Sunday, December 23, 2007

TMP's 2008 New Year's Message to the Nation

Most of us live in a country where the rising price of beer and heating a house is more immediately pressing than the impact of distant financial cock-ups in US trailer parks, but Waynetta and Billy-Bob's mortgage arrears are clearly now our problem as much as theirs. 2007 will be remembered for the phrase "sub-prime" as much as anything ; while the sinking state of the UK employment and bankruptcy barely causes a flicker on the global trade seismometer.

Yes indeedy, the tectonic plate shifting antics of greedy US financiers and their dumber disciples means that your livelihood is being squeezed, and those who live outside the considerable cocoon of our massively inflated public employment sectors will find it harder to turn a pound in 2008.

Having now been oversold all the "benefits" of globalisation by banks and other "big" companies assuring us that it's good for us to plough through a 5 minutes phone interrogation in order to talk to someone with a barely discernible accent, we know that it actually means that a mortgage scandal in the trailer parks of the US that can lead to a run on a UK bank, adjustments of interest rates around the globe, and the probability of a worldwide recession.

In a country the size of the US, many bankers will be stupid and ovine, but they ain't all going to be stupid, and some of them have made a lot of money from selling junk to the gullible. Moreover, amongst the various gullible "chicken roosts" are numbered Chinese financial institutions on whose goodwill the US and the rest of us are completely dependent. Should they ever decide they have had enough of providing a home for the junk dollars funding their trade surpluses and our deficits, you should immediately electrify the garden fence and plant potatoes in the hanging baskets. "Ugly" is not the word for what will be happening.

Globalisation means that although the exposure of the UK finance industry was relatively small to the sub-prime problem, the consequential matter of confidence and the credit squeeze in a country like ours that is addicted to funding through credit and government deficit rather more than than any other in the EU, is almost certain to lead to a recession. The supercilious and supine nature of our financial institutions, exemplified by the Bank of England's fumbling of the Northern Rock crisis, virtually assures it.

In times of recession, people and businesses are required to focus on what they really, really need. Do they need high streets packed with £3 a cup coffee shops, £5 a sandwich shops and phone shops that sell the most overpriced services on the planet? What on earth is the point of a bank or building society having a costly physical presence any longer? And the rest of shops are struggling to ship piles of Chinese-made products, before they are all inevitably overwhelmed by online traders as their ever physical increasing overheads have to pay for an army of mostly pointless local and national government work creation schemes, that devise impositions that few other countries' business communities have to face.

If you work for a large "globalised" business that still has a presence in the UK rather than one of the EU tax havens like Ireland, then bear in mind that the previous experience of recessions is that multinationals protect their home markets first. All business travel slumps, and global operations dump their foreign marketing adventures which they feel they can manage from afar. And never before has it been so simple and attractive to manage anything from afar.

Remember that the US business ethos that forms the core of many globalised businesses has a scant heritage of respect for their "foreign workers" that began with the cotton industry. Most other countries that now house global companies such as Korea, Russia, Japan and China are also a bit short on historical evidence of generosity towards stupid Europeans who are down on their luck. And TMP cannot imagine India feeling warmth towards the mother country that will soften any hard financial choices that they may face.

Long before sub-prime mortgages, a US establishment, jealous of all that pink on the map, had asset-stripped much of the UK and required us to pawn the family jewels. It began in earnest when the US required the dissolution of the British Empire as the price of "saving our sorry limey asses" in WW2, yet, ironically, if we hadn't been obliged to concede the outrageous US terms and impositions in order to eventually drag them into the war in Europe, Germany would have had the A bomb first - and the means to deliver it. The US would now be speaking German along with the rest of us; and David Irving would probably be in charge of rounding up the remaining Jewish bankers and sympathisers on the streets of New York.

Without an empire or a role, the UK drifted and declined largely rudderless through the 50s, 60s, and 70s, living on heady combinations of nostalgia, debt and hope; but we did have some world class innovators left in our industrial base, as well as media and entertainment. Plus above all else, we had the English language, without which we would have been completely stuffed in the swinging 60s. TMP doubts if "Elle vous aime" would have caught on quite as effectively as "She Loves You", and "Je ne peux obtenir aucune satisfaction" would have certainly bombed for "Les pierres de roulement".

So let's not forget the proprietor of that precious language, HM the Queen - whose timely appearance on YouTube is a seismic event in media for those paying proper attention. God bless you Ma'am; but don't you wish the BBC has shown the wit to use its early dominance of the web to achieve what Google has since managed?

Sadly, the BBC's bloated and subsidised presence on the web did the same to the fledgling British online industry that it's earlier decision to support Acorn computers did for the UK's personal computing industry - it broke it. Don't forget that a Brit - Sir Tim Berners Lee - is grudgingly accepted even by (most) Americans as as the father of the web, and BT actually had an interesting patent concerning hyperlinking that any American company would probably have sued to success long before now. Instead, BT rather clumsily chose to include Prodigy and AOL in the test case in 2002, and New York District Judge Colleen McMahon duly delivered the traditional result when a foreigner sues a US company in a US court. Doh...

If an American could have laid claim to the English language, you can be certain that they would have managed to copyright it in some way that meant anyone speaking or writing it anywhere in the world would be paying a fat royalty in perpetuity, but we Brits simply aren't that cute. Instead, they canny yanks waited for the right moment and then tried it on with the next best thing - the lingua franca of computing. So now we have the MS Windows Tax; for the time being at least ...

The post-war period of UK decline witnessed many world class British economic disasters as the result of political expedience, interference and social engineering in the shape of the mismanaged and misguided nationalised industries, and especially the pantomime of British Leyland which has only just about run its course, symbolically ending up in Chinese and Indian hands.

For a period in the 80s and early 90s we were actually in danger of leading the world in personal IT until the BBC dubiously continued to back the arrogant and presumptuous Acorn in the face of a resurgent and inevitable IBM - and our own Amstrad/Sinclair. An action that condemned more than a generation of UK school kids to largely irrelevant computer teaching that allowed the rest of the world, particularly the US, to catch up and overtake. But Acorn's genes were not entirely wasted - the success story of ARM (Acorn Risc Machine) processors is another Great British case of what might have been, if only more City support had been forthcoming at the right time. But as the result of incentives that favour risk-free asset stripping and property speculation, the UK City simply doesn't do technology innovation.

Latterly, massive advances in database and communications technology (exemplified by the emergence of Google) have meant that a lot has happened in the past 5 years that has completely altered the character of way the world works - and especially the way it advertises and markets itself. The world has changed fundamentally as the result of "because we can computing", which in the UK's emerging police state especially, has led to pervasive surveillance and whole host of consequences around the toxic notions of extended disclosure, risk assessment and due diligence.

So while the fatheads who now hold sway with our innovative industries have used this technology to lead the world in speed cameras and dustbin surveillance, Google has been laying the foundation of massive businesses around the exploitation of BT (no, not that lazy monopoly with the phones and slow broadband, I refer to the practise of "Behavioural Targeting") with "adwords".

The summary of all this is that the UK at the end of 2007 is presently royally screwed without an obvious escape plan under the present lacklustre leadership. However, TMP suspects that there really is something worthy about the bloody minded Britishness and inspirational creativity that still manages to come up with ideas like "Strictly Come Dancing". For what it's worth, there is yet another huge opportunity just around the corner for the UK media (and in that we must include events) industry - but hardly anyone seems to have noticed. It's all to do with satellite TV.

The BBC once lead world TV technology, and was still leading most aspects of broadcast innovation when its worthy fluffy-luvvies decided to disband its Research and Designs departments; then by pure accident we lead the world of direct satellite TV for a brief moment with the clueless BSB.

And now thanks to BT's skill at bamboozling politicians, our lack of investment in vital fibre infrastructure means that the UK has been a showcase for the immensely successful Sky platform. This nicely illustrates the efficiency of a monopoly lead by a dictator, versus a quango comprised of space-filling time servers, and a collection of media dinosaurs whose mentality had not changed from the days when ITV was once described in the 50s as a "license to print money".

The latest opportunity we as a nation may be about to fumble is called FreeSat. It's being billed as Freeview via satellite - but it is actually so much more than that. Freeview terrestrial TV is severely limited by cost and technical reality. There will never be more than 100 channels available - if that - and marginal coverage issues remain largely unresolved. In contrast, FreeSat delivery is 100% predictable and has the potential for 5000+ channels, each at about 4% of the cost of Freeview channel. Whilst we all hear about broadband delivery being the future of video, the available capacity is at least 5 years away from being able to providing an alternative to live HD satellite broadcast.

The bad news - possibly catastrophic - is that Freesat is a consortium lead by an unholy alliance against Sky's domination by the BBC and ITV, who have been buoyed by Freeview's accidental success. Furthermore, Freesat's coverage could easily spill over to Europe and beyond.

"Good grief, where on earth do you find content to fill 5000 channels?" they all ask.

Sky has proved that the major differential element that people are willing to for pay for is live event broadcasting. The Brits and Europeans have a different perspective on "live" to the USA: we live in 2 time zones that for practical purposes can be treated as one. The Americans cannot, and thus combined with the confusion of cable, they will be late into the game.

And YouTube shows once again that the media game is all about content - punters are happy to watch any old UGC (user generated crap) when there is nothing better to look at. But when something better turns up and word gets around, everyone flocks to see.

Maybe now is the moment to sort out the UK video content industry and get it adequately funded to take on the otherwise unstoppable Google; if all that BBC, C4 and ITV content was organised and made available through "UKTube" (and we took a leaf from the American book and sued everyone that attempted to upload any content to one of the US dominated sites) then we might just about have the beginnings of sustainable media plot.

You and I already own most of that prime content through our licence fees; it's in the bank, and until the past 5 or so years, it was generally way, way better than anything the US could cobble together. Let's also take full advantage of the fact that despite Blair's best crusading efforts, the US remains considerably more reviled than the UK, and is scarcely credible as a cultural powerhouse. Best of all, what damage has been done to the UK is probably more easily fixed by a world tour of some of our Royals than a flypast by George Bush. Especially all those formerly pink bits with their sons and daughters at our universities.

So then, 2008 could be a really interesting year. Let's demand that it is used to leverage our position in the one remaining industry where the UK stands a chance of influencing: English language learning and entertainment. Much of the world was once turned pink at the end of a gun boat barrel; but now it is time to lay down a barrage of super-prime content from a combination of satellite and online, and steer attention back to the UK as the source of all worthwhile visual media - while YouTube mostly offers a volley of Americans lighting their own farts, and dogs on skateboards.

Happy 2008!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Two legs good, four legs bad, one eye: hopeless

George Orwell's 1984 is more frequently wheeled out as an allegory for modern life than Animal Farm, but TMP believes that pretty much the entire story of 1984 has been played out to an extent that even Orwell would find surprising, and there is nothing left to intrigue and shock as far the invasion of the state's growing legion of mind and body snatchers is now concerned. The UK has clearly become a surveillance state where the political elite do pretty much what they want in terms of prying into the private affairs of anyone, under the ever thinner guise of "anti terrorism".

Never mind the tawdry affair of Labour's dodgy donors exposing crass naivety in high places, public money is regularly used to fund advertising campaigns from the Central Office of Information with a specific political purpose, attempting to associate the nation's "moral agenda" with the notion of a certain political party's own nannying dogma. The invasion of rampant political spin advisers to twist the agendas of supposedly neutral civil servants in Whitehall has reached an unprecedented level, yet the result is a growing shambles.

Just how many wheels has this wretched government got left to come off?

In Animal Farm, Orwell explores the notion that power corrupts. A pliant electorate imagines (for a while) that it has been liberated from some previous tyranny, dutifully obeying their liberators, until the ruling class decides that it knows a better way to run the show than boring old democracy. After all, you can't trust the people to do the right thing, so why take a chance? The recent railroading of the EU constitution/treaty is the crowning achievement of Gordon Brown's Stalinist tendencies, and it is a big mistake to try and soften his image as an unreconstructed authoritarian centralist socialist monster, by comparison with the bumbling antics of Mr Bean.

Gordon is busily tipping an entire nation and its economy over on its side, not just a Reliant Robin. By any measure of honesty and competence, Brown's administration is mired in duplicity and stupidity. The inability of ministers to know what is going on in their chaotic departments is endemic - the notion of accepting responsibility and following through with a resignation is now unheard of.

But the bigger issue lurking under the systemic stupidity and sleaze is the question of the government's fitness to have and control so much data on every subject in the land. Browns' baseball cap wearing YTS staff at HM Customs and Revenue apparently now wield more power to pry and gather data than the Gestapo, Stazi and KGB put together. But this situation will not be undone unless we, the people, specifically set out to undo it.

The instant availability of so much information - anywhere at any time - is far more important and significant than most people dreamed possible 10 years ago. Smug talk of Britain's leading role in the "knowledge economy" has evaporated as more politicians are realising that Google and its kin are empowering more than just the City of London. Moreover, in the UK in particular, the information technology revolution has not been used very effectively for the good of the people, instead it has been and is being used to suppress the people.

TMP asks its ardent followers to ensure that this time around when the government changes, to watch carefully for the tendency of oppositions that get elected to gratefully accept the various tax and liberty impositions their predecessors have foisted on the electorate, and avoid returning any cash or the many aspects of liberty and freedom of choice that have been eroded and ceded during preceding administrations.

This time round, when Gordon and his B-Team are sent trundling down Whitehall in the tumbrels, we will need a lot of the past 10 years to be rolled back, and in some cases beyond, and the misappropriated freedoms and individual choices returned to the people.

We live under a regime where almost all forms of individual discretion have been replaced by some witless process that has been devised and enforced by a legion of civil servants for whom initiative and discretion are alien concepts. In determining what information is extracted, stored , manipulated and then lost in the post - the watch phrase has become "because we can", not "because it is necessary".

It's time that all government information gathering was restrained by a strict need to know policy, and that access to the data was managed in such a way that anyone can find out just who has looked at what information, at what time and for what purpose. This is technically possible with very little extra effort or cost, so don't believe any suggestion to the contrary.

Crucially, at fantastically important and formative times like these, we need an inspirational leader who will listen to and answer questions - and connect with the people. Yet at every press conference and interview, Gordon Brown still displays a complete indifference (bordering on autism) to answering questions. Instead he continues to attempt to ram home an agenda which is becoming less relevant by the day, and suggests a dangerous degree of denial. His stage-managed and contrived efforts at connecting with the people are at best, cringe-making. His flunkies must be near suicide by now.

Brown now faces very real prospect of being hounded out of office with the sort of ignominy that he could never live down in a thousand years. There are even sufficient question marks about his stability to cause some us to wonder if he really should be left in charge of the big red button.

However, your consciences are probably clear. Only very few of you in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath actually voted for him; and only the 350 or so members of the Parliamentary Labour Party actually voted for him to become our PM.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The dishonesty of telecoms providers

There are a number of candidates for the wall outside TMP HQ when the great day dawns that the Great British Public see sense. At the head of this queue is the Chief Executive of Orange - whose micky-mouse phone service is a blight on the nation.

In fact, if I was a Russian subversion strategist seeking to disrupt the UK economy, I would probably get the Order of Lenin if I had managed to sucker so many British people into relying on a cellphone service that simply doesn't work in large areas of the country. After all, lacing a victim's coffee with Polonium is a bit too brash and selective - buggering up millions of people's ability to communicate effectively whilst kidding them they're getting a great service is a far better wheeze.

However, Orange are not the only operators deserving of a swift execution. Moving a number from Orange to another network (O2) technically takes seconds, instead of course it takes a week if you are lucky - in our case, nearer 14 days. If O2 was allowed to start charging only after a successful porting of the number, I rather suspect the delay would be minimal.

But try calling Orange on the phone to complain. Indeed - try calling any one of the new age telecoms or Internet companies with call centres manned by browbeaten automata to complain about anything. For a start you'll be paying through the nose on an 0871 or 09XX number if you are calling to complain your phone doesn't work, and thus by definition, you are being denied service!

The decent into dire customer service over the past 10 years seems due to a combination of offshoring and what operators claim is "fierce competition" that doesn't enable any of these poor impoverished souls to make enough money to provide a proper service any longer.

So one of the first laws TMP will enact after our landslide victory will be that all complaint services are made available on 0800 numbers; all calls will be recorded and posted on publicly accessible urls, and companies that do not answer within 3 minutes will be obliged to pay the caller 50p a minute for waiting, rising to £1 a minute after 5 mins.

