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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


so it has gotten a little chilly. there is a bite in the air. a sign that winter might be coming in. time to think about finding the coat or jumper. not a rush to do that mind as it is just a slight chill, still a ways off from being cold.
so why in the name of all things have they putting the heating on in buses and tubes?
i got on the bus and i may as well have been in a sauna.
i got on the tube and i could have cooked an egg.
it is not cold enough to put on the heating and if you have to put it on have it to warm not to the melting point of gold.

better count to ten.
there you go and now i am all chill on the inside again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


we all like to be praised, to hear words of encouragement, to be told we are good at our jobs, that we are nice people, that we are funny (ok i admit i have to imagine what it is like to get praise).
words of praise must be even better when you have been suffering stinging attacks from colleagues, like water to a thirsty man.
gordon brown had just given a very good speech to the labour party conference. the conference enjoyed it, but they would. ok there were some naysayers over the speech: it hadn’t gone far enough or it was too little too late.
so hats off to the conservative shadow chancellor george osborne who offered up some lovely words of praise to gordon brown. osborne would normally be among the last people to praise gordon brown, so when he says something good about the speech you know it was a winner.
what was it that osborne said?
george osborne said that gordon brown had “retreated to the left”, ok he did say he had done this to save his job, which undercuts the praise a little – but i guess he thought he had to have a little dig at gordon.
but just fancy that a labour politician retreating to the left. amazing. who would have thought it.
so it looks like osborne has given brown’s speech the thumbs up. now it is time for the those labour members of parliament who have been whinging and whining to also give him the thumbs up as well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008



i know it is not a particularly academic term. i know it is a term probably not used that often by professional political pundits. which probably explains why i am neither.
the labour party conference has started.
the economic situation is dire, not because there are real problems but because of some greedy twats in offices who on the one hand praise capitalism but on the other are doing their level best to screw the system up so badly that they cause a depression.
there are social issues that need to be debated and dealt with – youth (sorry young adults) disaffection and disenfranchisement, growing wealth inequality, the immigration issue and more.
politically there is still the vexed issue of surveillance britain, the growing belligerence of russia and then there are the forthcoming usa elections.
things are in a state of flux.
the labour party conference should be a time of unity, of getting together (and as someone once told me) getting their ducks in a line.
but no.
instead of learning from what happened to john major, the labour party backbenchers seem to be on a course of self-destruct. bitching, carping, moaning, complaining and scheming, in fact they may as well be daily mail readers.

it is time for the labour party to man up. it is time for them to either say we have a candidate to stand against gordon brown and his name is “x” (where x = milliband). or they have to shut up and get on with the job of making sure that labour wins at the next election.
neither will happen. there will not be a candidate who comes forward, the internal attacks will not stop and the government will be felled not by the work of cameron and his conservatives or clegg (who?) and his liberal democrats but by a few no name, no hope labour back benchers who want their time in the sun as they provide quote after quoted against the government – such as this from the daily mail (so there is a good chance it is made up)
“some labour dissidents said they may back off after the banking crisis. ‘we are not daft enough to be accused of undermining the pm when he is trying to save homes and jobs,’ said one.
‘but he has to go - it just won’t be this week.’”

quite how this attitude doesn’t undermine the prime minister is beyond me. though one has to be impressed with the cowardice of the mp for not allowing their name to be used. how easy it is to criticise when you are not prepared to put your name to it.

i blame those faceless, nameless, spineless members of parliament for all the problems that now befall the labour government. they don’t have the courage of their convictions and they are doing the tories work for them.
if cameron gets in it is their fault.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


can anyone explain stocks and shares to me?
more and more the whole stock market just appears to be no more than smoke and mirrors. if it didn't have such an impact on the lives of everyone there would be a good argument that the london stock exchange is a really a care in the community exercise to keep self-important people off the streets.

i keep hearing that there is no confidence in the financial system, that banks cannot borrow money from other banks. yet lloyds are about to spend £12 billion on buying hbos. you can only imagine what it must have been like back at the boss of lloyds house when he discovered that spare £12 billion down the back of the sofa. and who knew that barclays would find a £1 billion in a drawer so that they could buy parts of lehman bank.
virgin are rumoured to be part of one of several consortium that are interested in buying gatwick airport. i am sure the £2 billion or so it will cost is just pocket change for richard branson.
they will all be paying cash because we have been told there is just no lending and borrowing going on between banks.

