johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
The news that a senior serving general has opined to the Sunday Times that if Jeremy Corbyn gets elected the army would mutiny does rather give the impression that we in the UK are living in a banana republic rather than a first-world democracy.

Now, given that my ancestors have fought for this country since Waterloo, I should have an opinion on this. So I have.

The thing about democracy is that we accept the will of the electorate. When our present government was elected, I didn't take to the streets and hurl petrol bombs at those I consider to be culpable in electing the present arseholes. Instead I complained in print and in person, and have tried to stop the present crew being re-elected. I did much the same during Bliar's government, though I complained rather less under Brown. But I must reiterate: I did not strike, I did not mutiny, and especially I did not break or forsake an oath to Her Majesty the Queen.

If the army, or any portion of it, should do these things after a general election, I hope the folk concerned are charged with treason. Because that is what it is. If it comes down to parliament, representing the will of the people, and the army, representing certain interests outside the democratic process, like money for example, then the army is positioning itself as the British equivalent of some South American Junta funded by CIA drug dealing. (Also, I think many of the Scots and Welsh regiments may well side with parliament...so that means civil war: the army against the people and the Celtic regiments.)

Bizarre that the Chiefs-of-Staff should let the bounder get away with saying this sort of hogswash. Early retirement, I reckon.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/

This should have been written and gone viral months ago. But now it doesn't matter as we still have the party of fiscal responsibility in charge, doing the right thing.

Oh well. We have the government we voted for. Ain't life grand?
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22067155#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

http://feeds.guardian.co.uk/~r/theguardian/uk/rss/~3/ufa0I0etW4A/margaret-thatcher-dies-aged-87

There was a time when I was perfectly sure I'd be dancing about, singing "ding dong the wicked witch is dead": but to be candid, whatever grievances I had with the woman over the decades, the last few years of her wretched madness made me feel sorrier for her than I would have ever thought possible.

I once threatened to dance on the woman's grave. I rather think that in my aged condition my knees and hips might give way if I tried to carry out my younger self's threat. Nevertheless, the overwhelming reason (amongst many zillion others) for my antipathy towards the woman was to do with her government's implementation of a tremendously underfunded "Care in the Community" policy, which contributed to a schizophrenic drug user who had been denied basic mental care, monitoring, and assistance, stabbing me in the face with a used syringe on a public street down which I had been walking accompanied by my then live-in-girlfriend of six odd years, in broad daylight. This is in a country with universal health care, by the way.

For some reason, I don't recall the couple of months following this incident (HIV testing, nervous breakdown, police identity parades, relationship breakdown etc) with any great fondness. But then again, this Care in the Community policy was a lot worse for folk like Jayne Zito, whose husband Jonathan was murdered by a schizophrenic some few months later in 1992.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/may/17/jayne-zito-trust-charity-schizophrenia-clunis

Mind you, I suppose if I had been a miner, or a print worker, or a worker in part of the UK's manufacturing industries, I might still be in the queue with my tap shoes nicely polished, awaiting my turn: which is why, I suppose, she will have to be cremated…or maybe buried at sea. As long as they put the sharpened stake between the correct ribs I reckon we'll have little chance of her rising from the grave: watery or fiery as the case may be.

Then again, she had some good points as well. She was a great war-leader. Some of her reforms were desperately needed by UK PLC. But the mistakes she made were greater than the good she managed: principal amongst them being the fracturing and fragmenting of British society, which was sacrificed on the twin altars of monetarism disguised as economic realism, and individualism: because, as she said most famously "there is no such thing as society", which is the attitude that led to the underfunding of the Care in the Community in the first place, and an attitude with which I profoundly disagree.

It seems that even many of our American cousins are coming to this conclusion about mental health too: that some folk actually need monitoring, care, and in some cases supervision: and this is something that our taxes ought to be paying for.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
...and I shall not recapitulate for the inattentive.

To continue, yesterday, chillaxing Dave got on the case and stated something along the lines of, "Well, even though events have proven me wrong, I was right to put pro-Murdoch crony Jeremy BerkHunt in charge of the bid that Murdoch's proxies were making to buy the remaining portion of BSkyB."

Jeremy Hunt's email has been published by Leveson, wherein he shows at least as much positive bias towards Murdoch as Vince Cable showed negative.

Now what I want to know is of these two, BerkHunt and Cable, which would the ordinary informed person think of as the most likely to follow the proper process of examining the bid, and the fitness of the folk who were making it, and referring it to the proper agencies of oversight?

As we now all know (as though we hadn't before) that Murdoch's organisation has more than a few dodgy folk therein, and some of its ways are not like the ways of other law-abiding citizens; perhaps because, as article of faith, it always has to test and thereby prove the limits of legal jurisdiction, whilst remaining within the law; even when that law interferes with what Murdoch regards as the natural fulfilment of his stage of media-empire building. Laws can be changed, after all. Processes can be evaded avoided.

