Although it has long been clear that George Osborne is an economic ignoramus it is only now that we find out that he's insane as well. Having flattened the economy in order to "save" it in a purely ideological sense, he is now quite happy to stand aside as his one measure of success, Britain's credit rating, is set to disappear. The reason is quite understandable - for anyone other than a Tory that is - since an economy in recession is not a good bet when you are an international money lender. Still at least George will be able to count the pennies he's saved even as the pounds - in their billions - leave the country at a rate of knots. This sorry state of affairs is the direct consequence of believing that a nation's economy can be compared to that of a household - a Tory conceit invented by that other ignoramus, Margaret Thatcher, to sell the idea of permanent recession to the peasants. Deliberately shrinking the economy, especially during a recession, could only be thought a good idea by those who crave tax cuts for themselves above everything else. Osborne and his fellow Tory morons might believe that they are "saving" money but they are losing it at an even faster rate - as anyone with a working brain cell will see when looking at Britain's growing national debt. And, as the money continues to disappear, the answer from the Tories is to make the poor pay and take even more purchasing power out of the economy. The Tories can no longer hide behind their bankrupt ideology, nor can they claim ignorance in the face of economic facts. They are not fit to govern Britain and must be removed as soon as possible before they inflict terminal damage on the country. And, once removed, they should be tried for treason.
It has been said that the true horror of real evil is how banal it is and no one is more banal than Ian Duncan Smith. Filled with outrage at the way in which public money has been wasted to support the scandalously low wages in Britain his solution, outlined in the "Telegraph" today, is to keep the low wages and cut the support. How exactly this is supposed to work is beyond all comprehension - it is certainly beyond IDS's comprehension. His argument for doing this is somewhat murky to say the least but seems to be along the lines that cutting tax credits will "save" the country money and restore the pride that ordinary people should feel for their poverty. Now correct me if I'm wrong but pauperising the population is quite unlikely to help anyone, especially business which will be the first to feel the affects of falling demand. There is little joy in seeing your corporate tax bill cut if you receive the news in the bankruptcy courts. The point of the tax credit system is that it supports not only the underpaid worker but also the businesses who cannot afford to pay a living wage. The one weakness of the system was not the largely ficticious hoard of benefit "scroungers" but the number of hugely wealthy corporations who refuse to pay living wages, even though they can afford to do so, and then have the sheer gall to avoid paying their taxes as well. As usual in his religious zeal to smite the ungodly IDS has lashed out at the vulnerable instead. Having seen off the unemployed, the sick and the disabled IDS has now set his sights on that other notorious "scrounger" - the ordinary man or woman with a badly paid job. Apparently then "strivers" can be "scroungers" too. If evil is banal, then stupidity is even more so and no one is more banal, stupid and evil than Ian Duncan Smith.
David Cameron has taken time out of his busy schedule, thinking great thoughts, drinking Cianti and counting his money, to tell the country that wrecking the economy is good for us. "We cannot compete in the world with a millstone of debt around our necks," he informed us as he proceeded to put that debt up. "We are going in the right direction," he further told us, as the economy continues to sink out of sight. "We support the strivers not the skivers," he proudly announced as unemployment continues to sap the strength of the country and wages for most of us continue to shrink. The truth is, of course, that Cameron supports only the already wealthy while the vast majority of us he considers to be "skivers." His message is clear - only a small minority in the country are of any account and we have no right to expect our government to lend a helping hand unless we are already millionaires. Money is now the measure of all things and you either have it, in which case you are already the member of a very small club, or you haven't and neither Cameron nor the Tory party have any time for you. The Tories have locked us all into a struggle for the heart and soul of the country and they have the advantage because they have neither heart nor soul. We will not be allowed to rise above our station, either through the earning of decent wages nor through the alternative of state assistance in education, the redistribution of wealth, healthcare or even decent working conditions. The Tory vision for the future is as clear as a bell - you, the individual, are on your own and should expect nothing from those above.
We have become somewhat used to Ian Duncan Smith spouting his religious mumbo-jumbo while giving the unemployed and disabled a good kicking. It's part of his "personality" and his self-image as a Victorian era "you have to be cruel to be kind" evangelist. Religion has played only a peripheral role in modern British politics following several centuries when the English spent far too much time murdering each other over schisms in the Christian fairy tale. Following the reforms of the last 150 years its grip has gradually slipped - until now that is. Religion is once again on the agenda as new cultures have taken root in the country and sparked off another round of "my invisible friend in the sky is better than yours" idiocy. Now, in the wake of Ian Duncan Smith's vile brand of self-justification, we have David Cameron spouting things such as "Jesus is the light of the world" to give himself cover for being the most divisive, vicious and prejudiced Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher had a go. It works in the United States so why not in the UK? Unfortunately his attempt to harness IDS's vacuous religious underpinnings for kicking the vulnerable and rewarding the already smug and self-satisfied has rung hollow in the Church of England because of Cameron's conversion to gay marriage. A throw-away line designed to augment his "liberal" credentials it had the unintended effect of annoying many in the CofE who have nasty little prejuduces of their own. So this Christmas religion, if not exactly centre-stage, has been given a completely unwarrented walk-on part in the Parliamentary pantomine we call politics. Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has welcomed Cameron's overtly Christian Christmas message this year concluding that the PM is "a good man and he deserves our encouragement." No he isn't and no amount of insincere religious claptrap will make him one.
You have to hand it to the National Rifle Association (NRA) they don't miss a trick. In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre they have come out fighting today and are eager to sell the line that the solution of too many guns is - more guns. Knowing, as a any good salesman does, that an objection is merely an opportunity to sell, they have sought to overturn the objections of parents who don't like to see their children gunned down and turn it into an opportunity to sell even more guns. Better yet they see it as an opportunity to expand their role in American society and cash in by offering their expertise for a scheme to have armed guards at every school in the country. "The only protection against bad guys with guns is good guys with guns," they told the nation in all seriousness, without outlining how they would differentiate between the two. "The only way to protect our dear, innocent children," they suggested, "is to incarcerate them in a bunker bristling with weapons." What do they want, schools that look more like the Maginot Line than centres of learning and excellence? Well yes, actually. That, apparently, is the only way to protect children against those who play violent computer games (usually other children) and those who see the gun as the answer to everything (such as the NRA). Sensitive as ever, they timed their press conference to coincide with the two-minute silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. Like I say, you have to hand it to them.......
I was waiting for a train when the world ended today and, I must say, I was very disappointed. I suppose it was the only sort of end of the world one could expect during these times of austerity - one without any of the trimmings. The sky didn't turn blood red, there was no ten-mile high tsaunami and Jesus didn't appear in the sky. All a bit of a damp squib if you ask me. Of course here in Britain the Tories will blame Labour and assure us all that they will "cut the deficit and not the apocolypse." Meanwhile thousands of "survivalists" will be sitting around in their rubber dinghys mournfully unloading their hand guns and telling each other that this is the worst apocolypse they've ever seen. The mysterious disappearing Mayans - mysterious for not disappearing and being completely unconcerned about the end of the world - will go back to the routine involved in another and even longer "long count." The expert doomsayers will go back to their calculations and explain that they forgot to carry the "1" and the end of the world will actually be next year, or the year after that or manybe next century. The scientific community will become insuferably smug and do the round of the TV studious telling us all "I told you so." I don't know about you but I'm completely disillusioned and I won't be bothering to turn up for the next end of the world.
The man pictured above in the interesting cardigan is George Entwistle, the former Director General of the BBC who managed to keep the job for a whole 54 days. In that time he managed to bring the BBC to its knees as it was engulfed by scandal and exposed as a management shambles. George Entwistle is typical of a new class of manager - the vacuous nonentity with little talent elevated into a position of responsibility not because of what he knows but because of who he knows. They are members of that elite "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions" group of high flyers, whose instruction to underlings reflects the fact that they themselves don't actually know anything. Abrogating their responsibilities they "delgate" almost all their functions to those below them who likewise have no idea what they're doing and then spend their days playing golf, chairing "important" meetings about "diversity" and "lean management", and creatively filling in their expenses forms. And, when they are publicly exposed as the numpties they are, they are then given huge lottery-win sized golden goodbyes to prevent embarassment to those who gave them the job in the first place. This cancer within the establishment, the promotion of well-connected morons to high positions and the reward of failure, is the main driving force behind the decline of Britain and is a reflection of the idiotic class structure in this country. "Lions led by donkeys," is the phrase that increasingly comes to mind.
Alec Shelbrooke, the Tory MP for for Elmet and Rothwell, shook his considerable double chin at voters today and demanded that they unemployed should be prevented from buying "unecessary items" such as cigarettes, alcolhol and cable TV. "We have succeeded in making many people thoroughly miserable by throwing them out of work and I feel that our work will not be complete unless we can find a way to make them even more miserable. This, I believe, will help many of the children whose parents we've forced into poverty." Not to be outdone in the "cruel to be kind" stakes the UKIP candidate Geoffrey Clark has called for the enforced abortion of Down Syndrome babies. "If the NHS in the future is rendered unaffordable, what shall be cut?" he asked potential voters in Kent. The News in Shorts favours cutting the number of scrounging politicians and would certainly endorse any plan to abort them in the womb.
Cameron has decided to give incompetent executives another means of covering their own exposed backsides at the expense of their employees. The consulatation period before giving workers the heave-ho has been cut from 90 to 45 days. "This will stimulate the economy no end," a CBI spokesman told out reporter today. "What this country is crying out for is yet another scheme to get people out of jobs with the minimum of fuss and reduce demand even further. In times of uncertaintly there is nothing like even more uncertainty to get the peasants back in line. But by far the most important point is that useless executives without the necessary qualifications to run a piss-up in a brewery will now be able to save their own necks in double-quick time and safeguard their generous pensions and richly deserved bonuses." A spokesman for the Tory party explained; "Our reforms will strike an appropriate balance between making sure employees are completely ignored and allowing employers greater certainty and flexibility to take necessary steps to restructure their own finances. Today's announcement will send a strong signal to industry that the government is committed to creating the completely one-sided labour market that it needs."
Fifty-eight MP's, thirty-five of them Tories, have published a letter in today's Daily Telegraph protesting at David Cameron's call to allow gay marriage in church. Having stood idly by as his vicious government has attacked the old, the unemployed and the disabled, having done nothing to save the NHS from Cameron's privatisation plans, they have the sheer brass neck to say that he has "no mandate" for gay marriage. "It was not contained in any of their manifestos, nor did it feature in the Coalition's Programme for Government," they bleat, ignoring the fact that almost nothing this bunch of spivs and conmen have done so far was in their manifestos. A move such as gay marriage would, of course, spoil their image of the world - one in which all the unemployed are feckless, the disabled are all fraudsters who are secret Paralympic gold medal-winners, old working-class people are selfishly clinging to life forcing rich people to pay tax for their pensions and the NHS is a waste of money because it only helps the poor who deserve to die anyway. Worse yet Cameron has called into question the idea that they, and only they, know what God should think. Still, it's nice to see that there is something that will get them off their idle arses, get their heads out of the expenses claims and express an honestly-held opinion - even if it is narrow-minded, irrelevant and trailing far, far behind public opinion.
There is only one thing more two-faced than a politician and that's a Tory politician. In order to underline the point the Tory party has very kindly furnished an outstanding example of just how low they can get. The Conservative party website is running a page devoted to getting the public's view "about the fairness of our benefit reforms" and has thoughtfully provided two questions for us to ponder. Question one asks; "Should benefits increase more than wages?" Question two asks; "Do you think it’s fair that people can claim more in benefits that the average family earns through going to work?" The only possible answer to either is, of course, "No" and, as such, they represent perfect examples of the loaded question. The Tories couldn't care less what the public thinks about the "fairness" of their benefit reforms. All they care about is providing themselves with an alibi for a policy that is cruel, mean-minded and entirely indefensible. Unable to convince themselves with their own lies they have turned to the public to provide the necessary sop for their lack of conscience. Even for a political party as grubby as the Tory party this plumbs new depths but, then again, no one has ever attempted before Cameron to chart just how low the Tories can stoop in their hate campaign against the British people. Now we know.
The man who likes to call himself the Prime Minister of Great Britain has today spoken about his annoyance at having to subsidise feckless, unemployed alcoholics through his food bill. This, he claims, comes about because families like his "with a reasonable drinking habit" are “actually subsidising the binge drinker” as supermarkets increase food prices to cuts the price of wine, beer and cider. This odd conceit on the part of Cameron is difficult to defend on three counts. First there is actually no evidence that supermarkets increase food prices to subsidise cheaper prices on booze. Secondly Cameron himself is a notorious binge drinker who is often seen in public drunk and has even been known to leave his own children behind after getting sloshed in the pub. Third, and most telling of all, he is an MP and doesn't actually pay for anything at all since his household bills are paid by the taxpayer. The reason for this sudden outburst seems to lie in the way that Cameron thinks about everything. Any injustice he percieves seems to be exclusively concerned with unemployed scroungers getting something for nothing. Wealthy scroungers, such as himself, it would seem have a God-given right to get anything and everything for nothing. All crime is the result of unemployed scroungers stealing what they refuse to work for as opposed to bankers who steal what they refuse to work for and then also refuse to pay tax on what is deemed to be their "legitimate" profits. Only the poor are "binge" drinkers, while he and other rich people are merely individuals who savour fine alcoholic products in copious amounts. But Cameron is right about one thing - the feckless and largely unemployed bone idle are indeed subsidised in this country. The Royal Family, MP's, Bankers and Business Executives to name just a few. This is simply another example of Cameron raising his own self-serving and unfounded prejudices to the level of policy while completely ignoring the axiom about "people who live in glass houses."
Several years ago the actor Charlton Heston warned his government that they would have to prise his gun out of his "cold dead hand." Charlton Heston is now dead and the gun has, indeed, been prised out of his cold dead hand. The gun laws in the United States are clearly insane but, in their defence, the guns sloshing about in that country are far too numerous to do anything about it. Even if an American government did have a sudden attack of common sense and sought to control the carrying of weapons all that would happen is that the "baddies" would remain armed to the teeth while the "goodies" would be left defenceless. They are caught in a trap of their own making and have to pay for that, from time to time, with events such as that recently played out in Newtown, Connecticut. That was nothing more than the ritual slaughter of the innocents, sacrificed on the altar of America's leading religious group - the gun lobby. The American's have, since World War II at least, come to the conclusion that there is no problem that cannot be solved by shooting someone - anyone and, if possible, in large numbers. It is now part of their culture, endlessly illustrated in their films which consist mainly of square-jawed heroes killing people they don't like with a bewildering variety of guns. The American gun lobby love to say "Guns don't kill people - people kill people." The truth is that without guns Adam Lanza would have been reducued to breaking into Sandy Hook school and then throwing rocks at the children.
The United States loves British business. The love them because they provide them with billions of dollars to help with their deficit. Why? Because British business, almost entirely unregulated at home and with unlimited money courtesy of the British taxpayer, are little better than criminal organisations who think nothing of laundering money for drug cartels, illegally fixing inter-bank interest rates, or inflicting huge environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico. The 7% increase in the value of Britain's top 100 companies in the FTSE has come at a huge cost - £6.4 billion in fines levied by the United States alone. Of course even these vast sums are chicken feed to such companies - after all they don't have to pay tax and, if they do get into financial difficulties, they can always help themselves to the money of those that do. The Tories are very fond of trotting out the excuse that is these companies were not allowed these privileges then they would upstakes and go somewhere else. In fact there are very few countries in the world with both the infrastructure and the lack of regulation they need to pursue their criminal activities and none where they could reasonably expect to have direct access to taxpayers money. There are also few countries in the world where they could have access to a reasonably educated workforce at such a low coast in terms of wages. The Tories also like to demonise "benefit scroungers" who, they imply, are little better than a criminal underclass. But who are bigger "benefit scroungers" than British business, relying as they do on the taxpayer subsidising low wages through Working Tax Credits, and who are no better than a criminal overclass?
George Osborne, pictured above talking to a typical member of the Tory party, is the "Master Strategist" who's come up with a cunning plan to trap Labour into an unpopular stance in the run-up to the next election. Step one was to label anyone that the Tories have thrown out of work as a "scrounger." Step two was to assure those same "scroungers" that the Tories were not talking about them but some other, ill-defined, "scrounger." Step three was to re-classify people without legs and confined to wheelchairs as "scroungers" and encouraging yobs in our society to attack them in the streets. Step four was to hold up Paralympians as heroes to divert attention away from the campaign against the disabled and demonstrate that all disabled people can actually win gold medals if they really want to. Step five - and this was the master stroke - was to get Labour to defend the weak and vulnerable against their vile attacks and thus put themselves on the wrong side of the argument. As a plan it suffers in only one particular - it puts all of us on the wrong side of the argument and will, ultimately, punish us all for having the sheer nerve to exist. It is entirely dependent on us failing to notice that the Tory party hates all of us and not just the person stood next to us. As such Labour's stance is simply the "truth you've spoken, twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools." Perhaps Osborne should read more Kipling and rely less on scripts from "Blackadder."
Eric Schmidt, the head of Google, has thought about the recent row in Britain over multinationals not paying tax and has decided that his considered reply should be "Up yours." Dodging tax and refusing to contribute to the society that supports your profits is "capitalism" apparently. "I am very proud of the structure that we set up," he told us during an interview in New York. "I am not confused about this." Really? Well perhaps he should consider a couple of other things. In a world where capitalism has forced down wages and reduced demand in the process, where the taxation system seems to offer the only hope of redressing the balance and where, despite all the hubris, the customer is still always right, he might be well advised to consider what happened to Gerald Ratner when he cheerfully admitted that his company's products were crap. People voted with their wallets and took their business elsewhere. Eric Schmidt has not said that his company's product is a piece of crap, he's told us, instead, that we are. Which is why I've changed my browser and why I urge everyone else in Britain to do so. Imagine Eric Schmidt's face if he wakes up tomorrow morning and finds that Google's business in Britain has simply ceased to exist. That, too, is capitalism.
The world's largest "local" bank was today found guilty of laundering billions of pounds for criminal organisations that are far from local. The man who was in charge of the bank at the time, Lord Green who is now Minister of State for Trade and Investment in Cameron's shambolic government, has made no intelligible response. This is strange since, as anyone who has ever worked in a bank knows, the money laundering laws are well known, it is relatively easy to spot and anyone who even suspects that it is going on is obliged to report it immediately to the necessary authorities. The group chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, stated that "We accept responsibility for our past mistakes," and "We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again." And, apart from a $1.9 billion fine which will undoubtedly be paid for out of the money that we gave them, that's about it. That is even stranger since, if you or I had been caught red-handed smuggling even a measly few million in a suitcase, we would have found ourselves in prison for several decades. The idea that the whole thing came about because of a "mistake" is risible - it came about because of a deliberate disregard for the law and a systematic criminality by those who ran the bank. Who are these people who can create a giant Ponzi scheme that crashed the world economy, who are rewarded with huge bonuses for running grossly inefficient businesses, can help themselves to tax payers money to shore up their bankrupt empires and can, it now appears, commit any crime they like with personal impunity? HSBC is not the world's largest "local" bank, it's branches are merely the local offices for international organised crime.
With the NHS under increasing pressure and the Tory party unwilling to raise taxes on the super-rich and their corporations, they have decided to square the circle by closing down thousands of beds. Those of us who have paid for the NHS all our lives will soon find ourselves locked outside though, of course, the number of private beds will remain unaffected. In a plan described as ‘shockingly irresponsible’ by Dr John Lister, director of the campaign group London Health Emergency, the Tories intend to close down 25% of all hospital beds with no clinical rationale for the move whatsoever. Essentially they are doing it so that they and their rich mates don't have to pay tax, resoning that their greed is more important than some peasant's life. And, of course, once the NHS has been privatised the price of hospital care will be all the more expensive because of a restricted supply and unlimited demand. Less in tax and the opportunity to cash in on other people's misery - its a Tory dream come true. We asked a Tory party spokesman for a comment; "We have looked at the problems of the NHS and come to the conclusion that we'll never have a better opportunity to cash in. There are many sick people out there who are simply begging to have their cash lifted while they're too weak and vulnerable to do anything about it. Its nothing personal, you understand, its just good business. Essentially we've had your money now f**k off. And don't forget, the NHS is safe in our hands, we'll cut the deficit not the NHS and all the other rubbish we have to mouth to get anyone to vote for us at all."
There can be little doubt that education in Britain has become the preserve of the rich while working class kids have been told that there is no point in harbouring unrealistic ambitions. To a large extent, as the present government demonstrates all to clearly, this was always true. None but the rich could ever contemplate a career as a barrister, for instance, since that career was always dependent on being rich enough to work and study without an income and because opportunity was always dependent on who you know. Academia is similarly weighted in favour of the rich for exactly the same reasons while a career in higher education is a virtual impossibility without a piece of paper from one of the only two universities that count in this country - Oxford and Cambridge. Today the "Independent" has revealed the true cost of a university education - £100,000 for those without the benefit of mommy and daddy to pay it for them and have to take out loans. The Tories, with the toady LibDems who betrayed their principles over the issue, counter this with the argument that students only have to pay this back if they get really good jobs and are paid the average wage of an office junior. Nothing could be better calculated to blunt the ambitions of an ordinary working-class or even lower middle-class kid than this. What is the point of ambition when all it will get you is a crippling debt repayment schedule? For the likes of Cameron and Osborne this is hardly an issue - their trust funds took care of their education and will take care of the education of their descendants far into the future. The unspoken truth of this is that the entire education system is based on a false assumption - that only the children of the rich can truely appreciate or deserve to benefits of a good education. The children of the poor need not apply. What, then, will Britain look like in the future? The largely uneducated being lorded over by a bunch of chinless wonders without a brain cell to share between them? Yes. It was that way for most of Britain's history and is set fair to continue, after a brief "glitch" between the end of World War II and today, into the far future.
Tory tactics are now well established and consist of pointing an accusing finger at "scroungers" so ill-defined that anyone on benefits can discount himself and look to his neighbour. "The country is full of benefit scroungers," Osborne and Cameron tell us, "but I'm not talking about you, at least until after the next election." Then, while we are looking around at one another, the likes of Osborne are busily engaged in filling their pockets with our money. Our Chancellor has this technique of distraction, developed by pickpockets, off to a tee. While the rest of us are worried about bills, our jobs, our children's future and whether our neighbour is getting something for nothing, he is more concerned with how to get us to pay for a piece of land for him and his family through his expenses. The piece of land in question is a paddock attached to his former £1 million pound home - bought, of course, by you an me - which doesn't actually have a horse grazing on it. Obviously it was bought to increase the value of his property since Mr.Osborne doesn't actually own a horse while it's acquisition is difficult to defend on the basis that he needs it "to discharge his duties as an MP." Essentially this is legalised fraud - a trick that MP's have been playing on the rest of us since time immemorial and one that they fully intend to keep up for the foreseeable future. This is what Osborne means when he says that "we're all in it together" - we, up to our neck in debt and facing an uncertain future, Osborne and his Tory mates grabbing handfulls of public cash and planning a nice publicly funded retirement in the country. Osborne is right about one thing - the country is filled with scroungers and he is first in the queue when there's free cash in the offing. The message is clear - stop looking at each other and look at Osborne and his thieving pals.
In a move that has accountants lost in admiration the multi-national company Starbucks has offered HMRC a £10 million voluntary donation. We asked a Starbucks executive for his view; "Starbucks have always donated to deserving causes and there are few more deserving causes than HMRC who have been forced to go cap-in-hand to scrape enough money together to pay its own inspectors. It's tragic - on a par with any famine in Africa or any typhoon-struck third world Caribbean country. We genuinely felt sorry for them what with government cuts, creative accountancy practices and political indifference. We've seen cases of very highly-trained inspectors, some of whom actually have GCSE's in Maths, without the requisite number of beads on their abacus and struggling to catch all the plumbers out there avoiding tax. Of course we don't regard our donation as a tax payment. We've actually recorded it as a charity donation which, as you know, we can offset against our actual tax liability. We recognise that we have a responsibility to those communities that we rip off with over-priced coffee and thought it only fair to dip into the petty cash and throw them a bone. We hope that our gesture might usher in a new era where multinationals like ourselves can decide for ourselves what tax, if any, we should pay. To be honest we've been doing exactly that for years, but this is the first time anyone has noticed. Mind you we wouldn't advocate this for everyone - especially the peasants who pay their taxes though PAYE."
George Osborne wandered into Parliament today whistling his favourite song from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" - "Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination." Finding the despatch box completely deserted because no other Minister could face admitting the truth, he decided it might be a good day to die and bravely stood to give his considered opinion on the state of the economy. "It's not good," he told us. "In fact its much worse than I thought only yesterday. Its going to get even worse soon and for much longer than I promised. Still, it's too late to do anything about it now. The good news is that I'm not going to put 3p on a litre of petrol. That's all I can say really. Oh, except for were all in this together though, of course, I'm getting richer and you're not. What else? Oh, I nearly forgot - the bankers think I'm wonderful and would lend us money at a very low rate if I could think of a good reason to borrow any and if they had any to spare." Galvanised by such a stirring speech the Tory party rallied around the Chancellor and beamed with pleasure as it was revealed that the undeserving poor would foot the bill for maintaining the lifestyles on the undeserving rich. "The Chancellor's speech has laid the foundation for future growth," a delighted Tory backbencher told our reporter. "It's a pity, of course, that the growth will be confined to the national debt, low paid work, unemployment and soup kitchens but you can't expect miracles." No, but a bit of common sense would have been nice.
It was Aeschylus, the Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC - 456 BC), who is credited with first saying that "In war, truth is the first casualty." He was talking about propaganda, two thousand years before that term was coined, and its role as a necessary strategy during periods of conflict. After all, how else can a government persuade its people that it is right to set aside normal civilised standards and do terrible things to the enemy? When a government kranks up the propaganda machine, therefore, it is axiomatic that some enemy is about to suffer. This week a whole raft of stories show quite conclusively that the Tories are working overtime to do just that. Despite recent Treasury's claims that the British economy grew this year by 1% the reality is that it shrank by 0.1% and George Osborne was only able to claim otherwise by "manipulating" the figures. Meanwhile Ian Duncan Smith has been defending his "Work Experience" scheme which, he says, has been delivering outstanding results when the truth is that there has been no discernable improvement at all. Michael Gove, not to be outdone by IDS, has also been using some very dodgy statistics to "prove" that Britain had fallen from "4th to 16th place in science; from 7th to 25th place in literacy; and from 8th to 28th in maths" in the period between 2000 and 2009. The truth is that Michael Gove deliberately chose the year 2000 for comparison because he knew that statistics for that year are completely unreliable. Now the government has been rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for claiming that spending on the NHS has increased over the last two and-a-half years when it is actually lower now than it was in 2010. Having promised to "cut the deficit and not the NHS" it is sobering to find that real spending on the NHS has declined while the national debt has increased by a staggering £150 billion. So who is the enemy at which all these dodgy statistics and propaganda are aimed? Having been told that we are nothing better than a bunch of work shy, bone idle scroungers the answer is us - you and me - the great British public. Comparisons have been made between David Cameron and Adolf Hitler but such claims cannot be taken seriously. Even Adolf Hitler had more sense than to fill every position in his government with a clone of Joseph Goebbels.
It's not often that the electorate get to see a Prime Minister twist and turn as much as David Cameron. It all began with Rupert Murdoch's plan to buy the controlling share of BSkyB and with Cameron pretending that he was completely neutral over the question despite appointing Andy Coulson as his "communications director". Things didn't look good for the Murdoch's when the LibDem's shoehorned Vince Cable into the role of arbiter of the deal, but poor old Vince was quickly removed when two young female reporters flattered him into saying something indiscreet. Enter Jeremy Hunt, charged with the job of smarming the BSkyB deal through while Cameron smarmed around Rebekah Brooks. Unfortunately Andy Coulson's past soon caught up with him as it was revealed that phone hacking had been widespread during his tenure as editor of "The News of the World" and not, as previously claimed, the action of a single rogue reporter. As the scandal grew and grew and more people in the Murdoch media empire were implicated the Prime Minister refused to be drawn and absented himself from Parliament when the issue was debated. He had to be literally forced into announcing an inquiry into press ethics and still fought a rearguard action to protect the Murdoch bid for BSkyB with Jeremy Hunt leading the charge. During the Leveson Inquiry it became clear that the Prime Minister had been far, far too close to the Murdoch media machine and many potentially embarassing questions over the exact nature of his relationship with Rebekah Brooks were left hanging menacingly in mid-air. Leveson has now delivered his report and, as expected, he made it abundantly plain that certain "sections" of the press were completely out of control and believed themselves to be above the law because of the protection they enjoyed both from politicians and the police. Cameron's immediate reaction was the reject these findings and conduct a campaign, through the media, to protect the "freedom of the press" in a sudden and unexpected fit of idealism. That has threatened to backfire as many of the victims of press excesses have called on him the impliment the Leveson Inquiry findings as he had previously promised he would. With his strategy fast unravelling Cameron has now made one last roll of the dice, announcing that what was once an urgent matter is now less so and that there is "no timetable for producing any draft legislation."
Despite the fact that Britian is awash with sport while those that take part are often paid vast amounts of money for running, jumping and throwing things, Usain Bolt has the nerve to tell us that sportsmen stay away from Britain because the taxes are too high. Good, there are enough brainless, greedy and selfish people in the country as it is. Mr.Bolt's observation is nothing more than a crystallised version of Tory thought processes - "I've have lots and I mean to keep it though, at the same time, I still want all the services that tax money buys and think that poor people should provide it for me". That is why the unemployed and disabled are being persecuted in Britain while the rich have been rewarded with a nice juicy tax cut. Of course its a well-known fact that poor people have to be punished to make them work while the rich have to be rewarded. Meanwhile George Osborne, under pressure to come clean by inconvenient facts, has told the BBC that tackling Britain's deficit will "take longer than planned." However, he also added that the Tory cuts were working and that their plan to make poor people pay for the recession was making "real progress." To prove his point he then told the BBC a series of lies, "the deficit has been cut by 25%", "the richest have paid more in all of my Budgets" and there are now "a million more jobs in the private sector". Yet the truth of how Tory policy actually works was graphically illustrated during the recent floods when thousands of homes were innundated and people actually died because Cameron and Osborne have cut the money for flood defences to help fund a tax break for their rich mates.
Following David Cameron's shameful capitulation to the press yesterday they have now reciprocated by giving him the best headlines he's seen for months. Almost universally they are now hailing him for his "statesman-like" decision not to curb their excesses. Forget the disaster of the economy, forget the cowardly attack on the weak and the vulnerabe, forget the lack of action against the banks and forget the backdoor privatisation of the NHS. The main thing is that the press should be allowed to continue stalking innocent people and tell any lie they care to invent in order to increase sales. Hiding behind the "freedom of the press" they insist that they have the right to break any law, libel any innocent victim and print any groundless charge they like without any interferrence. As the nation sinks into oblivion under the relentless spite of the Tory party, the press is willing to endorse the worst government in history just as long as they can continue to wallow in the gutter. The British press is not free, it is out of control and, in return for a few positive headlines, Cameron is quite happy that it should remain so. Cameron is not a statesman - he is simply open for business and everything, including all the principles he claims to believe in and even the country itself, are up for sale.
In a bad attack of idealism, and despite his previous pledge to impliment the findings of the Leveson Inquiry, David Cameron has today promised that the press will remain free of government regulation. "A free press has been the bukwark of democracy in this country for centuries," he told the victims of hacking, harassment, blackmail and libel. "Controlling the worst excesses of the press would mean Britian crossing the Rubicon and would threaten the creation of a decent country in which politicians, the police and press barons would find it increasingly difficult to be as corrupt as they would like to be. Despite the fact that the legal profession is regulated in exactly the same manner as proposed by the Leveson Inquiry without any question of government interference, the press is an entirely different matter altogether. After all the judiciary can't guarantee a Tory victory at the next election, but someone like Rupert Murdoch just might. All in all I think it only prudent, with a general election just around the corner, to kick this one into the long grass. But, just to prove that I'm not in the pocket of the press barons, I will introduce legislation into Parliament that will be so long-winded, complicated and unwieldly that it won't have a cat in hell's chance of getting through before MP's collapse from sheer exhaustion. That way I can have my cake, and everyone else's for that matter, and eat it too."