesterday. Rumour has it that Joe and Kristina have grown very close. I  wonder whether he had any difficuty in wrapping her present?

    • More meaningless military “sincero-talk”today. Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett was blown up by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province.  “There’s now a gap in our ranks that will be so very difficult to fill”  and  “Sgt Lockett’s raw bravery and seflessness cost hm his life but undoubtedly saved that of one of his soldiers.”  are just two more examples from the Army Book of Fine Words. Meaningless twaddle. Sgt Locketthas left behindastrickengirlfriend and three children aged eight, seven and five. “We take solace in the fact that he died doing a job he was born to do” was more puke-inducing bollocks – this time from his father.  Stop this pseudo-heroic crap and bring ALL of our young soldiers back here to the United Kingdom, where they belong. The Taliban certainly do not see these young soldiers as heroes  –  more like fairground ducks.

    • When will the Vatican be called to account over the tens of thousands of children that have been abused by pervert priests? The Catholic Church has been accused at the United Nations Human Rights Council of a systematic and long-standing cover-up. The Vatican is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Handing out MILLIONS in compensation is really not the way forward. It’s customary to pay for sex up-front , not ten, twenty or thirty years after the event. Let us hope that one day there will be a time when the Vatican can close its child-abuse fund and get on with the business of religion.

    • Nothing about Gordon Brown today because he hasn’t said anything new or original. Situation normal. 

    Tuesday September 22nd 2009

    • Did you see Darth Mandelson being questioned on the subject of bankers’ bonuses last night? As Business Secretary, he has the power to stop the bankers in their tracks. But he cannot and he would not answer any bonus-related questions.

    • General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war there could be lost unless there is an increase in troops within a year. He is asking for an additional 30,000 troops.  This is truly developing into another Vietnam. Currently, there are 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, 62,000 of whom are American. Time to talk.

    • The United Kingdom is needlessly wasting resources by sending too many average and some downright thick students to University. In fact, there are too many Universities. Hence the current funding crisis. The solution is so simple that even an Education Minister ought to be able to work it out.

    • The worldwide recession and the resulting drop in consumer demand has had a profound effect on industrial production. That has had an unexpectedly welcome effect on greenhouse gas emission – it has fallen by over 40%. Perhaps the Global Warming Mullahs will take this opportunity to shut up.

    • Anish Kapoor, the 1991 Turner Prize winner has a solo exhibtion the Royal Academy. This event is unusual because Anish lacks the traditional qualification for such a exhibition. He isn’t dead. If you enjoy abstract sculpture and/or you like spouting pretentious arty bollocks, then this exhibition is for you. Here’s a nosegay from Anish himself: “That sense of the poem being put together as word objects relates to sculpture in a very fundamental way. Sculpture also has this ability to be what it isn’t. It’s kind of about the illusory and the real.”Quite.  Anish is very keen on vaginas so do look out for the odd wobbly red letterbox shape.

    • The media seem surprised that construction companies and builders have been ripping-off Local Authorities and other organisations which are spending other peoples’ money. It’s been going on for years. This is from April 2008 – CLICK HERE– and it includes a scene from the Coconut Club, which you will be hearing more and more about over the next few weeks.

    • This week is Climate Week – a crucial  week in the quest for a global climate deal. World leaders are meeting at the UN in New York and a G20 summit in Pittsburgh. Meetings such as this have been going on for a few years now so let us hope that the current series of meetings produces something that has been sadly missing from previous encounters. Action. In December the Copenhagen environmental conference will hopefully be the real turning point and turn meetings into agreements into action.

    • Global Warming: Predictions are made using computer models and although the general consensus is that Global Warming is occurring, there are scientists (the so-called “deniers”) who have alternative models which suggest that the Earth will cool before its becomes hotter. Regrettably, the religious-like aspects of Global Warming, treat scientists who deny Global Warming as heretics who are often lampooned andmarginalisedby both the scientific and political communities.  The latest of these is a   Professor Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel,  who has suggested that the long-term warming trend could be masked – perhaps for as long as 10 or 20 years – by a temporary cooling caused by natural fluctuations in currents and temperatures called the NorthAtlanticOscillation. It all seems to depend on which set of data is plugged into which computer model.  However, it is the politicians who are the true believers who only appear to read data which supports their dogma.

    • Helen Goddard , music teacher has been jailed for 15-months as the result of a lesbian affair with a 15-year-old pupil. How modern. Not nice – but definitely “of the age”.

    • Rumour has it that Louis Walsh, the Irish spud  and pop manager from the X-factor is going under the knife in order to improve his looks. There must be a long queue of knife-sharpening volunteers. Surprising that he hasn’t yet benefited from sitting so close to that pair of  BotoxedBookends – Simon Cowell and Danni Minogue – by osmosis.

    • Sir Bobby Robson’s Memorial service must have been an ordeal for Paul Gascoigne. There was only one photo of Gazza that the snappers wanted – and they got it.

    • This is the sort of medical research that we like:  If you have alcohol in your bloodstream, you are far less likely to die from a head injury, says Dr Ali Salim from Los Angeles. The findings are based on a 5-year study of 38,000 people. You can’t be too careful. Cheers.

    • Nothing in the Press about Jordan today. Max Clifford must be on a long weekend break.

    • Attorney-General Baroness Scotland is still facing an uncertain future. Gordon Brown, her boss is being his usual decisive self. This is what he said this morning: “We will have to find out what has actually happened and I will have to wait for that report this morning and she will want to answer the questions that are put to her. We will have to make decisions.”  Brown obviously has not been watching the news or reading his Daily Worker. The fact is that Baroness Scotland employed someone who did not have authorisation to work in the United Kingdom. In fact, her papers expired five years ago. As usual, the long grass is quivering in anticipation.

    Monday September 21st 2009

    • It now appears that Womens World  800m champion Caster Semenya was tested ages ago and there has been concern over her sex for months. The issue did not suddenly materialise at the last Word Championships. The whole thing has been handed so badly that there is every likelihood of IAAF resignations.

    • Baroness Scotland will probably resign this week. If every politician who made a mistake resigned, Westminster would be empty by now.

    • It looks as if Megrahi is going to be the first criminal to be retried on the Internet. We’re still awating an intervention from God and the miracle recovery. There has been one previous miraculous recovery by a convicted criminal. Ernest Saunders (1980s Guinness Scandal) was freed by a judge because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. So far, Ernest Saunders in the first  and only recorded case of a total recovery from Alzheimer’s. The recovery took place soon after he was released from jail. Speaking of miraculous recoveries – Ronnie “released on compassionate grounds” Biggs has been seen out and about on his mobility scooter. Megrahi or Biggs? I’m off to Ladbrokes to make a small investment.

    • The Liberals are having their occasional rush of blood and putting themselves forward as a party of government. Remember David Steel in 1981? “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government.”  Forget it boys and girls. There’s Vince Cable and Norman Baker and after that it all becomes a bit anonymous. Nick who?

    • The Liberals want to tax home owners whose properyis worth in excess of a million. They will be the only Party whose policies will be derailed by a property crash andonthatbasisalone, this policy has the depth and solidity of  a closing-time back-of-a-beermat “I really lovvve you”  concept. They’re not sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, are they? This new policy is the Liberals’ biggest-ever lurch to the left. The sort of thing that New Labour would have done when they were Proper Labour.

    • The elephant in the room – the one that no-one is talking about is still there. I am of course referring to the economy.

    • Several big companies, including a couple of large builders as well as the Royal Bank of Scotland will be coming to market very soon to raise many billions. Watch those share prices.  Here we go again.

    • Have you noticed how Kerry Katona’s nose is looking more and more like Danniella Westbrook’s last nose-but-one?

    • The Education bods are gettinng a bit twitchy at Ed Balls’ suggestions of swingeing cuts in Education. It is the designer-suited BMW-driving “advisers” at County Hall who should think twice before renewing their gym membership or booking that holiday in Tuscany. CLICK HERE

    • I did not see Alesha Dixon’s debut on Strictly Whatsit but it sounds as if she had a list of pre-prepared crap written down, dispensed it quite randomly and personalised it by adding bad grammar.

    • Rules are being published this week which will exempt family and friends from being prosecuted after assisting in a suicide.  It is purely coincidental that these rules are being rushed through just before Gordon Brown’s conference speech.

    • Manchester City manger Mark Hughes is complaining that too much time was added on at the endofyesterday’sderbygame with Mancheser United.  Michael Owen scored Man Utd’s winning goal in he 97th minute. Hughes forgets that his team had the identical extra time in which to score.

    Clever but Dull

     

    ” I see no shits”

    There have been rumours again that as soon as a General Election is announced (probably May 2010) David Cameron will be challenging  Gordon Brown to a Presidential-style live TV debate. That does not seem like a great move. WWF it ain’t but Gordon “the Undertaker” Brown  has nothing to lose and “Pretty Boy” Cameron has nothing to prove. The best that the Conservatives can hope for is that New Labour keeps Brown in place as Leader and Prime Minister. The two falls and submission will come naturally – with no choreography.

    Gordon Brown has that permanent “my piles are playing me up again”  look which, coupled to the Louis Vuittonesque bags under his eyes makes him a Conservative PR man’s wet dream. Continue reading Clever but Dull

    Antonio Polverino scores again!

    There are two types of organisation that have made such huge financial rods for their backs that it looks as if they are beyond help.

     

    At first, it appears that they have little in common but if you look closely, you will see that they do share two very basic elements. The first is a weak and often unskilled boardroom and the other is direct access to the public’s money. Another interesting similarity is that their personal incomes bear little relation to how they perform long-term. That has resulted in near bankruptcies within both types of organisation with the genuinely solvent ones being very much in the minority. Continue reading Antonio Polverino scores again!

    The Great Dictator

    Gordon Brown is perceived as a bumbling, rambling carthorse of a man who, by all accounts, 7 short days ago, was dead and buried. Keyboards were clattering, HBs were being sharpened  and metaphors  polished in readiness for the unavoidable event – his political death. Obits needed to be written and the “He was a good guy really” sincero-talk had to be prepared for the Newsnight tribute.

    Harold Wilson was right – because here we are, one week later and PMQs yesterday saw an invigorated, more confident Brown at the Dispatch Box, admittedly still stuttering his way through the unexpected but nevertheless giving the impression of control when dealing with the choreographed and planted questions which had so obviously been crafted by the Labour Whips Office and Lord “Darth” Mandelson. David Cameron looked his usual exasperated self as Brown repeated the same answer to any number  of questions but the fact remains that little damage was done and one felt that once again, the man had got away with it!

    There are positive ripples flowing from the odd economist and although we are not yet in the sunny uplands of economic recovery, those elusive green shoots do appear to be trying to break through. Some economic sages even claim to have seen the so-far mythical shoots!

    Are we about to leave the dark dark winter of recession and blink our way into a long hot summer of economic sunshine?  No.

    The banks are still in trouble but bankers continue to pay themselves huge bonuses, unemployment is rising, the country is  “over-borrowed”, small businesses are collapsing , credit card companies are still charging over 20% per annum and we are governed by credibility-free Members of Parliament. Yet inexplicably, we are all feeling slightly more positive because we have enjoyed the multiple distractions of a phantom leadership challenge, a Cabinet reshuffle and mildly interesting results in last week’s Euro and Local elections. Oh yes, the sunny weather has returned and that coupled with the news that Ann Widdecombe has “reluctantly” put her name forward for the Speaker’s job  is making us all smile again.

    Both economically and politically we are in a fantasy land. None of us (and I include politicians) is thinking straight.

    Our Prime Minister is indulging in a bit of displacement activity. For instance, he has busied himself with the two grandiosely irrelevant concepts of Constitutional and Voting reform. Why? No-one knows but the clue is probably in his own background as a historian. Socialists such as he  usually see themselves as social reformers but Gordon Brown has “The Great Dictator”-type pretensions of a Constitutional reformer. He sees himself in the history books. His activities over the next 12 months will be driven by  self-indulgence and a misguided sense of purpose and history.

    The spanking-new Cabinet members have the air of a pack of back-parcelshelf nodding dogs and the leftover ones from the previous Cabinet appear to be burdened with a sense of fatalism and pointlessness which afflicts those who have come to terms with their own mortality and imminent death.

    Brown does not need the aggravation of a Cabinet which contains the odd firebrand or original thinker. He needs “yes” men but apparently, not too many “yes” women. He is still reeling from the Caroline Flint experience – so intelligent and opinionated political totty is definitely out.

    The Westminster Summer Recess is looming large and the Press will soon give its attention to Crop Circles, “Phew What a Scorcher” and the myriad other lightweight and trivial distractions of the silly season.

    Could it be that events are conspiring to keep The Great Dictator afloat? Let us hope not.

    Give it a Tweak.

    We are currently a single-concept country.  It is still MPs’ expenses – although Susan Boyle has also embedded herself in our psyche, providing very welcome relief from the ridicule and vilification of our Parliamentary representatives.

    The most disturbing thing though is not the range and volume (and ingenuity) of our Members of Parliament but the inertia of all our political leaders. It is now dawning on  Joe Taxpayer that there isn’t a single political leader who has any idea how to attack the problem.

    David Cameron favours kangaroo courts and a General Election. Gordon Brown favours the grand gesture of Parliamentary Reform (whatever that is) and an enquiry or two. The Liberal bloke….whassisname…Clegg is trying hard to capture the non-existent middle ground and is wheeled out occasionally for an insignificantly ineffectual bleat.

    If you have got into the habit of listening very carefully to Gordon Brown, you will have noticed that he keeps making vague promises but there are no “doing” verbs in his lexicon. David Cameron is like Wily Coyote. Trouble is, it’s too easy. Gordon “Roadrunner ” Brown is mentally-stationary and not really providing any sport for the increasingly frustrated Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. Vince Cable throws out the occasional soundbite but that’s about all.

    This is also a time for opportunists to slither onto the political stage. Where are the intellectuals, the industrial leaders, the economists? They are not that stupid. Instead we have Esther Rantzen and David Van Day. Perhaps that is all that we deserve. After all, politicians are OUR representatives, they reflect our beliefs and behaviours – so one could argue that we have the politicians that we deserve.

    Maybe the next stage for politics is another negative quantum leap to synchronise with what we have become in 2009. We are a skint has-been nation which finds its solace in the pursuit and worship of celebrity. Perhaps a future Cabinet which consisted of Esther Rantzen, David Van Day, Jordan, Kerry Catona, Biggins, a (any) footballer’s wife and Stan Collymore is what we deserve.

    So, I hear you say – “If you’re so smart sunshine, what is the solution?”

    The problem of MPs’ expenses has been caused by a total lack of management  within Westminster. Gorbals Mick has the brief is to provide Speaker-type leadership and a nominal amount of management. The “nominal” bit was OK in the good old days when Members were an honourable lot but not today. ( I have to admit that I am not sure quite when the “honourable” period  was but please bear with me on this one.)

    Comparison with the “good old days” is important because up until as recently as ten years ago, we the Brits had a healthy fear and respect for authority. We used to be fed RESPECT with our Cow & Gate plus we have a class system which helps us along the way, with our “They’re the same as us really” attitude.

    MPS are “the same as us” in all senses of the phrase. Therefore, they need as much management and control in their day-to-day jobs as the rest of us.

    For instance, let’s look at the management of Parliamentary expenses. Simple measures such as giving senior MPs a group of others to “look after” and sign-off their expenses BEFORE they go to the Westminster Finance Office. A simple “signing off” system would stop most naughtiness and would certainly stop a bunch of lowly finance civil servants from being bullied by loud-mouthed MPs. “Accountability” will have been introduced.

    I would also consider allowing the Government to sign-off the Oppositions expenses and vice versa. That would have an immediate impact. That’s what I would call REAL transparency.

    Nowadays, we actually believe that they (the politicians) are the “same as us”, that is to say, disrespectful, self-serving, celebrity-worshipping, selfish scumbags. Just think who people such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Fred the Shred and others like to be seen with. Do they respect us, their “clients”?  What is more important to them than their big houses, mortgages, pensions and expense accounts? Nothing, it seems.

    These attitudes and behaviours have killed not-only our banking system and possibly our economy but have exposed “New” Labour as “Pretend Socialism”. Orwell was not only right but he was more right than others.

    Then there’s Conservatism. “Nice” Conservatism should be about encouraging the individual  and giving him the tools to be able to look after himself and his family without looking to the State for charity whereas at the same time providing proper support for the weak.

    That is where our best chances lie – within the gentle conservatism of the Major/Blair days.

    Finally, there are two other negative contributory factors – namely, bad candidate selection and nepotism. There are too many “hereditary” Members of Parliament – especially within the Conservative Party.

    Candidate selection should be done more scientifically. I once attended a selection interview and was surprised to see about ten “crumblies” sitting round a table, without a plan and obviously not having a clue which questions to ask. They did not stand a chance. That has to stop. What is needed is rigorous, tested selection. Filter-out the bandits way before their mugshot appears on a campaign poster.

    So as you can see, a few gentle tweaks will do the trick. Not the procrastination of “Constitutional change”, nor the prevarication of Commissions and Enquiries or the chaos of a General Election. Those approaches may all be good solutions but not to the current problem.

    Just a few tweaks and normal service will be resumed.

     

    Those damned rules!

    Elliot Morley MP did not “made a mistake” when he fraudulently claimed £800 per month for a non-existent mortgage. Likewise,  Andrew MacKay MP and his wife and fellow MP, Julie Kirkbride knew exactly what they were doing when they were claiming for two “second homes”. Two Labour Lords have allegedly been exposed as a couple of crooks who were willing to take cash in exchange for altering Laws. Again, these were not mistakes.

    The “It was within the Rules” mantra is no longer being trotted out because MPs have realised that Rules express no moral or ethical responsibilities. Chequebooks are being waved about, yet only just over £100,000 has been pledged by increasingly panicked MPs who are not promising the return of cash through any sense of “right-and wrong” because it’s far too late for that.  They ignored the concept of right and wrong and because they have been caught with their closed hands in the till, their self-preservation instinct has kicked-in.

    Andrew MacKay has fallen on his sword in order to  save his wife’s career because his has peaked. She should now be nailed as “accessory” and also asked to resign.

    That bug-eyed louche, professional Mr Clever-pants, Peter Ustinov wannabe and Royal butt-kisser Stephen Fry has offered an opinion and believes that it is all a storm-in-a-teacup and that “we’ve all done it”. No we haven’t Stephen. Mind you, Stephen’s been banged up for naughtiness so his judgement will always be suspect and hopefully he has learned a good lesson. Never talk to a reporter when you are pissed. At best, you end up sounding like a know-all uber-opinionated cab driver. At worst, an ersatz upper-class prat.

    By the end of this week, it will be the end of the beginning for our naughty MP chums  but also the beginning of the end for Gorbals Mick (Mr Speaker) and Gordon Brown, the er…Prime Minister.

    Brown is currently swaying from foot to foot wondering what to do . We have established that his decision-making is on the dodgy side and that he manages through the joint media of the “enquiry” (Macro Management) and the thrown mobile phone and shouting (Day-to-day or Micro Management). He has probably already exhausted his entire repertoire on this one.

    David Cameron has managed to overtake Gordon and will hit the first corner well in the lead because he has made a decision and ordered his MPs to get their chequebooks out and start reimbursing the Public Purse. Gesture Politics at their finest!  He too has a surprise coming because this is not about money any more, it is about the authority of our Parliament. Had the Party Leaders managed their troops effectively and had the grand chequebook gesture happened say a year ago the matter would, by now, be at the “tidying-up” stage. Instead we have what looks like a badly-written Crisis Management case study underpinned by empty words and blind panic.

    Meanwhile, whilst Cameron is temporarily cooling-off in the calming breeze of two hundred fluttering chequebooks, Gordon does what he knows. He looks in the direction of an enquiry. Any enquiry. The ideal enquiry for him would be a “Please make it go away, Mummy” type.

    Meanwhile The Speaker of the House, scarlet jowls quivering as the berates the most upstanding  (and innocent) MPs and sees everything that flies in his direction as a personal threat, also does what he does best. He fails to understand the gravity of the crisis.

    Make no mistake, the Speaker and Prime Minister are now standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the trapdoor and there will be a massive fight as all hands attempt to pull that lever.

    The next stage (hopefully) will be in the hands of the Police and the Inland Revenue.

     

    G20 bender

    These are the wines that were served up to the G20 delegates. The total bill for the wine was a bargain £6000 which is a small fraction of the total wining and dining bill which was approximately £500,000. Perhaps the taxpayer should be grateful. Here is the list:

    Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1986 – 19 bottles @ £140 per bottle.

    Château Leoville Poyferré 1989 – 29 bottles @ £60 per bottle.

    Concha Y Toro Merlot Sunrise 2006 – 11 bottles @ £6 per bottle

    Domaine de Planterieu 2006 – 13 bottles @ £5 per bottle

    Nyetimber 1998 – 10 bottles @ £23

    Louis Roederer Carte Blanche – 2 bottles @ £35

    Fonseca 1977 – 5 bottles @ £137

    Chapel Down Lamberhurst Eatste Bacchus Reserve 2004 – 30 bottles @ £10

    Three Choirs Bacchus Estate Reserve 2004 – 17 bottles @ £10

    The G20 weekend of excess  produced a statement and a document which has already been forgotten.

    It was all designed to boost Gordon Brown’s image. He is now seen as the Walter Mitty of International politics.

    Darling has the solution in his hands.

    If you have read a good balance of the reporting and commentary on yesterday’s budget, you will have realised by now that this was a political budget. The Chancellor and his puppet-master know that their stewardship of the economy has a maximum of 12 months to run and then , as is the fashion nowadays, the lecture and non-exec circuits beckon. There is light at the end of the tunnel for some but unfortunately, not for all.

    There is no point in raking through the coals of yesterday’s return to Old Labour and the 21st Century embrace of the Politics of Envy.