Given this, I should find it surprising, and an actual dereliction of political duty from all sides of the political spectrum, for a politician to give Murdoch's organisation or any cross-media organisation an easy ride. Even those sympathetic to Murdoch's modus operandi, fellow travellers of the libertarian/new right/newconservative inclination, even they should be naturally wary of the media-mogul/newspaper-baron, given the media baron's nature.

I mean to say, look at some of the modern list:

Robert Maxwell

Conrad Black

Silvio Berlusconi
Actually Silvio deserves a couple of pages to him: so I'll throw in another link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trials_and_allegations_involving_Silvio_Berlusconi

and

Rupert Murdoch

Now, in the general population one wouldn't expect to find as many criminals* per capita, and I doubt there are anything more than a hundred actual media moguls of the stature of the above named quartet in the modern era, so I should find it unsurprising if any media mogul was ever given an easy ride. Call it profiling, I suppose. We have to remember, in the era of the Nietzschean man, companies are people too.

I'm just surprised that these folk companies don't get stop-and-searched a bit more, just on sus. I mean, if there were a gang as obviously dodgy as this crew outside, waiting to be let in, we'd have our border guards give 'em an intensive body-frisk or two before we allowed 'em into civilisation. And even then, some of us would be trying to get 'em all deported.



*Not, of course, that Murdoch is a deliberate criminal - in such cases it takes a noble journalist to step up to the plate, rather than a proprietor.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/apr/08/jobcentres-benefits-sanctions-targets

Gotta admire Dagenham Dave and Little Gideon over this. One step closer to being able to knout a few peasants and force the unwashed up chimneys.

We used to look after our village idiots in Merrie Englande: now those we don't elect to parliament get turfed off the dole pretty damn quick. I do love our nation's take on Christian Charity. Oh well, we're all going to hell anyway.

Go well and do good things, for no other purpose than the good thing in itself and of itself.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Caught Jacob Rees-Mogg on Newsnight last night, with of all people Will Self.

Rees-Mogg made a number of uncontested claims during the interview, at which Self was the other guest. At one point Rees-Mogg suggested that the UK's 'Structural Deficit', at some seven-point-mumble percent, which he claimed to be "almost eight" is amongst the highest in the world. Neither the interviewer, nor Self questioned Rees-Mogg on which countries had a greater structural debt. Sloppy interviewing, or giving Rees-Mogg an easy time? Who knows?

As it happens, the countries with higher 'Structural Deficits' than the UK are (figures for 2004 alas):

USA -25.56%
Japan -24.86%
China -9.75%
Germany -8.33%
France -7.46%

And the UK -7.43%

So all the countries with larger structural debts have larger economies. And as the 5th or sixth largest economy in the world we have the sixth largest 'Structural Debt'.

I mean, I don't think that Will Self should necessarily have all this stuff at his fingertips....but the journalist interviewing Self and Rees-Mogg should have at least a grasp of the questions at hand. Shoddy, Newsnight, shoddy.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
So this morning I wake up to this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12132341

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jan/07/mps-committee-bonfire-quangos-botched

And I realised that the people of this country get the government they deserve. This criticism of the Government comes from a Tory-led Commons public administration select committee. And just to go into details....

I quote from Paul Odtaa who comments on the Guardian story:

"One stupid decision was the scrapping of the small quango, Sitpro, Simplification International Trade. This organisation very quietly became the world leader in getting all countries in agreeing standards in processing the paperwork to allow international trade.

They were able to get say Russia, during the Cold War, and China, during the conflict over Hong Kong, to agree to sign treaties.

With the advent of terrorism the Sitpro expertise would help draw up procedures to recognise cargo from safe sources, eg a container loaded directly in a factory, and those cargoes that may need further scrutiny.

By absorbing the quango into the Board of Trade we would have already lost many of its staff to industry.

The decision would have seriously damaged the image of Britain within the world trade community.

The training Sitpro used to do will be lost. This will be made up by commercial organisations which will be very variable.

Whatever happens British industry will lose tens of millions of pounds as trade is slowed due to security considerations."

As an aside, I have read that Barnet Council, so beloved of the Tories, has spent £1.5M on saving £1.4M. Well, that's all right then.

Thank the gods that the British people en masse are a bunch of stupid imbeciles when it comes to voting for governments. Simple prejudices are definitely the way to exploit a sense of unease and worry, and simple solutions to complicated problems are always vote-winning, even if they don't work, are inefficient, and return us to a Dickensian society of abject poverty for the majority. Never mind, the stupid folk have only themselves to blame: the clever ones will no doubt find a way to exploit the idiots.

I was going to find me some snake-oil to sell to the British voters....but then I realised that Rupert had got there first.


Education.

