Sunday, 20 December 2009
Last night's episode was on Scotland 1920 - 2000, and was on Scotland's economic decline under various Westminster Governments, mass emigration to foreign lands to seek a better life and industry. It is an embarrassment that few Scots will know anything about these things (myself included). However, last night's episode was an extremely fair, but political, hour.
Towards the end it focussed on "Scotland's oil" and how the benefits it could offer increased the pro-independence/Home Rule feelings throughout the country.
I apologise for sounding like an SNP blogger, but having watched it...we got screwed. I now understand Salmond's ramblings about Norway, about what we could have achieved and could still achieve if we owned our own oil. To become independent on the basis of North Sea oil supporting us is, however, no longer realistic. There isn't enough left, we've missed out on the chance to use it while it lasted to invest in our country and will run out before the full effects would be realised. However, I strongly believe that we can have our own new oil in renewables.
Yes, yes, it's been said before, "we can be at the forefront of renewables technology, leading the way and reap the economic benefits blah blah blah". My suggestion is more focussed.
You may have read the story about the proposed Nigg wind farm being delayed. You may have also read the story about the Vestas plant on the Isle of Wight closing due to planning delays and no support from Government.
Planning delays are the biggest hinderance to any real progress and development (and therefore economic benefit) from the renewables sector. The UK has lost Vestas with jobs lost, and if we are not careful, KBR will decide that £100m could be put to better use elsewhere. We need to give them the signal that says, "No it wouldn't".
First of all, we need a faster, more efficient and more pro-renewables panel to decide the planning process. Aesthetics are, I'm afraid, not a valid argument against a wind farm. We need companies who want to invest in our country, bringing jobs to the remote communities to feel like they can do business here. We also need to make it more appealling and we would do that by lowering taxes for renewables firms. I don't know enough about taxation and I know (before anyone points out) that we currently don't really have the power to do it at the moment anyway, but renewables firms should be encouraged to come here as they would only have to pay minimal taxes, a couple of % each year, maximum. The more they invest, over the years, the better off as a country we would be.
Vestas wanted to make wind turbines, but were given no assistance. KBR wants to build an offshore windfarm and are currently reviewing this as a high-risk project as well as facing delay after delay. We need to do all we can, both for Scotland and the environment. Scots were denied a real voice at the Copenhagen table (and a real voice over our oil). But Copenhagen was never going to fix the problem. To do the right thing, to better Scotland, to be as green as we should and to right the wrongs of our oil, Independence may well be the answer to this sceptic as A History of Scotland has shown that Westminster rarely best serves our cold little country.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
The Beeb, paid for by taxpayers, has very quietly found a revenue stream outwith that of our pockets. However, if you go to the BBC News pages, you probably won't see it. That's because it is (apparently) advertising only "to visitors outside of the UK".
"We've introduced advertising to visitors outside of the UK because the new revenue created will allow us to further improve our journalism, our programmes and our website in the years ahead.
Impartiality is of the utmost importance to us at the BBC and for this reason advertising will be clearly separated from editorial content. Advertising will not have any bearing on the news, information or programme content or create the impression of endorsement by the BBC.
We guarantee that you will continue to receive the same high-quality independent content that has made the BBC website one of the most popular news and entertainment sites in the world."(here's a basic mock up of how it looks - top yellow box: advert. Side yellow box: where adverts are now being placed also with the OTHER TOP STORIES being moved about 4 inches down, out of view when you first open the page)
But when I went on the website, from my office, in the UK, I could see those adverts as plain as day. That'll be the gap in the 99.96% accuracy then!
But my first big question is...if the BBC is now generating other revenue streams, whether outside the UK or not, will this affect the license fee? Nope - I'm going to guess not. (obviously this is not on the Frequently Asked Questions page, yet).
But my other question is...if the adverts are at the very top of the screen, pushing all the news content down by a few inches, and there is also an advert prominently at the top right where visitors are used to clicking for news links, how can they claim that this is "clearly separated from editorial content. Advertising will not have any bearing on the news, information or programme content". Clearly replacing, not separated. You have put an ad where a large proportion of the 'clicking' takes place on your page and the first view of the page now contains adverts when it didn't before and as a result...LESS NEWS at first sight.
What limits or controls will be put on what/who can advertise? There is nothing about this on the information pages. Is there an ethical list made up, so as not to support anything like the airline industry, the oil industry etc? Could David Cameron or Nick Griffin get an ad on there becuase if it's purely based on "who's got the biggest wallet" then there is a major ethical problem for the organisation.
I am a staunch fan and supporter of the BBC in general but the integrity of the Beeb is in question now. They are resorting to tactics which it is supposed to avoid and all with as little fanfare as possible and to be honest, in these hostile times for the BBC, it is, without realising it, looking for a fight that many will be happy to take it up on - and making me angry during lunch when I'm at work trying to read the news or about Rod Stewart as next Scotland manager.
(P.S. Does BBC Scotland get a cut of this money, I would like to know)
Dear Points of View...
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Monday, 3 August 2009
I am of course talking about the female Labour MP - who wakes up every morning, reaches down to her crotch, has a rummage about, finds she still has no testicles, then decides that this must be the only reason why she isn't/won't be Prime Minister - Harriet Harman.
I've recently given up swearing, so this is the toughest post I'll ever write. As you may or may not know, Harman (aka Harperson) is my least favourite living object on earth. Wayne Rooney? Nope. Nettles? Nope. Joseph Fritzel? Not even close!
Harriet Harman, to quote Edwina Currie, is "on a different planet" and "mad, that is now clear". I've posted before about this crazy lunatic, here and here for example, but yet again, I just have to sit at my keyboard and give my red mist a voice.
Any form of positive discrimination is just a bad idea. It makes one group look pathetic (like the guy who only got the job because his dad owns the business) and makes the other group resentful. Do this in a business and you do not for a happy workplace make...do this UK wide and between the sexes (i.e. 100% of the population) and you're asking for a revolution that needs not occur and is a war against ghosts.
Women and men have the same opportunities in business, politics, sport...pretty much every area of British society. To insist upon having the two top jobs fenced in to the 'one man, one woman' split is so far removed from a) democracy and b) anything that can resemble an intelligent executive structure.
In politics, in the top jobs, I think we can all agree we want 'the best person for the job'. Well, seeing as the best people were smart enough to avoid parliamentary politics, we'll settle for the best MPs for the jobs. To then add another layer of filtering from the ability-criteria, that we must also have a crotch-check, is nothing more than gesture politics.
Would a woman be better than a man at running a Government, a bank or big organisation? No.Would a man be better than a woman? No. There's no such debate, that is what I find hilarious. There is no widespread (or even thinly-spread) field of discussion in society about a lack of rights or opportunities for women. There are no claims from inside or outside organisations that the recession was because of the hairy sacks containing sperm generators being attached to members of the boards.
Not once over the last few years (yes, she's been harping on about this for that long), have I heard her applaud, or acknowledge Thatcher being PM. Thatcher, the woman MP elected three times? Ring any belles? If she at least mentioned Thatcher in all of this, I might, just might, think she was doing this for some (albeit obscure) greater good that she thought worth fighting for. But her failure to even draw on Thatcher's achievements highlights, to many readers, that this isn't a "men/women in society" debate, it's a "Harriet/other leadership candidates in the Labour Party" debate.
And in her claims and belief that she is sticking up for the sisterhood...
Harman is picking a fight with the political ghosts of yesteryear. As in Edwina Currie's Times article, if Harman thinks she is representing woman by (in the loosest meaning of the word) "tackling" this issue, ask the women of the UK what they want a deputy PM, whatever their gender, to be focussing on? It's not this.
Sunday, 21 June 2009
I've given up. I have finally lost all hope for a politics I believe in. This country we live in now, is a shadow of what it believes itself to be.
Every country is shaped in it's identity by those people that make the laws and control the money.
And the people in the UK with that power, with a very few exceptions, are a corrupt, morally empty, unashamed collaboration of moral terrorists. We could, and probably will, wail on about the MPs' expenses scandal. But there is no point. Fairness, decency, honesty, integrity - these are characteristics of our MPs that have now been stretched beyond repair and although it is not broken, it's shape will never be the same.