    “Let’s do the rich!”and the great unwashed and the slack-jawed champagne Socialists will most likely follow. Trouble is that the great unwashed is fast becoming the great unemployed and Tony Blair’s Champagne Socialists (teachers, media people etc.) are now more Cava Sippers than being able to afford the real thing. Some have even moved to pink Zinfandel!

    The Budget was delivered with all the panache and conviction of a  tortoise that knew that it would never catch the Conservative hare. And did you see the Hammer-horror grin that Brown’s face morphed into when Darling sat back down into the wet patch.

    Cigarettes – √. Booze – √. – Petrol – √.

    Let’s make it look as if we are going to upset the rich – “It’s always good to piss on their strawberries”. -√.

    Oh yes – Pensioners  – √.

    Did you notice that the Chancellor looked a bit uncomfortable talking in mere pounds and pence. After all, he is used to lots of noughts now. When the scale of Government’s borrowing was announced there was a definite shift in the Earth’s orbit as economists’ scrotums shrunk to a tenth of their size – at the speed of light. Some may remain dysfunctional for years to come. Like the banks.

    This was a Budget by Numbers when what was needed was a masterpiece. The trouble is that before this Government is run out of town,  Chancellor  Darling will touch up an already impossibly bad economic picture with another Budget. What was that Chris Rea song? Oh yes – The Road to Hell.

    You may be wondering why all seems to be well with the Banks  – they should have all completed rehab by now and should be ready to score us some readies. Their Social Worker – otherwise known as the Treasury is telling us that they still need a bit of time to regain confidence. That is why they are currently being fed a “money substitute” through the medium of quantitative easing.

    How is it that a few of the big banks have declared such surreally fat profits? Have you never wondered why or how they seem to have been rehabilitated so quickly? They are still cooking the books, ignoring the fact that they are still insolvent. The difference is that now they are doing it with this and other Governments’ connivance. To put it simply – it is a world-wide con trick. There is naughtiness afoot.

    If we knew the real figures, we would panic. The fact is that for every pound or dollar that the Banks once had in their coffers, they lent or gave away at least 50. They tied the modern Gordian Knot not with rope but with worthless paper and they have fashioned what  appears to be the most complicated paper chain ever conceived. Currently they all owe each other billions because they screwed each over, many times over. The screwer was also the screwee and vice versa.

    This has been institutional fraud carried out by banks on other banks and  the only reason why they are not all standing in the dock is that there isn’t enough dock available.

    The other important factor is that instead of doing what Alexander the Great did and cutting through the knot, Governments still think that they can untie it . If they carry on their random attempts, it could take a generation.

    The banks have the Governments by the balls.

    That brings us neatly to a rather pathetic silver-haired Edinburgh Solicitor predicting that we are soon to experience a recovery with a growth rate of 3.5%. That statement really is not worth commenting upon because of the poor man’s past record – which is similar to Russell Grant’s. In fact…………………………..

    There are billions of pounds stashed away in funds, in banks and in insurance companies. That money belongs to us and many of us will have to wait years before we can get our hands on it.  I am referring, of course to Pensions. Personal pensions, group pensions, small company pensions… they come in a hundred delicious flavours.

    There was a time when someone leaving a company  – whether voluntarily or otherwise could take their accrued pension with them. Let us say that the Chancellor announced that for the next two years, anyone being made redundant or who wanted to stop working could have all of their accrued pension immediately. What effect would that have.

    Firstly, we would have “spenders” in the economy. who could provide a massive buying stimulus to all retailers. The Government would save on benefits because many of these individuals would suddenly have “savings”.

    Secondly the institutions holding the pensions would not have to be “persuaded” to part with the money because if they refused, they would be breaking the law. And if the didn’t have the money, then we would all know.

    Thirdly, employers would think twice before sacking anyone if they knew that they would not-only have to fund their redundancy pay but that they would also have to hand over accrued pension benefits.

    Too simple? The alternative is to keep feeding the banks with money that we do not have and that has a time limit which is not as far away as we seem to think.

     

     

    Socialist? Moi?

    The current Labour government is having a very tough time  and a very bad situation is made worse by what appears to be a lack of leadership and management skill. Gordon Brown seems to feel that you can manage by changing the rules or by organising enquiries. You can imagine Brown being informed that more and more people are on the breadline and solving the problem by having an enquiry whose purpose would be to confirm that the breadline is in the right place and if not, recommending where it should be placed.

    We are currently in a post-collectivist society which has lost several compasses, ranging from the moral and social to the economic and political, resulting in an upsurge in crime, family breakdown, violence, drug abuse and poverty.

    We are existingin a morally sterile, Left-wing, politically correct State and because we have forgotten how to self-manage, we will have more and more regulations imposed on us – otherwise, we are in very real danger of lapsing into anarchy. That is exactly what has happened in the Banking industry. It has taken a mere twenty years to move from what started as a self-regulating, rock solid service industry to arrive where we are today. An every-man-for-himself rip-off business which will now have such a raft of rules and regulations placed on it that it will suffocate. Collectivism has morphed into Neo-individualism which needs rules.

    The word “equality” used to be a concept – albeit a good one – definitely unnattainable but nevertheless, worth striving for.  “All men are created equal” and all that…..

    Nowadays, we all have to appear “equal”. Inequality has become an evil which has to be eradicated at all costs and it now stands in the dock, shoulder-to-shoulder with poverty and global warming as one of the Three Bogeymen which has to be killed-off through the medium of meetings, promises and large cut-and-paste documents.

    The sad fact is that we will always have both inequality and poverty. That is Society and Normal Distribution.

    But if we decide to subsidise the poor so that they are more equal to their rich cousins, then it is those rich cousins who have to generate more wealth in order to pay for those subsidies and thus we create a tranche of society which becomes totally dependent and more resentful because they not-only have poverty but also, courtesy the media, a direct window on the lives of their better-off cousins. Africa is a good example. We are in very real danger of creating a wholly-dependent continent which is simultaneously grateful and resentful.

    Elsewhere, the Equality Mullahs have substituted “qualifications” for education resulting in an insipid education system where excellence has become the property not of the FEW, as it used to be. It is now in the hands of the VERY FEW. That is what happens in any system where there is an attempt at “forced distribution” – whether it is A-level grades or income.

    All systems, whether political, physical or economic are self-adjusting with what appears to be a strong unwritten self-preservation programme buried in them – especially if there has been an attempt at “forced distribution”.

    Even the banking system has self-adjusted recently.

    We are now moving into the third generation of people who know nothing but emotional and physical squalor, who cannot communicate, eat properly, relate to “the others” and who will automatically resort to aggression when thwarted in any way.

    We appear to be at the stage when we need Victorian-type social reformers and not mediocre political management whose tools of the trade are slogans, meetings and enquiries.

    We are very good at uttering the slogans of equality but the sad fact is that over the last few years, the poor have been getting poorer, the thick have been getting thicker and the violent have been joining the police.

    There has been a build-up of social pressure which is in real danger of manifesting itself as social unrest – the sort that will have  to be dealt-with by means of state violence by uniformed men carrying sticks and Perspex shields.

    Tinkering ( VAT, green cars etc) is not the answer. The ONLY solution lies in massive CHANGE – and if that change comes late, the entire system will crash before it has to be rebooted..

    Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

    Gordon Brown’s letter to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Head of the Civil Service has seven paragraphs. Five of them begin with “I”.

    Unpopular leaders realise that their enemies are all around them and ultimately they feel threatened by every one – even those whose careers they enhanced and who they feel should owe them allegiance. When they reach that inevitable stage, they are well and truly in the arms of the hired help – the advisors. And it is no surprise to learn that most advisors are just as unpopular as their masters.

    Blair’s hitman and “friend” was Alistair Campbell. Brown had McCain.

    A good dictator eventually makes enemies of all those close to him. The really big trouble starts when even the advisors are alienated. The hired help does not have to like its master – but it helps.

    By nature, Brown is an analytical -he has that in common with ex-Accountant-CEO, Sir Fred Goodwin. When dealing with analyticals under pressure, those close soon discover a dark, sinister and nasty side. Ask any senior ex-RBS executive.

    Analyticals under pressure become not-only nasty but “personal”. They are not the most likeable individuals in the first place but if you intend to put them under pressure, make sure that you take a tin hat and full body armour – otherwise you will get hurt. Luckily, unlike the “expressives” like Obama, analyticals do not have a strong need to be liked. They are natural loners and find it difficult to interact. When there is trouble, they will look to solve matters by either using or creating rules and regulations. Hence Brown’s letter to Gus O’Donnell and hence Brown’s liking and reliance on enquiries and Commissions. Analyticals paint with a very limited palette.

    Brown already knows that he will lose the next General Election and that there is a more than 50% probability that there will be a challenge to his rather flaky leadership. G20? What G20? Brown’s only long -term political future may lie in a Ken “Lazarus” Clarke-type resurrection. Otherwise he is finished. He certainly is not capable of doing the Blair thing and going into showbiz.

    McBride’s emails suggesting some “jolly japes” aimed at Cameron and Osborne had more than a whiff of Senior Common Room than any seriously heavy political substance. Therefore, Brown should have smiled a wry smile (he does those well) , apologised unreservedly and then hung McBride out to dry. The focus would then have been on McBride and not on Brown.

    Cameron and Osborne have a very good reason to feel outraged because in spite of the occasional endearing lapse into  neo-Abbott and Costello, they are a pair of  thoroughly decent blokes. McBride has done them them both a great political favour: they are now firmly occupying the moral high-ground, they are offended and Brown will not say “Sorry chaps – it won’t happen again.”

    You could not plan or pay for a better image boost.

    Back to the Gus O’Donnell letter and all those “I”s. They suggest two things – the first is that Brown ‘s ego has taken a bashing and he is attempting to reassert himself. Secondly, the letter did not have the benefit of an advisors red pen prior to release. Brown is on his own.

    Cameron knows exactly how these Spin-Advisors (SPADS) work – he used to be one under Margaret Thatcher. Remember, at the end of her reign she ended up feeling as lonely and as isolated as Brown is feeling today.

    This coming Wednesday, PMQs should be the best yet. Cameron will look serious, vulnerable and wounded. Brown will make his weekly error of indulging in pointless muck-raking through Tory recent history – and Cameron will score yet more points.

    Brown will continue to perfect the unique skill that he has developed over the last two years by driving yet more nails into his own coffin.

    p.s. McBride wanted embarrasing photos. Here’s one:

     

    G19 (+1)

     

    “Sorry! That should have read: Monsieur Sarkozy is regarded by many as a cult”

    There ought to have been just the one hymn sheet because if there are several hymn sheets, we are in for a very discordant Thursday.

    Barack Obama is hoping that: ” G20 countries will do what is necessary to promote trade and growth.”M le President Sarkozy wants to create a Financial Interpol to police the financial services industry. The delusional Gordon Brown’s not-so-hidden agenda is to rescue his image and somehow emerge as King of the World but he persists in spouting inane generalisations such as  “clean up of the world banking system” and “more regulation of tax havens”.

    Sarkozy is right. A Global Financial Services Authority is what is needed. If there are at least 20 Financial Services Authorities and the only thing that binds them is the hope of “greater co-operation” then all that is being thrown into the heaving fiscal mix are more junkets such as this G20 and more opportunities for the financial bandits to operate between even wider cracks within the world economy.

