October 18th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

I’m off on my summer holiday today. Back next week.



October 17th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

NY Times:

“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand.


Dangerous Britian

October 17th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Companies should take special precautions when dealing in Britain because they face a substantial risk of becoming entangled in corruption, the group [OECD] will say.

The body’s conclusions follow a strongly-worded letter it sent to the Government during the summer. It complained that Britain had failed repeatedly to update its anti-corruption laws, despite having pledged to do so for years. Britain has failed to take action over a single case of overseas bribery, the letter added.

The group is to warn that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is also set to focus even less on its duty to tackle corruption overseas in favour of more regular commercial crime.

State intervention

October 17th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Peter Beresford (Guardian):

The banks, we are told, so distrust each other that only unprecedented injections of state money may make it possible for them to do business together again. For years the Daily Mail and the Sun have run poisonous campaigns against asylum seekers and people on income support to reclaim an imagined few millions. Governments promote campaigns to snoop on welfare claimants. These campaigns rarely generate enough money even to pay for themselves. Yet now we are encouraged to spend hundreds of billions of public money to bail out the banks and private sector that preached the mantra of independence and individual responsibility.

Are we really going to pretend that all this hasn’t happened, carrying on as before as if the market hasn’t now faced its equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall? Will we still be looking to bright young management consultants at £1,000 plus a day, few of whom have even run a corner shop, to teach central government, local authorities and primary care trusts to be ‘business-like’?

PCC: “Total who?”

October 16th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


In fact the PCC had never even heard of the magazine until I called them. At all.

I don’t need a long paragraph here explaining that politics is a particularly sensitive, volatile, and high stakes media field, do I?

No? Good. Let’s move on, then…

Here is the later confirmation of this disgraceful state of affairs from the PCC:

I can confirm that the current position is that Total Politics does not formally subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC.

Over 98% of titles do subscribe to the PCC and the Code. We also handle complaints informally against titles that do not subscribe.

That Iain Dale, eh? A true innovator. Who else but the Blogfather would’ve thought of running a magazine like a blog?

If someone makes a complaint to me about an abusive comment – or something I have writen which they believe is incorrect or offensive – I look it up and then decide whether to remove it, amend it or leave it as it is. If people don’t agree with my decision they don’t come back to my blog. It’s a simple, free market, and it works.


FSA says “Soz. My Bad.”

October 15th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Britain’s financial services watchdog has apologised for the failure to spot banking problems which led to the massive government bail-out.

Sorry? Oh, That’s alright then.

Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, said it had not done its job adequately.

You don’t say?

He said it had not ensured banks were properly protected against risk but he claimed lessons were being learned.

Not quick a-fucking-nuff.

Mr Sants told BBC Scotland: “We have said sorry and I am saying sorry for our supervisory failings. But this now is a global crisis and you have to ask if a national regulator alone could have taken sufficient action to ensure all UK firms survive this crisis untouched – and I doubt it.”

Translation: It was going tits up anyway.

“People expect the regulator to challenge and engage with directors to make sure they were properly managing those risks, and when we look back on our track record, prior to that summer, we were not doing that to a level I find acceptable.

What the fuck were you upto then? Sat in your office, feet on the desk, flicking spitballs at each other with your rulers, or schmoozing with the bosses you’re supposed to be making sure know what they’re up to?

“The question is – did anybody understand the consequences of all the inter-linkages between these products?

No, they fucking didn’t!

“It needs to be recognised that management, the buyers and sellers of these products, need to take a lot of responsibility for what has happened. Many people forgot the golden rule: do not sell or buy things you do not understand.”

It’s a golden rule for a reason, fuckwits.

Bad thoughts

October 15th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

I listened to Thought for the day on Radio 4 the other morning and just remembered to blog about it now.
It was Rev Dr Alan Billings and some bits are just plain wrong. Not counting the bits about god. That should go without saying.

We have all helped ourselves to the fruits of their [the financial markets] activities and shut our eyes to the risks.

