Thursday, 30 April 2009

Spectator Sport

Alex Massie of The Spectator has just blogged:
Swine Flu Fever

If they can panic in Washington DC, then, for heavens' sake, we can have some hysteria here too:

The first Britons confirmed to have caught swine flu have been discharged from hospital after recovering.
This will obviously disappoint the BBC, who've been hoping that Swine flu will make up for the great disappointment that was bird flu's failure to bump us all off. Still, this news, while obviously a setback, won't be enough to stop them from telling us that we're all going to die next week.
Are they finally catching-on, do you think?

Well, the answer is a resounding 'no!'. Massie was absolutely correct in his prediction that the BBC would drain as much drama out of this nonsense as possible. Newsnight, part of the televisual arm of Downing St. Media Services, has led with it, saying exactly what the government wants it to say.

They're trotting out bucketloads of healthscare professionals, of whom there is an apparently endless supply, to give a bit more impetus to the panic. Chief Medical Loony, Liam Donaldson, is also on hand to launch yet another full scale attack on common sense, lest there be an outbreak of that increasingly rare thought disease somewhere in the country. Heaven forbid!

++Update 2++
Now it's top topic on Question Time. Remember, folks: eight people are feeling poorly. Eight. And now honorary healthscare specialist Hillary Benn is telling people how to use tissues.
I give up. If people are that bloody stupid they deserve to get Ebola.


Funny Logo (stolen)

Pretty hopeless at the comedy stuff as I am, I'll leave it to the Daily Mash to pour witty scorn over the behaviour of our monumentally awful governments.

Remember, these are the same worldwide political classes of total incompetents who prefer to let millions die from treatable diseases in the third world, (or thousands to die in filthy hospitals in Britain) so they damn well have it coming.

A taste from the Mash monstering:
As confirmed cases in Europe leapt from probably 14 to possibly 19, officials said the very small number of people infected meant it was vital governments across the world were prepared to use the word 'pandemic' as often as possible.

Martin Bishop, from Doncaster, said: "I thought it was when millions of people were infected, bodies were piled outside cemeteries and doors were daubed with a big, red 'X' to indicate a 'house of the unclean'.

"But then I looked it up and sure enough it said 'Pandemic, noun - 19 people in four different countries, each with a slight temperature and a bottle of Lucozade'. So there you go.
Most humorous.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Health Scare Professionals

And, by God, they're good at what they do.

As WHO cranks-up the drama to a Level 5 panic, once more the scale of the actual sickness fails miserably to keep pace with perfectly matches the scale of government displacement activity (GDA). A standard, full-scale GDA response has been triggered by the Chief Medical Loony Officer: Scot, Liam Donaldson.

Orders for millions of doses of expensive anti-common sense vaccines have been placed as a contingency against localised outbreaks of rational thought, and millions more German surgical masks have been ordered to head-off any shortfall in expenditure from the extra-special Mandatory Money-Wasting Budget. These masks are only to be worn by the hundreds of thousands of accredited health scare professionals. "It's more than just a uniform thing," according to Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Spokesman for Health Scares, "they only work for frontline health scare staff, because health scare professionals are, in fact, a different species of human being altogether, I'm reliably informed."

Special action, made possible by new laws now available to GDA officials under the Plan to Avoid Natural Incredulity and Common Sense (PANICS) legislation (2006), is to be taken against (soon-to-be) discredited journalist Simon Jenkins for this dangerously level-headed article in a major national newspaper today. He wrote:

Epidemiologists love the word "could" because it can always assure them of a headline. During the avian flu mania, Canada geese were treated like Goering's bombers. RSPB workers were issued with protective headgear.The media went berserk, with interviewers asking why the government did not close all schools "to prevent up to 50,000 deaths". The Today programme's John Humphrys became frantic when a dead goose flopped down on an isolated Scottish beach and a hapless local official refused to confirm the BBC's hysteria. The bird might pose no threat to Scotland, but how dare he deny London journalists a good panic?

Meanwhile a real pestilence, MRSA and C difficile, was taking hold in hospitals. It was suppressed by the medical profession because it appeared that they themselves might be to blame. These diseases have played a role in thousands of deaths in British hospitals - the former a reported 1,652 and the latter 8,324 in 2007 alone. Like deaths from alcoholism, we have come to regard hospital-induced infection as an accident of life, a hazard to which we have subconsciously adjusted.

This appalling complacency in the face of a threat that could mean the end of all human and pig life as we know it will not go unpunished. GDA has already issued an order for Mr Jenkins' removal from the Prime Minister's Christmas card list. However, it was decided that some leniency be afforded Jenkins in acknowledgment of his decision not to include in his scurrilous report the irrelevant facts that 250 million people suffered and one million people died from Malaria last year alone, thanks mainly to the entirely logical decision taken by top WHO Health Scare Professionals to advise countries recently not to use DDT to combat this disease, stating that it was "very much concerned with health consequences from the use of DDT".

A WHO insider claimed, sensibly: "Well, new types of effective DDT are extremely expensive to research, develop and distribute and malaria victims are only poor bastards who're gonna die from something else anyway, so why bother? If they were Americans or even Brits, of course - well, that's a different matter altogether, isn't it? "

Jenkins' outbursts concerning other officially ignored infections...
MRSA and C difficile are not like swine flu, an opportunity for public figures to scare and posture and spend money. They are diseases for which the government is to blame. They claim no headlines and no Cobra priority. Their sufferers must crawl away and die in silence.
were roundly condemned by the official spokeman for the Department of Government Displacement Activities as 'unnecessary and wholely unfounded scare-mongering from a dangerously level-headed, non-Health Scare Professional.

'Mr Jenkins should get his priorities right,' she added.

==Stop Press==
"The Daily Mash is next on our list of swine flu apocalypse deniers to be silenced," the spokesman mumbled, apparently in what she thought was an inaudible afterthought.

This Week's Number 1!

Old Holborn has tipped the wink to this frankly hilarious bit of news: The most popular petition on Brown's Frasier-impersonating "I'm listening" pisspoor Downing St website is, you guessed it, the 'Resign' petition.

Revealed: Who Inspired Labour's Smoking Ban?

