Tuesday, 29 September 2009

You cannot feed the hungry on statistics.

A couple of items today:

The above is my feelings on the news that UK growth falls less than thought.

The rate of contraction of the UK economy in the three months from April to June has been reduced again.

Gross domestic product fell by 0.6% compared with the previous quarter, better than the previous estimate of a 0.7% contraction.

The original estimate produced by the Office for National Statistics had indicated a 0.8% decline.
The latest improvement came mostly from the manufacturing and construction sectors of the economy.

The ONS figures showed manufacturing fell 0.1% in the second quarter, which was half the amount previously estimated.

The rate of decline in construction was 0.8% instead of 2.2%, the ONS said.

Oh good! The economy isn’t disappearing into the black hole as fast as we thought, this is the “powers that be” idea of good news, the country is still in the shit but not as far into the shit as they thought.

That really makes me want to vote Labour next year.

And this:

Gordon Brown is to review Britain’s 24-hour licensing laws, which critics claim have led to an increase in binge drinking.

The Prime Minister, who has already blocked supercasinos and is considering a higher
classification for cannabis, made plain yesterday that he was preparing to look at the impact of the relaxation in November 2005 of the licensing laws.
He told his first monthly press conference at Downing Street that the change in the law had prompted very strong views and it was right to look at the evidence.

His remarks prompted speculation that another U-turn was on the cards. Aides said later that the licensing review was not in the same category as those relating to casinos and drugs classification, on which Mr Brown already had clear views, but they confirmed that he was ready to look at the 24-hour drinking issue with an open mind.

After four years of the media, the police the blogosphere and all and sundry telling him that 24 hour drinking was a bad idea, Gord had finally got the message.

And this really is the problem with politicians; they think up a really stupid idea and implement it in a couple of weeks, years later they decide it wasn’t such an “Einstein” moment and do a U turn, the snag is that as well as the four year make up your mind time it takes another couple of years to reverse it.

They really should make anyone who wants to be an MP take a morality test, a common sense test and an IQ test before they are let loose on the electorate.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Sunday, 27 September 2009

Election fever? Or just saving their jobs.

They are all at it today; the labour party conference seems to have forced them out of the woodwork and into the light.

Gord of course has decided that the middle classes are the priority, he claims to identify with the “mainstream middle classes” and declares that he will always put their interests first.

Consigning the “working classes” to the bottom of the pile...again.

He has magic-ed up a ‘cancer test 'within two weeks' pledge, in order to curry favour from GPs.

Prezza has un-holstered both his guns (to match his jags) and fired a salvo at Double H (Harriet Harmon) over Women’s’ rights “Ms Harman has faced criticism from opponents for attempting to push through controversial equal opportunities legislation, including a law which would allow companies to discriminate in favour of women, and for suggesting that Lehman Sisters might have fared better than Lehman Brothers, the doomed US investment bank.”

And not content with trying to put a hole in double H’s forehead he reloaded and took pot shots at James Purnell, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, and the influential backbencher Jon Cruddas for spending too much time with think tanks, rather than knocking on doors.

He said: “They’re a bloody party of whiners, when what we want is a party”.

But his favour falls on the prince of darkness “He added that Lord Mandelson was the “only one making a real campaign” for the Government.

“Peter was always the core of that team,” he said. “We’ve got individual ministers saying things about their departments, but there’s no overall message.”

Shame then that the dark lord isn’t elected.

Peter Hain is spreading doom and gloom; in an outspoken interview with The Sunday Times, Hain admitted that ministers had been gripped by “defeatism” and said too many serious mistakes had been made.

Hain said: “There have been too many instances where we haven’t done as well as we should have done: the 10p tax, the Gurkhas, Lockerbie.”

When asked why the government had made so many errors of judgment, Hain hinted that he thought Brown and his No 10 team were to blame: “I have my own views on that but if you don’t mind I’ll keep them to myself.”

Hain, 59, was forced to resign last year as work and pensions secretary after a police inquiry into the finances of his failed campaign to be Labour deputy leader.

One of the Miliband clones has refused to rule out the prospect of military action in Iran after the discovery of a secret nuclear facility, as officials in Tehran claimed the site will be available for inspection.

David Miliband said the UK was "100 per cent committed" to a diplomatic resolution to the row and urged the Iranians to take steps to address widespread concerns at a meeting next week.