the credit crunch is causing house prices to drop. for some that is a disaster for others it is a boon. now the house prices that were over-inflated are dropping to reasonable levels. so first time buyers can get on to the lovely housing ladder. well they could if the banks would let them, but the banks are all keeping their money for a rainy day.
people who have bought houses are complaining that they are not making money on the deal from the moment that they moved in, and there i was thinking you bought a place to live in it.

all of this means that the stock market has seen millions and millions of pounds wiped off the value of shares. where has all the money gone? if it existed it had to go somewhere. where did it go?

marx talked of a crisis of capitalism. the socialist workers party have been talking about the imminent crisis of capitalism for the last 20 or so years now (still at least someone is happy with the current situation and you can see them all telling their mates “see i told you there was going to be a crisis, i told you”).
of course one of the ironies of this “crisis” is that the cheerleaders of the free market who wanted less regulations to free up the entrepreneurial risk taking spirit are the ones who are crying out for the state to step in and save their sorry arses.

no matter what the financial experts say in the media i still don’t understand how shares work. more and more i am thinking that neither do they.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


it is pretty much accepted that gordon brown is travelling down shit creek without a paddle. to make matters his canoe has sprung a leak.
it has to be hard when your political opponents attack you for events that are beyond your control. it has to be worse when it is your own party.
there is a double irony here. the conservatives can sit back and goad gordon brown and the labour party over the current financial crisis. they can moan and complain, they can point and sneer. scoring easy points. the one thing they don’t seem to do is provide alternatives.
the labour dissenters seem to be doing the same thing. the difference between then and the conservatives is that they are offering an alternative. well it is an alternative of sorts. they talk about a new narrative (ok hands up who the fuck knows what that means?) or they talk about getting the message out to the electorate. really what they want to say is: “we don’t like gordon and we are scared we are going to lose our seats”.
you expect the conservatives to do it. it is part and parcel of the political process.
you don’t expect it from labour. the dissenters are putting their short-term desires (keeping their nice salary safe) before the needs of the party and the country.

they are helping the tories.

gordon has a few options. he can tough it out, and he more than likely will.
he can give them the leadership election that they want, and he will probably win that as no one of worth will come forward because no one will want to take the chance that they will be in charge if (oh ok) when labour tank at the next election.

i think gordon should go for a slightly more drastic option. he should call a general election right here and right now. what would his platform be for this snap election? simple: nationalise the utilities, nationalise the rail, pull the troops out of iraq, scrap id cards and increased tax on the very wealthy.

i tell you if he did that he would walk the election.

do it gordon – you know it makes sense.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


in case you haven’t heard they are firing up the large hadron collider tomorrow morning. if it works it will help scientists get a little closer to understanding some of the deeper mysteries of the universe, the origin of mass (which in my case is down to the apple doughnuts that sainsburys sell), and perhaps they can find the higgs particle, which may the key to answering some very important questions.
all sounds pretty exciting.
but wait there are a few people who are worried that this is a mad act of science on the verge of going wrong.
they say that the start up of the large hadron collider could create black holes that will suck the world into them. which, lets be fair, is not going to be nice. these doomsayers say, “don’t do it”.
their cries have fallen on death ears, so tomorrow somewhere between france and switzerland a small new universe will be created, which means it, will be arrogant and afraid to commit.

when it comes time to throw the switch will there be a little bit of hesitation? will they think to themselves “mm have we done the maths on this right?” will they have second thoughts? will they just pretend that they threw the switch?
or will it destroy the world?

it should all go well. i hope so as i want to go see the francis bacon show at the tate britain on friday and that won’t happen if the world has been sucked down a black hole.


mccain ahead in the usa presidential election polls. it can't happen.
cameron ahed in the polls over here. just not right.
it is like we are back in the 80s (at least the music is a bit better).

