Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Mr and Mrs Smith = nothing

Jacqui Smith is rumoured to be a dead-cert for being 'redistributed' during a reshuffle, obviously having to pay the maximum price for the porngate incident.

I'm not a huge fan of the Home Secretary, but this seems like the MSM going way, way over the top and holding a staggering grip of power over public opinion and British politics. The Fred Goodwin issue was bad enough.

But Jacqui Smith, or someone on her staff, made a genuine administrative error...to the tune of £21, that's all! That's nothing! And when it's a mistake (would a politician really try to get porn through on expenses and risk it getting into the press? Er, nope) and nothing dodgy, then thew world is not right.

It's the political equivalent of me accidentally typing the wrong button when entering my PIN number - someone/something points out the mistake, I automatically rectify it.

If this woman loses her ministerial post over this, rather than job performance, then this country and it's media has gone loopy, and Gordon Brown is obviously so scared of any 'bad stuff' that he has already lost the election.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Decree by Tom Harris - Thou must not criticise Gordon

Tom Harris usually has something decent to say...however...

His latest post criticises a Tory MEP for criticising the Labour Prime Minister. No, seriously, Tom is appalled that this has happened, because "Criticising your country’s leader in a foreign country has been frowned upon for years". Are you serious Mr Harris?

Because it's frowned upon? Come on! I could list many, many things Gordon Brown's done that I've frowned upon, but let's stick with the hot topic of rinsing our coffers.

First off, Gordon Brown is making a speech, in Europe, talking about, among other things, the British economy. Daniel Hannan is one of Britian's representatives in Europe. He works...wait for it as this may be a surprise to some...in a foreign country. It is his job to make comment and don't think it's the worst idea, when you have a point to raise, to take the rare opportunity when the target audience of your point is in town, to say it to his face. He wasn't grandstanding, he made a point, shared his views (without mentioning any political parties) and sat down.

I for one am delighted that someone is saying to Gordon what needs to be heard. I am more concerned with how the financial mess is going, and that we are going to get out of it and people are going to stand up when things aren't going too well, than politicians conducting themselves in a manner that 'just isn't cricket'.

This isn't medieval times. When the castle is under attack, the last thing we want to hear is hundreds of calls of "Protect The King!". Believe us Tom, and believe the reaction, the King is the least of our concerns.

Gordon just can't get rid of the guilt

So, investors don't want to risk their money on the shoogly peg that is our economy?

Surely Gordon realises, as someone who cherished praise, and boasted about it, from the private sector as Chancellor, that if you are willing to take their praise, then you must accept their judgement when they think you've fucked up?

The markets have spoken and Gordon a) got it wrong, b) is still getting it wrong and c) will continue to get it wrong in the future, because few investors believe in any of your actions.

You fucked up Gordo, you cannot sell the gilts, and you cannot lay the guilt on America.

The world is suffering because the world over got debt heavy.

But Britain is suffering because you led us, like a dirty prostitute, down a dirty back alley and infected us. Overpaying your abused whore in cash afterwards, out of guilt, does not treat the bigger, sticky problem that is near-on impossible to treat.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Tory MEPs saving the day?

Never before have I been impressed by an MEP. In my previous post (which is now defunct), I tried to say what Daniel Hannan says here in his address to Gordon Brown...


Spot on!

Hands off the money!

Mervyn King has said we do not need, as we cannot afford, another stimulus package from Gordon Brown.

"We will become the Do Nothing party" are not words I expect to hear him say. In fact, I expect Gordon Brown to become the new Claudio Ranieri, aka 'The Tinkerman' and not be able to leave it alone.

It is no secret that Alaistair Darling is trying to convince Gordon that he cannot put out 1,000 bushfires with 100 bank notes.

Some fires have to burn, and will not do much damage. Some will need a targetted approach, and only in the right conditions.

But having got "The Tories are the Do Nothing Party" tattooed on his soul last month, do we imagine that Gordon wiill, at any time be seen to 'do nothing'. Well, recently, all Labour have done is nothing. Announcements of plans and schemes yet to be do not count as action, but the worry now is that Gordon tries to prove everyone wrong by a) doing something, b) doing it with a shed load of borrowed cash, c) doing it badly or the wrong thing and c) do it not for the greater good, but to continue their (admittedly, potentially very successful) 'do nothing' accusation.