    Somehow, it has been decided that “protectionism” is bad. Perhaps Mr Brown should spend more time thinking about the United Kingdom’s issues rather than constantly trying to put alleconomic problems in  the context of the “Global Economy”. Where was the Global Economy during the years that he stood at the Dispatch Box preening and accepting the plaudits? There was little credit given to the Global Economy when the British economy was behaving itself and Brown was  self-actualised and not self-delusional . History has already demonstrated that the Iron Chancellor’s image was so frail that it could be shattered and buried by one sentence from Vince Cable.

    So the modern-day equivalent of the Tribal Elders will be talking economics but they will be thinking politics. Any summit such as this G20 meeting enables the leaders to discuss world economics but always with one eye on domestic politics.

    Brown is very aware  – as are all the other G20 leaders that he is a dead man walking and the long-term fallout from the current economic crisis will be managed not by Brown but by the Conservatives led by David Cameron. (Somebody had to say it!)

    So is this G20 summit necessary?

    Brown is a historian and knows that Chamberlain was the first Prime Minister to engage in the sport of Summitry. Churchill’s meetings with the American and Russian leaders continued this fine tradition and in the 80s, Margaret Thatcher travelled as did Tony Blair in the 90s.

    Currently, the technology is in place to make Summitry an obsolete sport but large numbers of politicians sitting round huge tables  still seems to be a popular diversion. Each already knows the other’s views and the odds are that there will be more conflict than accord. For instance, M Sarkozy is being backed as the first to flounce out.

    The fundamental question is ” What is the problem and how do we sort it out?”.  That approach could  be a very fundamental error. In recent years, politicians have grown into the habit of putting themselves under tremendous pressure by asking the above question and then feeling the need to produce almost instant solutions – and of course we have become conditioned to expect that approach and more crucially, so have the media.

    Brown the historian should know that the real question should not be “What’s the problem?” ( the modern politician’s approach) but ” What’s the story”  (the historian’s approach),  that is to say – let’s establish 100% how we managed to get into this mess. This approach takes time but in the long term , will produce the correct solutions.

    Most Governments have already shown by their random actions of the last six months that they prefer to treat the symptom and not the cause.

    In this respect, Gordon Brown should learn from both John Major and Tony Blair who both understood that firstly, the story of the Northern Ireland problem needed to be understood and that the solution would then follow as a by-product of that understanding. The whole process took a very long time but as recent attempts at destabilising the situation have shown, the solution is rock-solid.

    This could be a time for reflection and not necessarily the customary politician’s sprint to action.

    Home Sexretary

    What a laugh – Jacqui Smith’s husband has been watching porn movies at the taxpayer’s expense!!!! The red-tops are in a frenzy and poor Jacqui is both angry and embarrassed and there have been the usual mutterings of  “We will of course pay it back.” 

    “Schadenfreude” was invented for this situation.

    The fact is that the type of film that he has been watching is irrelevant. The real argument is about MP’s expenses. How many of us have never watched a porn movie? Admittedly, the fact that on this occasion, films “with an adult content” have been watched does add a certain piquancy but once again we are in a very British situation.   The sin is not in the act but in getting caught.

    Men enjoy watching porn movies but most men do not watch them with a box of Kleenex,  “spanking  the monkey”,  whilst drooling  down their grubby shirt fronts. Most XXX movies are   ridiculous and funny  – not seedy.  Sometimes the watching of porn is a social event. I have been to many “gentlemens’ evenings” where at some stage in the evening, after a skin-full, we have sat down and spent the odd hour watching filth with a nudge-nudge and a wink-wink. Great fun – and harmless and a bonding-session “par excellence”.

    I have attended these functions in the company of bank managers, solicitors, barristers, policemen, businessmen, high-ranking executives and all manner of “respectables”. Are we perverts? Not all of us.

    Womens’ attitude towards filthy movies is a bit different. There is a joke which asks ” Why do women watch porn movies right to the end?” Answer:  “To see if the couple gets married.”

    Let’s face it – a “Chick Flick” is all about romance, love, passion and fantasy. A “Boy flick” is about sex and violence . (I am only bracketing “sex” and “violence” together because that is the British convention.)

    Today, a certain Fleet Street Grande Dame has written that Ms Smith has been “betrayed” by her husband because the watching of porn is tantamount to unfaithfulness. No it isn’t.

    Several years ago, my secretary phoned me and told me in a hushed and embarrassed tone that a bill had arrived for a week-long stay at a hotel and she wanted to know what she should do about “the extras”. The “extras” consisted of a list of about twenty porn films which (apparently) I had been watching in my hotel room.  I told her to phone the hotel and ask them to “lose” the items from the bill. I then phoned the hotel myself and was pleased to discover that when I scrolled through the films (as you do) – every film that I scrolled through registered on their system and through a system fault, it looked as if I had spent the entire week watching porn. An attractive proposition but untrue.

    The point of the story is that at no stage did I feel that I should go onto the back foot and be defensive. There is no way that I would put on my slacks, shirt and pullover (the weekend politico-casual look), read a prepared apology from a piece of paper, apologise again and look terrified or ashamed.

    Richard Timney has apologised for embarrassing his wife but otherwise, he has nothing to apologise about. Neither should he feel embarrassed about watching porn – although, quite understandably he is –  but that is only to appease the pruriently frustrated over-50 females and the God Squad. 

    Jacqui Smith is as good a Home Secretary as there has been in the last few years so it would be a pity if (yet again) a perfectly respectable lady were to be forced-out by the lubricious hounds of Planet Media. No need to force her out – next May’s General Election will do that.

    Currently, the Labour government is on the run and of course anything that we can throw at them seems deserved but let’s please keep it in perspective.

    Oink!

    The perfect line of curly tails has temporarily stopped flicking with pleasure because it seems that the trough of plenty is about to be removed. The squealing and slurping has stopped because the Mama Pig that is the taxpayer needs some respite. There is a real danger of drought – and it is not the drought predicted by the Global Warming Mullahs – it if the financial drought caused by the double-whammy of “on the take” bankers and their avaricious politician chums.

    The Home Secretary, Jacqui “Within the rules” Smith,  argues that she has done nothing wrong and she is right. What about hanging? That  also used to be within the rules – did that make it right?  Within living memory there were those who were “following orders”. Were they right?

    The debate is one of morality and not political chauvinism. If you are caught with both hands in the cookie jar – don’t blame the jar.

    There have been many debates as to the merits of electing politicians who are financially “independent” – those who do not see politics as a “nice little earner”.  Many are “at it” in the Commons and no doubt some are at it in the House of Lords.  Why are they at it? They are at it because many of them are about to enter the last 12 months of comparative plenty. Nests need to be feathered before the arrival of their personal political winter. For many, this is the most that they will ever earn.

    It is interesting to note that of the top 20 MPs  claiming for second homes (The Independent yesterday), 14 are Labour. All are from outer-London and the surrounding area because they are allowed to claim Additional Costs Allowance. The ACA is discretionary – it is not compulsory.

    Needless to say, there has been yet more fancy footwork from Gordon Brown, followed by  yet another disturbance in the long grass as Sir Christopher Kelly  and the Committee on Standards in Public Life are mobilised.

    By the time that they complete their ruminations, it may well have been cheaper to leave well alone.

    Revenue and Misappropriation

    What the Banks really mean

    It is about time that the taxpayer was told exactly.what the banks have done with the money that they have been handed by the Government.
     
    Vague statements such as “plugging holes in the balance sheet” mean nothing to most people (including politicians). “Restoring confidence” in inter-bank lending is also a meaningless phrase as is “toxic assets”.
     
    Alistair Darling has just asked the banks to “tidy up” their Balance Sheets. Does that mean that the banks were handed taxpayers money without having tidied up? A company’s accounts consist of two sets of figures: The Balance Sheet – what they own and what they owe. The other bit is the Revenue and Appropriation Account. Maybe its time to re-label it to the Revenue and Mis-appropriation Account because it would seem that is where the trouble lies.
     
    Where’s the money? Have they got it yet?
     
    When banks do deign to lend, the terms make it nigh-on impossible for the average borrower to take advantage of their generosity. Politicans continue to throw everything that they can at the bankers, yet the bankers are sitting back, calculating how to circumnavigate their sudden bonus loss and scratching round for the next non-exec directorship. Many know that they may still be pushed out of the airplane with only a small parachute.
     
    Most pundits are secretly thinking that we will end up with a fully nationalised banking system and are merely observing a game of “Who will blink first” between the Government and the banks.
     
    Here in the UK, Gordon Brown is beginning to sound monotonous (!)  and yesterday, even Barack Obama’s “cut-and -paste” rhetoric was sounding jaded.
     
    This terrible state of affairs has had a profound effect on the political and economic pundits.  “Punditis” is rife.
     
    Financial experts are running out of metaphors and their predictions show all the conviction (and accuracy) of a pier-end astrologer. Other experts are delving deeper and deeper into a morass of incomprehensible technical detail which may be interesting to other financial anoraks but is adding nothing to the debate.
     
    There was a time when Television and Radio reported the opinions of politicians and financial experts. Now, they report the opinions of Robert Peston.
     
    Time to take a deep breath folks.

    I’m a real FRIC.

     A Valuer FRICS

    Gordon Brown continues to speak with the conviction of a condemned man reading from a hurriedly-conceived briefing paper  This time it is mortgages (again).

    No more 100% mortgages? I think that it is about time that the Prime Minister carried out a simple calculation as follows:  Suppose that the Government (sorry, Northern Rock) lends 80% on a £100,000 property – that is an £80,000 mortgage. Then let’s suppose that the property falls in value by 20%. That means that there is an £80,000 mortgage on an £80,000 property. That is what they call a 100% mortgage. When a householder has  no equity in his property – that is also a 100% mortgage. Negative equity just means that the mortgage is over 100%.
     
    That brings one rather neatly to one organisation which has kept its head down throughout the whole sorry mortgage  mess. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. They should have come out with their hands up many months ago. Why? Because their members have been the ones who have been valuing properties. The most deflationary thing that the Government can do as far as property prices are concerned is to ignore the sulking banks for a while and have a serious chat with the RICS.
     
    There was a time when the RICS was a leader – an organisation whose valuations were sacrosanct. The RICS has now become a follower which does exactly what the banking industry tells it and has contributed more than any other organisation to the ridiculous house price rises of the last 10 years. But wait – their blind slavishness to the banks is far worse than merely following orders.
     
    Imagine that you are a Bank and you want to lend and you also want to make sure that the properties that you lend on have the benefit of  a high-enough valuation. How do ensure that there will be no problems with house valuations? How do you make 100% sure that  the valuation will be exactly the one that you need?

     Simple – YOU BUY YOUR OWN VALUER!
     
    For example, Halifax  valuations are carried out by Colleys. Who owns Colleys? The Halifax. One is not suggesting naughtiness but when valuation fees are a function of the valuation and the value of  properties in-mortgage represents a lender’s assets, the temptations do not have to be spelled out.
     
