Category Archives: Media

The rats were digging – now they’re leaving.

karadzic.jpg Alistair Darling

We have devoted quite a bit of time and space to Mervyn King, his band of funsters and their effectiveness in doing anything at all to the economy. Currently, they are totally boxed in. 

They cannot attempt to stimulate the economy by dropping rates because inflation is running away –  it is out of control and as usual, the BoE is just an expensively suited observer.

There is as saying:


1. There are those who make things happen.
2. There are those who watch things happen.
3.There are those who wonder what happened

The BoE has just slipped from Two to Three. They never made it to One.

The USA has responded aggressively because after three years and a gradually collapsing housing market they had to stop it.

Here in the United Kingdom, interest rates will not be seriously played with until 2009.

That will not help our collapsing property market and unlike the States, we are still in the early stages of the collapse-the USA are about two to three years ahead of us.

The main growth driver of the UK economy is the financial services sector.  That sector is running for cover and because the economy is manufacturing-light, we are in deep trouble.

Past Chancellors have made a great deal of the fact that we are the world’s commercial centre and that London is that the epicentre of world trade.  That is all very well  when the world’s economies are booming but leaves us very vulnerable when they are not.

Unlike the States-all that we can do is sit and wait.

Rats deserting the sinking ship.

We thought that things were bad when Eastern Europeans started heading back home. The real reason that they are disappearing is that our own (domestic) unemployment rate is gathering pace which means fewer jobs for foreigners.

Looking at the G8 group , the best-off at the moment are the “resource economies” such as Russia and Canada. They have something to sell.Our problem is that we have nothing to sell – we are as service-based economy.

What Gordon Brown should do is to take back control of interest rates but not give them to Alistair Darling.  Alistair  can go away, grow his hair and beard, put on a large pair of  glasses and work as a new-age therapist.  No-one will recognise him.

Finally, the Securitisation of mortgages should be outlawed. It is far too easy for bad lenders to hide bad lending by bundling mortgages up and flogging them off on the open market. It is like buying a box of bric-a-brac at an auction and when you get home , discovering that you have bought a load of crap.

Lenders should take responsibility for their own lending -like they used to.

By the way…. Northern Rock….Covered Bond issue?  One thing to say. No.

Brown Dread 2

aligord4.jpg“So, let me get this straight. You’re telling me that I fucked up again. Right? Let me tell you something , you punks. You keep messing with me  – you know the sort of thing  – not voting for the Party and showing me disrespect and other stuff. The Crewe caper was a one-off temporary setback.  This Glasgow temporary setback is  another one-off temporary setback which is unlikely to be repeated while I’m in charge. I am still the most popular leader since  Alec Douglas-Homo. That Cameron punk is a nobody. He shows no respect. Keep an eye on his pretty face. Accident? What accident? I was in a meeting.

Those nice Milliband boys – they are like my sons and I would hate to see anything bad happen to them. The Ed Balls boy is harmless but I would hate him to lose his surname – if you know what I mean.  I hired him and his woman because I know that they will be no trouble – but I have asked Jack to look out for them,  just in case of any more accidents.

Jack has always been a good man. I like him but I like to keep him close. The only problem is that he has a mouth – the sort of mouth that could lead to misunderstandings and sometimes… very bad accidents. That was not a threat – just an observation.

That Tarquin Timpson won the Crewe caper fair and square and I respect that. Mind you what do you expect with a Labour candidate called Tamsin Dunwoody-Kneafsey. She sounds like a toff – no wonder we lost. 

In Glasgow we had the  Curran woman. She’s OK, I suppose but she looks a bit accident prone and  I know that we should have made her a appointment at Specsavers – but you can’t do everyrhing. She went to meet this old guy who had been  presented with a gong and said that he was a real inspiration. She said:

“Mr McGuiness is a 93 year old—who looks not a day past 70, by the way—living in a sheltered housing complex that I went to visit today.

Mr McGuiness fought with the Desert Rats in World War II and was treated in hospital for shrapnel wounds. He also fought in Yugoslavia with the partisans against the German occupation.

He reminded me of all the sacrifices our older generation made so that we can enjoy freedom today. I hope every single voter in the East End uses their hard-fought right to vote on July 24th.

Having met Mr McGuiness today, I am reminded we owe it to people like him to use our democratic right to vote.”

When Mr McGuiness met Mrs Curran , we thought he looked a bit pissed off. You would think that he’d be quite pleased at the compliment about his youthful looks .

Do you know his secret of eternal life ? He is 67.

Mr McGuinness had been confused with a  real 93 year-old called John Hipson.

John McGuinness had been  the proposer  on the Nomination Paper of the Scottish Socialist Party candidate. Her name was Frances Curran.

See? When you think stuff out, you always get to the bottom of the problem. Mind you, with a cock-up like that, she would have fitted right into the Cabinet with no problem whatsoever.

By the way, I still know that there are Labour Members with small majorities who know that they are onto a good little earner and who are getting nervous, especially  about losing their seats  and their secretaries or researchers scoring a few quid from the Sunday red-tops – in spite of that Adolf Mosley case. They think that come 2010, after the divorce , they might have to find a proper job.  All that I have to say to them is – ask yourselves, what is the point of a good clean Parliamentary  job with no heavy lifting if you have no legs – even if it’s only for a couple more years?  We don’t have to hurt each other, do we? Let’s stop all that silly talk about leadership challenges. Brakepipes on official Jags have been known to come adrift for no reason and cycling can also be dangerous – there could be a sudden increase in the number of hit-and-run accidents around Westminster – especially with that  new London mayor Doris Johanssen in charge.  You never know. Think about it.

Who? McDonnell? Never heard of him. Has he got a bike?”

Sitting in the Dock of eBay

 Please click  on “COMMENT” (above).ebaylogo1.jpg The comments will show at the bottom of this page.

 

 

 

 

Ebay says that it is merely a “platform” where buyers and sellers can meet and so it has no financial responsibility towards its buyers. Occasionally it may help a buyer to recoup losses but it is a long drawn-out process.

The recent court victory by the Louis Vuitton Group does not seem to have affected ebay in any way and it has stated that it is to lodge an appeal. For those of you who may not have heard about the Louis Vuitton case, here is a brief summary:

A French court has ordered eBay to pay 40m euros (£31.6m; $63m) to luxury goods group LVMH ( Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy) for allowing online auctions of fake copies of its goods. LVMH claimed that eBay’s French site had not done enough to stop the sale of counterfeit bags and perfumes. The brands affected include Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy. An eBay statement said LVMH was trying to “protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice”.

As fatuous arguments go, this is in the top five. What they are appear to be saying is this :  

“We are providing a platform for counterfeit goods to be sold because it is in the consumer’s interest. We are the good guys and we do our best.”

Ebay charges fees through its listing fees and through Paypal and has made millions from the sale of fake goods. Ebay claims that it has invested £20m over the last two years in a project to remove counterfeit goods.

It has a system system called VeRO, or Verified Rights Owner, which is meant to let luxury brands report any suspicious listings which can then be removed from auction. Our experience of this “system” is that it appears to be a cottage industry within eBay and is reactive rather than proactive.

That means that if you try and sell a counterfeit item, you are likely to be safe, unless someone complains.

Spygun’s dealings with eBay suggest that they are not a bad bunch of people, i.e. there is no “naughtiness with intent”.

However, they do very little to inspire confidence – especially the management. It may be that the current set of management skills within the company is out of sync with the current size and growth rate of the business. That happens sometimes – if a company is expanding at a rate of knots, it takes time for the personnel within that company to catch up. No doubt, over the next few years, eBay will be importing the skills set that it needs. 

At present, senior management has removed itself from the outside world and if you are a client of eBay, there is no way that you will be able to speak to anyone except someone who is only authorised in eBay’s “cut-and-paste” style of communication.

Even “one-up” supervisors rarely speak to the outside world. The modus operandi appears to be for the front-line troops to talk to clients and if there is a question that is not in the manual, they go away for a few minutes, speak to someone who knows and then attempt to regurgitate what they have been told to say. The problem for the customer self-amplifies whenever there is more than one question.

Spygun has emailed Senior Management at eBay on several occasions and is still awaiting the first written response. I’ve had a couple of phone calls from the Executive Escalations office – I suppose that the Exec Escalations people are the equivalent of the Pope’s Cardinals. After all, one does not expect an email from the Pope.

The only suggestions  are  : If you are telephoning ebay, prepare a flask of coffee, a box of sandwiches and possibly a book or magazine.  Secondly, if you want a query to be answered by email, develop a taste for badly-written blandishments. Whether you write to the CEO or “Trust and Safety” of Customer Services” – it is always the same person who seems to cut-and-paste the reply.

Ebay is a rapidly-improving exponent of a culture of “Teflon management”. That is to say that when it suits them, they are only “the man in the middle” and never an accessory to any crime. Nothing sticks – not even to the fan.

