“It’s dark in here. Is that a torch in your pocket, Tony?”
“It’s dark in here. Is that a torch in your pocket, Tony?”
The Chilcot Inquiry is over!!
Sir John Chilcot says that it will take “some months” to write the whole thing up.
Here’s a summary which I hope he finds helpful.
1.Saddam invaded Kuwait and George Bush Senior ignored Norman Schwarzkopf’s advice to push Saddam “all the way back to Baghdad”.
2. George Bush Senior knew that he’d made a mistake when Saddam continued to be a pain in the butt.
3. 9/11 happened and George W. Bush (the son) realised that by linking “terrorism” to Iraq, he could take Saddam down.
4. He needed someone naive and compliant to support his intention to invade Iraq under ANY pretext and so avenge his dear old pappy.
5. Enter “the Man who said YES”, Tony Blair. He over-committed by agreeing to support George Dubya without seeking a sign-off from Parliament.
6. Saddam continued to goad America by lying about his military capabilities, claiming that he possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)
7. Saddam was proved right. He did possess WMDs. The were called Bush and his poodle Blair.
8. WMD “evidence” was produced but later shown to be false – probably through over-zealous “interpretation” of data, photos and information.
9.Through a process of double-dealing, a loose interpretation of international law and obfuscation, Blair convinced Parliament that we could die at any minute at Saddam’s hands.
10. Iraq was bombed and eventually Saddam was hanged.
11. Bush declared a “victory” and Blair became a Middle East Peace Envoy.
12.Blair gave two Chilcot Inquiry performances which should (at the very least) earn him a BAFTA.
That took 10 minutes.
” Gaffe-prone? Me? Not at all. By the way, why do you hold your hands like this when you sing Mammy?”
Gordon Brown waited 10 years for a crack at the top job. During that time, the United Kingdom enjoyed the fruits and prudence of Ken Clarke’s final Conservative budget. The posturing Iron Chancellor gave no nod either in Ken’s direction or even in the direction of the Global Economy. Both had made him look good and deserved his acknowledgement but the Global Economy would not come to prominence in his mind until the country was beginning to “benefit” from his personal brand of “overdraft” budgeting style. Then it was a case of “Nowt to do with me mate, there’s a Global recession.”
Those 10 years also saw Brown set-up his own “virtual” government at the Treasury as he waited for Blair to hand over the reins of power. He craved a shot at being Prime Minister to such an extent that it became an obsession which yesterday finally ended as abdication – and about time too.
He could have “walked” yesterday but has managed to squeeze another four months as leader (and possibly Prime Minister). He is not exercising his constitutional duty, he is hanging on at all costs.
Both his tenures as Chancellor and as Prime Minister have ended in failure and today he probably feels that extremely keenly. History will judge his tenure at no 10 Downing Street as that of an unelected interim administrator and not as the great statesman that he undoubtedly imagines himself to be.
There will be no “Brownists” as there are “Thatcherites” and “Blairites”. Brown will soon be forgotten as a hastily scribbled footnote in the pages of our political history. Sadly, he has become a figure of fun and caricature with a total lack of leadership qualities or public social skills. Those who know him personally say that he is urbane, witty , funny and extremely good company. That doesn’t matter because what we see is a clumsy social inept who would have difficulty in motivating a gaggle of orgasming American Cheerleaders.
It is sad to say but during the last few years the once-great Labour Party has had trouble finding a decent leader. Callaghan? Foot? Kinnock? Blair? Brown? Brown was the ultimate “wrong man in the wrong job”. Some may think of him as a delusional who thought that Blair’s famous “hand of history on my shoulder” was always meant for him.
He has not been helped by a Labour Party which under Blair became a pastiche of pseudo-Conservative thinking with the mad-aunt of Old Labour having been locked away in the attic. New Labour was embarrassed about its family background. The weak Callaghan did nothing to help the Unions when they were being butchered by Margaret Thatcher. That was the moment when Labour became observers and not shapers of events. Their current legacy is two shooting wars and a wrecked economy. Brown has been at the centre of both.
Whenever a modern Labour leader has attempted to be a co-shaper of events, there has been tragedy – as the frequent flights into Wootton Basset, broken British businesses and evicted families will testify.
As far as the latest General Election is concerned, the rather insipid result is as a result of insipid politics. Every Party has planted iteself in the Political centre, giving the electorate little choice. The Conservatives are afraid to appear too Right-wing. That has resulted in the creation of the Loony Right and the emergence of the BNP and UKIP. Had the Conservatives been honest and encouraged internal debate, voters would have seen that there are Conservatives who make the BNP look like left-wing pinko softies. However, that is not politically correct nowadays because everyone in mainstream politics has to be packaged as a moderate.
Likewise, New Labour was driven into the political centre by Blair and it has remained parked there ever since. By default, Brown sees himself and his party as champions of business as well as the unions. Friends to both management and worker. There is a saying that you cannot run with the hare and the hounds. Labour has been attempting that impossible trick and consequently, left the electorate totally confused. The question is “Who do you stand for, boys?” The answer is that all parties attempt to represent EVERYONE, the only difference being that the Socialists wear cheaper suits than the Conservatives and don’t have moats, trust-funds or offshore accounts. Liberals have dodgy haircuts.
There was a time when the Conservatives represented business and commerce, Labour was the party of the workers and the Liberals were……..well, liberal. Today, they are practically indistinguishable. Consequently, we the electors have to rely on the Punch and Judy exhibition that is the televised Political Debate in order to reach an electoral decision.
To add to our confusion, Brown never did tell us which way he was leading us because he did not seem to care. He just wanted to be Prime Minister and that is one fact of which we were all very conscious.
Blair had John Prescott riding shotgun. Brown has Harriet Harman. Blair knew that he needed a Prescott to keep the Unions sweet. Brown’s lack of leadership and personality means that he could only stand to have people around him who agreed with him – and woe betide anyone who gave him bad news. Like a banana republic dictator, he only wanted the good news, compliance, obedience and adoration.