The smoking ban is killing the pub industry stone dead. And for what? So health fascists can feel good about themselves in the only way they know how: by interfering in people's private lives and dictating how they wish to use their bodies. As a lover of liberty, this (still) absolutely sticks in my craw. As a (former) smoker, I do/did not mind one little bit being exposed to the odd thick pub fug now and then. It was all part of the pub atmosphere, so to speak. It was the point.

It was liberty.

Landlords were promised they could choose whether they were a smoking pub or not. Red Aussie dominatrix, Patricia Hewitt, reneged on that and opted for a nationwide, total ban. Consequence? The one place where people from all walks of life and from every conceivable background still meet freely to set the world to rights over a glass or two of a variety of traditional liquids has been fatally wounded as an institution. It is dying and a peculiar limb of British freedom is (conveniently?) withering away with it.

But who inspired the ugly notion of the 'total ban'? Where does this fanaticism about general health come from? What has happened to the principle that our duty is to usher our young into the arms of Aristotelian moderation, instead of route-marching them straight into the pitbull jaws of totalitarian disregard for the desires of others?

Reading the DT's magazine over a bowl of muesli last weekend Careful research has unearthed the following, disturbing testimony:
Today's theme was that old chestnut, smoking. He would start out with special reference to narrowing of the arteries caused by smoking. How awful a smoker's stomach must look. Smokers lacked consideration for others, forcing them to breathe in polluted air. He had really toyed with the idea of outlawing smoking [everywhere]. The campaign would begin by having a death's head printed on every cigarette pack. 'If I should ever discover,' he often said, emphasising the depth of his antagonism to smoking, 'that [my squeeze] were secretly smoking, then that would be grounds for me to separate from her immediately and for ever.
The 'he' in these fond reminiscences? Why, king of the Nazis himself, Adolf Hitler. What a surprise.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Mike Brearley Googly for Draper

Sigmund Freud (padded-up)

Great England cricket captain and now highly respected psychoanalyst (Dr) Mike Brearley has bowled a cleverly disguised googly to convicted (in the court of public opinion) liar and smearer - and self-proclaimed practising psychotherapist - Derek Draper in the Guardian.

Buried in his typically terse, technical, direct but engaging prose is a fizzing, inswinging wrong-un for hapless rabbit, Dolly:

In her description of different therapies, Wilson combines "psychodynamic counselling/psychoanalysis". But there are fundamental differences between counselling techniques, even those with a basis in psychoanalytic theory, and those used by psychoanalysts - who receive the most rigorous training of any of the psychological therapy professionals and offer a much broader, more in-depth approach.

The article fails to inform readers of the importance of checking the credentials of the therapist they approach and ensuring that they belong to a reputable professional organisation that offers appropriate safeguards. Indeed some of the individuals and organisations mentioned in your supplements do not seem to provide such safeguards.

Howzat! LBW (Liar Before Wicket), this umpire says. A couple of comments below the article are worth repeating:
Practically anyone can get a job as a therapist in the UK - the government has CBT on the brain and Derek Draper on the books...
'MerkinOnParis' reveals. And, forgetting about DD for a moment, 'Persianwar' pleads with Dr Brearley to intervene in another tragic case:
please can you help Andrew Strauss to liberate himself from any deep-seated unconscious desire to edge balls outside [the] off-stump at some point between now and July.
Amen to that. Over to you, professor.

Mike Brearley: Googly

(No.10)DW Draper: ct.(in a lie)Fawkes
b. Fawkes, Brearley, Freud and everyone else..........0

Has Labour Given Up?

Over at Labourhome, they are having a little debate today. It's not the usual sort, though: you know, "what socialist values are this week", "how to keep the NHS political", "why stomp 'the rich'" or "how to save everyone from themselves with intervention".

No. The blog in question's entitled "Elections to the shadow cabinet and internal elections". Here's what it says:
Is this good or bad?
It seems that a lot of people have forgotten the rule that in opposition our shadow cabinet is elected by the PLP. There is some confusion as to whether this still in fact stands - there doesn't appear to be any mention in the rule book, but the Spectator is quite certain that it is still there.

Some people do seem to be against this, so I wanted to gauge the general Labourhome opinion of the system. What sort of changes do you think this will have on the structure of the shadow cabinet?

From this there has also been some debate about internal elections (such as leadership elections). Should we go over to a Tory-style system where MPs shortlist the candidates before putting it over to the membership, or is the current system fine? If we keep the electoral college, do the proportions need to be changed?
Combine this with another article over there ("Brown has to go, and soon"!), which Plato has blogged about, and a picture of listless disillusionment and defeatism emerges indicating that the fag-end of a busted administration has long since gone past the point of no return.

If Labour activists and supporters are apparently in such a hurry to get into opposition - where they can at least attempt to begin the process of rebuilding their wrecked party - then why don't they show some backbone and start by campaigning to get rid of its chief wrecker: Gordon Brown?

It's got to happen sooner or later, so why not limit the damage he is hell-bent on causing and make it sooner?

Those appear to be the "real issues" preoccupying them these days, if Labourhome is anything to go by.

GM Cops It

Well, very nearly. My American friends reveal that General Motors is on the very brink of Chapter 11 (managed) bankruptcy. Part of GM's current plan, not so much to avoid this scenario as to come out of the other side of it with some form of independence, is to cut immediately 21,000 jobs. Then it will keep on scaling-down its operations until it's a far smaller, more manageable and, the hope is, profitable operation. The likelihood is that a number of those job cuts will be found abroad.

As the New York Times said yesterday:
By the time it is finished, G.M. expects to have only 38,000 union workers and 34 factories left in the United States, compared with 395,000 workers in more than 150 plants at its peak employment in .1970
This is highly significant for British car workers. If the US parent is planning to downsize on that scale - or face complete failure - then the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port is almost certainly under imminent threat. With 5000 employees producing nearly 16% of the nation's car output (around 380,000 last year), the impact felt here would be simply massive.

Those 5000 workers are the assembly-line, front line of an army of dependent engineering companies that provide parts and spares. Already, for example, as orders continue to dry-up during the slump, one such company in a town near me went bust yesterday with the loss of 100 skilled jobs.

If Vauxhall is shut, which is a distinct probability now, then those 100 job losses will become hundreds of thousands.

This is just one more piece of (non-spun) news that gives a fair indication of just how bad this recession is going to get in the UK, thanks in no small part to the diabolical mismanagement of this Labour government. And don't believe anyone who says otherwise!


I signed the "resign" petition a few days ago. The number of signatories was about 5000 at the time. It's gratifying to see that as of 2.30pm Tuesday it's hovering around the 23,000 mark and 5th on the all time list.

Dizzy Thinks points out that a counter-petition calling for Brown to stay has attracted six votes, five of which are jokes. So, just one person doesn't want Brown out.

Hmmm, I don't think Gordon's meant to submit his own petitions, and then sign them!

Monday, 27 April 2009

YouTube Censored by Labour

Who Farted?

According to the Times, Brown's internet management team, or whatever the Labour morons call themselves, are so sensitive to criticism they're disabling viewer comments.

For myself it's not so much that they're telling potential voters to shut-tf-up - that's fairly common practice with UK political party tube channels - it's their wonderfully dumb spin on their whole, utterly shambolic New Media 'strategy'. For example, from the article:
“We have changed our approach. It is right that the PM gets his message across new channels and engages with the public in ways that suit them, in addition to using traditional outlets.”
Priceless. As Paul Staines is quoted as saying in the same article:
“They put a load of pictures of him up on Flickr [and] every Friday morning I scan through the photos on there and find the most stupid one I can. You can just use it to make him look like even more of an idiot.”
Well, that sounds like fun. We should all be having a go...

So, they've changed their approach all right: make Brown look as weird as possible as often as possible through every internet outlet in existence, alienate the viewers and then watch him crash ever lower in the polls. I think this must be that part of Labour political canvassing theory called the 'kamikaze technique'. Someone should tell them Please, no one tell them it didn't work for Tojo - and it isn't working for Broon.

Clarke Beasting

Big Beast; Old Bruiser

Clarke is beasting beasted Labour in the BBC Parliament Live Budget Debate.

His counterfactual "what would have happened if I had still been in charge after '97" was devastating.

They shouldn't have made him angry!

French Cricket

Cricket: French

Whatever next! Having played the game virtually all my natural (apart from when I was a Yank-kid) I know that cricket's played in the strangest places. My uncle played for Staten Island CC (NYC Staten Island), of all things, for example.

Cricket is known to be played in Germany (armed forces - there's a lot of clubs, too). Cricket's played on the decks of ships, on ice floes and from Patagonia to Japan. It's even played in New Zealand.

And yours truly, on a tour to the North East, crossed Hadrian's Wall (with some trepidation) and played in the most bizarre match ever somewhere called "Jedforest" (I thought it was "Jed's forest" and wondered who Jed was). 'Tea' was great lumps of meat on huge skewers and cans of McKewans nats' piss. It was one of the few times a decent hot brew would have gone down a treat - it was bloody freezing. I know there are some solid old clubs in Scotland's two large cities, but once you're in the wilderness...they wear kilts! While they're bowling!! Not a pretty sight.

And now I hear from the Smellygraph that it's played in that most hostile of cricketing environments: France. I still haven't got over the time Jacques Chirac in 2002 claimed cricket was invented there .

As the Beeb said at the time:
Only the French would have the gall to try and steal the most quintessentially English of sports.
"...French would have the gall..." indeed. Ho ho. Ah, the Beeb. So witty and yet so bad.

I love French translations of the laws of cricket (see above). In English, ways of getting out are described by apt language that's to-the-point, pithy and never gratuitous or melodramatic. "Bowled", "run out", "caught behind". Even "retired hurt" - unpleasant, but, you know, you'll get over it.

In French, manners of dismissal read like some sort of existential catastrophe. For example, the unfortunate 'hit wicket' in French becomes the rather chilling 'Autodestruction', which sounds not so much unfortunate as permanent and distinctly fatal.

If there ever is (another) test match between France and England, it would be as much a socio-linguistic battle of philosophical ennui as it would be a sporting one. I think the French are just too damn serious for a game that can last for what sometimes can feel like a lifetime. They'd never make it to five days without committing 'autodestruction'.

(Bit like England in Jamaica this winter, actually, when you think about it.)

Dan Hannan At His Best


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Labour's Home - Petition

Even Labourhome has picked-up on the Downing St petition for el -gordo to resign. They say:
A petition was added to the Number10 website on Friday, calling for Gordon Brown to resign:
At the time of writing, the petition has received 9,482 signatures, and appears to be gaining signatures at a rate of around 50-100 per hour.

The petition could lead to some very embarassing [sic] headlines for Gordon Brown, especially when he has to issue an official response to the petition after it closes in October.
Interesting the writer is more than happy to place the link to the petition slap-bang in the middle of his paragraph. For ease of access?

Party Animal

This is my cat, Olly. He's my kind of mog.

This is him after he'd casually rolled-in having disappeared for nearly two days (he's done it before). When he finally decided to come back to his hotel, he was completely shagged-out. He had a feed, barely able to keep his eyes open and then crashed on a beanbag for twelve hours, only drowsily moving once or twice to have a drink of water.

It's exactly the sort of thing I used to do when I was three (in cat years).

Good on him.

Times Ditches Labour, Brown

It's certainly worth having a look at this Leader in the Sunday Times. There's more to it than merely the stinging, relentless criticism of Labour and Brown. Up till now it had been a rumour supported by the a series of anti-government stories, but this is the article that signals that the all-important Murdoch endorsement has definitely expired.

For me, these parts in this regard are particularly, if obliquely, significant:
The new top rate will not raise enough money to compensate for the message that it sends to ambitious and hard-working people: “the more you make, the more we take”. Forget the exodus of the rich to Switzerland, America and Monaco, important though it may be. Many of the rich reluctantly accept they should pay more tax, but only if they feel the state is using that money prudently and living within its means.
Combined with the Lawson assault in the Telegraph, this is all beginning to look terrible for Brown. But while the DT's allegiance is hard to determine, the Times has almost certainly jumped ship and is now very nearly on board the SS Cameron.
That bond has been broken, with the private sector taking almost all of the the pain of the recession. It furthermore explicitly breaks a Labour manifesto commitment that Mr Brown solemnly swore to keep four years ago.
This is devastating stuff because it sounds so personal. Someone at the Times is hopping mad and that someone is most likely its owner. One thing is certain, though, it's proof positive that Brown can now expect active campaigning for his head on a platter in at least one heavyweight paper. Murdoch is out for blood. The Times leader hammers home the point, mercilessly:

The public is beginning to see Mr Brown in a new light. The principled politician now looks unprincipled. Instead of honesty, we have had dishonesty. Instead of a moral compass, we have had an immoral and sleazy Downing Street machine. Instead of prudence, we have had an imprudence rarely seen before in British history. Commentators have begun to liken him to Richard Nixon, clever but flawed, angry and willing to use any means to stay in power.

