Monday, 30 January 2012
The Centre For policy Studies, the right-wing think tank, have been been doing a great deal of thinking about the economy of late and have reached a startling conclusion - the way out of the recession is to cut corporation tax by 50%. On the surface this appears to have much to recommend it since retaining extra profit should encourage companies, the "wealth creators" and "risk takers," to spend money and expand their operations. It is a standard belief in the neoliberal economic thesis. Unfortunately it completely fails to take into account the structure of capitalism that has emerged over the last 30 years. Big business is not longer the province of the lone entrepeneur, the Henry Fords, Andrew Carneigies and John D.Rockefeller of yesteryear. They have been replaced by the corporate executive who is not really interested in building anything but, instead, concentrates on cutting costs - in other words jobs and other people's wages. They are not "wealth creators" but rather bean counters who, when it comes to other people, are all too often "wealth destroyers." Nor are they "risk takers" since the money they gamble with belongs to someone else and, when things go disastrously wrong, they rarely suffer but instead walk off with millions in "golden handshakes" and pension entitlements. It also fails to take account of the fact that business is cash rich at the moment as they hoard money, refuse to invest, continue to cut overheads and, if anything, become increasingly risk averse. In a way the neoliberal thesis, self-serving and economically ignorant in many ways, is also a romantic movement the looks with nostalgic eyes to a period in the late 19th when lone entrepeneurs dominated the economy - the economic equivalent of Hollywood's love of the "Wild West" genre. So, instead of real radical thinking, the Centre For policy Studies has come out again with same old tired mantra and urges tax cuts for the rich - again - ignoring completely the real engine of business expansion, the ordinary people who buy things and create demand. Keynsian economics might have been banned in the west but it hasn't in China and the comparison between the two economic systems couldn't be more stark. Think tank? They don't know the meaning of the word.
A couple of very strange things happened today in Britain. Andrew lansley signalled a long overdue retreat on NHS reform and Stephen Hester finally refused his bonus. Both took some time to come about while politicians postured, prevaricated, tried to look ministerial and contradicted themselves and each other. What is going on? Why is it that these things happened while the likes of Ian Duncan Smith were busy trying to explain that they were impossible? The answer seems to be public opinion or rather an inability to manipulate it as easily as some have assumed. MP's fell foul of it three years ago over their expenses, Rupert Murdoch more recently when he discovered that sheer arrogance is no defence and now Tories and bankers in one fell swoop. Its what happens when people discover in rapid succession that politicians, newspapers and bankers cannot be trusted and that they are no smarter than the rest of us after all. David Cameron and his cronies have proven to be slow learners and have given a good imitation of rabbits caught in the headlights as their hubris has been revealed for what it is - the complete confidence of the utterly stupid. The crisis in capitalism has thrown into sharp relief the arrogance of those who pretend to be our betters and now the genie is out of the bottle it cannot easily be forced back in. As the old saying goes, "Don't piss on me and tell me its raining."
Sunday, 29 January 2012
Ian Duncan Smith, having taken a lead in the "Two-Faced Tory of the Year" award, is now making a bid for the "Have No Understanding of the Term Veto" award. In the wake of David Cameron's refusal to sign up to a new European treaty many in the cabinet seemed eager to enter the contest but came under intense competition from BBC commentators and the Tory press. The BBC seemed to be on course for scooping this prestigious award until today when IDS suddenly made a last minute bid. "I trust David to stop the other members from using EU institutions without our permission in the light of our veto," he told the BBC. David Cameron immediately went on the offensive during an interview on Radio 4 when he told the inetrviewer that he would "do everything possible" to stop the other members discussing the single market without us. "I have already been practising bouncing up and down in my seat and shouting "lah, lah, lah" as loudly as possible and I've warned them not to talk behind my back or come to any agreement that I don't approve of." We asked an EU spokesperson for the European reaction; "Le tosspot."
Early indications are that Ian Duncan Smith has snatched the lead from David Cameron in this year's "Two-Faced Tory of the Year" award. While other former front runners like Andrew Lansley, Michael Gove and George Osborne have been forced out of the competition by being found out and David Cameron has floundered somewhat over the RBS controversy, IDS has come out fighting today. Talking on the Andrew Marr show he made it perfectly clear that vetoing Stephen Hester's bonus is not on the cards because "chaos would ensue." The exact nature of the "chaos" remains somewhat obscure, but he did hint that it would cost even more money without actually detailing why. Having disposed of that item the committed Christian then went on to detail how he planned to pursue his campaign against the poor with unabated ferocity. Telling Mr.Marr that his proposed cap on benefits was "overwhelmingly popular" amongst an electorate encouraged to regard anyone out of work as a scrounger, he also told him that he would not be deterred from the "ethnic cleaning" of London based on levels of wealth. "We can't have the streets being clogged up with the poor and destitute during the Olympics," he told the "News in Shorts" after the BBC interview. "I would also like to refute the argument that I am campaigning against the smelly under classes while featherbedding the fragrant rich. As a Christian it is clearly my duty to be charitable to the poor by throwing them out of their homes, starving their disabled children and using the unemployed as slave labour. At the same time it is also my duty to protect the better sort of person in this country who deserve help because they are very worried about their money. It's a tragic situation when wealthy people are in danger of losing the unearned profit in their modest 12-bedroomed mansions and have to think about selling their villas in Spain."
In the wake of public outrage, opposition from medical professionals and Tory bankbench terror Andrew Lansley has begun the long and painful road to political oblivion. Having turned from fat cat to cowardly lion overnight Lansley is being forced to maintain his responsibility for providing a comprehensive healthcare system and limit his desire to see the NHS privatised. We asked Lansley for his view; "This is not a defeat. It is merely a tactical retreat in the face of misguided opposition and the political back-stabbing of my enemies. My plan to flog off the NHS has been thwarted by people who simply don't understand the advantages of placing their health and well-being into the hands of sympathetic businessmen whose only motive is to help others - or at least themselves. I simply cannot understand why the opposition of thousands of doctors and nurses outweighs the support I received yesterday from the 56 doctors who hoped to cash in. Nor do I understand why I have been forced to bow to democratic opposition at a time when I thought that democracy had been suspended. Still, we Tories have honoured our pledge not to undertake a top-down reorganisation of the NHS and have proven that it is safe in our hands - especially after we've failed to put it into our pockets. But, as I said to one of my constituents who has cancer the other day, never say die. I'm sure that with all the ammendments to the bill heading my way I'll still be able to slip something really nasty through without anyone noticing."
Having taken the economy and flattening it with a lump hammer, George Osborne has now unveiled his plans for regulating the Finance sector. Roundly criticising Labour's efforts that divided power between three bodies, the Bank of England, The Treasury and the FSA, as "incoherent" and "without clear lines of accountability," he has decided to divide it between four, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Financial Policy Committee and a Prudential Regulation Authority within the bank of England and a Financial Conduct Authority. This, Osborne tells us, will mean that there will be "no ambiguity as to who is in charge." Really? There was no ambiguity the last time around either - it was the FSA, the Bank of England and the Treasury who between them did absolutely nothing. Replacing three nodding dogs with four probably staffed by the same collection of placemen and complacent free-marketeers is hardly radical. More jobs for the boys.
