Saturday, 25 September 2010

New Labour Leader: Tory Reaction

Just found a Tory circular in my email putatively from Baroness Warsi. Here's the important bit (my italics):
On behalf of all of us in the Conservative Party, I congratulate Ed Miliband on his election as Leader of the Labour Party.

He will have many challenges ahead in these next few days, but if he wants to be taken seriously, the first thing he's got to do is own up to his role in creating the mess that Britain is in and tell us what he'd do to fix it.

From advising Gordon Brown in the Treasury in the 90s, to serving in his Cabinet in the 2000s, he must recognise his central role in creating the financial mess we're all paying for.

For the past five months, all we've heard from Labour is knee jerk opposition to our plans to tackle the deficit. Now is the time for Mr Miliband to tell us what he'd do instead. He promised us a Labour spending plan before the spending review, now we'd all like to see it.

The new Labour leader now has a clear choice. He can either serve the national interest by joining with us and the Liberal Democrats and set out how he would cut the deficit, or he can stand on the sidelines and refuse to engage with the biggest challenge facing Britain in decades.

The fact that Ed Miliband owes his position to the votes of the unions does not bode well. At the moment this looks like a great leap backwards for the Labour Party.
Spot on. Miliband Minor, the one who sounds like he's underwater when he talks, can't be permitted to wriggle his party out of its responsibility for the massive economic, social and foreign policy calamities its previous leadership and cabinet wrought on this country. Miliband Minor must also be brought to book the instant he caves in to his militant socialist union backers.

Personally, I expect the Coalition to treat this latest Labour clown with the contempt he so richly deserves. I know I will.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Coalition Song

After minister of the Crown for Business, the overloading-Cable's electrifying all out, carpet-bombing, nonsensical assault on the fundamental process of wealth creation, the basic tenets of civilised capitalism and, amusingly, all business generally, at the LibDum conference, I was just wondering what should be David Cameron's ironic song of the month. I've come up with this one:


Perhaps others can think of a better one. For myself, the only electricity currently flowing from this unhappy political arrangement is the stuff from the power stations that the lefty enviro-loon Chris Huhne hasn't closed down (yet) and will never replace anyway once he does. Our coalition-compromise lunatic Energy minister has stated categorically that he will not allow new power stations to be built, not just nuclear ones but any type as far as I can see, until George Osborne gives in to his tax reform demands. The tax reforms are actually a pretty good idea if taken in total theoretical isolation. But the fact that mad-Huhne and his insane-professor mentor, Cable, are demanding these things from their own government, and that hatstand Huhne is prepared to hold the entire nation to energy ransom to get his way, tells me two things:

1) This coalition is one major reality check away from welcome collapse.
2) Cameron better realise that his friends are very definitely electric. They switch their loyalty on and off at the drop of a headline.

These dudes have strayed way off the reservation territory the Tory-LibDum treaty had so fairly mapped-out for them.

Interesting times are back. And Dave, hey mate: 'friends' are always electric, especially political ones.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Proper Christian Attitude

No book-burner I. In my ideal world, we turn our detractors from backwardness to comfort through a message that I believe should come with the strength of the beauty that is Christian (Catholic) largesse (sanctified but absolute free will nonetheless).

There's certainly no need for any extra antagonism. Everyone already knows where there is a clash so there is certainly no need for a chap in Florida who believes he has "found God" to make any sort of a fuss. He must not.

Anyway, that's all I really have to say about that.

Nice sort of to see you all again.



See? Christianity, if properly engaged with, is simply a very good thing. I challenge you or anyone else to prove otherwise.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Amusing Truth About Education

It's probably worth enjoying this again today because the loonies are no longer in charge of the asylum, apparently - since the election.



If the Goves of this world really can't create a way of honestly educating this nation's young then we really are finished.

As this bit of classic comedy demonstrates, all Gove needs to do is, to put it simply, do it! What "it" is is entirely up to him.

But whether the prime minister, or anyone else for that matter, likes it or not, education is the real future of this country - and decontaminating it from years of disastrous socialist dogma must be the first port of call.

If you disagree, then you are [probably] a socialist and you either are just being typically typecast: dull, hysterical and/or dishonest. Or you're just trying to mix things up abit. Pray for you that it's not the latter, because I can get very cranky (!)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Labour Leadership Election? A Futile Displacement Acitivity

Jeff Randall typically has come up with the best opinion piece so far about the total dearth of quality, both in terms of its tainted, lightweight candidates and its inability to interest the country, in the current Labour leadership election sham.
So far, observing the battle for Labour's captaincy has been like watching a 0-0 draw between reserve sides in a Sunday pub league. Lots of huffing and puffing, but no goals, little excitement, and a gloomy acceptance among supporters that it really doesn't matter who wins, because the players are simply not good enough, and no amount of post-match lagers can change that.
Of course, Randall soon homes in like a well-targeted cruise missile on the real weakness underpinning the current incarnation of the parliamentary Labour party foundations and leadership: rank, institutional, barefaced, epic hypocrisy. Only, it's not just Dianne Abbott's hypocrisy he rightly lambasts (as I did here a while back) but the hypocrisy of that entire rotten political organisation. But what he does to the Milibands is priceless. Of Mili Major (Dave), before writing him off: "Offer him a platitude and he will contrive a soundbite."

For Mili Minor (Ed): he manages to muster only a cursory put down for the ugly one with a voice like a defective waste pipe, as if he just isn't worth it (he isn't):
This week, he said that he wanted Labour to become "the party of small business". Too late – Mr Brown already tried that. He began with lots of big businesses and turned many into small ones.
Boom! Two targets with one bomb.

The bottom line, of course, is that everyone has just had a complete bellyful of the whole package: the lying, the spin, the waste, the arrogance, the pocket-lining, the risible incompetence at every level and, it almost goes without saying, the huge levels of hypocrisy that have outraged so many for so long but who have only recently had the chance to show their displeasure. That gulf, between the Labour leadership's public pronouncements and private behaviour, grew so fast under Blair that the leader of the people's party was somehow able to leave office a millionaire many times over. But even all that is trumped by people's contempt for Labour's diabolical economic record in government (again):
Labour's problem is that none of the candidates can accept the real reason for the party's abysmal performance at the ballot box. As research by Demos, the think tank, revealed this week, the public is sick of borrow, tax and waste. The days of bribing voters with their own devalued money are over.
Let's hope "the public" really is that sick of it and has seen through the oldest Labour ruse of all (bribing voters with their own money). And let's hope public memories are a bit longer this time. My view is that this leadership campaign signals the death knell for Labour, for the reason implied in Randall's opening: it is now a party of alley cats, fat cats and pussy cats led by a bunch of common or garden careerist donkeys.

That lack of real new leadership will kill it.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Blog Life

My impression, having been 'blogging' for over a year now, is that this activity almost necessarily follows the patterns of real life, whatever they are. Unless, of course, you are a 'professional' blogger, a strange breed, like the redtop Guido or the broadshite - I mean 'broadsheet', (of course) - Dale. They are professionals - they do it, very professionally, for money.

The sad thing is that for amateur bloggers, like me, who choose to write about the central weighty issues of the day, according to their proclivities and their lights, naturally, (and of which they are fully aware and to which they are relatively well-adjusted) - real life is just so time-consuming.

Being busy is clearly the scurge of amateur (political) bloggers.

Anyway, point is I am quite busy just now in real life. But that does not mean I've stopped bloggin, in spite of the fact I recently managed (typically for me) to upset some of the nicest Scottish nationalists anywhere on the internet, and blew any semblance of credibility I might have had out of the water in the process.

I am so very, very sad about that. Of course.

Update about how sad I am and how you can deal with my sadness to follow, quite soon.. Watch this space!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Rhodesia

I don't know if it lowers yer blog stock price if you start embedding YouTube music video uploads to it a bit too often for comfort, but it seems to me that if your blog stock price (BSP) is already in negative territory, it really doesn't matter. You can see from my profile description what I'm mainly up to on this blog - the democratic assassination of that menace to British and world politics that is the Labour party, by any means and with extreme prejudice. But I do have other interests.

One of them is music, and rather odd music at that. I, for instance, still hark back to the late-70s/early 80s less commercial bands who disappeared without trace pretty fast but had a far bigger influence on serious modern music - and on society generally - that anyone cares to mention, especially if they're in the industry trying to market the next vacuous girl/boy "band". (I put the word "band" in inverted commas because, even during those dark days of Duran Duran, "bands" were people with some kind of instrumental, musical ability and who somehow joined together on that basis. The "Beatle Model", you might call it, rather than the "Take That" mutation).

Speaking of which, here's one of those weird 70s "bands": Japan. Now I know that its lead singer thought that his musical outflow smelt far better than his peers' (hence the flowery meaningless crap he's came up with since he broke up the band), but there was some stuff in the early days that really was challenging.

I've chosen one such example for this post, although I could have chosen a number of equally challenging others. How they're challenging is a damn good question. Politically, naturally, they are challenging. And they duly challenged and intrigued me in formative years, which is probably why I spout in this way in this place through this easy electronic mass medium now. But that music, among many other forms, was the start of my inspiration. (Learning to cope with real, working life was the rest of it!)



My only request is this: if anyone has the slightest idea what these lyrics actually mean I'd love to hear from you. It sounds so meaningful, but it could be a load of sh...

Anyway, thanks for your input in anticipation of it.

PS: This is even more fantastic, and basically incomprehensible. Maybe you can work it out, because I can't:


It's a warning to all bloggers, that's what it is...

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Bloggers Are Free

You can agree or disagree with everything that irritates you all you want, and even believe that what you're spouting in response, according to your own outlook on your own, discrete blog, might even be true. But, ultimately, I really do not care about that. Why should I?

No matter what almost-sizable political movement you think you belong to, in the end there's just you - and that's it.

It matters not how popular you are, on or offline. What matters is that you have a view and that you are loyal to it. In the end, though, no matter how much you think you believe in something political, even to the point of becoming a useful activist, you must remain unaligned in order to keep your personal, private integrity intact. Never be tainted: Be free! Or be compromised.

Anyway, that's why this Levellers toon is still so wonderful to me. It's a protest song that's more about free-thinking than it is about politics. In that sense, it's timeless.



If you don't like it then, you know, we're clearly very different and there's no need for you ever to come back here.

Seems fair enough to me.

PS: And there's more...



Humbling brilliance.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Balls: What A Piece Of Work

Just a short note to record my astonishment at the hypocrisy and arrogance not just of Labour but of a particularly bad Labourist about the roots of the Coalition on that Robinson thing on telly just now. I had thought, foolishly, that Ed Balls was incapable of getting any worse. I was, of course, wrong. Hearing him whine about Labour's negotiations with the Lib Dems after the hung parliament is extraordinary.

I think some cognitive malfunction in his mind, combined with some serious weakness in his character, together mean that he simply is incapable of comprehending what it means to be honest. He just lies all the time, effortlessly, and has no awareness whatsoever that his habitually revised narrative of events is just that: lies - and, what's more, is known to be lies by everyone outside his mind who has seen the evidence - and the truth - laid out, crystal clear, before their very eyes. But it doesn't stop him - oh no! - because it's pathological. He talks, for instance, about this idea that Nick Clegg about-faced on cuts just for leverage in the negotiation process. Not so (read more about that in the Speccy online here). It was a bare-faced lie, on camera, for the film - but Balls didn't care because he doesn't understand what he did. Maybe we should pity him, he's that bad. (Nah.)

Anyway, I could go on but this is, thankfully, all cold water under Westminster bridge. The right - the only - outcome for Britain came to pass, so none of it really matters to anyone other than various breeds of historian and fading BBC journalists like Robinson any more.

Apart from Balls, that is. He wants to a party leader, but his party (no doubt with him - along with Straw and the other usual suspects - the ringleaders) are about to renege genuinely on a manifesto promise for the sake of political expediency with the AV/constituency restructuring Bill. That's genuine, pathetic, grubby opportunism and it's also why I and other people who feel, for the current incarnation of the Labour party, nothing but utter contempt, would very much like to see Balls win. It would be a great day for the nation (the death of Labour).

But remember, always, there was at least one joyous ending to those strange days of uncertainty back in May: forget Balls because his rather more lunatic mentor, Gordon Brown, was gone, gone, gone! at the end of it all. And the nation breathed a heavy, collective sigh of relief because of it.

Now that's what I call "victory". So, what the hell: good luck to the Coalition deal that fashioned that happy outcome, Tory and Lib Dem members both. Hats off to the nationalists, too (a party of which I happily and tactically voted for).

And why not?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

New Word: "Turcophile"

I rather like Dan Hannan's latest post about how shockingly bad the treatment of Turkey has been - and still is - by the EU (in reality, when it comes to Turkey, the semi-racist France and the fully racist Germany). This probably telegraphs my ignorance, but he also taught me a new word: "Turcophile". I like this word and I'm going to use it in polite conversation from now on. I also like the concept it denotes: admiration for Turkey and Turkish people. And, it seems, I'm not the only one. David Cameron is a Turcophile too. But that was always to be expected, says Hannan, for he is a hard line traditionalist Tory at heart and always has been. Yet there is a lot more to his Turcophilia (?) than mere nostalgia and tradition, and a lot more at stake should the EU (Germany) be permitted to ostracise Turkey any longer. As Hannan says:
I have argued before that David Cameron is a remarkably traditional Tory, and his attitude to Turkey is as traditional as they come. His – my – party has been Turcophile since Derby’s leadership a century and a half ago. (So, come to that, has The Daily Telegraph, which broke with Gladstone over his anti-Ottoman policy in 1877, and has been Tory ever since.) Cameron’s reasons for backing Ankara’s EU membership bid are solidly Conservative: Turkey guarded Europe’s flank against the Bolshevists for three generations, and may one day be called on to do the same against the jihadis. In the circumstances, the PM believes, Turks are being treated ungratefully by their allies.
To me, the "guardians of the flank against the jihadis" argument for halting Turkey's shabby treatment by German politicians in particular is bullet proof. But what about EU membership? Well, it seems to me that the EU is slightly worse at foreign policy than the last Labour government - utterly appalling in other words. Who'd want to be associated with an organisation that appears to be quite adept at upsetting all of the people all of the time while simultaneously being completely unable actually to do anything, anywhere, ever. Furthermore, if you accept the real motives behind the EU's passive-aggressive bureaucratic obstructionism over Turkish membership are ones of national self-interest on the parts of the usual suspects, then you realise that this translates as outright hostility in terms of international relations, whether it comes via Brussels or not. Why on earth would Turkey want to be a part of any of that? (Why on earth do we, for heaven's sake!).

As Hannan says:
For what it’s worth, if I were Turkish, I would be against EU membership. Turkey is a dynamic country with – in marked contrast to the EU – a young population. The last thing it needs is the 48-hour week, the Common Agricultural Policy, the euro and the rest of the apparatus of Brussels corporatism. Why tie yourself to a shrinking part of the world economy; when you have teeming new markets to your east? Why submit to rule by people who barely trouble to disguise their contempt for you?
Good question. He answers it, too.
There is a difference, though, between choosing not to join and being told that you’re not good enough to join. Turks are as entitled to their pride as any other people. The way they have been messed around can hardly fail to make them despise the EU. Which, in the broader sweep of history, is likely to hurt the EU more than it does Turkey.
Now, you know as well as I do that Hannan is a smart dude. He's not just talking about Turkey, is he? (Or was that obvious?) He's talking about us, too. The reason why up to 70% of the UK's adult population if not despises then mistrusts the EU is because they feel the cold blast of its contempt for their beliefs, traditions, sense of independence, history, national identity and sovereignty every day. That's why I'm pretty certain Hannan is on to something here, and so is Cameron. By championing Turkey, and wearing his Turcophile tendencies on his sleeve, he can appeal to people's in-built Euroscepticism at home, temper the coaltion's Europhiliac tendencies and highlight Brussel's in-built Angloscepticism. All at a single stroke.

If this is true then it's a foreign policy stroke of genius. Or maybe it just seems that way after years of Labour verbal incontinence on just about any international relations topic you care to think of, and total incompetence in actually doing anything, or total dishonesty and betrayal in the case of the EU.

Maybe, for a change, this new Turcophilia is just the right policy. How refreshing.

I think I'll have a large donar for lunch.

Monday, 26 July 2010

I Write Like...



While mucking around with the internet yesterday, I stumbled on this little engine. It's called "I Write Like..." and it claims to be able to use a sample of your own work and, by the magic of modern electronics, analyse it and then say whether your style is similar to a famous author - or not, presumably: who you "write like" in other words.

Apparently, after extensive testing with different blog posts, I write like H.P. Lovecraft. Good grief!

I'd never really understood exactly what people meant when they described this blog as a horror story. I thought they were just being rude. But thanks to "I Write Like..." dot com, I now know it's because I write like the father of the grizzly modern horror genre. So there you go.

If you're a blogger or just curious about your general writing style, then give it a try. You might find you're (yet) another H.P. Lovecraft. Or possibly even worse.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Final Delusion

My utter and entirely justified contempt for Gordon Brown is well-documented on this blog. But even he's managed to surpass himself in terms of delusion and sanctimonious bullshit flammery in his post-prime ministerial speech to a bunch of corrupt socialist African 'leaders' (dictators) in Kampala yesterday. 
But hey, that's just my view of the utter Brown catastrophe. Here's a bit of what he said. I think the entire speech, taken as watertight evidence of a diseased mind, conclusively demonsrates that he is, at heart, a quasi-totalitarian egoist with messianic tendencies. But, naturally, you must make-up your own mind:
All of our lives are connected: we can all impact for good or ill on the lives of people we have never met. And yet we don’t currently share a common society or effective global institutions that allow us to treat strangers as neighbours or give life to our feelings of fellowship, solidarity, compassion and care.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe that it is possible for people, acting together, to build a global society, and design the institutions that would best serve its values
OK, Gord, you get on with 'building a global society'. But while you're busy designing the brave new world, the rest of us normal people will be searching for ways to harness individual compassion as a social force, lowering taxes to reward hard work and freeing the education system so that our brightest no longer have to feel disadvantageded because they aren't part of the anti-excellence Labour average.
I digress. The simple point is that Brown is a well-known, now-talkative lunatic, and Balls should just resign,

RIP The Hurricane

I suppose as one gets older (mind you, I'm only 38 - for another month or so) you have to get used to burying your dead or, if it's not a close relative you're putting in the ground, mourning the passing of a true hero.

Alex Higgins was never one of my personal heroes, but he was certainly one of the true sporting greats that defined my childhood. Snooker, in the early 80s, was strangely massive to all of us. Higgins, largely because of his unthinkable '82 win in the age of the Steve Davis machine, was one of the reasons why.



RIP Alex Higgins.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Why The CPS Is, Unfortunately, Wrong

Dizzy Thinks has an interesting post this morning on the travesty of justice that is the CPS decision not to prosecute a policeman for causing the death (according to the evidence of two out of three experts) of an innocent, if intoxicated, bystander at the G8 protests a couple of years back. He goes through all the various legal scenarios and outcomes studied and predicted over 16 long months by the strangely unimpressive Keir Starmer and his Crown Prosecution 'Service'. Dizzy's post is pretty comprehensive so I won't go into it in too much detail. Better you read it for yourself here. Suffice to say, he sums up his explanation of the CPS' decision and why he thinks it's the right one as follows:
Think about it for a moment. It would, frankly, be absurd for the Crown to attempt to prosecute someone and then have their own witness testify that their own case wasn't water-tight and that the defendant might in fact be not guilty.
That's why the CPS didn't, wouldn't, and couldn't go ahead with a trial, and screaming "whitewash" or "cover-up" is little more than a jerking knee inspired by those who have prejudged the case and have a committed held view on the officer's guilt already. If this had gone to trial, and the result would've been not guilty, I imagine there would be theories and speculation about Jury nobbling too.
I'm very uncomfortable with these comments for two main reasons - and several minor ones. The main reasons are that, first, no one is shouting 'whitewash' on this blog and it is silly - if not self-defeating - for Dizzy Thinks to characterise everyone who disagrees with the decision not to prosecute the policeman concerned for anything at all after the death of a human being as either Lefties or conspiracy theorists. It's just not true, and suggests a rather unbalanced view on his part, frankly.

Second, the decision itself. To me it was desperately wrong for a reason of principle, namely, that the CPS was not set up to adjudicate in criminal matters. It was set up to organise prosecutions. It's up to a jury in a trial to determine guilt or innocence and advocates to make the case, or defend the defendant, as best they can.

The reason why the CPS is wrong is because the decision should not have been up to the CPS - or Keir Starmer - to decide whether there was a case for the suspect to answer in the first place. No one seems to doubt that there was, even if it were one of common assault, not even the police themselves.

This is just one more instance among so many others that indicate the CPS is basically out of control. Reform seems to me to be the next logical step, so we at least can try to get back to trial by a jury of our peers - and justice - instead of non-trial by evidence review by a glorified quango - or injustice.

Update
I was quite pleased to read Gerald Warner's comment in the Telegraph just now:
If there are “fundamental differences” of medical opinion, as cited by the CPS, surely that is all the more reason to resolve them in a court of law, rather than to kick this life-and-deathquestion into the long grass.
Dizzy can hardly describe Warner as a Lefty or a conspiracy theorist. Warner simply understands what an awful lot of other people do too: it should be up to the courts to decide whether a person is guilty of a crime, not the CPS and certainly not Keir-bloody-Starmer.

It's probably worth adding that Warner's article mainly concerns the probability that the police's image, already quite thoroughly tarnished for a large number of pretty shabby reasons over the past decade, has just taken another hit thanks to Starmer's extremely puzzling decision. Is that really what they wanted, one wonders? Do they even care?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Brown vs Cameron: The Contrast

There's Dave...
Sky News' Jon Craig has posted an interesting piece on the latest Brown-sighting this evening. After Cameron's highly adroit - even deft - performance in the US, it's becoming pretty clear that, in absolute fact, Britain is far better off, both at home and abroad, now that she is finally being represented by a prime minister that isn't either a) a hopeless attention-seeker obsessed with his own image rather than concerned with the needs of a country he laughably purported to lead or the world that he generally preferred to start wars in, or b) a socially inept weirdo with terrifying delusions of grandeur and a pathological inability to recognise, much less tell, the truth.

Jon Craig writes of the latter's latest noises well-off performance:
So what did Gordon Brown do after his brief appearance in the House of Lords?
(See previous blog.)
Speak in the Commons during the third reading debate on the Finance Bill?
Er, no.
Pop down to Strangers' Bar or the terrace for a few beers with old comrades?
Er, no.
The former Prime Minister, I can reveal, had already invited new Labour MPs elected for the first time on May 6 - about 70 in all - for a chat at 4pm in his grand and spacious new office on the top floor of Portcullis House.
An audience with Gordon.
Aah. So the room was packed, then?
Er, no.
Apparently, so my informant tells me, only about 10 turned up to listen to the former PM.
I'm also told that some of the bright young things turned up hoping to ask him worthy questions about the Alternative Vote referendum and other current topics.
But they were disapppointed to hear him talk at some length - no change there, then - about how the Tories kept trashing his record in power.
Oh dear.
In denial?
That's what some Labour MPs are claiming.
Where's Wally Gordon?
I'm quite surprised to be writing this, but Cameron is actually beginning to look great. Now that could just be because he's normal compared to the two contemptible Labour has-beens this country and the world have been forced to tolerate for over a decade in unequal shares until very recently.

But he did look and sound great today - a real independent force. Having seen some of the clips of his performance with the latest incarnation of the US president, compared to the rather brittle-looking, slightly spiteful-sounding Barack Hussein Obama, he was, well, just great.

Hang-on, I know it's early days, but it is possible Cameron is great - as in an unusually gifted statesman and leader (at least in the making).

One day maybe it'll even become a famous quotation: "Andy Burnham [or whoever], you are no David Cameron! (You're actually a bit like Tony Blair - but not quite as bad as Gordon Thingumyjig)," says someone or other who's fairly famous in politics .

Hmm. Maybe not (yet). But he's clearly better than Blair. And way, way, way better than the unspeakable (and nearly vanished forever anyway) Brown. We might still be in the 'thank God for small mercies' stage of Cameron's premiership, but there can be no denying it: there were one or two glimpses of greatness there today.

What a contrast!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Blair To Blame For Brown

Quite aside from all his other disastrous decisions, mainly on foreign policy, it seems perfectly fair to me that Blair be blamed for not seeing while he was Prime Minister that Britain wasn't saddled with a successor he himself thought was unfit to govern. This is, according to Andrew Rawnsley in his extraordinarily excoriating assault on virtually the entire Labour administration, the thing for which Blair, ultimately, is most guilty. It's a heck of a read and should be disastrous for all Labour's leadership candidates, tainted as they are with the charge of cowardice, arch and chronic dishonesty and, simply put, self-interested misgovernance. Anyway, here's a taste of something which, if you haven't already read it, is well worth a look:
If Blair thought that Brown was unfit to be prime minister – and there's now lots of evidence that this is precisely what Blair thought – he had an obligation to his party and his country to do something about it. At the very least, he should have, as he could have, ensured that there was a contest for the succession in 2007 rather than allow Brown to be crowned without proper scrutiny. It was one of Blair's most selfish acts and a gross dereliction of duty to swan off to make his millions while leaving his party and country to cope with the consequences of a Brown premiership.
The implication from this is that by the time he had finally given in to the forces of hell unleashed by Brown in the form of Balls, Wheelan et al in 2006, Blair simply didn't give a toss about what happened next. A more damning indictment of the man as Prime Minister is simply inconceivable, even one involving his misleading the House of Commons, the country and the world over WMDs in Iraq. It's actually quite difficult accurately to describe a person like that, whose self-interest and vanity is only trumped by his greed and dishonesty. In some ways if one views it in the light of this unforgivable dereliction of duty, as Rawnsley rightly calls it, Blair ends up as an even worse national leader than Brown, difficult though that might be for some (like me) to swallow.

If you do accept Rawnsley's characterisation of Blair, it is, however, perfectly possible to argue that he was worse than Brown as a man and as a leader. The only difference between the two frauds being, therefore, that Blair was a far better con man than Brown ever could be, which meant that Blair was able to trick the country into believing him and then voting for him. By contrast, Brown was just Brown: paranoid, delusional, vicious, incompetent even in disguising his many falsehoods and, ultimately, a total electoral liability and a catastrophe for the nation.

The impact of these realisations on the Labour leadership campaign as I said should be massive. All the candidates are as discredited as each other for failing to make the decision Blair couldn't be ar*ed to make and stopping Brown once it was crystal clear he was utterly hopeless. As Rawnsley says, quite fairly and quite mildly in truth:
Andy Burnham was one of the nodding dogs who would declare to TV cameras that the cabinet had every confidence in Gordon Brown when the reverse was the case. Ed Balls ran the thuggish Brownite machine and the decade-long insurgency against Tony Blair to put his master in Number 10. Ed Miliband makes pious noises denouncing "factionalism" as if he is a saintly figure who never had anything to do with it. "The emissary from Planet Fuck" – as he was known among Blair's aides during the civil war – was at the heart of the Brown faction.It is a bit tricky for David Miliband. He was one of the senior members of the cabinet who knew Brown was taking them to defeat and failed to act before it was too late.
So they all should be screwed - and rightly so. For all his hypocrisy, Mandelson doesn't really matter because he's not a leadership candidate. So, assuming (and this is a big assumption) the MSM ends its own version of Labourist dishonesty and begins to treat the rest with the contempt they should have coming to them for their pathetic behaviour in propping up Brown, the only untainted candidate in the Labour leadership race is, hilariously, Diane Abbott!

Either way, and this is essentially Rawnsley's conclusion, Labour is truly, deservedly and royally buggered. And in the end, of course, they themselves are the ones who are to blame for it. After all, Blair only gave us Brown because he'd given up, and that's how history will judge him. But the Milibands, Burnham and Balls (and Mandelson) are the ones who propped the disastrous loser up. That was unforgivable - and the country isn't going to forgive them, ever.

Now, thankfully, their past seems finally to be catching up with them. Soon there'll be nowhere left for them to hide any more and no amount of continued lying will save their collective political bacon. If the PLP is stupid enough to elect one of them, (and it's almost certain that it is that stupid) then they should prepare to be out of power for decades, if not forever. Mind you, exactly the same thing will happen if they choose bonkers Abbott.

Catch 22 for the Labourist wreckers - and music to my ears!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Brian Clough: What A Legend

Just watch this video and realise that not only does English football urgently need a man like Brian Clough, British public life generally does too. A sense of fair play, a respect for authority, a deep understanding of genuine priorities - what's really important (like taking the initiative when someone's being an idiot and stopping them!) - and a healthy contempt for the BBC's po-faced, self-important, self-appointed, misplaced, half-baked didacticism. Best man never to have managed England, obviously, and rightfully regarded by those who knew him or supported football clubs he coached as a legend. Wish I'd been one of them!



Marvellous.

My word he would have made a team out of that bunch of overpaid airheads and losers we sent to South Africa. He makes Don Fabio look like precisely what he is, only a half-decent manager, and John Motson look like precisely what he is: a complete idiot.

Where are this nation's Brian Cloughs, with all that flair, individualism and inner steel, when we so desperately need them!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Hunt Declares War On The BBC

Not a moment too soon it actually looks like the BBC's cosy world of unaccountability, an appallingly cavalier attitude to income it does not earn but extorts from the general public for whom it has constantly shown nothing but contempt in recent years, and a severe political bias that has penetrated every level of the organisation over several decades, is about to come to an abrupt end. It certainly looks like Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative culture secretary, has actually been listening to people like me (and there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people like me) and has bravely, recognising the urgent necessity, decided to be the one to stand up to and take on the monolithic social, economic and cultural parasite that our national broadcaster, in its current form, has become.

If we are to believe what Hunt has told the Daily Telegraph, then the skids really are finally under the BBC closed shop. Furthermore, if its managers refuse to budge on certain issues, including Hunt's very reasonable proposal that there be a significant reduction in the ridiculous licence tax given the Labour-generated current economic climate, then it could, finally, finally, herald the moment when long-overdue and massive reform comes to the creaking, unfit-for-purpose, throwback-Soviet organisation.

The Telegraph reports Hunt as saying, among other things:
There are huge numbers of things that need to be changed at the BBC. They need to demonstrate the very constrained financial situation we are now in
All the concerns I had in opposition about executive salaries and use of licence fee funds for things many people thought were extraordinary or outrageous - that (next year) will be moment when I express them
Now, I know this won't lead to the kind of breaking-up of the corporation I want to see, with the selling off of all but the core radio and TV channels (R4, R2, Five Live, BBC1 and 2), the abolition of the jurassic licence fee (to be replaced by a central grant, charitable status and fundraising powers), but I certainly recognise that this is far more than mere gesture politics at a ripe moment. Hunt means to force the BBC into putting its house in real order, or else.

Never thought I'd see the day. Well done Jeremy Hunt. Let battle commence!

Inside the Bunker

Iain Martin has provided, presumably from his sources inside the civil service, a fascinating and chilling insight into Brown's autocratic, paranoid and hopeless (mis)management of day-to-day Prime Ministerial business. If you haven't already read it, click through here.

It will take a lot of effort to work out just how much damage three years (or 13 years if you include his time as a diabolical, serially disloyal Chancellor) of Brown's weirdness and chaos in Downing Street has done to this nation. The litany of disasters that can be traced directly back to Brown's bunker door are emerging daily, of course, so the process could take less time than we think.

Quite frankly, I think how such a man was elevated to the level of the highest office in the land in the first place, without even the pretence of any form of democratic election, should also be a source of deep and urgent study. Why? Because it must never, ever be permitted to happen again and if that means radical alterations to the rules governing the way Prime Ministers are chosen, then so be it.

In the meantime we can be happy about a couple of things, and Martin alludes to these in his excellent piece: stable, reasonable, elected people are back in charge, cabinet government appears to have returned and the principles of ministerial and collective responsibility look like being rigorously reinstated.

We shall see, but after the cocksure, cowboy, sofa government years of Blair and the mentally disturbed, incoherent, mafiosi years of Brown, it certainly feels like accountability, professionalism and, crucially, normality have returned to Downing Street, Whitehall and, perhaps (just perhaps), even Westminster.

Well, you might disagree. But God help us all if I'm wrong!

Just remember, Brown's chief hit man, Balls, is still around, waiting in the wings, shamelessly spewing his poisonous politics of propaganda, division, dishonesty and fear. He's on This Week right now lying through his teeth about, in this case, his many crimes against Tony Blair on behalf of his boss, Brown, to whom he remains fanatically loyal. The chances of the evil Balls becoming leader even of his own party are pretty slim, I admit, (oh I do hope he wins!) but there's still that chance, however slight, and the frailties of our system, exposed by the Brown 2007 coup d'├ętat, mean that at that point, he would be a hell of a lot closer to Number 10 than is sanely conceivable.

If Iain Martin's revelations reveal just how very, very, incredibly bad Brown was, just imagine what life would be like under Prime Minister Balls.

That would be a nightmare from which we might never wake up.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mandelson Spins His Own Memoirs

New Labour Spin Twins: currently out-lying each other
Hardly surprising, I know, but since they have not been entirely well-received by his own party it was necessary for Mandelson to spin his memoirs for all he was worth upon their publication today in the face of what I predict will be pretty poor sales - and some reasonably tough questioning from Evan Davies this morning.

Even so, to hear Mandelson actually trying to spin his own, printed words from his own, conceited book - to hear him attempt the epistemologically impossible and wriggle and squirm as he did so - was a source of some pleasure for me as I battled my way into work through sheets and sheets of West Wales rain.

Doesn't he realise we stopped believing anything he says long ago? Davies made the point quite well: something like, don't you think the public will find it quite annoying that only three months ago you were telling them to vote for what you now call a 'dysfunctional' prime minister and party. Mandelson had no convincing answer to that, at least, not convincing enough for any potential readership, I would say.

But is this a case of one spin operation too far for the Prince of Spain (sic)? I suppose it's inevitable, actually, that spinners end up spectacularly but stubbornly contradicting themselves. After all, 'spin' is merely a euphemism for 'lie'. And Mandelson, after Alistair Campbell, is the biggest spinner of them all.

The only important thing about this book of Mandy's is that it represents the first shot in Labour's latest civil war, a war which, with enough luck, should keep them away from office - and us - for a generation.

So well done he. Sort of.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Badger Culling Doesn't Work

Not guilty!
Farmers today have described the suspension of the cull of Pembrokeshire's badger population, ostensibly to combat bovine TB, as a 'disaster for farming', according to this report. I'm sorry but I just do not for one moment buy that. The link between bovine TB and badgers is merely accepted wisdom based on, at best, anecdotal and/or coincidental data.

But even if you refute this strange farmers' reasoning with real evidence, or just subscribe to a different interpretation of existing-though-discrete data points, you are laughed at simply because its not the fashionable view. (Remind you of any other field of 'settled science'?). Furthermore, even if one member of the badger-cow TB camp could spurn the hysterical anti-badgerism, that person would still, without a shadow of a doubt, advocate the boneheaded position 'ah yes, maybe so, but better to be safe than sorry, right?'. Again, this reminds us eerily of another scientific cop out.

And sorry, but no, it isn't 'better to be safe than sorry' especially in this case because it is very likely that you are, in fact, still ignorant, more vulnerable having been lulled into a false sense of security by the massive badger bloodletting, and with one more innocent native British species of wildlife pushed onto the endangered list as a consequence of pitchforks and burning torches approach to countryside and agricultural management. A lose-lose-lose scenario. And it's pathetic. Why? Well, one South African (?) expert in the field, Martin Hancox, writes:
Accepted “Wisdom” after 35 years repetition is that badgers are the MAIN Reservoir of TB, and transmission is one-way badger to cow. The Emperor’s New Clothes, no-one apparently can “SEE” that thanks to the cattle TB crisis, the exact opposite is true: cattle are the MAIN reservoir and transmission is 99-100% cow to cow (and spillover to badgers and deer etc).
Cows give badgers TB!
The rest of his stout defence of Meles meles or Brother Brock is entertaining, quite compelling and well worth the read. Hats off must go not only to him but also to the Liberal Democrat AM, Peter Black, who has helped to halt the cull in Pembroke, and thus, quite possibly (since Pembroke was intended as some kind of trial), the rest of Wales, if not Britain. In addition, praise must go to those farmers who, while still strangely believing implicitly in the badger-bovine TB link, have the common sense and conservation-minded decency not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

You'd think it would have dawned on them why culls have failed for forty years when they have been tried wouldn't you? Well, it hasn't, so we'll have to spell it out for them: IT'S NOT THE BADGERS' FAULT, STUPID!

Not going to get through to them any time soon though, is it? It's very sad how destructive people can be in their ignorance, but too proud to stop themselves even when the truth is right there staring them in the face. Pity.

We Need Troops In Afghanistan, Not Just Timetables

Mission accomplished? Hardly
I must say, I'm afraid I found Liam Fox's explanations and justifications for the combat drawdown timetable in Afghanistan on Radio 4 this morning rather unconvincing. At one point he started to remind me of various Labour defence ministers (you can pick one) in his attempts to service the argument that the Afghan National Army will somehow be ready to take over from American and British troops in five years' time, despite mounting evidence to the contrary (not least yesterday's tragic rocket attack on British soldiers by an insurgent who had infiltrated the Afghan army) and continuing military reversals (I define losing territory you have just gained from the enemy because you don't have enough men to hold it a 'reversal', don't you?).

It's not that I don't buy what he says - in most ways, he is far more believable than his Labour predecessors, who spent most of their time lying through their teeth about helicopter numbers, among many other things - it's that things just don't add up given the time frame proposed and troop levels involved.

It's been said by a lot of commentators and experts alike that the mission, the war aims, the 'liberation not occupation' philosophy, the 'protecting us at home by fighting terror abroad' ideology, even the timetable that's been announced, are all theoretically sound apart from one, vitally important factor: for all these goals to be accomplished, our troop levels in the short term need to rise substantially; our level of engagement intensify dramatically.

