Archive for October, 2008


Years ago the wearing of poppies in advance of remembrance day was left to the individual. In recent years I’ve noticed that when it comes to the television media, poppies all break out at precisely the same time. If one person appearing on a TV programme wears a poppy then everyone does.

Now whilst I applaud the wearing of poppies (‘lest we forget’), the impression is given that there is an obligation to wear them from a given moment, which necessarily takes something away from the whole purpose – which is to remember. I’d far rather it was left to individuals to decide the appropriate moment, and in its own way this would mean much more.


Read Full Post »

Ross and Brand

If anything sums up the generational gap, it’s the reaction to the disgraceful episode of the abuse suffered by Andrew Sachs at the hands of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand in their BBC radio programme. Vox pop interviews yesterday clearly demonstrate that in general the younger generation think there has been a complete over-reaction. They cite the fact that these two ‘peformers’ are always on the edge, everyone ‘knows’ what they are like and that modern comedians must be allowed latitude.

This neatly sums up what a large part of this blog is about: the decline in manners. The plain fact is that a significant and large proportion of the older generation think that Ross and Brand were completely and totally out of order. The BBC received over 10,000 complaints (now 18,000 up 8,000 in a few hours, and latterly well over 35000), which is a phenomenal response on anyone’s scale.

The fact that a large majority have been upset by this is the whole point. It’s no good the younger generation trying to pass this off as acceptable. There are absolute standards in the decent treatment of others and the Ross Brand abuse was completely unacceptable. No ifs or buts, totally and unquestionably wrong.

The BBC itself has a lot of explaining to do so I’ll return to this aspect in another thread.

Read Full Post »

The revisionist historians are at it again. After nearly 600 years the French have finally worked out an excuse for losing the battle of Agincourt on St. Crispin’s day in 1415. It’s all down to beastly behaviour and ‘war crimes’ committed by Henry V’s troops.

Ironically it was the French who put St. Crispin to death in 288 AD for his Christian beliefs so the words ‘glass houses and stones’ come to mind.

As usual these revisionists completely miss the point about judging events long ago with the mores and moral standards of today’s society.

It’s perhaps apt that St. Crispin is the patron saint of shoe makers – or cobblers to the French.

Read Full Post »

Seemingly the problem now is not one of capital but one of liquidity. Apparently the banks are not behaving like banks should. They are not lending money to one another and the whole cyclical system of revolving credit, debt, and repayment is all but frozen.

So how about this suggestion to get things moving. Instead of banks paying interest on money they borrow from one another, why don’t governments around the world reverse the normal rules of debt/interest and regulate that banks who hold money for say more than a few days will be levied with an interest charge and banks who borrow will receive interest. This mechanism could be handled by central banks, who could no doubt make a small margin for their taxpayers on this trade. 

This would encourage banks to keep the money flowing, since if they didn’t they would have to pay. It seems to me that in Dell Trotters immortable words,

everyone’s a winner.

Read Full Post »

It’s not clear to me why the press, and indeed the Tory party themselves, are behaving so prissily about the suggestion that George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, might have been examining ways in which a donation might be received, presumably legally, by the party. What is wrong with that? Doesn’t everyone in every walk of life think about the effect of future and as yet uncommitted actions?

Much is being made about how donations from foreign individuals, in this case Oleg Deripaska the Russian aluminium king and erstwhile contact of Peter Mandelson, are illegal. That may be so in some circumstances, but not in all. The Political Parties and Referendums Act 2000, section 54 (2) (b), defines amongst other permissible donors, a company that is:

(i) registered under the [1985 c. 6.] Companies Act 1985 or the [S.I. 1986/1032 (N.I. 6).] Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, and

(ii) incorporated within the United Kingdom or another member State, 

which carries on business in the United Kingdom;

It seems to be acknowledged that in this context, Mr Deripaska’s British  company Leyland Daf, (and what could be more British than Leyland), would have been the potential source of any donation.

All of which in my opinion would make any such donation perfectly legal. So why, apart from political point scoring are the press and commentators making such a meal of this?


Read Full Post »

In the Times newspaper on 20th October, there was a full page advert placed by the WWF organisation.

The advert starts, Dear Mr Miliband, Which direction will you choose? At the top of the advertisement is a large graphic of a directional road sign which says:

7 metre sea level rise.

The overall subject matter is climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases and a low carbon future. The sign is clearly intended to lead the reader to assume that sea levels will rise to 7 metres unless global warming is reduced.

This is blatant and inaccurate propaganda. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) show in their  latest Fourth Assessment  report, in Table SPM1 of the Summary for Policy Makers, that the worst case scenario for sea level rise by the year 2099 is for a rise of between 0.26 to 0.59 metres (less than 23 inches) relative to the decade 1980-1999.


 It is totally irresponsible to have a banner headline suggesting we’ll all be under 7 metres of water when the IPCC themselves project no more than 23 inches. The WWF have exaggerated by a factor  of nearly 12.

 The WWF advert actually cites the IPCC elsewhere in the advert, so clearly they have seen the same table that I can see. Yet they have still chosen to publish this misleading advert. It is one thing to unintentionally mislead, yet here we have a case where the WWF clearly have an intention to mislead and are ignoring the evidence that they themselves have presumably seen.


Read Full Post »

And politicians wonder why most of them have a bad press.

Mandelson was the architect of the New Labour project, which heralded the Blair era and which has resulted in the current recession and consequent threats to jobs and pensions, (public sector workers, politicians and Mandelson excepted of course), that most of us are now experiencing.

One of the key manifesto promises back in 1977 when the Mandelson/Blair axis arrived, was the abolishment of the House of Lords. Is there any more rank hypocrisy than Mandelson now being enobled in the very chamber he was presumably dedicated to eradicating?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: