Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Brown spotting

I know I've been quiet lately - just had many other things to do, and I'm much less exercised politically right now.

I was lovvely to hear that nice Liam Byrne on the radio yesterday, smarming his oily scaremongering criticisms of the new government's cuts agenda.

What struck me, though, was his response when asked if he'd had any contact with Gordon Brown. He said that Gordon was having a well earned break. We haven't seen anything of him at all, have we?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did he not decide to stay on as an MP? Has he not got a constituency to represent? And - I assume, he's being paid an MP's salary?

Is it just me, or does this seem just another sign of his contempt for us all? Nice to get paid for not doing anything, eh?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A new dawn?

I thought I'd better not leave my blog with the last post still talking about the dark days!

So we have a new and rather unexpected government. While they were negotiating, and especially at the time when the prospect of that ridiculous "rainbow alliance" was not out of the question, I still felt very deflated and depressed at the failure of Cam to gain an overall majority.

Since the deal was sealed, and especially after the cabinet was named and after that extraordinary press conference in the no 10 garden, I feel a sense of real optimism. Look at the stark difference in the feel of that press conference and the spirit of the leaders with the last administration.

To see people with a real passion for their subject, who have worked with enthusiasm that almost fizzes, like Gove and IDS to get the opportunity at last to actually DO something is really exciting. Cameron was brave in some of his appointments, and he deserves credit. Clarke in Justice is a great idea too. It wouldn't have been surprising for Ken to decide to take an easy life, but for him to accept the job says so much about this new team.

Go for it, boys. Make us proud of you. We, in the blogosphere will be watching, though!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The PR debate nonsense......

Recently, and especially in the aftermath of the election, there's been a great deal of discussion and righteous posturing about proportional representation.

I can't say I've ever been that much of a fan - sure, the FPTP system with the current make-up of the constituencies and distribution of voters creates a result that renders a population of MPs that doesn't match the proportion of votes. Maybe that isn't fair, but hey, life isn't fair. I'm not even really convinced that it's necessarily desirable to offer an elected postion to someone who represents beliefs shared by 0.15% of the electorate, which is the logical extension of the PR argument - unless it's not really about PR, but about pandering to the LibDems.

Theres a real issue about the link between voting and identifying your elected representative too, I think.

But the current manoeverings within the hung parliament has really got me thinking. The negotiations, held in private, with all the dealing and horse trading and brinksmanship - this isn't good, is it? This isn't really open democracy.

And under PR, we'd never have another majority government, so this would be the norm. Is that what we want?

So. Debating, holding a referendum on PR is missing the point by a huge margin. It's not the voting system that needs to be reviewed. It's the wider political system - how government is constituted, how it operates, the very values it seeks to stand for.

People point to other countries as proof that hung parliaments or coalitions can work. Well fine. But they aren't the UK government. I'm no expert on foreign parliamentary mechanics, but I bet there are fundamental cultural and structural differences that mean it's much more practical to work in those places.

Just focussing on FPTP vs STV or PR is dangerously missing the point, it seems to me. That should be the final, minor part of changing the political system.

If that's what we want of course.

To me, for all its flaws, it seems to me that the current system isn't that bad.

There are more important things that all that intellectual energy and time would be better employed at.

Like fixing the economy.

And working out why so many people have demonstrated how tribal, bigoted, closed-minded and generally stupid they are. By voting Labour.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

One observation on immigration/movement from the EU....

For what it's worth, prompted by Derbyshire's programme on R5L this morning, a thought about inward immigration from the EU.

The argument, reiterated by Brown to Gillian Duffy yesterday, is that there is equal opportunity for Brits to go to other EU coiuntries to work, and that therefore the economic effect is at least neutral, and probably beneficial.

A Polish woman was interviewed. She had a Masters degree, but admitted that she was financially better off coming here to work in a factory than to work in Poland. Later, when asked about the effect she thought that Poles coming to work here was, she said that British people could (and she asserted, did) go and work in Poland. However, clearly, from her evidence, they would be going to work for lower wages that they could get here. So why would they?

I have nothing intrinsically against movement of people around the world or within the EU, but I would like there to be more openness and truthfulness about the effect of it. It seems obvious to me that if there is a source of workers available who are prepared, even eager, to work for lower wages than would otherwise pertain, it will inevitably produce a downward pressure on wages. I suspect that is in some way an intentional effect of the EU.

Anecdotally, from my experience, it does seem that salaries available from jobs now are relatively much lower than perhaps ten years or so ago. Life is much harder, and was even before the recession.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Try this for size - child care and unemployment

I've been musing, but haven't bothered yet to try some sums on it.

