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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