Wide eyed and clueless Ed Balls has finally owned up that he wants to be Prime Minister while speaking to 12 year old pupils from St Martin’s School in Northwood, Middlesex, saying “It is the hardest job in the country being Prime Minister, on the one hand, the challenge of doing the hardest job ... I don’t think you could honestly say you wouldn’t like to have a go.” in reply to “Would you like to have the top political job in the land, the one currently held, just, by your long-time friend Gordon Brown?”

Ah the vagaries of being an MP or ex MP as most of them will be before long.

The picture sums up the state of Labour at the present time.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Doom and Gloom

The political arena seems to have turned in on itself, there is the Lady Scotland fiasco, “ignorance of the law is no excuse” that patronising phrase that seems to have turned round and bitten her “ladyship” in the posterior.

Then there is Paddy Ashdown who seems to want the Afghanistan war to continue, while having a pop at the Lib Dem’s.

Meanwhile that other former Lib Dem leader ‘I’ll just have one more’ Charlie Kennedy is getting on the “free university” bandwagon, sadly on the opposite side to nick Clegg (who?)

The Vetting rule has been branded as ridiculous by TV psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, who says “plans to vet people in contact with children "unbelievably rubbish".

Dr. Byron was appointed by Gordon Brown in September 2007 to investigate how to protect children from harmful video games and internet material

Now it seems she will be needed to protect parents and volunteers from having to have a video camera super glued to their foreheads.

The French are doing their bit by closing the Calais jungle which as we all know will make not a jot of difference to the numbers of illegal immigrants trying to enter our green and very overcrowded isle.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has welcomed the camp's closure, but says Britain will not take in any of the migrants.

Genuine refugees should apply for asylum where they entered the EU, or be helped to return home, he said on Monday.

The only “politician” to look on the bright side of life is Prezza, who has decided that “the prime minister is a "global giant" who can win the next election.”

"Gordon Brown is still the guy who turned this global economy round; everybody credits him with that, except here in the UK.”

That Prezza is because we know him, we have seen his fiscal cock ups and his total lack of personality, and we know what he is capable of.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Finally, Gord says the “C” word

Gord is off to Scouserland to attend the TUC in Liverpool, and the rumour is that he will use the word he has been avoiding for so long-CUTS!

Of course Gord has refused to admit on several occasions that Labour will have to cut back spending. Instead, he has maintained Labour would carry on "investing."

But with his record of U-Turns this is not really unexpected; he manages to dig himself into holes galore with statements such as “there would be "a zero" per cent increase.” and “find greater "efficiencies" to help tackle the deficit.” When he really means that he will cut “public spending”.

The unions are opposed to cuts “Congress rejects the notion that the solution to the economic crisis, and the resulting national debt, must be found in public spending cuts which damage services, freeze public sector pay, or cut pensions and benefits,”

The prince of darkness has put his pennyworth in “Lord Mandelson indicated in an interview that public sector workers may have to share in the coming austerity.

Balancing the budget will require “a new public spending shape to take into account the new climate and the new reality,” he said. That will mean “responsible pay deals” for the public sector.”

New climate? New reality? Two things that his unelected “Lordship” does not share in, living in opulence and with no worries about his finances, he continues to insert himself into the electorates’ nasal passages on a regular basis.

They promised a “summer of discontent” a while back, but it looks as if it will be a winter of strikes.

Thank you Gord, call a general election now, let’s gets you out, but the snag is who will take over.

There is a joke going round about Gord: "I though I saw your name on a loaf of bread today, but I looked again but it said "thick cut" "


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Angus Dei politico

Friday, 11 September 2009

Migrant movement patterns changing

Just a short ramble and a link today.

The recession has made a marked difference to the movement of migrants, not only in the UK but worldwide.

It seems that Many economic migrants from central and eastern Europe who came to work in the UK are returning home because of the recession, a report suggests.

The global Migration Policy Institute (MPI) study, commissioned by the BBC, says EU expansion led to 1.4m east Europeans moving to the UK up to 2008.

But the recession in Britain and modest economic growth in Poland have led to a change in this pattern, it found.

The MPI report suggests about half of those migrants have now left.

The link to the info from the BBC is here, have a look and click on the various tabs, interesting.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 7 September 2009

Who can you trust?

The Telegraph has this today about the “Public doubts about Conservative policy and character of a leader who talks the talk” and goes on to say “Today's You Gov poll for The Daily Telegraph, one of the most detailed surveys of public attitudes to the Conservatives since David Cameron became leader, indicates that he has not one but two mountains to climb before he can claim an election victory.”

Have a read, it’s interesting-ish, but my problem is that I don’t trust any of the buggers, be they Red, Blue Orange or any other colour of the rainbow.

It seems to me that none of them actually have a manifesto, or policies that they will commit to, and if you add the mistrust of the electorate over “expenses” and “being a victim” and earning “five grand a day” it all adds up to the fact that I don’t want to vote for any if them.

Time will tell I suppose but, time is rapidly running out for us and them before the next election.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Friday, 4 September 2009

Another one bites the dust

Yet another of Gord’s Gang has deserted, this time it is Eric Joyce, an aide to the Defence Secretary, who has walked out in protest at the way the Prime Minister was handling the war in Afghanistan.

The key points of his letter can be found HERE

Mr. Joyce, a former army major who was parliamentary private secretary to Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, used his resignation letter to direct a series of damning accusations against the Prime Minister.

He warned Mr. Brown that the public were growing weary of his claim that the war in Afghanistan was being fought to protect Britons from terrorism at home. And yet that is exactly the message Mr. Brown will re-iterate in his speech on Friday.

In his long resignation letter that was handed to Number 10 last night, Mr. Joyce warned that Mr. Brown had to start thinking about an Afghanistan exit strategy.

He told the Prime Minister: “We also need to make it clear that our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited. It should be possible now to say that we will move off our present war-footing and reduce our forces there substantially during our next term in government.”

The uncertainty over the legality of the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan also troubles Mr. Joyce.

Last night Peter Kilfoyle, the former Labour minister, backed Mr. Joyce’s move.

So, two thirds of the public are turning against the war in Afghanistan, god knows how many MPs are against it, but Gord fails to listen yet again.

I wonder what the next Government will do.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Home Office blaggers

From the Telegraph today:

A large slice of the £140 million bill for last year went on two projects that have since been subject to embarrassing Home Office climb downs.

And spending on one company has trebled in the same year it faced severe criticism for losing data on every prisoner in the country.

The sharp rise means the department has now spent more than half a billion pounds on external experts since 2005, despite having thousands of its own staff.

It comes three months after it emerged the National Policing Improvement Agency, the quango charged with improving police efficiency and cutting bureaucracy, spent more than £70 million on consultants in its first year.

Mark Wallace, the campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “Whenever anyone questions the large salaries paid out to Home Office staff we are told it is because they are the best people for the job.

“If that is the case why on earth are we paying an army of consultants to tell them how to do their job properly?

“Whitehall must drastically rein in spending on consultants if it is ever going to control its costs, especially at a time of recession.”

The Home Office spent £140 million on external consultants in 2008/09, a 46 per cent increase on the £96 million spent the previous year.

Three of the top five biggest earners were handed almost £60 million to help on the ID cards project or the controversial proposals to monitor every email and phone call.

PA Consulting Group was the highest earner with £24.5 million while the year before it received some £8.4 million.

The company had one contract with the Home Office cancelled last year after it lost a memory stick containing the details of 84,000 prisoners and 30,000 offenders.

Spending on the firm in 2008/09 was for work on the national identity scheme and the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP).

The IMP centres on proposals to track every email, phone call, text message and website visit as part of the battle against terrorists and criminals who use complex communications to plot crimes.

But in April this year, Jacqui Smith, the then Home Secretary, scrapped plans for a national communications database to hold the information amid privacy fears.

Instead each service provider will be ordered to collect and store the data so the authorities can access it when needed.

Deloitte and Touche LLP received £21 million in 2008/09 and Ernst and Young was given £13.8 million, both mainly for work on the national identity scheme.

The ID cards scheme has also since suffered a climb-down after Alan Johnson, who succeeded Mrs. Smith at the Home Office; scrapped plans top make them compulsory.

More than £200 million has been spent on the £4.9 billion scheme so far but both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have said they would scrap it if they win power.

The phrase “Can’t tell their arse from their elbow” comes to mind.


Angus Dei on all and sundry