Edewkayshun, edukayshen, educashone

Well done Tony & Co. All those billions spent on the UK educational system enforcing diversity, inclusiveness and sufficient political correction to create a generation of Stepfordesque New Labour voters incapable of a practical thought, have done the trick.

These new voters won't be able to spell "sleaze" or "corruption", never mind understand enough of the issues to vote against it. Latest reports on world rankings in Education are summed up in the Daily Telegraph headline: "Britain nosedives in education league tables". It goes on...

"In reading, 15-year-olds in the UK dropped from 7th in 2000 to 17th, behind countries including Estonia and Liechtenstein. In maths, pupils fell from eighth to 24th - placing them below the international average. In science, secondary school students in the UK dropped from 4th to 14th. "

It's actually quite hard to find words to describe just how damaging and serious this is for the nation at a time when we have no other assets left other than our brains. In our so-called knowledge economy, 10 years of badly managed educational policy have placed us all on the brink of bankruptcy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And then we all woke up and sniffed....

Some TMP readers suggested that we have been a tad extreme in our early assessment of Brown's administration - unfairly condemning them without much evidence. Well, we think we have called this one pretty accurately, so of course we will now indulge in a fat gloat.

TMP's concern now is that there are still so many voters willing to put up with this pantomime. Labour's relentless ten years of outrageous gerrymandering by creating a client state, ruthlessly appeasing their heartlands, fixing the Scottish parliamentary fodder, and allowing their "natural" supporters to turn up and sign on - largely unchecked - has worked pretty well for them.

However, there comes a time when the combination of sleaze and incompetence is so inescapable that even the most ardent supporters and apologists have to give up in despair or become completely tarred by the same messy brush. Given that the Conservative Party has made no secret of its intentions to dismantle the no-longer-impartial BBC, watch out for the BBC bigging up the LibDems in an effort to find any friend that might help stave off the prospects of a majority Tory administration.

The interesting times continue. Tony Blair must be wetting himself with glee.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Things can only get better ..?

You will recall the anthem used at the 1997 General Election victory parade by Tony & Co.? Well, it's time to download it from iTunes once again, because we will need reminding eventually. However, it might be a few more months before it is actually viable, as we still have a way to go when exploring the depths of greed and stupidity of the world's leading banks over the "sub prime" affair.

Next time a banker of any sort tries on their usual air of sanctimonious superiority, feel free to remind them that just about everyone in their trade from the lowly doorstep loan salesmen to the chairmen of global banks have been proved to be at the very best stupid, and in many cases, probably criminally negligent.

The affair also highlights that even the vast, vast swathe of legislation that the industry and public have been forced to swallow over the past ten years of Enron and other "affairs" makes not a blind bit of difference. It is still perfectly possible for a string of stupid bankers to undermine entire economies; and as yet, no one has been charged with any criminal act. Hardly anyone has resigned.

The UK Bank of England and Chancellor's response has been generally regarded as clumsy at best; the loan from the taxpayer to Northern Rock is climbing up past £24bn, and now Gordon Brown is doing his bit to deflect attention from this and the incompetence of his very third division Home Secretary, by announcing a string of travel and other impositions on 99.9%of British subjects to try restrain the 0.1%.

Although it's being done in the holy name of anti-terrorist measures, it's also clearly now going to be about a fine mesh screening process coupled to just about every database in government that is designed to catch anyone who once put a tin can in a recycling bin marked "plastic", if they dare to travel on public transport or pay by credit card.

In response to the outcry, he may ease up on a few of the impositions, and we'll all think that "gosh, what a reasonable chap" he is.

Wake up.

There is still no evidence whatever to disprove the widely held view that he and his creaking administration have "lost it", and are now in terminal decline. Everything Brown talks about involves more control, more central databases and the continued erosion of liberty. No wonder he chews his nails.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A reminder of what TMP is about

The summary of TMP aims and objects at the top of each page continues to form our basic tenets. This used to be called "democracy" in the good old days before both the USA and England became subjugated by the type of dodgy electoral systems and procedures favoured by banana republics and dictatorships.

TMP seeks to accommodate and air a majority view. Traditional party lines have become increasingly blurred by the march of progress, and the emergence of the "classless society"; these majority views appear as occasional islands of sanity in the vastness of government, and show reducing regard for party allegiances. Yet too many party politicians still try and dismiss such views as "populism" - as if being popular was beneath their dignity, and a crude tactic to undermine their continued existence as self-regulating guardians of the best interests and morals of a feckless and too easily roused rabble, aka "the electorate".

The media will of course do its best to make mischief, and try and stir up confrontational politics at all times by wheeling out the "theft of clothes" jibes when parties appear to agree on a popular strategy. TMP believes that it should be possible to provide people from all traditional parties with a haven from mindless ideology in which to convene, and agree on common sense matters that have no need to be tainted as "party political".

TMP further believes that it is better for those matters that are not contested that they be looked after by an independent intermediary, since it is the first instinct of any politician to try and "bank" such issues, which then means they feel compelled to tax anything and everything over which there is a general consensus because they reckon they can get away with it, unopposed. Witness the immediate introduction of numerous impositions and stealth taxes around anything that could be hung on the terror or green hooks.

The compromise form of government that we have largely inherited from the 17th century is now wholly mischievous, given the advances in voting technology. A message can get from York to London in under 5 days, in case you hadn't noticed; although it still takes up to 5 years for a message to reach the party in power that it's not wanted.

The sheer unimaginable vastness of government is a relatively modern phenomenon. Like its surveillance systems, government is now everywhere, and the laws that pour forth from Brussels and elsewhere have reached absurd proportions for a nation that once prided itself on common sense and a sense of fair play.

Most traditionally "delegated politicians" take a condescending view of the electorate and believe that the man in the street is not qualified to understand all the issues surrounding modern government, which is hardly surprising with such a vast amount of legislation (remember that 40 tons of EU verbiage) most of which is unnecessary, and poorly attempts to replace common sense with rote regulation. But oh boy, does it create (pensionable) jobs for bureaucrats!

So along with the introduction of majority rule, TMP proposes a complete overhaul and simplification of the constitution in consultation with, and ultimately agreed by, the majority of the people. Any politician suggesting that such matters are too complex to be entrusted to the majority of voters can be humanely recycled as something more useful, such as compost; TMP has no other use for them.

Jocks don't want to be strapped

Full Scottish independence (funded by the Scots) may well be a necessary precursor for England's struggle to avoid the worst excesses of EU policy, since as a growing client state, the Scots will probably correctly reckon that like Ireland, they will do well to stay on the Brussels gravy train a while longer.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind's current attention to the matter of the over-representation of Scots with their gerrymandering collective of MPs at Westminster is long overdue, and perhaps another signal that the Tory party has at last noticed the futility of its fixation with the "Union" in the light of Modern Times - and especially as the latest Euro-nonsense is about to overtake us all anyway.

The reflection of electoral reality is a core tenet of TMP policy, and it is hard to imagine why any Scot could possibly complain - unless they fear that the loss of their cherished role for the Labour Party as useful reliable election fodder will cause the massive subsidies they currently enjoy from the English will be taken away. After many years of socialist rule at all levels, Scotland is now a basket-case "client economy" that relies on the state for majority of its employment, so they really only have themselves to thank.

Meanwhile, Glasgow MP and HoC Speaker, Michael Martin's inept performance in the "British" parliament has reached the point where even Labour MPs are embarrassed at his partisan behaviour and deference towards fellow Scots and fellow struggling parliamentary performer, our beloved leader Gordon Brown. If ever there was a perfect role for that rudely treated but honourable old buffer Sir Menzies Campbell, this should be it.

This episode has reminded us that it is generally unwise to trust the highest offices of state to those who actively revel in downmarket sobriquets such as "Gorbals Mick".

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Great Education Myth

Ask anyone who has ever served in the armed forces and they'll tell you that the organisation is entirely held together by the experience and cunning of senior NCOs. The "Bilko effect", if you like.

A good Sergeant Major is generally worth a platoon of officers, but in this egalitarian age, those naturally intelligent and canny kids who don't quite know what they want from life, but something more than flipping burgers, are being misguided. Brighter kids who might once have found their way into the forces and up through the ranks are forever being encouraged by our "education for its own sake" system, to stick with the system, and run up student debts of £30k whilst reading media studies and tourism instead.