How any MP, party leader or party member could disagree that people like Jim Devine should be sacked is beyond me and most reasonable people. That he is not even expelled from the party does not even merit a response as it should not be the case. The fact that these people get to continue in their jobs, on what I regard as a significant salary receiving an equally significant pension, simply cannot be justified...but justify it Parliament does. This is one example which could easily fit into the bracket of almost every other party.
Safety in numbers, fraud en masse. If only one MP was found to have been "on the fiddle", every other MP, every party, would be clamouring to find a way for him to be removed form his post. There is no doubt he/she would not have lasted more than a month. So when the charges are there, for all to see, against half of parliament, it makes no sense to anyone that resignations are not as regular as daylight.
The back-scratching of politics has long upset many people, but even the "mother of all scandals in the mother of all democracies" is not enough to change the system, the culture of being above everyone and everything else. Not just on expenses.
Political parties are falsifying this country. MPs will vote against what they believe in, simply to please the party. How can an MP have any sense of integrity when he/she is elected (as an MP, NOT as a member of a political party) to vote on various issues, and he/she is knowingly voting for policies and initiatives that he/she thinks are detrimental to the nation? They are voting for things that they think are wrong but claim they act in their constituents' best interests. That nobody else in the blogospehere or political world seem to see the irony, juxtaposition or hypocrisy of any of this is startling.
The fact that nobody cares is what upsets me the most.
When your elected representatives are voting in favour of something they think is a bad idea, in complete opposition to what they do believe, there is no way this can be justified.
The people of this country do not hold the power, the parties do.
And to keep their members happy, dodgy rules and laws and promises are made to sweeten the members and MPs.
Next the parties will be, without recompense, strolling down the road to state funding for political parties - state-sponsored moral terrorism ripping a vaccuum through this country's future for many years to come.
Our Parliament and it's members have been exposed for what they are. Political parties have proven to us that they are not about decency, honesty or 'for the people'...they reward internal loyalty more than honourable characteritics.
But when you do what you think is wrong because the bigger boys told you to, then you are part of a system not fit to look in the mirror.
Some wonder why people don't vote. I don't. I know that no matter how I vote, it won't make a difference. I know that the corruption will continue, the self-interest will always maintain a murky presence and decisions will not always be made for the right reasons. I know that when criminals are deciding their own fate, and morally devoid groups are those making the rules there is no point in having hope.
I know that this country is not what it believes itself to be and, even during a time as blatantly scandal-ridden as this, change will never be significant enough to better this country.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
In the current political temperature, adding a new tax onto anything is never going to result in anything other than a negative headline and reaction. But this is not a bad policy.
For the equivalent of 50p a month, we can, as a nation, help invest in what for some will be a vital and welcome tool which we all have come to expect as standard. Gordon compared it to being as important as electricity and running water, which is over-egging and already over-egged pudding, but the internet should not be out of reach (literally, or otherwise) for any UK citizen.
Taxes are going to have to rise. Cuts are going to have to be made. While this scheme will not fund the whole project of getting every corner of the UK 'connected', it is not a significant amount to pay. Some may argue that if you choose to live in the countryside, you choose the lifestyle and the limitations that come with it and presently, good internet access is about as scarce as a bus in some of these remote areas. Without wanting to sound like an Oxfam fundraising chugger, "for less than one pound a month, you could give these ruralites the chance to watch porn", it is not too much to ask. It is also, a tax you can opt out of. Nowadays, few of my friends even have a landline - we all use mobiles. If you don't want to pay the tax, you always have the option of opting out. A blind rise in income tax to cover the various extras that will need to be funded would have been a much more contentious (and arguably, unfair) way of addressing such matters. Instead, 'you pay for what you enjoy' forms of temporary taxation make you appreciate why you're paying the extra.
It's like the complaining that goes on about Jonathan Ross's salary. If you asked the millions of people who arrange their Friday schedule to watch his show, if they would mind paying an extra 50p per week on top of the TV licence to fund his wages...you'd more than make your money back on his salary because he is worth that extra money...people will pay because they know quality when they see it.
Would you pay an extra 50p per month to have a landline? The majority of people would say yes.
This is a policy that will invest a lot of money (admittedly, not enough to do the whole job) in bringing more oppportunities to the rural dwellers of our fair land.
Think of the benefit for farmers and local produce makers. They will be offered opportunites never before available to them. Think of the resources that would be a touch away to school kids in rural schools, that was not available before.
This is the point of the policy, and to be honest, this is the point of taxes in general. It's a good policy with the right aims. People will slam it for a number of reasons, mainly kicking a man when he's down, but headline's over 50p per month? Pah!
Friday, 12 June 2009
We've just borrowed a hefty amount of money, spending it on some good things, some bad things. But in order to repay our debts, we will, at some stage, have to cut spending. We all know that it has to happen, that there are going to have to be some 'lean times'.
So let's not have Labour saying "Look, the Tories are going to cut", and Tories, let's not have you saying "we wouldn't", because any political party that doesn't see spending 'restraint' as a necessity in the near future doesn't deserve the responsibility. Yes it would be nice if the new Government could come in and announce this new spending plan, and that new record investment, but having pissed all our money away, like my toe nails, things will need cutting soon.
Instead, we are left with more abysmal politics justifying why nobody in the real world gives a shit about what is said and done in the world of politics.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Now he's caused Neil Kinnock to lose his job. Two.
Owing to his wife's new responsibilities, word has it that Neil Kinnock will step down as Chairman of the British Council, as it would create a conflict of interest for dear Glynis (just had this confirmed that early July is his end date).
Margaret Beckett, who, previously in an 'acting' role of Leader, has also just left her housing brief behind, not to mention that Brown dropped her before...three.
I am a fan of conspiracy theories, but would it be stretching it to suggest he had anything to do with John Smith's death? Four?
Michael Foot must be s****ing himself.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Incase you don't know, Les Miserables is about the French revolution. With the European election results due tomorrow, I think the lyrics to ONE DAY MORE, one of the songs from the musical are remarkably poignant, even in modern times. I've changed none of the lyrics, just which characters sing them...
(I need to find more to do on a Sunday!)
One day more?
Another day, another destiny.
This never ending road to Calvary;
These men who seem to know my crime
Will surely come a second time.
One day more?
UKIP & BNP
I did not live until today
ED BALLS & YVETTE COOPER
How can I live when we are parted
One day more?
Tomorrow you'll be worlds away,
And yet, with you, my world has started!
One more day all on my own.
Will we ever meet again?
One more day with him not caring.
I was born to be with you.
What a life I might have known.
HARRIET HARMAN & ALAN JOHNSON
And I swear I will be true!
But he never saw me there.
One more day before the storm!
Do I follow where she goes?
At the barricades of freedom.
Shall I join my brothers there?
When our ranks begin to form.
Do I stay; and do I dare?
will you take your place with me?
The time is now, the day is here...
One day more?
BLEARS, PURNELL, FALCONER, FLINT
One more day to revolution,
We will nip it in the bud!
Sir ALAN SUGAR
I will join these little schoolboys,
They will wet themselves with blood!
One day more?
Watch'em run amuck,
Catch'em as they fall,
Never know you're luck
When there's a free for all,
Here a little 'dip'
There a llittle touch,
Most of them are goners
So they won't miss much!
One day to a new beginning!
Raise the flag of freedom high!
Every man shall be a king!
Every man shall be a king!
There's a new world for the winning!
There's a new world to be won!
EVERYONE (except Gordon Brown)
Do you hear the people sing?
My place is here. I fight with you!
One day more!
BNP & UKIP
I did not live until today.
One more day all on my own!
How can I live when we are parted
I will join these people's heroes
I will follow where they go
I will learn their little secrets
I will know the things they know.
One day more!
Tomorrow you'll be worlds away
What a life I might have known!
And yet with you my world has started
One more day to revolution
We will nip it in the bud,
We'll be ready for these schoolboys...
Watch'em run amuck,
Catch'em as they fall,
Never know you're luck
When there's a free for all!
Tomorrow we'll be far away,
Tomorrow is the judgement day!
Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn!
One more day!
One day more!
Not always a fan of this MP's views, I must say that Mr Harris has hit the nail on the head - one hammer, one nail, one hit, and the thing is flush against the wall. Whether he has a vested interest Labour agenda or not is irrelevant when he says...
"Secondly, the Conservatives’ lead in the polls seems far more to do with Labour’s unpopularity than with David Cameron’s (or his party’s) popularity. Cameron has still not sealed the deal. Now, why is that, do you think?"
In the hope that Tom (as well as others) genuinely wants to know what I think...here's what I think.
David Cameron and the Tories are not winning elections this week, and won't do in the general election. Labour has lost them. There is no clamour for David Cameron, there is no flashback to 1997 with cries of "Toneeeeeeeeee" everywhere Blair went that is comparable for DC.
The news stories are not about Conservative policy, they are not about, in any detail whatsoever, why Cameron, Johnson (or, in the name of fairness, Glegg) would be a better PM for our country. They are not about how different things will be when a change comes. They are not about 'a new wave of politics' or political opinion - it is purely that Gordon Brown/Labour are bad.
When Tony Blair was crushing the already crumpled John Major, it was through policy, alternative direction, "a New Britain". And by golly, did we all sign up for that! The mood of the country went through the roof, people had hope and belief and as a nation, there was a very strong positive vibe, unrelenting everywhere you went for the first few years. People bought into, and wanted, the new product that Labour were offering. People knew about it, in detail. They could point to specific things and say, "that is why I'm voting for him, that is what will make my life better". This is not the case with David Cameron, as I've said before. He's not carrying the vote. It's just that right now, he's more attractive an option than the others. But when you are the political equivalent to 'the prettier one of the Neville brothers', this doesn't mean you're actually attractive. I'd say Harriet Harman is more attractive than Betty Boothroyd, doesn't mean I fancy Harriet (in case you don't already know, scientists have proved that Harman is indeed Beelzebub in a bra).
So it's the old saying "the best of a bad bunch". Cameron, when elected, will not last long. He will not be able to hold the country for 3 or 4 terms because he doesn't carry the public's passion that 'the big players' do and have done.
Tipped as 'The Heir to Blair', he is nothing of the sort. Yes, he'll probably win by a landslide and yes, he's a bit young...but that's it, the similarities end there.
Tony Blair was a once-in-a-generation Prime Minister. We can all bang on about the Iraq war, but that man offered the country something different, we all bought into it, he took us along for the ride and dropped us off in a much better place.
Cameron, is nothing but the skanky slapper you go home with when you're drunk and you've just dumped your long term girlfriend and you need a quick-fix of something different. Until he offers something that we are following, rather than the current situation where we're only next to him because we moved across the room to get away from Labour, the Tories should be wary about planning for a significant period of Government.
When the ruling party are in this much dissarray, and have been for months, and the country still isn't crying "David will save us!", you're nothing more than 'some other girl'.
Sunday, 31 May 2009
He is no longer a serious interviewer or journalist. Week after week, the "BBC flagship political programme" is used by politicians as a megaphone to get their point across with almost no direction, challlenge or scrutiny from Marr.
Labour have made quite a big thing recently about trying to deflect the MPs expenses scandal onto how the BBC spend their money (e.g. Foulkes attacking Maitlis), and whether this, or Gordon Brown's thinly veiled threat to the Beeb on this morning's show has any influence on how they report and 'deal with' politicians is up for debate...but Andrew Marr is slowly becoming the one person in politics looking weaker than Gordon Brown.
At least ten times Andrew Marr would try to follow the typical route of questioning...
He gives an example of incompetence, or fraud, or double standard, then follows it up with a question to be answered on this topic. But, yet again, as soon as he mentions 'the bad thing', Gordon Brown - on at least TEN occassions - interrupted with "Hold on, hold on" and went on a two-minute sound-byte filled speech where he has no question t answer, thus giving the interviewee a free reign on anything he wants to say on the topic.
When Marr does try, after a long gospel reading according to Gordon, to put in some framing of a question, or to query anything that has been said, Brown just talked over him. And by the time Brown had finished his lecture, Marr moved onto the next topic for supposed 'questioning', and we would go threough the same process. Brown didn't answer a single question this morning and he only received about three. Fair play to Brown, he's hanging on for dear life, but for Andrew Marr, if he watches a recording of the show, must be embarrassed by what he sees.
Whether it's Government ministers, the PM, Leader of the Opposition or Shadow Cabinet members, Marr has lost any sort of authority over his programme and it's content. If Brown/Cameron can just talk over him and avoid any scrutiny, then Marr is proving to be a weak link in the BBC's poitical team. Andrew Neil poses more threat to ministers avoiding an answer.
At a time like this, an interview with Marr was exactly what Gordon Brown needed...a 15 minute slot on BBC1 where he can preach to the land why he is worthy of office.
Unfortunately, Andrew Marr has got to either go, or search very hard for his political testicles.
Saturday, 30 May 2009
First Minister knew about another escaped prisoner from Castle Huntly. First Minister didn't include this new addition to the figures he used at FMQs. Therefore, Labour decree
Alex Salmond "deliberately mislead the Scottish Parliament".
If by not making public the most recent case, as per police advice, Salmond was indeed misleading Parliament. However, if he ignored police advice and decided to announce this at FMQs he would, in the police's opinion, have made it harder for the escapee to be captured.
THE POLICE DID NOT WANT THIS INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.
When it comes to law and order, whether you're SNP, Labour or UKIP, you listen to the police advice. When it comes to community safety regarding an escaped prisoner, you listen to police advice.
Labour, however, would rather have a chance to attack Salmond than see what sensible Governance is all about.
It's all about Politics and Governance. Labour would rather play politics while Salmond is doing what any sensible party in Government would do...the right thing.
Friday, 29 May 2009
With a blog entitled Political Dissuasion, it's not that surprising, but if there was a general election tomorrow, I'd probably not vote.
After reading Doctorvee's latest post, I thought quite hard on the issue and realised that I am no better off if I do - the country isn't, democracy isn't, so why is it a problem not to vote?
"People died for the right to vote"...Shut up. People died supporting racism, doesn't mean I should become a racist.
Not as a result of the expenses scandal (though it firmed my view), but I have always been strongly against the power political parties have over our democracy. These are groups of people out to better their own ends, and do not act in the public interest most of the time. Their priority is their party and as our political system is embedded in a party-based junta. By voting for the one that is the lesser of all ills would be me condoning this form of politics. Ideally, I would vote for the Greens, or Jury Team, but as these candidates will never succeed in the election, there is no point in voting for them.
This is where B-grade politicos will tell me "if everyone thinks like that, then of course they won't get in". But seeing as that is the reality and we all do live in the real world, that in the next year, my vote won't make a difference, I don't have much time for that fairy-assed argument.
I cannot vote for one of the main parties as I believe they are what is wrong with our political system - and as they are the ones in control and will continue to be for such a very long time, the problem will continue. Whether I am becoming cynical in my old age, or just facing up to the reality, I don't know, but I do now accept that it is valid not to vote.
Seriously, why should I? Why is there a ridiculous pressure to vote when more than 50% of people don't care? If turnout is high, then politicians can point to the stats and say "Look, we're valid. And what we're doing is valid." But it's not. The results (Bills, Laws etc) are valid, but the politics of it all is so disconnected from the reality of the electorate that...what's the point? For years turnout has decreased and apart from the odd rumble of "ooh, I wonder why", the parties don't care as this plays into their hands.
Good luck to all of you who believe that what you and/or your party is doing is benefitting democracy and our lives. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced and seeing as you and your party have made British democracy impotent to the common voter, I shan't be voting.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Owing to the crimes committed by various MPs of all parties, Old Holborn is organising Citizen's Arrests at Parliament on Monday 1 June 2009 at 9am. Seeing as the police won't do it, it looks like it's up to the public, once again. Here's a list of who the 'perps' are.
And seeing as I am, as it turns out, free on Monday at 9am, I will be joining Old Holborn down there. I get to live out the real-version of my childhood 'Cops and Robbers' adventures.