The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has finally worked out that austerity measures might be bad for national economies. Inappropriate cuts could "strangle" growth she told the goons at the World Economic Forum yesterday. The US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner agreed and added, "There is a risk that every disappointment in growth will be met with an austerity that will feed the decline." No kidding Sherlock. European leaders thought this over, scratched their heads and then demanded that Greece hand over control of its finances to them. Under this proposal a budget commissioner would have veto powers over Greek budgetary measures if they were not in line with targets set by international lenders. Greece would also have to legally commit itself to servicing its debt, before spending any money in any other way. In other words if the Greeks won't beat themselves to death the rest of Europe will do it for them. Not surprisingly the Greek government, having seen the end of its democracy for the foreseeable future, has rejected this invitation to hand over its sovereignty and become a mere colonial possession of the EU.
Saturday, 28 January 2012
While the Chairman of RBS, Sir Philip Hampton, has refused his bonus today, there has not been a peep out of Stephen Hester who seems determined to hang onto his. David Cameron, however, does have something to say, though his answers seem to vary according to who is doing the asking. First he told us all that he had no control over bonuses because of contractural obligations entered into by the previous Labour government. This, unfortunately for him, is now widely known to be an outright lie so he changed his tale and is now claiming that if he blocks bonuses the management team might resign en masse. "That would be even more expensive for tax payers," he warns us sternly, hinting that a new team might well demand even more money from the Tory party, who, he seems to suggest, would be even worse at negotiating an executive renumeration package than Labour. Since this won't wash he then lamely concludes that whether Mr.Hester takes his bonus or not is "up to him." No Mr.Cameron it's up to you and no amount of bobbing and weaving can hide the fact that you are dodging the issue. So, is David Cameron as two-faced and cowardly as he appears? You betcha. The only real question is why he is more afraid of Mr.Hester than the electorate? Surely it can't be that he's now completely convinced that he can get away with any lie and that the electorate are too stupid or uninterested to care?
Just a couple of days ago Nick Clegg was calling for an acceleration in raising the tax threshold for the poorest paid and, yesterday, George Osborne gave his response at Davros. Speaking to executives during a lunch he told them that the top rate of tax of 50p was always meant to be temporary and would be reduced in the future because of the "long-term damage" it is doing to the British economy. Which rather begs the question, if a 50p rate of tax for the highest paid is so "harmful" why not reduce it now? The answer, of course, is that far from being harmful the tax is crucial for Britain's survival while lowering it would make no appreciable difference to Britain's future business prospects. Does he really believe that executives paying 50p in tax on only part of their income instead of say 40p means that they work any less or are not as interested in making money as they might be? No, he is simply telling them that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible and, once the good times return, they will able to pocket more than their fair share of Britain's income while the poor, taxed unmercifully now and denied services, will continue to shoulder more than their fair share of the tax burden in the future come rain or shine. Make no mistake George Osborne is a class-warrior and he does not have the best interests of ordinary people at heart.
Fifty-six doctors have written to the "Daily Telegraph" defending Andrew Lansley's NHS "reforms" and warning that derailing the Minister's plans could lead to disaster. Does this mean that, after all, Andrew Lansley is right and the majority of doctors, nurses, the House of Lords and the public are wrong? Unfortunately for Lansley the answer remains "no." The reason for this is that the fifty-six doctors are all members of the new clinical commissioning groups now terrified that their plans to plunder the NHS are under threat. "All that glisters is not gold" and not all doctors have the best interests of their patients at heart. Some of them are greedy wannabe fat cats who only entered the medical profession because they couldn't get jobs in the finance industry. All of them describe themselves as members of "The NHS Alliance, an independent, non-political organisation." This is disingenuous to put it mildly since they could hardly have expected to cash in on a NHS privatisation under a Labour government, while their use of the terms "NHS" and "Alliance" suggests a solidarity and acceptance within the medical profession that is more than misleading. Their support for Lansley's dispicable attempt to privatise the NHS and saddle us all with an American-style medical free-for-all is intensely policitcal. Whatever happened to the first principle of the Hippocratic code to do no harm?
David Cameron has reduced Prime Minister's Questions to an absolute farce by refusing to answer questions at all or, when cornered, resorting to outright lies. Prime Minister's have been accused of lying before but not one has ever come to rely on it completely. Yesterday he told three outright lies in 30 minutes and must have known that's what he was doing. Lie number one was that there are more people in work now than when he seized power. In fact he knows that employment has fallen by 26,000. Lie number two was to deny that welfare reforms would reduce the money given to disabled children. It has been reduced from £53.84 to £26.75 per week as Cameron must know. While defending the NHS reforms he quoted Dr.Greg Connor who, he assured the House, was chairman of the Doncaster commissioning group and suggested that he actually lived in Ed Milliband's constituency. In fact Dr.Conner is no longer the chairman of the commissioning group and has never lived in Doncaster. Of course David Cameron is a proven serial liar as even a cursory glance at his pre-election promises will amply demonstrate. Remember "there will be no top-down reform of the NHS?" Or his pledge not to increase VAT, now raised from 17.5% to 20%? A more recent whopper was to claim that there were 25,000 policemen in back office roles who could be redeployed onto the streets. The truth was that there just 7,927 officers in such roles. So, you might say, politician's lie. All too often they do, but to lie during PMQ's is to hold both Parliament and the people in contempt and is actually an offence under the Ministerial Code. Nor are his lies a matter of spin in order to defend himself against hostile questioning. They are direct and outright lies designed to mislead both the House and the people of Britain. In his own parlance this man is a cad and a bounder, not quite the full ticket, a serial liar who has no place in British politics and no right to be Prime Minister.
Friday, 27 January 2012
Just when you think that the RBS saga can't get any worse it does. Forget Stephen Hester's disgusting money grubbing or David Cameron's defence that it all has nothing to do with him, now we find out that RBS has spent £2.5 million of taxpayers money on bribes to US Congressman and Senators. Of course the Americans sanitise such practices by using euphemisms like "lobbying," but if it walks like a duck etc. So what did RBS spend the money on? Apparently they have tried to influence two new pieces of American legislation - the Consumer Overdraft Fair Practices Act and the US Credit Card Act - both of which aim to limit the availability of credit cards to teenagers, how much they can borrow and the rate of interest they are charged. This is something that many parents in Britain would welcome as they are forced to stand aside as the banks offer their kids "Gold" credit cards with interest rates that are eyewatering. They have also sought to influence legislation that would limit "swipe" card fees - you know, the extra money that banks charge us for using the cards they insist we use. But at least we know why Stephen Hester is worth the outrageous amounts of money he's paid in wages and bonuses. He's a typical banker, crooked, greedy and totally without conscience. Not to put too fine a point on it, he's a crook. But, as I'm sure David Cameron would say, at least he's our crook.
Worried RBS executive: "Mr Hester, we have a problem."
Stephen Hester: "Oh, yes. Any idea how we might tackle it?"
Worried RBS executive: "Well no. I was rather hoping you might have a solution."
Stephen Hester: "I see. Get together a team of ten experts to look into it and report back to me with a solution. I'm off fox hunting."
Two weeks later, same office same worried executive.
Worried RBS executive: "The team has reported back and suggested three possible solutions."
Stephen Hester: "Three? I want people who bring me solutions not problems and three possible solutions represents a problem. Take it back to them and tell them to find the solution, not three possible solutions. I'm off to play a round of golf."
Two weeks later, same office same worried executive.
Worried RBS executive: "They've managed to whittle it down to one solution, sir."
Stephen Hester: "Capital. Give it to me and I'll tell the Board later. I'm off yachting this afternoon."
Two days later. Scene - the Boardroom.
Stephen Hester: "Here is my solution to our little problem. (Pauses to acknowledge round of applause). That will be £2 million thank you. Anyone care for lunch at the Savoy on expenses?"
HMRC have signalled their determination to go after the rich and make them pay their taxes, the "Telegraph" tells us today. Are they talking about Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs who they allowed to stroll off with billions in unpaid tax? Er, no. Apparently their definition of the "rich" is plumbers, builders, ebay traders and home tutors. Paying these people in cash is tantamount to "diddling" the country they tell us - well they'd know all about that. "Tax provides the funding to run the country," they remind us, "hospitals, schools and everything else," - seeming to forget that the tax that Vodaphone didn't pay would have bought several hundred hospitals and schools. In order for us to do our duty as informers they are providing a freephone number so the public can whistleblow on any plumber of home tutor swanning around in a Porsche or sailing their luxury yacht down the local canal. Meanwhile Dave Hartnett, the head of HMRC, has been dubbed "the most wined and dined mandarin" in Whitehall after it emerged that he had been to 107 free dinners provided by large companies in the last three years alone. Perhaps your local plumber could take him down to the local chippy and ply him with lager until he's drunk enough to provide him with a Vodaphone-style "sweetheart deal" as well.
Do you remember the end of the 1960 film "Spartacus?" Crassus, played by Sir Lawrence Olivier, asks the defeated slaves to give him the dead or living body of their leader in order to avoid cruxcifiction, but they thwart him by all claiming to be the gladiator. "I'm Spatacus," Antoninus, played by Tony Curtis, shouts back, quickly followed by every prisoner who would rather die than give up their hero. Fast forward over two thousand years to modern Britain. The Tories, returned to power by a constitutional quirk, wreak revenge on the hapless British voter for keeping them out of power for 13 years and launch a campaign to lay the blame for the country's economic woes at the door of the poor. It's the feckless unemployed they tell us, it's the fake disabled who are all secretly world class atheletes, it's the unmarried mother forcing us to raise a brood of rioting kids at taxpayers expense, it's foreigners who've invaded our country and demand that we house them in twelve-bedroomed mansions in fashionable Kensington. "Give us the dead or living body of the scrounger Spartacus," the Tories demand of us, the defeated, and one by one we all stand up, point at our neighbour and scream, "He's Spartacus, the scrounging bastard." Lacks a certain majesty doesn't it?
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has apparently decided that the Good Samaritan was a naive do-gooder who would have done better to give the striken man on the roadside another good kicking. The greatest moral dilemma facing the country, according to this fine example of Christian rectitude, is not crime, drugs or even sex before marriage but the £1 trillion deficit. Ian Duncan Smith, he tells us, is a good Christian whose only wish is to the teach those on benefits to embrace the Godliness of self-reliance and introduce them to the glory of absolute poverty. Nor should people look to the state, and taxpayers, for help. Instead they should throw themselves on the mercy of Christian millionaires and look for charity. The most important thing, apparently, is not feeding the poor, but to offer them hope which, if it doesn't fill empty stomachs, will at least give them something to look forward to. Not a word about the greedy rich who clutch their wealth and privilege close to their chests, or the life chances that have been witheld by a selfish elite. Not a word against the skewed morality that puts profits before the wellbeing of others. It's as if Jesus Christ had stormed into the Temple in Jerusalem, lectured everyone on the benefits of Roman rule, demanded that the money-changers make more profit and told the lepers to go and get a job. If this is what Tory Christianity looks like it's high time we all went back to Paganism.
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Andrew Lansley, the Minister For Stealing the NHS pictured above minus the gun, has described anyone who disagrees with him as "politically poisoned." We asked the Minister what he means; "I know when people have been politically poisoned - I should, I'm the one doing the poisoning. I mean, what do doctors and nurses know about healthcare? I've spent £3.5 billion, proposed a management structure consisting of five additional layers and cut the budget to the bone and these so-called health professionals still have the nerve to disagree with me. My NHS reforms are a work of sheer genius and its high time this was recognised and a statue of me erected in Trafalgar Square. All I want to do is improve the efficiency of the NHS by flogging it off to corporate sharks in America and ditch all responsibility for it so I don't get the blame. I like it, why doesn't anyone else?"
David Cameron, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davros, has called on Europe to be as idiotically suicidal as Britain. "Europe has to be bold," he told the breathless audience. "It must deregulate professions, especially doctors, and throw as many people out of work as possible in order to please the banks. Once we have forced wages for ordinary people to levels not seen outside of India, China and Brazil, we will become more competative and the better sort of people like me and you will become even richer. By emulating Britain's austerity programme Europe can achieve our outstanding success and shrink its collective economy even faster than it has up to yet. It is a well known fact that a starving man, instead of vainly trying to find food, should instead save money for his funeral. That is a basic principle of Conservatism in Britain, as long as its someone else doing the starving, and a principle that should be adopted across Europe. Now is the time to sit down and be counted, to pretend we know what we are doing and stand aside as I have done. The time for tinkering with the problem is past, now we really have to get stuck into the working-class scum of Europe and show them who the masters are."
The Argentine President, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner pictured above, has called David Cameron's comment, that Argentina has a colonial attitude towards the Falklands, "nonsense." We asked an Argentine government spokesperson why; "This is a risible comment. Our claim to the Malvinas is sound and undeniable. The islands were discovered by the Dutch, first settled by the French and then claimed by the British in 1765. Britian withdrew from the islands in 1814 but maintained their claim. When the Spanish Empire in the Americas disintegrated the United Provinces of the River Plate claimed the islands but were dispossed by the British who returned in 1833. Our claim then is quite clear - it is based on the fact that a defunct Spanish Empire, of which Argentina once formed a part, claimed them and that a country, the United Provinces of the River Plate, which no longer exists, also laid claim to them for no apparent reason. The fact that the inhabitants of the islands are almost exclusively of British descent and have no wish to become part of Argentina is neither here nor there, nor is our disastrous and completely illegal occupation in 1982. All we want is to press a nonexistant claim on people who don't want us - how can that be described as colonialist?"
The closure of Coryton oil refinery in Essex has prompted a rise in prices at the pumps simply because petrol station operators have rushed to cash in on a ficticious "shortage" of petrol. Coryton supplied only 20% of the petrol used in a confined area of the country - the south east - and its closure simply means that other refineries will find themselves with more business. We asked a leading supermarket supplier for their view; "As soon as we saw the news we knew this was our chance to pick the pockets of our customers once again. All of our filling stations have bloody great tanks full of petrol under them and one refinery closing doesn't mean that petrol will suddenly disappear - we've got enough already to last us weeks. Of course your ordinary motorist doesn't realise this which makes him a prime target for a scam like this one. You wait 'till war breaks out with Iran - we'll have petrol selling at £20 a litre in no time even though we don't actually buy oil from them. To be honest I wish the likes of BP would stop swanning around the world finding entirely new oil fields - it makes selling the idea of shortages much harder."
After 18 months in government it has become increasingly plain that Ian Duncan Smith likes to tell porky pies. All benefit claimants, including those recently made unemployed by this callous government, are scroungers, all disabled people are secretly Olympic atheletes, all unmarried mothers are after luxury council houses with swimming pools and built-in saunas and, now, 371,000 foreigners are claiming benefits. This last statistic would be true but for one embarrasing fact - most of them have been granted British citizenship, many of them by this government. Foreign born they may have been but they were allowed into this country because, as the Tories are so fond of saying, "they will do the jobs that British workers won't do," while many of them came to Britain with qualifications badly needed in the economy. And many of them have now been thrown out of work because of George Osborne's insane economic policies. These misleading figures were released to the press as a "research paper" and, therefore, bypassed the usual checks on Ministers code of conduct. Better yet it has now been revealed that, in order for IDS's idea of a single benefit regime to work, he has sneaked through new regulations that will allow many, many more civil servants to access our tax records - something that even the police are not allowed to do without special permission. Ian Duncan Smith is a devotee of the "Big Lie," the technique pioneered by Hitler which, as he once said, "will be believed if repeated often enough" and "will have the force of authority long after the lie has been nailed." Of all the cabinet Ministers in this woeful collection of toffs, spivs, conmen and pickpockets, Ian Duncan Smith has the least developed sense of what democracy actually is and the most highly developed disdain for the people of this country. He is the worst kind of Tory amongst a pretty loathesome bunch - a liar and a demagogue, a man with no sense of honour and an utter disregard for those who are not as wealthy as him. In a word, utter scum.
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Defeated over benefit cuts yet again in the House of Lords by a coalition that includes former members of Margaret Thatcher's government and unable anymore to explain away Britain's shrinking economy or blame everyone and everything else, Cameron's coalition government is beginning to slump against the ropes. As the "Guardian" pointed out today they cannot disguise the damage that their austerity drive is doing to the economy, while simply blaming Labour is now shown to be a threadbare excuse with no foundation in truth. How did Labour manage to overcome the economic slump of 2008-09, one of the worst in our history, and yet manage to achieve growth at 2% a year if they were so wrong? And, if the Tories are so right, why has the economy continued to shrink at an alarming rate? Having talked down the economy, made spurious comparisons with Greece, deflated the economy to within an inch of its life and bet on a export-led recovery that was never a realistic prospect, George Osborne has the sheer brassneck to say that he isn't surprised. Not surprised maybe, but he is badly and visibly shaken. So shaken he is now touting the idea of tax cuts. The only question is, who for? Meanwhile Mervyn King is suggesting another round of quantative easing. If that means more money for the banks as Osborne cuts taxes for the rich then we are simply back to square one. Now is the time for a more radical solution if the economy is to be resucitated. How about this George? Cut taxes to those who need it most and, instead of giving billions to the banks, give it to us so we can spend it. Otherwise, move over and let a real government take charge.
The Coalition government, despite all its protests, is actively helping the Chairman of RBS, Stephen Hester pictured above hunting poor people, to grab millions in bonuses. Only last week Nick Clegg was telling us that Hester was entitled to the bonuses because of a contract drawn up by the last government who "allowed the banks to get away with blue murder" and pleaded that "we are constrained by these contractural obligations." Mr.Hester's contract is now in the public domain and guess what? - his contract states that his bonus is entirely depndent on the renumeration committee. Better yet, the Government, as the largest shareholder in the bank, sits on the renumeration committee and has a veto over bonuses. When asked for an explaination Nick Clegg told reporters that he had never actually seen Mr.Hester's contract. We asked a government spokesperson for an explaination; "You have to realise that the Chairman's bonus is not our main consideration and that blackening the name of the previous Labour government is far more important. It's very difficult to tell a chap that he can't have his £1 million bonus when he asks you over brandy and cigars at the club, don't you know. This government certainly doesn't want the electorate to get the impression that banking executives have a cosy relationship with us - they do, but we don't want to give that impression."
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
While George Osborne continues to live in a trance, Britain's national debt has now risen to £1 trillion - the highest ever recorded - while government spending has fallen by a less than spectacular 0.9%. We asked the man rumoured to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer for his view; "These figures are fantastic and show quite conclusively that my strategy is working. Three million unemployed and a national debt higher than it was during the Napoleonic Wars, World War I and World War II combined is a price worth paying - especially if, like me, you're not the one doing the paying. The main thing is that we're moving in the right direction - towards further deregulation, the privatisation of the NHS, mass unemployment and the end of democracy. Now this is not the end, it is not even in sight of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of Britain as we've known it. We have a tough struggle ahead of us - or at least you have - but I am confident that, with the help of a double-dip recession, we will at least reach the promised land where I can continue to do as I like while getting even richer and you get to do as you're told while getting ever poorer."
Yesterday in Parliament provided probably the finest example of Tory double-dealing and sheer outright deception in living memory. First up was Vince Cable, the LibDem's human shield for the Tories pictured above, who explained how he intended to cap the outrageous levels of executive pay by asking them nicely to stop doing it. What is needed, apparently, is "more transparency" and "best practice" - terms that were vague enough to suit the tastes of the most two-faced of Tories and terms that left Vinnie looking distinctly uncomfortable. With the opening batsman out for a duck the Tories next called on Ian Duncan Smith - the self-styled "quiet man" of the Tory party who is "quiet" in the same way that Jack the Ripper was. His brief was to explain why it is necessary to cap the income of the poor. "We can't have poor executives having to rub along on a mere £2 million a year, while the greedy poor can rob us all to the tune of thousands," he roared. Chris Grayling then waded in, disgusted that the unemployed would object to being made to stack shelves at Poundland for nothing. "How can the unemployed object to working for nothing, when poor executives are forced to do nothing for £2 million a year?" he asked. Meanwhile David Cameron, the world's first part-time Prime Minister, was cruising the TV studios telling everyone who would listen that the lazy, feckless unemployed should be out there looking for non-existant jobs in the worse jobs market for two decades. So, after a day of capping the poor and not capping the rich, of blaming the victims and rewarding the criminals, what is the result? An ICM poll suggests that the Tory party has never been so popular! The Conservative Tories are on 40%, the Labour Tories are on 35% and the LibDem Tories are on 16%. Which just go to show that both British voter's hearts and their brains now reside in the same place - south of their navels.
Monday, 23 January 2012
If anyone had any doubts about the catestrophic idiocy of George Osborne's economic policy then the fourth-guarter figures for GDP lay it out so starkly that even the most ill-informed moron must get it by now. Essentially Osborne's policy has been based on two fallacies of epic proportion and ignorence. The first is that the banks must be saved from their own folly. The second is that Britain's credit rating must be protected at all costs through savage spending cuts that will demonstrate its "credibility" to, of all people, the banks. Unfortunately protecting the banks has given rise to an unexpected outcome - unexpected by George Osborne at least - the continuation of an unsustainale property bubble that is warping the economy and preventing any real chance of a recovery. Economic recovery after an economic crash always receives its first impetus from a fall in asset prices. Investors grab these assets at knock-down prices and the cash in when the asset values begin to rise again as the economy recovers. The problem is that in protecting the banks from their own unwise property investments, Osborne has also protected the value of those selfsame investments and, therefore, property values. There are no assets to buy at knock-down prices and, therfore, no initial impetus for recovery. Investors are simply holding on to their cash and refusing to invest, content instead to reduce their own debt by cutting overheads - in other words, jobs. Britain may well have succeeded in protecting its credit rating but at the cost of a savage austerity programme that precludes the only other route back out of recession - government spending. Osborne has only succeeded to the extent that the money we now have to borrow to fund our ever-growing burden of unemployment benefits is relatively cheap. There is, however, a get of jail free card, at least for the Tories, though for the rest of us it will prove to be one of the most expensive economic fixes in the history of the British economy. The Tories can sell the greatest asset the country has and one that they have been very busy devaluing - the NHS. Even a cursory examination of Andrew Lansley's plans for "reform" in healthcare demonstrates quite clearly that is what they intend to do. Such a move has only one parallel in recent modern history - Hitler's conquest of Europe in order to fund the previous expansion of his armed forces that he needed to conquer Europe in the first place. Get ready for the day that George Osborne, having deliberately killed the economy, then turns around and tell us we have to sell the NHS because "there is no alternative." Between them Cameron, Osborne and Lansley are perpetrating one of the greatest swindles of all time and its your NHS and your future that they are stealing.
Andrew Lansley has managed to spend £3.45 billion so far on his totally gratuitous shake up of the NHS. To add insult to injury he's also managed to spend £3 million hiring temporary staff to replace the civil servants he's sacked from the Ministry of Health. We asked Mr.Lansley for an explaination; "Well, the first point is that it's not my money is it? A few billion wasted here and there is nothing compared to the oodles of cash that me and my mates will glum out of this when the NHS is privatised. For a crook like me getting the public to fund the theft of an entire healthcare industry is simply good business. We came into power 18 months ago with a clear mandate to steal as many public assets as possible and the NHS is the jewel in the crown. We will soon replace an inefficient body dedicated to the nation's health to an even more inefficient body dedicated to me and my mate's wealth. Essentially I'm using tax payer's money to fund a scheme that will replace the NHS with a private healthcare system that will avoid paying tax - what a hoot!"
Sunday, 22 January 2012
Nick Clegg, the world's most famous political prisoner, was allowed to speak to the media today by his captors, the notorious "We're Tories And Don't Need A Mandate" faction. Often incoherent after months of psychological torture and solitary confinement in the basement of No.10, Nick shocked the world by agreeing that his captors were right about the NHS all along and that his former political principles were mere naive illusions. In a confused statement he told the BBC that the NHS cannot be "frozen in time" but must move forward in a retrograde manner back to the 1840's. We asked a leading psychologist for his view; "Nick is showing all the signs of Stockholm Syndrome - a psychological state in which hostages identify with their captors. It's akin to brainwashing and comes about when the only form of communication is between the victim and the hostage-takers. Nick has been increasingly isolated from the real world and reliant on the Tories for his every need. However, I am not entirely convinced to be honest. I believe that it's just as likely that he has always been a closet Tory - perhaps even a Tory mole - rather like Tony Blair."
Ian Duncan Smith, the genius behind the policy of making the poor even poorer, has criticised the Church of England for not backing his plans; "The problem with the Bishops in the Church of England is that they don't understand Christianity nor do I understand why they don't come to me and ask for my permission before they comment. As Jesus Christ's best pal and having direct access to God they should consult with me on all matters of religious belief. Jesus said quite clearly in his election manifesto that rewarding the rich and punishing the poor is what God expects and I am determined to deliver on that pledge. Putting poor people into houses they can't afford is evil. Keeping rich people in houses they can't afford is good. Everyone who votes Tory knows that - why don't the Bishops?"
In a well crafted editorial on its website today the "Telegraph" has outlined its reasoned argument against a mansion tax. Congratulating Vince Cable for his persistence it points out, however, that this unlikely to be rewarded since he seems to have completely misunderstood what the Tories mean by the word "fair." Raising taxes for the rich, it points out, would "make it harder for Britain to pull itself out of depression." Rich people faced by the prospect of paying tax, it seems, would immediately become less productive, imaginative and wonderful and, instead, become lazy, unimaginative and feckless. This effect is not apparent amongst ordinary people who are lazy, unimaginative and feckless already. It would be unfair, the "Telegraph" tells us, to prevent the better sort of person leaving their children as much money as possible since, as is well known, the children of rich people are inherently more productive, imaginative and wonderful than the children of poor parents. Yet the article begs two questions. If rich people are, by nature, productive, imaginative and wonderful - why do they need incentives to be so? And, if poor people are lazy, unimaginative and feckless, by nature, how does making them even poorer improve their attitudes? Has the "Telegraph" made the discovery of the century - that rich and poor people are actually two entirely different species of human being? And, if so, how can a member of one species morph into another by the simple act of reaching a different tax bracket? This is a mystery worthy to grace the pages of the "Fortean Times."
The Institute of International Finance, which represents the banks and financiers who drove the world economy to the brink of disaster, has broken off talks in Athens in an effort to blackmail European leaders into giving them its pound of flesh. The Institutes chief negotiators, Charles Dallara and Jean Lemierre pictured above, left the meeting pleading pressing and personal appointments that are so important, apparently, that the entire world economy takes second place. Their departure, however, has nothing to do with their attempts to reduce the debt write-off for Greece or raise the interest rates for the remaining loans or the hope of hedge funds that a Greek default will enable them to claim their loses against insurance policies - perish the thought. We asked a spokesperson from the IIF for an explaination; "Charles Dallara had to leave in order to attend his grandmother's birthday party and Jean Lemierre had an urgent dental appointment. There is nothing sinister in their early exit from the talks. However, people have to understand that risking the entire world economy must be a secondary consideration to the loss of profits that banks might have to face. The banks did nothing illegal - depending on your definition of illegal - and were only exercising their right to be as stupid, greedy and reckless as they like with other people's money. It is important that we protect the principle of socialism for the banks and unregulated capitalism for everyone else. Without that principle banks would find it difficult to recruit the right kind of mindless, unimaginative, ill-educated and thoroughly selfish morons to executive positions and many of them might well relocate to Mars instead."
Now before anyone makes accusations that the "News In Shorts" is being racist against Italians or that it is indulging in politically incorrect stories about Italian tanks having six reverse gears etc, the editor would like point out that half his family is actually Italian. With that out of the way we would like to review Captain Schettino's account of himself and his interpretation of the "Birkenhead Drill." After steering his ship onto rocks in an attempt to show off to the inhabitants of Isola di Giglio, he raced back to his cabin where he changed out of his uniform, he then inadvertently strayed too close to the edge of the deck, accidentally tripped over and fell into a lifeboat where he spent the next hour arguing with the Port Commander about his reasons for not getting back on the striken ship to help coordinate rescue efforts. I don't know about the rest of you but he's got me convinced, although for some reason the phrase "il fascio di cazzo" keeps coming to mind.
Andrew Lansley's insane bid to privatise the NHS has run into yet more trouble after a Tory-led cross-party select committee trashed his "reforms" and pointed out that the proposed changes were wasting vast amounts of money and directly undermining front-line health services. As waiting lists have rocketed and real and effective improvements have been put on hold, Cameron and Lansley immediately hunkered down into damage-limitation mode. We asked Andrew Lansley for his point of view; "It is a well known fact that, despite all of the opposition from parliament, the doctors, the nurses and the public, that everyone agrees with me on this. What we are trying to do is to give people a real choice between paying for health care provided by a dodgy bunch of spivs from the US or dying in agony completely unattended in an underfunded hospital corridor. We are hoping to create an efficient system of expensive healthcare on one hand and squalid neglect on the other. People have to understand that this has been caused by the stubborn refusal of old people, after paying their national insurance all their lives, to lie down and die so that I can pay less tax. Having successfully destroyed social care and forcing many old people into hospitals because there's no where else for them to go, we must now complete our sacred task of hounding them out of there and into a premature grave. Once that has been achieved and the NHS is fully privatised we Tories can reduce our tax burden and turn our attention to revitalising the feudal system."
Saturday, 21 January 2012
Boris Johnson has layed into British youth, saying that they lack the energy to get jobs and that foreign youngsters have taken their jobs because they are idle. We asked Boris to expand on this startling conclusion; "Its self evident isn't it when you go into Pret a Manger and its run almost entirely by foreign youngsters. These hard-working young foreigners are grateful for low-paid jobs with a total lack of rights and British youth should do the same. They should forget their university education and be grateful that privilged people like me are willing to see them in dead-end jobs with barely enough money to starve. I'm afraid that they'll just have to accept that I am rich because I inherited money and they are poor because they deserve to be. All we are asking of them is that they accept that they have no prospects, that their education is irrelevant if they didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge and that they face a life of grinding poverty. Once they do then the Tory party can get back to its main preoccupations - grabbing as much for ourselves as possible, ruling for a tiny privileged elite and treating the peasants of this country with the contempt they deserve." We asked our political editor for his reaction; "When a British politician argues that his own people have unrealistic expectations, that he feels no need to even try and meet those expectations and that he'd rather see foreigners in the country working for next to nothing than give his own people a helping hand, then its time to start talking in terms of treason. If Boris hates his own countrymen so much he really should leave and find another line of work. What the Tories don't seem to get is that they are public servants who should be working for us - in our interests and not on the interests of foreign nationals."
David Cameron, after his rousing speech about the evils of "crony capitalism," has come out fighting. Striking out against excessive executive pay, he defended the £1.2 million being handed over to the Chief Executive of the publicly owned RBS -BIFF! Then, dancing like Muhammed Ali in his heyday, he next tackled the lobbyists who have poisoned our politcal life by drawing up a register that fails to tell us what they are lobbying for or how much they are being paid or by whom - BAM! Calling on his cabinet colleagues to support him in the good fight, he was joined by Michael Gove whose immediate instinct was to provide the Queen with a new yacht at public expense - KAPOW! Then Ian Duncan Smith waded in with a spirited defence of his policy to take benefits away from the disabled and sick on the basis that it was necessary in order to break the "dependency culture" and persuade the infirm and dying that it is their duty to work so he and his rich mates don't have to pay taxes - SMACK! Cameron has done us all a service by defining who the enemy is - unfortunately, despite all the meaningless and deceptive rhetoric, that enemy seems to be us.
Friday, 20 January 2012
Ed Milliband has called for Fred Goodwin to be stripped of his knighthood, awarded for his "services to banking," as punishment for being a thoroughly bad egg. Goodwin, who managed to steer RBS into bankruptcy and then walked away with a £12 million pension pot, was reported as being devastated by the news as the photgraph above, taken when he received the news in his chauffer-driven Rolls Royce, amply demonstrates. We managed to secure an interview with Goodwin as he relaxed by the swimming pool of one his many villas in Spain; "I am utterly devastated by the news. Only this morning I dropped two shots during my daily game of golf and I've been blubbing into my champagne all day. I just want to be alone to be honest and am thinking of spending the rest of the week sailing the Med in my yacht contemplating how cruel life can be. I have to admit that losing £45 billion was a bit careless of me but I've already apologised once for it and I don't see why I should lose my knighthood. How will the peasants know to tug their forelock if I lose my "Sir?" It's the only thing that marks me out as different from the rest of the crooks on the Costa del Crime."
In order to assure his image as the "people's Prime Minister," David Cameron has pledged to keep the bonuses awarded to executives in publicly owned banks to a minimum. The "minimum," apparently amounts to more money than most people can earn in a lifetime but, the part-time PM assures us, it is "considerably less than last year" when the RBS Chief Executive, Stephen Hester, was awarded a staggering £2.4 million. We asked David Cameron whether this was an example of his "responsible capitalism"; "Absolutely. I'm responsible for good old Steve getting a million pounds of taxpayers money and he is responsible for stuffing it into his pocket. I am still very much against "crony-capitalism" as long as it doesn't include my cronies and he thoroughly deserves the money for losing yet more taxpayers money while maintaining the fiction that he knows what he's doing. You must realise that we have to pay such high renumeration in order to attract the calibre of greedy, selfish and second-rate morons that the banking industry relies on. Only last week Stephen was threatening to up stakes and leave the country after being head-hunted by the Russian Mafia. It was only after I pointed out to him that failure at RBS means getting the equivelant of a lottery win, while failure in Russia means a bullet in the head, that he changed his mind - but it was a close thing and he only changed his mind when we upped the bonus."
Nadine Dorries, yet another swivel-eyed Tory in the long tradition of that party and famous for dumping her husband who suffers from multiple sclerosis on the basis that they were "at different stages of their lives," has achieved her ambition of having sexual abstinance (for girls only) debated in parliament. Apparently, after a successful history stretching back 3.5 billion years, she would like to ban the sexual imperative for reasons that defy all common sense. According to this working class girl made good, the ability to say "no" will help prevent young girls from being sexually abused by predatory males who, she seems to think, will throw up their hands in despair when their victims refuse to cooperate. Young boys, apparently, need not apply for the school lessons she suggests, presumably because they are beyond all help and, like her Etonian colleagues in the party, can always give each other a helping hand. Dorries, who ran off with another married man when she dumped her husband, feels that society is "saturated in sex," but seems to have no idea that it always was. Like many in her strange and dangerous political party who love to lecture people that they should "do as I say, not do as I do." she yearns for a return to "Victorian values," when there were 60,000 prostitutes or "unfortunate women" in London alone and the upper classes could sexually abuse the lower classes with impunity.
