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Saturday, September 30, 2006


with a barnstorming speech two jags prescott has announced he will be standing down as deputy leader of the labour party. it was a pit-bull of a speech filled with passion, an old guard vim and vinegar style speech. it was a rallying cry to the party reminding them of the achievements of the government, reminding them that there was much to do and reminding them that there was still a fight to be re-elected.
even though he was aware of the potential threat from both the conservatives and liberal democrats – he was more than happy to mock them. each jibe getting a laugh from the assembled throng.
for all the criticism he gets for his abuse of the english language once he is in full flow prescott is an effective speaker, animated, fluid, inspiring and at his best as he cajoles the faithful to continue their effort to support labour. (he only seemed to lose this when he appeared on tv programmes and he was aware he had to be a certain way, and in trying to be media savvy he lost his fire.)
the one duff note of the speech was when he told the conference he had always said that he would let them know he was going before he let the media know. which is a nice thought except his announcement was trailed everywhere before the speech.

prescott was the last of his breed, from now on the party will be lead by people who are more interested in style rather than conviction. he will be missed. but not for long because like ali and mandy he will be back.

fired up by prescott’s speech i confess to having a tear in my eye as the conference ended with semi operatic renditions of “the red flag” and “jerusalem”.

ah well i can look forward to laughing at the tories next week because already

there will be no specific policy announcements at the four-day rally, a tory spokesman confirmed

but they want to shake being a party of pr.
good start fellahs.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


no! no! no!no! no! no!no! no! no!no! no! no!no! no! no!
and thrice times no!
there i was listening to the radio last night and christmas was mentioned.
september is still hanging on for grim death but peple are talking about christmas....
they are talking about shops having christmas foods and decorations for sale.
they are talking about christmas decorations up in some streets (or were they divali lights?) and at least one pub has been reported as having a christmas tree up.

the world is going fucking mad i tell you.

the conference season hasn't finished.
the kids have only just gone back to school.
halloween hasn't happened, guy fawks night is still to come.
there is is eid and divali to go.

but already christmas rears it's head.

happy christmas.
bah humbug.


at last!
blimey charlie that was a struggle. this is the 600th blog on here. at points i didn't think i would make it to 600, these 100 have been very long and slow coming. but here i am at 600.
unlike blair and prezza (who decided to celebrate this 600th blog with a barnstorming speech in manchester) i will continue to soldier on.

you lucky people!


poor old gordon. you have to feel sorry for him. it is not good enough that he has been one of the most successful chancellors in british history, it is not good enough that he was one of the key architect of new labour, nor does the fact he has been one of the key players in making sure that new labour has been re-elected.
none of that seems to count.
we are seeing a mirror image of the john major years. honest john took over the leadership of the conservative party, after they decided to ditch the bitch. from the moment he took control of the party and the country he was beset by elements of his party just trying to destabilise the running of the party. although he won an election, he was thoroughly defeated by blair (one of the happiest nights of my life that didn’t involve pizza, coffee and naked women).

sadly it is looking like brown may get to be the leader of the party and prime minister, but thanks to recent occurrences from various members of the labour party the conservative party has a ready made arsenal of quotes to hole the labour party’s future election hopes.

we have had charles clarke, john reid, claire short and (possibly) cherie blair all managing to drop clangers, all of which will get to be played in future conservative political broadcasts, and we all know there are going to more to come.
we have a situation where blairites and brownists are going to the mattresses in order to fight an internecine war over who will be the leader of the party. the blairites are busy spinning against brown.

even peter mandelson is dropping hints to the unions that they shouldn’t try to influence the outcome of the leadership debate, because decision shouldn’t be made in smoked filled rooms. of course mandy (he of the dark arts) forgets to mention that one of the real problems of new labour is the fact that they have (and mandy was one of the culprits) decided to move out of the smoke filled rooms of the unions and into the chrome and leather feng shuied rooms of big business.

the distressing part of it all is that while for most of us it is obvious that we don’t want to have a tory government, for some in the labour party they would rather have cameron in power than not have their man leading the labour party. instead of the politicians being in parliament because they see it as a vocation more and more it seems to be an ego filled playground.