Personally, I'd love to be the one who captures Hazel Blears, but as she's one of the Borrowers (I mean the little people, I don't mean borrowing our taxes), she'll probbaly be too nimble for my big hands to catch. Ming Campbell's probably more realistic for me.
So if you're free, or if you're not free but you're suitably pissed off with criminals getting away with it, come on down and do your bit for justice, democracy and childhood fantasy.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
So Labour and the Tories are scrambling side-by-side to reach the top of the 'modernising reform' ladder, promising all sorts of ideas from 'power to the people' to electoral reform.
But a large part of the discussion is on the proposal to make parliaments fixed-term - every four years, an election is called. I've not read much fine detail on this idea, but I feel David Cameron is missing a trick. He is in favour of fixed term, but he should also come out and say that if the Prime Minister steps down from his position in the middle of a sitting parliament, there should then be, four years or not, a general election. This would put Gordon Brown on the back foot on the issue. He can either disagree, and be forced to defend his 'lack of modernisation credentials', or he can agree with the policy and have to take the flak of 'but you didn't do it when Blair stepped down - so why do you agree now?'.
This is a Prime Minister without a mandate and it is one of the easier, but effective ways of bashing him round the head. The public do not like this manouvre that Brown slithered through and will remind the electorate of his selfish, power hungry, controlling nature.
So why isn't Cameron going for it as a stipulation of these proposals? Is he waiting for GB to agree to four year fixed terms, and then going to pull the rabbit from the hat? It would have a much greater impact if this was the case, but Brown isn't an idiot and certainly isn't going to lay his head on the block and give Cameron the axe (because Brown would rather die than openly say 'Me and DC agree'), so Cameron should attack on this now, and could really hurt the Prime Minister with it.
Seems like an easy way to go 1-0 up.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Still, not a permanent one, but a solid six-month contract on good enough money with a view to it becoming permanent. After three months of genuine stress and worry, I got a job.
But, as I predicted, this is no thanks to Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Labour's policy shop. Their measures to tackle the increase in unemployment since this recession bit our asses off seemed specifically designed to push people like me into the dirt and either abandon us, or tell us "tough shit sunshine, your only options now are starting at the bottom with a minimum wage".
Well Gordon, I triumphed in the face of adversity and ever decreasing odds of success.
I can't say I hope for or expect the same for you in the near future. Go f*** yourself!
Friday, 22 May 2009
The problem for me, writing in the blogosphere, is that pretty much everyone here is a member of a political party and therefore can see benefits to themselves or their party in this proposal. Party hacks across the board will sing in favour of this because it guarantees a party's future and survival. All the main parties are in debt, and fewer people these days will want to, or be seen to, give money to political parties due to their tarnished reputation. And if it goes ahead it is the most corrupt move in modern politics, and those who agree with state funding for parties are purely selfish party hacks who have no concern for the greater good on this and only want to protect their own/their party's interests.
Taxpayers' money to pay for politics? No.
Taxes are to pay for services, and politics is not a service.
Reasonable expenses? Yes.
What would we be paying for from these parties? What benefit would the country get? If the BNP get a seat in Westminster, how would you feel knowing your taxes were going towards their work? If you have been affected by the IRA, how would you feel knowing that your taxes are going towards Sinn Fein?
As I've said, time and time again, there is no valid reason to justify state funding of political parties. But those with the power, those who make the decisions, have a very vested interest.
Please feel free to tell me why you think this is a valid proposal. Please feel free to tell me how this helps democracy more than hinders it. Because I'm not buying it...though I'll end up paying for it.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
When asked about the Royal Mail proposals Gordon Brown told the house that...
"The Royal Mail has been losing 5 million letters each year" which half the house took to mean they were lost in the post...a silly choice of words from our Prime Minister.
Then, Nick Clegg got pistol-whipped by the Speaker...and fair play to Mr Martin.
After asking his first question, the Speaker then went on to call the next MP for his question...forgetting that Nick Clegg was of course entitled to his follow up. After loud, long jeering from the house, the Speaker rose and said,
He thought the honourable gentleman had two bits in his question.
"Touche Mr Speaker" was Clegg's reply.
Indeed, quick-witted from the Speaker.
I've said it again and again, and I'll say it once more...
I F***ING LOVE WIND FARMS.
I'd live to live right next to one, but as I live deep in the city, it's not going to happpen anytime soon. But, the more that are built, the better my chances of ending up living within sight of one. And on that note, I would like to express my delight at this news story about the biggest onshore windfarm in Britain being officially 'switched on'.
Just some of the important figures...
Powering 180,000 homes
Jobs in Scotland created
This is all that mattters. I don't need to list more facts, because these are the ones that count.
So well done to ScottishPower Renewables. And with plans to expand and also create one 5times as big offshore, I applaud thee! You wonderful things.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
But whether it's the mainstream media's fault or ours, one thing for sure is that our priorities are out of whack. The Budget was labelled 'the Unemployment Budget' because unemployment is supposed to be the biggest problem that's going to hit this country throughout the recession.
And last week, it was announced that unemployment had reached 2.2million people, and growing.
Today, after a quick bit of searching, what do we all think the main story is? Not a tough one...expenses. But when unemployment is due to become the biggest social crisis this country has seen in decades, you would expect more coverage.
Today's main UK newspapers...
Stories with the word "expenses" in the headline - (at least) 15.
Stories with the word "unemployment" in the headline - 0.
Yes, there will be talk of unemployment in today's press. But again, having had a quick check, it is only mentioned in the stories about... expenses. Unemployment is no longer an issue to tackle, it is a stick with which to beat those who have claimed extravagant expenses, to shame them in comparison. Will the MSM begin to crucify Parliament (not just the Government) for not tackling the issues and being too focussed on saving their own skins? Will the MSM start running articles shaming the Government and all parties, for not devoting their energies to tackling unemployment, our national debt, repossessions etc? Probably not for a long, long time. This story's far too juicy.
And I could happily make out that the media should take the rap.
But really, Parliament should have agreed, at the very beginning of this mess to do what the Speaker suggested yesterday... stop claiming immediately until we come up with an interim system, all leaders and interested parties to meet in one room and thrash out an agreement. Spend more of your time (which, as we pay for it, our time) on the real issues, becuase we need to be talking about unemployment, the national debt, the REAL stuff that Parliament is supposed to be for...but alas, I'm living in a fantasyland where the media give a shit and politicians are in it for the right reasons, if I think that's going to happpen.
Friday, 15 May 2009
He said on The Daily Politics this morning...
"What I would hope would happen is, when we do have the election, almost certainly early next year...then I think people will, I hope, and indeed I hope the media will, pay more attention to individual candidates than they often do in the past. Very often, general elections are about this leader or that leader..."
So, Labour don't want people to look to Gordon Brown's leadership as an indicator or reason for a decision on who to vote for.
A damning verdict for Gordon Brown.
Monday, 11 May 2009
I've tried not to, but looks like I'm being forced by expense pressure (as opposed to 'peer' pressure...get it?) into posting my rant about this.
My blog is called POLITICAL DISSUASION. "Why?" some may ask. Well, the last few weeks have highlighted and justified my view on parliamentary politics.
Here's a basic breakdown as to the reason's for my dissuasion...
1) All political parties' main priority is themselves. Parties do not want to win elections to better the country, but to better themselves and their image, lifestyle, status and legacy.
2) MPs join parties because they are the easier way to win a seat, win the cosy salary, the cosy job description and cosy allowances/expenses.
3) Members of parties will represent their party over representing their constituents most of the time. Even on issues MPs strongly disagree with, the party line is more important than democratic representation (I'm looking at Tom Harris' comments in this post).
4) Opposition parties will oppose for opposing's sake, and for no other reason than 'we can't let the other guys look like they're doing good'.
5) Expenses. Not just Westminster, but I have for many years been moaning and moaning about MEP expenses - and that they aren't being scrutinsed with the European elections coming up is beyond me!
6) There is so much good that could be done, so many productive policies, so much progress that we could make as a country if it wasn't for party politics. These things do not happen, do not make to the stage where they benefit people because...