He imagined himself as a world statesman. He deluded himself into thinking that he had saved the world. (Remember that famous Freudian slip in the House in December 2008 when he said “We have saved the world”? The Rochdale gaffe was by no means his first.)
Brown’s tetchiness belies his extreme vanity and enjoyment of the trappings of office. His self-image is of the great statesman looking far into the distance, an enigmatic face refusing to give-up his secret visions of a Socialist Utopia where all men are born equal and have the same opportunities and advantages in work, education and care. Student politics in an M&S suit.
Will we miss him? No.
Sometimes history slips out of buff government folders and falls into the rough-and-tumble of current affairs, creates an impression, is rewritten and is quietly replaced in its folder – but not this time.
I missed the (almost) live feed of Tony Blair’s appearance at the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry and my subsequent viewing of a recording of the day had all the qualities of watching a tape of a football game after I had learned the result. Many of the press articles on the following Saturday morning contained what appeared to be pre-polished phrases and sentences – as if they had been written before Blair’s performance. Sometimes, political comment gave way to bar-room psychology and biased-reporting seemed to have achieved a re-birth. Supposition appeared to give way to facts. It all seemed quite messy and unnecessarily over-emotional.
The first impressions were of placards outside the Queen Elizabeth Halls and people in anoraks chanting “We all live in a terrorist regime” – rather bizarrely, to the tune of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine“. Then the inevitable interview with an inarticulate lady whose son had been killed. As usual , she couldn’t “find the words” but wanted to know why her son had been killed. Grave-looking TV newsreaders were conveying their disapproval of Blair, even before he’d had a chance to explain himself.
The odds appeared stacked against Blair.
As he sat at his table, ready to face Chilcot, the first thing that you noticed was that the boyish charm that had propelled him so far in the late 90s had gone. This was an expensively-suited, more serious introspective-looking Blair who had brought a rather thick lever-arch file to act as his comfort blanket and would allow him precious thinking time as he flicked through its pages when asked a difficult question. We knew that many of the people seated behind him were relatives of soldiers who had been killed in Iraq and if previous reports were true, they were angry; an only-just-contained mob which could strike at any minute. Blair’s hand shook as he filled his glass with bottled water.
This was British theatre at its best.
The following six hours were destined to rewrite Blairs’ place in history and at that moment, many were anticipating the odd admission, the odd touch of contrition, the odd apology and the odd regret. Once again, the “hand of history” was hovering over Blair’s shoulder.
The day unfolded to the gasping realisation that Blair was going to be having none of it. He defended and justified his position to the hilt. Contrition – forget it. Apologies – none.
Instead we had an exhibition of absolute self-regard – only just this side of vainglorious arrogance. There was even the odd laugh.
Previous witnesses had made it clear that the legal case for the invasion of Iraq was “constructed” and Blair was not only able to adopt the “I was only following advice” stance but showed that what has been interpreted as his “lying” was no more than the sum of his own self-justifying twisted reasoning and mutated thinking.
During awkward questioning, he would try and change the subject, use the “unfinished sentence” technique or even take his reasoning into a verbal “cul-de-sac” without actually answering the question. The stage-hesitation coupled to the slightly downward stare, the occasional shrug of the shoulders were all back!. It was to be a master-class in the art of provincial barristering.
So how did an apparently astute politician such as Blair manage to put himself in such an awkwardly – almost untenable position? How had he managed to paint himself into a corner? Back to the hand of history:
9/11 had undoubtedly given George W Bush the opportunity to make a tenuous connection between Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda and the Twin Towers. That was when the decision to invade Iraq had been made. What followed over the next year-or-so was simply a sales pitch to Blair, Jack Straw and Peter Goldsmith.
Saddam had blotted his copy-book several years earlier by invading Kuwait. What is not generally known is that Iraq has laid claim to Kuwait for many years. Kuwait would have given Iraq direct and much-needed access to the Persian Gulf. Baghdad had laid claim to Kuwait since the 1930s – ever since Kuwait was a British Protectorate (Kuwait did not achieve independence fro the United Kingdom until 1961). When Saddam finally invaded Kuwait, fellow Arab states saw this a far less objectionable than Jewish Israel’s appropriation of Arab Palestine. But because of Western interests, a series of United Nations resolutions were passed on Iraq in 1990. Saddam’s intransigence and military “munchausenisms” made the end-game inevitable.
Blair and Bush always referred to Saddam as a tyrant who killed his own people with weapons of mass destruction. That was true – but there is a context.
Saddam had spent years fighting the fanaticism of Islamic revolution in the Middle East. His own regime was grounded in Ba’athism which was a brand of Arab Socialism that owed more to Moscow than to Mecca. Everywhere but in Iraq, ideology was beginning to defer to theology. Consequently, he was viewed with suspicion by his neighbours who were busying themselves with Islam-driven political re-engineering. The West did not like him because of his Mussolini-like macho posturing and his refusal to be bullied by succesive American Presidents.
In those days the social climate in Iraq was far more liberal that in the rest of the Middle East and Saddam was not considered to be either the religious bigot or crazed tyrant that he has been portrayed by both Bush administrations.
However, there was one major 1988 episode which would provide the catalyst for the Blair/Bush invasion of Iraq and which forever sealed Saddam’s reputation as a terrorist bogeyman. The Kurds in the north of Iraq welcomed Iranian invaders into Iraq and were consequently attacked with mustard and nerve gas by the Iraqi air-force . The manner of their death has without doubt not-only made this one of the most appalling episodes in human history but subsequently enabled Bush and Blair to promulgate Saddam as a “monster capable of anything”.
It was Saddam’s reputation and attitude which clouded the West’s every single subsequent Iraq-linked decision. That in turn, led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the deaths of over 100,000 people. A Royal Running Flush of UN resolutions would have made little difference and as for the “legality” of bombing and invading a non-aggressive state – it was irrelevant. The United States had already decided to invade Iraq and would have done so with or without Blair’s connivance. British participation in the war was firmly in the “nice to have” category and served only to give the invasion a superficial legitimacy.
Politically, it can be argued that Blair had made the right decision. Although in the 2005 General Election, Labour’s Westminster seat-count went down to 356 (from 413 in 2001), the still-healthy Labour majority demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that Blair was continuing to enjoy the backing of the British voter. That was in spite of the 2003 Hutton Inquiry.
Tony Blair now says that his reference to the fact that Saddam was capable of deploying weapons “within 45 minutes” referred to “battlefield” weapons and not ballistic weapons. That suggests either a total lack of communication skill on Blair’s part, or a very selective use of information and misinformation. There is little doubt that Blair was in a hurry: He told us that Saddam’s weapons capability was “active, detailed and growing”. That appears to be a statement designed to motivate and hurry the country to action. Blair was in a hurry because Bush was in a hurry.
Later, Blair said that it was the future threat which Saddam posed which meant that action “had to be taken” . His earlier television interview with Fern Britton demonstrated the full extent of his clouded judgement and inconsistent thinking when he said that he would have removed Saddam regardless of whether or not he had Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Blair seemed to be clutching at every excuse and justification that came to mind – even if they contradicted each other.
Jack Straw’s and Peter Goldsmiths evidence has clearly demonstrated that the legality of the invasion was “finely balanced”. Therefore, one would assume that because the invasion of a foreign state is such a profoundly major event, one would naturally err on the side of caution and not invade.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s entire retinue of 27 Foreign Office lawyers thought that the invasion of Iraq would be illegal. Unfortunately, Straw failed to convey that message to No 10. Why? Probably because he knew that some bosses only want to hear either the good news or the news which happens to dovetail with their own judgements.
Blair’s most memorable moment at the Chilcot Inquiry occurred when Chilcott asked him directlly whether he (Blair) had any regrets. This was Blair’s big opportunity and he blew it. He said that he felt “Responsibility but not regret”. He was implying that Saddam-like, he felt no regret for over 100,00 dead soldiers and civilians. He delivered his pre-prepared and ill-judged “no regret” vignette to the chorus of “Murderer” and “You’re a liar”. Finally the gallery behind were able to have their say.
It is doubtful that this is the way that Blair would wish to be remembered by history. Remembering Saddam’s dignified exit as he stood quietly on the trapdoor while his executioners screamed obsceneties at him makes you think that Saddam may yet have the last laugh.
When that lever was pulled – it ended several careers.
One again Tony Blair has done his Houdini act but the fault is not his. He was badly questioned and his uncompromising stance was unsurprising because it was his only option.
You must also remember that when we elect our leaders, we are delegating difficult decision-making to them. We elect them to make difficult decisions which will not always be the correct decisions.
Whatever Blair’s motives for volunteering the United Kingdom to ride shotgun for the USA will never really be known but we perceive that they were a mixture of misinformation, Blair’s vanity, a weak Cabinet, an incompetent Secret Service and a muzzled military High Command. The Chilcot Inquiry is as much an exercise in the Establishment’s self-justification as any half-hearted attempt to elicit the truth. We must also remember that “the truth” is not an absolute value but depends on where you’re standing. Yesterday, Blair was telling his truth.
Please click on the picture below. This is a speech by an American war veteran who is expressing better than any politician what the Iraqi war means to the ordinary soldier.
During the latest Prime Minster’s Question Time, Angus Robertson of the SNP asked Gordon Brown: “The Chilcot inquiry has heard that you were in the Iraq war inner circle and refused key payments for our troops on the front line. Will you confirm to the house that there is no impediment for you to seek a time to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry before the general election?”
Gordon Brown replied: “This is, as I said, a matter for the Chilcot inquiry. I have written to Sir John Chilcot and I have said to him that I am happy to give evidence at any time. That is a matter for the committee to decide, but I will take whatever advice he gives me about when he wishes me to appear.”
Gordon Brown had already written to Sir John Chilcot and had said “I want to make it absolutely clear I am prepared to give evidence whenever you see fit.”
Chilcot fears that the Inquiry may become “politicised” as a result of the Prime Minister’s appearance – which will be within the next two months – and prior to the General Election.
The Chilcot Inquiry’s interrogation of Brown will probably be the equivalent of being flagellated by a warm marshmallow-on-a-rope.
Make no mistake, Brown would have preferred not to have been questioned at all – but for pressure from the Opposition parties – notably Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The Iraq invasion was a transparently illegal act of war. A sovereign state was invaded and that is why many say that the Brits and Americans should now be asked to pay reparations to the Iraqi people. In spite of the fact that there was more-or-less all-Party agreement and support for the invasion, it is the waythat that Parliamentary support was solicited and obtained that is in question. So, whether or not Chilcot agrees, this is a political matter.
It is probable that a Prime Minister lied to Parliament – possibly with the full knowledge of his co-conspirators – with Brown among them.
At the time, Brown was Goering to Blair’s Fuhrer, so in reality, they should both be standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the dock, next to that latter-day Joseph Goebbels – Alastair Campbell.
I make no apology for the Nazi parallels because it is becoming increasingly evident that the Cabinet was manipulated, as were Members of Parliament of all Parties. It seems that for a short time, democracy was a stranger to British politics.
Brown has to explain in detail, his part in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Jack Straw made it abundantly clear to the inquiry that he was anti the invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq. At the time, it was the generally accepted feeling of both politicians and the secret services that any invasion of a Muslim state would result in increased terrorist activity targetted at the invading countries – and so it has come to pass.
Consequently, more and more of the United Kingdom’s and America’s resources are now focused on the “war on terrorism” which appears to consist of no more than sending young soldiers to obscure places to be blown up and the UK and USA “spook” population running around in ever-decreasing circles in the sure knowledge that their political masters have ensured that they have a spooking job for life.
The arithmetic is simple. Many more hundreds of thousands of people have been bombed, shot or blown up as a result of the West’s misguided attempts “prevent” terrorism, than have ever been killed by actual acts of terrorism.