sensible people want obama to win. the problem is he stands for change. but change seems to be fluffy and nice and in the words of bill watterson, a pony for everyone. it is time that obama started putting more meat on the bones of the dream of change.

over here cameron is in lead position for the forthcoming election. he talks of change as well. change from the current labour party and a hinted at change of conservatism. a bit like obama there is not that much solid about the changes that cameron offers - other than they will not be labour. the main difference is the conservatives have previous form and we all know that regardless of what they say about compassionate conservatism it just means that they will say sorry while people lose their jobs and the rich get richer.

of the lot of them gordon brown is probably the most honest and the one most driven by the right convictions but he is such a dour speaker that he just doesn't inspire.
is it too much to ask for him to have a "palin" moment (it can be sarah or michael, i don't mind).

Sunday, September 07, 2008


it is not my fault that i am fat. no really it isn’t.
a few weeks ago i discovered i was fat because my pal paul was on the chubby side and so he enabled me to be fat. my waistline is all down to paul, nothing to do with the pizzas i put away.
then i discovered that i was fat not because i scoff chocolate like it was going out of style but because of the combination of dietary abundance and a sedentary lifestyle. it is true there is no way i can go out and do stuff because i am too busy filling my face with all the food that is there, not only is it there but it is crying out to me “eat me”, “eat me” “eat me and me and me and me”, and there is just no way i can refuse.
just as i was coming to terms with these reasons for my rotundness i learn that it is the fault of pollution. fantastic.
the range of reasons given to why i am fat makes me feel like the first trip up to the buffet bar in a restaurant: which one will i have? then i realised no need to worry i can have them all, and i can come back for me later.

i could go into a long ramble about the loss of personal responsibility that this fosters, but that puts me too close to david cameron and his conservative party. (oh ok you have dragged it out of me, on this i have some sympathy with what he is saying).

but before i worry about responsibility i am going to get a few chocolate bars to wolf down, after all it is not my fault if i get to be fatter.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


to put it politely gordon brown is fucked (please excuse the use of the highly technical psephologist term). well actually he is not just fucked he is right royally fucked.
even worse for gordon is that the laws of physics do not apply to him. in the real world shit flows downwards, yet for gordon it flows from the bottom upwards.

he is attacked and blamed from all sides, from allies and enemies alike.

you only have to look at the increasing cost of fuel. to read the press it is gordon brown’s fault that the fuel companies are making outrageous profits while also putting up the price of fuel (“oh pity us”, they cry, “our costs have gone up and we can’t make huge profits anymore, oh we can if we just put our prices up”).
brown made them put the prices up.
it is brown’s fault that the price of oil has gone up. the increased demand from china and india. not really a factor in this. the madness of hedging the price of fuel has had nothing to do with it. the unwillingness to increase the supply of oil has had no bearing on the increased.
brown has just increased the price of oil on a whim.

but there are times when he is the architect of his own problems. there has been talk of a windfall tax and a £100 rebate to those in need. the story is allowed to float about in the news for a few days building up expectation and then brown says no, it is not happening, was never going to happen, well maybe it was never going to happen, not really sure, if we are going to be honest. i think. possibly. (what makes the situation worse is that we can all remember when it all went tits up (another psephologist term) for brown when he let the talk of an early election to drift about before squashing it when it became apparent that he had lost the confidence of the electorate. you would have thought once bitten twice shy, but nope).

yet if we are honest we all know that a windfall tax or a rebate to the needy is never going to be enough.
thanks to thatcher we sold off our utilities to private companies. there was a lot of talk about competition, efficiency, cheaper prices and a land of milk and honey. like so much that thatcher promised it was a lie.
so what we have are large companies who know that they can screw the punter, because there is no competition, that they only have to worry about efficiencies when they are forced into it.
even worse foreign companies own several of the companies.

see that is how the free market works.

and that really brings me to the point of this.
the only way out of this for gordon brown is for him to pull up his socks, roll up his sleeves, grit his teeth, spit in the eye of the cbi and do what he knows is right and nationalise the utilities. bring them all back into public ownership.

do that gordon and not only have you solved the current issue of prices, but you will be seen as a hero by so many in the country that you will be elected again.

gordon: you know i am right.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


she is no condi, but sarah palin has now entered my top torry totty list (international).
her speech at the republican convention was an assured attack on the democrats and obama. it was the usual mix of personal schmaltz and paean to the glory of the american way that so moves the american voter.
hopefully she hasn't done enough to swing the female vote over to the republicans.
because while the republican convention might be happy to chant "usa usa usa" the rest of the world is not looking forward to them remaining in the oval office.

so i will be checking out mrs palin for the eye candy, but hoping that obama cleans up in the polls.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


for some odd reason i was reading a review of a collection of dirk bogarde’s letters. why is this odd? well i have never read any of his books, and i was never much of a fan of him as an actor. so there was no reason for me to read the review, but i did. i enjoyed the review, but i am not going to be buying the book.
in the review there was a lovely line: “the need to write, though, doesn't impose on a general public the need to read”.

i know much of what i write (oh alright all of what i write) falls into the category of “not necessary to read”.
yet that is the joy of the internet (or web2.0 as it is now known) it allows so many of us to express our views, our opinions, our hopes and our fears, to lay bare our souls for all the world to see.

a recent book “cult of the amateur” (a book i own and one day i might even read) argues that the internet/web2.0 has seen a shift from knowledge to opinion. so there has been the rise of the citizen journalist (have camera phone will travel) and the blogger some of whom have influence, but not as much as is often claimed, but the majority are like me read by a dedicated few (and i love you all).

but if you really want to see writing that should not be read then you need to head over to that very special part of the internet: the message boards. it doesn’t matter if the message board is attached to a respectable media outlet, whether it deals with a minority hobby or if it deals with politics, sports or entertainment the message board is a license to write in electronic crayon.
all logic, all rationality and all contact with reality go out the window for many of the people who comment on the message boards.
reading some of their posts you can imagine them searching the net for the story that sets them off resulting in them banging on their keyboards shouting at the screen, their eyes bugging out, the vein in their forehead throbbing.

i blame my pal paul for my current fascination in message boards, when i read the comments on the daily mail’s website or over at the evening standard i can imagine what it must have been like to tour bedlam during it’s heyday.

the message boards are now a guilty pleasure and while they are there i can feel a little bit smug and superior with the drivel i write.

Monday, September 01, 2008


for many of us our first introduction to a new movie is the film poster. sometimes we are attracted by the image; most often it is the pithy little comment that serves as a pitch that appeals. this can either be in the form of a tagline or a catchy review.
so it was with me. there i was on the station platform and i read.
now i am from the school of thought that there are not many films that couldn’t be improved by there being a large helping of guns in them. “citizen kane” is the greatest film of all time but a few running gun battles would have improved it. “toy story” may have been a work of genius, but without the inclusion of an uzi firelight it remains a pale imitation of what it might have been. a few scenes of balletic bullet mayhem would have made “on golden pond” a much more serious movie.
guns are crucial but girls are almost as important. i can’t think of an ingmar bergman film that wouldn’t have been made all that much more enjoyable if it had a full on lap-dance scene in it, maybe two for the slower ones (oh that is all of them). “there will be blood” would have been hugely improved by several girl on girl scenes, they may not have added to the story, but it would have made the film that much more watchable. “schindler’s list” would have benefited by having some sultry ladies in uniform.
now tell me what movie would not be improved by having a geezer in it, a slick fast-talking tough guy who takes no shit and dishes out the dirt. imagine “star wars” with a character telling darth vader to “shut it” or during “close encounters of the third kind” instead of the famous notes of welcome there was a shout of “get out of our manor”.

so when a film poster has the world “guns, girls, geezers” i should have been in hog heaven and i was. the elation died before it could be take flight. not only was the poster promising guns, girls and geezers, it was also promising guy ritchie.
when it comes to films there are certain names that just scream “wait till this appears on bbc2 before you watch it”. there is cedric the entertainer (a name that surely gets him arrested for lying), there is danny dyer and then there is guy ritchie. they all provide hints as to the quality of the film.

so in the case of the new ritchie movie the triumvirate of guns, girls and geezers will not produce a fun movie.

oh well the poster is nice.