    The RICS should assert itself – otherwise there is a real danger of the property inflationary spiral replicating itself in a few years time. Independent property valuations and a return to more objective valuations will have an immediate impact. Currently, there is far too much reliance on the “supply and demand” argument and incidentally, the “drive-by” valuation – but that’s another story.
     
    In the last few years, the pressure on valuers has been to “value up”. The valuers value up and then the accountants come along later and value down. Not an ideal system.
     
    Time for the RICS to make a stand – if that’s all right with the banks.

    How to…………….

     

    There has always been an insatiable craving for advice on quick fixes to situations which we encounter in our daily lives. There is no other explanation for the ever-accelerating sales of “How to…” books. The very first in the field was Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people”. The demand for Benjamin Spock’s tome on baby care – a sort of baby Haynes Manual    sold millions. There was even a book called “How to succeed in business without really trying”! This genre is the pulp non-fiction of real life.

    Nowhere is the nuisance more rampant than in the domain of management. Those strutting and recording in the collonaded corridors of academia or in the money-scented troughs of corporo-land are in a particularly desperate situation. Once they start, they cannot finish. The new Messiahs need disciples and the disciples crave more honeyed management words.

    The `Publish or Perish’ syndrome leaves them with no other choice than to be seen to be churning out something or other merely to justify their upkeep and maintain their reputation. Regrettably, because every possible concept has been worked to the death, they have to  constantly pour old wine into new bottles. The original recyclers – constantly re-bottling  pretentious piffle and insipid inanities.

    Darwin would have been proud. For instance – many moons ago we had to provide Customer Care, then we had Customer Satisfaction, then we had Service Excellence  which was quickly followed by the creation of Customer Delight. I suppose that next, we will have to screw them and induce Customer Orgasm.

    An article in the Wall Street Journal called  `Don’t get hammered by management fads’, says that an estimated 10,000 business books have been published worldwide in the last three years. Most of the books trumpeted management ”tools” guaranteed to make the user mega-successful in whatever he or she attempted.  There is no statistic which would show that many of these management books are bought but never read. Managers and aspiring managers buy these books as Executive Teddy Bears and file them in the hope that the alchemy within will be absorbed by the mystical process of management osmosis. Management by Ownership.

    Recently, for instance, a monstrosity entitled “How to think like a CEO”, has sought to lure those fantasising about conquering the cliff face of Middle Management. They have fuzzy dreams of one day  perching on some high corporate peak  .

    This book, in common with 90% of the entire market is strictly “Aphorism City”. These are some of the trite homilies that it contains: Be gutsy, even a little wild, modest and in control. Be competitive and tenacious, flexible and generous. Admit mistakes. Be self-secure, self-reliant, resilient and constantly self-improving. Be original, straightforward, and think before you speak or act.

    Does that not take your breath away! Straight from the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious. 

    Some authors try another approach. They repackage the same stale ideas in the name of some ancient unheard-of bearded sage, thereby reaping a double dividend: Giving a new glitter to well-worn clichés by putting them in the mouth of some venerable ancient whose authenticity is often unverifiable and simultaneously exhibiting their own erudition and diligence by exploring the past.

    About 3,000 years ago, in the ancient settlement of Harbin, there lived the Daoist sage called Szech-Taibong.  He was not-only a great thinker but also a benefactor, and the ancient equivalent of our modern entrepreneur. This man had it all! He said something all those years ago which still holds good to this day and should be taught in all management schools. His little-studied philosophy would make all currently written management books obsolete Here’s what he said:  Know people. Handle them kindly. Deploy them properly but within their knowledge. Be far-sighted. Anticipate and overcome threats because in anticipating they will be overcome before they happen. Exploit opportunities. Communicate effectively but always try to be result-oriented and generous to your opponents.

    Nothing particularly exciting but easily on a par with everything else written in the last 50 years.

    You haven’t heard of Szech-Taibong from Harbin?

    That’s because I made it all up. Beware of false prophets!

    Twitter to who?

     

    Here in the UK, the gossip website Twitter.com has suddenly taken off like a rocket , all because of  last week’s discussion  between His Holiness Stephen Fry and the potty-mouthed Jonathan (call me Ranker) Ross.
     
    Inevitably, Twitter has the usual itinerant population of Hypnotists, Holistic Healers, Motivational Speakers and “How would you like to make $3500 per day” merchants but it is so much fun.
     
    The idea is very simple – you register and put down your thoughts and deeds as often as you like – as long as each entry is no longer than 140 characters.  A sort of electronic Haiku.  You can also “follow” others’ entries and you can allow as many people as you want to follow your musings.
     
    Currently, Stephen is undoubtedly UK’s  “Mr Twitter” as he has over 100,000 followers (or should I say disciples?).
     
    So what exactly is it for?

    In the beginning there was email but originally, that involved sentences, grammar , punctuation and all that old-fashioned stuff. All that superfluous fluff was soon removed and for good measure, vowels were also rmvd. Thus the text message was born. All in the name of as little effort as possible.
     
    A few years ago, the Blog was invented. A Blog is  a personal website where you can write anything you want, in the hope that others read it, but there is a catch. Paragraphs, punctuation, spelling  and all that jazz are again the order of the day. If you want to look like a writer, apparently you need all that formal stuff. There along came Twitter – a shorthand blog.  Most of us can  write something  in 140 letters and spaces – so Twitter is a great leveller.

    Those with the brain of an isopod may fashion to appear as clever as the eruditiously tumid St. Stephen of Fry.
     
    Twitter.com is the 21st century version of Vanity Publishing and has all the characteristics of being of its time. It is quick, shallow and disposable – but luscious.
     
    There some very famous individuals sharing their thoughts and deeds – for instance , we all knew by early this morning that “Schofe” was snowed-in and would not be appearing on This Morning and  St. Stephen was in the recording studio. Mundane? Yes.
     
    Definitely a case of the  Bland reading the Bland. But wait…………
     
    This morning, I was informed by email that a very well-known person was “following” me. I must admit to a slight “frisson” and am currently trying to compose something  very learned and witty – all within the constraints of 140 characters.  Hmm……………

    Where’s that paddle?

     

    No Government  can ever act on the basis of certainty. It is  always forced to act on the basis of probability. In other words, there is no REAL idea as to when the current financial mess will end so decisions and actions are based on a “best-guess” basis.

    Stock market prices lie in expectations for the future. It is a constant battle between optimism and pessimism. When there is optimism one expects:

    1. Confidence in the Banks and the Marketplace
    2. Consumers confident enough  to engage in long-lasting spending sprees
    3. Rising prices

     During a period of pessimism, the converse is  true.

    Depending on whether you are an optimist or pessimist, you will be anticipating one of the following (most probable) outcomes:

    • Uncontrollable money-printing and excess spending on bailouts and stimulus , producing a new, super-inflationary environment with a falling Pound and rapidly accelerating  unemployment. (Option A)
    • A major change in capital flow  evidenced by shifting consumer and bank attitudes, thereby generating a period of deleveraging and deflation that will eventually produce a economic rebalance and a strengthening Pound. (Option B)

    Needless to say, the Government is hoping for Option B but at the same time it is running up its (our) budget deficit to historic levels and will soon be printing money like confetti.

    The fact that  unemployment is heading for a new record and consumers are spending far less means that the Government has painted itself into a corner and can only lead the country to Option A.

    Our collective wealth in stocks and housing has been destroyed and  Sterling is at a 23-year low against the Dollar which, post-Obama, will gain strength, thus further eroding the Pound.

    Yes, we are up dirty creek without a paddle.

    Notwithstanding the odd Minister-induced  “virtual” green shoot and platitudinous attempts by government to tell us that  “We’ll get through this”, the current perception both within the banking system and the real world is  one of overwhelming pessimism.

    The  low Bank Base Rate and lack of consumer confidence in (what are  still laughingly referred-to as)  “lending institutions”  will result in  more and more money being kept under the mattress. The banks are doing it so why shouldn’t we?

    The government should set sail for Option B (above). Unfortunately, it appears that no-one has any idea of where to start and the rudder appears to be broken.

    Good Luck mate.

    “And it shall be a government, too, that gives this country strength and confidence in leadership both at home and abroad……………………..
    It shall be a government rooted in strong values, the values of justice and progress and community, the values that have guided me all my political life. But a government ready with the courage to embrace the new ideas necessary to make those values live again for today’s world – a government of practical measures in pursuit of noble causes. That is our objective ……………………………..
    Above all, we have secured a mandate to bring this nation together, to unite us – , one nation in which our ambition for ourselves is matched by our sense of compassion and decency and duty towards other people. Simple values, but the right ones.”

    Barack Obama 2009? 

    No – that was Tony Blair, May 1997.

    There is little doubt that the words will remain memorable but history judges deeds and not intent.

    Do you remember those optimism-fired stirrings of confidence and euphoria as Tony Blair concluded that short speech on the steps of No 10 Downing Street on 2nd May 1997?

    Here we are in 2009. We are older and yes, maybe wiser but here is one lesson that we should have learned:

    Ultimately, every political leader either fails or is found out.

    Let us hope that Barack Obama is the exception because the weight of expectation is already too heavy.

    KFC is not a Knighthood, Gordon!

     

    As a management trainer I thought that I would give Gordon Brown and his motley band of funsters a basic (and free) lesson in management – purely to help then to concentrate their minds.  During this week’s PMQs, David Cameron referred to the “headless chicken”. His brutally eloquent summing up of the Brown style , although unoriginal is perfectly accurate.
     
    There are only a few types of generally accepted styles of management. So which one is the Labour Party using?:
     
    1. Management by Objectives. This is the best-known and easiest to understand  and all other styles of management have this style at their core. You set specific measurable objectives which are agreed and timebased and then you monitor progress. For instance: The banks will have lent £10 billion to businesses by 15th February. Currently, the government’s version is that the banks will lend when they have “regained confidence”.  Perhaps Gordon Brown ought to assign a social worker and a counsellor to each bank to help with their affirmation exercises.
     
    2. Management by Exception. Let the system continue and only intervene when pre-defined objectives are not being met. Do not attempt to manage every single micro process such as fiddling with the VAT at a time when retailers are discounting by 50 or 60 %.
     
    3. Management by Process. Define critical Macro and Micro processes, assign ownership of these processes and monitor and measure performance and progress against pre-determined objectives.
     
    4. Management by Projects. Plan the entire process that you need to complete your goals and set interim goals. Intervene when it looks as if a goal is in danger of failing to be achieved.
     
    Currently it appears that the government has no plan, no time-based objectives and appears to be  creating so many disparate goals that the country is in real danger of losing total confidence.
     
    The government appears to be an observer rather than a shaper of events. The current style of management also has a name and is called:
     
    5. Management by Pissing in the Dark. You attack as many parameters as you can in the hope that something positive happens. Unfortunately you need to hit them in the right order which is unlikely especially if  a. You don’t really understand the root cause of the problem and b. Your head is being eyed up by the man from KFC.

    Goodbye Callisto!