Blair will be questioned next Friday – by then most of the supporting acts will have done their “turn”. Let us hope that Brown’s interrogation takes place while feelings are still running high and that the Brown-hand-picked Chilcot committee temporarily puts all thoughts of future Peerages on the back burner and does its job.
So far, their questioning technique is about as incisive as that of a old parish priest taking confession from a nun. Regrettably, there are no barristers present so we must not expect fireworks but it is hoped that Chilcot’s kindly old duffers pep up their somewhat moribund tennis-club-committee style of interrogation.
Originally, Conservative Leader David Cameron dismissed the Chilcot Inquiry as “an establishment stitch-up”. Let us hope that he was wrong.
Evidence for Weapons of Mass Destruction
Some commentators have already accused Alastair Campbell of being economical with the truth during his Chilcott Inquiry questioning . This is the transcript of the evidence that he gave to the Chilcott Inquiry yesterday, so that we can judge for ourselves. HERE IT IS
From a procedural point of view, it may have been better to put Tony Blair under the microscope BEFORE any of the other witnesses. It appears that the decision to invade Iraq had been made before the involvement of MI6 and all the “evidence” which is claimed, led to a decision to topple Saddam.
In spite of what Mr Campbell said yesterday, there appears to be increasing evidence that Blair’s decision was flawed. In general terms, if there is belief in a concept or belief in an already-made decision, it is too easy to misinterpret facts in order to make them fit the belief. The truth becomes subjective. That may be what happened in the Iraq case.
Norman Schwarzkopf led the Desert Storm troops during the 1991 conflict over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Schwarzkopf wanted to push Saddam and his troops “all the way to Baghdad”– but he was overruled by George Bush Snr. Consequently, Saddam was free to continue his tyranny and carry-on with his mission to destabilise the Middle East.
When George W Bush was elected to the Presidency, it was simply a matter of unfinished business. He too was on a mission. Luckily, his plan to invade Iraq was given the rubber stamp of approval by a British Prime Minister who had only recently realised that he could “play soldiers” with real people and equipment. He was probably also harbouring under the misapprehension that there was nothing better to cement a Prime Minister’s reputation with a slack-jawed electorate, than a good old-fashioned shooting war. After all – look at Churchill and the Nazis orMargaret Thatcher and her uncompromising attitude over Las Malvinas.
Blair wanted to be the people’s hero. If he did think that going to war would create that illusion, he should have taken heed of one of Norman Schwarzkopf’s more famous quotes: “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”
Too often, political leaders believe that by ordering young soldiers to war, there is some reflected glory which makes the leader seem warlike, tough and decisive. That may have been true hundreds of years ago, when a leader would ride in front of his troops but nowadays, the saying is ” We retreated so far back that we bumped into a politician.”
Blair and Bush were as delusional as Saddam Hussein.
Saddam had been playing the old USSR trick by boasting and exaggerating his military strength – and that was to be his undoing. His boasts were taken at face-value by lazy spooks who then saw a weapon of mass destruction within every shadow of every aerial reconnaissance photograph. Who can forget the cringe-making spectacle of an obviously unconvinced Colin Powell being questioned by the UN Security Council on the subject of Saddam’s “Biological Weapons” (see photo above)
The evidence which will be produced during the Chilcott Inquiry will no doubt be interesting and there may be some name-calling and politicians’ reputations may be further eroded but it seems that the root cause of our invasion of Iraq had little to do with incompetent secret agents or flawed evidence.
The root cause was a small politician’s vanity plus his craving to carve himself a place in the history books. He must have felt the hand of history on his shoulder earlier than we had thought. April 7th 1998:
“A day like today is not a day for soundbites, we can leave those at home, but I feel the hand of history upon our shoulder with respect to this, I really do.”
Tony Blair was a bad Prime Minister and his tenure at Downing Street was underpinned by nothing more than spin and window-dressing.
He is now attempting to justify his illegal aiding and abetting of that insaniac George W Bush’s mission to complete the Iraq job – or more specifically, his own father’s (George Bush Snr’s) failure to subdue Saddam in the 1990s.
Blair’s spinning habits have not changed at all and that is why he is suddenly acquiescing to the odd interview prior to his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry. That should be a laugh because judging by the inquiry events so far, Chilcot has already dipped the roller in the whitewash and is about to start redecorating the facts.
One hates to cloud the issues with facts but the only important one is that George W Bush and Tony Blair illegally invaded a sovereign state. They both knew that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Those two are the sole reason for the recent world-wide expansion of the terrorist industry.
Saddam was a merciless tyrant and was not the most popular leader but Iraq was stable, there were no terrorists blowing themselves up and there was nowhere-near the current body-count.
Imposing sanctions on Iraq so that, for instance. there weren’t enough medicines and then refusing Iraq the ability to sell its oil were both clumsy amateurish attempts to paint Saddam into a corner. He and the Iraqi people felt very vulnerable and were easy prey to anyone who felt like invading them. It is no surprise therefore that Saddam decided to “big himself up” by making all sorts of claims about Iraq’s military prowess.
Everyone with an iota of intelligence could see that Saddam’s pronouncements were nothing more than Generalissimo-type posturing and window-dressing. All that is except that Dumb and Dumber of politics: Bush and Blair. The thick and the slimy.
Blair is not a bad person, although his conversion to Catholicism does suggest that he enjoys reading fiction such as the WMD dossier. His actions over Iraq do show him to be an incompetent, ill-informed manager. It is difficult to refer to him as a “leader” because that describes a generic ability which he lacked in abundance. It is also an inability which he so cleverly passed-on to his successor.
What is most worrying though is the fact that he (Blair) allowed himself to be led by Bush – a man who , one suspects would have had difficulty finding the Presidential helicopter parked on his own lawn.
Looking on the bright side though – had Gordon Brown succeeded John Smith, we definitely would not have invaded Iraq. The inquiry would still be in full swing.
It looks as if the inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly will be reopened so the that final doubts can be removed as to whether Dr Kelly did or did not commit suicide. Six eminent doctors are demanding a new inquiry.
