...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 2860: Beautiful Person


Today it is Daddy Alex's birthday!

We will probably be spending the evening IN watching all of the new DVDs that we have bought for him, though we will make an interruption at 9.30pm to turn over to BBC2 for the camp comedy "Beautiful People".

Every week, Mr Simon sees something in the window of his shop which reminds him of a story which he then proceeds to tell through flashbacks, with songs and dances and moments of brightly coloured pictures, before coming to a surprise conclusion… hang on, this is the plot of BAGPUSS!

Anyway, we like this very much so it is BOUND to be CANCELLED! So enjoy it while you can.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 2851: Politics 101 – Don't Mess with the Prince of Darkness


If you are going to go after that arch-manipulator Mr Mandy Mandelbrot you should almost certainly start by NOT being Gideon Oboe.

Already we have seen his laughably poor effort to get away with leaking a private conversation in which he was the only other person present. Hmmm, who could it be, Scooby?

Apparently in retaliation* for Master Oboe getting caught by his own stupidity (again!) the Conservatories had the dogs set on Mr Mandelbrot's meeting with Russian billionaire Mr Oleg Deeplysuspect.

All very PETTY, really.

Until it turns out that the CONSERVATORIES are in the same boat. Literally. Mr Oboe has been spotted taking a cruise on Mr Deeplysuspect's yacht, and – ALEGEDLY – putting the touch on the Russian Oligarch for FIFTY GRAND.

*Don't just take MY fluffy word for it: Mr Nick "mouth of Dave" Robinson on the BBC was saying that he's been resisting pressure from Conservatory press office to make more of Mr Mandelbrot's "conflict of interest".

The Conservatories have denied everything.

Well, they would have to wouldn’t they, what with getting political donations from foreign citizens being ILLEGAL and funnelling it through UK front companies being ILLEGAL.

Unfortunatly, according to the The Today programme, Mr Rothschild has a witness who will testify to the truth of his allegations, which is why the Times went ahead and published his letter in the face of Conservatory bullying threats to SUE.

I hope that they DO sue – and so the facts can be properly examined and the truth uncovered. And if the allegation IS true, then it's OBVIOUSLY a resignation matter.

It's just yet another example of Master Oboe – and perhaps the Conservatories as a whole – thinking that the rules just don't apply to them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 2846: Government Drops Dead Donkey: You May Resume Flirting By E-Mail (whatever THAT means).


Hooray! A small step forwards for our Civil Liberties as the Government offers "consultation" on its scheme to keep a record of every e-mail ever (presumably just in case Osama Bin Liner is either a Nigerian prince with cashflow difficulties, offering to donate one cent towards the treatment of a little baby with heart disease for every forward, or purveyor of the best herbal high on the Internet).

Does anyone see a PATTERN developing here?

Day 2845: Government Drops Dead Donkey: Dis-SATS-isfied


Hooray! A small step forward for our Civil Liberties er, I mean, kids who would rather learn STUFF than just how to parrot test answers as Mr Frown's Balls cancels the unmitigated failure of tests at fourteen.

Day 2844: Government Drops Dead Donkey: Corrupt Concealed Coroners Courts Cancelled


Hooray! A small step forwards for our Civil Liberties as the Government shelves plans to hold inquests in secret so that no one can criticise the Minister for (Not) Providing Flack Jackets.

Daddy is chuffed!

Day 2843: Government Drops Dead Donkey: 42 not the answer


Hooray! A small step forwards for our Civil Liberties as the House of Lords Club massively defeats Mr Frown's "Look how butch I am" internment-without-trial plans, and the Government publicly humiliatingly er I mean quietly drop it from their latest Mad Terrorism Bill.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 2839: Mum's Gone to Iceland… so slap her with a Section 44 Order


THIS is why Governments should not ever ever ever be given powers under the Terrorism Act… because they will use them, and abuse them and get us into a WAR with them.

I mean, okay, so why SHOULD Iceland expect to be treated any differently to the way the Government treats our own teenage kids, just because they've got, you know, a NAVY.

Still, the people of Iceland should be used to FROZEN ASSETS… oh, come on, SOMEONE was going to say it!

But HONESTLY, is it even LEGAL?

Even our own Government Ministers don't seem to think so.

Mr David Dimbledonkey tried asking the Secretary of State for Innovative Scams, Mr John Deadman on Questionable Time and the minister's reply was:

"Well, it looks like what Iceland did was illegal too!"

Doesn't he know that two WRONGS do NOT make a Jonny WRIGHT? And since when has "THEY STARTED IT" been an excuse fit for a Minister of the Crown? (Don't you DARE say "Poland"!)

Okay, so it is VERY annoying when you have accidentally misplaced getting on for a BILLION pounds. I can get quite cross when I lose a sticky bun down the back of my sofa so this must be a lot like that. You think you've put it somewhere SAFE and then Daddy comes along and SITS on it…

Anyway, it is, after all, basically Mr Frown's FAULT (again) because he was the one who ordered the Councils to put their money in banks with the best rate or return, and it was his FSA who failed to pick up on (Liberal Democrat) warnings that the Icelandic Banks AA rating might be less Fourth Emergency Service and more Alcoholics Spendaholics Anonymous!

But frankly, torpedoing the Icelandic economy when it's already sinking is really NOT going to help.

This sort of retaliatory action is the start of the kind of PROTECTIONISM that will sink the Global Economy and turn a recession into a depression.

Wouldn't it be a lot more sensible to see if the European Union or the World Bank can step in; wouldn't it at least be worthwhile organising the G7 to consider some rescue package for the Icelandic Banks; wouldn't at the very least enlightened self-interest tell you that freezing their assets is going to freeze OUR Councils' cash in there too? Starting a fight through the courts to get hold of the money is surely the longest, costliest and STUPIDEST way out of this mess.

Working together is the only alternative to falling apart.

The Prime Monster has called these "extraordinary times", and extraordinary times for the people and the state call for agents extraordinary…

…no, hang on, this leads to Sooty in a skin-tight leather cat-suit and then madness!

Let us instead try to BE extraordinary.

We can start by unfreezing the Icelanders' money, and sit down and talk to them, talk to other countries and see if we can't solve this TOGETHER. The old Labour/Conservatory approach of BLAMING others and throwing up barriers… we know that that doesn’t work; this is the LIBERAL solution, the internationalist solution, the reach-out-to-others-in-need-and-they-will-reach-back-to-you solution. But more importantly, it's the ONLY solution.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 2838: Why not just BUY the banks already?


Let me see: twenty-four billion pounds will buy you Barclays Bank; another fifteen will get you the Royal Bank of Scotland. Add on fourteen billion for Lloyds TSB and chuck in five billion pounds for HBoS. At today's fire-sale everything-must-go oh-it-already-has prices, that's only* fifty-eight billion to buy the lot.

So if you're going to spend fifty billion anyway… why NOT just buy them all?

Well, the obvious answer is because that is NOT where you want the money to GO. Buying the EXISTING shares puts billions into the pockets of shareholders but leaves the banks no better off. Investing in NEW shares gives the banks new money to play with. Hmmm, "play with": putting it that way it doesn't sound so reassuring, does it. But a half-share of a bank that is a going concern has got to be a better idea than the whole of a bank that is bust.

It is taking the markets some time to work out whether this was a good thing or not.

The roller-coaster began when Sooty popped up on Tuesday morning to say that HE wasn't going to make the mistake the Americans had made of announcing a plan and then dithering about it. He then spent the day dithering about it and wiped out upwards of a quarter of the value of British banks.

Come Wednesday morning and he's telling us the plan… and seeing the markets crash further. Lunchtime startles them out of their plummet with the news of a coordinated cut in interest rates, but by mid afternoon they've lost their nerve again and so down they go. And again on Thursday, with a rally on Wall Street starting the day off on an up, before a renewed bout of nerves sends it down again.

The political roller-coaster appears to have taken another switchback too, with Mr Frown's fortunes rising almost as the economy goes under.

Daddy Alex wonders if this isn't because as events unfold it becomes more and more apparent that this truly IS a GLOBAL event, that people are now more willing to FORGIVE Mr Frown because it doesn't look like his FAULT.

He has the biggest SCAPEGOAT in the world, of course, because it genuinely looks like we're all caught up in the inevitable consequences of putting the World Economy in the hands of the Monkey-in-Chief… like sticky-taping the monkey's hands to the steering wheel of a shiny silver rocket ship has the inevitable consequences of a huge smouldering crater.

Now of course, you and I know that ACTUALLY Mr Frown really IS to blame for not controlling the housing boom or the explosion of credit here in Great Britain. His idea of "light touch" regulation of the City turns out to asking the good chaps if they're all behaving like good chaps and never doubting the good chaps' word when they said that they were because after all a good chap wouldn't.

But it may be that he's going to get away with that not just because matters in Americaland are so much more SPECTACULARLY WORSE, but because of the huge popularity of saying: "not our fault, blame America"!

On the other fluffy foot, I suggest to Daddy that it may ALSO be that people have taken the opportunity to size up the alternative in the form of the response to the crisis by Her Majesty's Loyal-but-completely-unnecessary Opposition and in particular Master Gideon Oboe.

To extend my METAPHOR: it may look like we have a MONKEY at the steering wheel, but the alternative in the passenger seat is a FISH. Probably a FLOUNDER.

Like Senator Oven-Chip in America, the Conservatories have had to perform a SCREAMING hand-brake turn, about-facing their position from "even light-touch regulation is too onerous; let slip the dogs of MORE" to "we must defend the interests of the common man from these rapacious beasts, (no, not you daddy)."

And like Senator Oven-Chip they find it difficult saying the words.

Notice how their UNNATURAL position leads them to be over-cautious at a time when we need BOLDNESS to counteract the FEAR that is driving down the economy. Having opposed independence for the Bank of England, they're now caught out opposing a much-needed interest rate cut, saying: "no, no, no! We mustn't interfere to tell the Bank to lower interest rates; you cannot compromise the Bank's independence except in the GRAVEST of economic crises!"