7) Winning is more important than doing the right thing.
Everyone, especially the MPs know that they've been taking the piss. Everyone knows that 'the spirit of the rules' were not being upheld. And what will happen as a result? Nothing. Will Blears lose her seat? No. Will Morans get chucked? No.
Politics has never been a shining example of decency, but whatever was left of it is now being dragged through the mud. They fought to keep these expenses secret. They fought to be able to edit them, once all other avenues failed. They lined their pockets (and their curtains) at our expense and not one of them has the decency to say, yeah, we fucking milked it, we milked it like the cash-cow that it was and by God did those udders pay out in solid gold. We shouldn't have. We'll pay back what was against the spirit of the rules.
Not a chance, because politics isn't about that. It's about winning. It's about winning at the elections, it's about winning in Parliament and it's about winning in the property market.
Will any Tory bloggers really have the balls to say that those Tory MPs found out SHOULDN'T lose their seats or at least, pay the money back?
Will any Labour bloggers do the same for Labour MPs?
Salmond's even been slightly at it, so anyone going for him, demanding a repayment?
So, I challenge the Tory Bears, the Kezia Dugdales, the Yousuf Hamids, the Tom Harris', the SNP Tactical Voters, the Calum Cashleys, anyone who is a member of a party, to be as decent as we want our representatives to be and to hold them to account. As a member of no political party, I have no impact or influence on how YOUR representatives behave in the following few weeks. As a member of a party (a system which I again say ruins our potential as a country but keeps you all that bit coser to getting a cushy job), you are the only ones that can apply any real pressure.
Ask this question of yourself and your party...
"If it was just one political party that turned out to be fiddling the expenses, and it wasn't the one you're a member of...would you be calling for resignation?" YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE. If it was just the SNP MPs, Labour would be screaming it so much that Margaret Curran might have a heart-attack of joy.
If it was just the Tories, Gordon Brown and that tw@t Harman would certainly be calling for heads. Bloggers of every political persuasion would be no different.
But, as members of a party that is designed and aimed towards success for the party and not the country, I won't expect too much from anyone in that position.
Friday, 8 May 2009
Many claim that it is easier to blog, and have a successful 'blogging movement', when you are in opposition. To an extent I agree. The Tories don't have to defend policies which may not do exactly what they say on the tin, as Labour have to. Instead, the Tories can slag off Labour's failures (and even their successes) without having any need (yet) to offer a fully-functioning alternative.
It is much easier to grumble and bitch from the sidelines while the Government get on with the 'running of the country' stuff.
But then you look at the SNP. Certainly, they had a strong blog presence/movement in opposition, but after the crescendo of the election, they are the biggest party, the party of Government, and they're blogging presence swells further. So, Labour's suggestion (that they direct towards the Tories) that blogging is an opposition's toy, doesn't stand up.
Someone made the point that, as the SNP haven't formed a coalition, they can still play the fiery rebellious opposition role they used to, it's just that now they have more power and more platform. By having no formal ties to the other parties, they can still play some of their tactics as they did in opposition. The SNP, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, likes a 'fighting sort of politics'. They like to be pushed down and seen as the underdog and the hard-done-by, as this makes them, their members, and a natural tendency in the Scottish people, push back in the other direction. They can still play the 'everyone's picking on the SNP' card. And the other parties keep playing into their hands.
And as long as the SNP get to play the way they like to, they will always do well. They are in Government, and their blogging powers continue to grow. Labour, in Scotland, barely has a presence. Admittedly, neither do the Tories, but as this is Scotland and the Tories we're talking about, we shouldn't expect much.
The SNP made the transition from Opposition to Government, and for now, honeymoon or not, they have a strong presence. Some say they use bullying tactics throughout this e-world, and they may be right, but having seen very little evidence of this, I'll call it power, not bullying.
Accusations of SNP cyber-bullying, are instead just an example of power by numbers - the will of the many outweigh the will of the few. Online, there is a stronger SNP presence in Scotland than any other party. In England, it is the same for the Tories. Both these parties have made a point of reaching out beyond their grassroots and offering alternatives, ideas and patform for discussion.
Labour keep lurching back to their grassroots...wouldn't be surprised if Clause 4 was brought back as appeasement. Debate and discussion, both within themselves and as an outreach, is behind the SNP and Tory successes. Labour, controlled and terrified in equal measure by unions like Unite, do not have a freedom, or sense of themselves to create their own movement. They need to wait for the unions to tell them in what direction to go.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
There's always one, isn't there?
So I wonder, who will be the Labour Party's Joey Barton?
Joey plays for Newcastle United, who like Labour, are going down.
Joey got sent off for a vicious challenge, but as they were 2-0 down after 70 minutes, didn't really make a difference.
However, Alan Shearer, the boss, has decided that to deflect attention from the 'going down thing' and his complete failure as a leader to secure anything resmbling a win, by making an example of Joey Barton, calling him a coward and suspanding him until further notice. That's right Shearer, give the porr supporters someone else to blame, somewhere else for all that heat to be directed. They didn't lose because of Joey and they certainly aren't going down because of his sending off.
But that's how Newcastle and the retarded football media will make it look (like Beckham against Argentina).
So, with Labour 'going down' and a boss (brought in halfway through the season without the necessary qualifications - aka an election) who is unable to inspire his team to anything resembling a win, who will Gordon (Shearer) Brown make a scapegoat of? He had the chance to do it to that midget Blears but it's too late. She did all she could to be made the focus of derision, but seemingly Brown kept that one 'in the dressing(down) room'. Harman too was close, but begged ger way round the tv stations to avoid the hairdryer treatment.
Either Brown going to take it on the chin for the next year and say "I'll be judged on results" or he's going to find someone stepping out of line, and put all the failings on that person.
Ed Balls, friend or not, should be watching his back. He's a marked man.
Monday, 4 May 2009
Every political party has a policy which invokes the "I could never vote for them because of..." reaction.
The Conservative Party have quite a few, to be honest. However, with the European elections coming up, I'll focus on the Conservatives policy on Europe.
I am still unconvinced on Britain's involvement with the EU, European Parliament etc. I think we reap a large number of benefits from increased involvement, while also losing control over issues which I feel we shouldn't do. I believe we should be involved, but maybe a less central format would suit us (and all other Europeans) better.
However, I do believe that Britain as a whole is pro-Europe. Sure there are the ridiculous elements like the constitution and pounds/kilos debacle, which we all think are nonsense, but they are to Europe what Lembit Opik is to the Liberal Democrats - just a silly bit that we have to put up with while receiving all the other stuff, the good stuff. I do believe that if Britain was asked, do we keep going with our 'Europe policy' as it is, or do we completely backtrack, pull out and say 'Non!', we'd overwhelmingly say "maintain".
However, the Conservative policy on this (along with various other issues) is at odds with the majority. The Conservative Party, who are due to be our elected Government very soon, have a policy and approach to Europe which we as a nation would not be in favour of. Iain Dale has done a (admittedly not very scientific) poll on voting intentions for the European elections and the Westminster election. The figures say quite a lot...
Tory vote for Euro election - 53%
Tory vote for Westminster - 73%.
Now these numbers may not be representative of the nation and are just a straw poll of bloggers, but they do show a trend that the Tories are less favoured when the topic is Europe.
However, despite this, and it's not as if their views on Europe are particularly secret, they will undoubtedly form the next Government and will probablt get the largest share of MEPs. If the Conservative Party had their ideal, we would be much, much more distanced from almost everything to do with Europe and this would have a massive impact on great swathes of Britain.
"We should be less involved - we should get out"
To me, sounds a bit similar to the ruling party in Scotland.
Yes, I'm saying it. The SNP and the Conservative Party are pretty similar.
The Tories would want more independence, the SNP want independence.
The Tories' views are at odds with the majority of the voters. Same with the SNP.
The Tories are about to become the Party of Government. The Scottish National Pary ARE the Party of Government.
So what do I conclude from this odd post? Two things.
1) The people don't care if they disagree with a political party on the really big issues, as long as they believe that policies they disagree with aren't going to be steamrolled over them onto the statute. It's a game of trust, like the European Constitution, where to quote Nick Clegg, "old fashioned decency" comes into it. Labour, on various occasions, have broken this trust which has hammered nail after nail in their electoral coffin.