They are: Michael Powers QC who is a former coroner; trauma surgeon David Halpin; Andrew Rouse, an epidemiologist who established that deaths from cutting the ulnar artery – as claimed in Dr Kelly’s case – are extremely rare; Martin Birnstingl, another surgeon; plus Stephen Frost and Chris Burns-Cox. They claim that suicide was NOT proved at Dr Kelly’s inquest.
The cuts that Dr Kelly Sustained would not have caused him to bleed to death – neither would have the drugs found in his body. The medication in his bloodstream amounted to no more than a normal dose of painkillers. The doctors are basing their insistence for another inquiry on a medical technicality. This is what they said: “We have concentrated on the finding on the death certificate that the primary cause of death was a haemorrhage. We are spelling out why he could not have died from a cut to the small ulnar artery.”
The doctors are asking for permission to go to the High Court to reopen the inquest on the grounds that it was improperly suspended. If Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General rejects that demand, or the court turns them down, their lawyers say they will have grounds to seek a judicial review of the decision. The inquest into Dr Kelly’s death was suspended before it could begin by order of the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer
Dr Kelly was found dead at a beauty spot near his Oxfordshire home in 2003, days after he was exposed as the source of a story that Tony Blair’s government ’sexed-up’ its dossier on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq.
It now seems that what many people have always suspected could be true: the 2003 Hutton inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death was a Blair-orchestrated whitewash. Hutton himself had been chosen to lead the enquiry by Tony Blair’s former flatmate, Lord Falconer. Hopefully, the whole affair will add another interesting dimension to the current Chilcot inquiry.
Let us hope that the 6 year-old campaign to prove that Dr Kelly was murdered was not in vain – and well done to Norman Baker MP who has been at the forefront of the Kelly-suicide deniers. Norman Baker’s book on the unanswered questions surrounding the case, concluded that Dr Kelly may have been murdered by Iraqi exiles – but the finger has also been pointed at MI5 and the CIA.
We are yet to enjoy the long-overdue sight of Blair squirming as he attempts to deliver his version of the truth.
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
“Let them eat a lorra lorra cake, chuck.”
Tony Blair has not yet broken cover and declared an interest in becoming President of Europe. The post will be created once the Czechs have ratified the Treaty of Lisbon. Gordon Brown has made a decision (!) and declared that he will be lobbying on Blair’s behalf, should Blair decide to put his name forward. Continue reading Cherie Antoinette.
A survey has just been published of the world’s top Broadband Countries – taking into account speed etc. The United Kingdom is languishing in 25th place. The top country? South Korea. Is this another indicator of the rise of the East and the slow eclipse of the West?.
The Daily Mirror has adjusted its reportage of the Tories today – presumably in response to the Sun’s decision to back the Tories. It’s going to be a right mess leading up to the election. The gloves are off
At the Labour Conference yesterday, the jurassic Tony Woodley, leader of UNITE, was cheered when he tore up a copy of the Sun. One presumes that he had looked at the pictures first. He said: “I suggest the rest of the country should do exactly the same thing”. Labour should persuade more progressives such as Tony Woodley to give voice to their views – that way they’re absolutely GUARANTEED to lose not only the next election but several after that. During Tony Blair’s tenure these Brylcreemed 50s throwbacks used to be kept in a darkened room or padded box until after Conference. A dignified silence without even a platform-mention of the Sun would have been far more powerful.
Financial Analysts seem to be confusing the state of the FTSE 100 with the British Economy. The fact is that many of the billions invested in the Stock Exchange consists of foreign money. That’s where many of the profits are going – abroad. Instead of flying to Monaco to play the tables at the Casino, many foreigner “investors” are winning lots in the Casino that is the London Stock Exchange.
The FTSE 100 has experienced its biggest quarterly rise in 25 years. Once again, this is being hailed as some sort of success. It simply means that lots of bets have been placed. The punters will be taking their profits soon. Then the Government can once again blame the bankers. Let’s hope that they don’t break the bank again.
Politicians are always saying that it is the Pension Funds and Insurance Companies own most of the assets traded on the Stock Exchange. In fact, between them, they only own about 25%
Today the national minimum wage rises by 7p an hour to £5.80 and for 18 to 21-year-olds, the minimum wage increases by 6p to £4.83 per hour. This is also the day when the government legislation on “tips” has changed. From today it illegal for bars, restaurants and hotels to use tips or service charges to make up a minimum salary. That is all very well but in the grand scheme of things, it is a comparatively trivial matter and possibly not a terribly cost-efficient move by the Government. Especially as the Government has already conceded that the changes governing tips will lead to an estimated £60m in extra costs to ensure the legislation is implemented properly. The new code will also lead to higher National Insurance payments. This is an inflationarymove because bars , restaurants etc will simply “up” their prices to maintain their margins. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) estimates the new rules could lead to an additional £130m in costs and up to 5,000 job losses. There are those of course who feel that a tip should be a customer’s expression of appreciation for good service and should not be used by an employer to bring wages up to the minimum. Mind you, both the Federation of Small Businesses and UNITE are both in favour of the changes. The only people who will be really affected are the tippers and the tipees. The customer tippers will experience increased prices and the waiter tippees may suffer up to an estimated 5000 job losses. There is a saying: ” If it ain’t broken – don’t fix it.” Needless to say, one of the few groups who will not be affected is Politicians. You may have heard that when they eat out or stay in hotels – it tends to be on expenses.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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)
These are Iran’s main Nuclear sites:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alistair Darling is engaged in a series of meetings in order to decide where spending cuts can be made. If you’re expecting decisions within the next few months – stop being so silly. Although professional pundits do now have the opportunity to make pointless predictions.
Andy Burnham is suggesting yet more NHS changes. The God of Change strikes again! This month’s idea is that we will all be able to choose our GP. I would like one that’s qualified, understands human anatomy and is sober.