The politics being played with our economy are dangerous. So leave well alone for now Gordon, listen to what people are telling you and stop panicking. Stop, take a breath and then aproach the problem because right now you look and sound like a water pistol trying to shout down 5th November.

"No Pakistanis need apply" (*amended)

I would like to get the cliché of “positive discrimination is still discrimination” out of the road early, but it's true. It's only positive discrimination if it's in your favour. Otherwise, there's nothing positive about it, for you.

Kezia Dugdale and Yapping Yousuf are both in favour of positive discrimination in the form of all women shortlisting. SNP Tactical Voting and J. Arthur MacNumpty are against it. Harriett Harmann is becoming legendary for her alternative approach to sensible policies and I have written briefly on this topic before in relation to Miss Harmann but owing to the current debate, I feel I have to give a detailed view.

No matter who you are, whatever race, religion, sex, sexuality, it is not right to deliberately restrict someone on this basis – in fact, it's against the law under equalities legislation.

If I were to try to stand in any of Labour's all women shortlist constituencies, I would not be allowed to do so and would be told, in a tremendously proud, 'aren't I being so PC', smug way, that this is acceptable as it is positive discrimination, and the Yousufs and Harmanns of this world would be perfectly ok with this.

If I owned a printing shop and a Pakistani man/woman applied, and despite being the best person for the job, I told him/her that “You cannot have the job because you're Pakistani” and claimed I was just enacting a policy of positive discrimination, I would be charged by the authorities and pilloried by the same Labour members who championed the day I couldn't stand as a Labour candidate. This is a double standard that cannot be accepted.

My biggest fear would be that any racist/bigot business owner (who might like to use phrases such as the title of this post) could just turn around and claim that he/she isn't giving a job to someone from any particular grouping because it's positive discrimination and there'd be nothing to stop them as Labour will have set a precedent. They may not use the phrase in the title of this post, but someone who felt like this could now have a valid means of acting on his/her views in whatever racist way they wished to do so. Adding the word 'positive' isn't always a good thing...HIV positive isn't the good version of HIV.

(“Clean coal is an industry myth...like saying healthy botulism... child-safe plutonium” C.J. Cregg - West Wing)

We cannot make discrimination, in any form, an acceptable piece of our culture. There is no claim from Yousuf or Kezia that this would make for a better qualified parliament – more diverse I agree, but not necessarily better qualified. I don't give a shit what size, colour, or shaped genitalia my local MP has, I just want to know that he/she was the best one standing and that this conclusion was agreed across the whole community. To propose AWSs implies that either the local parties are sexist (in which case, take a look at yourselves and don't impose the implications – AWS's – on the electorate) or that the country is - and if this is the case, then unless we have women only constituencies, the problem wouldn't be resolved.

No, the truth behind this ridiculous policy lies in both Kezia and Yousuf's posts.

“We desperately need to boost our local parties” - Yapping Yousuf

“Nobody in this debate seems capable of addressing the fundamental issue which is that of the decline in the membership of political parties” Kezia Dugdale


You expect me (and the 90%+ of people who are choosing not to be members of political parties) to accept a limit to my rights so that you guys can increase your membership? NO! We do not need political parties – they are not an essential part of the British parliamentary system and governance of the nation. We need a parliament. We need a Prime Minister. That's it.

“The fundamental issue”? How, oh how is depleting membership responsible for not enough women being in parliament? That is by far the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in any political commentary. Ten years ago, their were significantly more people paid up as members of political parties, but we were no closer then to a 50/50 split of Mps then.

You've tried introducing state funding, which I'm against, but now you want to make me (unemployed) even less employable purely because I'm a man, so that the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Lib Dems etc can increase their membership and in turn their revenues so that we can give people like you (party hacks with a passionate hobby) something to do on a weekend? No, simply this is not right and am amazed you think this is an acceptable argument in favour. This, by such a long, long way, goes against the principals of democracy and anyone who is in favour of all women shortlists (and any other form of positive discrimination) is doing it to better their own chances, not to better the greater good.

(I apologise for any offence caused by the original title of this post. As I said in the orginal draft of this post, these were certainly not my views but I used this 'shock-tactic' phrase as a means of highlighting potential drawbacks to what is discussed in this post - the title has now been amended - my thanks to he/she who emailed with a change request and a more appropriate title).

Friday, 20 March 2009


So the trams' future comes down to the next few hours, the last-gasp negotiations and the desperate attempts to keep the trams from going of the rails.

