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Thursday, 9 December 2010

tuition fees today

i have to write something i suppose.
i personally think tuition fees should be funded through the general taxation system rather than fees or a graduate tax and it's a shame that no-one in the mainstream seems to hold this opinion. oddly, the only one single person i've heard agree with me is Richard Grayson, a Lib Dem and my old uni tutor.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The most inspirational woman in the world... Cheryl bloody Cole!
I have to get all Daily Mail and say that this really is what's wrong with this country at the moment. What has she done to be so inspirational? Wear clothes, be on TV and release some songs, the lyrics for which she is 'consulted' on. Rubbish!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Wikileaks: Prince Andrew faces papers' scrutiny‏

"the leaking of remarks made about Prince Andrew by Washington's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan in a document revealed by website Wikileaks. The Daily Mail says he made an "expletive-laden rant" against British anti-fraud officers for hampering trade deals during an official trip."

So a member of the royal family has been criticising officials for daring to look into the legality of his business dealings. Sounds about right to me. What's wrong is that he seems so opposed to checking on the legality of anyone's business dealings. Very wrong, even worse because it's someone born into the ruling class. They are a disgusting lot.

Do we really want to pay this price to host the 2018 World Cup?

I completely agree, sucking up to these self-serving money grabbers (in addition to the millions of quid it costs just to bid) is far, far too high a price for Britain to pay. I think if an institution refuses to be open and accountable then we shouldn't spend time and money sucking up to it.

Nick Clegg claims fees debate could deter poor from applying to university

"Analysis by the lobbying group representing new universities, Million +, suggests the reforms will limit social mobility and see almost two-thirds of graduates paying much more for a degree than they do now. The "triple whammy" of higher fees, real interest rates for loans and a longer debt write-off period is likely to represent a bad deal for taxpayers and will leave between 60% and 65% of graduates worse off, with middle-income earners hit hardest, according to the study.

Allowing universities to charge £9,000 a year will result in many women spending most of their working lives in debt, while pupils from poor families and mature students will be put off applying, it said."

Says it all

World Cup 2018 bid

From the Fiver:
"as last night's Panorama expose revealed, Fifa demands that World Cup host nations do not trouble the global governing body with tiresome tax levies. ZERO PER CENT, that will be Fifa's contribution to the state coffers in return for using British infrastructure to stage their increasingly degraded event.

And, in this time of cut-backs and sackings and smug two-finger gestures from fat cats, your government has not only agreed to these terms but has dispatched their top banana to Switzerland to plead "pick me, pick me, pick me!" like some giddy floozy on American's Next Top Model. The Dutch government told Fifa to stick their demands right up their flabby posteriors the joint Dutch-Belgian bid has suffered but at least their integrity is intact. The British establishment, by contrast, lacks the bottle to do likewise, or perhaps just doesn't think there's anything wrong with big business sh@fting the little guy. After all, it's not as if we're not all in this together."

brilliant, couldn't put in any better myself

Monday, 29 November 2010

Lib Dem activists target Nick Clegg over tuition fees‏

But they added: "There is one thing that sets the Liberal Democrats apart from other political parties; this is that when we say we will do something during election campaigns we then do it in government."

I must admit a certain amount of pleasure to see their holier-than-though attitude come back to bite them in the arse. Of course, the above statement is made a lot easier by not being in government, which they did expect to be

Mr Clegg said last week that he "massively regrets" being in a position where he cannot deliver on his election promise. However, he told the BBC that more Lib Dems were becoming "comfortable" with the policy as they studied the details.

Every time he opens his mouth he says something terrible, so let's hear more Mr Clegg. It must be something to do with spending all that time with Tories. He'll say something about breeding next.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Railways to get £8bn investment‏

Network Rail announced half-yearly profits of £299m - more than double the amount it made in the same period last year.

As a public utility I'd like to see every penny of that reinvested, either in the infrastructure or keeping fares down.
There seems to be a massive disconnect between the powerful and powerless. Bankers bonuses are huge, some wages and profits are through the foot yet many people are out of work or stuck in shit jobs with a job market that seems to have ground to a halt

David Cameron: high speed rail link will go ahead

Ah, so greater capacity and less people. Sounds almost nice if you can actually get on the bloody thing. All too often that is physically impossible, so the increased capacity is certainly needed but I'm wary of the fares increase

So what exactly is 'progressive' in politics?‏ 2

"Mr Clegg agreed - but, unfortunately for Mr Brown, it was the Conservatives, traditionally seen as anything but progressive, that he formed the "progressive alliance" with.

Explaining his logic, in a speech on Wednesday, he claimed Labour were now "old progressives", while the Lib Dem/Conservative coalition were "new progressives".

The purest form of talking absolute bollocks

So what exactly is 'progressive' in politics?‏

"Nick Clegg has yet to describe himself as a "progressive conservative" but his definition of what it means to be a "new progressive" sounds suspiciously familiar.

Old progressives, he argued in a speech on Wednesday, "emphasise the power and spending of the central state", while new progressives "focus on the power and freedom of citizens".

Labour and its new leader Ed Miliband he argued, risk becoming the "new conservatives of British politics" as they obsess over income tax distribution, while ignoring the wider social picture, such as access to good public services and life chances.

"For old progressives, reducing snapshot income inequality is the ultimate goal. For new progressives, reducing the barrier to social mobility is," said Mr Clegg."

Clegg is incredibly full of shit

Labour to stage Commons debate on tuition fees on Tuesday

I'm really not happy with the hanging an effigy thing. Also, there's a good point about the debate uniting the disparate government

Fifa's World XI shortlist shows footballers are no judges of talent

The Guardian is one of those publications where it's mandatory to have a go at England players. The better they are, the more they much be attached for being rubbish. Quite simply, John Terry is a great player. He's one of the finest centre halfs and captains in the world game and would get into just about any team in the world. Over the last 12 months he's won the league and cup double as captain of his club.
The Guardian are certainly not the only ones to do this, but they love nothing more than saying 'X, Y or Z' good player is rubbish, or this or that league is not a good standard. Especially so if it means having a go at someone English

Friday, 26 November 2010

Nick Robinson's Newslog: Migration cap: Lower than 43,000?‏

So they're happy to make hay with headlines which won't really work and they know it. Sounds very cynical, taking people for a ride, jumping on their fears and prejudices in order to make political capital, excluding the rich from the rules and fudging the figures so that the whole thing is a sham.
Sounds like the work of this government to me

The squeezed muddle

I think the saddest part of that is that while he's trying to stand up for a group, he's too fearful of making that claim publicly. I don't know if that's him being weak or clever. He wants to stand up for the group Healy identified, I don't doubt that. But he wants to do it without alienating the groups either side, especially the ones higher up for fear of a backlash.
I personally think that Cameron is in No. 10 because the Tories were the only party to put together a coherent philosophy at the last election, and the reason Clegg is there is because Cameron tried to please too many people rather than being bold and brave, alienating some and securing others. It's certainly far too early to judge miliband, or to start backing yourself into a corner by making pledges. Sadly, policy must wait, and wait years. Cameron did the right thing in not committing to policy for years but rather rebranding and all that stuff I hate. While I don't think Miliband should start wearing converse or proclaiming love for the Smith/Killers/popular music group of the week, he should be vague at this point, dealing with philosophy rather than policy detail. At least that's what I think.

Energy firms facing gas and electricity price review‏

"The watchdog said that the net profit margin of £65 per typical customer in September was now £90, a 38% rise."

If that's true that's disgraceful. At a time when people are out of work or insecure in their jobs, when times are so tough and one thing and another, to have a near 40% rise in profits in three months is incredible. And now my supplier are putting their prices up again. The market works does it? For who?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

UK opens door to wealthy migrants‏

Poor foreigners we don't want, but rich ones we welcome with open arms. A very dark and unpleasant side to the government's migration policy. Not nice at all.
If this is the price we pay for being 'open for business' I think we should look at other options.

Nick Clegg urges students to call off tuition fees marches‏

Now he's urging people to stop voicing their opinions. You know for certain if he wasn't in the government he'd be out there with them, calling the policy a disgrace and calling on the government to row back on it. But because he's the one who about-turned, he's calling for people to just agree with him and do as they're told.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Help for Heroes is a worthy cause but spare us the moral blackmail

An excellent point well made. A lot of this makes me feel very uncomfortable and I agree with the sentiment of the moral blackmail

fees and the student protests

Clive Stafford Smith, of human rights group Reprieve, points out that the margins of debt repayment (starting at £21,000) will deter many from pursuing low-paid but meaningful and important work. Students will have a disincentive for doing something really positive. Do we need more corporate lawyers and bankers?

This is exactly the point I always make in favour of funding higher education from direct tax rather than either fees or graduate tax.

I may also love Lily Cole.

I agree about the later start for sure. If I'd had some more life experience I may have worked harder in the bits between lessons rather than just contenting myself with what I did in lessons and in the library.

The deserving or undeserving poor?‏

And that mention of the wealthy raises an intriguing final thought, which might make tax evaders and big bonus bankers uneasy. If we are now more prepared to talk about the "undeserving poor", who are the "undeserving rich"?

I'm very uncomfortable about removing people's benefits entirely. I understand why they're doing it but I'm not convinced it's the right course of action


It seems that Britain has developed it's own version of Guantanamo Bay

Friday, 19 November 2010

Lembit Opik in I'm A Celebrity....

Oh dear, that's low.

Lord Young apology over 'never had it so good'

"In the Daily Telegraph interview, Lord Young said: "For the vast majority of people in the country today, they have never had it so good ever since this recession - this so-called recession - started...""

Absolute rubbish and shows how far out of touch he, and his government, is with the realities of life for working people. In my own personal circumstances I've never had it so bad, and it seems to me the recession is very real. If he wants to swap jobs I'd be only too happy

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

the royal wedding‏

I care only so far as I’m footing the bill. If a single penny of tax payer money goes on that wedding it will be disgusting. Why should a pair of spoilt brats who are not exactly short of a penny or two take taxpayer money at a time when things are so tight and jobs are being lost?

I hope Labour’s focuses on this to show it’s more on the side of working people than royal glitz and glamour. Given Clegg and Cameron’s backgrounds there may be some political capital there

Royal wedding: critics urge Windsors to fund ceremony‏

It's an odd day when I'm in agreement with the Taxpayers' Alliance, but they agree with me so fair enough.

"July it was revealed that it cost the taxpayer 62p per person to keep the Royal Family.

The total cost of keeping the monarchy was £38.2m during the 2009-10 financial year, a drop of 7.9% (£3.3m) on the previous year."

That's a lot. Too much.

George Osborne - UK will help Ireland through debt crisis

* Osborne visiting Ireland in 2006:

"A generation ago, the very idea that a British politician would go to Ireland to see how to run an economy would have been laughable... Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin: to listen and to learn.
In Britain, the Left have us stuck debating a false choice. They suggest you have to choose between lower taxes and public services. Yet in Ireland they have doubled spending on public services in the past decade while reducing taxes and shrinking the State's share of national income."

ozzy is lucky that most people don't know that he was praising Ireland a few years back, because he got that very, very wrong.
the thing is, this is no academic excercise. there are lots of people out of work, and i'm in a shit job well below what i'm capable of so i hope the economy picks up. it's just that, sadly, i don't think it will. taking demand out of the economy at a time like this goes against what i believe to be the best way forward, so i'm not hopeful

UK unemployment falls unexpectedly

While this is encouraging news, underemployment is the other great problem. One that I am feeling very keenly right now.
Let's hope that the Tory economic miracle does come to pass and things improve. That way I might even get a decent job

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

man u are quite good

United have won three consecutive Premier League titles (2007-09), one Champions League trophy (2008), one Club World Cup (2008), three Football League Cups (2006, 09 and 10) and three FA Community Shield trophies (2007, 08 and 10) in the Glazer era
Not bad

Saturday, 13 November 2010

first Scottish senior football club to become a fully democratic community interest company.

now that's interesting.
i hope they succeed as i'd love to see more democracy and less antagonism in the ownership of clubs

Sunday, 7 November 2010

What happened to essential books?

What a horrible, jumped up, superior, elitist wanker this bloke is.
So people must read, but can't enjoy books. Rather, books are a list to be ticked off, handed down on high from Oxford, at the end of which the lower orders may be allowed to consider that they have touched enlightenment.
How he can not for a moment consider the likes of Wells, Orwell or Huxley on there goes against my taste, but considering he's just put a list on there shows how narrow his definition of literature is.
Maybe I just like other things mate.

FTSE 100 executive pay rises 55%, survey says

An interesting couple of days. Board room pay is up over 50%, there are rumours (denied) about a big company managing to wiggle out of a tax bill that would cover the recent cuts to the welfare bill.

Same old Tories

On Vodaphone:
The assessment related to so-called Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) liabilities, which applies to firms that are controlled by UK residents but which pay tax on their earnings abroad at a lower rate.
However, an article in the Private Eye estimated the taxpayers' bill for the CFC liabilities and other arrangements "was likely to be at least £6bn" in lost tax.
According to the magazine, a former official familiar with the case described it as an "unbelievable cave-in" by HMRC.
"There is no question of Vodafone having an outstanding tax liability of £6bn. That number is an urban myth."

football inequality

If we think English football is unequal, at least it's not Spain

"Spain's financial inequality, routed in separate TV deals where the third biggest earning club earns less than the team that finishes bottom of the Premier League and where Barcelona and Madrid take home €125m compared to €12m at Racing has been analysed here before. Details are now emerging of the proposed new deal. It will be collective and for the first time there will be a parachute payment to protect relegated clubs.

But inequality remains an inescapable and self-perpetuating reality. Madrid and Barcelona will keep 34%, 11% will go to Valencia and Atl├ętico, 9% to the second division and 45% will be shared amongst the remaining sixteen clubs, at a little under 3% each"

Response: A graduate tax is a much fairer way of funding a university education

Not that fair

Curtis Sittenfeld: Barack Obama - Why I still love him

"did voters really believe the country was going to quickly and dramatically reverse course once he was elected?"

A lot of the time that's exactly what they did. I've often heard that people are disappointed in Obama because they expected him to wave a magic wand and fix everything. One woman said she voted for him because she thought he knew things others didn't, could do things others couldn't. if you're that dumb you deserve to be disappointed, but he rode that wave to get elected. The problem comes in trying to win re-election. I dread the idea of "Caribou Barbie" Palin ever speaking again, never mind winning the Presidency. Or someone equally demented.
I've thought about this a bit, as I do. Why do I want Obama to win? Is it coz he's black? No, it's because he's a Democrat. I always want the Democrats to win and the Republican to loose. Once in a while there will be a Rep who is just better than the Dem but my own dogma makes me lean left. That means I hope the Dems always put up good candidates.
So yeah, if you expect too much you will be disappointed, but let's hope the left gets itself together and rides on to victory in future, taking on board the lessons of this defeat.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

media strategy and that

the Tories, sorry, coalition government, have a very disciplined media operation based around the simple message of 'it's all Labour's fault'. If people buy this the government will get more time, if people don't Labour could spend the next 5 years testing Prof. Nut's conclusions and still win.
cuts are going to start biting hard, but if people believe the line about it being Labour's wasteful spending and forget the role financial services played in bringing our country (and others) to it's knees, the Government gets credit.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Benoit Assou-Ekotto's astonishing attack on football's celebrity culture

Footballer in Talking Sense Shock!

Harriet Harman says 'ginger rodent' comment was wrong‏

I have to say no-one comes out of this well. Harman has made herself and my party look bad by coming out with that, but the Lib Dems have pretty clearly nailed their colours to the mast with where they stand

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

freedom!! in miniskirts, swearing and lying on benches

that place in Italy where they banned miniskirts is mental. not happy with that at all. personally, i think people should be allowed to wear whatever they want. i'm personally more in favour of personal freedom than societal moral outrage

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Johann Hari: A colder, crueller country - for no gain - Johann Hari

These attitudes have real consequences. We're not in this together. Who isn't in it with us? Them, their friends, and their families. They were asked to pay nothing more in this CSR. On the contrary: they are being let off left, right and centre. To pluck a random example, one of the richest corporations in Britain, Vodafone, had an outstanding tax bill of £6bn - but Osborne simply cancelled it this year. If he had made them pay, he could have prevented nearly all the cuts to all the welfare recipients in Britain. You try refusing to pay your taxes next time, and see if George Osborne shows the same generosity to you as he does to the super-rich.

There is one stark symbol of how unjust the response to this economic disaster caused by bankers is. They have just paid themselves £7bn in bonuses - much of it our money - to reward themselves for failure. That's the same sum Osborne took from the benefits of the British poor yesterday, who did nothing to cause this crash. And he has the chutzpah to brag about "fairness."

If true that really is shocking.
While some will argue that Vodaphone, for example, will contribute jobs (and we need plenty of those given Ozzy's Axe), they must pay their bill. That £6million could have saved massive welfare payments. I think it's important to get people into work so I would cut national insurance and get the money from income tax.
As for bankers bonuses, it's beyond obscene.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

bearded socialist on the defcit and the CSR

ok, what gets me is that the deficit is about £150 billion. The cost of bailing out the banks is well over £100 bn. The deficit excluding the bank bailout is about £30bn, which is nothing compared to just about any other country. still too large i'd argue, but not really significant comparitvely (SP?).

the defcit is due to bailing out the banks, which admittedly the Tories opposed, but would have left us without an economy. Waste, bureaucracy and benefits cheats did not lead to the deficit we currently have. sadly, i honestly do think the coalition have done what they wanted to do for purely ideological reasons i.e. shrink the state. that's an arguement, fair enough. but a marginal increase or decrease in the size of the state is a completely different thing from the deficit we have at the moment which was caused by bailing out the banks, not public sector pay rates

Elton John on TV

"Also I don't want to be on television. It's become boring, arse-paralysingly brain crippling

a fair discription of the X factor. certainly all the crap in the media that surrounds it, i've never watched it and i'm glad

My own personal Spending Review

the coalition government has used the comparison with household budgets to make the case for its own cuts.