     
    Overheard conversation between the 7th Duke of Sutherland and a peasant:

     

    PEASANT: “So how did you come into the possession of this so-called Bridgewater Loan collection, m’Lud?”

    DUKE: ” Well Brian,  that’s a funny story….. When the Froggies were busy beheading their aristocracy, a relative of Louis XVl flogged the paintings to one of my ancestors who was the Duke of Bridgewater – hence the name.   We’re a bit strapped at the moment so I thought that I might tap up the National Galleries for a few quid. I told them that we wanted to “diversify the family’s assets”. Looks like I’ve really put the cat among the pigeons this time! What a hoot!”

    PEASANT: ” So where did the Froggies get the Diana and Acteon painting from? That’s the painting that everyone says is the most famous. Never heard of it myself. Titian, the bloke who painted it was from Venice, as far as I know.”

    DUKE: ” Yes, that’s right. Titian painted it for Phillip ll of Spain , along with six more. Sort of a set. They stayed in Spain until   Philip V gave the painting to the French Ambassador who passed it to Louis XVl. He of course kept it until he lost his head! That’s where my lot come in.”

    “PEASANT:  So it’s painted by an Italian for a Spanish King who gave it to the French?”

    DUKE:” Quite.”

    PEASANT: ” So why is everybody screaming that the painting has to stay in Scotland? It’s not part of either Scottish or even (if you don’t mind me saying so) British heritage – is it? Some art critic poofter is even saying that it’s the most beautiful painting ever painted.”

    DUKE: “Well I don’t know about that but it is worth a few quid. About £50 mill I should think. The Duke of Bridgewater bought the job lot for about £43K – so potentially, it’s quite a nice little  earner.”

    PEASANT:” You seem quite sure that they’re going to raise the cash, aren’t you?”

    DUKE: ” You bet! About five years ago, I played the same trick with another Titian. It was called Venus Anadyomene – anyway it was some fat tart standing in a puddle. Got £11 mill for that one. Nothing like having a captive audience, eh? And don’t forget that there’s also Diana and Callisto.”

    “PEASANT:  “Well, I’ve heard of that  Callisto one. That was owned by another French bloke…..No…. don’t tell me…. Jacques Cousteau wasn’t it. He was always on about the Callisto.”

    DUKE: ” Are you sure that you’re not Brian Sewell?”

    Global Warning.

    ” This morning it was as big as Nigella’s arse.”

     

    We are currently experiencing the coldest December for 30 years.
     
    There are sectors of society which are welcoming the news – for instance, the antiques trade has always enjoyed a severe cold-snap – especially if it was linked to old dears not being able to afford to heat their homes. Really severe cold weather has always livened up antiques markets and auction houses. By late Spring there should  be a very welcome glut of Clarice Cliff tea sets and Edwardian walnut sideboards. The antiques trade curses Gordon Brown and his heating allowances.
     
    There is another “up side” to a cold December – the Global Warming Mullahs have shut up. Are they the same people who warned us about the Millennium Bug and Bird Flu?
     
    A 30-something designer-dishevelled professor from a redbrick university will soon be wheeled out on the 6 o’clock news to tell us – with just the right touch of rakish gravitas – that the cold weather is caused by man-made Global Warming. The true believers will nod knowingly – for they know that he will have spoken the “universally accepted scientific fact”. But is that so?
     
    The funny thing is that since el Nino warmed the planet ten years ago, there has been no real increase in the overall global temperature. If  there is any doubt – what are the figures? Has anyone seen the actual temperature charts? We have seen lots of polar bears on small icebergs but no figures.
     
    Icebergs have always been around as have hungry polar bears but nowadays, they are PROOF(!) that the planet is off to Hell on a handcart (or should that be a bandwagon?)
     
    Surely, if any changes in weather patterns are man-made, the last ten years would have produced quite appreciable changes.  India and China, (to name but two) have been burning fossil fuels like the clappers. So where are the mild winters that we were promised?
     
    I’m off to buy a furniture removal van followed by a quick glance at the Obits.
     
    Recession – what recession?

    Dodgy Speaker

    What image does the word “grooming” serve up to our collective twisted little psyche? A drooling  pervert sitting in front of his laptop screen – sweaty comb-over  glistening in the soft glow of the TFT screen,  a trembling finger occasionally clicking a grubby little mouse, a handy box of Kleenex and heavy breathing as he leers at the  youngcivilservant.com chatroom as he types ” GT SUM IFNO FR ME TDAY? I FEEL I RLLY KNOW U NOW.” 

    But enough about Scotland Yard.

    The real villain in the “Groomgate” affair is not Damian “innocent until proved guilty” Green MP – it is the Speaker of the House, who by now , should have forgotten that he used to be a Labour politician.  Because of Michael Martin’s clumsy sell-out, the  debate has now moved on and questions are being asked about the Speaker’s political neutrality.  Would he have acted in the same way had Damian Green had been Labour rather than Conservative? The answer is that we should not even be asking such a question. We should not be questioning the impartiality of the Speaker of the House.

    The Speaker of the house of Commons not only has to be impartial – he has to appear  to be impartial.

    Can you see Selwyn Lloyd, George Thomas, Bernard Weatherill or Betty Boothroyd accepting any nonsense from the police? One can only imagine what Betty Boothoryd’s response would have been to a request from Scotland Yard to rifle through an innocent MP’s documents. 

    Should Michael Martin have allowed Scotland Yard access to private information? No – because both the personal and constitutional ramifications are apocalyptic – the Speaker cannot appear to be an Establishment lackey.

    The current Speaker has always looked uncomfortable, out of place and has consistently failed to provide leadership and direction. The time has come for him to be groomed for the House of lords.

    I would wager that Sir George Young is now trying to remember where he stored those buckled shoes.

    Soundbite Brown

    “Osborne? Io sono huomo di cortelle e si tu no mascolta io te do na cortelatta.”

    George Osborne has said Mr Brown’s attempts to secure a global agreement for a fiscal stimulus package have failed. It pains me to agree with the Shadow Chancellor but he is right.

    Many (about 3500) fine words have emerged from last weekend’s G20 meeting. But what has really been achieved except perhaps an agreement to have another meeting in 2009?  Oh yes, there was a  statement that the G20 are going to “harness tax cuts to stimulate the global economy”.  

    As Manuel might have said: “Que??”

    The good intentions of the G20 will not prevent events such as a fire-sale of stocks by Hedge Fund managers or the accelerating erosion in the value of sterling. The sheer speed of developments within the global economy may create the real danger of politicians’ status  being demoted to that of observers rather than shapers of events because the provisional time for the follow-up G20 meeting is not until April 2009. 

    In five months’ time the global economy will be in a VERY different place but meanwhile, the flow of politicians’ platitudes will continue as more financial placebos are dished out.

    Brown has always indicated a dislike of political  “sound bites”  but in spite of that, his speechwriters have created some gems. Like an ageing football pundit, Brown has has increasingly relied on tired and crass political soundbites and clichés.

    Brown now has a “route map” and that’s about it. “Road map” would have been a better phrase but that one has been taken. “Money map”, “Fiscal map”, “Green map”, “Mouse map”, “Door map” and even “Brown map” are all still available.

    “Brown paper” is also an excellent one which has not yet been spotted by Brown’s wordsmiths.

    It is a shame that these phrases cannot be registered like websites. Someone could make a fortune.

    There have been many fine words but they do not seem to make much sense.

    “These are extraordinary times and they require extraordinary measures”. Yep – can’t disagree with that one.  A  fine example of both a cliché and a truism  but Brown might as well have said “We are in deep  s*** and we really should think about getting out of it.”

    G20 made a commitment to “boost growth and reform financial markets” is not a world-shattering assertion. Mind-numbing perhaps but definitely NOT world-shattering.

    “The G20 are going to strive to draw up a timetable for a new world trade deal”  sounds like a fine statement but  would have sounded better if he’d left out the “strive to” phrase. Is Brown’s route map time-based or not?

    Gordon Brown’s pseudo-Churchillian posturing and new world-leader status is looking increasingly silly and maybe a little delusional,  especially if you know that 45% of the world’s financial reserves are in the hands of the BRIC economies = Brazil, Russia, India and China. Currently they appear to be deferring to the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and France who collectively control less than 5% of the the world’s financial reserves.

    Brown feels the hand of history on this shoulder (sorry!) and doubtless his writers are polishing a fine new set of clichés.

    “Eloquent silence”  would be my favourite.

     

     

    Obamaburger.

    Obama orders a burger:

    “As the pink fingers of dawn caress the pale face of this momentous day, I would ask something of you – my fellow American……….. Take your gnarled hand , so majestically hewn by generations of selfish and greed-inspired economic oppression and reach…………yes, reach for that burger bun ( Yes we can!) and having split it with the ice-sharp steel of your artisan knife – thrust into it the onion-laced beef  and hand it to me –  for I am like you . I am your brother and I know that you also feel my hunger and the hunger of the people, your people……OUR PEOPLE!  We are the people!  And when you have handed it to me, I will endeavour to accomplish what has been instituted by families up and down this great land since the mists of time parted, to reveal our forebear – the ordinary man ( Yes we can!). Not asking for anything more that a bite – or just the opportunity of a bite. Now if that bite seems unpleasant or offensive in any way – we neither make nor demand apology  – we simply ask the one question that matters – ketchup or none? I do not yet know the answer but…..we shall begin our journey together and  we shall find out! It will be our quest! We may not get it right first time but one day we will know! God Bless the United States of America!”

    ” Do you want fries with that?”

     

     

     

    Russ and Ross – Dumb and Dumber.

    “He fuck my granddaughter so I fuck him and his friend. Pajeros! “

    So Jonathan Ross told Andrew Sachs’ answerphone that Russell Brand fucked his granddaughter. So what?

    The BBC has always had a bit of a po-faced attitude which took root in “the Beginning” – in (The)Lord Reid’s day. In those days, Christians did not fuck except to procreate and the Brits were still suffering from the post-Victorian sex hangover which regrettably still persists to this day.

    The Brits are obsessed by sex, although the word “fuck” is still unacceptable – but only in certain contexts. Jonathan Ross can say “fuck” on television, although admittedly, there is exec-rationing of the word. Interestingly enough, people do not fuck on the radio – not even a bleep.

    Georgina Baillie is a little-known member of a striptease act called Satanic Sluts and her stage name is “Voluptua”. One is not suggesting that she deserves any less respect than Mother Teresa but let’s face it – this is publicity Manna-from-heaven for the girl. Ask Max Clifford – and rest assured, he will be extracting maximum mileage from this one!

    There have been many “Max-lovelies” who can only be adequately offended by appearing in a Sunday red-top with their tits out. Let’s wait and see!

    Georgina’s father Charles has announced that Andrew Sachs is a “national treasure”. No he is not. He is a middle-of-the-road actor who (many years ago) created a very funny but racist interpretation of a thick Spanish waiter called Manuel.

    In those days, it was perfectly acceptable to refer to black people as “Sambos”,  Anne Bell showed her pubic hair on television, Ronnie Barker took the piss out of people with a stammer, and Ken Tynan said “fuck” for the first time. Happy days!