Baroness Scotland should know that in a Court of Law, ignorance is no defence. Mind you, the Baroness is the Attorney General. Hopefully, hiring someone called Loloahi Tapui(clue!) with out-of-date papers was just an oversight and as such, does not generate a witch-hunt. Oh yes – there’s an enquiry. There’s always a feckin’ enquiry.
Suddenly, Jordan doesn’t want to talk about “the rape”. It seems that her PR people are running out of interesting stories. The only remaining possbilities are either ” I was abused as a child” or “I was abducted by aliens”.
Bit of a “to-do” about unofficial sperm donors. Apparently, ladies can contact a sperm donor on-line, arrange a meeting and either be handed a container-full of the stuff or on occasion have it delivered direct through the medium of sex. Hence the phrase : “”Bottled or draught?” Sounds like an excellent service as well as an interesting career move, although it could mess-up the old CV, especially if the CV is printed on a sheet of Kleenex. Just realised that if this type of work is a career, the phrase “hand job” begins to make sense.
How would the management at Student Loans UK feel if they were told that because of administrative incompetence, their September salaries will be paid at the end of October. They would probably be quite upset. Next question: How do young kids with the incredible stress associated with leaving home feel-when they’re told by Student Loans UK that their University grants will be paid “about” four weeks late? Why is the beginning of the academic year ALWAYS a surprise? For the record and to help Student Loans UK: The next academic year will be starting in October 2010. Hopefully, that’s enough notice.
Scientists at Newcastle University have produced human sperm in the laboratory. Didn’t know that there was a shortage. Just take a chipping hammer to any Confessional carpet.
Gordon Brown said today “Cooperation between nations at the G20 summit will be crucial to ensure global economic recovery” That is probably the twentieth version of the same sentence . It is a truism and it’s boring. Here’s another sentence which I hope Gordon finds as interesting as his own deep thoughts: ” The sun is in the sky”
Here is a quote from this evening’s No 10 bulletin: “The Prime Minister is launching a brand new podcast series this week talking directly to you about the big issues of the day. The podcasts, which will be available on our iTunes channel andonYouTube, will be recorded at Downing Street or around the world when the Prime Minister is travelling.” Wow! That Gordon Brown is so “street” -using that Interwebthingytoconnectwith the YouTube dudes. Way to go, MC Gordo! Soon, he’ll be buying a pair of those really cool Levi Strauss blue denim casual trousers with the turn-ups, copper rivets and the little red label. Sound! Should go well with the black brogues.
Remember what I told you about the American dollar going into freefall. Soon. Continue reading Monday September 7th 2009-Friday September 18th 2009
” 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
“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.
There are two countries which are the most likely to be booted out of the European Union. Following the Irish referendum, you would be forgiven if you supposed that one of them was Ireland but you’d be wrong.
The countries that have upset certain factions within the EU are two countries which “Systematically thwart European integration.” and “are not European enough”
You may be surprised to learn that they are Poland and the United Kingdom.
What was the nationality of the Member of the European Parliament who began this debate? German? Bien Sur!
It was none other than Dany le Rouge, otherwise known as Daniel Cohn-Bendit, President of the European Greens in the European Parliament.
He started stirring during the Paris student riots of 1968 and is still at it. There’s more……..but this time it gets a bit murky.
A great supporter of Herr Cohn-Bendit’s opinions is that omniescently omnipresent behind-the-scenes Svengali, Viscount Etienne Davignon. Etienne wears several hats . He is a past vice-president of the European Commission for Research, Industry and Energy Policies and he is also chairman of a well-known occasional pan-government politico/econo/corporate/media meeting and chum of our own Tony Blair.
“Etienne avec Wolfowitz”
Paul Wolfowitz was deposed as president of the World Bank after the discovery of some “naughtiness with intent”. George W. Bush then proposed Robert Zoellick to replace him.
Zoellick is a keen attendee of the occasional politico/econo/etc. meetings as is Bush who is also a member of Yale’s Skulls and Bones society. A real Bonesman.
Spygun has a raft of material and over the next few weeks, we shall be releasing more very interesting text and photographs.
We are not going to adopt the usual Conspiracy Theory approach – just facts and dates.
Do have a look at the next post.
(And what's all this about the Economist?)
To be continued………………………….
Is this the sort of man that we want to lead us? Or shall we go for something like this:
The Crewe by-election is extracting the best and worst from the British psyche. The British working classes worship Royalty and the upper classes, yet at the same time they bemoan the fact that they (the toffs) are out of touch with the average working man.
They (the workers) have a chronic inferiority complex and will always defer to anyone who speaks with a “posh” accent but like to think “we’re all the same really”. We are not all the same.
Let’s just spell it out: The working class cannot produce a leader. The working class has only ever produced a handful of decent Members of Parliament and the majority of those attended either Oxford or Cambridge.
Most working class people have neither the vocabulary nor the intellect to lead others and they badly need someone to look up to. Generalisation? You bet it is.
Likewise, the toffs are all chinless wonders with lots of dosh, even the thick ones get to University because they can pay for it and they don’t know what it’s like to be broke. Another generalisation? Yup.
We need leaders who can communicate and who don’t regard politics as a nice little earner. That is a very strong argument for politicians who are of independent means and who , on being elected, will not rip off the system because they have just discovered the triple concepts of the “second home”, red wine at more than £3.99 a bottle and researcher-shagging.
At the other extreme, we have the Pot-noodle eating, tattooed Chav who cannot string a whole sentence together and who is extremely stupid. He thinks that the current MPs salary is a fortune and if elected as MP, will make the most of his perks because, deep down, he aspires to be a toff. After all , he is equipped – he has a Burberry baseball cap!
The choice is ours.
Edward Timpson is a good bloke and will make an excellent Member of Parliament. So his family is loaded. So what? We would all like to be loaded. Those of you who are currently in the financial shit are there because over the last few years of New Labours “virtual” plenty, you were given the opportunity to think that you were loaded. Like a toff.