For the people of Britain, the consequences of that imprudence will be with us for many years. It will take nearly a decade to get public borrowing to acceptable levels – if the markets allow us that long – and until the 2030s to get government debt back to the 40% “ceiling”. Whoever wins the general election, we can look forward to years of austerity and tax rises.

For 'the public' read 'this paper', and for 'this paper' read 'our boss'!

I'm convinced now that Brown can't last the year without an election because he's broken too many promises, made too many enemies and totally lost control of the news agenda.

In that election, Labour will be kicked-out.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


It's good that Nigel Lawson has come out to defend his record on tax, and explain why hiking the highest rate back up to punitive levels is such a bad idea. As he explains in the Telegraph today, when in 1988 he reformed the tax system the effects were almost entirely beneficial:
Far from costing money to the exchequer, it brought in increased revenue, as many of the ablest came to London from less benign tax regimes overseas; as many perks were abandoned in favour of higher pay; and as complex tax avoidance diminished. Indeed, the tax take from the highest paid (defined as the top 5 per cent of taxpayers) not only increased substantially in absolute terms, but it contributed a very much higher proportion of the total income tax take than ever before. And although it is not possible to measure this, it undoubtedly gave a fillip to the vigour and success of the British economy.
That's refreshing to hear from the man himself, and I know it is true because I can remember the transformation of the country during that period very well. The casting-off of the past in the Eastern Bloc countries in their thirst for liberty was mirrored in Britain by the casting-off of old, discredited, anti-aspirational, left wing dogma. There was a powerful feeling in those days that the idea of genuine, individual freedom had finally won. The thought disease that socialism-in-practice had become was once and for all defeated. What else, after all, was the New Labour project than an admission of that truth?

I can only hope that the Tory hierarchy open their eyes and ears and take Lawson's lesson on board. Because the impact of the Labour hike is going to be disastrous:
As for the renewed brain drain that the 50 per cent rate will engender, it is inevitably the highest of the high earners, who contribute most in tax yield to the exchequer, who will become tax exiles. Not only do they have the greatest incentive to do so, but it is far easier for them to move abroad than it is for those only slightly above the £150,000 threshold at which the new rate bites. The Tories have nothing to lose in the short run, and much to gain in the long run, from opposing it.
The Tories might have 'nothing to lose in the short run', but we certainly do. As far as I am concerned they have to make the rational case on tax. And if they make that case successfully, it is not just they who will have 'much to gain in the long run'. The whole country will benefit.

One thing's for sure, even if Labour's ruinous panic policy-making can be stopped before it does even more damage, reassembling the pieces is going to take some strong will and a clear, proven philosophy.

Lord Lawson has explained that proven philosophy to those that need to listen very clearly in his article.

Let's hope for all our sakes they aren't short on strong will. We'll see soon enough.

Exodus of Wealth

Forget about class war, demonstrating the economic illiteracy of the 50% tax penalty for higher earners should be easy for the Tories.

When Nigel Lawson lowered the top rate of income tax from 50 to 40% in 1986(?), the proportion of the total tax contribution to the treasury gathered from the most successful group of British workers shot-up from 19% to 26%. That in turn left huge room for the tax burden on middle and lower earning workers to be reduced. Ample evidence that the mechanism works. Permit wealth creators to do their worst and low earners do share the proceeds of growth - and society as a whole benefits. Fantastic. It's not 'trickledown', as the Left love to brand it. It's sound economic management informed by the belief in the virtue of individual liberty and aspiration, wherever you come from and whatever your lights. New Labour used to make those sorts of sounds, (unconvincingly).

Now, that revolution in sound judgment, a legacy of a Tory government charged with the huge task of clearing-up the last mess left for them by Labour, has been destroyed. Back to square one.

The underlying economic illiteracy and the politics of futile envy have returned with a vengeance. I seldom agree with Simon 'Mr Angry' Heffer, but he's pretty good on the economics. Tax returns from the most successful in society will collapse as their productivity decreases and their disposable income is reduced, draining yet more cash from the economy and punishing the workers who rely on their consumption. Worse, many, especially employers running small and medium-size businesses, will simply emigrate, taking all their expertise, drive, determination, aspiration - and jobs - with them. There will be, once again, an exodus of wealth from the UK economy.

It will happen rapidly, too, if we are to believe, for instance, Russell Payne of Tunbridge Wells in Kent. He wrote to the Telegraph yesterday to say:

SIR – I own my own business, which moves electronic components around the world and employs some 20 people. My income is around £200,000 a year. Goodbye.


What the Tories must do is make the economic case to the electorate. Higher taxes for higher earners is one thing. Deliberately to tip the balance over to punitive taxation is disastrous.

The burden of taxation - and this has been proved beyond doubt, actually rises for low earners when policies as insane as that are pursued. "Hammer the rich!", the (wealthy, privately educated) Left shouts. And all they end up doing is hammering the economy and betraying the poor. But their arrogance and stupidity is eternal. They've done it before and they will do have done it again.

One of my favourite journalists, Charles Moore, sets out the case for low taxation with typical flare in today's Telegraph.

Labour, relentlessly dishonest, are already screaming "Tory Cuts!", as if that is the other side of the coin. Of course, it's nonsense. It might be the other half of their mindless political assault but, for one thing, when the cuts come, they will be Labour cuts.

But the 'cuts' currently do not exist. There is no policy as yet in any party to 'cut' anything, although many people would understandably like to see some made, especially where there is huge waste and/or bad policy (ID cards, NHS database etc.).

There will have to be massive savings everywhere. Labour knows this and they've already stealthily started with the Eurofighter (typifying their priorities nicely). But why? Because that's what happens when you run out of money and your credit lines dry up. You have to make savings. Everywhere. But these are savings that have been forced on the country by a profligate, criminally incompetent, spendthrift government that courted hubris at every turn. I doubt there is anyone in the country that doubts that now, apart, of course, from Polly Toynbee and her equally mad fan base.

One thing is certain, punishing the productive heart of the economy to prop-up unsustainable (meaning quite literally: "it can't go on without bankrupting the country") expenditure is a one-way ticket to catastrophe. To do this -to wreck the country for a generation or more - to cause, deliberately, the exodus of wealth, for the sake of some nefarious political gain and 'power' - should mean that you're guaranteed to go to bloody hell.

Brown and Labour, you go to hell if you want. You're not taking us with you this time.

Friday, 24 April 2009


Alistair Darling’s fantasy Budget exposed

So says the Evening Standard tonight. It goes on to report that the chancellor's spokesman predictably denied that Darling had misled the House.
Yet, as the Standard says:

Benjamin Williamson, economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said he now expected a 4.5 per cent decline over the full year. Ross Walker, of RBS Economics, said the data marked “an atrocious start to the year” for the UK economy.

Whether the chancellor knew his figures were wildly optimistic or not - and now it appears he was out by a full percentage point in his forecast for this year's contraction - is irrelevant.

If he knew, then he lied. If he didn't, then he is incompetent. Either way, he has to take responsibility.

He must resign.

The Man Who Knew - Fred Harrison

So we're in economic freefall and it's all Brown's fault. Well, OK, now that it's all official and the gloves are finally off, what are we going to do about it? First, get rid of Labour. Tick. Then, start listening to this guy: The Renegade Economist.

I've been a little bit of a fan of Fred Harrison (left), who is the so-called 'Renegade Economist', for some time now. For one thing, he is the only economist who predicted the slump Britain is now experiencing and he did it in the same year Labour came to power: 1997. He tried to warn the Nulab hierarchy of the day, who were the usual suspects - Blair, Brown, Campbell - that a radical change of direction was essential. But as you might expect, he was ignored.

Twenty-twenty hindsight? Maybe. But one thing is now certain: Fred Harrison should no longer regard himself as any sort of a renegade. And he must no longer be ignored.

Some of his ideas for how we might have avoided this catastrophe in the first place are certainly radical - and, in my humble, certainly brilliant. For example, in an article in the Guardian in 2005 he offered these intriguing thoughts:

We should untax people's wages and savings: conventional taxes inflict deadweight
losses on incomes. Instead, public services could be funded out of rents that people
were willing to pay for the benefits they enjoy at a particular location.
That is efficient. Productivity would rise and speculation in gains from land would fall.

Who could possibly disagree with that? (Apart from the entire political class and the small army of plutocrats, naturally!)

On page 7 of this document, Harrison points out in a letter to Tony Blair (no less) that in just six months under Labour, the UK economy lost at least £55Bn because of the taxation system. Make no mistake, while this was, he claimed, 'empirically verifiable', he was not suggesting it was entirely Blair/Brown's fault, in that the tax system itself was to blame.

But he lays the blame squarely at Brown's door for utterly failing to reform it in a way that would significantly lower income tax burdens and encourage savers with tax relief, while pouring lots of cold water on what was to become (inevitably, in Harrison's view) a disastrous, uncontrollable wildfire of property speculation.

In fact, as it turned out, Brown did the exact opposite year after year. Income was squeezed everywhere, savers were penalised at every turn and the wildfire had petrol dumped on it. Meanwhile, vast spending programmes were paid for with debt. Result: cataclysm.

Had the government decoupled the economy from this international frenzy of debt-fueled speculation in the way Harrison advised, we would have been substantially insulated from the events that followed. It didn't - in fact, it recklessly encouraged the bubble to inflate beyond any possible control for reasons of pure, dishonest, political expediency. It was criminal negligence which has led Britain to be the most exposed country in the world. Here, the recession will be deeper and more painful and the damage caused more long-lasting than in any other major economy.

One day, we will see signs that a recovery has begun, and sooner rather than later with the right government (ie: not a Labour government). But that government should employ the services, in some form or another, of Fred Harrison.

And if they listen to him, maybe, just maybe, this nightmare won't happen all over again in 18 years' time.

In the video below, Harrison speaks with a fellow renegade, eminent American economist Professor Michael Hudson, about what to do with all the debt.

I believe as Prof. Hudson does that if we want to look forward with a clear view, we have to look back. So I've been an advocate since the debt crisis began in 2007 of Solon the Lawgiver's solution to a similar problem he faced in 4th Century Athens. It was the cause of much distress and was the result of an economic crisis that began in the time of his predecessor, Draco.

One of the results of the upheaval had been the loss of citizens' land (repossession, if you like) - and it led to indentured servitude on an appalling scale. Thousands of Athenians effectively became slaves to the pentakosiomedimnoi (five-hundred-bushel-men - the Fat Cats of their day!). Solon's solution, so the story goes, was something called, probably, chreon apokope, the cancellation or the forgiveness of debt. In true Gorbachev style, there was another part to the deal: ges anadasmos - the re-division of land. This was no socialist revolution, however. Both policies were designed to both reset and kickstart the Athenian economy at the same time. And it worked! Everyone was happy (apart from the other slaves, of course, who weren't Athenians and so didn't qualify for the bailout).

Clearly, there is an element of poetry in such a comparison. Worlds apart and all that. But this shouldn't distract us from the general principle at work here and Prof Hudson explains why very clearly. He also reveals in the interview that the debt-holiday idea went back thousands of years. Solon knew about it because he was a highly educated man. With good reason he was known in his time as 'Solon the Wise'.

Who, I wonder, will be our Solon?

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Ahem, Bulls**t

Thanks to Dizzythinks.

Dizzy also asks a very interesting question about the recession: Where is it? Worth a read.

St George the Greek

Happy St George's Day
That great, uncelebrated, truly English day.

Of course, St George has about as much to do with England as those other two great English imports: tobacco and potatoes.

Because, Georgie-boy was almost certainly Greek.

Like Stavros here

So, St George probably sounded something like this:

"Hello peeps. That Mississ Thatch - she blood good innit."

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Budget Caption Competition

No one reads this fantastic blog (except my brother, of course - when I ask him to) so I suppose I'll have to have a go...

"Beautiful, Darling."

"I want a divorce."

Fiddling the Figures While Britain Burns-Out

Higher Earners React to "New" Labour's "pips squeak" Budget

The Telegraph has just published the IMF's response to the worst budget in British history. Their analysis gives the lie to the government's claims about the depth of the crisis it has largely caused. This unsurprising news also appears in the Times.

For instance, Britain's economy, they say, is going to contract not by 3.5% - the Darling/Brown [made-up] figure - but by at least 4.1%. This wrecks the rest of the useless Chancellor's massaged but still truly frightening figures, especially the lies about public sector borrowing.

I still maintain that there is every indication that not-only is Britain now insolvent, Labour's hidden debts combined with collapsing revenues having robbed the country of any hope of weathering the storm, but is literally on the brink of collapse.

So the next stop must now be, in the face of this weird, zombie Labour budget, debt default and international humiliation.

Talk about deja vu.

My Dog: Pretty Relaxed About the Budget.

He's Only Really Interested in his National Geographic

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

St Field of 10p

Frank Field

Excellent heads-up from Plato who takes a typically philosophical look at Frank (WC) Field's blog to see what he makes of the government's inexorable slide into directionless despair following their 10p tax nightmare.

It's a fascinating insight from a politician I think I might actually trust!

Plato prints most of it but I (humbly) feel that Field's conclusion makes the most powerful point, by implication, about what the Labour party should have been all about from the very start of its stint at the tiller:
Aneurin Bevan once remarked that the language of socialism was priorities. I want to believe that Wednesday's Budget will show such a great ranking of priorities that ensures justice for all the 10p tax losers.

I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you Frank.

IMF Latest: Britain is Bust

Edmund Conway reveals chilling evidence from the latest IMF report on the "health" of global finance that the entire world banking system is technically insolvent.

Though he chooses not to analyse the UK's uniquely parlous predicament compared with other economies, it is now clear from these catastrophic figures: Britain has gone bust. The borrowing strain on the British economy is going to reach a critical point.

The table below is a key extract from the report. I've highlighted the significant figures for what is predicted banks will need for the next financial year from the UK government.

Table 1.4. Bank Equity Requirement Analysis

(In billions of dollars, unless shown)

United States Euro Area United Kingdom Other Mature Europe

Estimated Capital Positions at end-2008

Total reported writedowns to end-2008 510 154 110 70
Capital raised to end-2008 391 243 110 48
Tier 1/RWA ratios at end-2008 10.40% 7.30% 9.20% 7.30%
TCE/TA end-2008 3.70% 2.50% 2.10% 2.30%

Scenario Bringing Forward Writedowns

Expected Writedowns 2009-10 (1) 550 750 200 125
Writedown-adjusted Tier 1/RWA ratio 6.70% 1.10% 4.70% 1.70%
Writedown-adjusted TCE/TA 0.10% -0.20% 0.40% 0.50%

Allowance for Expected Earnings

Expected net retained earnings 2009 and 2010 (2)

(after taxes and dividends) 300 600 175 100
Net drain on equity (retained earnings) 2009 and 2010 (3) = (1) - (2) 250 150 25 25

Equity Requirements

Equity needed to reduce leverage to 25 times3 275 375 125 100
Equity needed to reduce leverage to 17 times4 500 725 250 225

Added to the vast UK PSBR, currently spiralling out of control thanks to exploding unemployment and a totally irresponsible government, the IMF makes it abundantly clear here that there will definitely need to be a another gigantic bank bailout. The distressed condition of the banks is further highlighted in the table by the extraordinarily worrying figures on their risk weighted asset ratios.

The suitably red figures give some indication of the colossal scale of the problem, depending upon the action taken. Between £90Bn and £180Bn will be needed to stop British banks from failing between now and 2010, on top of the £70Bn that's already been pumped in and the £200Bn+ in guarantees.

This will take UK borrowing to unprecedented, titanic and frankly impossible levels. We will be a nation in debt for generations.

If that money cannot be raised - and this report has just increased the likelihood of such an event enormously - the Bank of England will simply be forced
to print more cash or the government will have to apply for a huge IMF loan. Probably both will be necessary.

One thing is certain, if Alastair Darling starts talking about 'green shoots' tomorrow, then he is lying to us all. The only way we can avoid total meltdown - a full-blown depression - in this country is to cut state spending across the board right now.

One way or another, that's going to happen. Better to have some sort of control over how the foul medicine is administered to the patient than to pretend the patient can be cured by the disease. That should be the clear Opposition line from now on.

One thing's for sure: tomorrow's Budget will be ineffectual - and almost certainly a total pack of lies.

Channel 4 News has the story now: it all looks extremely ominous. The government, according to C4, has already lost £50Bn of taxpayer money and faces, they say, a whopping £200Bn bill for the total bailout. Say a prayer, folks. A big one.

Monday, 20 April 2009


1819: Organ's Original Offices

There is one thing I love about the Guardian, and it's the Comment Is Free forum. To be fair, their editors are, in fact, gradually wising up to how deeply moribund the Labour Party now is but they remain hamstrung by their own tradition of loyalty to something that was once called 'The Labour Movement'. The problem for them, but maybe not for us, is that that phenomenon no longer exists in any way, shape or form. Whatever the relatively complex socio-political reasons for its demise, there is no 'Labour Movement' in this country any more.

So what's next for the Guardian? Well, if they keep producing editorial copy like this, there might be hope that it will not sink with the terminally holed Labour ship on which it has been transported for so many years. Can it finally jump ship and rescue itself? Well, it does have a potential lifeboat: CiF.

CiF is surely one of the best ever open forum-type innovations on the web. It provides, uniquely, a smooth-flowing junction between the MSM and the blogosphere that no other broadsheet - or tabloid - has managed to reproduce. The swift and open flow of ideas from one medium to the other has no parallel or equal anywhere else on the web - in the world - (including the horribly over-moderated, bullying BBC effort). It must surely be - or should have been - regarded as the exemplar for other newspapers attempting to develop their own new/old media idea-exchange with the right balance and chemistry. That it does not or has not been is their and our loss.