Here’s a lovely quote from eBay:

“Any inconvenience that this situation may have brought you is deeply regretted.  I also apologise for the confusion brought by the previous response.

Please be advised that eBay is only a “platform” for this transaction.
We are not trying to avoid potential responsibilities but just clarifying our role.  We are not exactly the “seller” of this item.  We only bring buyers and sellers together.”

I have put together a Case Study based on ebay’s dealing with a recent selling/buying problem that Spygun experienced . I will publish it soon and it is hilarious!

Spygun would love to meet whoever wrote the eBay “Book of Words”.  

I bet she was at Woodstock.

Dwain NOT in “The Clear”

chambers3.jpg “Thanks for everything.”

Today, Justice Sir Colin Mackay refused to grant an injunction temporarily suspending a lifetime Olympic ban imposed on self-confessed drugs cheat  Dwain Chambers by the British Olympic Association (BOA) under a bylaw.

Some may argue that Chambers should have been given a second chance  – especially as he confessed to taking the banned steroid THG (also known as “The Clear”). The fact is that had he been reinstated, it would have sent out the wrong message to other athletes who are already taking illegal substances or those young athletes who are coming into this or any other sport. Had Chambers been allowed to compete again, his ban would have seemed a very small price to pay and may have encouraged others to think that the risk was worth the sanction.

Statement from BOA Chairman Colin Moynihan

“We are respectful of the Court’s decision in all aspects.  The British Olympic Association (BOA) has rules which are not only recognised and understood by all Olympic athletes, but our Bye-law has been in place for 16 years at their request and for their benefit.

I have to say that it is a matter of regret that Dwain Chambers – an athlete with such undoubted talent, a winner of the European Youth Olympic Festival 100m as a young man – should by his own actions have put himself out of the running to shine on the Olympic stage in Beijing.

However, on behalf of the athletes the BOA will continue to send a powerful and important message that nobody found guilty of serious drug cheating offences should have the honour of wearing a Team GB vest at the Olympic Games.

The Court’s decision allows us now to focus on and support those athletes who will be travelling to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to represent Team GB in just 21 days time.  We must now focus on their interests.”

Chambers will have learned two lessons. The first one is that he should not have taken THG** and the second is that honesty is not always the best policy. However, all he has to do is bide his time, start telling school kids “don’t do drugs” and/or use the old trick of  “I have allowed Jesus into my heart” and he will soon be back.

THG  (Tetrahydrogestrinone) is used to speed-up muscle growth and was developed in the USA. You may recall Linford Christie being tested positive for  Nandrolone which is another synthetic steroid. THG is 10 times more powerful than Nandrolone and was the No 1 designer steroid for some time because it was regarded as “invisible” , i.e. undetectable.  In 2007 the American Marion Jones confessed to using THG prior to the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she won three gold medals. Her career and reputation are also in tatters.

Rajendra – The difference between Research and Plagiarism.

persaud1.jpg 

Dr Anthony Morgan, the chair of the General Medical Council (GMC) Fitness to Practice Panel to Rajendra Persaud:

“The panel is of the view that you must have known that your actions in allowing the work of others to be seen as though it was your own would be considered dishonest by ordinary people.”

“The panel has therefore determined that your actions were dishonest in accordance with the accepted definition of dishonesty in these proceedings. The panel has determined that your actions, in plagiarising the work of others, were liable to bring the profession into disrepute.”

Today, the General Medical Council came to the conclusion that Dr Raj Persaud’s “fitness to practice is impaired”  after he admitted to the copying of other experts’ research.

There will be further investigation so as to determine the level of punishment which could range from a slap on the wrist to Persaud being struck off.

Professor Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Bangor University said that he was baffled by Raj Persaud’s plagiarism.

We think that the key to Persaud’s naughtiness lies in his extreme vanity which has visibly grown over the years. You only need to Google “Raj Persaud” and check out IMAGES. You will see more posed photographs of Persaud than of any other “celebrity”. In spite of the fact that he obviously loves himself , we shall resist any scurrilous reference to self-inflicted love bites. Oops! 

His early simpering performances on Richard and Judy gradually developed into more assured and more expensively-suited slots but something about him never rang true.

When he came onto the show and started to lecture us on seduction methods, belief had to be suspended in a big way because he looked like a geek in a suit and bad haircut who had never had it.

Celebrity turns heads and makes the individual feel invincible. Especially when the celebrity is turbo-powered by that heady cocktail of fame and pathological vanity.

Mirror anyone?

The only question that Persaud will be asking himself now is   “Where are Richard and Judy when you need them?”.