Labour supporters and canvassers in Crewe are dressing up like toffs in the vain hope that somehow we will all laugh with them. No we won’t. They are all making themselves look like dicks and should stop it.
Spygun was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth and being of European rather than English extraction is mildly amused by the Tom and Jerry antics of the British classes.
Let a semi-outsider spell it out for you: If an individual speaks with an accent; for example a Birmingham, Yorkshire or Welsh accent – he is not necessarily either thick nor working class. Conversely, someone who speaks with a public school accent ( the one where all the words are pronounced properly and arranged into sentences), he or she is not necessarily rich and superior.
We do make lots of assumptions based on too little knowledge. For instance, if someone speaks with a French accent, they are not necessarily a homosexual, garlic-chewing surrender monkey. Mind you…………………
Nearly forgot – this is what we have at the moment:
p.s. Look at Blair’s right hand in the top photo. That confirms it! They are a right bunch.
If you answer YES to TWO of these questions, you are a toff:
1. Have you ever said “Gosh”?
2. Have you ever been to pony camp?
3. Do you know where Antibes and Deauville are?
4. Have you ever read the Tatler?
5. Do your parents have an Aga?
6. Have you been to Cowdray Park?
7. Does your house have a library?
8. Is there a tiara in your family?
9. Can you use a bidet properly?
10. Have you been to Henley and Glyndebourne?
11. Could you go straight to Harrods food hall?
12. Have you ever seen the inside of a Range Rover?
13. Does your name end with the letter “a”?
14. Have you ever found lead shot in your food?
15. Do you have HRH before your name?
The phrase “Boom Bust” will always be associated with the Tory years. It was the Socialists who embedded the link in our minds. That means that they need another phrase to explain the current Boom-Bust cycle. Uprecedented Growth/Credit Crunch looks good.
Make no mistake, by the end of 2008, inflation will be at 10-12% per annum, house prices will have fallen even further and by the end of this year, unemployment will have reached (but not peaked at) two million and the FSA and bank-induced rigor mortis will have all but finished-off the British financial services industry.
Within the last month, we have entered the “Bust” phase of the economic cycle – or “Credit Crunch”. (Sounds much friendlier – almost like a breakfast cereal.)
One good thing has come out of the whole sorry affair: we have come to realise that the futile posturings of the Bank of England are irrelevant and that the BoE is no longer a “shaper” of the economy. It is merely an observer.
During “Boom” years, having lots of meetings and tinkering with the Base Rate is a harmless enough pastime. However, come the “Bust” phase of the cycle, the old chestnuts ” We are in a Global Economy” , “Downward slope of the Economic Cycle” , “Sorry mate, we didn’t see that one coming” and “It was those fucking Americans and their securitised mortgages” are trotted out.
What bankers practise is not an exact science – that is why there are usually several opinions as to whether or not rates should be changed or who to blame for the latest screw-up. What they practise is best described as a combination of “bucket chemistry” and “guesstimation”.
The Bank of England has no more effect on inflation than my wife recycling plastic bottles has on global weather systems.
In the good old days when the BoE did as it was told, successive Chancellors would order a change in Base Rate in the full knowledge that in the grand scheme of things, their machinations and fiddling would have absolutely no long-term effect on the economy. (Are you reading this, Norman Lamont?)
When government does finally intervene and shake up the financial system, they will have to do very BIG things such as nationalisation. The days of futile fiddling with interest rates are over.
Under Mervyn King, the BoE Monetary Policy Committee has become an irrelevance.
There is no longer any correlation between Base Rate and what happens to real borrowing rates. The banks are out of control and more-or-less doing what they damn-well please.
Everyone is reluctant to use the word “recession” which , just for the record, applies to a period when the economy experiences negative growth for two consecutive quarters. Or, to put it in plain English: when the economy shrinks for six months. The economy is now shrinking.
Some may say that certain “sectors”are not in recession while others are.
That’s like being slightly pregnant. Either you are pregnant or you’re not.
Sometimes it seems that even the economists and bankers don’t understand what is going on. Nowadays we live in a much more immediate and unstable age and therefore , the old economic principles are ceasing to apply. A single unpredicted event can have a major impact on either all , or on individual economies. More Chaos than Keynes.
The fact is that we can no longer manage Macro Economics through Micro Management. Interest rate tweaks, sugared by soothing political noises and underpinned by blind panic are having little effect . For instance, The Americans have decimated their interest rates recently with no particular effect on their economy although they “think” that they have had a slight effect on their inflation.
Bush staged a big dollar “giveaway”. Brown has now done the same. Both were decisions based in Politics rather than Economics. Perhaps the time has come to move Economics from the Politicians’ reach?
Looking on the bright side, in a few years, all this will be history. Mervyn will be gone, another Prime Minister’s hand will be up another Chancellor’s lower alimentary canal and in spite of the BoE’s and the Government’s ineffectual tinkering and rhetoric, those of us who survive will be enjoying another “Boom” but not before we have struggled through another recession/depression.
By 2013, the new Government will tell us that it was their policies and prudence that led us to the New Prosperity. The old Government had got it all wrong.
Economists and Bankers will tell us that they did not see any of this coming. I am not a banker or economist but reckon that we are headed not just for a recession but a full-blown , very painful Depression – à la 1930s. The hazy and illusory days of plenty will be over.
Finally, I don’t think that enough has been made of Tony Blair’s excellent timing.
He ruled over us during a time of “virtual” plenty (it wasn’t real because it was funded by debt-ridden banks funding increasingly debt-ridden companies and individuals).In spite of Gordon Brown’s mithering, Blair held on until the rubber-band of economic growth was at maximum stretch. Finally, he handed it to Gordon………
The real worry is that at the time Gordon Brown was the Chancellor of the Exchequer and should have forseen certain things.
Not only did he not see what was flying through the air but even when it whistled past his ear, he did not notice that it was heading straight for the fan.
“Forgive me, Big G. When I said “God, why don’t you fuck off”, I was talking to Blair.”
When Harriet Harman, Labour’s Deputy Leader says that there is no comparison between the demise of the John Major government and her own boss’s decline, she is mistaken.
Grass roots Socialists are disillusioned just as Tory supporters were in 1996/97. The Labour Party has just realised that the man who is supposed to be driving the Labour Party forward has fallen asleep at the wheel.
Members of both parties are incredibly faithful to their leaders and it usually takes a lot of time for them to accumulate enough evidence to even contemplate the fact that their leader is a liability. The Conservatives have gone through the process several times in the last ten years.
Neil Kinnock was the best thing that ever happened to the Conservatives and then John Major returned the compliment.
If the Conservatives have studied recent history, they will be doing everything to make sure that Gordon Brown remains as leader of the Labour Party until 2010. He is a real Conservative vote winner!
The shoddily-conceived memoirs of John Prescott, Lord Levy and Cherie Blair will soon catapult one of the Millibands to stardom and Gordon Brown will be manoeuvred onto the trapdoor. The only thing that may delay his demise is the real likelihood of too many hands on the lever. For instance, Frank Field already has both hands on it – and his knuckles are white.
Several commentators have referred to Gordon Brown’s vulnerable leadership. We have news for them – there is no leadership. That is the main issue.
So far, Gordon Brown has talked a lot but achieved nothing. For instance, the problem of the banks refusing to lend to prospective house buyers has been kicked into the long grass. It now appears that the Bank of England defers to the British Banker’s Association and the BBA has already signalled that any future Base Rate changes will be ignored by its members. Gordon Brown should assert himself by administering a good butt-kicking. The Chancellor’s last meeting with the bankers showed that he can’t do it. Slow Mervyn won’t do it because he is too nice. Better still, Gordon could do another U-turn and take back control of the BoE. That would be one U-turn which would win votes.
There are two traditional methods by means of which a Prime Minister or Party Leader attracts the voters’ attention. The first is a good old-fashioned shooting war (that method is already in use). The other is lots of Cabinet blood on the carpet – we might see that one very soon.
Currently, the only real path open to Gordon is to “buy back” voters with a series of populist quasi policies and “giveaways” which will probably end up in another series of Gordon cul-de-sacs with a “public consultation” or two. He likes those!
“Old people” is always a good one , as are health and education. Watch him “go” over the next few weeks. Make no mistake – nothing will actually happen but there will be speeches and promises and Public Consultations.
Remember the Bill of Rights and changes to our constitution? The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act? Nuclear Power Stations?
You’ve guessed it. Public Consultations.
Gordon can probably hear the noises of the Westminster Scaffold being rolled into view – Cherie is taking knitting lessons and (just to be on the safe side), both Millibands are having their ties straightened and shoes polished.
Repeat after me boys: ” I can foresee no circumstances in which I would stand against Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership.”
The essence of New Labour has long gone and has been replaced by the panic politics of the fat bumblebee trapped in a jar. Lots of buzzing with little progress.
If you distilled the original New Labour, you would been left with a concentated solution of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell. There was nothing else.
Admittedly they did have Gordon Brown fretting in the background like a petulant schoolboy who was waiting for his turn at kicking the football. “It’s my turn. Can I have a go now? You said that I could have a go. Why can’t I have a go. You promised….”
Eventually Tony handed Gordon the ball and instead of blasting a few penalties, Gordon began the tediously predictable business of scoring own goals.
The snap election, the 10p tax rate, casinos, cannabis classification, 24-hour drinking, ID cards and inheritance tax are some of the issues which have become U-issues. (The Scottish devolution referendum may yet become a U-issue but for the moment, both sides are right therefore Gordon has made progress because this one looks more like a “Mobius” issue!!)
Gordon’s hard-core supporters say that the only way is up. The recent election results and the installation of BoJo as Mayor of London have placed GB (as well as Gordon Brown) at rock-bottom.
If he is indeed at rock bottom, someone please tell him that the usual procedure is to stop digging and make a U-turn. He should be able to manage that.
How can Gordon Brown say that the Conservatives were against the 10p tax band? He was in apparent agreement with them – he abolished it!
He is being perceived as a ditherer and as we wrote before – he is not a ditherer – he’s an Analytical. He needs all the information in front of him before he decides whether or not to sit on the fence (or not).
There is one thing that he has shown on the last few weeks. He is Tony Blair’s natural successor.
He shares Tony’s monumental disdain for the true working classes. When Gordon Brown was about to take over from Blair, there was talk of “Old Labour” making a comeback. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is New Labour but without the charisma and unfortunately, it does not look as if New Labour works without the charisma. Or to put it simply (and let us not beat around the bush) : Brown cannot make New Labour work because he has no charisma.
What we did not realise at the time is the fact that Tony Blair’s natural charisma was an integral part of New Labour. In other words – NO Blair, NO New Labour.
Blair was the Levis 501 of politics and Brown is the frayed beige cardigan. The trouble is that he thinks that he can look cool by simply undoing the top button.
He still believes that people want to hear policies and figures. Here’s some news for you Gordo – most of the electorate does not understand the figures.
Perception is God. We don’t want to cloud the issues with facts – we want the bullshit. We have become used to it by the barrow-load.
When St. Frank Field begins to appear on our screens, you know that it ain’t good. Frank is still a bit miffed about having been sacked from the Social Security office that he held under Harriet Harman and there were rumours at the time that there was friction between him and the Treasury. Frank Field is a highly-principled but rabid egalitarian with deep-seated ideals and were it not for his “previous” with Gordon Brown , he could fairly be regarded as the champion of the poor.
Unfortunately, he is not very good on the telly because he looks dead.
The other half of the Field “double-whammy” is the fact that he has now reminded the electorate about what Old Labour was about. Not good.
Every Prime Minister has his or her screw-up moment. La Thatcher had her Poll Tax, Tony had Iraq and Gordon has his 10p tax band and of course, John Major had Edwina. EEEK!
The difference between Gordon and his predecessors is that he took no time at all to achieve his screw-up moment.
They took years but he managed it in four months flat and it will bite him hard (or not).