2) As long as day-to-day we believe that you are going to be up front, honest, hard working and with the best intentions, the people will give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm yet to be fully convinced about independence, but would I vote for the SNP in the next Scottish Parliament election? I'd say 95% yes. I'm yet to be convinced by Cameron, and don't believe their policies on Europe are necessarily the right way to go, but will I vote Tory? Probably.
Winning an election right now, in the face of Labour disappearing with the Winter months, is pretty easy. The Labour Party have disintegrated and are nowhere near their climax of self-destruction, which I fear is yet to come. Across the UK (no offence Nats), yes, 'working class Glasgow-types' will always vote Labour. 'Posh types' will always vote Tory. But those in the middle are the ones that are their to be won and if successful, they win you election. The SNP knew that. They said "we believe in independence" but also want to make Scotland's hospitals better, our schools better, the bits that people really care about and notice. And that is why, despite their flagship policy being (for now) against the general view, they are still climbing in the polls and gaining approval from all angles and islands of Scotland.
Even with a leader that people are still sceptical about, the Tories, by promising decency, hard-work, honesty and to make progress on the things that matter, are going to walk this election.
They aren't even liked by the majority of people, but these days, politics and government is about 'in the cold light of day, who's going to do an all round better job?'.
The answer, to yet another question, is not Labour.
Sunday, 3 May 2009
David Cameron, amongst others, has tried to make Brown learn from this lesson - the old adage of fixing the roof while the sun doth shine...
Well, right now the country is in debt.
We KNOW that in 2 years time, the country will be in debt to the tune of hundreds of £billions more, with no guarantee that we will be in any better position than now to pay it off.
Now, neither of these situations could be described as good but surely we have learned that, with hindsight, we should have been doing something, earlier, to tackle the tougher times? No? But instead of tackling 'this second branch of debt culture' now, we are going to wait.
In two years time, our debt levels will be LESS GOOD than they are now. The sun will not be shining. Are we tackling this? Are we beginning to pay it off? No, we are going to spend, spend spend. Same old mistakes. Same old Labour.
Right, time for Andy Marr...
Saturday, 2 May 2009
I am a UK citizen. I intend to vote at the next election. I am not aligned to any political party, so like the majority Britain, my vote is still up for grabs.
Whether you have openly said it or not, you know, I know, my chest of drawers know, that Gordon Brown is not going to win the next election. So either you're going to stick with him and guarantee losing, or you'll force him out, elect a new leader and have the slimmest chance of winning.
We all know that it is the latter option that is going to happen.
Currently, the odds are as follows...
Harriet Harman - 3/1
Alan Johnson - 6/1
David Milliband - 7/1
James Purnell - 8/1
Hazel Blears - 80/1
Cherie Blair - 500/1
On behalf of everyone on this planet, please do not elect Harriet Harman as leader of the Labour Party. To be honest, the ammunition it would give bloggers would be immense, however, this would be too much of a good thing. I'd recommend that Mr A. Johnson. He's one of the few likeables you've got left.
Please. (PD falls to his knees), I'm on my knees, begging. Just anyone but her.
Political Dissuasion (on behalf of the UK)
Friday, 1 May 2009
Tom Harris has said something which has irked me.
"As I’ve said on this site before, I believe in the party system. I do not believe that MPs are elected purely for their own personal views; they’re elected because they represent one party or another. Major’s government collapsed when his MPs saw no reason to toe the party line."
I am not going to criticise Tom Harris MP specifically, as I am in no doubt that he is not alone in this view. But I have long believed that political parties are detrimental to the progress of this country, especially in our current situation.
The parties, although giving a simpler 'Party of Government' and 'Opposition Parties' divide, are designed to benefit themselves and their members.
Parties create a divide on issues, not based upon the proposed policy, but based on whether it's a Tory or Labour or Lib Dem proposal. Only very rarely does party politics not get in the way of progress (the Ghurka vote being one). Whips are employed to persuade MPs to vote against their own views, views which they believe would be better for the country, as opposed to the party.
The argument that "they're elected because they represent one party or another" is utter nonsense. Yes, the majority of the time, MPs are elected purely based upon which party they are a member of, however, I do not believe that constituents that vote for, say, a Labour MP a) agree 100% of the time with 100% of Labour's policies and b) expect that MP to vote blindly with 100% of those policies. Indeed, Mr Harris himself hasn't "toed the line" with his party on a range of issues from House of Lords reform to abortion limits. (I also believe that voters vote based on party because of apathy, having become unable to determine which schmuck is less schmucky than the other guy - though this, in particular, is not directed at Tom Harris).
MPs in my idealistic view, are elected to vote for what they think is right and against what they think is wrong. The party shouldn't come into it when it comes to governance and policy for the country - it is politics which creates the problems and parties create these politics.
Parties would rather gain the credit, or avoid the criticism, than do the right thing. Why, for example, are we as a country not going to be paying off our national debt, but instead increasing it, for the two years taking us to after the next election? It is to delay voters feeling the financial pain until after they can react in an election. It is to give people a false economy of how much we earn, how much is spent on public services etc so that Labour can get a few more years in power, as opposed to what is best for the country.
The average person in the UK is not a member of a political party. The avergae person doesn't care or know much about politics and I would confidently guess that in my age group, most people do not know the name or party of their local MP.
Any MP who feels the same as Tom's comments should be embarrassed. To an extent, what he is saying is that "it's not my qualities that I am judged on, it is just because I'm a member of one group or another". To admit that it is not their judgement, but their ability to obey when told what to do, is a shameful indictment of UK politics, and in particular, UK politicians.
To then claim that "in the private sector" we could earn up to £100,000 makes the whole argument hilarious. To be able to do what your told could also, "in the private sector" earn you £5.73/hour, if the only requirement is doing as your told.
"governments fall apart when discipline fails" (Tom Harris)
"discipline fails when the government's direction and intentions are wrong" (Political Dissuasion)
This man cannot accept criticism. He is pathologically unable to register it in his brain. In this video he argues that not only is he not performing "the youtube youturn", but that he should be being lauded with praise for his leadership over second home allowances.
This man is dangerous. If you said that he was defeated on the Ghurka issue, he would find a way to claim that it wasn't a defeat. If you told him he was down in the polls, he would no doubt claim that he questions those figures. And most dangerous of all, even though his fate is sealed, he is still playing politics with our country and its' finances in the (pathetic) hope that he will win the election. Ha!
As someone smarter than I pointed out the other day...
Gordon Brown is borrowing extreme £billions, emersing the country in a lifetime of debt. While other countries use any borrowing to make long-term 'boosts to the economy and infrastructure' (ie investments which will make a long-term difference), Gordon Brown is instead going to spend £700bn on putting this country back in the position that created the problem (mortgages/culture of borrowing). This a dangerous game he is playing, and we will all suffer for years to come as a result.
There is a new definition to 'false economy', and that is New Labour's Britain.
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Kenyan women's groups are protesting against infighting between political parties and leaders, and are also hoping their actions will lead to greater unity, thus avoiding a repeat of violence in 2007.
And how are these women's groups protesting...?
They are, nationwide, withholding sex from their men. They're even going to pay prostitutes not to sleep with the men. Well, that's certainly going to make them think about it.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
On current polling, the Conservative Party are predicted to have a majority of between 40-70 seats. Not bad after 3 election defeats, so Mr Cameron et al must be feeling (quietly) pretty good about themselves.
However, one thing is niggling me about the next election result...few people will be that happy about it. Tony Blair was a once in a generation politician and Prime Minister. People were big, big fans of Tony Blair, as much as of the Labour Party.
But nobody is "a big David Cameron fan", and certainly not a "big Gordon Brown/Nick Clegg fan".
As much as it's a shoe-in that Cameron will be Prime Minister (as long as Brown is around), should it not be a more comfortable margin of victory? There is no clamour for Cameron, just a clamour for Brown to go, or at least stop what he's doing.
Nobody is pining for Cameron's policies, nobody is pointing to the Tory direction saying "that is the way we need to go".