One thing an educated person generally doesn't want to to do is join the army and get shot at (especially in pursuit of lost causes), and whilst there are indeed many fine officers, the recollection of those readers who attended public schools (still the primary feeder for officer training) is likely to be that the armed forces were not generally the first choice of the most gifted students.

All walks of society need their share of foot soldiers and NCOs; we can't all be Field Marshalls. But the obsessive redirection of anyone who can write their name on a piece of paper into further education has caused a general dearth of talent in the "NCO realm" of team leaders/lower management in public service operations like local councils, the civil service, railways and especially the NHS. The culture of attempting to educate the edges off an average square peg in the hopes that it might one day be rammed into a round management hole, is probably wrong.

30 years of the comprehensive system has not produced a terribly competent country: we are currently more in debt and producing less than ever before. And we are obliged to import all manner of artisans from Eastern Europe like there's no tomorrow. Maybe one of Cameron's crusades might be to dare to question this failed system and find ways to show 16 year olds a broader range of opportunities than simply stuffing them into university at all costs.

Most 16/18 year olds don't know what they want to do in life, so to have to make a life choice at that age with the consequences of student debt making subsequent career changes trickier, seems unfortunate at best. Maybe a (voluntary) year in the army is actually exactly what they and the nation want, and it should be made available and possible without any detriment to resuming an academic career.

But one key problem of this occasionally aired notion seems to be that our educators realise that kids who have seen a slice of real life will be rather less tolerant of the many irrelevant and misguided folks that form the bulk of our educators. However, TMP would take that chance.

Sorting out the BBC

Ironically, the Blair/Brown Broadcasting Corporation was not rewarded terribly well for its 12 years of undying and frequently unquestioning support for New Labour. However, it seems that the ethos of mindless political correctness is now written through the BBC like a stick of rock, and is likely to survive its current round of downsizing, and then some.

For those of us who have occasionally attempted to "do business" with the BBC but failed to find the patience to cope with its subsidised institutionalised arrogance, the sight and sounds of its inmates' discomfort will elicit a few wry smiles. And we will all immediately want to volunteer names for compulsory redundancies. (Are you reading this, Nick?)

Nevertheless, the BBC still does some great stuff - but it could do all this and more with probably 20% of its present establishment and funding, by exploiting better interoperability with external production and talent.

And let's sort out some of this regional nonsense - let the Welsh pay for BBC Wales, and then we'll see how much they still really want it; scrap all terrestrial TV broadcasting - satellite is vastly more cost effective, and the Internet would already be a viable alternative if only anyone understood multicast IP properly.

The commercial media has been baying for the BBC's blood ever more loudly since the BBC lead the way in the New Media revolution and effectively put the Kibosh on all hope of commercial web competition by doing such a fabulous job at the outset. However, the BBC was not to blame for most of the problems suffered by commercial media as the Internet took off. ITV's drubbing by Sky was entirely of its own stupid making; most national press disregarded the web until it was almost too late, and much of the old media still struggles to properly understand the situation.

It is still very much a generation thing, and most 50+ senior execs in media organisations that haven't already managed to cash out, are still trying to wipe the tip-ex off their flat screens.

An opposition in waiting

It would be premature to get too hopeful, but it seems increasingly possible that the British public has woken up from a 10 year sleepwalk towards the precipice, and noticed the undeniable smell of decay coming from Downing Street.

No amount of perfumed rhetoric can now mask the stench of those dead promises about a referendum on Europe, and it seems that the press has already agreed amongst itself that Brown and his second raters are looking increasingly like an opposition in waiting.

Brown's instantly exposed and supremely tawdry efforts at spin have been embarrassingly and contemptibly poorly executed. Where Blair was a natural, Brown is painfully unnatural. Whatever respect Brown's (alleged) towering financial intellect might have once commanded was blown away in a single badly judged move in Iraq - probably egged on by his closest advisers, notably the gurning Ed Balls and the vacuous David Milliband. Thankfully for the opposition, this lot are the palest of pale shadows of Blair's original spinmeisters, headed by the odd couple of the cocky Campbell and the manipulative Mandelson.

Brown is plainly a bloke with no bottle, and his period as PM looks like becoming the longest train wreck in history. A realistic prospect of victory should unite the Tories (and their supporters that have been hiding) just as the prospect of annihilation did at the start of their conference. 18 months to prepare should mean that it will possible to put together a really well thought-through strategy. Given the scale of shambles they see increasingly likely to inherit, they'll need one.

TMP will be making plenty of suggestions - starting with the old-fashioned notion that they should represent the majority of the population of the nation - and abandon New Labour's disastrous practise of forever pandering to the apparatchiks of a cabal of coteries of minorities. By all means abandon forever the 5-8% swing vote to New Labour, and address the other 92% instead, please.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Now it's Darling's turn to screw up

Rarely is business opinion so unified around the country as the reaction of big and small business to Darling's messing with CGT and taper relief. At last those tiresome pink fringes of the City who have hitherto been happy to be associated with New Labour are starting to wake up and find out what sort of old-style socialist regime the undynamic Caledonian duo have in mind.

As the BBC continues to unravel, that last bastion of New Labour hope - the Appointments section of the Guardian newspaper - still echoes to the many whistles of the many publicly funded gravy trains that are spending your money advertising for apparatchiks fluent in newspeak to step into the glittering array of index-pensionable non-jobs for neo-commissars that have been created over the past 10 years in national and local government, and NGOs of all varieties. Here are all the savings Cameron needs to fund zero IHT and free solar panels for all.

In the nick of time, David Cameron has rediscovered the masses; and if he has the nerve to stop fretting about the floating vote (which by definition has a short memory) the reality was/is that the majority of the English are conservative by nature and don't want Sharia Law or the European super state rather more than they do want windmills on bicycles, or well-hugged hoodies. By addressing the 30-40% of apathetic voters Cameron is looking fresh and thoughtful, and capable of leading a competent team that looks fit for government; whereas Brown is increasingly yesterday's beleaguered man, surrounded by a remarkably talent-free zone.

Gordon really cannot pretend that the mess that he is now sinking in is all Blair's doing. Can he?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The unlikliest treble of all...

What a weekend this has been. The Tories pass Labour in the polls, England beat Australia in the rugby world cup, and Lewis Hamilton fails to finish. What odds could TMP have wrung from their usual bookie for that treble?

Let's hope that Dave the boy wonder notices that his revival seems mostly due to sounding like a Conservative leader once again, with conservative policies. Cameron also bravely declared the proposition that he wanted to reach the voters who are too apathetic to vote rather than simply pander to the 5% of swing voters. At long last a major politician seems willing to address the one political tactic more than any other that has progressively ruined this country over the past 10 years. This has been the core reason why TMP felt it necessary to remind us that the majority of the UK is governed by an unseemly cabal of minorities.

What the churlish snipers of the "Death Tax Relief" situation fail to realise is that although those with estates in the £1m region may be relatively few and far between, they are all likely to have large families who would rather like to get their hands on 100% of the proceeds when grandma pops her clogs.

The Tories show of unity also pulled off another major feat - they fielded a much more appealing team of credible and coherent politicians compared to Brown's cabinet of ineffectual fellow travellers and spinmeisters.

Brown's reaction when quizzed on the prospect of an early election was churlish and pathetic. As ever when interviewed, he barely answered a straight question with a direct answer, and his team of plainly distraught but still smarmy no-hopers will now have to work overtime on the BBC to encourage the numerous apparatchiks in Wood Lane and Broadcasting House to repair the damage.

TMP's brave prediction of an October election gave Brown too much credit for an ability to make a decision; instead, by dropping hints of an impending election Brown gave the otherwsie dead Conservative party the incentive and the one chance it needed to regroup and rally around an inspirational leader, and look like a united and credible alternative government at last.

So are we in for 3 more years of listening to a bullying Caledonian windbag pontificate while we watch his pack of inexperienced Brownies continue to fail at the nation's considerable expense? Can anyone unearth a big enough scandal to force a general election? After ten years in government, Brown and his acolytes have many election-losing skeletons in many closets (listed earlier in this blog), but maybe now the public have the desire and will to see them exhumed at last, confident in the belief that the alternative could be better.

The interesting times continue.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

80 tons of tripe, and still counting

The news that the collected wit and wisdom of the EU now weighs in at 80 tons of print (per language!) ought to terrify you as much as it terrifies TMP.

That amount of detailed documentation covers impositions on every aspect of your life and means there are now so many rules, regulations and laws that any EU "enforcer" is pretty much guaranteed being able to find one or more breaches whenever it suits them.