Which is plainly bollocks, but something the right are very fond of trotting out

George Osborne is skating on thin ice

What Osborne and his fellow toilers in the coalition can be sure of is abuse from ungrateful voters who are too busy watching reality shows on TV, defrauding insurance companies (can 40% of all claims really be fake?) or making their bodies a drain on the NHS, not least by devouring crisps, Coke and fags - as one friend put it after visiting a northern maternity unit at the weekend.

interesting Mr White

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Alan Johnson's first time facing George Osborne in the commons as Shadow Chancellor

Alan Johnson: Osborne says the deficit was
wrong and his emergency budget measures were unavoidable. Actually I
believe it was the other way round.

i like that a lot

Ed Miliband's first PMQs

Personally, I was a little underwhelmed. I thought Cameron swatted Miliband aside with the supreme arrogance you expect from a Prime Minister.
Some people say Cameron doesn't do detail, but i hardly think he would have got through a top, top uni, worked at the Treasury, made the shadow cabinet in 3 years, written the manifesto, lead his party and become prime minister if he couldn't do detail. he can.

some people preferred Ed Miliband's measured approach, but i thought Cameron's swatting him aside made him look more impressive. I don't tend to think of arrogance as a bad thing at that level, I'd sure as hell be arrogant if i was a top ranker in any line of work.

it will be interesting to see which side the public takes, if they care at all. once the cuts start to bite, or the government start going back on their slash and burn rhetoric, then people will form a clearer idea. if the Tories implement these awful cuts which people blame Labour for, then the Tories will win the election. if people blame the Tories, then they are royally fucked.

on the deficit, Gordy fucked up in that he spent too much before the crash. however, the larger (largest?) part of the deficit was due only to bailing out the banks. if i am wrong i take it back, but such is my understanding having looked at the (or some, not sure) figures. if i'm right, banks should be paying it back in windfall taxes and direct tax on incomes and bonuses. the whole banking and financial system benefitted from the bail out, even those not directly bailed out. they should be where the money comes from. the structural debt, i.e. that Labour spent not on the deficit should be filled, i have no problems with that. some would do it through cuts, i'd do it through income tax on richer people. if that means they leave then the middle might face some pain which is unfortunate. but i would rather have a country re-balanced more fairly than the rich running riot.
i would look at benefits and the public sector, but i very much doubt anyone goes into politics wanting to reward those who don't deserve it while the hard working foot the bill. i think it is an unfortunate side-effect of the system, and one cheap stunts and harsh rhetoric won't solve.
i think the structural deficit and the money spent bailing out the banks should be dealt with separately.
the deficit issue needs a long bit because it's the defining issue of our times and any opposition to what the government does can be met with "it's all Labour's fault, what would you cut?"

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


The Mail has a go at someone for looking unhappy:

"Really, what has she got to be so sullen about?

Kristen Stewart is dating one of the hottest guys in Hollywood, has a stellar career and millions of dollars in the bank."

of those things i can only see a career as being a source of happiness. *get's all old man and ranty* and that's the problem with this country, too many people who value happiness in terms of how good looking is the person they are going out with and money. there's more to life.

also, i don't fancy whatshisname so that wouldn't really do much for me

Big Society gone quiet

"Expect the words "big society" to be banished to the realms of satire: already Cameron's town hall meetings planned to stir up big society action have been cancelled, after the first one in Stockport was filled with desperate voluntary organisations complaining about lost grants and contracts. "
ha, could have told you that.

i'm betting they won't be banished though, it's proper political philosophy which is why the Tories have been able to get a message to people far better than Labour for the last year or so

Martin Wolf agrees with Bearded Socialist Again Part II of many, many, many

"Taxation of property should be heavier, not lighter. But it should also be less regressive"

"Property taxes are economically desirable, though the best such tax is on site value, rather than on completed development. What makes such taxes attractive is that they bear not on effort, but on “rent” – value over and above the economic costs of production. Income tax, by contrast, bears on successful effort."
could not put it better myself

Cable says tuition fees rise is 'on the right lines'‏

Once again, when the tough decisions are needed the Lib Dems have rolled over to have their tummies tickled in the face of power. The speed with which they have abandoned just about everything they stood for at the election is really staggering. They give two-faced turn coats a bad name.

and when Cable announced it, "No-one in his party stood up to protest".

I personally think fees should be scrapped and replaced by funding through the direct tax system, the only way to make it fair.
I think the introduction of competition is the worst thing when coupled with fees as those who are poorer or looking to get less-highly paid jobs may see the better option as going somewhere cheaper and accepting a cut-price education rather than fulfilling their potential, while those who can afford a better education will get one, squeezing out more able but less wealthy competitors, for that is what students are to become to each other.
Perhaps not surprising that selective education based on wealth is the favoured route given the backgrounds of Clegg, Cameron, Osborne etc.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Martin Wolf

Isn't it strange when people you used to think were mental turn their theories around and end up supporting what you said all along?
When I read Martin Wolf stuff like Why Globalisation Works, i though the bloke was a real dogmatic so n so, blindly wedded to right-ist ideology I could not at all see working. Now almost everything he says I agree with. I have changed my views, and so has he. That in itself is impressive pragmatism. Fair play to the lad

Friday, 8 October 2010

my chances of election have taken a further blow with this:
when faced with a long list and a lot of choices some voters can’t be arsed going down the full list.

Five reasons why Conservatives should fear Ed (and more than David) By Lewis Sidnick.

1) He is new: No matter how important he was to New Labour in Government, and no matter how many years he worked for Gordon Brown and served as a Cabinet Minister – the public hardly know him. They don’t recognise his association to the past Blair/Brown years. Unlike his brother, to the vast majority of the public he is a fresh new face at the top of British politics.

2) He’ll have a centre ground agenda, but with a splash of left policy which could work well. Ed Miliband will know the dangers of presenting a left of centre agenda and come the General Election, the main strands of his policies are bound to be centre ground. But during a period of cuts and pain, lower disposable income, falling property prices and general financial insecurity a splash of more “caring” left policies will work well for the next 2/3 years. Blair said to move an inch to the left would be a disaster for Labour. He was right but he isn’t now. During his period as Leader, with a growing economy and rising levels of wealth, moving to the left would have been ideal for the Conservatives. However, a light short term left of centre policy approach, but fading away as the election approaches could be a sensible strategy.

3) He will be able to ditch the broken New Labour brand: As a result of points 1 and 2 above, he (and not David) will be able to ditch the New Labour past and move the Party on (regardless of whether policies change or not).

4) He is normal: Despite his education and years growing up in a posh area in north London, he comes across both as normal and also successful and competent. Most importantly he can communicate in everyday language, sound knowledgeable and not out of touch (a frequent criticism was that David could not).

5) He is a winner. His success story is quite remarkable. He became an MP in 2005, then a Cabinet Minister and now Leader of the Opposition. How many people can compete with that? Well, maybe only Cameron and Clegg can and look where they are now.
the parallel is Cameron. Both wrote the loosing manifesto then were able to shed it so Cameron probably can't bring it up.

i think he got in because he's not his brother. Many people are big supporters of his, but we all know who the MPs voted for, and who the unions members voted for. i'm a bit unsure where he will go, but ever so slightly to the left is my guess

true. when in doubt, brand

only as far as politicians go

can't argue with that, and i don't think he's throw that away to tack miles to the left

The new shadow cabinet: A smart use of resources

it's also about having a high profile Blair-ite in the role which makes some sense and shows a strong move to the centre. odd phrasing i know, how can anyone move TO the centre if they've never left the centre. but you know what i mean.

also, Balls' economic theory does attempt to reduce the deficit, but through growth and investment. a sort of bringing it down by other means. which i'd love to see work

i now have a twitter


Thursday, 7 October 2010

How to win back the south.

It's a fact that Labour did awful in the south in the 2010 election.
Liam Byrne, of whom i'm a big fan, has some harsh facts. Some others have been added:
At the 2010 general election, Labour suffered its worst losses in the south and middle of England, winning just 49 out of 302 seats in those regions. Choose your route carefully, says Liam Byrne, a former Treasury minister, and you can drive from Edmonton in north London to the banks of the Humber at Grimsby before hitting a Labour seat. After this wipeout, Policy Network, a think-tank, commissioned a poll of southern voters. It found they trusted the Conservatives to run the economy by a margin of 44% to 16% over Labour. Most damningly, 47% of southerners thought public spending under Labour had been largely wasted. Such voters no longer see Labour as “fair” to working families, calling it a party for benefit claimants, unions and immigrants.

And that's a problem. Of course, these people tend to read the tabloids, which have these very headlines and stories every day and, as far as i'm concerned are not always tight with the truth.
But that's the story people believe, even if I don't. My mum, dyed in the wool Thatcherite, even believes that hospitals and the like are much, much better under Labour and that the money was well spent. Far, far too few agree with her for us (Labour) to win the kind of southern voters we need to form a government.