It's still within the margin of error that a hung-parliament could be our next and considering the shambles of Brown and the Labour Party, shouldn't an opposition be further ahead? Think of what Cameron is up against...
- Brown openly bottling it about calling an election
- Despite never being elected as PM
- Not giving a referendum on the Constitution/Treaty
- The Iron Chancellor's policies creating most of the financial mess Britain is in
- The debt we are about to take on
- Open disunity among the Labour Party
- Breaking manifesto pledges
- A party where Harriet Harman is important!!!
- An embarrassing u-turn/failure on MP's expenses
- Continuing the push for ID cards
- and so on...
When you are up against all this and your lead in the polls is less than assured, then surely you have to ask why?
It is because we do not believe David Cameron is 'the next big thing'. After the way Blair swept in and the whole Obama thing, maybe I'm expecting too much, but when/if Cameron becomes the next PM, the country will be relieved, not pleased. There will be no parties, no wave of national unity or a sense of hope in the new direction a new party of Government will bring. There will, instead, be folk saying "phew, thank god that's over".
People will be voting against a present Government, as opposed to voting for a new one. And it is this that should make Cameron worried. Labour, despite all their mischief, misdemeanour and misdirection, are still commanding the votes of swathes of the UK, and only a small change at the top stands in their way of being relevant again. Whether this is before or after the next election, Cameron should be wary either way.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Can't think of a better setting, with two big banks either side, and with it being a free event, I imagine a huge crowd being drawn, especially if the weather holds out in September. This could be a very, very good advert for both Edinburgh and Scotland, with an estimated TV audience of 250million.
Random, indeed, but still exciting! Bravo to EventScotland, Edinburgh City Council and anyone else who was invloved in this!
So do some people in Israel, some in New Zealand, some in Airdrie.
However, I'm not panicking.
Like Bird Flu, the media has gone on the "humanity at risk" approach. Journalists are talking about "waves of the disease being transmitted". Gordon Brown is trying to look important by not only arranging a COBRA meeting (aka "just a meeting in a different room"), but by triumphantly announcing "I will be attending the COBRA meeting".
"Waves of the disease"? Really? That's a bit over-the-top.
Normal flu kills people. Swine Flu kills people. Sars was going to kill millions.
Somehow, I don't see this being anything we even remember in a month's time.
We have the flu. It's the worldwide equivalent of "there's a bug going about". That's it!
Monday, 27 April 2009
Lord Brown: "I have never placed a bet at all while a minister ever on a political issue".
The crucial words here are "at all while a minister". Why put that in Lord West? Why throw that in?
The bet was made after Brown became Prime Minister - 28 June 2007
Lord West became a minister - 1 August 2007.
That leaves a 34 day gap where Brown was bouncing, the odds were high and Lord Brown was not a minister...
You say "I have never placed a bet on Labour losing the election" but can you confirm if you placed a bet that the Conservatives would win one, or that Labour would win in coalition? You do not rule out placing a bet, you just rule out that specific bet.
It's all about the language of the bet placed and the language West is using. Somehow, I think Lord West has been caught out. Somehow, I think Lord West placed a bet at 66-1 between 28/6/07 and 01/8/07. What say you, m'lord?
Sunday, 26 April 2009
I am shocked. Not that a Labour Government Minister placed such a bet, but for two other remarkable reasons...
1) shocked that any bookie offered 66-1, regardless of the 'Brown bounce', and
2) shocked that Labour actually have someone with foresight, forward thinking, realism and a keen eye for a good way to spend money, make money and not waste it.
Would the 'unnamed minister' please step forward and lay claim to the Labour leadership, and as a result, the country...
Thursday, 23 April 2009
But for me, and no doubt many others in my situation, it'll turn out to be a 'Budget4Jobs', because that's how many I'll be doing.
I am a graduate, with management experience, top notch references and a winning smile.
Since redundancy in September 2008, I have been unable to secure permanent employment.
So how does the budget make it any easier for me to score a job? It doesn't.
If I was 25 or under, I would know that by September at the latest, I would have a job (as the Government will guarantee one to any under 25 who's been out of work for 12 months), but as I'm not, that doesn't help.
Job Centre Plus will receive £1.7bn, but, with no disrespect to anyone, the jobs that are advertised (and successfully obtained) through Job Centre are not the sort of jobs that I could, should and can be doing. Yes, I could do various jobs at the minimum wage, but morale and confidence are crucial parts of tackling recession and consumer confidence.
So what has the Government done for graduates who believe, rightly, that they should be earning at least something around the average salary? Nothing.
Are my employment prospects any better thanks to Darling and Co? No.
So thanks Labour. Once more, policy that won't make a difference.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
WOW! We're ****ed.
We are already so far in debt, if we were a football club, we'd be docked points as the administrators knocked down our doors.
So to continue spending, continue borrowing, throwing our money around, literally throwing it in every (political) direction and not to cut anything (e.g. quangos, trident?) is scaring the cr@p out of Political Dissuasion. Al I can hear as I type is "investment", "new funding", "do more", "additional", "increase in...". Christ, this is bad!
And, the car scrappage scheme WILL happen. Lost it, they've lost it. He's just claimed we are a "confident Britain". I hope there's a net at the bottom of the cliff we've just been pushed off!
Gordon Brown then goes on to talk about the situation in the early 90s.
Cameron - Progress
Brown - Anything from 1997 and before.
Anyone remember when Labour kept saying "forward, not back"?
Do you reckon they've kept this quiet as all the £billions deficit is going to be paid off by smokers?
Seriously, this used to be the main focus on days like these...how times have changed!
Poor Alistair. Even the silly little policies that will make dog-all of a difference, even if they tried to trumpet it as a green revolution, are too worrying to be a no-brainer. Imagine the deliberations that will be going on for, oh, I don't know, say...£15bn service buts!
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
My suggestion is to only allow those who are NOT in full time, permanent employment apply for current vacancies. If a company goes through this process and still doesn't find a suitable candidate, then they can go to an 'open recruitment'. Essentially, giving priority to those most in need of work.
Most people have been this wouldn't work...but the Civil Service has it's very own priority recruitment procedures.
In some (maybe all, I'm not too sure) public sector departments/agencies, the recruitment process goes as follows...
Advertise internally without an external advertisement.
Advertise on a Civil Service personnel only site called CS-vacs (Civil Service Vacancies - essentially a wider, internal recruitment ONLY open to current Civil Servants)
If still unsuccessful at filling the post, the position would then go external, to an open recruitment.
So why can the public sector have this priority 'old boys network', a staggered process that benefits one grouping, when in principle, I want to introduce the same concept - only my concept would benefit those unemployed, desparately in need, as opposed to those already in a job, in the public sector, with disproportionate pensions and benefits. Keeping the gravy train for those who are already feasting on gravy is bad enough.
Look outside the public sector box and this could make a massive difference.
Monday, 20 April 2009
The 'green shoots of recovery' have been spotted, and it appears a turnaround is not far off. However, unemployment is one area which will be last to be reversed. It is widely estimated that unemployment will continue to rise to 3,250,000 people.
Within twelve months...
House prices may begin to recover, slowly.
Mortgage approvals may increase, slowly.
Share prices will begin to recover, slowly.
Businesses will be able to access credit, and pressure on them will be eased, slowly.
Our massive national debt can then begin to be repaid, very, very slowly.
But unemployment will still rise and it is widely anticipated that this will be the single biggest problem, even after the 'green shoots' begin to flower.
My idea, that I have written to all the relevant ministers and local MPs with, and got no reply whatsoever is
FOR 6 MONTHS, ANYONE IN FULL TIME PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT CANNOT APPLY FOR A NEW JOB. (see the post below for full description)
I have written before about how to solve the unemployment crisis, but to little success in spreading my idea. I am no expert in politics, legislation or employment, so I am aware there will be limitations to my proposal, but in principle, it works, and would make a massive, massive dent in the unemployment figures (and, in turn, monies paid out in benefits).
Please read it and help with suggestions as I am struggling to find any crucial and defining arguments against why it would work.