Hello! Wake up and smell the COFFEE (subject to your Starbuck having been closed)! This IS the gravest of economic crises.

Even Sooty realises this, as he indicated with his typically unsubtle hints on the The Today Programme, telling nice Mr Evan:

"ooh, the Bank of England act says that the Bank must set interest rates with consideration for inflation AND the wider economic situation. That's the WIDER ECONOMIC SITUATION! Do you see what I'm saying? WIDER… SITUATION… oh look there's going to be a rate cut at lunchtime, all right?"

And even Mr Balloon's usual nose for the bandwagon deceives him, so when he calls for assurances that taxpayers' money won't be spent on "rewards for failure" he's missing the point big time.

As Mr Clogg says:

"When a ship is sinking you send out the lifeboats - you don't argue about who has steered it into an iceberg. That's a debate for another day."

It looks like Mr Balloon is too busy pinning the blame on the RATS to help man the buckets.

*this, by the way, is using the word "only" in the ECONOMIC context of being a "mere" one thousand pounds per person living in Great Britain.

Having said that, it's not that you actually have to cough up ALL the dough.

In theory, the Government will borrow a thousand pounds on your behalf and in return buy your something that is worth a thousand pounds, if not more in the long term.

In PRACTICE, though, what will happen is that the government will have to pay interest on the extra borrowing – of which there is tonnes and tonnes and TONNES… seriously, Sooty is going WAAAAAY past Fatty Clarke this time – and that interest will have to be PAID out of current earnings i.e. TAX, while the return on the asset, either in dividends or a profit when they get sold, might not be realised for some time (at least not until after the credit crunch is over) meaning that even if we make a gain in the long term, taxes may have to go UP in the meantime to cover the NEGATIVE CASH FLOW.

Say 5% interest to pay on a grand a head… so "only" fifty quid a year each worse off then. Enjoy your bank. Ho, very ho.

Day 2837: Senator Oven-Chip, if you want to know the moment you lost the Presidency… it was "that one"


With the Replutocrats tanking in the polls, things are starting to get DIRTY in the campaign to be President of Americaland.

While, Ms Sarah Pain steps up her efforts to replace the Monkey-in-Chief as VICE-President (making her a sort of Monkey-in-Lipstick, you might say), not to mention whipping up a potential race riot by calling Barry O all SORTS of names (and no doubt she'd say "he smells" too), the Superannuated Senator supposedly at the top of the ticket has been chuckling and wheezing and calling everyone "miii frynds" but cannot even bring himself to use his opponent's NAME.

In the OLD days, you could rely upon the pundits and spin doctors to announce victory regardless of the actual candidates' performance. Faux News would give a "fair and balanced" victory to the Replutocrats and keep repeating it through the news cycle until everyone believes that it could have happened that way.

Of course that is HARDER to do when someone conducts a snap poll that asks actual VOTERS what they thought

…and they only go and decide almost 2:1 in Barry O's favour.

But watching the actual debate on the television, it is difficult to understand how even the most die hard with a tea-towel Replutocrat could have scored it as a win for their man.

Presumably they get special lessons from the "Sarah-cuda" in how to ignore FACTS by sticking your fluffy feet in your ears and singing La La La.

It is TRUE that at times Barry O comes across as a bit "the Professor". But Senator Oven-Chip spent almost the entire debate acting like the CREEPY CARETAKER out of Scooby Doo. Presumably Sarah Pain will pull off the FRIGHT MASK at the end and reveal that it was HIM all along… and he would have got away with it too, if it weren't for that meddling forty-seven year-old kid!

Daddy Alex noticed that the only time when he started to unbend was on the foreign-policy question about Pakistan. It is clear that this is the subject he is actually knowledgeable about and therefore comfortable with. Which is fine, but the President has got to deal with the UNCOMFORTABLE stuff as well. That's pretty much the job description. Buck; here; stopping; that sort of thing. Senator Oven-Chip's inability to CARE ABOUT, let alone UNDERSTAND, the issues that are frightening the bejeezus out of ordinary Americans is what disqualifies him from doing the job.

Take, for example, the Senator's new policy, seemingly plucked out of his ar the air right there in the studio, to buy up everyone's mortgage and renegotiate them at the new (lower) value of the homes.

Now, this would go waaaaay beyond GENEROUS to homeowners, by having the taxpayer take the immediate hit of all that fall in property prices. This is unlike any other plan that has been suggested. Taking on the debts and accepting that some, many even, will fall bad but still recovering SOME money from others is one thing… but this plan is just taking a big pile of money and burning it. It is almost certain that property prices will recover given time, so it would appear that the Senator is suggesting giving a free capital gain to everyone with negative equity.

If he understood the subject, then he would realise at once that this is either a colossal tossing of dollars into the money pit, or a total fabrication designed to make populist capital from the dispossessed. Either way, it looks both stupid and desperate at the same time.

Likewise with the mud-slinging. Rather than turning things around, he and his running mate make it LOOK like they know they've lost and they've got nothing left.