    Nowadays, we have young men getting their knobs out on telly, young women showing their fannies and people regularly telling each other to “fuck off”.

    The upshot is that we are all finding it more and more difficult to be properly offended although some of us do still play very hard at it.

    Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are a pair of damaged wankers but what sets them apart  and makes them so lovable is their incredible fluency  and unique use of modern  English- although Russell covers his lack of education with strings of borrowed, pre-packaged and/or contrived “mots non-justes”. ( I hope that he’s not offended and of course, I apologise unreservedly).

    We enjoy the fact that Russell’s world seems to be one long shag-fest and we’re all thinking “You lucky, lucky bastard.”  We also know that Jonathan has modelled himself on American shock-jock Howard Stern and that he captures the psychological high-ground in most interviews with a crude reference or two. Let’s face it, he was hired by the BBC to be rude, crude and controversial and not to introduce Songs of Praise.

    It’s horses for courses. For instance, you would never expect Huw Edwards to refer to his wife’s big tits but Jonathan can and does.  We love him for it and again we think “You lucky bastard”.

    The bandwagon is creaking as politicians jump on, there will be questions in the House but really folks, it was just a harmless prank. A storm in a D-cup.

    “Manuel” Sachs has been quoted as saying that apologies belong to his granddaughter.

    Congratulations would be far more appropriate, wouldn’t they Max?

    Kerr-ching!!!!!

    The Speech 2008

    Gordon preparing for his speech.

    A lot of amateur analysis will clog tomorrow’s newspapers, so I’ll keep it short.

    Gordon Brown’s 2008 conference speech was not good.  It did have the effect of a temporary reprieve but Brown is still hoping that someone will manage to get at the jury before they deliver their final verdict. The decision will arrive sometime after the next by-election. That’s about one month away.

    David Miliband looked far too smug, Starling smiled and what the hell was simpering Fiona off the telly doing there? Baroness Phillips of GMTV? John Prescott and Harriet Harman  both swayed as if they had enjoyed lunch. Harriet resembled a deputy head girl after one-too-many Crofts. Ed Miliband had obviously agreed to drive and Kinnock  had morphed into his Spitting Image puppet. Ed Balls stood as if he (or something) was about to explode and Yvette was  a pixie-puppet with one broken string.

    It certainly looked as if the Pomerol ’76 and the ’96 Bolly had received some attention.

    Some commentators have said that Brown did not say much about the economy. That was the best decision that he made. Currently, the markets are so sensitive that a wrong word or nuance could have sent the FTSE 100 due south. Congratulations to him for being prudent. (!)

    So here goes:

    DELIVERY 4/10. The voice is  good  and with a bit of work, he could learn proper modulation. He is a shy boy who is afraid of overdoing the metaphors, consequently he does not use them. Occasionally he sounded as if he was reading a Saga advert.

    CONTENT 5/10. Mostly recycled stuff. Mentioned the eye and admit it – you were waiting for the school motto. Thankfully, he left it out. It was a Budget speech which had been topped and tailed by the stitching-in of some NHS and anti-Tory stuff.

    VISION 3/10. No great leader actually uses the “V”-word. This was a senior manager’s and not a leader’s speech.

    BODY LANGUAGE 2/10.He only appeared to move his head between the two stereo autocues.

    FACE 3/10. He is naturally expressionless and did not let us down . There were about four examples of the  “Jack the Ripper” smile.

    HUMOUR 1/10. Not a natural comedian.

    Let’s end on a high note:

    He is as good as Iain Duncan-Smith.

    A Grimm tale

    HBOS and Lloyds

    The Republic of Mancunia’s football team (the American one , not the Arab one) appears to have a new shirt sponsor by proxy.
     
    The AIG logo currently on the front of Manchester United’s shirts may soon be replaced. AIG is now 80% owned by the US Treasury which neatly completes the Americanisation of the team.
     
    So what about the new logo? The Statue of Liberty? The Stars and Stripes? Uncle Sam? Or perhaps, more appropriately, a $-sign?

    Will they now be known as the Manchester United States?
     
    AIG  was very much involved in the once possibly toxic and now definitely lethal sub-prime mortgage market and had been drawn into substantial dealing with the now-collapsed Lehman Brothers.
     
    Just to illustrate the incestuous nature of the financial services market, you may be surprised to learn that AIG owns Ocean Finance. Perhaps they can help AIG to consolidate all of their debts into one easy monthly payment. Below the belt? I don’t think so.

    Most financial services institutions are nervously awaiting the  tap on the shoulder – although many will argue that death by  sadistic accounting is not fair.
     
    Yesterday,  HBOS shares began their short journey down the financial toilet amid claims that they were in good shape and did not deserve the negative speculation. However, just to be on the safe side, Halifax branches were circulated with a memo asking them to monitor cash withdrawals.
     
    One day later they have announced that they are in advanced talks with Lloyds-TSB with a view to a merger. Their shares are now in recovery mode but the proposed merger has all the characteristics of desperation and is the equivalent of two institutions hugging each other in a time of self-induced strife.

    Who is saving who? But have you noticed how Lloyds-TSB have kept very quiet during the last couple of weeks? They must have been in discussion for some time now – but whatever happened to due diligence?
     
    HBOS and Lloyds are clutching each other like Hansel and Gretel in the dark forest; comforting each other just before the Evil Witch eats them up.
     
    Mind you, nowadays the Evil Witch is spoilt for choice. Many have lost their way in the forest.

    Mills and Doom

    The following article appeared in the Daily Mirror on 11th September 2008 and is reproduced with the kind permission of its author, the delectable Polly Hudson.

    Heather Mills, unable to talk about her marriage/divorce due to a gagging (not literally, unfortunately) order is writing a novel about the marriage/divorce of a campaigning model and an ageing music legend.

    She’s flogging it for a million pounds. Publication is months away but I’ve managed to get my hands on her outline for the book…

    “Once upon a time there was a stunningly beautiful, inspirational, pert-breasted woman called Bracken Granulates who tirelessly worked for charities but hardly ever mentioned it. She had lost an arm in an aeroplane crash but she was still a proper canny lass. “Why aye, Bracken,” one of her many pals would often say, “You are reet brave and almost too good for this world.”

    Bracken moved to London to not take part in any pornographic photo shoots and definitely never be a high-class call girl. She basically lived a pure, admirable life of truth and virtue.

    One day she went to an awards ceremony, held totally in her honour to commend her for all the work she did for charity (which she couldn’t even believe anyone knew about, seeing as how she kept it secret). There she met a famous rock star called Sir Maul PcKartney.

    Maul had an evil daughter called Artois who tried to turn him against Bracken, but true love conquered even her dastardly vegetarian plans. Bracken fell for Maul because he cared about the world like she did (loads). She didn’t even know that he was a little bit rich.

    You can imagine how silly she felt when she found out! And so she became Lady Bracken Granulates PcKartney but only because she loved him, not because he was minted. It was absolutely no exaggeration at all to say that she was the best wife ever. But mean old (and I mean, OLD) Maul began to get jealous of how much she worked for charity, even though how he even knew she worked for charity at all was a mystery to her.

    He wanted her all to himself, but Bracken was devoted to her campaigning. Maul immediately became a crack and heroin addict and was really nasty to her. But she’d promised to be with him for better or worse so she bravely stuck it out. “Why aye, Bracken,” one of her even more many pals said to her, “You are a reet saint for putting up with him.”

    But soon it became impossible for poor Bracken to stay. It was all Maul’s fault. So she left, taking their daughter, Dee, who couldn’t possibly be expected to live on less than ten mill a week. “I will destroy you,” screamed Sir Maul, whose mood had turned angry, like it always did when he mainlined crystal meth.

    “Your name will be mud in this town by the time I’m finished, even though you are the best, kindest, most honest and selfless woman I’ve ever met. I will make you pay for doing this to me!” “Right back atcha, Maul,” thought Bracken.

    Months later, she realised that her story was such an inspirational tale of triumph over adversity that it was seriously unfair of her not to let the public in on it. And so, she decided to write a book. But, as it was fiction, the lead character couldn’t be called Bracken. “Thank goodness for my thesaurus!” she thought, as she typed in the replacement name: Heather.”

    *****************

    Spygun is always here to help aspiring Geordie novelists and has managed to find something which will no doubt help the multi-talented Ms Mills as she taps away :

    Selina Scott – The Dark Night.

    winner.jpg “Michael Winner and Old Dear”

    The Selina Scott femino-ageist issue is still burning – the latest flaming arrow having been fired by the Patron Saint of Ego – his Esureness , Michael Winner.

    Winner’s motives as ever, are suspect – probably something to do with not having been breast-fed.

    QUOTE from Winner : “There’s nothing sadder than a bunch of unemployable has-beens rising up like the witches in Macbeth and moaning ITV is unfair to us because we’re old”

    Winner should know all about witches – have you seen some of his girlfriends? Or perhaps he was referring to the Daily Mail’s editorial staff.

    At least it will get attention-seeking Michael on the telly and a slot on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show.

    The whole “Selinagate” affair is being treated with a little too much levity so let’s be serious for a moment. 

    Are female News presenters like peaches in a bag? Do they all exhibit the inroads of time at the same age? Do they all succumb simultaneously  to the career-dissolution fairy? 

    There is something vaguely fascistic about the  media dictum:  “They shall not grow old” – on the telly anyway.

    There are many old dears scribbling away and bashing their Remingtons on national newspapers: Sue Caroll, Susanne Moore, Carole Malone, Janet Street-Porter, Lauren Booth, Judy Finnegan and Vanessa Feltz to mention just eight.

    These venerable old boilers even have their airbrushed photographs published and occasionally, they are wheeled-out in front of the telly cameras for the odd interview. So in spite of the smell of wee and Steradent, these old crumblies are not regarded as too disgusting for an occasional airing before a patient but gagging audience.

    “Double Standard” is a mantra regularly hissed by these geriatro-lovelies.

    Well, m’dears, you cannot have your gateau and eat it – even after you have picked out the odd stray facial hair.

    Most media old dears scribble a lot of anti-man stuff – unless they go for the occasional toy-boy piece which is usually a bit of a piss-take anyway. Rarely do we see an article which is appreciative of men.  Their favourite subject is “women”.  Dare one use the word “sexist”?

    Old men write about issues – such as politics, the law, the world. They also write about trivial stuff such as  cars, travel and football. Plus, they tend to be very appreciative of women. Very little female-negative content.

    Why are so many Media “Grand Dams” either single or in frivolous “toy-boy” relationships? Are proper mature relationships not for them? Is it because they are so disdainful of men?

    Perhaps it is not just the men who run the telly that don’t want them.

    So that’s the sexist bit out of the way. What about the age thing?

    Career-ageism is only a problem if ambition is still simmering.

    It is not so long ago that this type of ageism did not exist because ambition died at about the age of 50 – as did most of the population. If you survived beyond 50 then by the age of 60, you were ready for your place in the Glue Factory queue.

    Both ageism, racism and now sexism are so deeply embedded in the British psyche that they cannot be eradicated through law or legislation. They can only be killed by time because our sociological development is lagging about 1000 years behind our social development.