The crunchiest debates in Manchester involved the survivors of Labour’s southern wipeout. In fringe meetings far from the fuchsia-pink main stage they shared tales of doorstep rage from voters convinced that Labour largesse had passed them by. Mr Byrne, a Birmingham MP, quoted couples who told him they worked crushing hours, paid their dues, but earned just too much to receive state help—then pointed with rage to feckless neighbours “doing nothing and getting everything”. Such voters feel they are the victims of overlapping systems of selfishness, said Mr Byrne: above them, bankers and politicians looking after themselves; below them the work-shy or newly arrived immigrants tapping benefits. Fiona Mactaggart, a formidable Scot who represents Slough—one of Labour’s tiny clutch of Home Counties seats—put it pithily: voters thought Labour stood for “taking their money and giving it to people who are taking the piss”.

Ed Miliband says he gets it, but does he? And will people believe him. I always think it's better to avoid sayings like 'I get it' and make statements which show it.

George Osborne: good cop and bad cop in one

as a socialist, i find myself in the odd position of agreeing with the boy george on these.
i don't think people should earn more on benefits than in work. but not everyone on benefits made a "lifestyle choice" to be so. I was put out of work by the boy george's very first cuts after the election and, try as i might, the private sector has not ridden to my aid on its shiny white horse. too little experience for my target job, "overqualified" to take just anything. but yeah, work should pay more than not working.
also, the poor should not subsidise the rich, the rich should help out the poor and needy. it's just a shame that the boy george's policies are not laying a finger on the rich while making plenty poorer

Which government takes the biggest bite out of an income of $100,000?

tax rates across the world:
we have lower tax rates in this country than Croatia, Hungary, India, Germany, France and Turkey but higher than Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China, USA, Pakistand, South Korea, Switzerland, Russia and Bahamas according the The Economist and KPMG.
I feel pretty relaxed about that i do

debt clock


Monday, 4 October 2010

some thoughts on economics

right, i oppose the Tories' economic policy.
how would i fund my alternatives, is what it comes down to.
1) windfall tax on banks and financial services
2) NI cut
3) income tax rise at the top

people must be in work, the deficit will go down if the economy grows. the structural deficit needs to go, but a huge part of the whole is due to bailing out the banks who should really pay it back.

i'd like some thoughts on this, but i won't hold my breath

my worst time of year

i hate having to sit through Tory conference at the best of times, but with these smug hypocritical bastards In Government (!, looking at you Clegg) they are unbearable. Quote of the day: "Conservative party traditionalists tell the chancellor his benefit cut for high earners could discourage marriage and hit middle-class single mothers". Now i thought they were against single mothers, but apparently it's only poor ones. Middle class single mothers are to be defended. Hypocrites

today's benefit reforms

i agree that people should be better off in work than on benefits.
however, AxeMan Osborne does not give me any confidence he will do anything other than attack the poor and vulnerable.
anyone who thinks his measures are not ideological are mental. they must be pretty grateful for the Lib Dems to take much of the fire for them from both sides.

ideally, wages should be of a level that means people are decently off in work, but there's in work poverty as well as benefit affluence.

Update: "A government source has just told Nick Robinson that the chancellor's benefits cap is more a "symbol" than a policy whose implications have been fully worked out and will produce real savings. "
oh there's a surprise

today's Tory proposals

i woke up this morning to Tory proposals to cut benefits and all but out law strikes.
i don't have a problem with the cut to 'universal' benefits. benefits should go to those most ni need, and i'm afraid top-rate tax payers are not most in need so, given the current financial position, it seems fair enough.

on restricting strikes, i think it's a tactic to back Ed Miliband into a corner

Friday, 1 October 2010

Ed Miliband: not red, but definitely of the left

bloody ell, i know The Economist has a righty bias, but can't we have slightly more objective analysis, please?

'Ed' is certainly not 'Red', but neither should he be handing down party policy from on high 72 hours after becoming leader.
Sadly, the job of leaders is to make warm fluffy noises that enough people don't object to.

on wages and the like, should he really be looking so short term that he trips over his own feet, or should he set out his vision for the longer term? This country cannot compete on low costs, it has to do so on high-end and quality produce which means wages and Ts & Cs.
and is it not immoral that care workers are paid so poorly?

Thursday, 30 September 2010

you don't know what you're doing!

George Osborne and Guido Fawkes on how great and safe Irish banks and economy are. Much better than those evil Labour people's.
As factually accurate as usual

Saturday, 25 September 2010

alternatives to the budget cuts

left foot forward, while discussing the challenges facing Ed Miliband as leader, identifies the Spending Review as key.
I, like them, would like to see a different approach to economic policy from the the coalition. no shit.
by sticking to Alistair Darling’s timetable but switching to a 50:50 ration with no protection for the Health budget, departmental cuts can be reduced to 8 per cent – in stark contrast to the Coalition’s 25 to 40 per cuts.
sounds good, so long as the tax rises bring in enough without hurting people and the economy.

Ed Miliband as leader

so, Ed Miliband eh? yeah. erm.
anyway, enough of that, let the work of kicking these useless Tory coalition out begin. This country needs a Labour government again, let's go

Thursday, 23 September 2010

when is a marxist a marxist?

With the talk recently flying around about "Red Ed" Miliband and Marxist Vince Cable, the Economist brings some sense to the debate.
"One of the issues Mr Cable is referring to is the "agency problem" - that managers do not act in the best interest of shareholders. From the figures quoted in the Deutsche Bank long-term asset return study, that is a valid criticism. Earnings per share growth have lagged GDP growth over the long term. Companies have reduced the payout ratio without growing earnings sufficiently to compensate. Since the overall remuneration of executives has grown dramatically faster than GDP over the last forty years, it is not difficult to see where the money has gone.

Or as that well-known Marxist Warren Buffett remarked

"Too often, executive compensation in the U.S. is ridiculously out of line with performance. That won't change, moreover, because the deck is stacked against investors when it comes to the CEO's pay.""

yeah, i'd go with that. free markets rarely work out, and the economist would go along with that to a lesser extent than me, but we broadly agree on the need for regulation:
As for markets being occasionally irrational, we have surely had adequate evidence of that over the last 10 years. Even the renowned free market advocate Alan Greenspan confessed in 2008 that

This modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades. The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year.

The Economist is in favour of free markets, but both words are important. If banks are too big to fail, then their cost of capital is implicitly subsidised. This creates barriers to entry and encourages risk-taking at the taxpayers' expense; the market is thus not truly free. In an ideal world, we ought to be able to let banks fail in the same way that we let widget manufacturers fail. But since bank failures have a devastating economic impact, we need to have some approach to regulating them. Markets also have externalities, a concept long established in academia; a chemical company cannot be free to pollute a river, for example.

To say that any further regulation is socialism, or that any consideration of inequality is misguided, seems wilfully blind. If banks earn huge profits, and their traders huge bonuses, only because of an implicit state subsidy, that seems a legitimate matter of public concern."

and that's the thing - moral hazard. if banks are unwritten by the tax payer then the taxpayer must have a say in how the money is used. if there's a better way to do that than government involvement, maybe a civil servant or two sitting on the board, i'd certainly be open to it. but for the moment, that will have to do

racist fans and well washed hands

i've heard Peter Odemwingie left Russia because of the racism of the fans. after he left, Lokomotiv Moscow displayed this banner:

to my eye, the banana looks like a racist 'monkey' thing. BUT, cultural differences: In Russia 'to get a banana' means 'to fail a test somewhere'.

Odemwingie spoke in depth about the banana banner claiming that a minority of fans had been involved but alleged that black players are regularly subjected to insults in the Russian league and that the authorities did not act.

"Coloured players feel the open racism there and I recall a game against CSKA Moscow when their fans started the sick noises - I wouldn't have any of it and gave it back to them," said Odemwingie.

UEFA have refused to get involved because it's a domestic matter. The Russians say it's not racist. who's right, who's wrong?

terms of debate

if this is true, and it does seem close to the mark at least, it's very sad. i wrote recently about Ed Miliband being called Red Ed and stupid that is, well:
"Why cannot the Business Secretary seek to address a lightly regulated market, or at least question the merits of unfettered capitalism? The acceptable debate has leapt from concerns about banks and the short-term recklessness of some businesses to one about the inefficiencies of the public sector. Savings in the public sector can and should be made, but surely it must be possible for public figures to highlight other issues without being portrayed as revolutionary Marxists.

Yet the younger Miliband has been christened "Red Ed" for daring to argue that the state has a role in regulating markets, and Cable is called a Marxist. Both are compared to Tony Benn for veering a millimetre away from Cameron/Blairite orthodoxy. It seems that the acceptable perimeters of debate in Britain are very narrow. The wacky reaction to Cable reminds me of a brilliant lecture that Gordon Brown delivered in 2003 in which he argued that while markets worked in most spheres, there were limits in one or two areas. The lecture was widely dismissed as a disastrous return to Old Labour."

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

red Ed and paper power

I saw a very worrying article in the FT blog.
Tabloids salivate at prospect of “Red Ed” in charge
Ed Miliband would "be easy to caricature as “Red Ed”, slave to the unions and champion of unreconstructed lefty-ism".
"Another tabloid hack told me weeks ago that Ed had tacked wildly to the left with his socialist policy agenda. Such as what, I asked? “Well, I don’t really know,” he admitted. “Does it matter?” Such is the reality of the Westminster village."

very worrying, and if the following policy positions are taken into account too:
"It may also be rather unfair given that on some issues there isn’t an obvious difference between the brothers.

For example David wants a higher banking tax, a high pay commission, a mansion tax and so on. Where he has set out a different stall is a] his more middle-ground rhetoric, b] his refusal to promise to joining anti-cuts rallies c] his refusal to apologise for Iraq d] his more firm commitment to Alistair Darling’s deficit reduction programme and e] his sticking to New Labour’s (not very liberal) policies on CCTV, ID cards and so on.

Both brothers are committed to the central principles of union rights, a distributive tax system and a fiscal tightening which falls far short of the coalition’s plan.
Further UPDATE (3pm): Friends of Ed Miliband point out that he doesn’t back his brother’s mansion tax nor his tax on private schooling."

so is David in fact to the left of Ed on policy?
i've been thinking for a while that i went for the wrong Miliband.

a mate of mine and i were discussing this over beer the other day and he's worried that Ed M could be characterised as Red Ed. i've heard people talking about him as a Benn-ite, which is rubbish but the fact people are talking about it is worrying from a truth point of view

doing the coalitions bidding

Sadly, for the first time today i saw, i'm sure well-meaning people, taking the heat of the government and blaming innocents for the government's cuts.
there has been a lot of noise around New Cross recently about the possible closure of the library. Now, i've spoken to a mate who is on the council and the situation is that the government has handed down cuts of around 25%. as a result, the council MUST look at ALL and ANY possibilities to make the necessary savings. So i blame the central government for cuts to the budget. but there is a banner near my house accusing the local mayor personally of trying to close the library, no mention of anyone else.
this to me is taking the heat off the government and placing it on innocents, and to me that's not right. it is, after all, the central government's fault for their cuts, not the local council's for having to make the decisions on the front line.
and round here the banner is far more likely to have been put up by the socialist party than anyone further right. if that's the case, it's Socialists defending the Tories (and tory Lib Dems) and attacking Labour. wouldn't surprise me, to be fair, but they are missing their target whoever they are

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Once again i am back job hunting. The vast majority of jobs i see are administration ones in the private sector. Now, this strike me because the government has set it's stall out to rid us of public sector administrators. But if the private sector can't survive without them, why can the public sector?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Balls on Blair on the deficit

I agree with Ed Balls that reducing spending too quickly could spell disaster, but i disagree that the deficit was not too big previously.
When Brown came in he started tackling a hugh deficit left to us by the Tories, but he abandoned that.
I also disagree on tax as i would prefer to see a rise in direct tax and cuts where possible in indirect tax

the economy

from reading Larry Elliot and others it seems there is a real and significant risk of the world economy folding like a crap chair. one that's made of paper, in the rain.
a double dip is a worry, and what with the looming cuts too, it looks like Keynesianism is our best bet.
but our chancellor, Clueless George, has other ideas.

"Osborne's belief is that hacking away at public spending will create space for the private sector to flourish. Britain will cease to be so dependent on consumer spending and the state for its growth; instead, resources will shift to manufacturing and exports, thus reducing both household debt and the size of the UK's current account deficit.

Such an outcome is much to be desired but, as today's trade figures show, it remains a long way off. Far from benefiting from the 20% drop in sterling over the past three years, the trade gap in the three months to July was the worst on record. Only the efforts of the City, which boosted the UK's surplus in service sector trade, prevented an even worse outcome. Not much sign of rebalancing there."

i personally think his belief in crowding out is based more on ideological conviction than any fact. the private sector is weak, confidence is fragile. like a 16 year old virgin boy with acne trying to chat up a girl. that fragile. so pulling masses of money out of the economy in order to go on an ideological crusade is madness, utter madness. the deficit is too big, and that is Labour's fault. but ranting at the past won't solve the present, and making things worse is a hell of a risk in the hope of a better future, to say nothing of the consequenes (see Mr G. Howe in the 1980s)


I've now submitted my votes for all positions up for play in this election.
Sadly, I lost my notes so i have no record of who I voted for on the NPF.
On the NEC i voted Akehurst, Baxter, Black, Livingstone, Ware-Lane and Wiseman.
NPF, can't remember.

Ed Balls,
Ed Miliband,
David Miliband,
Andy Burnham,
Dianne Abbott

most influential left wingers

having seen some of the lists, i think people really need to reconsider the definition of 'left wing'. Simon Hughes, Charles Kennedy etc. are NOT left-wing. They are liberals. They may, MAY, be to the left of the centre, but they are FAR from left wing. It's a point of bother to me that people in the centre or on the soft left are called left wing, because they are not. David Cameron and Nick Clegg are not right WING, but they are to the right of the centre.
Is Danny Branchflower really left WING? i don't think so, but he's the only one i think deserves to be in this list

Prophetic and poetic: in praise of heavy metal

Heavy metal is great.
here, others agree with me

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Labour Party Leadership

last night i cast my UNITE ballot, once i get my NEC and NPF ideas together i'll cast those.
as i haven't a clue who most of the people are, it's taking a while

The firing civil servants on the cheap bill

On tuesday, the coalition government passed a bill, the name of which i can't remember, which allows for the cheap removal of public sector workers.
and not one single mention anywhere.
i would have thought it might have been an important issue, but not many others seem to agree

Monday, 6 September 2010

stat of the day

With six own goals in competitive games, Carragher still holds the unenviable record of having scored more goals against Liverpool than for them.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Labour Party Leadership

according to Vote Match I should go for Dianne Abbott. But I won't. Of all the five she's the only one i would never consider voting for.
policy shouldn't be that important in the leadership contest. we are five years out from a general election probably, and the party should have a role in setting policy. we need character, philosophy and who will best beat the tories.
on some of those that horrible David Miliband is improving with me. i don't agree with him on some things, and think he's not a very nice person, and not nearly personable enough to take the fight to Cameron on Cameron's own terms, but he's got a good chance of beating the tories.
ed miliband is good too, and i respect lots of the people who have backed him.
ed balls is a heavy weight, but too brusing and better behind the scenes.
andy burnham is good but too young and a bit lightweight, maybe next time.
round and round and round i go.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

William Hague and his advisor

On his sexuality, I don't care.
On him possibly having an affair, i don't care.
I him possibly using public funds to have an affair, that's would be a problem if true.
On his sharing a room with another man. i don't care, and i don't see why anyone else thinks it so unreasonable.
I've shared rooms with other men, i've even shared beds with other men without having sex with them or anything like it. i'm really shocked people think two men can share a room without getting it on. i think that's the strangest part of this story.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Andy Burnham's Land value tax

a good idea, I quite like it. I don’t agree with removing inheritance tax though

Thursday, 26 August 2010

David Miliband

Damn it Miliband, D!
what am i to do now eh?
first cruddas comes out in support of him, then i listen to DM on the guardian podcast.
i've never liked David Miliband, and he's been in 4th place. but the faults and inexperience of the other 3 have always left the door a bit ajar for him.
whilst i didn't like much of what he said, the bit at the end when they got onto the really serious stuff impressed me. he was talking about balancing torture again human rights and i think he was very good. i personally am more on the side of security than human rights provided certain conditions are met, e.g. ticking bomb or certainty. if, for example, you are certain someone is a terrorist i have no problem with them being tortured as i believe someone who sets out to indiscriminately kill innocent people is a far greater risk to freedom than upholding freedom through torture, personally.
Miliband wasn't nearly so up front as that, but he certainly didn't rule it out and made the case for that sort of progmatism in light of the necessities.
the alternative is the risk that innocent people die and terrorists have their rights to do this upheld

brilliant picture

In the name of purity, public funds are wasted on the rich | Simon Jenkins

a very Le Grand-ian, new Labour position (judging by the headline)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

hyper-exaggeration and right wing papers in silly season

my favourite front page of today. The Mail claim that NICE are under-stating the benefits of this drug, however I feel that them calling it a ‘miracle’ might be slightly OVER-stating its effectiveness.

Not surprisingly, the story about how the coalition’s emergency budget is on the left leaning papers, but not mentioned in the Tory ones

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

poor looser

"Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia.""

brilliant, quote of the day

Monday, 23 August 2010

Taxpayers' Alliance chief to head off electoral reform

as someone who

1) Will be unemployed this time next week

2) Has an interest in social policy

3) Has a heart

I’m dismayed that DWP policy-making will be advised by someone from TPA, who are a bunch of bastards

Saturday, 21 August 2010

David Miliband's party

Judging by this, i never want to go to one of David Miliband's parties.
The thing is, the bloke seems to have the personality of a calculator. He's a brilliant policy geek, just like a (pun intended) rich-man's, clean-shaven, not-socialist Bearded Socialist.
I am a policy geek, oh yes i am. But i bet my parties are more fun than David Miliband's. Which is probably why he'll lead the Labour party and I won't.

I'm getting really narcoleptic about the leadership election actually. For a start they're too young.

David Miliband is too slimy, arrogant and dull for me as a leader. i think he's a poor man's Tony Blair.

Ed Miliband is not any where the finished article for me. i know a lot of people who's opinion i respect are going for him, but i thought he was very patchy and inconsistent on the Guardian politics podcast i listen to and that's a fair reflection i think. Sure, he's young and has time on his side, but we are election the person we think should be able to be prime minister tomorrow.

Ed Balls is brilliant but a rough bruiser. he's probably my personal favourite but i think he'd be a poor leader, he's more a behind the scenes man due to his personality and sytle. abrasive to say the least. a friend of mine described him as 'gordon brown' without the good bits and i think the puplic at large would take to Balls about as well as Gordy.

Andy Burnham is too young. he's got potential but hasn't been able to stamp his authority on the race. definately a talent, and should be in and around this batch, maybe in ten years time he will have grown into his potential.

Diane Abbott "is arguably the most left-leaning of all the candidates, but her lacklustre pitch so far has mainly consisted of repeatedly pointing out that her opponents are all Caucasian men." Sums her up perfectly

Monday, 12 July 2010

football seasons

today is the only day of this year not in a football season.
the world cup marked the end of 09/10, and 10/11 Uefa Champions League Qualifying starts tomorrow. amazing

'Science aids economy', David Willetts set to say‏

having a good science and research base can be an attraction to companies coming here and can work to mitigate capital flight in case of tax rises

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Express on gay asylum

the Daily Express response is disgusting:
so start going on about a judge saying "they must be free to go to Kylie concerts and drink multi-coloured cocktails, judge says" is disgusting

"Of course homosexuals across the globe should be able to live free from persecution but their right to do so should not take precedence in British law over the right of the British people not to have their country overrun by foreigners."

Friday, 2 July 2010

new job

from monday i'll be doing good work for the Social Investment Business.
No thanks to those idiot Tories

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

budget calculation

apparently, that is according to the BBC's calculation, due to my own person circumstances I will be no worse off after this budget.
i can see the Daily Mail headline now: Unemployed rejoice as the hardworking suffer

Friday, 11 June 2010

labour leadership via blogging

some interesting comments i thought (in reverse order):

my oxbridge comment was because Julian said "She will have a natural constituency alien to the four white middle-aged Oxbridge males". i was only pointing out that all 5 candidates are oxbridge, not that there is anything wrong with that.

i certainly am politically incorrect, i almost wear it as a badge of honour. i also believe in positive discrimination because if i as a white middle-class educated young man get to the same level as someone from a harder background they have achieved more than me.

Yvette Cooper was my first choice as leader, in part because she is a woman. only in part. after that, Alan Johnson because he's worked his way up and has good experience. After that I at the very least wanted Harman to run because i really believe in her equality agenda.
I personally want Ed Balls to win because i like his style i.e. he's a nasty hard noised bastard. but i don't think that is what the public want in a political leader, so i'm back Ed Miliband as i'm very impressed by the people who are backing him

in reply to:
Oh bearded one!
Sometimes reading your contributions one feels that whatever happens you cannot be pleased, however perhaps you feel the same about me! Poor Diane – how awful to be thought ‘a bad advert for positive discrimination’! That little statement by you ticks about every politically incorrect box going. You will have seen that I am against positive discrimination of any sort believing in the ‘best person for the job’ principle and imo Diane Abbott is just that. She would not have been my first choice for the Labour leadership contest, that would have gone to John McDonnell [I supported him against Gordon Brown last time around and have sadly just put away again my John4Leader t-shirt!] but once John stepped down yesterday Diane Abbott became my natural next choice. Not for any of the ‘positive discrimination’ reasons but because I mostly like her political views [as Julian says she and I were both anti the Iraq war - I was one of those who took part in all the marches] The issue of her sending her son to public school? I can understand her comment that she was only being questioned because she is a woman as it is true that it is largely the case that women MPs of whatever political shade are questioned a lot more about childcare and things like their schooling etc than male MPs. The question of whether or not the child should be at a private school is a different issue upon which I don’t feel I should comment.
Lastly why the comment about Diane Abbott being Oxbridge educated? Is it forbidden for left wing socialists to graduate from Oxbridge? No-one told me I would have to give up my left-wing credentials when I graduated on that October day in Cambridge! In fact I think that the education I got confirmed those credentials and the work I have done since then has taken me further forward! Diane Abbott comes from an ordinary family where to go to university in the late 1960s/early 1970s was an achievement, let alone Oxbridge. Do you really want to be represented in this day and age by men and women who are disadvantaged educationally amongst their peers?

in reply to:
i think she’s a bad advert for positive discrimination i’m afraid.
in the first debate on monday, all the candidates made reasoned and sensible contributions when talking about the private provision of public services. her response was to rant that ‘privatisation is wrong’. when asked yesterday about her sending her son to a private school, she objected that she was only being targeted for being a woman.
And she’s also Oxbridge educated.

in reply to:
I am delighted that Diane Abbott has made onto the ballot for the Labour Party leadership. She will liven up what was threatening to be a one-dimensional contest.

This is not to say that the other four are not great talents – they are. But there was a common theme running through the other contenders.

Diane’s inclusion ticks a number of boxes: she is of the left, she is female, she is black, a backbencher, and she represents a southern constituency.

This is not a sop to tokenism; it is an enabler to widening the debate. Diane’s inclusion will mean that the left of the party will have a voice. This means that issues like Iraq will be debated with a voice who opposed the war from the start (and this is not a dig a late converts). It will widen the debate so that women’s and minorities’ issues will have a voice from within that camp.

Diane is not as polished performer as her male opponents, but I find her occasional skittishness endearing, and it makes her look more human too. She looks like the outsider at the moment; this is not necessarily a bad place to be.

What her inclusion will do is make the other four work that bit harder and no bad thing. She will have a natural constituency alien to the four white middle-aged Oxbridge males. To win this election they will have a foretaste of what will be required in 2015.

I really haven’t made up my mind who to vote for, although as the election is being conducted using a version of AV I can claim that I will vote for all of them. I know that what is needed is a winner, someone capable of ridding us of the Con-Dem coalition.

Daily Mail Reader: world cup too full of foreigners

"Wouldn't it be great if TV coverage of the World Cup was limited to England's games, those of hosts South Africa and of the tournament's 'big guns'.
"Then we would be spared the ordeal of having to sit through a match between Bongo Bongoland and the Former Soviet Republic of Bulimia and other meaningless events.
"Mike Phelps
"Yeovil, Somerset"

Wednesday, 9 June 2010




Just been turned down for another job for being " too senior "


"George Osborne: Ministries face cuts of over 20%

Welfare, tax credits and pensions among areas to be included in fundamental spending review, warns chancellor

having been made unemployed as a direct result of the new government's actions, i won't be too impressed if they then come along and cut my dole too. if they then do the thing of blaming me for being unemployed, i will be distinctly unimpressed with the tory government

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

job search

as if being unemployed wasn't bad enough, looking for a job is horrible. One of the problems with this country is the amount of jobs in the recruitment and sales fields.
Those bastards add very little, if anything, to the economy other than to contribute to the financial bubble that burst all over our faces a couple of years ago.
If we had more proper jobs that made and or did something useful, and lots less recruitment and sales jobs our country would be a far better place and, i'm sure, better off economically

Sunday, 6 June 2010

goverment cuts

Cameron has outlined what he thinks needs to be reduced: massive welfare bills", public sector pay and "the bureaucracy .
no change there then

i recently lost my job due to the recruitment freeze, and judging by the above the Tories are still the same old Tories so i'm not too hopeful for much help

Monday, 24 May 2010

What next - penalising students for taking caffeine?

I agree entirely, to say nothing of the libertarian argument.
Legalise please. Not part-way decriminalisation, but full on legalisation please.
Thank you

Friday, 21 May 2010

The untold story of poverty in working households

"it suits politicians of all parties to claim that work is the route out of poverty. Such a message wraps a snarling toughness directed at workless adults inside a saccharine justification: you must work for the sake of your kids.

The truth is
very different. Work that does not provide a sufficient income is now much more to blame for poverty than worklessness"

Very true, and a real key issue. Jobs, equality and poverty are the most important issues in my politics. I'm soon to experience being without work for the second time in a year and I'm not looking forward to it.

MPs old and new unite in solidarity over expenses

I have a great deal of sympathy, in part because it's yet another example of the detailed policy being worked out according to newspaper moral outrage rather than a proper system

Thursday, 20 May 2010

BBC News - Chancellor George Osborne promises business tax reform‏

So far we've had employers being excused from a National Insurance rise which will be played by employees and a corporation tax rise.
To be fair, they have (or at least proposed to) raise capital gains tax so that it's in line with income tax, which I agree with.

""Our aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, while protecting manufacturing industries"."
'most competitive' means lowest

Public sector unions are living in fantasy land | Matthew Elliott | Comment is free |‏

Public sector unions are living in fantasy land

Agreed. Please let's not go the way of Greece, they are retarded. They should probably never have been allowed into the Euro in the first place, and the strikes and riots against the necessary medicine aren't helping.

I disagree that the problem has been the state spending too much, but rather that it was spending more than it was raking in through tax. He then says tax isn't the way to raise the money, which I disagree with. I do, however, agree that a VAT rise will hit the poorest hardest and we should be wary of going down that route.

But when he says "In a report with the Institute of Directors last September we set out how to save £50 billion", it all makes sense. the Institute of Directors are a right bunch of bastards who look after the interests of the richest and most powerful, so anything they or their mates say should be looked at in that light. The author is chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance. Wankers. They are the ones who don't believe in any government, so they can fuck right off.

BBC - Peston's Picks: Will Osborne cut and simplify corporation tax?‏

"It's true therefore that a policy of reducing the various business tax allowances would have the effect of pushing up the tax burden on the kind of companies that make and export things deemed vital to the UK's economic future, even if the headline rate of tax were reduced - whereas the tax burden on banks would tend to be reduced in these circumstances."

It does seem mad that once again the Tories have pursued a headline when the devil in the detail means they would actually be doing the opposite of what they're claiming they want to do.
But then I don't think they ever said they wanted to improve the lot of manufacturers at the cost of the banks, but I may be wrong

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Jon Cruddas is right (and so is Boris)

Damn that's good analysis.

Is there institutional sexism in the Labour Party?

discussion from Julian Ware-Lane's blog

i think there is a far deeper issue of sexism in the country. i heard on some media or other that more coverage was given to the clothing of the leaders wives than to any female politician.
women are very rarely taken seriously by the media and i'm sure that puts many women off. Ed Balls has admitted that he wanted to stand aside for his wife to stand but she declined, which is sad as she would have got my vote.
It's right that we are having this discussion, that's for sure

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ed Balls: 'They said we were not on their side, that we lost touch'

I think Balls has been the most impressive contender so far in that he seems to have the best idea of why Labour was kicked out (the fairness thing) and his stated willingness to stand aside to allow his wife into the contest. It's a shame she refused as she would be my choice.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Labour's 13-year war on the motorist is over, pledges new Transport Secretary

There tends to be a paradox at work here.
The Daily Mail are always going on about catching and punishing those who brake the law, unless they are speeding in which case they are doing all they can to ENCOURAGE braking the law

the 55% rule

It does seem like the 55% is based purely on current numbers, so if the current make up gave the opposition parties 60, rather than 53, it would be 65%.
I think it should stay at 50, or if it's changed it should be done independently rather than having the government choose.
Don't like it at all

Would-be Labour leaders, take the Mrs Duffy test | Liam Byrne

He may well have a point, but who have we? David Miliband? Someone help us

Thursday, 13 May 2010

where's the money coming from?

“Deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain,” states the coalition agreement between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats. If so, the rest of the document does not live up to the billing.

Compared with budget plans the government has inherited from its Labour predecessor, the agreement included no specific new spending cuts, lots of public spending pledges, copious tax cuts and a commitment to faster deficit reduction.

Unless there are huge spending cuts or tax increases planned but not yet announced, far from contracting, the deficit is about to deepen

from the FT.

Robert Barrie of Credit Suisse has been crunching the numbers and he reckons the fiscal measures so far announced imply a loosening of fiscal policy:

If they were all fully implemented, they would add close to £10bn per year to the deficit. That contrasts with the coalition agreement’s assertion that there will need to be “a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit”, with the new Office of Budget Responsibility ensuring that the numbers add up.

half funny small mercies

Small mercies
23. Homophobic Home Secretary.
24. National Insurance Rise on workers but not business
25. Liberal Democrats are touting their willful refusal to learn from New Labour's mistakes as a virtue.

20. They're not Ukip
21. They're not the BNP
22. Thatch, Tebbit and Lamont are long gone

37. There'll be no waiting for operations once all the elderly proles have died through the winter, after Dave cancels all the winter fuel payments and freezes their state pensions.

'At least they're easy to laugh at'
Since ca. 1979 they've been no laughing matter whatsoever - as millions would be all too able to tell you from bitter experience. Former Junior Health Minister Edwina Currie sums up the sort of innate sublimated nastiness lurking within every Tory's inner core:
In September 1986, she became a Junior Health Minister. Among her comments over the next two years were, despite being not religious, saying that "Good Christian people" don't get AIDS, telling old people who couldn't afford their heating bills that they should wrap up warm in winter, and telling northerners that they die of "Ignorance and chips'
Let's not be fooled. The self-proclaimed 'Nasty Party' is still very much in business.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

capital gains tax increase

"The 18 per cent rate of tax on gains on non-business assets will be increased to close to the 40 per cent"
very interesting, the Tories putting capital gains tax increaseq

same old tories

"1.48pm: Theresa May is expected to become home secretary and minister for equalities. What's her record on equality? PinkNews has been taking a look and it says she has been "consistently against gay and transgendered rights".

In 1998 she voted against equalising the age of consent and in 2000, she voted against the repeal of Section 28, legislation that banned the "promotion" of homosexuality by local government and schools.

In 2001 and 2002 she voted against gay couples jointly adopting children.

In 2004, like much of the Conservative frontbench, Mrs May did vote in favour of civil partnerships.

But in the same year, Mrs May didn't attend parliament for any of the four votes that led to the Gender Recognition Act.
same old tories

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

BBC News - Q&A: Calls to change the UK election voting system‏

Voting reform.

I personally favour the Alternative Vote system because
1) I think maintaining the geographical link between constituency voters and elected representative is key to the way our parliament works. That's why I disagree with the Single Transferable Vote - that link is broken.

2) AV allows a candidate to get 50% of the vote, and that's key for me too. I think we should either go with the French system where if no-one gets 50% they should have another go, or take the second (or even more) preferences and stack those up. Now I personally would go with second only because

3) it's relatively simple. I remember at school my teacher talking about the various systems. One where voters are allowed to rank all of the candidates gives those who vote of one of the leading 2 one vote, while someone who ranks every single candidate can have numerous votes. This was tackled by the first vote counting as one, while the second would be a fraction of one, the third a bit less and so on. so I'd rather there was a 1st preference which could be for the winner or a smaller party, then a second preference for a major player. Maybe a third, maybe not. We have three major parties, so voters should probably get the chance to rank those three if they so choose.

Simple? Hardly

The people have spoken. Don't let the markets shout them down | Gary Younge | Comment is free | The Guardian‏

"These bodies that see public debt as a burning issue today foresaw no problems with the unsustainable private debts of the banks investing in sub-prime holdings a few years ago. "The vast majority of the analysts at Moody's [one of the leading ratings agencies, and seen as the most likely to move on the UK's debt rating] are honest individuals who try hard to do their jobs," Eric Kolchinsky, a former managing director at Moody's told a US Senate subcommittee on investigations a few weeks ago. "However, the incentives in the market for rating agency services favoured, and still favour, short-term profits over credit quality."
There's a reason for this. These agencies are primarily funded by the banks that they are supposed to be rating, creating what several former officials testified was a fundamental conflict of interest. In the words of Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
True. Clear conflict of interest.

Otherwise, the piece is a wafty, empty rant about how great people are and how terrible the markets are. And how politicians are all self-interested liars.
I think it's fair to say that the politicians actually did a decent job of outlining the cuts we may face. The 'more fierce than Thatcher in the 80s' quote was from one Ali Darling, for example.
Yet it's those same wicked politicians Younge is then trusting to sort out the democratic deficit that places the markets in such power. Well, that's stupid.
It would certainly be nice of elected politicians had more power than the markets, but without giving any kind of detail, just carping from the sidelines doesn't much help.

Gordon Brown told it's time to go as hopes fade for deal with Lib Dems

"That is leading a growing body of older ministers to argue that Labour should now recognise this is a good election to lose, relinquish power and regroup with dignity.

A clutch of former senior ministers including David Blunkett, the former home secretary, George Howarth the former Home Office minister, and Malcolm Wicks, the former energy secretary, were arguing that it is best for Labour to admit defeat, hold a leadership election and come back to crush a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of convenience at the next election.

In a foretaste of the attack Labour will mount on the Liberal Democrats, Blunkett said: "We're going to have, by the look of it, a coalition government with a Liberal Democrat partner that doesn't believe one word of the Tories on Europe, doesn't believe in the Tories' economic policy and has considerable doubts about their approach in terms of taxation, not least in terms of inheritance tax, but is having to go in with the Conservatives in order to gain power.""

I agree entirely. Let's accept that we've lost and stand ready to win next time, when we will probably be able to command the 'progressive vote' completely as the lib dems will be tainted by Tory association.
However, the lib dems may then be seen as a credible and pragmatic party which will probably work to their advantage.
But that doesn't matter as Labour lost 90 seats so should stand aside.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

49.77% of the vote, 100% of the seats

On May 6th the voters on Lincolnshire cast their votes. Here is the combined results for the seven constituencies.
Con 174,729 49.77%
LD 70,827 20.17%
Lab 68,043 19.38%
UKIP 16,346 4.66%
BNP 13,614 3.88%
Linc Ind 5,311 1.51%
Eng Dem 1,121 0.32%
Green 724 0.21%
Ind 393 0.11%

Yet under FPTP the Conservatives managed to obtain all seven seats.

is not so good

Saturday, 8 May 2010

a progressive alliance

Alex Salmond is calling on the Lib Dems to join a 'progressive alliance' with Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and Labour.
firstly, Clegg said he'd do a deal with the largest party, so he should.
second, the nationalists have acted disgracefully before the election trying to hold the country to ransom by selling their support to the highest bidder. this would give disproportionate power to minority parties, and thus is far from progressive.

"If Labour and the Lib Dems joined forces - the extra 57 votes are not enough to make them the biggest force even with the support of the Northern Irish SDLP (who sat on the government benches in the last parliament) and the one new Alliance MP who is allied to the Lib Dems. Together that's 319 votes.

With the support of the nationalists from Scotland and Wales they would reach 330.

If the DUP joined too and the independent unionist and the new Green MP this alliance would have 338 votes in the Commons."

just doesn't seem right to me because they're trying to marginalise the largest party. if Labour and Lib Dems each had more seats, say they were able to get a majority with just those two, and they'd given some assurances before the vote, then that would probably be enough for me.
i still find it odd that i'm saying the Tories should be in power, but that's what people voted for.

Don't underestimate Ed Balls | Mehdi Hasan

""Ken rightly criticised us for not being tough enough on financial regulation." (Yesterday, Livingstone returned the compliment, telling the BBC that he planned to back Balls in any future Labour leadership contest.)"

I personally think he's alright, and I might well be inclined to back him if I get a vote

Credit where it's due‏

"The prospect of Chelsea or Spurs, or a host of millionaire players and former players, being paid in full while others have to accept a fraction of what they are owed is not a healthy one for the game."

A bloody great big understatement that is.
It seems odd that the people who ran the club into the ground have a far better chance of getting their money back than the charities and tiny businesses may end up with barely pennies in the pound.

I'd say HMRC should get back its preferred creditor status as it's the public purse, and footballers and clubs should loose their status with some link to their income so that lower leagues players and clubs can benefit but not the millionaires who don't need the money.
How is a bit more difficult

blogger startled as internet comment post is found to be sensible and balanced


I wouldn't want to be Clegg. He finds himself wielding power with no mandate for it, which tends to slaughter his own sacred cows of electoral reform. If he chooses to prop up the Tories with just over a third of the vote, not only would the same principle be compromised, but he'd forever taint the Libdems as closet rightwingers who helped the hated Tories gain power after gaining tactical votes from those who wanted to keep them out.

If he worked with Labour, the democratic principle is once again compromised, but at least his progressive credentials remain intact, and he retains the possibility of future support from progressives. This might be his better option of the two, siince he could reasonably claim that the progressive vote outweighed the Conservative one, and that's what shaped his decision.

Realistically, he might be better refusing to work with either side. Whichever side he props up has no mandate, and he'll share in their fragility and in all likelihood get the public order of the boot next time around, along with the losing side he assisted."

good work that poster. think i need a lay down

the homosexual homophobics?

i got my daily email from urban dictionary, which today contained reference to George Alan Rekers.

looking into the story, i was very disturbed to find out about "National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality" and various associated groups. it's horrible that in this day and age some people still consider not being 'straight' to be a 'sin' or something that can be 'cured'.

sadly, i don't think for a minute that we in this country can afford to be complacent on the issue

a tory government

over the last couple of days i've found myself in the odd position of thinking we should have a Tory government.
they won the most votes, they won the most seats. They should be the government, end of.

getting more devious, it could work out quite well for Labour as the anti-Tory or leftist vote they currently share with the Lib Dems may be more concentrated on Labour after 4 years of a Lib Dem / Tory coalition government, either explicit or implicit.

Can't help but feel Cameron and Clegg are two peas from the same pod though

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

If the ghastly Ed Balls loses his seat, that will be my 'Portillo moment'. Who will be yours? - Telegraph Blogs‏

"When I found out Balls had got caught talking on a mobile while driving, I couldn't help think: haven't you taken enough risks with our children?"

Ah ha ha. Typical right-wing media bollocks there. Made me smile, if not laugh out loud. When I found out Balls had got caught talking on a mobile while driving, I couldn't help think: haven't you taken enough risks with our children?

Roy Greenslade: The Sun recruits Simon Cowell to its pro-Tory campaign | Media |‏

"COR! what a bunch of tits! Thank you guardian, when can we expect more?
oh, on friday apparently, but not just tits, a whole bunch of toffee nosed arseholes.

Dear god

save us


you are our only hope!

or did you sell your soul to rupert too? (how much they paying you?)"


Friday, 30 April 2010


i'm getting sick of the promise of 'change'.
Obama went on about change, has he changed the world? No. It's rubbish, and it's pissing me off. It's not change we need, it's jobs. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. That's all it's about

Thursday, 29 April 2010

tonight's debate

Cameron: change, change, change (empty words)
Clegg: the old parties, change, political point-scoring (empty words)
Brown: he won't answer the question (policy/"substance")

personally, i did actually think Gordy did well. he was obviously nervous, especially at first but fair play. it shows he's human as anyone would be shitting themselves given yesterday.
i'm biased, i think Labour have the arguements i most agree with. I've seen the Chancellor's debates and 2 leaders debates.
the thing is, i'm not like most people. i look most at policies while others don't. it does annoy me, but there you go. people are different.
i think Labour has got the best answers going forward. yes, they have been in power for 13 years and haven't made everything perfect, but they've made this country more the way i would like it to be and i think they should be entrusted to take us forwards

Rating agencies: Who made them so powerful?‏

"Perhaps I am being over-squeamish, but it doesn't feel democratic or sustainable that the fiscal fate of nations and currency zones - and indeed the perceived strength of the financial system - rests on the analytical verdict of three private-sector research firms, the financial record of which has in recent years not been unblemished. "

Indeed. I'm not convinced by the need for greater competition. It may well be the best answer, and maybe the Bank of England, European Central Bank etc. may need to take over this role. The conflict of interest is staggering, and their awful record with regards to the recent financial crisis means they did their jobs far worse than national governments, yet the governments pick up the bill while S&P etc. carry on stuffing themselves with the good shit. It's an excellent example of where the power really lies in the world because there's not a damn thing most people can do about it, but we are the ones who pay. And who will take them on? no-one I fear

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

news with tits out

Quote of the day

Old faultlines persist among parties on how to help poor through tax changes

Taking this as read should be one hell of a boost to Labour. On the richest and poorest their 'attack lines' are proven true. Their main worry could be the middle classes, but is anyone REALLY going to vote for a Lib Dem government? Hopefully not.
Overall, it almost reads like Labour propaganda, which should be great for Labour. The trouble is that weighty policy things like this may matter less than who's wife wears what and stupid things like that.
I just hope the public are smarter than the media give them credit for. Breath not held

Gordy and mrs Duffy

Fuck it, go on my son.
Give em hell

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

county cricket

What a brilliant piece.
I'm inclined to agree.
I personally think that counties should be allowed 2 or 3 non-English players then left to themselves. i don't like the age restrictions etc., they should just play what they believe to be their strongest teams in order to keep the standard as high as possible

Friday, 23 April 2010


Julian Cook, professor of football at Reading University, said: "I'm not sure how this affects the title run-in but what we can say is that from now on when people think of Man United and a quivering, purple arsehole, it won't necessarily be Sir Alex Ferguson."


Anti-Glazer protest targets firms in Old Trafford's corporate seats

I think it's really sad to see supporters and owners at odds with each other like this. The owners should run the club with the support and consent of the fans, but it's the opposite.

David Bond's Blog: The true extent of Pompey horror show‏

The real nasty side of Portsmouth's debt is that
"local businesses and services who make up the list of trade creditors owed a total of £5m.

These are football's real losers. Companies and individuals who now face being paid only 23p in the pound of what they are owed because footballers and football creditors get paid in full first from the proceeds of any sale of the club.

They include:

The St John's Ambulance (for match day medical services) - £2,701
King Edward VI School (for training ground hire) - £41,714
Landscape Printing Systems (for printing equipment) - £949.33
Portsmouth City Council (taxes) - £28,690"

Disgraceful how those who most need the money are denied it so that super-rich football clubs and organisations get to jump the queue.