Just seeing the moment where Barry O responds to Senator Oven-Chip's "talk softly and carry a big stick" jibe. "This is the man who said 'Bomb Bomb Iran'," Barry reminds us. And in the background, Senator Oven-Chip looks ashamed. Worse than that, he looks worn-out and defeated. In the worst possible way, he looks old.

Of course, to a certain extent this is WHY the Replutocrats picked him. They always EXPECTED that their guy was going to have to "take one for the party"; that's why they selected a muggins who wasn't really "one of them". They picked the "maverick" (read: "not wingnut ENOUGH!") so that they can claim his failure is because of his LACK of purity, not because of their total and utter bonkers-in-the-nut-dom.

It's possible that they didn't calculate just how many of them he might take down with him, though!

Day 2836: THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES: The Last Sontaran (give or take a few billion off planet)


"Grand Moff" Steven has made it quite clear that in his world Doctor Who is a CHILDREN'S PROGRAMME.

This is a GREAT RELIEF! It means it's going to be much like the VERY EXCELLENT scary horror-drama "Sarah Jane Wood" and not slushy soap-with-swear-words "The Captain Jack Adventures".

Yes, Sarah Jane is BACK. And for those of you at the back not paying attention, this means effectively an extra SIX Doctor Who adventures! Hooray!

As the sixth televised* Sontaran adventure, this is quite definitely the best, taking aspects from all of its Doctor Who predecessors and finally getting them right.

(*The straight-to-video "Shakedown" is also a highly superior story, actually making the Sontaran attack look powerful and dangerous, and – by deploying a small squad but as part of an armada that is stopping every ship in the sector – just for once makes for a Sontaran force that appears to live up to their cloned-by-the-million propaganda.)

The lone crashed Sontaran is of course straight from "The Time Warrior", along with the lights in the sky and the kidnapped scientist; threatening to conduct experiments to learn more of humankind's weaknesses is, well, d'uh, "The Sontaran Experiment"; genocide as revenge is a theme from "The Invasion of Time"; while the invisible spaceship is from "The Two Doctors".

"The Sontaran Stratagem" contributes the 2008 look for the warrior clones, though here they go even further making Commander Aargh!, sorry Kaagh a combination of the eponymous "Predator" and one of Stargate's Jaffa, with his rippling invisibility and his CG unhelmeting.

Yes, we've seen this sort of spot-the-references kind of writing before (stand up "Mad Larry" Miles), but here it's used to blend a new and better Sontaran out of the mythology. Kaagh is powerful, aggressive, resourceful, sadistic and actually quite clever, particularly in part one where he allows Sarah and friends to run because they are most likely to run to where he wants them to go anyway. Also, his "destroy the Earth by smashing it with the humans' technology" plan is actually rather better than General Staal's car-based chaos.

The only moment that rings false is Kaagh's survival at the end, tragically not Jimmi Choo'd to death after all. Wouldn't a Sontaran warrior surely rather self-destruct his ship,pyrrhically killing his vanquishers? Or at least crash it into them?

It is also the last episode for Maria and Dad Alan, necessitated by Yasmin Paige's O-Levels. It was good of her to return for a "regeneration" story, and allowed for some snuffly emoting from the kids, and a couple of stand-out moments from the grown-ups.

The first, when Sarah Jane learns that Maria is off to America and freezes on her, is a very well chosen piece of acting. It's neither what you would expect, nor the comfortable choice, but it is very true to Sarah's history, her ongoing pain at being abandoned by the Doctor.

Equally, the sly reveal from Maria's mum, Chrissie, at the end "I remember it all, you know…" is a lovely overturning of our (lowered) expectations of the character. In fact it's a shame that it's taken it being her last episode finally to put some 3D shading on Chrissie, who's been entirely the comic relief in a mum-mustn't-find-out face kind of a way. And she turns out to be much stronger than her family gave her credit for.

Incidentally, while I mention the acting, Mr Smith is clearly being allowed to act more like (and sound more obviously like) Alexander Armstrong. The sheer ridiculousness of the super-computer is now being used for comic effect, and Armstrong wittily plays along, even if it means that the machine now sounds more than a little like the "frighteningly right-wing Sat Nav box" from the Armstrong and Miller show. Funny, that.

The visual look of Mr Smith, his pink screen-saver, is somewhat softened now that he's no longer an evil crystal intent on destroying the world, but he's not the only effect to have been upgraded, with some immensely impressive work on the camouflaged Sontaran and his ship. Excellent use of "borrowed" CG from the climax of Doctor Who's "The Poison Sky" seamlessly extended into a longer sequence as Kaargh comes crashing to Earth demonstrating perfectly that blowing the ship up was the place to start the story, not to finish it.

Next time: discover the meaning of coulrophobia, learn the secret of the pied piper, and meet the new residents on Bannerman Road on "The Day of the Clown"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Day 2835: Egoiste, Obsession or Pure Poison… The Fragrant Mr Mandy Returns


Who leaked the details of THIS conversation?

Well, like Mr Former-Lady-Deputy-Mayor Stephen on the Lib Dem Voice, I hardly think it's a THREE PIPE PROBLEM, Holmes.

So it's lovely to know that Master Gideon can, on the one fluffy foot, be SHOCKED and APPALLED that anyone might reveal a private conversation when it's the one where HE makes himself look a total NANA by telling Mr David "Liberal" Laws to defect to the Conservatories, and yet PERFECTLY HAPPY, on the other fluffy foot, to leak the all the gory details when he's doing the dirty on Mr Mandy Mandelbrot.

"Which Batman Villain Are You dot com" suggests that The Shadow Minister-for-being-less-respected-on-the-economy-than-Mr-Vince-Cable's-comb should look up Harvey TWO-FACE.

As for Mr Mandelbrot, the fractal at the heart of the NuLabour project, he's provoked a huge storm of media interest – and successfully distracted EVERYONE from the question that dominated the summer: "when will Mr Frown resign?" replacing it with a whole NEW question: "when will Mr MANDY resign?"

To be fair – and it is JOLLY DIFFICULT to be fair to Mr Mandy – the reason he's so DIVISIVE is because he is DIVIDED himself. There are really TWO Mr Mandelbrots: there's the one who is the dedicated pro-Free Trade, pro-Europe negotiator who worked enormously hard to make the Northern Ireland deal work when it had very nearly fallen to bits under the Sainted Mo, and who laboured tirelessly to try and make the Dohar Round of the World Trade Talks actually work; and then there's the one who uses his Sith Powers to get the Labour elected for no reason or purpose other than to be in power because "that's where it should be" even though it has completely sacrificed its traditional platform on the altar of a Thatcherite agenda and no longer serves any purpose other than to be the Conservatories-lite.

From Mr Frown's point of view it is PERFECT: he gets a talented operator with super-star charisma (I mean really, when the biggest names in the cabinet before this were Mr Man O'Straw and Mr Buff Hoon, you can see why they needed some of that Ol' Mandelbrot Black Magic*) who will take over the Labour's election campaign (no, Mr Mandy, we really do know that "I'm only going to give a word or two of advice" means "I'll only change one thing: the WORDS"), heal the rift with Lord Blairimort's faction and at the same time replace Mr Frown as "most hated person in the Cabinet".

From Mr Mandy's point of view, though, he gets a peerage (that robe's trimmed with real cat-monster, Mr Mandy) and a seat in the Cabinet for the price of a huge copper lightning rod strapped to his fluffy bottom.

What WAS he thinking?

Apparently he asked Lord Blairimort's advice.

"Yes, I did pray," confirmed Mr Mandy.

Lord B is reported to have said it was a "no-brainer". Presumably he meant you'd have to have NO BRAIN to join Mr Frown's Cabinet but that may have been lost in translation.

As for his OWN thoughts, well my guess is that it is a toss up between: "ooh, lovely guacamole" and "just when WAS the last time the country had a Prime Monster in the Lords?"

*Yes, Mr Sir Cliff sang "Devil Woman" while in fact it was Mr Barry Manilow who sang "Mandy". Make of that what you will.

Joking aside, get well soon, Mr Mandelbrot!

Day 2834: Might a Euro Referendum Backfire on the Conservatories?


With my Daddies driving off to attend the hetero-life-partnering-event of their friends Mr Peter and Ms Lynsey (hooray!) , I was left being baby-elephant sat by Cuddly Cthulhu (which is fine, 'cos he's normally asleep) and listening to Mr Andrew Yawnsley's "Beyond Belief Westminster".

This week's episode: how the Conservatories finally have a UNITED policy about the European Parliament: they want to SPLIT from EVERYBODY ELSE.

Now, Conservatory Shadow Secretary of State for Places they Hate, Mr William Vague says they'll resurrect the Lisbon Treaty just to hold a referendum so that people can vote it down all over again in spite of it already being deader than his follicle count.

After the Irish voted "no", this is a deceased treaty, it has ceased to be. It is a treaty not so much pining for the fjords as pushing up the daisies, it has gone to meet its maker (who would be Monsieur Giscard D'Estaing); this is a treaty that Mr Vague wants to nail to its perch merely to give it a right good thrashing… hang on, I've confused my Cleese-isms…

In further comedy-connections mood, Mr Yawnsley's panel – who included Mr Peter Piddle of the Daily Murdoch, Ms Caroline Jackboot MEP and Mr Dale Winton, presenter of Hole in the Wall, a gameshow about where Master Gideon Oboe thinks money comes from – the panel made the suggestion that the Conservatories could be the ones to make Progressive Policies for Europe.

This is of course LAUGHABLE on three counts: they're NOT progressive; Mr Balloon is against having ANY policies; and the Conservatories will reject ANYTHING that is "FOR Europe".

Nevertheless, it is obvious that this fig-leaf-over-the-policy-gap of offering referendums on treaties from beyond the grave is going to be played pretty hard by the Conservatories at the Euro elections next year… but might such a promise come back to bite them on the fluffy bottom?

After all, there is ZERO chance of them getting a referendum on this dead treaty for so long as Mr Frown remains in Downing Street. Which means that they will be looking at fulfilling this commitment some time in their first term government.

I know… we ALL know… that Mr Balloon is not very GOOD at fulfilling his promises, especially where Europe is concerned. Remember that, in order to get elected Conservatory leader, he promised that he would pull the Conservatories out of the centre-right group, the European People's Party. A promise he has kind of still not fulfilled… though he's promised that he WILL after the NEXT Euro elections.

But you can be sure that he'll be keeping THIS promise, because the alternative is a CIVIL WAR on the Conservatory Back Benches that would make the Maastricht Rebels look like the Celebrity Love Island.

Which means that, on top of all the things that they say NEED to be done to fix the "broken record society" they'll be including the VOODOO legislation to raise the ZOMBIE treaty for no reason other than to gather the villagers with their pitchforks and flaming torches.

Expensive, jingoistic and an enormous waste of time, you might very well think.

However, with a COMFORTABLE majority even that might not be a problem, but the polls have not been looking so optimistic for Mr Balloon recently.

Suppose he's got a TIGHT majority, with the after-effects of the current economic crisis still lingering, that's going to mean that there are a MAJORITY of people in the country who are both anti-Conservatory AND anti-Government: the reverse of the very same "give-the-bas…badwords-a-kicking" consensus that means any Euro referendum would be lost NOW.

Mr Vague no doubt thinks that calling for this pointless referendum will play very well on the doorsteps… and he might well be RIGHT… but consider the IRONY: The Conservatories are tremendously keen on this referendum lark because they know people always use them to bash the Government, because they LIKE bashing the Government. But they can’t yet imagine that THEY might the Government being bashed; the fact is, they cannot see themselves in Government.

Could this promise actually turn out to be the single best way to get a Pro-Europe Referendum where the Great British people say "YES!"? 'Cos that would be VERY FUNNY.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Day 2833: Blair Resigns! Brown(e) Resigns! Don't get your hopes up!


Knife crime news, as BoJo the Clown knifes that Clone of Lord Blairimort who's been running the Met, by having people shot, bugged, paid off or racially insulted.

Who would have thought that he'd have the bottle!

Ms Jacqui Spliff, the Hopeless Secretary, has complained that BoJo is "making the police political". Well, bad news, sister: YOU did that!

You did it when you recruited the Blairimort Clone into supporting the Labour whenever you wanted a stooge impartial police officer to say that detention without trial is a vital part of defending our fascist democratic police state.

It is, of course, long PAST time that the Met Chief should stand down. Really, he should have gone as soon as he understood that he had deceived the public (even if unintentionally) over the shooting of an innocent man.

Trust is simply vital in policing. Trust between the people and the police AND trust between a senior officer and those under his command. Sir Ian had managed to sacrifice both of those.

And then to contest the Health and Safety case – the one and only way in which anyone in the Met could be brought to face any kind of justice – and then to LOSE that case… how he could carry on then, I do not understand.

The Mayor was, in all honesty, merely telling Sir Ian what Sir Ian OUGHT TO HAVE DONE ages ago.

It's not entirely without RISK for BoJo, though. He must realise that if crime goes UP it's now entirely on his plate.

The politically EASY thing to have done would have been to follow the "procedure" as Ms Spliff demands – apply to the GLADs, get them to ask permission of the Hopeless Secretary to sack him, have that permission refused, er… He COULD have done that and then blamed the Met Chief for all woes, while shrugging off culpability and claiming his hands were tied by the bureaucracy. But he didn't. He went and handed Sir Ian the Pearl-Handled Revolver and stood over him to make sure he didn't use it to shoot ANOTHER innocent guest in our country.

So, reluctantly, a hooray for BoJo.

Anyway, just in time, the Labour has recruited a man who could teach the Blairimort Clone all about resigning: it's the return of Mr Mandy "Mandy" Mandlebrot, soon to be ennobled as Lord Prince of Darkness.

This is all part of Mr Frown's latest reshuffling of the deckchairs on the Titanic, which also sees Mr DES Browne, minister for Having a Confusingly Similar Name, resign after refusing Mr Frown's offer of a switch to a less important name. Er role.

Meanwhile Mr Millipede Minor joins his brother Mr Millipede in the Cabinet.

Milipede Minor will command the newly created "Department of Energy and Conservation" while his slimy elder sibling will remain in charge of "Abroad (No Tourists)"

This means that jointly they are the ministers for A(NT) and DEC.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Day 2832: Thirty Second Naïvety


A Church group has launched a COMPETITION to tell the story of CHRISTMAS in thirty seconds or less.

So here goes:

"Once upon a time, there probably was a person called Jesus who said some good and wise things.

But the Church thought that that wasn't MAGICAL enough to convince ignorant poor people, so they made up a FABULOUS story about parthenogenesis, comets, astrologers, inadequate motel accommodation, and the alien abduction of sheep."
Mind you, it's not REALLY a fair question because even the Bible has TWO goes at it and manages to get different versions that don't agree.

Mr Luke has Mr Joseph and wife-to-be Ms Mary living in Galilee until the decree comes from Mr Caesar Augustus that they have to go to Bethlehem to get taxed. No room at the inn, away in a manger, while shepherds wash their socks by night and Hark the Herald Angel does go on a bit.

