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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Voters recognise they need Vince to moderate George

I didn't hear about the latest Ozzy economics idea, but it's taken apart quite brilliantly by Toynbee here. The one thing that gives me hope is that the staff in the treasury, as the SMF director told me, stop the chancellor doing anything stupid. Some may argue they were sleeping on the job when Gordy was there, but that's overly harsh.
The end bit about this election being winnable is also true. If someone more popular than Gordy was in Labour would probably win by a distance, but no-one else who opposes him has the networks or bollocks to remove him, as repeatedly shown. So we (Labour) have the leader we deserve, and soon the country will have the Prime Minister it both deserves and wants. If that's Cameron, I despair. But at least he's better than the further right in his party. Ozzy is a bit of a shocker and could probably do with being demoted before getting a proper top job. The like of a Ken Clarke or David Davies probably needs to be chancellor if it MUST be a Tory (bastard).
Having said all that, if the Tories get in this time and make a pig's arse out of it, we might be back in the next time for (hopefully) another long spell of government, with just odd short spells of the Tories coming in to make a mess of things before we go back and clean up. Let's hope.

Football - Premier League sets sights on youth‏

I'm generally in favour of free choice to pick who the manager thinks is best, but fuck it. Give it a go eh?

Liberal Democrats not anti-banker party, says Cable‏

Some good proposals in there. I hope he hasn't been branded as anti-bank or anti-banker as that would be a stupid oversimplification. Means there will probably be quite a few blogs claiming that, the internet seems to overflow with idiots. What do you mean like me?! bastards

Sex education 'not watered down,' says Ed Balls‏

We live in a de facto secular country, and we need to stop pandering to faith schools. Make the bastards teach the same stuff as everyone else about equal opps sex ed and all that. there's nothing wrong with being gay/straight/bi/alone etc. and those god botherers should have to teach the same stuff according to national rules, not their own values. Why should they get special treatment? They shouldn't. it's wrong

Monday, 22 February 2010

A month ago, this might just have buried Brown. Not now | Jackie Ashley | Comment is free | The Guardian‏

I, too, don't really care. I consider his achievements much more important.

"[Gordy] is clearly tougher than those ministers who were plotting against him, but proved themselves serial wincers and flinchers" very true. But I doubt any of the calls have been from cabinet ministers..

It's not great but, like with football managers, I don't really care too much about their methods. Have any Man Utd players accused of being a bully? No, they'd get told to pull themselves together. I've never worked in a high-pressure environment like that, so I don't know what it's like. But I'd be willing to give it a go.
Overall, I don't think it really matters

idiot quote of the day

Idiot quote of the day:
"Good grief.
After all these years of Labour with Britain declining, our surveillance big brother society, the unemployed numbers rocketing, our manufacturing sector crucified, printing money like we are some banana republic state, massive hidden debt pile that we are building up for our children's children, huge public sector pension black hole, pound devaluing massively and about to lose our AAA credit rating etc etc.

If after all that, the British public STILL vote Labour , they DESERVE everything they get.
They DESERVE another 5 years of LABOUR."


I mean, it's pretty much ranting by numbers. Many of the things aren't even close to being true, the ones that aren't pure fantasy are at least a long distance from the truth.
But I wonder whether these people actually believe this, or are they just being WUMs? If they do believe it I think they need their eyes/brains tested

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Tories 'scaring' voters over deficit, says Brown‏

No shit, that's what oppositions do.
Election campaign:
Government: everything is great, and will get better with us.
Opposition: everything is awful, and can only get better under us

Tories deny playing politics over high-speed rail plan‏

Villiers was pathetic on Today friday.
I'm pretty sure that the allegation is true that they're only opposing these talks to get the support of a few constituencies along the route. The plans will be published, the route will go through some areas the Tories want to win so they'll come out on the side of the local people against the government. The issue will get pushed back and back and be delayed more than necessary.
It's a case of short-term political gain getting in the way of a proper decision which needs making.
The fact that it's the (evil) Tories doing it makes it no better or worse than if it was anyone else. But the Tories are evil

Economists back delay on government spending cuts‏

I agree with them. The best way to reduce the deficit is to grow the economy, while cutting the deficit too quickly risks growing the deficit because the economy will shrink again.
To me, the Tory policy looks good in text books and on supply/demand graphs but doesn't work so well outside the class room.

Fifa could support Portsmouth request to sell players‏

I think if the Premier League do indeed stand against this then they will be removing their nose to spite their face. The transfer window is bollocks anyway, so it's removal would be a great thing for all involved. They need to lock the representatives of the other 19 clubs in a room and not let them out until the details are resolved.
Portsmouth have brought disgrace to the Premier League and to English football, but that's the way things are now so they need dealing with. Let them sell their players and continue until the end of the season

...of the week

Song lyric of the week: "i'm so fucking metal, so is my wife" from Dream Evil's Made of Metal. (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=wPe&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial&q=dream+evil+made+of+metal&btnG=Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=)

Sports star of the week Andreas Wank (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=gkJ&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial&q=andreas+wank&btnG=Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

grew up on an estate


brilliant

Bashing the rich won't work for Obama. But other rallying-cries might | Michael Tomasky | Comment is free | The Guardian‏

An article about Obama's predicament in America, but relevant here.
"They are a Medicare programme that will cost senior citizens more and give them less coverage, in effect the end of social security as a public programme, and very deep cuts to programmes that help protect the environment and build transport links and fund scientific research and do a host of other things. Those are the consequences of your low-tax country. If you want it, go vote for it. I'll just go and write my memoir and play golf.

I think that kind of argument might have stronger political legs than FDR-style class warfare. There's no proletariat any more. But there are millions of middle-class people who rely on government services and millions of elderly people who literally could not live without Medicare and social security. Reminding them of this and putting choices before them might prove more efficacious than bashing the rich."
Now that's interesting. Rather than focusing on tax, talk about services. You want X, Y, or Z service from the state? Well, it'll cost ya. I mean, for the poor these things should (ideally) be non-negotiable. Keep the principle of 'need, not ability to pay' for those who can't pay themselves. But as we get further up the scale towards the middle-classes and above, some of them can afford not go private. The trick is to persuade them that public is better, especially as they'd be paying twice.
I like a nice bit of class war me, especially as I count myself as middle-class and Them being them significantly richer and more powerful than me (almost everyone, according to that definition).
There is a stinking great hole in the public finances that needs a big old wad of cash to fill it. Tax rises should be a big part of that. and taxes on those people who can afford to spend less of their income (as a proportion). So those who have to spend most of their money suffer minimal tax rises. Those who can afford to save some, or spend it on luxuries, should see bigger rises.
Ideologically, that all gives me a warm and gooey feeling inside. But right now it might just be our best way back to economic growth and filling the said stinking great hole

Inflation soars to 3.5% | Business | guardian.co.uk‏

The thing that strikes me is how wafer thin and weak the recovery is according to those figures. It seems that we are set for a period of instability, where inflation may jump around a bit before settling into a steady pattern.
Interest rates will have to rise before too long, but it's one hell of a balancing act between all the various factors, both long and short term.
A short-term rise in inflation may be no bad thing with people's ability to spend pushing up the index. The trick then will be to raise interest rates by the right amount at the right time to stop a bubble forming and bursting.

Peter Hain lends support for 'Robin Hood tax' on banks | Business | The Guardian‏

Arguments about the tax itself aside, some good work on naming it the Robin Hood tax. The names and associations of things is so important in politics, the difference between 'death tax' and 'inheritance tax' being prime examples.
'Robin Hood' is a good, if entirely hollow, name for this tax.
On the tax itself - yeah, me is socialist so me likey taxes. I studied Tobin tax proposals some time ago at uni, and it's a good idea if implemented universally.

Pro-torture, anti-civilisation | Henry Porter | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk‏

Firstly, it's a shame that an attempt at provoking debate has been attacked like this.
Secondly, if it does come down to the rights of the bloke trying to kill you, or the lives of innocent people, the innocent people live and the terrorist suffers.
Now this is all hypothetical because it's based on huge assumptions - that torture works, that the intelligence is right etc. etc. but removing those and just getting all philosophical, I saw fuck em. If X, Y and Z conditions are met, then those who advocate violence against innocent parties should loose the right to their liberty. If that means them being tortured so that those they seek to destroy may live, then so be it.
It is when there is doubt cast on any of the factual basises underlying this theory that problems arise. Then I think a pragmatic approach is right. Torture should be avoided as much as possible, but should not be ruled out when the lives of the innocent are on the line.
And if there is a case where the innocent children of a terrorist are facing torture then the utilitarian principle must come to the fore.
It's not a nice business, and justifying torture is not nice for a liberal Socialist like me, but if terrorists weren't trying to bomb people into submission in the first place, we'd be in a happier place.
I may be a liberal but I'm not a bleeding heart type.

The strange death of liberal England

Indeed. There are some very strong and good things about the liberal history and culture of this country, but it is perhaps a victim of it's own success. For example having to balance views on climate science. The climate is changing, we are affecting it. I myself am pretty sure that's scientific fact. Yet for everyone who comes out and says climate change is happening, 'Mad' Melanie Phillips still breathes. Sadly. But that is the price to pay for liberalism.
On art, I have no idea so I'll skip over that.
On science, now that's something I'm interested in. even if I'm not necessarily clever enough to understand it all, I'll give it a go

Boom times for outsourcing firms as public sector cuts bite | Business | The Guardian‏

Outsourcing is overrated. Make sure the bastards stick to some bloody tough rules if you do let them have anything, and take their reproductive organs (at least) as a deposit to make damn sure they deliver. Otherwise the bastards will screw you

MP's anger at expenses 'ban' on first-class travel‏

I can see his point. My initial reaction is that he should pay the difference, but then you start getting into things about different people having different amounts of money and that starts discriminating against those with less money. I think working in first class is fair enough, so I'm actually going with the MP on this.

UFO sightings revealed in UK archive files from 1990s‏

Michael Howard was apparently picked up by aliens, but was promptly returned for being too annoying. Delays occurred as the aliens were unable to identify which one of them was the 'human'

tory posters

funny

poster

brilliant

Swedish schools 'will make little difference'‏

Now, here's a very interesting bit:
""Parents want more smaller schools with smaller classes and that's what they will get if we win the election." "
That's interesting because that involves spending more money on schools. Lots more. Lots and lots more. I'm sure I remember Cameron making a promise about every child having the same educational opportunities as him. That would mean everyone going to Eton or an equivalent. That's one hell of an undertaking.
As is dramatically increasing education spending during a time of massive public spending cuts.
Unless the reason that we'll have smaller classes is that the children of poor parents will be sent off to work. Half joking

Per Thulberg, director general of the Swedish National Agency for Education, told Newsnight: "This competition between schools that was one of the reasons for introducing the new schools, has not led to better results," he said. "
exactly

Tories' gay views have changed, says Nick Herbert‏

It'll be good if we have a more egalitarian consensus in the UK.
It's also true that Cameron has opposed the egalitarian proposals made by Labour. Cameron is one leopard that does change spots

Students 'cannot name Labour leader'‏

This is depressing, considering how much power politicians wield, it's pretty bloody important

UK unemployment falls for second month in a row‏

"But long-term unemployment, covering those out of work for more than a year, rose by 37,000 to 663,000, the highest figure since 1997. "
Ouch. Not great

Mark Easton's UK: A duty to keep informed?‏

I think politics is important, but it's a choice whether or not to be interested/informed.

""There can be no question that journalism itself has contributed to its declining reputation by succumbing to sensationalism, tabloidization, and public relations. The profession is not only a victim but an actor in this process. But the problem is that, in contrast to most other professions, challenges to journalism are challenges to democracy! When the public is less interested in civic news and when the quality of the news is on the decline, the basis for informed public discourse is undermined."" interesting stance.

Politics does matter, it does make a difference, and there are differences between the parties. Those who are most deeply involved in politics are also the most dogmatic about it. It's far easier for someone not interested/involved in politics to stay objective, while those who are deeply involved/interested are almost never objective. There are merits and de-merits.

Does this mean that those who ARE interested in politics hold undue sway because there are less people putting their pennies in?

Councils 'will struggle with ageing population'‏

Things are only going to get harder.
I am inclined towards the view that people having to sell their houses to pay for their care is no bad thing. What matters more in the care.
This is a tough situation, one where no-one will be happy because everyone will want the best care possible at no cost, but that's not realistic. General direction taxation (income tax) is the fairest and best way to pay for all things because it is levied according to ability to pay.

EastEnders prompts differing views from Conservatives‏

It's certainly not realistic. If everyone behaved like they do in Eastenders we'd all be killing each other.
I'm not a fan because of the way the characters act towards each other, but it's probably truer to many people's lives than the things I like. Which is fine.
Lots of people like it, so fair enough.
I think the bit about it competing 'too well' with alternatives could indeed be part of the justification for tearing apart the BBC as the Tories, apparently, will do once they get their grubby hands on power

Portsmouth make plea to Premier League to sell players‏

It would be a crying shame if Portsmouth fold, for the fans.
The club have been awfully managed financially, and from that point of view deserve to go to the wall, but the people who've done the mismanaging won't necessarily be the ones to suffer, and the fans will suffer when they've done nothing wrong at all.

If, however, the transfer window is thrown open, some good will have come. The problem isn't only that Portsmouth can't sell players, but that no-one else can buy them.

Branson backs 2010 spending cuts‏

Aye, it's a tough one. To cut now and risk sending the economy into a downward spiral, or wait in the hope of tackling the hole in the public finances before the international money markets go nuts.
Now, the rating agencies are a significant part of the reason we're in this mess, but none the less they still have significant power and influence. As a result governments must dance to their tune. But cuts now would bring the economy into recession, possibly a very severe one. Maybe even worse than the current/most recent one. The cumulative effect would be devastating. On the other hand, wait may get the economy going enough to reduce the hole by growth in part, thus taking significant pressure off the need to cut everything. But if cuts need to be made, they need to be made. And there probably will be some. I trust Gordy and Darling with the economy, Darling slightly more.
Cameron and Osborne worry me.

Stop sexualising children, says David Cameron‏

A very difficult subject indeed.
Not having children, I don't know where to draw the line. Maybe that makes me more objective and less protective, I don't know.
But I do think children should be protected where possible and not grow up to fast. Children will be children though

Tories say job centre failings hit back-to-work schemes‏

While I'm sure the staff at job centres are under great pressure (there were lots of people there when I had to sign on), I'm not sure that cutting their funding is going to help. the tories opposed the extra investment in them and want to cut their budgets. I don't think that will help somehow

Brown to unveil Labour's election themes‏

Bloody ell, even I'm getting bored of the election already.
I plan to have a hangover Saturday so I'll let this pass me by most likely.
But then I'm doing lots of other stuff so I'm sure we'll survive

BBC News - Sell-off of taxpayer-owned banks 'may take five years'‏

Some of that money would be bloody useful right about now, for the public finances. Or my back pocket.
Bloody banks and their bloody bailout and who is it that pays the price? Damn straight

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

We do feel sorry for Gordon Brown, but in the wrong way | Michael White

Those who call Cameron Chameleon may have a point:
"Was it a cynical U-turn by a man who once decried personalised politics and Blairish exploitation of family? Yes, shouted an army of cynical pundits and bloggers. David Cameron clearly thought so too, because he let it be known he would not be giving a similar interview. But there the Tory leader was on Scottish TV at the weekend welling up over the loss of his own son, Ivan. Voters who complain that politicians all sound the same nowadays sometimes have a point."

So what at first
glance appears to be co-op based localism is in fact privatisation at a local level. And lacking serious detail, having been poorly thought out.
Now, being the bearded lefty that I am, I'm in favour of the co-op bit, but not so much the privatisation bit. It's all well and good introducing a profit motive, but we've seen in things like Academy schools that allowing these bodies too much freedom, coupled with a profit motive, means they end up cherry picking the best cases and leaving the others be. This is bad enough when there is a state welfare net to catch these poor buggers, but when it's the state that's abandoning them, where do they turn?
Having read Peston's article, it seems that it's political manoeuvring designed to catch a few off-guard liberal lefty types who have heard the word 'co-operative' and like it, but don't know about the profit motive involved.
Centralisation/localism is another can of worms. Localism and decentralisation sound great from opposition, but I think the fact they rarely come to fruition has more behind it than power grabbing from the centre. National-wide standards, as against a 'post-code lottery' being a prime example.

Keep your Blairs or Caligulas. Better a line of puny Cleggs | Marina Hyde

The first two paragraphs are pretty amusing, but I disagree about the serious stuff. I don't think there would be any difference in the amount of political energy expended in having a weak government, but that energy would be put to even less use than it is now.
The theory Hyde outlines would involve pretty much taking a snap-shot of how things are now and preserving it as very little could change. At least when governments change they can implement the policies people voted for. Would the minimum wage have ever come in with a weak government? No, of course not. But those recent measures that Hyde goes on about being terrible were generally passed with conservative support, so those things wouldn't have changed.
Whereas the more lefty things that I'd imagine she would prefer, like NMW, need a strong majority to get passed.
I know it's a joke and I'm being a serious boring bastard, but there we go.
Strong government at least gets something done, and that something is backed by some form of mandate.
As for Ashcroft and Cameron, well, we all know that they're only getting in because Labour is so unpopular

Is
politics a serious business? If only it was.
To some extent we get the politicians we deserve, and if people are more interested in Cameron's haircut than his party's policies, then disaster we shall get, and deserve

John Lichfield: A lesson, son, in crisis and paradox - John Lichfield, Commentators - The Independent‏

Quite an entertaining account of the travails of the euro-zone economy in recent history.
Is free-market capitalism bad daddy? Yes son.
What are we going to do about it daddy? Nothing son, now be quiet, Big Brother is on
A deliberately provocative article, but I think a brilliant one. I've said before that we need to decide as a country whether we are prepared to die free or live with torture on our conscience.
There are some very deep philosophical arguments in there, but they are not immediate. In the absence of the debate outlined above, the controlling forces (government) of the day will most likely choose the pragmatic option and choose to live. Survival at all costs in the face of a willing destroyer.
Torture should be used sparingly, only where the situation demands it and reliable results can be obtained from it. But it must remain an option. I agree that in the choice between the freedom of a willing terrorist and the lives of innocent people, the wife and child may be called upon to suffer. Sadly. But if the husband/father wasn't trying to kill innocent people, we wouldn't be in the situation in the first place

personally i think it's better to due free, but i'd damn sure want some agreement first

Australia race politician Pauline Hanson moving to UK‏

There is a part of my that thinks "fuck off back where you came from", but the condescending liberal in me welcomes her, her different views and her bigotry, with open arms.
Come to the land of the free, where will believe in the compassionate acceptance of all, regardless of race, religion, creed, or populist foreigner-bashing. Would the Mail employ her? She hates foreigners, but is a foreigner. A paradox too delicious to leave cooling on the side-board

Nick Griffin: Ejection shows BNP not gone 'soft'‏

"he was ejected from the meeting at an Essex pub."

Classy lot that BNP

Another Tory poster, another golden opportunity for spoofs - UK Politics, UK - The Independent‏

funny

A death tax is the fairest one. Yet now no voter will buy it | Peter Wilby | Comment is free | The Guardian‏

Is it fair, though, particularly given the imbalance of assets between the generations, to put the bill on general taxation, when we know it will rise steeply as we all live longer? Why should young working families, struggling to raise children and buy houses, pay for old people who own property which remains empty while they reside in care homes? A levy on the estates of the deceased is surely the most just and humane solution

In other words, the "death tax" runs up against the same emotions as the requirement for old people to sell their homes to finance care while still alive. It would be the most socially just means of funding, as well as the most economically efficient, but it will be hard to convince the voters. That is a measure of how far the left in Britain and America have allowed the case for social justice to go by default.

The two quotes above are very interesting. Firstly, about the universality of taxation. I'm inclined to agree with the author because I go against the grain on home-owning. I'm sure it'll get me no-where near office, but I'm not as big into buying and owning a house as many. I rent, and I am happy to rent. When I have a family of my own I want a home for them, I don't really care whether it is bought or rented. If I buy, I will have more important things to worry about than the house price. I don't take out loans because I live within my means so I want to continue, meaning that the house price will be far less relevant if I'm not trying to take out new loans against it.

The second is about how what is objectively the best thing to do is often subsumed by political expediency, and that's a shame. But that's life. If a single, hypothecated tax upon death is the best way to go, it should be done. The elderly need caring for, but they are not necessarily better off at home.

Why do women want to be Wags?

What a load of crap that is.
Especially the "The options are limited for working-class men too, of course, but they do at least have some credible paths to extreme wealth, if that's what they want. They can go into the money markets: a highly male-dominated industry. Or they can dream of being a footballer - at any one time there are around 4,000 professional footballers in England and Wales."
So working-class women have few options, but working-class boys can work in high finance if they like? Oh yeah? And how many of the richest and most powerful are from working class backgrounds? Very few. How many in the money markets? Very few.
The thing that I have issue with in this article is that the author won't accept one fundamental truth which is that some woman are so shallow that marrying a rich man is all they want to do. The author won't acknowledge that possibility, and tries to cut it off at the pass with the justification that they have no other quick route to wealth and fame. Oh, so working class girls want fame and fortune without working for it? That's ok then.
The fundamental problem is how many would rather be a WAG or Jordan rather than someone who actually makes a difference to the world. Become a politician, doctor, nurse. That's contributing to society, not just their own pocket.
So many women buy into this too, and it's the blindness to that which pisses me off about feminism.

MPs' second home profits 'should be surrendered'‏

I agree

Saturday, 13 February 2010

strange fans

Just listening to the Southend game on Blues Player, and they said Arshavin is at Root's Hall watching Southend. That must be an odd experience for him.
"how Southend would love a player like Arshavin"
"i doubt they could afford an hour of his wages"

Alexander McQueen: A genius is lost - and darkness has won | Life and style | The Guardian‏

I'm afraid that I just can't consider a fashion designer a genius, it's just not important.

John Healey may have been right about repossession | Money | guardian.co.uk‏

Have that!
"let the lenders deal with the negative equity." - exactly.
The Mail and express are always going potty about house prices, and usually how immigrants are bringing them down. We are far too obsessed with owning a house, and even worse is the obsession with squeezing every last penny out of them (i.e. buying for profit being worse than buy to live and hoping the price rises).
The case described here is fairly instructive and well worth taking note of. Houses are no be all and end all

The Telegraph's toxic attack | Henry Porter | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk‏


""Every time they are
asked to choose between the defence of the realm, or upholding the rights of some Islamic militant who claims his human rights have been violated, the judges invariably find in favour of the latter.""
Pretty much a paint-by-numbers right-wing paper opinion piece. The same thing, in slightly different words, comes out again and again.

On torture. It comes down to how willing people are to die free or live under a government that may use torture. I think, as much as possible, the country should decide. If someone is willing to take the lives of others for their own ends, should not their life be considered expendable? Their liberty too.
Are we willing to have our family and friends cut down in their prime for the freedom of someone who would take advantage of freedoms they would not grant us? That's the decision this country needs to make, but must also always be careful to keep re-thinking.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

It may take a Tory Tea Party to make Cameron coherent | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian‏


Localism eh
? Very interesting. Well, apart from when you suffer from a 'postcode lottery' as comment 2 points out.
That's the thing that central government brings. Everyone goes on about how wonderful localism is from afar, but then they change their tune in office. Why? Because centralism is not that bad when you're trying to deliver a service. Targets have their uses, like getting stuff done and showing it got done.
Now I spend too long in my job preparing for the NAO to visit at any moment, but it shows that I'm working hard (believe it or not)

'Every Hindu and Sikh should be praising the BNP' | Politics | The Guardian‏

Very interesting. I always try to see everyone's point of view, and I can see why a Sikh would join the BNP, of course. Sikhs and Muslims have a pretty narcy history, so one taking sides against the other is hardly surprising. The far left's love-in with Islam mean that we could get into a case where the far-left and far-right have become so focused on Islam that they become engrained in that fight. That's the last thing we need.
What we need is community cohesion, a proper meritocracy where people are treated for who they are and what they do. A Muslim terrorist should be treated the same as a white, black, Sikh, Jew or mixed terrorist, to use an extreme example.
If blocs form and start seeing the other as the enemy then the country could end up torn apart, with the likes of Griffin cheering the split in the country they claim to love as it will enhance their power.
It's easy to judge people on their skin colour or background, but something wicked that way lies

Tim Bell calls general election TV debates 'pointless'‏


I think he may have a point
. If we're going to do it at all then the whole cabinet and their shadows should be involved. We don't have a presidential system, we have parties. If people want a presidential system (I would be in favour if the president replaced the monarch) then that's a whole other issue.
As it is, we are far too focused on one individual as leader. Hardly surprising if they then take all the power for themselves is it?

Is the class issue dead in UK politics?‏


Is class dead?
I don't think so. It would be nice if it was and we lived in a true egalitarian meritocracy, but we don't. my example is to compare my schooling with Eton. If Cameron had gone to my schools rather than his he wouldn't be in the running to be PM. I'm not saying I would be if I'd been to Eton, and sure as hell not for the Tories. We should look at people themselves rather than as the result of their backgrounds, but it is a factor. The problem is that people pay lip service to equality, but that's about it.

"What if the Daily Telegraph always prefaced the name John Prescott with the words "Labour oik"? It would sound really mean."
How about Gorbals Mick about Michael Martin? The Daily Mail is full of class hatred. Well, full of hatred generally.

Using immigration to turn Britain into a nation of Labour voters is so shameful I can hardly believe it | Mail Online‏

Cynical WUM moment of the year goes to this cunt.
Are Labour importing immigrant to vote Labour? No. for a start you have to qualify for it.
For another it's a standard tory lie to whip up anti-immigrant and anti-labour feeling.
It's pretty fucking shameful

new Cameron piss take

Top work, made me laugh

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Chester City squad refuse to play at Forest Green‏

"They are also due back in the High Court in London next month, on 10 March, as they face being wound up over an unpaid £25,025 tax bill. "
About 1 day's wages for the likes of Wayne Rooney, and the club may go out of business as a result. The inequality is sickening. I remember not that long ago everyone was startled by Roy Keane demanding £50k/week, now that's a small figure. I think the likes of Ronaldo are on about £200k/week. It's sick

Brown wins big Commons victory for vote reform

"Last night's result came after a fiery four-hour debate in the Commons during which the Tories accused Labour of cynically attempting to rig the voting system in its favour"
That's quite funny. Either they're all at it or they all have only the country's interests at heart. It's an issue that, by definition is open to extreme cynicism because one side would do better under each system.

"Richard Shepherd, the Tory MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, said the AV system was not proportionate and elected the "least objectionable" candidate"
I like Richard Shepherd, I think he's top. But I have to disagree with him. It is largely proportionate, and is a step forward from where we are now. I personally still prefer the French system but I'm willing to go along with AV as it is better than FPTP.
"Earlier David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, called for sweeping reforms to "re-set" the political system to be put to the country in a nationwide vote.
He went far beyond Mr Brown's referendum call as he supported asking the country to back the introduction of fixed-term parliaments. Mr Miliband's comments were seen as the foretaste of his personal manifesto for a future Labour leadership contest. He argued that Britain needed to do much more than simply introduce AV - although he welcomed it as a "really good step forward" - to restore confidence in its political system."
I would also like to see fixed-term parliaments of 4 years.

Who do you trust more: Alastair Campbell or Peter Andre?

Ali Campbell. The bloke is a legend and I certainly wouldn't want him on the other side

BBC Sport: Chris Charles: Quotes of the week‏

Quote of the year:
"31. At 3:19pm on 10 Feb 2010, Frederick_S_Kitty wrote:
"...time running out quickly for Utrecht"
Australian commentator during PSV v Utrecht, near the end of the match. As far as I know time runs out at the same rate.
(Dhaval Jogia, UK)

-----------------------------------------------------

Great blog as always Chris!

The above quote got me thinking. As we all know clocks run at different speeds at different altitudes according to general relativity. Clocks tick faster at lower altitudes.

http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-105308.html

purvect describes this well (3rd post down)

Eindhoven and Utrecht are at different elevations so the clock will run at different rates at their respective grounds.

http://population.mongabay.com/population/netherlands/2756253/eindhoven

The average elevation of Eindhoven, Netherlands is 19 meters.

http://population.mongabay.com/population/netherlands/2745912/utrecht

The average elevation of Utrecht, Netherlands is 1 meters.

So according to general relativity a game at Eindhoven last longer than at Utrecht so the Utrecht players will have more urgency as they play more games at the higher rate.

But conversely if they play at Eindhoven with greater urgency they have more time (at least hypothetically) so time would run out slower...

But it does depend where the game was played which isn't mentioned.

I think I've got that right.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

stephen colbert

Amazing,
parts 1
and
2

Forget cuts and keep spending, Brown told

I am inclined to agree because the deficit will be reduced as a positive side-effect of the growth, while the reverse is not necessarily true. That this, growth will not automatically resume as a side-effect of deficit reduction.
I think there are both ideological and practical differences between the two main parties here: ideological in that Labour favour higher spending while the Tories generally prefer lower public spending. That's obvious.
The second, practical, point is perhaps a little naivety on the Tories' behalf, while a deficit like that is no good thing, it's relative importance in all matters is debatable. I think they've focused on it too quickly, rather than looking at other aspects of the wider fiscal and monetary picture which show the proper way out of, what I like to call in my semi-pro economic speak The Great Fuck Up.
We have to grow our way out of this mess, but we can't afford to have the sort of unemployment and social degradation that the 80s saw, and so that needs to be taken into account when considering where to go from here.
Hence, as much investment as possible. Although a note of caution there

Did immigration transform Britain by accident?‏

So, immigration eh? There are plenty of factors at work here, so I'll touch on the odd one or two. Firstly, one bone of contention that I've long held is 'they're taking our jobs'. No, they're not. It's the employer who gives the job to the employee, and yet employers get away scot free while some poor bugger gets the blame. Polish plumbers. Plumbers used to be the popular comedy character for someone lazy who drank your tea and emptied your wallet. Now they are seen as foreign, quiet, cheap and efficient. I wonder if any BNP supporters ever had a Pole doing up their kitchen, probably.
Now if a little bit of logic can be injected into this debate (unlikely I know), then to follow the argument through would mean deliberately having a less competitive labour market. I can't help but think that is a recipe for disaster. We're never going to be a world leader with a LESS productive work force, seeing as ours is bad enough as it is. In part I blame a lack of public holidays and too long hours.
Now I'm generally a liberal, and even free-ish on the market some times. But immigration needs some controls on it to balance the needs of those who have and those who need. A minimum wage is a good one, but the enforcement needs to be better. Not a new law, just better implementation of the current one.
London is crowded, massively. There are people who say this country is full etc. etc. bollocks. The country is not full, we may need to tinker around the edges with some bits, but we're not full. Is there enough affordable housing? No. is infrastructure properly resourced? No. in part, this is because of the more people having come here and using it, but it's also because the money is not being collected properly at the other end. If it needs to be paid for, it needs to be paid for.

As with most things it's a matter of drawing the line in the right place. That, sadly, is a very boring conclusion to come to, but there it is.

Tory cuts pave the way for a return to 80s dole queues

Ol' Comrade Polly finally seems to have realised there's an election on and that Labour are going to loose. To be fair, for the last couple of months her articles have been rallying calls, pointing out how wonderful Labour is and hoe crappy the Tories are. Obvious, but a necessary step.
I have limited experience of signing on, I did it for a month and was then told that I wasn't eligible because I hadn't earned enough. I was lucky in that I found a job, but being a temp my contract is coming to an end and I shall once again be on the look out, so lock up your jobs.
Toynbee paints a wonderful black and white picture of government investment being great while cuts would leave people begging to be let into the workhouse, but I think she's broadly right. Even if her article is as subtle as cracking a nut with a nuclear bomb, she's going on the right track.
Let's just hope that come mid-April those job centres are doing their good work and can help this fine bearded individual back into employment

Friday, 5 February 2010

Angry Portsmouth supporters beg for help | Portsmouth - Times Online‏

Five representatives of angry Portsmouth fans will walk into the Premier League's luxurious offices in London today looking for answers as to why their club has become football's financial basket case.

Well, because they spent too much money. We see the same thing at Southend, the fans all call for the board to spend all this money which we clearly don't have. It's up to the board to tell the fans to fuck off when they start getting silly.
The fit and proper persons test is weak to say the least. I used to think it was just a matter of 'do you have lots of money?', but now half the new owners appear to be broke so even that doesn't stand up. I mean, anything that considers Thaksin Shinawatra a 'fit and proper person' is pathetic.
So who's fault, at the end of the day? Portsmouth's. The Premier League certainly played a part, but it's Portsmouth where the blame lies. Well, their owners and their fans (to a lesser extent). Fans call for the earth, it's the board's job to make sure they (or we, as in supporters generally) don't get what we can't afford.

John Terry

Just listening to the new, and Gordy has been quoted giving his opinion on Terry's sacking by Capello.
I give not a shit about the Terry thing, nor what Gordy thinks about it. Why's it on the bloody news?

BBC News - Should we elect MPs on reality TV rules?‏

I had written a thing on this, but once again the computer crashed and lost it. Suppose I should be doing some work, yeah yeah yeah.
Anyway.
I think the voting system in Britain has to change. Reasons for this is that voting patterns are not properly expressed in the result, such as the Tories' 11-point poll lead roughly equating to a majority of 1 (also see 1983 election). Also, the thing about the entire election being decided by 4% of the electorate is wrong and very undemocratic.
But I support a system which delivers a decisive result, as opposed to the American system where the minority party can block everything the government tries to do. Let the government take their mandate and rule, and live and die by their actions.
I personally prefer the French style, so that if there is no clear winner (majority) then the top two run off about a week later, thereby everyone who's been elected has at least 50% of the vote.
And I'd make polling day a national holiday, and it fixed term parliaments so that voting day was always the first Thursday in April every 4 years, with sub-national elections on the same day in the in-between years.
And I'd make St. George's day a national holiday and an excuse for a national piss-up

Thursday, 4 February 2010

BBC - Mark Easton's UK: Watchdog: Grayling 'likely to damage' trust in statistics‏

Is that a lying Tory bastard I spy?
If I was being fair and balanced I'd say something about all politicians, and people from most walks of life, distorting statistics to press their own case in the face of opposition.
But that's boring, so instead I hold up the damaging lies spread by the Tories in to further their agenda in the face of a government doing it's best to deal with serious issues instead of cheap political point scoring.
But that's not quite true either, sadly.

Ozzy economics‏

So Ozzy is following Brown's lead and has come up with some 'Golden Rules'. Using such detailed policy measures as 'get Britain working'. Yeah, nice one mate. All those years of education at some of the most highly regarded institutions in the western world and that's all we get. I could have told you that's a good idea, you tart.

While there are some measures which all sound very appealing, most of it is 'cut the public sector' and 'privatise anything not nailed down'. Which sounds great, but doesn't necessarily work in practice. In part because there is almost nothing left to privatise.

Deficit reduction is important, yes. But what's the best method of getting there? Boosting market confidence by doing it now but risking the economic recovery which will make the biggest (positive) difference? Or ride the wave of growth to reduce the deficit and hope that the markets and credit rating agencies don't start pulling the carpet from under it.

I'd go for the latter but with a keen eye on the possible pitfalls.

Investment is the best way, not cuts