Only joking, of course – we like R&J and we knew that they would voice their support publicly.

Final words from Raj Persaud:

“I am saddened by the findings and decision of the GMC, which relates to material published in 2004 and 2005. These matters have been under investigation since 2005.

“As I said during the hearing, I accept that my use of the work of some authors lacked adequate acknowledgement.

“I have apologised repeatedly for this during the hearing, and I apologise for this now. I am saddened that this occurred while I was seeking to promote the work of academics to the wider public.

“I am grateful for the support of so many colleagues, patients and members of the public who have contacted the GMC and myself to offer their support to me at this difficult time.

“Mental illness and psychological problems are much misunderstood, but extremely common predicaments which still require energetic efforts to de-stigmatise. I hope to be allowed to continue with this work in the future.”

 Funny…. I still get that feeling of dejà vu.

Where’s that F******g folder?

 catpuke.jpg

” Found this on a train. I wonder if the BBC might be interested.”

Let’s look at the evidence:

1. There is a difficult vote for the Government.

2. A folder with low-level “SECRET” information is found on a train a few days before.

3. The finder takes or sends the folder to the BBC.

4. The BBC tells the world on the day of the vote and only then hands the documents to the police.

5. The Government is seriously embarrassed but goes on to win the vote.

6. The BBC and the rest of the media suggest that the government has done a “deal” with Unionist  MPs.

The correct thing for the finder to have done is to either  have handed the folder to the rail authorities or to the police. So, the question is “Why?”. Why would an individual hand anything found on a train to the BBC?

The sad fact is that we are now living in a media-dominated world. If that finder had handed the folder to the rail authorities or the police, it would have been either a rail worker or a policeman who would have courted glory and publicity by handing the folder to a newspaper or TV company.

A BBC “high-up” has muttered something about “public interest”. That of course is followed by “And what about those ID cards? How can we trust the government to keep secrets. Remember those discs that were lost a couple of months ago….”

And so it goes on.

The fact is that a tired Civil Servant happened to be carrying a folder which happened to contain some confidential information and he forgot it. End of.

This episode has once again shown that the media is out of control. They even interview each other nowadays. There were times when a politician or business head was interviewed on the news. Now, the newsreader interviews one of his own reporters and the news is not reported – it is interpreted, over-analysed and then subjected to crystal-ball gazing.

A misplaced folder is not News but a blatant attempt to influence public opinion is News.

Whale Meet Again.

jameswhaledm2011_468x620.jpeg

James and Melinda

We are a middle-of-the-road country with middle-of-the-road views. We even listen to middle-of -the-road music.

Even our food is middle-of-the-road, universally lampooned for its middle-of-the-road blandness.

It is not surprising therefore that the UK’s antidote to bland radio and one of the nation’s giants of positivity and clear thinking – James Whale- has been sacked. He has been sacked by Talksport – a radio station  which crashed onto the airwaves with a clarion blast of creative innovation but which inevitably has lapsed into the moribund blandness which afflicts every aspect of British life.

The iconic James is a presenter who is years ahead of his time but who has always made the mistake of being true to himself and saying what he believes. He should be lauded , encouraged and  lionised. Instead, he is abandoned by the station that would definitely not be the organisation that it is without his giant presence.

As a nation, we are comfortable with the bland and predictable. We can only take excitement in small doses. That is why Talkspurt has hired a bunch of reactionary psycho-nutters such as Graham Beecroft, Mike Mendoza and Ronnie Irani. Takes your breath away!

Who is Moz Dee?  He runs Talkspurt  and he sacked James before Ofcom had concluded its investigation.  Mind you, he is ex-BBC , probably feels a knighthood beckoning and needs the Brownie points. Kelvin MacKenzie, Talkspurt’s former supremo would have told everyone to “ofcom off”. Then he would have gently smacked James on the wrist and forgotten all about it. Mind you, Kelvin  is one of those increasingly rare media people whose balls are not kept in a jar at Ofcom headquarters.

What was James sacked for?

A breach of the Ofcom rules…lack of impartiality? Surely not.

James urged his listeners to vote for Boris Johnson. So what? It was Gordon Brown who lost Ken Livingstone his job – not James Whale.

There are individuals who listen to James Whale because they vehemently DISAGREE with his views. The odds are that if James had said “Vote for Ken”, most of his audience would have voted for Boris.

Those preconcluding, sanctimonious cardiganed “ineffects” at Ofcom have been gunning for James. With Moz Dee’s connivance, they’ve got him.

(We have a sneaky feeling that both James and Boris  will outlast Mozza by a mile.)