Mr Matthew, on the other fluffy foot, after some genealogical numerology to prove that Mr Joseph is descended from Mr King David – which shouldn't make a hoot of difference because Mr The-Little-Baby Jesus is very specifically NOT Mr Joseph's son – Mr Luke has Mr The-Little-Baby Jesus born in Bethlehem and apparently it's because Mr Joseph lives there. In this version we get We Three Kings of Orient Are, one in a Taxi One in a Car… they blow the gaff to King Herod who slaughters the firstborn while Mr Jesus, Ms Mary and Mr Joseph escape to Egypt where they live until Herod is dead, but on coming home discover that Herod Junior has taken over so they make a diversion and that's when they end up living in Galilee instead.

UNFORTUNATELY there's a bit of a CONTINUITY ERROR between the two stories, because if Mr Caesar DID order all the world to be taxed (and there's no evidence that he did – which is surprising because the tax records of the Roman Empire are actually quite good) if he DID do that, and specifically if this was when Cyrenius was governor of Syria, like Mr Luke says, then it would have to be after 6 A.D. when Mr Cyrenius got MADE governor of Syria… except that Mr King Herod the Great, assassin of babies, was dead by 4 B.C. a decade earlier, at the latest.

This is the sort of problem you get when… well, actually you get this problem when your book of eternal verities is cobbled together by a committee three-hundred years after the fact, by which time there are countless different factions, all sold on different traditions, and you're trying to please everyone in spite of the obvious self-contradiction… but you ALSO get this sort of problem when you want your chap to be a MAGICAL MESSIAH, and not just a BLOKE with a line in GOOD ADVICE.

Being a messiah means ticking all of the prophetic boxes. Specifically: Mr Isaiah says that he'll come from Galilee while Mr Micah insists that he will be born in Bethlehem and Mr Hosea claims he shall be "called out of Egypt". Meanwhile, Mr Jeremiah wants him to be descended from King David… AND drops in the lamentation of Rachel for her lost children, taken to mean the slaughter of the innocents. But Mr Daniel talks about the child being born within weeks of a decree to rebuild Jerusalem… and it seems Caesar Augustus's decree will do.

You would ALMOST think that the early STORY-TELLERS were just making up the details to make sure that THEIR messiah scored more messiah-points than their rivals!

Besides, nowadays EVERYONE knows that Mr Jesus was really born in SEPTEMBER, and not at Yule Tide at all!

Apropos of nothing, we watched the "Life of Brian" on Blu Ray disc when we got back from conference. It is very funny.

Day 2830: Did the Turkeys Just Vote for Christmas? Or will the Dead Cat-Monster Keep Bouncing?


It was quite a SHARP INTAKE of BREATH moment when the American Congress voted to reject the multi-billion dollar "Bankers' Unaccountable Rescue Plan" (or BURP) put to them by the Monkey-in-Chief and Secretary Hank "trust me I'm a banker" Paulson.

Now, the Senators of Americaland have accepted the Monkey-in-Chief's revised BURP (now with added slap-on-the-wrist and time-on-the-naughty step).

But will the Congressmen choose to follow their lead or are they going to remain focused on hanging onto their slender majorities the righteous anger of their constituents at a plan that lets the bankers get away with ruining the economy?

To an extent they've got to, because a failed bailout is actually worse than no bailout at all.

You see, the PROBLEM with proposing a plan like the Monkey's BURP is this: once you've SAID it, the greedy fat-cat-monsters of the Stock Exchange and Wall Street start to EXPECT it as a RIGHT.

So think about this before you float the notion that you might add an extra digit to the national debt to buy up all the TOXIC WASTE that they've been pretending is lovely yummy goodness:

BEFORE you mention it, they will be grumbling and griping and worrying. And maybe one or two are actually in danger of failing.

But AFTER you make the suggestion… and then threaten to take it away again, even though they never had it, they throw a tsunami-class tantrum, fling their toys out of the pram – and more importantly, fling their shares out of the window – and before you know it they've trolleyed the entire American economy.

And the Asian economy.

And the European economy (well… not so much, actually).

But here is a THOUGHT: just looking at London, rather than Americaland, in the last two or three years (2005, 2006, 2007), thousands (in fact reports say at least THREE thousands) of people working in the City got BONUSES of over a MILLION POUNDS.

This year, it turns out that they did NOT REALLY deserve them!

So, if they all gave the money back… that could be (3 x >3,000 x >£1,000,000 = ) nearly ten thousand-million pounds to help out the banks that they have caused to collapse.

You can see why people are QUITE CROSS with the City banking types. That may not be QUITE as much as the Monkey-in-Chief's three-hundred-and-eighty thousand-million pound bailout bonanza… in fact it's not even enough to buy the twenty-five thousand-million pound Busted and Bungling Building Society… but it's a sizeable step on the way!

And as you can imagine the same is true on Wall Street. Which is why the American Congresspersons are getting bombarded by e-mails from ordinary Joes and Jos saying "oi!"

(And when (millionaire) Mr Balloon makes silly statements saying "we're all in it together" that is why some people might think "well, mate, some of you are more it together than others".)

In a lot of ways it is the INJUSTICE that most sticks in your fluffy throat. After all, these losers were gambling with OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY.

That is why Mr Clogg is quite right to call for a guarantee for all savers that their deposits will be safe.

And that is why Mr Frown is – typically – rubbish for refusing to agree.

"I'll do anything to save the economy…" says Mr Frown "…but I won't do THAT!"

Does he think he's MEATLOAF?

Greater protection for savers is also one of the changes that were added to the BURP to make it more acceptable to Senators, along with a larger public stake in the banks that their money is used to rescue, and stricter regulations… along with some pork-barrelling stuff like tax cuts for small businesses.

House Dumbocrats would apparently also like to add some measures to protect people against losing their homes. Homelessness is terribly destructive of lives and families, and the whole community suffers when you turn potentially productive contributors into welfare claimants, so this is obviously a GOOD IDEA. The Replutocrats are against it such measures on principle.

Who knows what is going to happen?

When TWO-THIRDS of Replutocratic Congresspersons are willing, eager even, to vote against their own Monkey-in-Chief, when the contribution of the Replutocratic Candidate for the White House is thought to have made matters worse even by his own side, and with the markets reacting badly to pretty much EVERYTHING that Washington says, then ANYTHING might happen!

And frankly, it probably will!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Day 2831: Is it too much to ask the "man with the plan" to tell us just what the Plan IS?


Mr Balloon says he's got the judgement and character. Specifically the CARTOON character.

His message: vote Conservatory or I'll shoot a TELLYTUBBY.

Now in fairness, I'm sure he's been feeling very deprived what with all the world's media inexplicably finding his pointless, policy-less preening somewhat less newsworthy than the impending financial apocalypse.

The Conservatory spin was that last week the Labour were only talking about themselves to themselves; this week the Conservatories are talking to… well nobody.

In fact, the only coverage they've had at all this week has been ten seconds (we counted them) on News at Ten and all the mentions that Mr Nick "mate of Dave" Bobinson could get in.

Actually, Mr "And Here's to You Mrs" Bobinson is getting a bit SAD: his BIZARRE assertion this morning was that "Dave's" conference had been overshadowed this year… for the SECOND YEAR RUNNING.

Errrr, right, so that would be the Conference last year that got wall to wall coverage for Mr Oboe's reincarnation as a living saint for proposing tax cuts – terms and conditions apply, millionaires only – the conference that turned around the Conservatories polling position and that scared Mr Frown into his most famous dither: the election that never was. Would THAT be the conference that was overshadowed, Mr "Mate of Dave"?

This comes on top of the impartial political editor repeatedly pushing the Conservatory spin-machine's pitiful excuse for not having an economic policy: "the cupboard is bare".

I mean EXCUSE me but when the Government is spending six-hundred-thousand-million pounds a year… that's not EXACTLY "bare" is it? I mean were not reaaaaly up against it, are we?

And the Liberal Democrats can find a few savings! But not, apparently, the Conservatories who think all the Labour's spending is BAD but wouldn't cut a penny of it!

This year Mr Balloon was delivering his speech from a LECTERN in order to look more SERIOUS than he had last year when he got so much coverage. At least that's the spin, and of course it would be VERY wrong to assume that the real reason is that Mr Balloon can only do that trick when he's had months to memorise the speech. I am sure he is QUITE capable of walking and talking at the same time without the need for practice. Might need to think twice about CHEWING GUM though.

So, the Conservatory leader felt that he had to answer the Prime Monster's JIBE about experience. He chose to remind the audience how all the experience in all the great Offices of State of… Mr Major Minor led the Government to disaster… er, no that's not the answer on the card. Queen Maggie's eleven year's of experience… nope. He's gone back nearly THIRTY YEARS to the last resort of all Conservatory Scoundrels, the Winter of Discontent.

Poor old Big Jim Callaghan: Mr Balloon, a man not fit to carry the Chancellor's bags (as he proved on Black Wednesday), spent a good while dissing him and then said "for all his experience, people got rid of him for Queen Maggie, and thank goodness."

Yes, that's right: Mr Balloon recommends taking an unpopular Prime Monster who's suffering under heavy bombardment from chickens coming home to roost, and replacing him with a swivel-eyed megalomaniac who will go on and on and on and go madder and madder and madder. Good call, Mr Balloon, though I'd be less keen on taking the staring role in THAT little psycho-drama.

Mr Balloon clearly DOES have some experience: his time at ITV Digital has taught him that CHANGE means a hundred channels, all of them exactly the same.

So he claims to be "a man with a plan". The actual aphorism is: "A Man, a Plan, a Canal: Panama".

So Mr Balloon's view is that what we need right now is a REALLY BIG HOLE… and he's the man to start DIGGING.

There IS a difference between a "miracle cure" and a "plan", but Mr Balloon can't even get THAT right. The difference is that one of them involves magic words, waving of hands, a call for belief… and NO ACTUAL OUTCOME.

I'd rather have a plan that includes an ACTUAL PLAN.