After Cameron's speech about a new "caring capitalism" it wasn't long before the truth reared its ugly head to demonstrate the shallow, vacuous sound bite nature of his words. Wringing his hands he told us that he is "powerless" to do anything about excessive banking bonuses and that re-regulating the finance industry is unrealistic. Then, even before his weasel words had ceased to echo around various TV news studios, Andrew Lansley calmly announced that financial rating agencies, the very people who spectacularly failed to realistically rate their own industry and now insist tht entire countries pauperize themselves in order to pay back the unwise investments made by the banks, will be the arbiters of the NHS. No longer will the NHS be judged on its clinical excellence or even on patient care - it will be judged on credit-worthiness. For the gang of two, Cameron and Lansley, the advantages are obvious. They will be able to wash their hands of the NHS and pretend that they are no longer responsible while, when hospitals begin to close, they will be able to point the finger at the likes of Standard & Poor's, shrug their shoulders and reiterate their lack of power over such organizations. Like Judas before them, they will hand us over to our enemies, take their thirty pieces of silver and deny all responsibility. Unfortunately neither of them will then have the decency to hang themselves from the nearest tree.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
As it becomes increasingly clear that the Tories cannot guarantee ramming their vile policies down our throats because of opposition in the House of Lords they have hit upon a new tactic - packing the Lords with new Tories who are willing to do the nasty. Plans are afoot to appoint 60 new peers - 40 Tories, 15 Lib Dems and 5 Labour. As with the general election, when they couldn't win the argument and obtain a majority, they have decided to circumvent the inconveniences of our bicameral democracy and cheat us out of any opposition. We asked a Tory spokesperson for the party view; "Our democracy is always evolving and we are determined to make absolutely sure that in evolves in ways that suit us. We have three years left to make sure we have a permanent majority in the country and have the only kind of democracy that is acceptable to us - a one party democracy. We have a whole raft of vile, nasty and completely unacceptable policies we need to force through before anyone can stop us and we intend to get on with it whether anyone else agrees or not."
As David Cameron nervously swings behind Michael Gove's idea to gift a new yacht for the Queen, the Tories have rewarded their biggest donator, Deloitte, with a contract worth a cool £773.5 million. The contract is part of the private sector project to cut unemployment by teaching people to write killer CV's and comes in the wake of a £700,000 donation to the Tory's including £28,000 for Chris Grayling, the Minister for Taking Welfare Payments From Those Who Need It. To add insult to injury Mr.Grayling appeared on the BBC today to explain how the private sector is offsetting the jobs lost in the public sector despite the fact that unemployment is continuing to skyrocket and job creation in the private sector continues to plummet. We asked Mr.Grayling for his view; "We Tories have long maintained that the truth is whatever we say it is and is not subject to such crude and inconvenient things like facts. As to the millions we've received from Deloitte, there is no question of corruption. It was a straightforward commercial deal in which I, by sheer coincidence, benefitted to the tune of £28,000. Deloitte have suffered terribly during this recent recession and, I believe, are down to their last few billion quid. We felt duty bound to come to their rescue by shovelling money out of the pockets of the unemployed, the sick and disabled and widows into theirs. By doing this we are showing our caring side - the side that cares about big business and millionaires and doesn't give a toss for the poor and vulnerable."
Michael Gove's project to provide every school in Britain with a copy of the King James Bible by Easter has run into a bit of bother it seems. They have been stranded, apparently, somewhere east of Eden, which, for those of you who have never read the Bible, is the Land of Nod. Thousands of copies are being stored in a foreign warehouse because the swivel-eyed Minister for Underming Teacher's Morale can't find a private sponsor for the scheme. Downing Street had indicated that no public money would be available for this eccentric idea but has now indicated that the books will be delivered even if no sponsor is forthcoming. The whole sorry saga begs a few questions nontheless. First, what on Earth persuaded Gove that the country needs more bibles considering the widespread lack of interest in religion amongst the British? Second, why was it not possible to find either a printer or warehousing in Britain? Third, given the lack of a sponsor, where has the estimated £400,000 for this harebrained scheme suddenly appeared from? We asked Michael Gove for his view; "I feel that children in this country, especially those who espouse other pagan religions, could do with a good dose of fire and brimstone set out in 17th century English. Everyone knows that printing in India or China is cheaper than in Britain where wages remain far too high and the necessary levels of poverty amongst the working class have yet to be achieved. As to the money -the Prime Minister has indicated that £400 grand represents good value for money if it avoids embarassing the government and showing us up for the dingbats we actually are."
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
In perhaps the most bizzare policy initiative ever recorded Sainsbury's staff are to be trained to identify carers on behalf of the Department of Health. The idea, if that's what it can be called, is for the supermarket to find those who care for others but are unaware that is what they are doing. We asked a spokesperson for the Department of Health for an explaination; "We did think of asking people if they are carers but decided that since many of them are working class and, therefore, are an entirely different species, that this would be unproductive. We finally hit on the solution while watching an edition of David Attenborough's "Blue Planet" in which he observed strange creatures to record and understand their behaviour. David declined to partake in our versions of "Badger Watch" and we hit on the idea of training Sainsbury's staff to do it instead. This had many advantages we realised. There are a great many employees at Sainsbury's many of whom are eager to learn new skills. Most people shop at Sainsbury's at one time or another so unidentified carers are bound to turn up there sooner or later. It's cheap since these people are already being paid by Sainsbury's. Last, but not least, many of the employees are also from working class backgrounds and, therefore, will find it easier to communicate with these strange beings we call carers." We asked one Sainsbury's employee who has undertaken the training for his view; "It's not as easy as it might first appear. I remember the first person I asked "Are you a carer?" replied, "No, I'm Church of England." Fortunately, being working class myself, I immediately recognised the miscommunication and restructured the question to be more incisive. Spotting the right people to ask can be a bit tricky so I now confine myself to people pushing other people around in wheel chairs. I've sent this startling method of observation and identification to the Department of Health and they were well impressed. They said I might get an OBE - whatever that is."
When, exactly, did the neoliberal economic thesis become the only "credible alternative?" Ed Milliband has thrown his lot in with this idea, citing the need for "credibility" in embracing austerity for the majority and ever-increasing wealth for the few. Neoliberalism is a new orthodoxy it seems, while Europe has effectively outlawed Keynsian economics in its new political settlement. So where is the evidence that neoliberalism can save us all? In the last 30 years this economic alibi has enshrined greed as the only guide to the behaviour of the wealthy minority, while it has saddled the increasingly poor majority with rising unemployment, higher taxes, lower expectations and life chances and fewer services. How, exactly, has transferring wealth and therefore buying power from the majority to a minority been good for us? How does "trickle down" work when the wealthy hoard their money in tax free banking havens? How does deregulation help when it only seems to encourage irrational thought and makes a virtue of theft, lying and the art of the confidence trick? Are these people telling us that neoliberalism is the only alternative because the human race is selfish, irrational, greedy and beyond all redemption? And, even if this is true, why do our leaders not even try to lead by example or to inspire us by telling us we could be better? If they are no better than us why should we vote for them in the first place? When did the politics of despair overwhelm the politics of hope? I suspect it was around 1979.
In response to the biggest crisis to face capitalism in modern times Ed Milliband has decided to close his eyes, hang on tight and keep quiet. To win power, which seems to be his only ambition, he has decided that thinking outside the box is a definite no-no. His idea is that the Labour party needs to win the confidence of the electorate by not rocking the leaky Thatcherite boat and to go along with a neoliberal economic thesis that has delivered nothing but growing inequality and economic meltdown. To be fair he's doing nothing more than political leaders across Europe who have seen the system crash disasterously and whose only answer is to patch it up once more, cross their fingers and hope for the best. The system is irrecoverably broken and cannot and should not be repaired. It needs replacing and we need leaders who know how to actually lead instead of running around like startled sheep. Despite all the evidence that unregulated greed is counter-productive, that inequality is bad for economic wellbeing and that cutting budgets is simply an admission of failure, Keynsian economics has been virtually outlawed. "You cannot spend your way out of recession," they tell us. But where is the evidence that we can cut our way out of it? The sheer lack of imagination or even understanding is staggering amongst these second-raters. We at the "News In Shorts" have a message for these so-called leaders, and for Ed Milliband in particular, from a man who can lay some claim to the title, Franklin D. Roosevelt; "Do something. If it works do it again. If it doesn't, do something else."
Monday, 16 January 2012
Britain has finally sunk back into recession the economic forcasting organization Item Club has warned today. The British economy shrank in the final quarter of 2011 and is expected to contract further in the first quarter of 2012 it said, while unemployment is expected to reach 3 million in the coming months. We asked David Cameron for the government reaction; "After all our hard work to turn the clock back to 1840 we welcome the news that we've finally reached the sunlit highlands of recession. With economic disaster looming we can now really get down to the business of destroying utterly all the gains that working people have made over the last 150 years. Our strategy of blaming the poor for the economic disaster caused by the banks has finally begun to bear fruit as the British electorate, with their 30-second memory, have begun to swing behind our plans to pauperise them for the good of the country - or, as we like to call it, "us." Our campaign to asset strip the country in order to shovel yet more money from the public sector into our pockets is well advanced and we fully expect to have the NHS in our clutches any day now. Meanwhile, we have Nick Clegg acting as lookout while we steal everything of value and the BBC busy defending the indefensible for us. At last its back to busines as usual."
With the Tories pulling out all the stops and willing to play any dirty trick in order to privatise the NHS, the sharks who want a piece of the action are already sniffing blood in the water. Chief amongst those sharks is none other than Cherie Blair who is busy setting up a nice new shiny partnership with another barracuda, American Gail Lese, a former fund manager and sometime Republican party political candidate. We asked these two carnivores for a comment. First up was Cherie Blair; "As former First Lady of Britain and as an adherent to New Labour ideals I feel it is my duty to glum as much money out of this as I can. I have the deepest sympathy with those who will soon be unable to access NHS care, but that sympathy doesn't extend to passing up the chance to make lots and lots of lovely cash. Coming from a working class background myself and having experienced deprevation, I feel its my duty to make sure that everyone else in the country should suffer more than I did." Ms. Lese commented next; "As a Republican and having no sympathy with poor people at all I actually don't give a damn. So the poor in Britain will soon have no access to healthcare? What's that to me? I'm not British and have no scruples in making money out of other people's misfortune. This is the best opportunity for corporate raiding I've seen in my liftime and I for one am cashing in while I can. Believe me I've got lots of friends in the US who can't wait to take advantage of what's likely to be the biggest sale of national assets since Brazil sold the rain forest."
Sunday, 15 January 2012
Michael Gove, the Minister For Destroying Teacher's Morale pictured above, has suggested that, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, we should all chip in to buy her a new boat. We asked Mr.Gove, an enthusiastic monarchist and well known creep, for his comments; "I believe that, in this time of great austerity when people are finding it hard to make ends meet and millions are being thrown out of work, we need to cheer people up by spending £60 million of their taxes to get the Queen a new yacht. Its obvious when you think about it and is almost certain to get me a gong or a knighthood or something. I also believe it will be good value for money since it will cut at least half an hour off the time it takes Her Maj to get to Australia. The Ministry of Defence is all for it since it will almost double the size of the Royal Navy overnight and we have the support of the Transport Ministry because it will fit in with their plans for a high speed train service reserved for the rich and important. The money won't be a problem - we can always find some more from defenceless cripples, poor children or widows. With the Olympics and the Jubilee this year its the perfect time to showcase the best of Britain and disguise the depressing truth."
While Cheryl Gillan, the welsh Secretary, sold her house in Amersham, which is 500 metres from the proposed route of the High Speed railway line, two months before the project was approved (by sheer coincidence), an engineering company has produced a report that shows conclusively that improving present services would be more cost effective. We asked a Coalition spokesman why the proposed HS2 line will be going ahead; "It's simple mathematics. There are 650 MP's most of whom have constituencies in the Midlands and the north or will find it easier to get to Birmingham rather than travelling directly to London. HS2 is a fantastic solution to this problem. Having made his or her way to Birmingham an MP will be able to relax in the VIP's lounge before boarding a luxury train which will whisk him of her to London in no time - all at taxpayer's expense and without rubbing shoulders with the rather grubby public who won't be able to afford a ticket. The equation is simple; MP's + Unlimited Access to Tax Payer's Money = An Exclusive Luxury Club With A Free Bar. Of course the bar won't actually be free for wealthy passengers who don't happen to be MP's, but for us it is since taxpayers pay for our G&T's, champagne and whatnot. The country will benefit because important people like us will be able to go about our business half sozzled without having the inconvenience of mixing with the lower classes. MP's will able to think great thoughts without being constantly distracted by the concerns of little people."
Saturday, 14 January 2012
The Daily Mail ran a story yesterday about the Cole family, pictured above, who were once very wealthy and are now virtually destitute. The story itself is depressing enough. Mr Cole inherited what he calls a modest property that he sold for £600,000 and then used the money to fund an investment portfolio that included 84 buy-to-let properties in Huddersfield generating £150,000 per year in income. With that he bought his country mansion, valued at £2.5 million and paid for his four children's private education, leaving him with "only" £35,000 to live on. His problems arose when he invested in Romanian land that, he was assured, would get planning permission to expand his property empire. The land was going for a song and the seller appeared to be both stupid and desperate to get rid of it. In fact the seller was in such a hurry to sell the land and was so stupid that Mr.Cole moved quickly to take advantage of this person without making the necessary checks. But he had been caught in a fraud known in Romania as "the beautiful flower" - a deal too good to be true and entirely dependent on the greed and arrogance of the buyer. The land cannot and never will be developed - it is set aside for agricultural purposes and nothing else. Mr.Cole has now lost all his money, is about to have the rest of his properties repossesed and his children have had to leave their private schools. Oh well, you might think, they'll just have to get jobs. Unfortunately it turns out that every member of the family is incapable of real work and are trained only to use money as a means to take advantage of those less fortunate than themselves. Now the money is gone and they find that they are the "less fortunate" and their only effective response is to bemoan their fate and hope for sympathy from the rest of us. Unfortunately, that sympathy seems to be in rather short supply, as a look at the comments from readers of this story demonstrates. Why is this? Because Mr.Cole and his ilk have had the free run of this country for 30 years now and, during that time, they have never shown any sympathy for anyone else. They have taken advantage of a system that allowed them to use their money to further enrich themselves at the expense of others and has driven up house prices to levels that are now beyond the reach of most people. The "News In Shorts" cannot imagine that Mr.Cole and his wife have ever voted anything other than Tory and have probably spent many a cosy evening in front of their inglenook fireplace discussing the "feckless unemployed" and moaning that their taxes are being wasted on "benefit scroungers." Why no sympathy? Because prey animals rarely have sympathy when they come across a dead predator - they are merely thankful that it won't be hunting them and their offspring anymore.