    Sexism and ageism are both  cultural phenomena rooted very firmly in the formerly divergent roles of the sexes and ages.

    These roles have only started to converge comparatively recently but what has developed over hundreds of thousands of years cannot and will not be undone by the odd court case.

    A couple of years ago, Nick Ross resigned from Crimewatch amid allegations of ageism.

    At least Selina Scott has the added bonus of her sex to beat people up with.

    Olympics 2008 – the Epilogue.

    We like His Borissness and we always enjoy the  studied buffoonery. This  time it began with the unfurling of the Olympic flag at the end of the closing ceremony in Beijing. Would he or wouldn’t he?  Of course, it was OK in the end.

    There is only one question which my toff mates have been unable answer :  how does Boris make a Saville Row number look like Eastender Minty’s boiler suit? That is real style.

    olympic-bus.jpg

    The double-decker bus which opened like a Chancellor’s purse was OK but the faux-topiary, faux-clipped to look like bugger-all was not good. Leona Lewis looked terrified and seemed more concerned with not falling off her perch than with the warbling. For once, the vibrato sounded real – but then again, it normally does when you’re crapping yourself in front of billions.

    We did not quite realise it at the time but this was just  the beginning of the Simon Cowell Benefit night.

    Beckham held a ball up and kicked it and said later that he was “honoured”. The training has obviously paid off. I don’t mean fitness or football training but “HOW TO PUT LONG SENTENCES TOGETHER” training – for the interview. He didn’t once use the V-word, so we have to assume that he has since had a severe bollocking from the gruesome pouting one.

    Red bus, Leona Lewis, Beckham, small girl and dancers. No cock-ups. Good so far.

    Enter Boris centre stage for the post-Olympics piss-up. Some marginally unfunny stuff about Ping Pong. Nothing wrong there except that it probably produced several complaints to British talk radio stations from “offended” out-of-work Scottish listeners. Again, nothing unusual.

    We were still awaiting the first cock-up. We’re British for goodness’ sake. We NEED cockups. It is our cultural oxygen.Without cock-ups we are like everyone else.

    Then it came!!! It was a video about London…….

    Some (former) mentalist VT editor had included a very short sequence on the Tate and there was a glimpse of a so-so painting of Myra Hindley. One could argue that the image was appropriate. After all, Gordon Brown was wearing his Jack the Ripper grin PLUS murder is currently a popular cultural phenomenon – especially in London.

    The sad fact is that this was not a new video and the company Visit London probably did not think twice about including Hindley’s likeness. I bet that the editor was a young guy who probably just saw something that could have been an Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe. Sadly, although it was a rip-off, it was not the sainted Marilyn.

    Boris was outraged, Brown was outraged but  instead of being outraged quietly they managed to alert the whole world to our ineptitude. Social soirees and breweries immediately sprang to mind.

    All that Brown had to do was to quietly ask for the directors of  Visit London to place their dangly bits on a butcher’s block  while he went in search of a drink-crazed hoodie with a machete. Job done. The British Way.

    No. We had to put it on the front page and indulge in a bit of collective outrage. That is the perversity of the British psyche.

    Before we move to London’s Simon Cowell benefit “Concert” which, for some reason appeared to be called “VISA”, there is one small niggling matter which may be worth a mention.

    Huw Edwards had been freighted over and unpacked to commentate on the closing ceremony – ” a Beacon….. a beacon of hope….”.

    He has neither the intellect, wit nor the vocabulary to add anything to any great occasion. Just clueless empty platitudes. One of the Dimbebys (preferably David)  should have been dispatched or maybe Sue Barker should have taken the lead with her chum Hazel. 

    Edwards’ commentary was very reminiscent of the night that Trevor MacDonald was sent to RAF Lyneham to commentate on John McCarthy’s return from Beirut  “and here come da plane in an arc… a lovely, lovely arc…. etc.”

    The telly-action moved to London for the “VISA Concert” and lots of Blue Peter presenters introducing performers who had at some stage, passed through Simon Cowell’s hands.

    More inanities  and lots of  “How do you feel?” questions. Needless to say , everything was “Amaiiiiiizing!!!” ….but……a danger is now lurking and it WILL bite us:

    We all appear to be suffering from the “1966 effect”.

    In 1966, we won the World Cup and since then  we have believed, contrary to all the evidence, that we are a great footballing nation.

    We are now imagining that we are some sort of major force in world sport. There is mass hysteria with open-topped buses, gala dinners and Gordon Brown  dishing out honours like Purple Hearts. 

    Let us hope that once the 2008 Sports Personality has been chosen, we calm down, regain some sense of perspective and  take a reality check.

    Adrian Sudbury

     adrian.jpg

    This week has amplified our collective superficiality and our blindly inane worship of Celebrity.

    You think that Gary Glitter is a celebrity? Here is a real one:

    Adrian Sudbury was a reporter for both the Huddersfield Express and Chronicle and the Huddersfield Examiner.

    In November 2006 the 25-year-old was promoted to digital journalist, effectively editing the new-look Examiner website. Just two days into his new role he became seriously ill and called in sick.

    A week later he drove himself to A&E and was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia. It was then identified that he actually had two distinct types of the disease running at the same time. According to the medical literature he was the only person in the world to have the condition. It was not possible to offer Adrian a prognosis.

    He  knew that his days were numbered and in spite of the lukaemia that he had to fight in order to buy a little more time, he became a very vociferous and effective  campaigner for organ and blood donation. 

    Adrian died this week.

    Many people have sent messages of condolence to Adrian’s family. Among them was Gordon Brown.

    He praised Adrian as a ‘true hero’ who was ‘an inspiration to all who knew him’:

     “Adrian Sudbury was a true hero whose selflessness and courage made him an inspiration to all who knew him and to many who didn’t.  

    Adrian’s campaign to raise awareness about blood, bone marrow and organ donation has already attracted thousands of supporters, myself among them, and his memory will continue to inspire action for many years to come.  

    I spoke to Adrian last Wednesday and his campaigning spirit and his optimism remained undimmed. My thoughts are with his family at this time, and I know they will be proud that Adrian’s achievements will continue to help others after he has gone”.

    Brian of Britain

     brian-reade.jpg “Pillow-eating?”

    Brian (Fidel) Reade is arguably the best columnist around  and the best-loved Scouser since James Maybrick but there are occasions when he appears to be playing without the full complement of marbles.

    This week’s  article in the Daily Mirror finds our Brian suggesting that  GB’s sporting success has  largely been made possible through the munificence of successive Labour governments. 

    Pity Labour cannot do the same for the economy. 

    Brian blaming the Tories for our lack of sporting success is like blaming Ramsay MacDonald for the Great Depression or Tony Blair for Gordon Brown’s current rerun of the MacDonald years.

    Anyway, we digress because among the millions of British Olympics Association bulletins that Spygun has been receiving over the past 12 months, here is  one which Brian will find of interest:

    Liverpool’s  bid in for the 2016 Olympics

    OPENING CEREMONY
    The Olympic flame will be ignited by a petrol bomb thrown into the arena by a native of the Toxteth area of the City, wearing the traditional costume of balaclava and shell suit.

    THE EVENTS
    Liverpool’s previous Olympic competitors have not been particularly successful.
    In order to redress the balance some of the events have been altered slightly to the advantage of the local athletes…

    100 METRES SPRINT
    Competitors will have to hold a video recorder and a microwave oven (one under each arm) and on the sound of a starting pistol a police dog will be released 10 metres behind the athletes.

    110 METRES HURDLES
    As above but with added obstacles –  car bonnets, hedges, gardens, fences, walls etc.

    HAMMER
    The competitors will be allowed to make a choice of hammer (Claw, Sledge etc.)
    The winner will be the one who can cause the most grievous bodily harm to members of the public within their allotted time.

    WEIGHTLIFTING
    From a standing position competitors will have various electronic goods placed in their arms. In order to complete a lift these must then be taken through the shop door and placed in a mate’s van.

    FENCING
    Entrants will be asked to dispose of as much stolen jewellery as possible within five minutes.

    SHOOTING

    A series of targets will be set up to establish the competitor’s ability over a range of disciplines The targets to be as follows:-
    1 – A Moving Police Van.
    2 – A Post Office Clerk.
    3 – A Bank Teller or Securior Driver.
    4 – Their next door neighbours youngest child.
    NB – This event will be accompanied  by the ritual cries of ‘I thought he was a Bizzy’ or ‘He pulled a blade on me, like’.

    BOXING
    Entry to be restricted to husband and wife teams and will take place on every Friday and Saturday night of the games.
    The husband will be given 15 pints of Stella, and the wife will be told not to make him any tea when he gets home.
    The bout will then commence.

    CYCLING TIME TRIALS
    Competitors will be asked to break into the Liverpool University bike shed and take an expensive mountain bike, owned by some Mummy’s Boy from the country on his first trip away from home.  Against the clock.

    CYCLING PURSUIT
    As above however this time the break in must occur at Liverpool Police Station and must be witnessed by an officer.

    TIME TRIAL
    The competitor who can waste the most of the court’s valuable time before being found guilty will be adjudged the winner.

    MODERN PENTATHLON
    Amended to include mugging, breaking & entering, flashing, joyriding and arson.

    THE MARATHON
    A safe route has yet to be decided, but the competitors will be issued with sharp sticks and bags with which to pick up dog shit, crisp packets and used hypodermic syringes on their way round.

    MEN’S 50Km WALK
    Q – Why does the Mersey run through Liverpool?
    A – Because if it walked it would get mugged.

    Therefore for safety reasons this event has been cancelled.

    RELAY
    Each of four competitors to remove an appliance of their choice from a house in Cheshire and get it back to Liverpool using at least four different stolen cars.

    ARCHERY
    Each competitor will be given three needles, the winner will be the person who gets nearest to three different main veins in their own body.

    DISCUS
    Will be decided by which contestant can get a hubcap off a car and throw it to his mate the fastest.
    In addition the following ‘exhibition’ event designed at promoting the local culture will be introduced:

    PILLOW EATING
    The winner will be the contestant who can get the most pillow in his mouth after his 18 stone cellmate takes a shine to  him.

    All that Glitters is not Gadd…………………

    Good to see Gary Glitter  knocking up those airmiles. He should have enough for a laptop by now.

    Why the slavering media pack? Why the interest?

    There are two main streams of opinion about Glitter’s unfortunate predicament:

    1. “He’s served his time , paid his debt  to society so leave him alone.”

    2. “Cut his bollocks off.”

    He is a seedy old man who has always been known as a bit of a perv and he has (literally) screwed his life up.

    There is a chance that he is deriving some sort of twisted pleasure from  the attention that we are giving him. Difficult and illogical as it may seem – our indifference would probably hurt him more than anything.

    We need not continue to treat him like a celebrity. We should treat him like something that you might find sticking to the sole of your boot after a walk across the common.

    Let’s ignore him and let the law keep a watchful eye.

    We will always have Option 2 (above).

    p.s. I know that it’s “GLISTERS” and not Glitters ( headline above)  but it was either that or “Nonce upon a Thai. Mmmmmm”.  

    Sorry.