Dec. 11th, 2010 10:45 am
johnny9fingers: (Default)
So students are rioting in the streets of London because they will be forced to pay increasing amounts for university education.

And our present generation of university-educated leaders, captains of industry, parliamentary legislators, bankers, etc all benefitted from free university education.

Given the fact that it was our generation (40+ somethings) who screwed the pooch: why shouldn't it be our generation that pays for it.

I think making all those who benefitted from free university education in previous generations pay for it now would be far fairer than forcing our children to pay for our mistakes. I know any such legislation would be retrospective, but a graduate tax on those generations that benefitted from free university education in the past might go some way towards redressing our generation's total fuck up of a system that had worked until we started providing degree courses in origami, and came close to bankrupting our economy with the creative mathematics that is derivatives.

Retrospective graduate tax for folk who got their degrees during the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's? Fairer by far.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Came across this:

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/11/kremlin-assassin-anna-chapman-traitor

Ye gods. Whatever happened to the Russian sense of now? And it's not even the 'Great Game' any more. Mind you, look at America, still stuck in the 'Children's Crusade'; while the Brits try very hard to re-enact the very worst of Good Ol' Charlie Dickens.

I suppose it 'twas ever thus, but the current levels of tasteless stupidity offend me in such great polities. And China is another matter entirely. Though I must admit I wouldn't care to be a dissident in the PRC, I do wonder if they haven't got it mainly right: given their billion-and-then-some population, and the sheer scale and numbers involved in the governance of such a vast nation. Dictatorship by committee of involved experts may actually be a more efficient in use of resources. They can certainly turn on or off at whim any of the multinationals who deal with them: those same multinationals that have the rest of the world's nation-states private ear, given the way they fund political parties. I say 'private ear' because I prefer using euphemisms: the reality is the multinationals can always up sticks and threaten to move to another country unless nations bend over backwards to accommodate them with tax-breaks, favourable trading conditions, etc & etc.

They can't quite do that with China, and I bet some other governments worldwide secretly love the fact that the multinationals have to kow-tow to China rather than China kow-towing to them.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't care to live in a place where speaking out gets house arrest if you're important, and who-knows-what fate if no-one's ever heard of you. But also I'd love to have known what would have happened if the BP and Halliburton executives faced Chinese justice over the Deepwater Oil Spill. I have my suspicions that most would still have walked free: but as seriously chastened folk, fully aware of what fate could have befallen them.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Perusing my morning paper over a cup of the brew that cheers these two stories leapt off the front page:

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/oct/28/housing-benefit-cap-plan-backfire 

www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/28/uk-boardroo-pay-soars

Just a couple of signposts on the road to let us all know where we're heading.

But but but we can't tax boardrooms and we can't subsidise the poor. However we can subsidise the wealthy and give them assistance in whatever moves they make to exploit, reap profit, or sequestrate monies, goods, property and rights from those with very little to start with.

I reckon I'll be a screaming communist by the end of this year....me and Boris too, probably.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Given Boris Johnson's recent statements

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11642662

www.guardian.co.uk/politics/davehillblog/2010/oct/13/boris-johnson-government-housing-benefit

Has the time come for Boris to leave the Tory party and either stand as an independent or actually join the Labour party?
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Sometimes the coalition can get things right.

www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/07/bbc-worldwide-sale 

Not breaking up or selling off the BBC is one way of putting the coalition in my good books: not that such would worry 'em, though it might just irritate Roops and his attack dogs.

And if, as it seems, they are going to fine-tune the child allowance cap, then there will be two things on which I can agree with 'em.... and counting?

Giving Little Gideon a quick read of Stiglitz-Greenwald, Sappington-Stiglitz, and Shapiro-Stiglitz may just make me even happier.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
This evening I went to SWMBO offices where there was a talk on Faberge by Geoffrey Munn. Various nobs and important folk were there, and Mr Munn himself was pretty illuminating on the subjects of lapidary stuff and the languages of stones and flowers. We spoke for a bit and I found out that he had known of one of my godfathers, who by chance had also known the Queen Mum (RIP). Nice chap, as it happens, though I hadn't known of him from his appearances on the Antiques Roadshow. I mingled with the various lords and ladies and the odd oligarch or twain, before the wife and I took a cab back to the depths of East Dulwich. Apparently I'm a 'social asset', being rather well connected and prepared to talk to anyone.

And still I'm too damn commie for all of this. Even Mr Munn opined that the massive inequalities of the late Victorian and Edwardian period were the basis of Faberge and Cartier's ability to produce such high-value objects of craft and art, and was content that such times had passed. These days Imperial Faberge Eggs are valued at some £20M and rising: which is some Easter gift. Though I might just covet a Faberge cigarette case to put my spliffs in, I doubt whether either I or Madame could afford such a luxury: and even if I could, I doubt that I'd ever spend quite so much on an item quite so trivial, especially when there are starving children, if not on my doorstep, then not more than a couple of thousand miles away.

Luxuria was originally one of the seven deadly sins. What happened to change this?
johnny9fingers: (Default)
It does rather seem that Little Gideon has got something almost right:

www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/04/child-benefit-scrapped-high-earners 

Some maths still to do re one partner earning over the tax threshold, and the other not coming close. Combined incomes in two parent households might be a better starting point, but what the hell: it's a beginning.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
More data comparing Ireland, Spain, the UK etc...

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/24/recession-ireland-spain-recovery 

Well, there you go.

There is one anomaly, as mentioned in the comments section: and that is Poland, which didn't have a housing bubble.

And just for the record, people should know that I understand that cuts have to be made: but it is the timing and nature of the managed (or otherwise) implementation of such cuts I think the coalition is in danger of getting catastrophically wrong. And though in many ways unfit to govern, Gordon Brown at least seemed to have the right policy about this particular crisis.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Over the last couple of weeks there have been a few comments on the possibilities of 'Double Dips' in various economies around the world.

community.livejournal.com/talk_politics/708538.html 

community.livejournal.com/talk_politics/710730.html

Nevertheless amongst many folk who follow economics in some casual fashion there was no agreement as to which countries' economies were liable to this second and difficult economic crisis. Some have argued that strict monetarist doctrine would enable whichever economy to right itself, others that Keynesian solutions were the only way to get economies back on track for growth.

We now have some more data and projections.

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/23/irish-economy-double-dip-recession

This is interesting to the UK because many of the Coalition's politicians have used the Irish example as the way forward for the UK. But this 'Double Dip' has inherent problems of its own. I quote from the article:

Investors warned that fears about Ireland's ability to generate growth would push up the interest rates on its debt.

"Does the panel think" (to use the old phrase beloved of the BBC) that if the UK does 'Double Dip' that interest rates on the UK's debt will necessarily increase?

Would this affect the recovery even more?

If the dreaded 'Double Dip' does happen, will the electorate even know whom to blame? After all, it's all Gordon's fault, isn't it?

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] talk_politics 
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Yesterday that class-traitor Mervyn King addressed the TUC:

www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/sep/15/spending-cuts-mervyn-king-tuc 

But as he admits, though the current mess is the fault of the Banks, the Legislators, and those whose duty was the oversight of policy, it is the state sector that will have to pay for all this by being cut to the bone.

So there are at least two of us that think it wasn't the public sector's fault: but why do I still feel that opinion is, for the educated upper-middle class, a minority one?

Sometimes I feel some folk today have a stupid sense of entitlement similar to the Aristos of yore, but without the sense of duty that meant those Aristos weren't totally without some redeeming qualities. The bourgeois middle classes never really got noblesse oblige.


johnny9fingers: (Default)
I wanted to post this to [livejournal.com profile] talk_politics  but given it's SWMBO's birthday and we're getting ready to go to Maze for lunch with her parents and I'm just killing time until she finishes in the shower and allows me my daily ablutions....well....

Anyway, that champion of all things green George Monbiot has written a comment piece about....

Let me just link it instead and read it all for yourselves:

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation

In this article he gives us a small mea culpa for having made a series of mistakes about the need for veganism. It appears that one Simon Farlie has written a book and an article, to wit: Meat: A Benign Extravagance that has changed his opinion. The nice thing about Monbiot is when he gets it wrong he holds up his hands and says so: you don't see Tony Bliar esquire doing that sort of thing now do you?

So many good jokes floating around about little William Hague it would be impossible to list 'em: however Fra said something along the lines of:

"Any true Yorkshireman, when faced with being thought of as homosexual for sharing a room with another man, or saving £50 on the extra room...."

Which probably says more about the sort of Yorkshireman Fra pretends to be, but there you go.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
You know, I could warm to this man, Tory or not....

www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/06/boris-johnson-doubts-deficit-reduction

Unlike the LibDems, who bought the Tory strategy hook, line and sinker, Boris has shown he's his own person. He did read Greats, so one does expect some sense from him, from time to time. He also seems to have an interest in Economic History too. Perhaps Dagenham Dave and Nicey Nick will bend an ear and listen to him. They could do themselves a favour if they did.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/10/uk-economy-house-prices-retail 

Well, if we double dip I wonder whose fault it will be? As ye vote, so shall ye receive. Got to admire David, Gideon, and Clegg's lads.

Perhaps when property prices come down enough I'll buy up a few more houses and turn myself into a seedy Rachman-like landlord, predating on the poor folk. Profit first, hey? It's how the big folk earn their money, after all: so it must be all right.

Pass the sickbag please, even I couldn't quite stomach my last paragraph.
It appears that a company beholden to shareholders has little or no honour: about some things some people do, though.

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