if the speeches that have taken place at the labour conference were to be believed the party knows what needs to be done, but i can’t help feeling that come monday we will be back to square one and various members of the party will spend their time ensuring that country will just want to vote labour out.


many years ago one of the careers i considered was that of a speechwriter. at the time i was thinking about it i was a much funnier person and much more talented, back then i was funny in a woody allen les dawson sort of way, these days i am les dennis channelling bill hicks.
as with other job choices (policeman, probation officer, postman, priest, porn-star or international jewel thief) the idea of speechwriter disappeared when the need to put food on the table reared it’s ugly head.
admittedly lack of talent was also a big factor.

by strange coincidence i am also a pretty awful public speaker. my speech is littered with the usual “erms” and “ums”, all of which is spiced up with a more than liberal sprinkling of “fucks”, “shits” and “cunts” (which would have made me an interesting priest for sure). at least i don’t do “innit”.
as if my limited vocabulary wasn’t bad enough i don’t have a public speaking voice, it is the sound of a squeak chipmunk. it is true i have started to drop my voice when in a position that i have to speak publicly (well as i approach the size of pavarotti i may as well try to have a tenor(ish) voice).

this week i have been listening to some of the labour party conference, i have enjoyed some good speeches, and i have listened to some awful contributions.
some of the speakers from the floor vary from the nervous bunny caught in headlines to the strong strident bellicose.
from the platform you had patricia hewitt prowling the stage in a sensual almost dominatrix style cajole the conference to her view. she spoke without the use of the prompt.
you had bill (mr. president) clinton wowing everyone with his praise of new labour, his praise of tony, gordon, cherie and uncle tom cobleigh. in-between his praise of new labour and his talking up his foundation and the work it has done clinton made some interesting points and made a rallying cry that has perhaps come a few months too late for new labour. clinton now has the freedom to talk in a way that does not have to appeal to constituency of voters. so he laid out the need for change to ensure that climate change, aids and poverty are all successfully dealt with.
clinton also issued a warning to the labour tribes. when he left the presidency america were close to being debt free, now they are borrowing money from mexico in order to pay for clinton’s tax cut.
then there was tony blair. his speech was a valedictory that weaved between an admission that he had made some mistakes and a warning that the party really should be on their knees begging him to stay. he outlined the reasons why new labour should be re-elected and reminded the conference that they can’t change the world if they are not in power. he laid out some of the unfinished business he wanted to do (giving him the ability to dodge further questions about “the date” and providing a framework within which the party and the government will have work within).
it was the speech of a man who no longer had to worry what people thought of him, the weight of the world was now off his shoulders. it was vintage blair, a speech that reminded you just why he has been voted in 3 elections. but for a blind faith in recent american foreign policy he would have been going for a 4th electoral victory.
meanwhile brown had to provide a speech that didn’t lose him his chance at being the leader of the party and prime minister. he had to thank tony blair for the work he had done, he had to speak about the legacy of the labour party and indicate he would continue in the direction that had been established, while indicating where he would lead the party. an acknowledgement of the past and a nod of the head to the future.
he let people know that he had made mistakes (both he and blair must be wishing that someone like prescott had bitch slapped them both and reminded them that it wasn’t about them but about the party and the country). he also showed his human side, and managed to do it without being mawkish about it (unlike the recent (non) news story that brown had cried when his daughter had died – now call me hard, call me shallow, call me nasty but surely to fuck the story would have been if when his daughter had died he had popped her into the microwave and served up baby fritters. the fact that a father cries at the death of his daughter strikes me as so normal as not to be worthy of notice – but we live in a society that loves misery memoirs and loves to drink up the despair of others).
of the speeches brown’s was the one the struck me as being the best, if only because he had to square the circle but in the main he did it.
we have prescott to look forward to – but i am expecting that to be a comedy turn, even though i have even more admiration than ever before because he has said i am not going anywhere, i am still deputy leader, you will have to sack me.
just for that you have to love two jags.
lets hope he gets to have a fourth term.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


things i was going to blog about but didn’t while i was doing the phase 1 cleaning.