Listening to the R5L phone in this morning, it struck me that quite a number of people blame child care issues for not being able to take available jobs.

This goes against the grain a bit as far as feelings about the public sector goes, but.....

why not put public funding into child care centres and support, and take away that excuse?

Wages for the childcare staff
Infrastructure costs

Less paid out in benefits for out of work mothers
Possible taxes collected from the now in work mothers
Jobs created for the childcare staff

Seems to me that the ratio of childcare staff to children would be less than 1:1, so the net effect would more unemployed back to work than childcare staff funded.


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Pat on the election

More from the indomitable Pat Condell - take a look first....

Now, much of what he says chimes with my own feelings. However, I can't quite agree that individuals really are going to make a difference en-masse, by voting small or independant. You just know that if you do that, enough other people, especially Labour voters, will carry on as before, and we'll end up with Brown back.

I have to believe that Cameron will keep his word, and at the very least, avoid further expatriation of power to the EU and hold referenda on anything along those lines. Hopefully, there will be some repatriation.

Apart from our domestic issues - economy etc., Europe scares me. I don't want to lose my national identity.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Excellent exposure of Brown's deceit!

I won't say much about this immediately, but wanted to link to this publication as soon as I could. It's a pity this won't get the exposure it deserves!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Another example of a Labour double-whammy.....

Apropos of nothing in particular, I offer another post of a little thing I'd like to get off my chest. I was driving back from the supermarket, musing on things I'd read and heard today, and this in particular bugged me as another example of something most people wouldn't think twice about, what with the way people have been turned into unthinking, uncritical sheep by this government.

Do read it, and especially hop down to the comment from nannyknowsbest.

Think about it, and join me in fuming about it. Business is being held back or even destroyed by red tape and stupid or stupidly applied legislation. So the recovery is held back even more. PLUS, to implement these stupid bits of legislation and rules, countless non-jobs, filled by talentless state-dependant jobsworths are created and maintained.

It's just bloody wrong! Labour, begone - and Dave, you'd better deliver!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Cameron's Big Idea/Big Society

Now, cut me some slack, and don't jump on me in a shouty ranty way. I'm opening up and telling my thoughts, which I imagine many people will label as naive.

I've read many blog posts which are scathing and dismissive about what has been reported concerning David Cameron's "Big Idea". The things he's said, and some of the language he's used have been caricatured and sneered at.

Now, I know that in many ways it's become the role of the blogosphere to keep our politicians in check by being critical and challenging what we are expected to do by many of those politicians, which is to believe whatever we're told, even when it's blatently untrue.


I've written, albeit sparsely, about the despair I feel for the state of our country, and especially the fact that after 13 years of this evil Labour government so many of our children, youth, and young adults don't remember and haven't experienced a different way. In many senses, they have been effectively indoctrinated, brainwashed.

Let's get real. The only outcomes for the coming election are a Labour win (in which case show me the door out of the UK), a Conservative win, or a hung parliament. In the case of a hung parliament, it won't deliver a more consultative, consensual and sensible government, it will just create a period of stasis for a few months until a new election, in which case return to go, do not pass go, do not collect £200. Does anybody really believe otherwise?

So it's Labour or the Tories. And back to the "Big Idea"

I read all about it, and I felt encouraged, even a little excited. I can see what bloggers are suggesting when they lampoon the "Big Bank" (or was it "Peoples' Bank"?) and the suggestion for voluntary "National Service" and many of the other ideas that have been given unfortunate names, making them sound a bit like loony sandal-footed hippy schemes.

But cut him some slack, please, and open your mind and look at the intention behind the ideas. He's said he wants a small state, which I believe, so it's not really fair to accuse him of simply creating more Quangos. Sure, there may be some new structures set up to implement the new ideas, but if that's in the context of massive reductions in government elsewhere, I'm happy with that.

And the rest of it - surely it's about trying to make the country (and dare I say, society) better again - encouraging individual responsibility, respect, freedom and independance? Isn't that what everybody has ben banging on about in blogs all these months and years?

I want him to make this happen, and I want the country made a better place. He's got my support - not unquestioningly or uncritically, but I want him to win, and I want him to be the person I hope he is, and to do the things I hope he'll do. Personally, I want to encourage him in the right direction, and not spray my despair and anger indiscriminately at all politicians and parties, especially if that aids Labour even marginally in their desperate attempts to get back in.

Go ahead - flame me, call me stupid and naive. But I've said it and I meant it.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

HELP! Am I missing something, or what?

I've been pondering this for weeks, and I feel like I must be missing something blindingly obvious - and fear looking stupid.