Under-manning has and, it seems, always will be the British problem in Afghanistan. In order to fulfil the mission we set for ourselves, two or even three divisions of soldiers (around 30,000+ combat troops plus support) should have been committed, and now should be committed, to augment the USA's 10. "But that would cost the country a fortune!" I hear you gasp. Well, war does cost a fortune and if you are not prepared to pay it, then you should pull the hell out immediately because there is no point in staying.

It was a fortune of our treasure that Gordon Brown was not willing to spend on our behalf to protect our armed forces, so I place the blame squarely at his door for subsequent losses, both the ones caused by a lack of equipment - strength in the air - and the ones caused by insufficient strength on the ground.

I'm now wondering, though, will the Coalition government try to fight this war on the cheap as well? If they do, then we will lose.

Dr Fox had better wake up to that reality - fast. And so had David Cameron and the Coalition he purports to lead.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Another Day, Another BBC Online Pro-Labour Report

200K London Superhead? Yer 'avin a larf in't ya?
I know, I know - if you wanted to read about how bad the BBC is, you'd make your way to the first rate "Biased BBC" blog. But I just can't help it, mainly because every day with relentless regularity, the BBC - particularly its online news incarnation - confirms all my suspicions about it. The chief suspicion, of course - that the BBC is institutionally left wing, pro-Labour and viscerally Tory-hating - can hardly be called a 'suspicion' any more since so much evidence to prove this is right beyond any reasonable doubt has been forthcoming over the years. Lame BBC managerial and editorial statements to the contrary have become a joke.

You, as I often do, might be wondering to what lengths the BBC will go in pursuit of its propaganda goals. Well, today we have yet more data to show that "any" is the answer. Consider the farce of Ed Balls' entire education strategy for the past three years, given plummeting literacy and numeracy levels and ever-dumber standards in exams. Consider, for instance, the £10Bn+ that has been frittered away over and above the £30Bn school building and refurbishment programme, now being gallantly corrected by Michael Gove.

Consider also today's extraordinary news that a primary school head teacher has been raking in 200 large a year on the back of, we assume, some half-decent administration of a small school, the consequence of another Balls brainchild, "City Challenge". Jackpot! At least for Mark Elms, that is, who, it seems, is some kind of hyper-teacher, a true saviour capable of healing the educationally sick and giving the word-blind sight. At least I assume that's how good he is otherwise why is he troughing eight times more for running a primary school than a close relative of mine retired on after 35 years of highly distinguished teaching and administration in the secondary sector? No one, but no one, in the education industry is that good.

It seems the BBC's reporter, one Hannah Richardson, disagrees. I'll quote a bit of it, but you will need to read to whole thing to get a taste of just how extraordinarily one-sided it is - and I mean in favour, by implication, not of the teacher in question, but of the brains behind the ridiculously expensive but "prestigious" (according to Richardson - you betcha, girly! Anyone who can syphon off 200k from the government for running a primary school deserves some kind of admiration) "National Leader of Education" programme, Edward BALLS.
For this work, at his 400-pupil school, Mr Elms receives a basic salary of £82,417.This is well within the maximum head teacher pay rate of £109,000 for large inner London state schools.
The bulk of the £200,000 pay package he received last year was for the work he did on the London Challenge and City Challenge project over two years.
These schemes support schools in challenging circumstances and have been very successful in improving education in deprived areas of the country.
Well now, pardon me for complaining, but does this or any of the other half-baked comments she makes in her little piece remotely justify giving one man two hundred grand for running one school, no matter how bad it had become in a Labour-run inner city area. As I said, however, it's important to recognise that that's not the real purpose of this dizzyingly-spun article. The real purpose for this editorially on-message young BBC hackette is to speak out for a very expensive, and highly divisive, Labour schools policy, and therefore, by implication, up for Balls.

Gladly, if the rider at the top of the old Department for Children, Schools and Families, website dedicated to this policy from the incumbents is anything to go by, the "City Challenge" policy Ms Richardson seems to like so much, and Mark Elms obviously loves, is now as defunct and kaput as the failed government that spawned it. It goes:
A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.
All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise.
To view the new Department for Education website, please go to http://www.education.gov.uk
I like it! Seems Hannah Richardson was reporting on a dead policy walking, regardless of her motives for doing so.

Time she and the BBC woke up to the fact that Labour is out of office, and that their cosy world of protected political bias is no longer as safe as they might like to believe. Just as Mark Elms can expect no more ridiculous bonuses (or perhaps "bribes" would be a better word) for doing his job in a less than salubrious area of the Smoke, left wing BBC hacks, editors and managers can expect no more sanctuary in a public institution that urgently needs to be given back to the public, or go the way of the "Department for Children, Families, Schools, Pets and Wasting Money", Ed Balls and the entire, trainwreck New Labour Government.

Do you think they get that yet? I don't.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Quote of the Day: The BBC's Contradiction

Rod Liddle in the Speccy has quoted a first class Charles Moore piece to help him emphasise his own refreshing and welcome disdain for the direction the BBC has been taking for the past decade or so, especially as regards its squandering of the licence fee tax on overpaid and highly over-rated "talent". He points out that Moore illustrates the contradiction that lies at the heart of the BBC's funding-spending model and the dishonesty in senior managers' constant attempts to deflect our attention away from it. Liddle writes:
Charles’s diary in the last edition of the magazine put far more succinctly, and clearly, the point I was trying to get at in my blog about the BBC a few items down from this one. I talked about the BBC’s moral cross-subsidisation (which is never publicly admitted by the corporation) and how this is increasingly difficult to justify. Charles puts it better, with this exposition of what lies at the heart of the “endless contradiction” which the BBC exploits
Excellent, sure, but then he goes on to quote Moore:
“When you complain that it is funded in a privileged way, it says that it does things which no one else can do. When you complain that it spends its unique funding on enormous contracts with stars, it says it has to do so in order to behave like its rivals. The truth is that the concept of the star……….is incompatible with the Public Purposes expressed in the Charter of the BBC.”
Brilliantly put. What I know is that the corruption at the centre of the BBC, and its cause has seldom been more eloquently articulated than it is by Moore here, must be challenged and the corporation reformed, broken-up or abolished altogether.

Until then, for instance, more than a quarter of all criminal court actions will continue to be licence fee-tax related. People will continue to go to jail and/or be fined extraordinarily punitive amounts in their tens of thousands simply because, as is often the case, they cannot afford to fund the lifestyle of people like Jonathan Ross.

That is unacceptable, and this government had better do something about it in this parliament or be viewed, at least by this blogger, as a failure.

Mandelson's Irrelevant Memoirs

Jackie Ashley, in her piece in the Graun this morning that's basically a 1500-word moan about why-oh-why the Labour party is imploding and so many people are 'abusing' the party's record in government, describes Mandelson's new memoirs as "bank-swelling". I'm not sure I agree with her about that. Beyond all the MSM political hacks who must buy it (assuming they're not given free copies), the professional bloggers (one of whom probably helped to publish it), MPs and former ministers, (who'll all be desperate to see if they get a mention from the oily old pocket-liner) I have a sneaking suspicion that very few people will be remotely interested enough to shell out their hard-earned on such an artefact of conceit.

You see, the thing Labour people like Ashley don't seem to grasp is that contempt for the Labour party and all its works has gone well beyond mere abuse now. Try as she and her BBC husband might to talk it up, the fact is that people have moved well on from the Labour narrative and are comfortable with the new, Tory/coalition one. So comments like this from her, let's face it, pretty desperate piece...
Somebody needs to fight back against the hysterical torrent of abuse being poured on Labour's economic record, which after all included a decade of good times, the rebuilding of public services, and successful action to stave off a full-scale collapse in the banking system. It may be too early: the self-righteousness of the Labour-haters now matches the self-righteousness of New Labour in its pomp. But the time will come.
...sort of pretty spectacularly miss the point. The "hysterical torrent of abuse" would not be the relevant thing even if it actually existed (it doesn't), the outcome of the general election is, with millions of people deciding, not as "self-righteous Labour-haters" (a rather feeble example of the sneering hyperbole I've often heard from self-righteous Tory-haters like her), but as ordinary voters, to reject Labour and its pisspoor record. You know, in their self-righteous Tory-hating, which shields them from all conceivable criticism, I think Labour-losers still really haven't understood the fact that they have lost the argument - comprehensively and conclusively - and that they are, consequently and with increasing shrillness, talking to themselves.