We have all suspected for a long time now that any irritable policeperson examining a vehicle can almost certainly find something wrong with it (when did you last check your tyre pressures?) to cause the driver a lot of trouble. Simply requiring the driver to present documents at a police station (the so called "producer from") assures that Mr Plod has made him or herself felt in the life of an otherwise blameless subject.

Oops, I nearly said "citizen".

The process of politicians churning out endless law to empower the state to intrude and interfere has been out of control for quite a while now. Who wants start over and write a constitution of no more than ten pages?

Perhaps the first paragraph of which should limit employment by the public purse (central and local) to no more than 15% of the workforce. The proposition that the remaining 15% of bureaucrats are then required to reorganise the state around identifying and tackling the real priorities would be refreshing, don't you think? Top of the list being what to do with many millions of redundant former state employees, and their millions of square feet of vacant offices.

Otherwise Parkinson's law will always prevail, and the work of public bodies will expand to occupy the people and time available.

Yet more surveillance; and some answers at last?

News that the ability to order phone tapping access has been extended by a stroke of the Home Secretary's pen to include everyone from tax authorities to lollipop ladies in the name "anti terrorism" will not come as a surprise to TMP readers. It is of course part of an EU policy that has been enacted without debate or discussion.

Now then, brace yourselves.

A brave bloke called Brian Gerrish (a former naval sub commander) has stuck his head above the parapet in an effort to "out" what he believes is a sinister conspiracy reaching into all aspects UK public life, that should at the very least make you think. The story is told and illustrated on Google Video, and you must look at it ...

Gerrish is a credible presenter (formal naval commander) and he sets out how a sinister and secretive left-wing organisation called "Common Purpose" has been steadily chipping away at the establishment for 20 years using well proven mind management techniques and infiltrated their "disciples" just about everywhere. The ~20,000 people thus far "trained" by Common Purpose do not appear to be of particularly high intellectual quality, just suitably malleable for manipulation by their cause. In other words, the perfect "Apparatchik" material.

TMP accepts that the enormity of the implications of this may be a bit too "invasion of the mind snatchers" for many observers' comfort, and the attention from the more extreme edges of UKIP doesn't help - however, the individuals being identified, interconnected and named aren't all rushing off to sue for some reason..?

Gerrish's propositions go a long way to explaining many of the absurdities of recent times, and ought to be enough evidence to require a full and detailed enquiry into the actions and backing of Common Purpose before many more of the EU's privacy invasion directives are implemented by stealth, like the phone tapping extensions.

Even if just 10% of Gerrish's assertions turn out to be true, then this could still be the conspiracy story of the century. It does provide interesting explanations for several aberrations such as the Dome debacle; the Camelot monopoly and generally how so many otherwise talentless inmates are now in full control of the asylum.

Could it be true?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brown Declares October Election

Please excuse us.

Yes, TMP is using its awesome powers of prescience, since the words have not yet passed Gordon's quivering lips; but let's face it - it's inevitable. He has peered into the financial abyss opening up under the UK economy that has been built on good old socialist "never never" sand for too long.

He knows the may never get a better chance to fool enough of the people one more time, but there's just a possibility the British people can be reminded of the top reasons to boot him out before he and his gang of neophytes can do much more damage to the UK. TMP wishes it could be more enthusiastic about the most probable alternatives, but we really are now at that dreadful moment where ANYTHING is better than the prospect we face for yet another 5 years or toment.

1) The economic stability of the past 10 years was built on the platform of the last conservative chancellor, Ken Clark. Brown's best ever move was to hand control of interest rates to the BoE, but he only did this because he knew that Tony Blair simply would not be able to resist the temptation to play politics with them. And then they both set about and spent the legacy.

2) £40bn on health and almost nothing to show for it but smiling £100k+ a year GPs.

3) Any rational immigration debate has been cleverly disorganised by the simple fact that no one seems to know how many people have just turned up in the UK and remained. But let's say it's about 3million - roughly the size of the present so-called "housing requirement" - and the number of swing voters to win an election.

4) Numerous sneaky and pernicious stealth taxes on everything from insurance to travel.

5) More CCTV and surveillance systems than any country in the world, including totalitarian regimes.

6) No more North Sea Oil - but no long term energy strategy other than more taxes on anything deemed ungreen ...and fingers crossed.

7) An education system that now seems to operate on just two levels - churn out kids stuffed into faux university places to study non-subjects; and those who can't even spell the ASBO they are destined to receive.

8) Almost half the workforce on faux jobs created for the public payroll; mostly in roles like Health and Safety and council inspectors of some sort or another - because of the need to justify so many pointless graduates, and keep them from embarrassing the unemployment stats (and doing damage in the real economy...).

9) Arrogant and scornful disregard for the widespread desire for an EU constitution referendum.

10) Active disdain for the English majority of the UK. After years of successful gerrymandering, McLabour has fiddled a system that gives the casting to vote to any minority likely to prop up the Labour party.

11) Iraq: Brown happily paid our money to help pave this road to hell - and is now busily trying to to look like it was nothing to do with him.

12) The BBC's descent from independent global authority, to an over-funded plaything of the left that does the government's bidding. Who can forget Radio 4 presenter Jim Naughtie when he said "if we win the next election..."

Would an astute electorate actually need more reasons than those to tip the responsible party onto the street? We shall find out, but meantime, TMP is scanning the property websites of those countries that have become all too popular bolt-holes for those enterprising Brits that once made up the backbone of our society. Save us a plot...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Sun King 2.0

Well, it appears that Alistair Darling (wisely) reads TMP blogs, because he seems to have acted exactly as instructed by the last blog entry, albeit just late enough to have added to the crisis, and been forced into a new position of widening the scope of government backed guarantees for banks.

Although the terminally pompous Mervyn King was duly queried for his somewhat unhelpful and irrelevant academic approach, he survived. Arguably now is not the time to see his fat head roll, but surely it must once the dust has settled?

Despite the deposition of President Blair, Westminster still has the courtly air of privilege and insider intrigue that was once associated with medieval monarchies, and it's tempting to draw parallels with Louis XIV, although this particular Sun King radiates for a while longer from Threadneedle Street. Get out your knitting, it's time for Madam Guillotine to be sharpened up.

However, the unholy alliance amongst the political and governing classes that means no one needs resign for acts of gross folly, stupidity and incompetence any longer, prevails for the time being, and all the guilty are still accumulating their fat state pensions very nicely, thanks.

The cocooned existence of this endlessly self-seeking Westminster coterie is at the root of the country's dilemma. As never before, they are shameless to a man and woman. This lot will do anything to keep their jobs. ANYTHING. The Westminster Cabal (WC) that remains immune from the sort of responsibility and challenges that face the rest of us in the real world is a growing and real problem.

Frustrated as rarely ever before, the shire parishes are now holding local referenda so that their beleaguered inhabitants feel that they are at least able to do something to show their displeasure at the way the government continuously rides roughshod over the wishes of the "misguided majority" and belies any notion of democracy, at a time when the "official" opposition is busy preparing David Cameron - one time Boy Wonder, rapidly transformed into the Boy Blunder - for the swift exit he now deserves.

Amidst all this, Brown surely cannot resist the temptation to call an election; there may never be a better time to fool enough of the people for the last time. He knows better than most that his government is living on borrowed time, and that the next year will bring nothing but more pain to expose the catastrophic follies of the past 10 years.

And speaking of courtly excess, although we thought we had done away with her at last, we still have that dreadful woman Cherie Blair popping up in the media all over the place, telling the rest of us to eat cake - and buy her book.

Now then, where's that sharpening stone?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mortgages: the White Man's Burden

Well, don't say TMP didn't warn you. The unholy alliance between the UK financial industry, the housing industry and government to bleed cash from UK consumers through painfully overpriced housing has probably claimed a victim. Whether or not Northern Rock survives its current cashout crisis, the company can never be the same, and confidence can only be restored when it is taken over by someone who plainly cannot go bust. (If such an entity still exists at all?)

Chancellor Darling could have simply said "there is nothing at all to worry about - the BoE will underwrite the entire savings base of Northern Rock". Despite the current crunch, NR is one of the best run building societies with generally low risk mortgages that bear no relation whatever to the type of "sub-prime" lending that triggered the US crisis, and about to post a £500m profit to prove the point. In the world of real politics, no government could possibly allow the NR to default on its savers with all the consequences, so let's just deal with it.

However, an unelected civil servant with more practical power and immediate influence than the government, Mervyn King at the Bank of England, just could not resist the opportunity to be sanctimonious and complicated the process with a typically pompous remark about "moral hazard". TMP suspects that the pot just called the kettle black.

Moreover, NR could justifiably claim that when it got into trouble through its market borrowing tactics it was only doing what the government proudly exhorts the UK financial industry to do - namely prove to the world that it's cuter and more creative than any other.

This remains a gathering storm that could and should have been avoided by "real" old-style politicians. It belies the inexperience of the fresh-faced Brownies, and a curious deference to Mervyn King who had nothing to do with the Blair-years period of economic stability - because the outgoing Tories, lead by a former bank manager (albeit with a charisma bypass), had already done all the hard work.

For a while, the UK's overpriced housing industry was usefully sucking the spare cash and more from the legacy of the Tories overlooked economic miracle into "securitizable assets" and away from loose consumer spending. And the government has gleefully p*ss*d the rest up the vast wall of public employment and expenditure, whilst appeasing its core vote.

This was a very handy control on consumer liquidity for a Labour government staring the mother of all trade deficits and public spending inflation in the face; but then our creative financial services industry really took off, and the previously little used idea of remortgaging (remember when it used to be a last resort and something be ashamed of?) gleefully released all the cash (and more) back for consumer spending, anyway. Especially now that there is no incentive to enter old age with any capital wealth in England, you might as well spend it while you can.

Please don't forget that Government wields a massive influence over UK housing costs through its control of the planning system, and to a lesser extent through lax immigration control and social engineering towards ever more single parent households.

Meanwhile, the government has again shot itself in the foot and mouth. Who on earth can take anyone called "Debbie Reynolds" seriously? Albeit chilling words like "cull" and "slaughter" trip with consummate ease from her lips.

Overall, Gordon and his pack of Brownies must be thanking their lucky stars that David Cameron is on the margin and still spouting green claptrap such as charges for Tesco car parks. And no doubt he'll also be charging the evicted home owners to live in cardboard boxes that don't pass the HIPS inspectors' energy efficiency quota.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We are not alone...

This impassioned plea from a New Zealander is doing the rounds of the internet. It is proving remarkably popular and reminds us that the UK is not the only place where the people have, through a general lack of attention and by many acts of omission, progressively allowed themselves to be tyrannised by their "leaders" mindlessly pandering to the opinions and attitudes of minorities.


I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individuals or their culture. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming To New Zealand.

However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of New Zealand being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As NewZealanders,we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.

Our culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom, even died for it. We Speak ENGLISH or MAORI , not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian or any other language. Therefore if you wish to become part of New Zealand society, -- Learn the language!

"In God we trust "is our national Motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.

If God offends you, then it is recommended that you consider another part of the world as your new home, Because God is part of our culture. If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A FAIR GO", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.

This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, AND OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and or griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way Of Life, then you are Highly encouraged to take advantage of one other great New Zealand freedom: "THE RIGHT TO LEAVE"

If you aren't happy here then go! We didn't force you to come here. YOU asked to be here. So accept the country that accepted YOU. Pretty easy really, when you think about it. I figure if we all keep passing this to our friends (and enemies) it will also, sooner or later, get back to the complainers, let's all try;


A New Zealander

Gosh. The UK had better dispatch a boatload of diversity officers of all types to help re-educate the misguided folk of new Zealand to re-engineer a society fit for anyone but the indigenous majority population to enjoy. After all, we're world leaders at that sort of thing, as the Mullahs of Londonistahn will attest.

In fact, why not dispatch a few hundred boatloads of surveillance camera installers, H&S enforcement officers, speed trap operators and bin inspectors? Do you think we can spare them...?

Brown's Britain: enterprise at a price

One of the many vital things that TV shows like The Apprentice have failed to convey is the vast cost of setting up almost any enterprise that employs people in the UK these days.

Business start ups face massive costs of compliance with legislation that ranges from the absurd to the absurdly ridiculous. A general rule of thumb from one firm of accountants suggests that unless you have £50k to "vapourise" on the non-productive essentials of a business start up, you are going to run out of funding before the cash register rings once. Either that, or you will have to risk "cutting some corners".

The margins required to support costs of running a business in the real world mean that eBayers in Hong Kong can eat the costs of shipping, and still undercut everyone paying the price of Brown's profligate Britain.

Precious few new business founders can expect to earn anything like the sort of take-home pay they can get working for any one of the giant companies/organisations or "made up" public purse opportunities that have thrived Brown's socialist utopia. The chances are that even pretend policepeople - Community Support Officers - will take home more than money than someone trying to set up a new business. And they will certainly be paid more per hour.

Business owners have to try and believe that the satisfaction and flexibility of being their own bosses makes up the difference; and take comfort in the certain knowledge that they won't have time to spend any money, even if they did have it to spend.

So instead of actually getting on and running their own businesses, the faces from reality business shows all seem stuck in a "media-warp", aware that their only asset is their fast fading public profile. So let's have a bit more reality in the next series of the Apprentice and see the contestants try and operate a real business, and then report back with their findings. The real world is not a bunch of media wannabes charging off in a Chrysler Voyager to harass a few unlucky souls around London by trying to sell them services and products they really don't need or want in a few hours.

Although it will not be instant gratification TV, the more useful message is that real businesses take time and money to conceive, plan and establish - and that process has been made hugely more complex and costly as a result of 10 years of Labour's meddling and endless interfering legislation. Which is something that suits the big companies (the sort that can afford to donate to political parties and whose bosses traditionally "bought" gongs) who can afford specialist departments to manage the endless compliance and technical issues arising, because the opportunity for eager and fast-moving competition to erode their cosy cartels is diminished by every new diktat from the EU.

Especially those many companies whose suppliers and offshore manufacturing facilities exist in places where the overheads are kept low precisely because there are none of the impositions of the nannying legislation that has removed Europe's ability to compete in world markets.

The SS and its propaganda machine

News of another drive-by shooting in a police "no go" area - this time on a BMX bike - has spurred fad-conscious tory Boy Wonder David Cameron to suggest that perhaps we might park more esoteric (and possibly irrelevant issues) to look to the core decline of British society during ten years of Stealth Socialism (SS), where the propaganda role of Goebbels has been eagerly adopted and executed by the BBC.

TMP thinks Cameron right to try and shift the debate from the obvious symptoms to the more subtle causes, but regrets how badly managed he has been by his PR mentors over the past few months. His worthy cause may be devalued by the systematic carping of a BBC that is now a barely disguised propaganda machine that is controlled by a cabal of minorities drawn from the chattering classes of Islington that exemplify most of what went wrong with the UK during the Blair Presidency, as traditional "middle England traditional values" were systematically undermined to promote a left-leaning agenda.

The BBC has done its best to assist the SS by sensationally exaggerating the day-to-day risks of life, terrifying the gullible with shows like East Enders, Casualty and Crimewatch, and the sensational and biased way that News is presented. A climate has been created in which the public will apparently accept the numerous impositions of mostly unaccountable petty authority ranging from blanket surveillance by CCTV, cellphone records, and storecards to shoe inspections that might once have caused riots even during wartime.

Countless age-old traditions, liberties and freedoms have been binned in the past ten years, and we appear to be no safer - all of which is inescapably traceable to Labour's double whammy of allowing the Muslim population of the UK to reach some 3m, and then pissing them all off mightily with the Blair/Bush "crusades". The police who are left largely powerless to cope with over 2000 serious terror suspects, yearn for the good old days of the IRA - but gratefully accept any excuse and opportunity to get your DNA on their national computer database "just in case"...

We are expected to dutifully and stoically accept that travelling through an airport now involves an absurd series of mindless impositions enforced by the stormtroopers of the SS who realise that they have found the ultimate cushy jobs that they could never hope to find in the competitive world.

As middle England struggles to pay its mortgage, look after its families and mind its own business - the BBC drives-by and its collection of lefties and luvvies and lean out of their tax-funded limo and spray it with carefully constructed psychological ploys that constantly grind away at the notion that it is right and proper to want to bring up a family with two parents (of diverse gender) in attendance, expecting the police to enforce the law in favour of the interests of the majority of "decent people".

The celebration of ever more challenging misfits and weirdness in general could be explained as car-crash media by commercial channels (why does Big Brother spring to mind?) desperate for eyeballs to sell at any cost to quality and taste - but the whole point of the BBC was that it did not need to scrape away at the lowest common denominators of society and keeping turning over stones in its quest for sensationalist material.

Perhaps the most heinous crime of all is the way that the BBC has presided over a period when the now-too-large-to-be-challenged empire of Rupert Murdoch has grabbed the high ground and now effectively controls newsprint and TV from his offshore tax havens. Moreover, Sky is now doing an effective job of mopping up consumer broadband supply.

It's apparent that the age of scheduled broadcasting is just about over, so it's clearly time for the BBC to be disbanded. The changed nature of technology provides for some very creative options in the way that this can be done and serve the public interest that has been so cynically ignored of late.

In the wake of the personal video recorder and Internet, the word "broadcaster" may be about to become as quaintly irrelevant as "stage coach" was after the Model T revolutionised personal transport. Given that the BBC has been central to the insidious process that has undermining UK society and community for the past 10 years, TMP suggests that it is time to disband the major centres, and hand the BBC regional offices over to local regional content creators, with a remit to serve and listen to the majority voices of their communities.

And then the audience can vote with its cash.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

When America Sneezes....

August is known in the media trade as the silly season, but there's nothing much to giggle about at the present financial "meltdown".

Arguably it's a bit more important than floods, foot and mouth and even a couple of lunatics trying to blow up a Jeep in Glasgow, since this touches all our lives in an economy that has been "re-tuned" over the past ten years to pay for the copper bottomed pensions of public employees. The pension funds that rely on stable and growing equity markets to fund private pensions are getting hammered, which means their customers are also getting hammered, although the value of a pension may seem a tad remote to those not within striking distance of retirement age.

However, the Tories are at last making Tory-like noises in terms of tax cutting; and the Labour Party responds as expected with tales of scares of cuts in public services. But by now a growing section of the public will be wondering just what benefit has actually accrued from the extra billions taken in taxes (especially those stolen from pension funds) by Gordon Brown have gone during his reign as Chancellor. But don't wonder to long and hard, because the short answer is that nearly all of it has been wasted.

One glib answer is that the cash nearly all has gone on employing many who could not find a productive job elsewhere in the economy, for the simple reasons that there are precious few productive jobs in the UK economy these days. Minding speed cameras, monitoring diversity quotients in local councils and weighing dustbins does not actually help us in global markets.

In fact, some aberrations like the pernicious Health and Safety culture that now prevails positively curtail our competitiveness in global markets, where many of the most productive economies would dismiss most of the absurdities the H&S Nazis impose on us all as the work of people with nothing better to do. Which of course, they don't.

Against this background of pointless work creation and given that public purse pays for some 30% of all UK employment, the idea that half of that cash can be saved without threatening the necessary public services doesn't seem quite so improbable. Let's hope Cameron hasn't damaged himself too much already so that a dose of policies built on inescapable economic realities that are denied by Labour will get the hearing they deserve.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

How to Save UK Democracy ..?

What an unmitigated shambles for the Tories.

Cameron is being advised by dangerous idiots and presently stands no chance of being elected after all. It seems that only way forward is for ALL the despairing Conservative MPs to cross the floor and join the Labour Party, along with all the LibDems.

From there, they can practise their acerbic brand of disloyalty and teach the Labour and LibDems a thing or to about undermining their respective leaderships.

Then after a brief period of complete chaos perhaps two credible parties might emerge with distinct alignments and policies to deal with the key issues of UK democracy - starting with the UK itself.

This would also be the moment for Scotland to decide if it wanted to be a UK team player, and instead of forever whining on about independence, become properly independent at last, and stop bothering the rest of us. Either way, no Scottish MP should be entitled to vote on non-Scottish affairs of any sort.

Or maybe we will end up with 10 parties, but genuine proportional representation and use of referenda to reflect the changed realities of an online age?

We are fast approaching that point where ANYTHING is better than what we have now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A wake up call while Rip van Brown sleep walks on

The current flood crisis in the West country might be a point at which the nation takes a step back to look at what 10 years of metro-Caledonian rule has done for the shires of England.

In two words: "bugger all".

It's no secret that Blair and his freeloading gang of Old Islingtonians had little or no time for the ways of English country folk, so the sight of them stuck floating down shit creek without the aid of their local council's paddle diversity officer won't send tremors through the PLP at Westminster; but the rest of us should perhaps ponder if this is not the precise moment at which we consider the plight of the English and decide once and for all if we are indeed a United Kingdom, or the collection of tribal fiefdoms that Labour has revived so spectacularly over the past 10 years, to the inestimable cost of the disenfranchised English.

That pointless Scottish parliament building cost some £500m, although in view of the ongoing pantomime of "Scottish Democracy", they might as well have adapted the Glasgow Empire for a lot less. Alex Salmond would strike a fine figure as Widow Twankie, along with cries of "No tickee, no washee" as the clarion call of his free spending administration - except that it's still the English picking up the majority of his laundry bill.

We are constantly told we are short of housing - yet we are told we must permit completely unexpected numbers of immigrants to arrive, allegedly to prop up our "stretched" service industries. We are now told the trains are running at bursting point, and that £500m needs to be spent by the travellers. Remember all you English travellers when you find yourself stuffed in like Sardines, that is a number curiously adjacent to the cost of that wretched Palace to the vanity of Scots in Edinburgh.

In fact, every measure that suggests England, if not the UK as a whole, is overflowing seems to be telling us to stop and reconsider the scope of the remaining infrastructure, but yet the process grinds inexorably onwards, and our population is swollen with ever more needing houses and seats on trains.

If the future really is flooding on the scale we have seen, then everyone on a flood plain will need relocating. Perhaps the answer is the return of the £10 assisted passage to get our unwanted English folk on boats to Canada and Australia to make room for all those lovely EU citizens, and the extended families of those many millions of earlier migrants that want in.

If Canada has any sense, it will vigorously encourage the good English country folk of Gloucester to fill up the vast open spaces of Canada (above the flood line) before some smart socialist politician in Ottawa decides to take a leaf from Brown's Book of Gerrymandering, and compete with Gordon to fill them up with more left-sympathetic voters.

And as for the Boy Dave at large in Rwanda, one can only hope that he goes on a fact finding mission on a crocodile farm, and finds himself "all in it together" with a particularly hungry one in need of a good hug.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cash for dishonours

If anyone imagines that the end of the cash for honours case has left any of those involved with the vestige of any honour or credibility, then they must be living in a parallel universe.

A dodgier bunch of Del-boy alikes is hard to imagine. Talk amongst rich might-be donors of "Ks" and "Ps" cannot be chuckled off with the sort of relieved levity shown by bluff amnesic Welshman Sir Chris Evans without comment from TMP.

Of course the implication is that "they all do it" and have done so for centuries since fiefdoms were bought and sold by Saxons and the rest, so let's have a gentleman's truce now and draw a veil of the current proceedings, since every party that has ever appointed a K or a P has almost certainly got the dirt on everyone else in the club.

In the real world outside Westminster, mortals who are hounded by the unforgiving nature of much petty legislation don't belong to the sort of mutual protection rackets that protect dodgy politicians and their acolytes.

That unfortunate flower seller at the London station who is presently waiting to find out how much a stray petal is going to cost her would probably have got off for nothing if only she had been selling peerages instead of peonies.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vlad tidings from Russia

Gordon's gang of fresh-faced but inexperienced ministers might like to keep in mind that if Vladimir Putin wants to fire a shot across the UK bow, the last thing he need do would be resort to the sort of gung-ho cold war nonsense that was so pointlessly exhumed with the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Typically, the UK's entire technical expertise these days seems to be focused on the last physical remnants of that Cold War - the defence technology industry and its close relation, surveillance systems. From a world-leading position in telecoms, we have yet again pretty much abdicated all aspects of a fundamentally crucial core industry - in this case IP routers and switches.

All Vlad needs to do to send a message of stark clarity to the amateur politicians on Brown's steep learning curve would be to instruct one of his teams of hackers to switch off the Internet to the UK for 5 minutes. Moreover they would use any one of probably several thousand zombie/sleeper systems that they almost undoubtedly control sitting patiently on the ends of innocent UK broadband connections. Better still, since you are no doubt monitoring this blog, Comrade, why not redirect all UK government websites to ..?

It's very easily done.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Priorities and the NHS

What do the majority of British people need more?

The cost of subsidising Scotland (with its free elderly care and university places), stealth speed cameras, growing legions of council officials doing mindless work on stupid EU legislation ...or more CT and MRI scanners, and operators?

The wondrous amount of (mostly English) cash poured down the NHS drain over the past 10 years has resulted in many GPs on £200k+ PA, almost no "proper" evening and weekend cover, and hospitals that are top heavy with witless administrators, busily firing highly qualified nurses, and offering them employment back as lowly health care assistants, the NHS equivalent of those cheap CSOs being used bulk out the plod.

Yet fast growing medical issues such the remarkable rise in allergies and asthma in recent years remain almost entirely a mystery, and no one seems much closer to isolating and treating the specific causes of most common types of cancer.

Most cancer treatments available are still based around flushing the hapless and terrified patient with some variant of a ghastly toxin akin to Jeyes Fluid, where US drugs outfits charge £30k per course of treatment. Which begs the crucial question, is a proper understanding of how to prevent cancer actually in the financial interest of a large slice of an "industry" that thrives on people at their most vulnerable and desperate, and willing to pay anything ..?

The biggest medical (diagnostic) advance in recent times involves the unravelling of genetics, which opens up as yet unimagined cans of worms that must surely result in all forms of health and life insurance becoming the responsibility of the state (yes this is still TMP, you have not accidentally found your way to the Social Workers' Party website), and no longer in the hands of what is now essentially a cartel of "posh bookmakers". We chose the word "cartel" in the light of that recorded message that you now get when calling a car insurer that tells you about possible collusion with competitors over any information provided.

What a shame the UK leads the world in surveillance technology instead of diagnostic medical instrumentation - and don't forget the CT scanner was yet another UK invention that was developed overseas. The real value to the community attributable to speed cameras seems to be spun in various directions, but the benefits of wider availability of medical diagnostics are blatantly obvious.

And do we do need more (any?) community diversity and tree care officers?

The TMP thinks that there are probably better uses for OUR money.

A place in the sun

The other side of the immigration debate is the emigration story.

TV shows like A Place in the Sun trail around after generally very modest UK families who are looking to escape Brown's Beneficent Britain to create a better life for themselves. Astonishingly few have any command of the language at all, but yet they press on with bizarre disregard for the challenges that this provides.

The housing is cheaper, the food is cheaper, the way of life is less fraught, the weather is better; and even the drunks are generally far better natured than their violent and surly UK counterparts. And the PM of Spain is unlikely to ever be a dour Scot.

It seems that the UK government is happy to watch indigenous families totalling some 350k people with a bit of pioneering spirit and chutzpah disappear and create vacancies being filled by 600k immigrants.

Consider the historic voting tendencies of those with "pioneering spirit and chutzpah" versus traditional immigrant allegiances (complete with dodgy postal votes) for the Labour Party. Lady Shirley Porter got into deep brown stuff when messing around with a few thousand votes in Westminster, the Labour Party is gerrymandering with influence on a national scale and few seem bothered.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Gordon's Honeymoon

Recent opinion polls putting Brown comfortably ahead of Cameron may have more to with relief that Tony finally did the decent thing, than belief in Brown and his 2nd division substitute lineup. Relief is generally not a wholly objective emotion. In this case, it masks yet another fundamental misjudgement - just as happened when far too many supposedly intelligent commentators attributed a modestly talented and adequately deluded actor like Blair with the characteristics of statesmanship.

That Gordon Brown should have the effrontery to pretend that his paw marks are not actually all over 10 years of New Labour misrule is the sort of amazing insolence that might just be a big enough lie to go so far off the credulity scale that he gets away with it, as long as he is permitted to avoid answering direct questions.

However, the Majority Party welcomes any opportunity for the democratic process to be exercised, but what we have in the UK is not democracy as long as the outcome of English politics at Westminster is determined by Scottish voters and their Scottish PM and Scottish Chancellor.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rainman stops play

Our recent allusion to "skiers" being struck by the new government was wildly over optimistic. They may never even connect bat with ball. John Humphries' interview with Gordon Brown on Radio 4 today was more a case of the groundsman having being pressed into urgent service after the only batting talent had been compulsorily retired hurt.

Humphries bowled him comprehensively with just about every delivery as Gordon ducked into bouncers, flailed hopelessly outside the off stump and generally began to prove what we had all suspected about his fundamental lack of fitness for purpose. He simply does not answer any question he is given, but carries on taking guard somewhere around square leg.

There's nothing rare in a politician not answering a direct question, even when bowled underarm; but there is something quite painfully maladroit and uncoordinated where Gordon is concerned.

Humphries maintained a perfect line and length when repeatedly asking about the effect 600k unscheduled immigrants were having on stressed UK housing requirements on some 4 successive occasions. Brown played down the wrong line and missed each time, and only the most starry-eyed ardent Labour sympathiser could have failed to hear the regular clatter of the stumps being flattened.

Interviewing Our Beloved New Leader is not so much a case for Hawkeye as ensuring that Gordon's endless requirement for new stumps comes from ecologically managed sustainable forests.

Gordon's command of statistics is legendary. He has bored for England (and Scotland) on many budget occasions with his reams of tedium: to adapt that famous quotation, Gordon knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Would it be too extreme to suggest there may even be a glimpse of the Aspergers variant of autism going on here? As far as John Humphries was concerned, it was clearly a matter of "Rainman stops play".

Monday, July 09, 2007

Restating the obvious

Claiming ownership of the obvious as core policy is a fine political traditional going down through the ages, but why does the fact that children brought up in a stable 2-parent family generally create less havoc and lead more successful lives than children of broken/single parent homes, need to be quite so regularly "rediscovered"..?

Ian Duncan Smith's latest contribution to the reinvention of Tory policy has made the latest of these rediscoveries, but stops short on the precarious and mine-strewn path of analysis - so permit TMP to take a stab. What's a foot or two amongst friends? We'll just get some of those nifty springs fitted instead, and then no one will be able to catch us again. But if we can identify some reasons for the astonishing denial of the obvious over the past couple of decades, we might get nearer a long term solution.

[In the style of a Tom Baker narration:]

So much of chattering-class media and education has been progressively controlled by confirmed bachelors and strident spinsters for the past 20 years since homosexuality became compulsory in Little Britain, that the subversive assertion that two parent families are an irrelevant bourgeois anachronism has almost been accepted as a given. It isn't; it never was and, crucially, never will be: so would the pink mafia kindly please get over it, and move on.

The fact that many "single" people are disproportionately successful with respect to limited talent owes a fair bit to the fundamentally selfish nature of their persuasion, leading to the reality that helping to bring up kids in stable family relationships can be a huge and expensive distraction for those who choose to be boringly conventional in their view of society. Some (many?) employers also practise a form of subtle discrimination since they are aware that "married with children" workers inevitably have priorities outside the company.

If being determinedly single means riding around in a pristine Porsche Boxter instead of a Vauxhall Zafira littered with chocolate biscuit crumbs and home to an escaped hamster, then it's little wonder that metrosexuals like David Walliams keep their options so ambiguously open.

Once upon a time, the argument in favour of pretending that single parents and broken homes were not an impediment might have been attributed to a need to consider the feelings of kids of broken homes so they they are not immediately provided an excuse for underachievement. However, the facts are inescapable, and denial has done no party to this fundamental social deceit, any discernible favours. Now is the time to enlist kids to put pressure on their parents to act responsibly once again.

The modern tendency to have kids late is also a mistake. Apart from the physiological issues, by the age of 30 most parents, after a pampered upbringing by their own guilt-ridden parents and 10 years of dinky time (dual-income, no kids yet) , have grown comfortable on assorted selfish indulgences, and simply do not understand the sacrifices that traditional parenthood entails.

Maybe the most selfish indulgence of all is looking forward to having grown up kids off your hands in your early fifties. Spend that inheritance while you still can; and not on stair lifts.

So perhaps the theft of pension funds was actually a subtle way of reminding the population that since Gordon and his nanny state has blown the savings on surveillance cameras, ex-PM's perks, immigrant housing and diversity assertion training, he and it won't be around to look after you in your old age, and a caring family might be your only option. It's too bad that Gordon's kids will be nagging for university top-up funding just as he's hitting 65...