Cif encourages, through strict but often deft and conspicuously disinterested moderation (depending upon the topic - I should note that comments on AGW & Israel articles and essays penned by serving Labour ministers are occasionally mercilessly mutilated), open and serious debate from contributors who have something to say and passionately wish paid-up members of the (left-leaning) Fourth Estate might hear them say it, whether they like or not (usually not).

Because people are treated like free agents and grown-ups, by and large they behave that way. The site self-moderates like no other I have seen. The traffic flows without the need for a police car on every corner of the intersection. For this reason, the comments are often interesting; occasionally, they are simply brilliant - depending upon your point of view, naturally.

Below the editorial linked above, which was headlined "Labour Running on Empty", there was a pair of comments by one contributor that fall comfortably into the 'simply brilliant' category. For one thing, among many other great things, they contain some pretty radical, sound advice for the Guardian itself, advice with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Comment 1:
BrotherBig wrote:

How many times does it have to be told – the Labour Party is dead, killed by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

• Six years ago, the party died because of the Iraq war and the dodgy dossier.

• One year ago, the party was pronounced dead over the 10p tax issue.

• Six months before that, it was dead because Brown failed to call an election after revving everyone up for one.

• Last summer the economy imploded and, more telling still, David Miliband mounted a leadership challenge, a latter-day party death certificate.

• This time last year, your columnists were having a nervous breakdown, their postings were cries for help, ravings from the depths of bereaved despair. Peter Preston wrote an article on the theme of "with friends like these ..."

Labour's death cannot keep coming as a surprise to you. Not unless you're suffering from Alzheimer's.

Can anyone sincerely maintain that Mr Brown leads a party with an engaging account of why it wants power, impelled by a driving sense of what a fourth term could do for the country?

You know the answer to that.

And you know what has to be done now.

Your support for Labour is support for a party that no longer exists. That party was killed by Its leaders and its NCOs are all complicit. You have documented the death yourselves on the Guardian. Now you need to acknowledge it.

And you need to determine precisely the cause of death.

It is nothing to do with the economy. That is a red herring. Any clot could have messed up the economy. That clot could still have remained human. Flawed. But human.

But Labour have become inhuman. Their mushroom cloud of the UK's civil liberties fails to recognise what it is to be human and is itself recognisably inhuman.

Which suggests the prescription. You need to find a party to support which has maintained the covenant on civil liberties. And you need to promote them.

It doesn't matter that they're untried. Or that they haven't been in power for the best part of a century. All that is important for now may be all that they can do – mend the covenant – but that is essential and it is enough, the rest can follow later.

Think Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Campbell, Blunkett, McBride, Balls, ... You wouldn't sup with these people, would you, not even with a long spoon.

Face up to it. Now. You can't carry on being forever surprised at what's happened to Labour. You have responsibilities.

Comment 2:

1. David Miliband<./a>, 4 April 2008:

Labours success has been built on the Blair/Brown mantra that 'what counts is what works' ... from independence of the Bank of England to ASBOs to nuclear power, Labour ditched dogma and embraced common sense.

... common sense remains essential, but it is not enough ... New Labour is learning the limits of pragmatism and Gordon Brown is driving the Government forward better to define and defend its convictions. It is one thing to ditch dogma; new Labour became expert at that before 1997. It is another to build a coherent ideology that provides a clear sense of direction for the country and speaks to peoples aspirations. That is our challenge today.

There it is. From the horse's mouth. Labour are expert at ditching dogma. Read principle. And filling the gap, replacing it, remains a challenge.

2. There is not a huge choice of other parties. None of them is perfect. At least the Lib Dems say, in the Preamble to their Constitution (and they seem to mean it):

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

3 (a) The Guardian withdrawing support from Labour would be seismic. So it won't happen. Indeed, it can't happen.
3(b) Labour no longer exists. So there is nothing there for the Guardian to support, the withdrawal of their support is inevitable.

Which is it? Impossible? Or inevitable? All we know is that it can't be both. I/we can't dictate to the Guardian.

Are there any indications which way the Guardian's decision might go?

• The Guardian supported the Convention on Modern Liberty.

• They do document Labour's descent into the sewer. They keep hoping that Gordon Brown will change/reveal his true and decent self, but at least they also document the facts. The need to maintain their sanity by adopting a consistent and coherent position might finally require them to acknowledge the facts and give up wishful thinking.

What would happen if the Guardian switched allegiance to the Lib Dems?

• The whole newspaper would feel liberated and be liberated.

• Several unions/financial backers would switch their support, too.

• Those Labour MPs not beyond salvation would switch parties.

• The UK might survive in some recognisable form.

And if they don't?

The big problem is that they will have to continue to believe, against all the evidence, that Labour does not condone torture ...

Apart from that, take your pick from the long list of blind eyes that need to be turned and clothes pegs needed on the nose: Iraq; 28 days detention without charge; eBorders; ID cards; transformational government; MPs' expenses; smear tactics; politicisation of the civil service and the police; government by targets; government by management consultants; postal voting; Erith; Trident; nuclear energy; environmentalism; ...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The End?

What a lovely holiday I've had! And now it's nicely rounded off by the news that Guido Fawkes is about to nail the liars of Labour once and for all tomorrow. If one man will ever be credited with taking down one of the most flawed and destructive governments in our history, then it will - and must - be Guido. He's done us such a powerful service, I'd give the man peerage (expenses and all).

Is this a little premature? I think not. This latest poll in the Sunday Telegraph (the only version of that organ worth the wonga these days, the DT having finally succumbed to the poison of lefty lobbyist infiltrators) reveals what amounts to a collapse in support for Brown's tarnished gathering of cads, thickos and pocket-liners.

About time! And we have Guido to thank for opening the eyes of the general public to the horror show at the heart of this unrepresentative, incompetent government without a mandate: Brown's government of all the malcontents and misanthropists, masquerading as honest public servants.

I am sure that this is finally it for them. So many appalling revelations about the venality, spiteful venom and overall naffness of this regime are emerging so close together, you have the ridiculous spectacle of the party leadership lying directly to the public to cover for the sins of their boss, while their backbenchers scramble over each other as they try desperately to distance themselves from their own front bench, desperately praying they aren't contaminated by what has rapidly become the utterly toxic brand-Brown. The ones that haven't given up completely are now saying they're doing it for their constituents and for the "Labour Movement" (whatever that might be now). All the Tories and the rest of us who hate this disgrace of a government have to do is sit back and enjoy the show.