The sales of Mandelson's new novel, the serialisation of which is safely hidden behind a Murdoch paywall, should provide a fair measurement of just how irrelevant Labour have quickly become, and just how far the country has moved on from them and their sorry tale of failure in government.

Me? I expect to see it in the bargain bins within weeks, along with Mandelson's memoirs.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Saturday Night Music Special

I'm oddly happy with the state of the news just now what with Mandelson coming out and scuppering the irrelevance that is the Labour leadership fiasco and that tragic Moat bloke finally doing our idiot police a favour and putting himself out of their heavily-armed misery, and the awesome Booker planting another hobnailed boot in the sweaty groin of climate change fanaticism.

The great Gove's rearguard after his crew's cockups and his brave resurrection of political accountability seems to be working reasonably well too. Excellent.

In other words, there's nothing much around that's annoying enough to talk about, so I think this a downtime moment - a time for some nice music, perhaps.

How about this: "Dream Away" by my hero, George Harrison?


I suppose we're all "Time Bandits" really, one way or another. We all dream of reliving our past so we can correct it in whatever way from a position of knowledgable strength. That's the ammunition known as hindsight. Sadly, of course, it's an impotent trick of memory.

Be content you own the human gift that is regret. It keeps us little people honest - and (oddly) free :)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Silly Season At The BBC: Obesity and Exercise

To be fair, though, it's not just the BBC - it just reported it on its website and then followed it up with a debate on Today this morning between a silly man called Fry and some other dude who wasn't quite so silly - it's a bunch of extremely silly scientists who have published a very silly paper on the relationship between exercise and obesity in children. To call the scientists' conclusions "silly", as covered in the BBC web story is, however, to be very generous. They're not merely silly, to my mind they're potentially dangerous.
The researchers at the EarlyBird Diabetes Study, based at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, has been following a group of more than 200 city school children for the past 11 years.
As part of the long-term study, they monitored body fat and exercise at regular intervals over three years.
They found no indication that doing more physical activity had any effect on weight, but they did find that children who put on weight did relatively less exercise.
And so it goes on, hedging and blurring its way to the final, soggy-wet-fish-in-the-gob conclusion - that without exercise children get fat and when they get fat they do less exercise and, because of their big tummies, crave more food. Well, duh.

How many millions of pounds was wasted on this ridiculous study just so the ultra-bleedin' obvious could be restated, but couched in pseudo-scientific terms, complete with the thinnest of anecdotal statistical 'links'?

But that's not the point is it? The real point, if the the Today broadcast this morning was anything to go on, is that this just represents yet another extension of the ongoing battle between intervention and information, between the answer of the Left (to ban and order) and the libertarian Right (to inform, suggest and trust).

The BBC, in its boundless silliness, has clearly decided that Andrew Lansley's decision to reverse the previous government's failed policies on people eating too much and not exercising enough, and save enormous sums of money into the bargain, must be challenged - because a new study, however silly, says so; because something called the "National Obesity Forum" says so. Because the improbable Mr Fry, who wants to regulate the entire food industry and then, presumably, eating itself, says so.

In other words, because nanny (the interventionist Left) says so. If it wasn't so pathetic it really would be silly.

Oh, by the way, if you want children to be less fat, feed them fruit, milk, bread & butter and beans on toast and let them play for as long as they want every day - which will be a lot. Oh, right, in Labour's Britain, even play must be regulated - and the streets aren't safe any more (we are led to believe by the generally hysterical media), so buy the little darlings an Xbox and plonk them in front of the TV out of the way...and see what happens (has happened).

Unlock your children, folks. They need the exercise!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Another Word About Michael Gove

My admiration for the man has, if anything, risen even further after his dignified apology to the House of Commons in a personal statement he made in the past few minutes.

Of course it's a cause for concern that 25 schools were left with the impression they were going to enjoy the post-Labour luxury of refurbishment, at massive cost to the taxpayer, through the astonishingly inefficient Balls Future Schools policy, but after his sincere apology about the inaccuracy of the lists released on Monday, which is ultimately a Civil Service issue for which the education minister is properly taking ministerial responsibility - Labourists take note - Gove's reputation remains intact, if not enhanced.

Compare and contrast the reputations of the screaming Labour benches with their fake anger, wallowing in the deepest of hypocrisy. Compare their behaviour and reach the only conclusion possible: not only are they not fit for government, after the hideous unpleasantness of Tom Watson MP, for example (shrieking baseless accusations and vicious insults directly at Gove), a fair proportion of them aren't fit to be Members of Parliament. That will be crystal clear to any sane person watching the exchanges.

There is one other point that's emerged from this latest parliamentary spat and it concerns Bercow. He seems to think the being "Speaker" means he has to speak all the time. He appears to imagine that not only must he intervene to keep order, he must pass judgment on every point made, especially on the Tory side. He apparently considers his condescending, smug, self-publicising manner is appropriate for the great office of state he's attempting, and failing, to fill. I've seen this odious man in action long enough now to know that he's little more than a catspaw for Labour, no doubt to please his wife. He's got to go before he does any more damage to the proper business of parliament and the reputation of the House of Commons. He's that bad.

So, this procedural storm in a teacup, predictably stirred-up by the malignant, mendacious opposition and, one has to say after his questionable interventions and rulings today, by their tame placeman in the Speaker's chair, Bercow, will soon blow over. But the debris left in its wake will not represent obstacles to Gove's or the coalition's programme of righting Labour wrongs and getting their disastrous, spiralling deficit under control. Far from it. Gove's statement has re-established the principle of ministerial responsibility (I have no doubt he offered his resignation to David Cameron, judging by the depth and sincerity of his apology on behalf of his department) after all those years of abuse by the previous Labour regime. It has also revealed the pettiness and revisionism of a contemptible Labour contingent unable to take any responsibility whatsoever for their role in causing the worst crisis in British public finances for, to quote one of their number, sixty years.

Perhaps that's what Gove was doing: smoking out the dishonest, discredited cabal of ex-ministers and their sweaty-toothed left wing comrades on the backbenches with sincerity. It's possible - he's that clever. However, I prefer to think that he was just doing what he thinks is right - owning-up, taking responsibility and apologising for the error. Insodoing he has left no one in any doubt as to his good faith and decency, and cast massive ones over a large swathe of Labour party members'.

"Good faith and decency"? Thy name is not the oily, weasily Bercow, and certainly not the scrofulous Tom Watson. Thy name is Michael Gove.

Monday, 5 July 2010

A Word About Michael Gove

Education is an area that interests me intensely so it might not be surprising that I'm spending the early evening watching the education funding statement on the parliament channel at this very moment (exciting, eh?).

Suffice to say, and in the spirit of his refreshing brevity and precision, Michael Gove is giving one of the more polished parliamentary performances I've seen in defending his policy of suspending Ed Balls' pie-in-the-sky, dishonest pre-election plans for building and refurbishing 700 schools. A number of facts are emerging thanks to Gove's extraordinary mastery of the detail, not least among them the bureaucratic waste, vast inefficiency and dreadful mismanagement of PFI contracts by Ed Balls and the department he apparently headed (even though he seemed far more busy most of the time trying in his role as Gordon Brown's barely house trained thug, propping up the auld fraud and protecting him almost 24/7 from his own cabinet, a full time job in itself).