This business about public spending being used to stimulate the economy. Somehow it makes no sense to me. Seems to me it's a closed system - the money to perform that public spending comes from taxes and borrowing, so surely it can't create growth?

If anything, it makes things worse, because a lot of that spending will be on Gordon's HMG AmEx.

Enlighten me, someone?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Goodbye Harry

Harry Carpenter is dead.

It's a really sad day. I'm listening to heartfelt tributes to the lovely man on the radio right now. It's a voice that brings up so many memories, of listening to his commentary on some great fights.

I'm the first in my family for many generations that didn't pursue a career in boxing. My dad told me once, that when Harry Carpenter got the boxing commentary job he didn't know anything about boxing. He went to my grandfather (who was a boxer, and also trained the British Olympic team for the Rome Olympics) and asked him to brief him on punches and rules.

RIP, Harry, you're fondly remembered.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

8.16 million unemployed in the UK!

From Ollie -

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Byrne squirms

Interesting. On the Daily Politics last week, Liam Byrne said quite clearly, and was pressed to confirm what he said by Brillo, that because the (current) government had such a great and well defined plan for the defecit reduction, no tax rises beyond those already announced would be necessary. When asked to confirm that, he said "yep" in his slimy way.

Just now, on Fivelive, he was asked the same question (and Sheila Fogherty is a presenter on both shows) he refused to be so bullish.

Got at, or what?

Monday, 15 March 2010

Brown on the Politics Show - gotcha!

If anyone who happens to see this post hasn't seen the Politics Show from 14th March, with Gordon Brown in an open session with a studio of a good cross section of Midlands people, I urge you to find it on iPlayer (parts are on youtube now too, I see).

He was ruthlessly exposed as having no substance behind all the rhetoric he spouts, trying to persuade people that because of his investment, new jobs were coming in "low carbon manufacturing" and the digital technology field, and in things like electric cars (ref Jag Landrover etc) because of the research being done. It showed starkly that this is all jargon and spin.

WTF is "low carbon manufacturing", and how is this going to replace all the thousands of manufacturing jobs lost to China etc?

It was a largely articulate audience, who exposed many lies (a clinical psychologist spelt out how targets are falsely met, and how red tape is grinding them down).

This should be compulsorary reading for everyone!

Friday, 12 March 2010


A little off topic....

Something very strange has happened today. We keep chickens in our garden. Today I've collected six eggs.

We only have four hens! That's never happened before.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Prime Minister's Questions is an utter disgrace and insult to the country

I've just suffered watching PMQs, and I wonder if you, like me, think it has sunk to a disgraceful, contemptible low?

Brown had the temerity to accuse a tory backbencher of asking a planted question! FFS, almost ALL the questions from labour MPs were blatently planted, and just lead-in lines for Brown to attempt a punchline and tory putdown.

Something desperately needs to change.

Also, surely Brown told a number of lies today when asked direct questions, particularly about the briefings against Darling. I wish someone could produce some proof, and show him to be dishonest.

The business about the failed hospital was awful, too - he simply ALWAYS blames someone else. Surely it's clear where the buck really stops - at his desk.


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Unemployment, job centres and stuff

It's too long since I blogged! Things I've been listening to today, and thoughts prompted by them, make me want to give forth a ramble, though.

The latest unemployment figures came out today, and there was of course the usual spin and lies that are rolled out to try to convince (unfortunately successfully too often) people that things are getting better. I've blogged before how the statisitics really lie, and that many people classed as "in work" are actually doing part time work where they want full time, or in a position much worse than their last job.

Also, on Fivelive, there was an interesting phone-in on the subject. Many people were criticising both the lack of help from jobcentres and the lack of ability or knowledge of their staff to help. Several people were told that they should "dumb-down" their CV in order not to frighten off potential employers - presumably because the positions they were being encouraged to apply for were seriously below their ability and experience.

I'm seriously pissed off at the strong feeling that we, the electorate, the controlled masses, are lied to, but also that the truth of the situation isn't even aired or articulated.

Surely, the truth is not, as the debate frequently rages about, that either the jobcentres aren't fulfilling their role, and/or that the government isn't doing enough to help people into jobs.

The truth is, there simply aren't the jobs there at all, or at least not the quality of jobs that there once were.

Our standard of living, and quality of life is being dramatically eroded.

We need steps to build new businesses, and to help the competitiveness of business generally in this country. We need to be selfish in a global, and especially european way, so that we can look after ourselves and our own, and restore some of what we once had.

I wish I could articulate these feelings more clearly. I feel rather pessimistic about the future.