First off, ‘we’ haven’t all helped ourselves to the fuits of their labour [labour? Ha!]. Some have benefited more than others, and some have done even worse, but I wouldn’t call having to get a mortgage of 5x your salary to be able to afford half a house inconjunction with a housing association a fruit of which many people would relish.
As far as shutting our eyes to the risks, that is absolute bollocks. It’s not the shutting of eyes that’s been the problem, it’s the wool being pulled over them.

Some of the politicians who now decry the money-men are the same politicians that previously lauded their boldness and creativity. Some of the clergy who denounce them were quite happy to accept the better stipends they made possible. If we are to learn from our mistakes we need to turn from moralising to morality.

And you won’t get a moral business environment without regulation.

Despite the turbulence and the risks, it’s hard to see any alternative system with the same capacity as capitalism to lift the world’s poor out of poverty – which is surely what any social ethic demands.

Because caitalism has done such a wonderful job of getting the poor in Africa out of their mudhuts and the utility privatisations that capitalism required in Argentina (or was it bolivia?) and the neo-liberal experiment, by Thatchers’ friend Pinochet, in Chile worked wonderfully in converting those countries to a land of luxury.
We’ve hardly had a good go at any alternative systems to capitalism, have we. As far as I can see there’s been various forms of capitalism, from the fairly strict laissez fair to what most people would call socialism. There’s also been tries at various forms of dictatorships too, the corrupted form of communism in the Soviet Union and state capitalism of the Chinese to dictators proper, all over the place.
Surely social ethics, and your religious ‘be nice’ morality, would be interpreted a ‘nicey nicey look after everyone’ way of doing things, not you cut and thrust of capitalism.

However, this crisis has revealed that we have all become less motivated by that concern for common good commended in that book of Prayers and Hymns. It is a sharp reminder that while ethics without capitalism may be impotent, capitalism without ethics can bring ruin on us all.

Capitalism and the common good are incompatible. If a company starts doing things for the common good it will soon go out of business.
Ethics without capitialism we’ve yet to see on a grand scale, capitalism with or without ethics will bring ruin on us all

SATS Scrapped

October 15th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Scrapping the SATS for key stage 3, or 14 year olds to you and me, is undoubtedly A Good Thing.

But listening to Ed Balls, the schools secretary on the Today program on Radion 4, he couldn’t actually give a proper reason for the decision.

Said that 15 years ago when they were introduced it was The Right Thing and now these tests were Wrong and could go. The reason he did give was that the SATS weren’t needed because the GCSEs at age 16 were the best signifier of how pupils/school were doing.

And how is that different from the last 15 years?

Also, concerning the different parts of the UK and England being the only country that still has SATS for the 7 & 11 year olds. When Mr Balls was asked about that and why that is, he waffled on and to paraphrase, “it is A good Thing”.

Well, fucking tell us why then! Why can’t any cunt answer a fucking question properly anymore? Don’t they listen? Are they fucking stupid are has everyone got a hidden agenda.

Answer the question. It’ll be ok, everything’ll be alright in the end. I promise.

42 days: Abandoned

October 13th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has told MPs that plans to extend terror detention to 42 days will be dropped from the Counter-Terrorism Bill.

It follows a heavy defeat for the government in the House of Lords, which threw out the plan by 309 votes to 118.

Ms Smith said instead the measure would be in a separate piece of legislation to be brought to Parliament if needed.

The Tories said she should just say she was abandoning 42 days. The Lib Dems said it was a “humiliating retreat”.

You will comply

October 13th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Riots have broken out in the mixed city of Acre, reportedly triggered when an Israeli Arab man drove his car during the Yom Kippur religious holiday.

Dozens of cars and shops were damaged as hundreds of people took to the streets, Haaretz newspaper reported.

For Jews, Yom Kippur is a sombre day of fasting, during which it is considered offensive to drive in much of Israel.

Considered offensive, not illegal.
Whilst Israel is considered and sees itself as a Jewish state it doesn’t matter if the Palestinian Israelis have equal rights or not, they will never be equal in society as the Jews will feel able to oppress and punish non-Jewish citizens as they see fit.

Where am I?

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