Gove's handling of the various whining Labour opposition MPs, moaning about things that their own pathetic leadership brought down on them, is just breathtakingly good. The more insulting and detached from reality they become, the more witty and precise his answers become and, in a spiral that can only ever tarnish the grim image of the socialists further, causes the Labour MPs to become even more insulting and detached from reality.

The reason for this is simple: the principles underpinning Gove's policy initiatives, even ones that amount to large but necessary cuts in the education budget at a time, thanks to the disastrous failures of the previous government, of great insecurity in the public finances, are bullet proof. Better value for money, less bureaucracy and higher standards through greater choice are on offer. And you would bet your house that Gove is the sort of man who will deliver.

All poor old Balls, the biggest villain of this piece, can do meanwhile is moan about the list of affected schools not being available in the Commons library for a handful of minutes. That really is the best he can do - and it's not very good, is it? I think I can predict Gove's response: "Ball, E: must do better, but on the strength of past performances probably won't. D-".

Gove is a truly impressive figure - everyone knows that. But when he's up against the likes of feeble Balls and his ilk on the opposition benches, he looks like a world beater. Cameron beware!

Oh dear. And Balls is still moaning away - this time about his money fiddling of that dodgy Islamic faith school some aeons ago. Labourists - you've gotta love 'em (sort of). They are totally clueless. It's a wonder to me they remember to breathe.

For them to be whinging about pre-announced policies is just priceless!

BBC Still Isn't Learning

Whether it's a typical public sector ingrained sense of entitlement or some quite new and unique phenomenon, the BBC simply isn't learning. Now that Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, has been publicly contradicted by a putative inferior in the form of the Director General, Mark Thompson, over the publication of salaries, one can safely assume that the watering down of Lyons' remarks that we heard on Radio 4 this morning will only gather pace. If Lyons doesn't regain control of his underlings pretty quickly it will simply serve to send the clearest of messages to people that the corporation is out of control.

But why has Mark Thompson decided to go down this road of secrecy? He says it's because the BBC needs to be able to compete for the 'best talent' and its being forced to reveal pay levels when other stations don't would lead to their having an unfair advantage.

OK, let's deal with that first then: what utter, dishonest tosh! He and his ilk really do think we're that stupid. The BBC already has a massive 'unfair advantage' in that it can legally extort under penalty of fine and imprisonment a large sum of money from the vast majority of the adult population of Great Britain. And yet the salaries go on secretly increasing and programmes just keep on getting worse and worse. That's not just my opinion, the BBC Trust has just said so too. Let's not hear talk of unfair advantages again then, lest we move on to the BBC's virtual monopoly of radio in this country and its sinister and vastly expensive occupation of vast tracts of cyberspace.

How has this come to pass? Because people like Thompson over the years have transformed the BBC from public service broadcaster, paid for out of a modest appliance licence fee, into some form of parasitical organism which pretends benevolence but in actual fact is gradually sucking the life out of its host. The BBC's host is Britain. You can say whatever you like about the BBC, but if it is positive, then I'm likely to disagree. Why? Well, you want to know the real reason why Thompson doesn't want salaries published? I'll give you a clue: it has nothing to do with paying incredible fortunes for top talent - you know, 'top talent' like Fiona Bruce or Jonathan "Top Ranker" Woss (at least he's gone) - and everything to do with his ever-ballooning salary and the generous salaries of the managerial class that's taken over that organisation. That's how the parasitism incubates itself and then spreads throughout the entire organism. It has managed to reproduce itself, with its eggs usually being transmitted through the crap that comes out of the mouths of public sector managers everywhere, in just about every public body in the nation now.

It happened to the BBC some time ago (perhaps the BBC was the first); it happened to the NHS, another deeply infected body, generally over the last 13 nightmare years of a Labour government. Thompson, like all fakes, is uncertain about whether he's worth the money he pays himself. If he is certain, then he should declare all and stop hiding behind this fatuous argument about 'attracting the best talent' (for one thing, it's not the BBC's job to compete with commercial television, for another, its job is to grow new talent, not hire overpriced old hands). Failing that, Thompson, after these new Telegraph revelations, should resign - or be sacked by the coalition government. New broom and all that.

In the end, the most depressing thing about all this is that, for whatever pathetic reason, since it's now crystal clear the BBC just isn't learning, it must be forced to see the error of its ways with sackings and the genuine threat of 'restructuring'.

Humph. If this interesting David Blackburn take on events 't Beeb is anything to go on, then fat chance!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Taxpayers Alliance On Prentis, Simpson, Crow

UNITE: Protecting Simpson's Salary
On Sky News this morning I was pretty disgusted to learn from the Taxpayers Alliance chief, Matthew Elliott, that three of the nation's biggest and most militant, disruptive union bosses earn substantially more than about the same as the Prime Minister and that no less than 38 of the various types of general secretaries and other forms of leader earn over a hundred grand a piece (plus perks and pensions, natch). Said Elliott in a press release this fair morn:
"It is hypocritical for firebrand trade union leaders to be calling for strikes and higher taxes while they themselves live a life of well-paid luxury. It is small wonder that they aren't worried about the tax burden or the national debt when they are so well-off, but it is ordinary, over-stretched taxpayers who will suffer if they get their way. Their bluster should be ignored, and the Government should stop pouring taxpayers' money into union coffers, as they clearly have more than enough cash already."
Who could disagree with that (apart from the usual suspects)?

You can read the rest of this excellent expose, which is rightly and refreshingly a pretty big story today coming as it does on the back of the government's decision to publish a list of the highest paid quangocrats, on the TPA blog...here.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Standing On Your Own Two Pegs

I do like the idea (it smells like a free ride), of joining the vast ranks of the British incapable, but, sadly and unfortunately, at least to me, I know that standing on your own two feet is far, far better than getting by with a little help from your Labour-loving friends, be those friends genuinely childhood acquaintances or not.

More likely, in those circumstances, your only mate is the State. In which case you've allowed yourself to become almost literally nothing but a slave (the State really does not care about you where genuine friends might). Never mind.

Relying on the "little help" smacks of taking things for granted and an absence of some awareness of Duty. And that, according to my pretty ordinary, educated lower middle class upbringing, would never do.

Never mind, here's the tuneless Ringo classic in question:


Make your own bloody mind up. I'm honestly past caring.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Moscow Centre Still In Business

Putin honouring ex-Soviet spy George Koval, 2007
I love John LeCarre and his greatest creation, George Smiley, so it's super to know that whoever the real Karla is, whatever the real Moscow Centre actually is and however many times the KGB has changed its name, some things will never alter. The Russians' eternal paranoia being one of them. From the story:
They were alleged to have met US government officials given codenames such as "Farmer", "Parrot" and "Cat" as well as engaging such tried and tested espionage methods as dead drops and brush passes.
And so it goes on. Whoever thinks LeCarre was writing fiction can think again, as, indeed, the newspaper points out itself. Con Coughlin has also written a good little comment piece on the real spy ring bust but, much more importantly, Radio 4 has just finished the last instalment of an excellent, year-long re-working of the complete Smiley collection with the superb Simon Russell Beale as the planet-brained superspy. Sometimes they still get it right. Well, rarely.

Still, I think I might buy this one. I've come over all nostalgic

Besides, in this case truth and fiction are the same thing anyway, but with one, small exception: Smiley is serious but the truth is bloody hilarious.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Bucket List

I'd love to try walking route one down some busy city street like this just to see what would happen. Without the film crew, the cameras, the choreography and the overdub, I just have that sneaking suspicion it would all quickly end in (my) tears.

But it's still on my Bucket List, just after taking part in the Paris-Dakar rally, sailing round the world on my own in a hovercraft and learning how to pilot a helicopter.



Half-decent song, that. Owed a lot to the Stones, I hear.

Be that as it may, I wonder, what's on your Bucket List? Not sure I'll tick off any of mine in time, but from now on, I'm definitely going to try!