I am not a fan of the trams. To me, it is just an attempt to be 'more European' rather than addressing a need or providing a service. We have a top notch bus service which will run side by side with the trams, which makes me think what's the point.

But now, the political hot cross bun that is the Edinburgh trams system is 'under threat'. At 5.30 pm, the issue could descend into a ridiculous farce, even going as far as the courts to decide the outcome of who's owed what and does what and why.

Somehow, I'm not surprised. Government contracts are cushy enough, rarely coming in on time or on budget - and I doubt the trams will be any different. But to gazump at the last minute by demanding more money is just ridiculous, but clever on the contractors' behalf.

The Government, who it must be pointed out are against these trams, cannot risk delaying for soooo long while Princes St is closed - businesses will suffer, tourism will suffer, and Scotland as a whole will suffer. They will be pilloried by all Edinburgh business if the chaos that is already effecting the city has to be extended due to a shutdown of works while court cases and independent analysts carry out their tasks. They will be hounded by opposition parties if they just stump up the cash without a fight but they'll have little option but to cave - to an extent.

When Governments are forced into an unwinnablle corner (eg Fire Services strike), the trick of Governments is to say we will offer you the carrot but only by beating you with the stick of "reform". As this reform is not a tool the SNP can use in this case, I am wondering what political fudge of language they will be forced to use to avoid using the phrase "ok gov, I'll pay, how much you wanting?". After growing up in the world of Labour, this is what I expect from politics.

Salmond and the SNP, however, are a very different kettle of fish. I hope that they hold out, go through the courts and maintain the moral high ground by not caving and making sure we pay no more than we should and also making sure that if the contractors are proven to be trying a last minute tramway robbery, fucking them for every added expense to TIEs legal bills, compensation to businesses and a big fat apology to commuters.

I no longer trust politicians to deal with these things and as this scheeme is against the wishes of the SNP, I feel extremely sorry for them as this is a complete no-win.

These companies are determined to screw more money out of the Government and if they don't get it, they may well pull out or fold.

If they do get more money, the opposition parties will blow their tops in the campest pantomime performance since Blair's Diana speech.

If they cancel the project, or put it on indefeinte hold, they'll be viewed to have wasted taxpayers' money.

The SNP have been handed a poisoned chalice, but in this world, these days, with politics and business as it is, they have no option but to take a big fucking gulp and only hope that the pain is quick and those that handed them this problem are fair in their reactions - which we all know is never going to happen.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The poison of the SNP - Part II

"I agree with the Lib Dems". I said this earlier today.

That felt terrible, saying that. I want to wash in itchy acid to take away the liberal pain I'm feeling, but unforunately, it's true, I agree with the Liberal Democrats.

We need to forget about Scottish independence, at least for now.

I am, essentially, in favour of independence. I think that there are many reasons that it is for the better, and despite some very obvious drawbacks and unsolved problems, as long as we did it in a mature way (so, not just doing it so our gracious First Minister can democratically give England the finger), then it would be a good move forward.

However, right now, it matters not. In 'normal' times, it could work as we would have a decent enough idea of how the economy would react, behave and be affected. However, in the midst of serious uncertainty, it would be lunacy. Do it when you know you can plan things, build on things and set out realistic markers for progress. But if the SNP are going to throw serious weight behind a) campaigning for a referendum and b) in the event of there being one, a full-on campaign for a Yes to Independence, then they will be revealing themselves to be the party that many people feared they were...more focussed on telling Westminster to go fuck themselves than looking after the interests 5,000,000+ who live in the best small country in Northern Britain.
I want independence - in the right conditions - but not at any cost. And I don't hate the English as many Scots (of all political persuasions) do.

I am currently unemployed, and living in London. I own a flat in Edinburgh which I rent out. I have no significant savings to speak of and currently no knowledge of when I will next be employed, especially not at any decent salary level.

Yet, for some reason, in spite of the things above, I spend 50 per cent of my free time (which, being unemployed, is a lot of free time), thinking of buying a house down in London and where I would like to buy and what furniture I would need and what furniture I would like from BoConcept, Habitat and how big a Buddabag to get.

If I spent this 50% of my time, instead of thinking about houses but instead looking for work, technically I would be twice as likely to get a job. Then I could, in turn, think about buying a house and in turn looking at furniture from BoConcept, Habitat and Buddabags.
But while I spend this time thinking about house-hunting, my thought-process is crazy!

But if the SNP are spending any significant time planning for independence/a pro-independence referendum campaign, then they are just as foolish as me. We cannot consider the next step until we sort out where we're at just now.

The thing is, I realise what I'm thinking, realise it's the wrong way around and am admitting my thought process needs changing. Worryingly, I fear the SNP do not have this ability. They are too stubborn, too proud to do the right thing. Admittedly most politicians and political parties are, but right now, the SNP are carrying the can of responsibility that they asked for, and they will be neglecting their obligations if they waste time, and money (like I've been doing), on the wrong 'priority'.

I once described the SNP as having an "Independence or bust philosophy" and CyberNats were, as ever, quick to rally in their online campaign of quelling the dissent. Now, in the midst of global financial meltdown, it could literally, politically and worryingly, be "Independence or bust".

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Global Warning

The worldwide recession has really, really fucked things up.

Not just because I'm unemployed and struggling to find any work, but because people are losing their jobs, their homes, their savings and their confidence in the powers-that-be across the globe.

This is a problem that was not a surprise to everyone. Paul Moore, the HBOS whistleblower knew it. He tried to tell people about it. Nothing was done. The FSA either knew and did fuck all, or they did fuck all in the first place which led to them not knowing.

The Government can claim they had no idea how dangerously banks were leveraged against 'toxic debts', though we don't believe them. Brown can claim innocence by saying that this is a worldwide problem started in America and nothing to do with his casually flirtive relationship with the City and debt.

The result is quite a big fucking deal. Whether world leaders knew beforehand, is now a moot point. The important thing just now is how we tackle it. Chasing Fred Goodwin's pension is not going to make any difference to the financial status of the country. Ending tax havens isn't going to re-instill confidence and fluidity and liquididty to the nation.

The Government is not trying to fix the problem, they are trying to win the political war of the recession.

The problem got so out of hand it is proving almost impossible to take action to counter, avoid or alter it's effects. The problem is now so bad, that we are all, to one extent or another, financially affected/troubled/fucked.

This is bad enough. But imagine the worldwide problem being faced is much, much worse than the global recession. Imagine this much bigger problem was highlighted to the Government over and over and over again for years, and they still didn't take the appropriate steps to avert it or prepare the nation for its' effects. Imagine they continued to try to win the political war instead of tackling the problem.

This is what's happening with global warming. It is. No one is taking the necessary big steps, making the necessary big reforms to have the necessary big benefits the world needs. This problem we know is happening, we know is bigger than the recession and we are being told, over and over and over again that it need addressed now.

But, like telling the banks that their business models are tending towards zero and financially fisting the nation, Governments across the land are not facing up to the problem, facing up to the businesses (replace RBS for Shell and Lehmann Brothers for Exxon Mobil) and facing up to the consequences of not doing enough before it's too late.

Imagine the problems we are currently facing (and really struggling to deal with) in finance are to be relatively transferred to the flooding, displacement and famine associated with global warming. Imagine the day when people not being able to buy a house because of banks unwilling to lend are replaced by those dying because of lack of clean water, flooding and disease.

In this situation, whoever is in charge will probably go suing the big oil firms (if they're still around), hauling them before committees, trying to create the new villain, like Fred Goodwin.

The G20 will not do anything worthwhile this year. No one will. Politics and politicians, by not acting now, are killing people in 50 years. This isn't a political war they need to fight right now, and they won't be around in 50 years so won't tackle it now because winning now is what matters these days, fuck the future.

Ok, so where was I...?

With a fart of fanfare, Political Dissuasion has returned.

Having been bitch-whipped and man-slapped by the credit-crunch-inspired redundancy, unemployment and meagrely paid temp work, I have returned more cynical than before, looking to share my disillusion with our 'broke society' with you all.

I plan to avoid talking about the credit-crunch, recession, stimulus, debt:GDP ratios, unemployment, bankers' bonuses and Gordon Brown's pathetic attempts to reassure the country (rather than fixing it) as much as possible, but let's face it, it's going to come up.

It's like Man U playing Bolton, endeavouring to play attractive attacking football, but when you're faced with such spoiling dour shit that won't let you 'do your thang', you sometimes just have to play the game to win. (NB - I don't consider myself the Man U of blogging, it's just a similie)

So for now I'll let you dhry your whet appetite for politically dissuasive commentary and allow you to prepare for some truly random posts as I play catch up from my 5 months in absentia.