cbi: the confederation of british industry recently lost digby jones but have gained richard lambert. the first thing i saw of him it seemed like he was going to be on the side of the worker. yeah i know i was stupid.
now i don’t really like the cbi as they remind me of being one of those terrible oiks at school who are keen to grass people up while brown-nosing the teacher. additionally it is hard to feel sympathy for people who probably earn more in a month than most of us earn in a year as they complain that they are hard done by.
anyway lambert had given a speech about how big business had lost the trust of the people. could it be the increasing wealth gap between those at the top and the rest of us, as they over reward themselves for doing little but outsourcing the work of their company? no that wasn’t it. could it be that we don’t get the services we are promised but we still have to pay a premium for the service, just think transport, just think water. nope wasn’t that either. could it have anything to do with them being two-faced talking about uk plc while really meaning “lets line our own pockets?” nah not that.
oh stop teasing pat, tell us the answer.
ok. the reason there is little trust for big business is because they aren’t telling us that they are wonderful. they don’t need to take stock of what they do; all they need to do is hire a better pr company.
it seems nothing changes with the cbi.
gotta love them.

cameron on globalisation: it seems that david cameron has decided to have a pop at globalisation. cameron has admitted that it is not a great thing, that in fact that it does actually hurt people and that while there are benefits to it they are not fairly distributed.
nice one dave. but this is a little like his look at me i cycle to work (even though i have a car that follows me….) because while spouting the right words about globalisation, but he isn’t going to stop companies outsourcing, he isn’t going to stop companies relocating.
but the soundbite is a clever one as in one fell swoop he has said something that can appeal to many disparate groups without out actually meaning anything. he may as well get a job working for the samaritans.

top gear: a bloke tries to go really fast in a dragster, all goes wrong and he ends up in hospital. now i have to admit several things.
1] i don’t watch top gear (partly because it has twat clarkson on it, partly because it is about cars and i don’t have a tv…)
2] i honestly thought the story was about a bloke driving fast in a dress.
what has surprised me was how it never seemed to leave the news on radio 5. i am always taken aback by the way the population get sucked into emotions of care and concern about celebs but couldn’t give a toss about an oap (i am sure i am not allowed to write that as it is ageist) who lives alone in their street, would not help a mum with her pram on to a bus, but a celeb skins their knees and we are all boo hooing.
so the bbc has had over 40,000 calls of sympathy. all i can think is why?
now oddly there was a report about the paradigm jobs of the era – one of the jobs was being a hairdresser and one of the other ones was celebrity.
now stop and think about that. celebrity. not be an artist, not be an actor, not to be a writer, not a sportsman but a celebrity. i wish that i had the ability to ask my careers teacher i wanted to a celebrity, (though he wouldn’t have been much help as useless teachers go my careers teacher was in a league of his own…)
true celeb status seems to have an importance that is diametrically opposed to the worth of the celeb. an article about a past winner of big brother can sell lots of magazines, a bloke whose main skill seems to be driving fast while talking can get hours of airtime because he is hospital.
i don’t understand celebrity and i don’t understand those people who get wrapped up in their lives.

poem: i started a poem the other day. so far i only have one line so far. “bono is a cunt”. it is short but it is perfect.

ryder cup: golf is one of those sports i don’t understand, but i don’t understand most sports that involve a bat type thing and a ball thing. for the weekend i was a fan because it was a drubbing of america. top hole!

labour party: all unprintable. but hats off to claire short, a woman of principal. she didn’t resign her position at the stat of the iraq war (unlike robin cook). now that she has decided to quit politics she has decided to have a pop at tony blair. very brave. blair is leaving (which seems to be something that most labour politicians are ignoring) and she is standing down and so has nothing to lose.
short isn’t planning to stand as an independent as she realises that one of the main reasons she gets elected is because she is mainly because she is on the labour platform.
so for someone who claims she cares for the labour party, she has added to the pressure on the party and provided the conservatives with more ammo and a bigger chance to get in.
nice one claire.

there were some other things but you have a taste of the lost blogs. when i come to do directors cut of the blogs i may add in some of the other lost blogs.

Monday, September 25, 2006


well i am back.
i know you missed me.
i know you were worried if i was ever going to come back.
but no need to be concerned any more as i am back.

the first phase of the cleaning has been done.
i can now see carpet in the hall. admittedly the colour is odd and there are some stains that are i now consider to be works of art. i can see lino in the bathroom. i have walked the length of the hall and into the bathroom without having to climb over things, just a straight forward walk. amazing!

but this is just the start.
i still have to do the front room. that will take some time. i need to work out just how i shall approach it. shall i do it in sections? from the middle and work out? from the edges and work in? take layers from the top? i shall have to cogitate how i do it.

so phase 2 will be the front room.
phase 3 is the bedroom.

but before all that there will be a break. i am going to take some time out and just watch some films and look at some art and drink lots of coffee.

but all you need to know is i am back.

Friday, September 08, 2006


have to hand it to new and old labour they are determined to throw it all away.
true tony blair started it all by stupidly saying he wasn't going to stand for a fourth term, done perhaps to stop the hemorrhaging of new labour supporters in the wake of the iraq war.
the idea being that there would be an orderly and smooth transition from him to gordon brown, with blair establishing a framework in which brown would at least have to start the job in.
ah well all the best laid plans of mice and men eh.

well it seems that neither brown or blair can actually count on the party making sure either one of them gets out of this without being bruised and bloody.
if they are not briefing against blair they are for brown, if they are against brown they are for blair. even worse there are all those "old" labour boys who are now coming out of the woodwork to say actually we don't want tony and we don't want gordon - but actually we don't have anyone that anyone knows to lead the party. so what we would rather do is commit mass suicide as a political party and let the conservatives in for a few years.
hah that will show people that they need us.

maybe it is a plan but it is a stupid one.

recently it has struck me that most politicians aren't in it to change the world. they are like me they want a steady income, they want to be able to pay their bills.
this means that in cases like this all the labour mps are jockeying for position to make sure that they have a job when the dust settles.
just for that alone i want to see most of them be bitch slapped.

meanwhile david cameron is rubbing his hands in glee (as is jay , everyone's favourite brown-shirted hobbit)as he knows that however it ends the transition of power in the labour party will have weakened the winner.

i hope you are happy with yourselves messrs clarke, milburn, byers, balls et al.

you can check out one of the alternatives to gordon brown over here, sadly the "john 4 leader" address leaves me chuckling as i surely don't want to be in his gang!


i am on a major cleaning jag at the moment.
i have not chosen to clean my flat. i am being forced into it - no it is not because i have found a gorgeous lovely oriental woman who wants to live with (i can't afford a thai bride..), it is not because i am moving, it is not because i have turned over a new leaf.
the reason is i need to get a plumber in to check some stuff. so i have to clear space to allow said workman access to the various parts of the flat that need plumbing work done.
my hall is a dangerous place. so i have to clear that. the bathroom is not much better, and of the kitchen the less said the better. so far 10 bags of rubbish have been thrown out, 3 lots of recycling done. and can i tell a difference? not really.
what has stunned me is how dirty the kitchen is considering i rarely go in there.

i have discovered that you just don't get a cleaning fluid anymore. you get ones that foam, that shine, that smell, that bacterise, that use oxygen, that need to be left, that need to be wiped straight away, that have to be mixed in water or used neat. phew. and boy oh boy when they get to work.. i have no idea what they have done to the surfaces in the flat, but they have made my hair stand on end and i think i have hallucinated 3 or four times.
wonderful stuff.

additionally i keep finding books, cds, dvds and things that i have completely forgotten i had bought. it is like getting a delivery a day from, and excellent.
though it does remind how much money i have wasted on total pants type stuff.
ah well. easy come easy go.

now that i have started the cleaning (not that anyone without the trained pat eye would know) i will have to continue until it is finished. the question is: once done will i keep the place tidy.

i think we all know the answer to that one....

(maybe i need to get me one of these?)

Saturday, September 02, 2006


thames water announced today that they were no longer seeking a drought order for the london area. this is probably because we have had an incredibly rainy august and londoners have been consuming less water.
the cynic in me might be thinking that this was a nice easy way for them to hide the large job cuts that they were planning. they are talking about cutting 300 jobs a year until 2010, approximately 25% of it's workforce.

chief executive jeremy pelczer chief executive jeremy pelczer said the move had been taken to guard against "any complacency, towards customer service or efficiency, that may arise because we are a monopoly". mmm yeah i can see how that would work. the way to ensure you are not complacent is to scare the staff, the way to ensure that customer service is performed to its utmost is to make sure that there are fewer staff to take the calls and deal with problems. the way to make sure you have a handle on all the problems of your system is to make sure you have fewer people to analyse potential problems and fewer people to correct actual problems.
hell it makes perfect sense to me.

especially when you consider that thames water have been criticised for not meeting leakage targets, it only managed to cut leakage to 894 million litres a day instead of it's target of 860 million litres. this is the third year that it has not reached its target (though the trend is currently downward). fortunately it escaped a fine because it promised to invest 150 million over the next 5 years in order to replace old pipes.
ofwat said of the fine "thames has bound itself to spend an extra £150m at the cost of its shareholders to replace more ageing pipes than planned. this will directly address the issue of london leakage and achieve more secure supplies."
it is impressive that the body that is supposed to protect us from business has decided to some how dress this up as thames doing us a favour, and that when thames water invests in their infrastructure they are doing us a service...
before you feel too sorry for those poor shareholders thames have reported an increase in profits of 31% (some £340 million before taxes) and have managed to pay large bonuses to top executives.
now perhaps that is where thames should be addressing the issue of being a monopoly.

though never fear the business friendly boys of new labour had this to say, "it is right that the consumer does not bear the burden of the increased investment needed for thames to deal with its failure to meet its leakage targets." so said environment minister ian pearson, well fuck me i wouldn't expect a for profit organisation to invest in itself. what we have come to expect is that they will take the piss, that the customer will have to foot the bill for any improvements in the service, while the shareholders rub their hands in glee at the increased profits that they have received for nothing other than putting up the prices and cutting their costs but not actually improving services.

meanwhile another 1500 people will be facing time on the dole, becoming a burden on the state while they look for a new job. depending on where those cuts are made it will be a number of skilled people who are no longer working at what they do best, and more skills lost to the economy.

mind you if people like the cbi had their way there would be so little taxes paid that the state probably couldn't pay to support the increased jobless that members of the cbi create. but what do they care as long as the bonuses roll in and as long as they can keep paying their shareholders?

one of the things i never understood about the rush to shed jobs for the more competitive lower paid workers of china and india, is that if none of us have money who is going to buy all the stuff that they produce cheaply but seemingly have to sell at an inflated price (think nike here!) but again as long as those at the top are fine then that is all that matters.
lets see them outsource their jobs.

oh and the real cynic in me thinks that the reason why thames water is cutting jobs and is not bothering with a drought order is be it’s german owners, rwe, are looking to sell it and are looking to make a tidy profit.


well i had to share this story from the beeb.
it seems that the recent crack down in airports wasn't just to catch terrorists, but it was also to catch the master panty thief. over a two-year period a stanstead baggage handler managed to steal over 300 pairs of ladies panties. he was only caught because his colleagues saw him reaching into the baggage, which lead to him being knick(ered) (ho ho ho).
(sounds like he should have been working for immigration services....)

the culprit apparently has some deep seated physiological problems, due to years of being bullied while a child. the job at stanstead was his first real job and apparently he tried to fit in the only way he knew how (which begs the question what are his friends and family dipping their hands into).
while he would normally be hit with a custodial sentence in this case he was given an 18-month supervision order, his brief (geddit) said his client was very sorry for what he had done. the judge described him as "sad, but not bad"

the guilty party has had to pay costs of £55. there is no indication on the report as to whether the panties had to go back, or where destroyed (or even possibly ending up on ebay...)
who knows some enterprising advertising company may just end up using him as their next spokesperson.

see the story here