For a six month period, anyone in full-time permanent employment, would not be able to apply for a new job.
It's as simple as that.
On average, there are 250,000 new job vacancies created each month in the UK. If all of these jobs went to unemployed citizens over a six month period, almost half of the projected unemployed (peaking at 3.25m) would be back in employment, earning, paying taxes, with a higher morale, and NOT receiving benefits.
Any future redundancies, made in these 6 months, would be a far less crippling blow then before, as new redundees(?) would have a far better chance of getting back too work.
The long-term unemployed would also be in a better position, with less excuses, to get back to work.
Some may argue that:
- It's not fair on businesses as they have a limited talent pool to choose from. I strongly believe that the majority of vacancies could be filled with a suitable candidate from those who are unemployed. If a company goes through the recruitment process and after interviewing the candidates, then they would then be allowed to advertise openly to all as they have a valid business case for it. If they do find a suitable candidate...then that's a big win for everyone!
- It's not fair on those currently in jobs who could miss out on opportunities. Sorry to sound socialist, but in the current climate, people should feel lucky they have a job. A six month hiatus will not cripple business or your career prospects, and this proposal, like tax rises, would be one of the effective sacrifices the country has to make to get back on it's feet.
- Those who hate their jobs would be stuck in a situation which is not good for them. I would argue that if it's that bad you would have quit before, so you can put up with it for the next 6 months. If you can't put up with it, if it is really that bad, then you would be quitting regardless, only now you would have a better chance of finding work than you would be without this policy.
- And although we would no doubt have to get it passed some European directive, I'm sure that this would be do-able, if we really put our minds to it!
In addition to this policy, businesses could be encouraged by getting paid some of the money that would otherwise have been spent on unemployment benefit, an incentive scheme.
Stopping those already in a job applying for a new one would be massively beneficial for this country, with very, very few negative consequences. The taxpayer would save money in paying less in benefits. The unemployed, those worst affected by the recession, would be given that helping hand that VAT cuts and mortgage approval schemes do not offer them.
We would be better off as a country, and am yet to find any arguments against this policy which outweigh the benefits, so please feel free to let me know if there are any. This is the type of "tough decision" our country willhave to make over the next few years.
Michael Martin has accused the Tamil Tiger protestors, demonstrating on Parliament Square today, of using children to stop police getting in about the protestors to monitor the situation.
He claims they are pushing the kids to the front so that the police are unable to force their way through into the middle of the crowds.
However, the police have said this is not the case...hmmm. The police may not have the best press right now, but I'll take their word for it as they are ACTUALLY THERE, rather than the fat man in the chair. More lies, more Labour!
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Last week saw the SNP conference, and also the first UK Government cabinet meeting to be held in Scotland for 90 years. Hjul highlights, excellently, the problems Brown now has north of the border... and Salmond is the biggest problem for him.
It is summed up beautifully when Hjul writes...
"Salmond’s popularity has little to do with independence, which two-thirds of Scots reject. It is based on his perceived ability to run Scotland differently".
How Labour, as a whole, aren't openly shouting for Brown to go, is beyond me. The desperation of the man, whcih is seeping into the party en masse, is truly worrying, not only for the party, but for the country for 2 more years.
Saturday, 18 April 2009
"We've got what it takes" supported by the Scotland flag, promising to guide Scotland through, and out of, the recession.
Just one problem, before any Nats are thinking about getting tattooed. We've not got what it takes. The SNP doesn't have what it takes, the Scottish Parliament doesn't have what it takes, Scotland dooesn't have what it takes. In fact, by definition, the SNP have been saying for years that we don't...
We don't have the financial powers to see us through, to do it ourselves, to set our own course as Scotland. We are at the mercy of Westminster because, on these matters, we're the UK, not Scotland.
We may have the talent (debatable to some),
We may have the will,
We may have a progressive Parliament,
We may even have consensus from time to time,
And we may have a catchy slogan...
But as Scotty would say..."We just can't do it Captain, we don't have the powerrrrrrr"
So let's not kid ourselves, and let's not have the SNP turning into New Labour, by giving us slogans which do nothing, and mean less ( remember forward, not back?). We're about to have a UK budget (remember Nats, we are still part of that thing) and Scotland will probably take a big financial hit as Brown tries to quash morale in Scotland for independence. We're also about to be whacked, quite hard, with tax increases left, right and centre.
So don't forget, you may have what it takes, but we actually don't.
Westminster's still the daddy, albeit for now, but they are.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Well, in the true style of Gordon Brown's Government, they come up with a bad idea, that they think can appease a small (but crucially Labour-donating) minority of people, and talk about it so much, and pass the focus from Minister to Prime Minister back to Minister and so on, until no one is any longer paying that much attention, and sneakily get their foolish, typically Labour, policy through with no one calling them on it.
£2,000 to scrap your car, if you buy a new greener one.
Modern cars are not "green", "clean" or "environmentally-friendly".
They may be greener than the old ones but adding "-er" to something doesn't make it what it isn't.
I am richer than my best friend - doesn't make me rich.
Shaun Wright-Philips is taller than an oompa-loompa - doesn't make him tall.
Joseph Fritzel is nicer than Adolf Hitler was - doesn't make him nice!
So, when Gordon Brown, Darling or Mandelson say that by doing this they are helping the environment, they're stretching it a bit. There are cars being produced that can run on hydrogen (which only emit O2 - steam). THAT'S a green car. If the car industry's in a mess, then it's in a mess, and the way it had being going, for many years before the recession, we should not be surprised that they face massive cuts and redundancies. Basically, this policy is just ANOTHER way of giving ANOTHER industry ANOTHER, but this way the Government can avoid the public seeing a big whopping figure (£ ,000,000s) on the front pages and causing ANOTHER panic. For years the car industry has struggled, and it's only going to get worse.
Do we really want to pump £millions into an industry that is just a large scale equivalent of Woolworths? Some lovely memories, cherished brands, a British institution, part of our history BUT LOSING MONEY AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. With Woolies, the Government were right to let it sink, and unfortunately, the titanic car industry must do the same.
It would result in large scale redundancies, but unless the Government nationalise the car plants, these are going to happen sooner or later. Better to tackle a problem at it's earliest (good advice for mortgage brokers 2 years ago) rather than putting it aside, swallowing money, only for the same scenario to raise it's head now.
The car industry and their unions are MASSIVE financial backers of the Labour Party and that is why they will get help and the Government are sneaking it in through the boot. If we encourage investment (both in industry and the consumers) in real environmentally friendly cars, then you can have my backing, but this policy is just designed to keep the Labour Party cupboards stocked, not about good governance.
Monday, 13 April 2009
"...I am ready to take whatever action is necessary to..." - JUST SHUT THE F*** UP!
Stop saying "will do whatever is necessary", "must do whatever it takes" and "the necessary action". These are not policies. These are not tactics. These are not confidence-inspiring strategic announcements with which the country can look forward.
After a very brief google search, Gordon Brown has used the phrase "whatever is necessary", not including any other variations, on the following topics...
The Government steadying/saving the banks
The Government tackling unemployment
The Government helping the car industry
To preserve the union against Scottish Independence
To ensure investment in digital technologies
To defend Britain from terrorism
To ensure petrol supplies to petrol stations
The Government getting money back from Icelandic banks
The Government helping out the Eastern European countries
The Government's war in Afghanistan
The Government's war in Iraq
and so on...and so on...
And apart from petrol distribution and Scottish Independence, none of the above are looking like the rosiest of gradens at present (and independence is only being flushed out because he fucked the economy, and in turn, suspiciously sold off the Scottish banks pretty quickly).
We need action, we need a plan and strategy and a thought-process and... just something. Not the same flimsy line, like the G20 saying, "Problem solved, we'll all do whatever is necessary - and go after tax-havens. The recession is defeated". No Gordo, we need "We will do ______ (this is where you insert an actual policy, drive, initiative... like solving the unemployment crisis?).
So shut up, roll up your sleeves, and just f***ing DO SOMETHING. Stop talking about how you're leading us, stop reminding us "as Prime Minister". You call the Tories 'the do nothing party', but bluster is not graft so you are just as guilty as your criticism.