There is one thing to be said about the ratty unravelling of this knotty fleece of a regime, the more the nincompoop criminals are tormented by the process of the truth outing (as truth sometimes does) the more entertaining it becomes. Schadenfreude? No.

It's pure catharsis for the audience (we haven't been an electorate since Brown's coup d'etat) - and after years of breathtaking hubris, it's going to be a major purge! All that was needed was the nemesis. Guido's is better than I could ever have hoped for. The only question remaining for me is this: when the dust settles, will any of them, particularly Brown, experience a little of the traditional anagnorisis?

Fat chance. And that's why they've got to go.

While the ST poll puts the Tories 17% ahead - with Labour down five on 26%, I've just learnt from a comment on that there's another, unregistered one in the Mail on Sunday that puts the Tories 19 points ahead! Sort of supports my argument really. A summer election is now very definitely worth the punt.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday

All the tawdry, hate-filled dross coming out of Downing Street has fair dinkum cheesed me off. And I'm certainly not the only one.

However, Easter Sunday should be a time of celebration and reflection; a moment in a hectic year unlike others in that it's a symbolic signpost marking a way to renewed hope along our life paths. Whether you are a believer or not this holds true.

Spring moving into summer - in the northern hemisphere at least - the future growing from rather than competing with the present and the past; defunct systems of thought developing into clearer ideas of who we are and what we desire for our country, for humanity, for our families and for ourselves.

Whatever it is that you desire, I wish you peace and happiness in your search for it.
And may your God go with you.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Minister for Digital Engagement to Resign?

Digital Engagement

Chances are this story is going to run and run. It seems inconceivable that the so-called Minister for "Digital Engagement" (Minister for Smears, in other words) did not know about the email smear campaign against senior Tories and dissenting - or "right wing" as the smearists prefer - bloggers run by Damian McBride and Derek Draper, further that he was not a part of that campaign, something which suggests is simply impossible.

There will be blood over this sorry saga. What makes it far more serious and damaging for Labour is that it is emanating from No10 itself. The blood spilt must be some of Brown's most precious.

I for one believe that the Minister for Smears is on his way out for the simple reason that this government's sole priority has always been, and is always, to protect Gordon Brown. They've had their work cut-out in doing that and a huge machine comprising umpteen press advisors, managers and analysts (all employed as civil servants and funded by the taxpayer) has grown and grown. It has one objective: not to win the next election so much as to keep Brown electable. It is utterly ruthless and nothing and no one will be permitted to interfere with that central motivation. Especially not ministers.

Nixonian? Sure. Desirable? For Labour, oddly, they seem to think it is. For Damian Green and for other innocent, competent people who oppose this disastrous government, perhaps not.

The problem for Labour is that Brown is at the centre of this storm whether they like or not. It will not be possible to cull those who are, in some cases quite literally, closest to him without the prime minister himself being heavily implicated.

Simply put, his people have gone way too far and they've attacked some smart people - the wrong people: people who know how to fight back.

The machine is out of control - and someone has to take responsibility. Watson (below) will be forced to, but I know and you know that the buck stops with Brown.

Fat Minister: Too Much Digital Engagement

Friday, 10 April 2009

So Proud!

Draper: Nervous Breakdown

To have a personal mention from the arch Labour psychotic himself, Derek Draper (applause). I admit he was pissed and using one of his many transparent nom de plumes. But still....I'm damn honoured!

Here it is:

[for it is he] says:

To Denverthen and others (you know who you are):

Your homophobic comments make me sick. I’m actually shocked that in the 21st Century there are still people who have your bigoted, prejudiced attitudes. Do you realise that in most workplaces (including mine), people would get sacked for less?

Why is it that Guido’s blog attracts such offensive homophobia? No-one I know in the real world ever speaks like you. Draper was right when he said this blog is the “sewer” and you people are the “sewage”.

If this continues, I’m going to start compiling a dossier of sexist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and generally offensive language for Derek Draper to post another expose on Labourlist.

Draper is more influential than you imagine - you don’t want him as your enemy. He is persistent and has a long memory. Have you noticed that since Guido started attacking him, Draper has become more famous and successful (e.g. his new book launch, Labourlist growing by the day) and Guido is increasingly marginalised and irrelevant?"

Scary, huh! It feels like I've been picked-on by Eric Cartman. It's that childish. It's that cartoonish.

I recommend you read the thread this is from, btw - just so you can confirm in your own minds that everything he accused me/"us" of there is absolute, fevered, sick, smearing bullshit. You can use that kind of shitty trick against politicians: you can't play that game with the general public. This troubled fool hasn't made the distinction yet. It seems that new technology is too much for the master in charge of Labour blogging. Wonderful.

But be warned: delusionals like Draper never go down without a fight. Look at Hitler!

They'll sacrifice their own families in an undignified egotistical fit of fake victimhood before giving up the political influence they actually believe they own. Permanently.

So. Get ready for the fight!

Post Script:
In my professional opinion as a highly qualified psychiatrist, all the signs increasingly point to the fact that Mr Draper has, in fact, suffered, in layman's terms, a severe nervous breakdown which has led to, technically speaking, a complete psychotic break. He actually believes what he says so all decent people should remember that if he confronts you while he's still at large, you must not do anything to antagonise him. Anything about the loss of the next General Election is definitely a no-no. He will become violent. And then he'll encourage his party to do the same thing. So that's out.

Humour him long enough that he might be captured and incarcerated in a place where he can finally receive the long-term care he desperately needs.

It's tragic, really. But if he fails to seek help soon, who knows what might happen to him. If he's still on the loose and remains disconnected from events, in six or ten months time, he could actually become catatonic as his psycho-political contructs finally diverge completely from the reality that will be a new Conservative Government. (Mind you, "catatonic" sounds pretty good for this particular species. At least it'll be preserved - and silent).

The fun - I mean sad - thing is, of course, for highly trained zoologists like me, is that he won't be the only one to be totally unhinged following that particular overdue, mass castration. Much conservation work to protect ex-Nulab MPs from total extinction will need to be done.

But that's not my field.

Just for fun: