Monday, December 21, 2009

Some people are easily excited

Somewhere in the past ten years, the expression "we're excited about..." has become one of the most abused phrases in the English language. We think Microsoft was one of the first companies that started to abuse this utterly fatuous expression when attempting to get the attention a jaundiced press and public, and kid them that it's latest attempt to monopolise the world of IT with second rate software and systems was anything more than very tedious indeed.

It is high time that HM the Queen set up The Queen's English Language Rights Society to crack down on such abuses of her language in the same way that just about anyone who claims "rights" now pays some bunch of ex-coppers to threaten the public with terrible retribution for any misuse/abuse and vague naughtiness where those alleged "rights" are involved.

TMP could get excited about seeing the witless PR and marketing droids being sent to the Tower for a summary topping. Couldn't you?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

LLoyds Bank: the fat cats that got the sour cream

Lloyds Bank always enjoyed a reputation for being staid and stalwart - the last sort of bank that would do anything foolish. Indeed, when its champagne socialist Chairman, Victor Blank, did a deal with Gordon Brown over a cocktail party to save what amounted to the entire Scottish economy and any hope of Labour ever winning another seat in Scotland, by bailing out HBOS and its various allied disaster zones, there was an air of triumphalism that the cautious tortoise had won some sort of race with the reckless hares of the banking industry.

We now know rather better. Lloyds' many small shareholders reflected the prudent and conservative nature that the bank had always projected up to that point - and now after 85% dilution, they have been and truly sacrificed on the altar of Brown's cunning, and Blank's hubris.

Many Lloyds customers are similarly dissatisfied with the performance of the bank at the basic functions of being a simple bank, never mind all that nonsense about wheeling and dealing and saving nations - and political hides - including us. So TMP went googling for alternatives business account providers - and the site linked below at the top of the google search for reviews of business banking - and lead to this page where Lloyds is rated by its customers: "1.2 out of 5", with respondents complaining that they were not able to rate Lloyds service with "0" - because the range on offer was 1-5.

However, the same site largely confirms that the mainstream clearing banks are pretty much regarded as equally dire by all their victims. Alliance and Leicester appeared to score better than most and always boasts winning customer surveys - but a call through to them suggests that they are no better, and about to become fully "Santander, and thus imbued with the same "mañana" attitude that now seems to blight O2 since Spain's Telefonica took it over.

So it's the devil we know for a while longer until someone comes along with a really different and better proposition. Most banks seem to think that free banking is a big deal; but trust us, you grotesquely overweight felines, we're perfectly happy to pay for competent banking - so try and see if you can still remember how to provide it?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dialling up another stealth tax

The way that UK cellular networks all charge the same and offer the same levels of dire services suggests a cartel in operation. When doing some research in the local Orange store, TMP was told unequivocally that it was pointless waiting for Vodafone to get iPhones, because they will be charging the same anyway.

We don't think this was sales banter but the dishonest truth - Apple is controlling the iPhone market with the skill and brutality that it controls all its markets. The keenly complicit cellular networks are familiar and comfortable with market-fixing cartels, since the government has effectively allowed them to all get away with murder for years.

The Faustian deal was done when the embarrassed networks paid barmy money in the 3g spectrum sale, and simply had to be allowed to find ways to recover their donations to the treasury, by overcharging their customers. So in reality, the 3G spectrum sale was the stealth tax of the century - and in a "nod and wink" deal, Broon allowed the networks to do whatever it took not to go bust, and squeeze a few more taxable quid from UK punters and businesses; probably anticipating that they would go and blow any profits that they ever made on another spectrum auction.

The "latitude" extended to the cellular network operators included turning a blind eye to them operating as cartels - where everyone charges the same (albeit with as much effort at obfuscation as possible with intelligence-insulting marketing schemes) and either you pay a grossly inflated PAYG rate - or you will be lashed to a very tedious 24 month contract, hacked straight from your account by direct debit - or else...

The way in which banks are paying bugger all interest - but still charging borrowers as much as ever - is clearly another very handy form of stealth tax on prudent savers. And again Broon has assembled a handy cartel of behemoths who are prepared to "do business" with him in return for cartel favours.

Everywhere we look in Labour's benighted Britain, the big guys have been allowed to reach cartel and monopoly proportions where they are simply too big to care anything for customer service any longer, and immune from serious competition, in return for "doing deals" with the government, in return for acting as agents that are operating the dreadful Auld Fraud's stealthier raids on your cash.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Green with stupidity

The current questioning of Green presumptions is the fault of the those zealots who saw it as an opportunity for global social engineering, preaching the ethos of the "nanny state" - and irritating anyone who likes to at least try and think for themselves.

A moment's thought reveals that concern about energy is very real - but that price and politics of energy are definitely real, whereas the science oif climate change has all the hallmarks of a religious cult, where superstition and half truths are spun into an ideology where all opponents must be burned at the nearest stake.

Another moment of rational thought reveals that a wholly undeniable issue concerns population - which affects much more than just climate issues.

However, the question of "breeding rates" risks exposing the Labour Party's many sacred cows, especially that the UK population that has been suddenly grown by the unfettered immigration that politicians insisted was somehow "good for us". However, many "ordinary people" are packed like sardines in overcrowded trains and on jammed roads - and thereby daily witness the growing strain on the nation's infrastructure, and suspect that the open door policy is not the good thing that the Labour hierarchy has been telling us.

Leaked emails now confirm that Labour's migration policy was part of a process of carefully considered gerrymandering to dilute the nasty xenophobic native population with a rainbow influx of likely Labour voters, and to provide cheap domestics for Lady Scotland. But meantime, drowning polars bear and the climate distraction is a handy smokescreen for the apparatchiks of the BBC to bore us with, under which Broon and Co are imposing all manner of specious taxes and laws in the name of saving humanity.

The phoney war

The cellphone operators raise TMP's blood pressure as much as any of the cartels that 13 years of Labour misrule has allowed to flourish and torment our lives in this benighted land.

TMP exists on the fringe of coverage for all the networks, rumour has it that a local resident once objected to the location of a relay mast, and around 500 residents have been cursed with indifferent to crap coverage ever since. Even a

For reasons of pure inertia, and the effort Orange puts into preventing its customers from finding ways to escape from its clutches, we cannot presently recall, we've put up with Orange for the past 10 or so years. However, 10 years ago, TMP world HQ was located in an area of urban coverage. 5 years ago TMP relocated - but with the relatively dull services possible at that time, it wasn't a terrible nuisance to be out of cellphone range. However, over the past 5 years the integration of the internet and cellphones have made the absence of cellular coverage a major factor of social exclusion. Maybe not quite as bad as living just off the broadband coverage map, but a pretty close thing.

So TMP has become increasingly agitated by the lack of coverage, and started to shop around to see if any of the other networks were any beter. We always checked with visitors to see if their phone worked and if so, what network. O2 seemed to come off better than Orange (anything was better Orange), and there was some talk of O2 making a picocell/femtocell - a miniature local base station that looks like a wifi router (which is what it basically is) that you plug into a broadband router for backhaul - available in fringe areas.

We are also weary of lies told by cellphone salespeople. We switched one from Orange (France Telecom) to O2 (Telefonica) two years ago, and were assured we were in a coverage area. Of course we are not, but we simply couldn't be bothered to go through the huge hassle again of baling out of 02, and transferring the number again. And O2 and the rest know it.

The efforts that their marketing departments go to in order to invent obscure and confusing "subscription plans" is quite astonishing. Orange feel the need to call their hideous creations banal but cuddly names like Dolphin and Panda. Rat and Louse would be more appropriate and reflect the nature of those tormenting the punters more accurately.

TMP will keep you advised of our experiences of getting PAC numbers from Orange and o2, and then setting up a deal we can all understand with Vodafone. We are expecting pain.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Democracy: dangerous stuff!

The recent Swiss referendum that decided to prevent minarets being attached to mosques was one of the more defiant gestures of public opinion of recent times, albeit outside the EU.

Those Swiss leaders that were pleading for a vote to allow minarets, were doing so purely to avoid upsetting militant Muslims and thereby risk turning Switzerland into a target for reprisals. The Swiss are not noted for their ability to take sides and make a stand on matters of international discordance, in case you had not noticed.

And the predictable list of unelected global busybodies has pitched in to tell the Swiss what they should be thinking. And of course the ever vigilant Guardian is seething with indignation, accusing Switzerland of being Europe's hotbed of Nazi insurrection.

Somewhat closer to home, TMP can't get planning permission for a modest enclosed porch on the front of TMP world HQ that is not visible from any road, that no neighbours can see, that blocks no light, that does not cross any building lines. All because the owner here before us was a bit "creative" with his planning permission interpretations, and the bearded wally in the council planning dept left a note on the file to refuse anything else ever again, on principle.

Our biggest mistake in this benighted land of barminess is clearly one of not being a Muslim or other culturally diverse minority. But we can soon fix that, if it helps.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vox pop

This was written by a rig worker in the North Sea, and circulated as a viral. But it certainly seems to have a struck few chords...

"I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.

In order to earn that pay cheque, I work on a rig for a drilling contractor. I am required to pass a random urine test for drugs and alcohol, with which I have no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a benefits cheque because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand that I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet.
I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their arse drinking beer and smoking dope.

Could you imagine how much money the government [and the rest of us!] would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a benefit cheque?"

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A brief sabbatical

Please excuse TMP for taking a couple of months off.

The enforced break brought about when Lord Google decided this blog was spam gave us pause to ponder. We did of course object at being put on the naughty step for no reason whatever - and we did try asking Lord Google to explain himself, but typically, he did not. We have some suspicions what might have been going on - it seems reasonable to assume that Google secretly compares blog content with other posted information. And yes, some TMP items are cross posted elsewhere on the net. But at not time were consulted, asked or advised - Big Google just did his thing, in his own time and in in his own secretive way.

Lord Google - who now exerts dominion over vast tracts of cyberspace - feels that he is not accountable in any way to his the users who have handed him (and the US spooks) their innermost secrets and personal details. But he puts a lot of energy into smoozing politicians and buffing up their already voluminous egos by holding invitation-only conferences and events for them and members a worshipful media that are even more sought after than a G20 summit.

TMP has been pondering the task facing the next UK government. We've been asked how we would feel if it was not a majority government, but just another fudge of sort that we are presently labouring under, albeit a Conservative fudge. And that's a very good question indeed.

High on of our list is what to do about the question of Europe. Of course it's plain daft for Cameron to be expected to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Not only would such an overt challenge cause the slushmeisiters of the EU to pour money into trying keep it's puppet chums in the Labour Party in power, there are far better ways to tackle the issues raised.

We need a new treaty proposed by the UK that the other disenfranchised people of Europe could participate in - there is clear populist evidence that it's not just the long suffering English, but those many people across Europe who are paying for the EU gravy train and its tender of the client superstate.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thanks, Google

For some time now, Google's Blogger service has been blocking attempts to post new items on the TMP site.

There is of course, no simple recourse to an email address or a help line when Lord Google turns his thumb down - just an inexorable faceless process that does its thing - as and when and how it feels.

So here's yet another candidate for our list of those imperious behemoths that will need "re-education" in the responsibilities of cartels and monopolies when an opportunity arises.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sorting the NHS

Never ones to shirk the big tasks, TMP is pretty certain we can fix the NHS for a lot less than McKinsey charged for producing a report that was clearly pointless.

Above all else, the NHS needs to rediscover the vitality of smaller operational units. The programmes of centralisation in the name of "efficiency" in the past 20 years that have closed local hospitals and created so-called centres of excellence have generally failed.

There have been some notable disasters, and the vast budgets involved have provided temptation and scope for some embarrassing embezzlement opportunities. And in many of these over-vast metropolis developments, it It takes 20 minutes to get from the (expensive) car park to the bedside. (If you can find a space at all).

Multiple smaller units also permit motivated staff to rise more quickly to positions of relative authority - whereas the career path in a hospitals of thousands has created a civil-service "so what" 9-5 mentality that is painfully obvious in most oversized trusts.

We all understand the benefits of organisations of any type where "everyone knows everyone". On the vast sites it is simply too easy for unauthorised people to wander in and out at will, and help themselves to equipment and staff valuables. Attempts to install security can severely impede normal operations as the "real" staff rush around and forget to carry all the right security devices with them at all times.

The new technology available should mean that administration is a breeze - but any government's record with IT projects are pathetic - unless they are something vital like a congestion charging scheme or speed camera network.

Computerised equipment like CT and MRI scanners should cost a fraction of what the NHS pays (just see how the cost of IT has fallen everywhere else) but there seems to be little effort to put the cartels of medical equipment providers on the spot to explain why a CT scanner still costs about the same today as it did 10 years ago. Suppliers will always point to a list of "enhancements" and new technology to justify the price, but the law of diminishing returns is severe in this type of gear, and 99% of all cases could be effectively dealt with by more basic models that could be operated by front line doctors and nurses, not rare and costly specialist staff.

An iPod is probably more complex and contains smarter technology than a 10 year old CT scanner.

Importantly, a lot of the operational responsibility could and should be devolved back to medical staff with admin assistants, and most of the managers who rejoice in holding meetings about meetings to create more work for themselves could go without any damage to the delivery of healthcare. The benefits to general morale of putting medical staff in overall charge of healthcare once again, would be huge.

The problem is that the turkeys will not vote for Christmas - so when consultants like McKinsey interview the management on cost savings we get bonkers propositions that preserve the nonsense hierarchy and instead seek to reduce front line staff.

So much of the shambles and waste stems from communictaion and record keeping - so the current NHS needs to be taken apart, and rebuilt around modern technology that extends to encompass the ever-growing needs for care in the home.

In such a process, there should also be an opportunity for the UK to create world-leading healthcare businesses - but the chances are that we will continue to bumble along with a world-class cockup. Sigh...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why Brown let the bankers let rip

There is still a lot of bemusement why Blair's Labour Party was quite so "intensely relaxed" about bankers getting rich. TMP thinks it has worked it all out!

Who taxed the booming profits of the City of London for 12 years? The City was specifically encouraged to get fat so that sly old Farmer Broon could effectively tax the proceeds of the phony asset bubble, via the finance industry's mega £billion profits and bonuses. Farmers force feed their cows and pigs for much the same purpose. So it was wonderfully ironic that the first crisis to hit the Auld Fraud's phony premiership was the foot and mouth outbreak. God's way of having a laugh.

What is easier to tax? A £1m bonus paid to a banker or that same £1m spread around 1000 of a bank's customers who didn't get crudely overcharged? And then the bonused banker will spend the £500k after tax on a bunch of frivolous consumption items resulting in lots more VAT than the food that a 1000 starving bank customers would have bought.

And don't forget that every bonused banker will also privately educate their kids, and not bother the NHS. More savings. Hell, for a while this worked so well that some of the more gullible in the City even voted Labour!

Concentrating all those profits in the readily taxable finance industry was a very smart move. Letting the people get a fair share of all that cash by preventing the finance industry from raping their customers quite so outrageously, would have been too costly for the exchequer.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The riskless world of the quango

TMP worries about the number of appointees without any experience of "the real world" that seem to float to the top of this wretched junta and its many quangos. How come so many people with backgrounds in academia, consulting and "pure politics" now rule the lives of the rest of us, who live in that real world?

This risk-free club of the unworldly is almost Masonic in its nature and coverage of Labour's establishment. Its members all seem to speak the same dialects of newspeak (ranging from ancient tripe to modern tripe) and for all us outsiders know, they have funny handshakes and other techniques to help them to easily identify fellow travellers, to ensure that no one with a realistic view the world should be allowed in to spoil their deluded view of the world.

Lord "Red Adair" Turner appears to be another fellow-travelling, peerage collecting, hack quangoista, with nothing on his CV that suggests he has ever been involved in what the majority of us plebs would regard as faintly akin to sustainable wealth creation within "the real world".

He lasted less than an year in the only job on his CV that has any resonance with a "real wealth creating business" with his employer - BP - before moving his double first in History and Economics to Chase Manhattan and then McKinsey, who are not famous for pulling the levers at the coal face of the economy, as much as nudging the buttons of rarefied deal makers and bankers.

Before his time at Merill Lynch, his period as DG of the CBI (95-99) was regarded as "disappointing" and the CBI members subsequently may have regretted picking him as a compromise choice, (possibly to appease what in 1995 looked like the inevitability of a Labour government). And then when Blair/Brown duly arrived, Turner seemed instrumental in engineering that brief but disastrous period of rapprochement between the business community and New Labour that set the scene for Brown to raid the pensions industry - and be allowed to get away with it! Just what was that deal about ? Was it a "trade" that allowed bankers to make personal fortunes for themselves, and vast taxable profits for the banks, while the rest of us paid with our pensions?

Had the ever-conniving Brown worked out that allowing greedy (and frequently quite dim) bankers to make vast taxable profits from their dodgy dealings, fairy mortgages, and excessive interest charges (surely against every one of his Marxist principles?), was going to provide the opportunity for the biggest stealth tax grab of all ? Had he simply set up a gullible finance industry to become vicarious tax collectors - effectively taxing the UK's gullible property owners, who eagerly believed in the artificially inflated values - through the medium of mortgage interest ?

During this time, Turner also built a cosy personal relationship with the Labour hierarchy that has kept him in comfortable employment and quangos ever since he left Merrill Lynch in 2006 - at the peak of Brown's phony boom..

In a world where small business founders are routinely expected to put their homes on the line in order to provide collateral, Turner and his ilk seem to spend their time smoozing and networking their way around quangos and government appointments, collecting salaries and pension contributions - and doing what they clearly do best - pontificating without any personal responsibility or financial risk.

Nevertheless, we'd pay to see Lord Sugar take him on in a celebrity Apprentice showdown challenge match - or attempt to pitch a business idea to the Dragon's Den..

Monday, August 24, 2009

The curse of F-level politics

The A-level season is upon us, and once again, flying in the face of all the evidence around us, standards have risen.

One of the consequences of the "further education for all" fixation of the past 30 years is that a lot of not very bright kids are hustled through the comprehensive system because their teachers/tutors don't want to be associated with failure. As a result, a lot of students without any innate common sense seem to have scraped through with the softer options of politics, economics and sociology, and found jobs in politics and social activism in general where they are now doing damage.

The problem is that a lot of these people realise that they got where they are by luck/accident/fraud, and set about trying to solidify their precarious positions by surrounding themselves with people even less competent than themselves. It is a vicious circle.

The really smart and well rounded giants of the last century like Churchill and Thatcher had no such insecurities, nor did they need the money, and so could happily surround himself with the finest brains in the land and not be bothered about being upstaged. At least up to the point where the Tory party judged them to have exceed their shelf life.

Gordon Brown was probably told by Blair (and Cherie) on several occasions that he wasn't up to the job of PM - and this insecurity has lead to him surrounding himself by idiots. Lord Mandelson, being the smart operator that he is, saw his opportunity to get that Peerage he's been aching for, and doubtless played on Broon's insecurity with the idea that it would be safer to have Mandy inside his "big tent", pissing out (prostate permitting), than vice-versa.

And TMP wouldn't put it past the ever-scheming Broon that he has calculated that he can usefully leverage Mandy's legendary hubris to set him to take the fall for something big that goes wrong. Virtually every commentator on the UK political scene has made the point that despite all the fabled Dark Arts, it is virtually inevitable that Mandelson's love of playing with fire would end up burning him yet again.

And the consequence of the limited reserves of intellectual energy being spent on all this intrigue is that Broon and his advisers did not possess the common sense ...

a) not to ambush our once enviable pensions industry, and

b) to see the asset bubble coming.

So thanks to the ease with which not-very-clever people can gain political power in this country (with or without elections), we now have a multi trillion pound disaster to sort out.

We test our kids to destruction and publish the results - why don't we require politicians to face tests? Assuming David Lammy felt he was above the intelligence of his fellows when he took on the Mastermind challenge, than perhaps the infamous Lammy Mastermind calamity might not be the only exposure of scary MP stupidity to look forward to.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Say what you think, at your peril

Many of the lazier commentators in the press appear to have been tuned into the BBC News Channel recently, which is overly engaged with any story that potentially undermines the Tory party, even more so than usual - sensing perhaps that they might conceivably be spared their richly deserved evisceration by a Tory government - if only they can try and concentrate their small arms fire, and see if it can be combined into a sufficient force to hole Cameron below the water line.

But for many others it's a relief to see that political parties can still contain a range of opinions after 12 years of the command and control mentality of Alastair Campbell's dungeon lab.

Dissenters have always existed in all the main parties, and are generally regarded by the press and people as relief from the carefully spun monolithic wall of blather from Westminster. So why not celebrate them and their controversy rather more?

Tory MEP Daniel Hannan had a go at the NHS. Given that the NHS is easily the most expensive thing in the UK, this seems like fair game. Moreover, the experience of the NHS varies hugely. Just because you had your haemorrhoids sorted quickly and efficiently doesn't mean the largest employer employer in Europe and biggest financial black hole we presently support is all sweetness and light - because it isn't. Ask most of the medical staff if they think it could be run more efficiently and less wastefully.

Thanks to years of stupidity, new technology has barely touched the NHS. In fact, the numerous IT disasters have probably reduced the overall efficiency as the system has moved from being based on distributed locally responsible hospitals, to far fewer but much larger centres (of excellence?). But the expected slick "all-knowing" IT has not been delivered to cope with this transformation, and the new much larger units simply have much larger crises, where the inept can lose themselves rather more easily.

Most of us have experienced highs and lows of the medical care - but one thing is absolutely consistent - trying to complain about a bad NHS experience is futile. Sure the "customer service structures" exist, but you or you loved one would be long dead before anything actually happened. So the bureaucratic configuration of the NHS does need a complete overhaul, it was created from a basis of fairyland dogma rather than reality. The notion that no effort can be made to try and separate and prioritise time wasters and those with self-inflicted problems from the more urgent and deserving can be seen in any casualty unit pretty much any day of the week.

As for Alan Duncan, are all you lot now not only in favour of the surveillance state - but one that is covert and operates through subterfuge? Who amongst you has not said something "off the record" that you would not posted on youtube..? The world would be a much duller place without the Alan Duncans and Boris Johnsons.

Churchill could not possibly have survived trial by modern media,und Sie werden viel über die Lesung dieser Die Welt -Website..

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The UNreal world of the BBC

Watching the "where are they now" show confirms that Dragon's Den provides some pretty outrageous promotion for those who appear on the show. TMP remembers the good old days of BBC propriety, when Blue Peter religiously used to cover the name of "Ever Ready" on its distinct blue batteries, using black tape.

It's not as if Peter "as seen on TV" Jones, Theo Profiterole & Co need any freebies - especially as their victims get quite thoroughly mugged for equity in a manner that borders on disgraceful, where they are blatantly using their benefits of celebrity – provided by the BBC licence payer – to leverage the poor mugs off their own businesses. With gullible souls like this eagerly turning up to be brutally insulted and financially raped on TV, it's a mystery how any of these ideas ever make any money.

The BBC has a long history of interfering with and distorting commercial markets since the BBC Acorn micro started out doing some good, but quickly became a terrible distraction that arguably set UK education back a generation, when the rest of the world was getting on with the more versatile and vastly more relevant IBM PC.

TMP respectfully suggests that part of the work of reforming the BBC might include asking the Dragons to hand back half the equity they have stolen, by exploiting the BBC and our licence fees? Better still, let's adopt an interactive format and more liquid market where the entire audience can choose to participate and "buy shares" in the ideas being paraded.

However "good" the TV, the idea that an entrepreneur is required to spill the beans on their business idea in a way that alerts competition must be fundamentally wrong.

And then however attractive the proposition, the Dragons nearly always end up saying they'll invest only if it's a guaranteed monopoly with patents to squash any of the competition (that has just been woken up) - and if the owner hands over half the business in return for a ride with the licence-payer funded publicity machine.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Real World (4)

The whole eco-sermon is based on a well prepared and tedious chanted litany of assumptions; acts of faith that are every bit as specious as those which form the basis of any sermon delivered by any wild eyed and rabid preacher, for whom the absence of unimpeachable scientific proof is a small inconvenience that is dealt with by dismissing any doubters as Satan's spawn.

We've known for 100 years that fossil hydrocarbon energy oil was going to run out. We didn't know when we would reach "peak oil", but now we have, and the present distraction is not about climate change, it is about the politics of energy security.

So let us all stop being quite so easily suckered and insist on the truth. It makes little practical difference, since the reality is that we need to explore and develop any and all alternative energy options as fast as possible. However, over many years, one party has had a better track record of creating climates for commercial progress and success in a competitive world than the control freak nannying of Labour's command and control obsession.

If the government was actually serious about carbon emissions for any reason other than an opportunity to herd the sheeple and raise taxes, it wouldn't cost ~3-5 times less to fly 300 miles than go by train.

Talk of storms brought about by fractional global warming needs to tempered by more than just an obsession with CO2. Solar activity is at a 50 year low - and the last time there was this few sunspots happened to coincide with a year (1903) when an unprecedented and massive storm devasted the Great Lakes area of North America. DO we really belive we are more influential than the sun - whose solar wind blasts this planet's atmosphere at an increible but reasonably steady 280.2km /sec.

The Real World (3)

Coming on top of 12 years of stultifying bureacracy that has strangled creative and productive enterprise in the UK, the Auld Fraud Broon's belief that the UK can lead the world in any aspect of science, technology or manufacturing with the millstone of his state around its neck is risible and delusional.

Even those at the top of the legal food chain seem to have had enough:

The most senior judge in England and Wales has criticised the government for passing too many crime laws. Sir Igor Judge made a plea for less legislation in a speech at the Lord Mayor of London's dinner for judges.

So how can we begin to clear the decks of the spurious red tape that has accumulated over many years? The babies are now immiscibly blended in lake of murky bathwater, and perhaps we can learn from the Ottoman Empire, which had also run into terminal constitutional decline as the result of many (hundreds of) years of convoluted and irrelevant law and process, when Kemel Ataturk handily bowled up and "reset" the Turkish constitution, and at a stroke (or two) made it relevant to its time and circumstances.

The Real World (2)

Unemployment at 2.4m contains a disproportionate number of young people and long term unemployed. This is obviously linked to massive costs now associated with employing anyone for any productive purpose.

12 years of misguided Labour effort to "protect" employment has had the opposite effect for all private employers who have to try and provide the wealth that the massively over bloated public sector dissipates with such consummate ease.

The Real World (1)

All talk of climate change that is not preceded by an analysis of population trends is futile.

Alan Johnson, the latest in a long line of fundamentally and dangerously inept Home Sectretaries, is relaxed that the UK population will top 70m by 2028. Given that all birth trends suggest the demographic of this expanded population will be "natural" Labour voters, perhaps that's not too surprising.

Given there are 2.4m officially unemployed and an estimated 3m "off the radar", coupled to an alleged shortage of 3m homes, how about combing all the ills we face concerning resource and infrastructure shortages (not least the expectation we will run out of power before new nuclear facilities are online) and devising a scheme to reduce the UK population by 5m as soon as possible?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Girding loins

TMP fans wondering why the long pause will shortly be regaled by a new wave of posts on subjects ranging from the BBC's astonishing ability to pay itself a lot of money that its employees frankly cannot justify or deserve in the current media meltdown; plus a look at the absurd immigration policies being espoused by Woollas and Alan Johnson, who is turning out to be yet another disaster of a Home Secretary. Be Patient!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A lame duckhouse government

We've all had a jolly good laugh and enormously enjoyed watching pompous MPs squirming in the glare of the most excruciating publicity, but if you lot were told that your employer expected you to claim £50k PA as part of your "compensation package" (we love that Americanism) and that there were virtually no rules - which one of you would not do it?

We thought so.

The righteous sanctimony is starting to smell just a little stale by now. By all means slaughter Broon for presiding over the latest censorship fiasco and he complete mishandling of the entire situation from the outset a very revealing episode that shows just how completely hopeless the Auld Fraud truly is when events move outside his legendary "control zone" - but we really need to get on and sort out the economy before we wake up and find that China has bought us all in a fire sale.

So - General Election, please! How about the press - who now pretty much universally have got the plot - campaign for massive public displays of dissatisfaction until the Auld Fraud is carried bodily from No 10. All that is needed is to guarantee a year's salary to all the many outgoing MPs - appalling though it may seem, that's absolutely and entirely what this has now come down to.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After the apocalypse? We're already here!

We've all seen those cinematic visions of "after the apocalypse" where the machines have taken over and a few humans remain to scramble amongst the ruins?

Well, you might not have noticed, but it's happened. Possibly not quite as obvious and stark as in the Terminator's imagery, but happened it has: the faceless robots now in charge are the behemoth organisations that have been allowed to emerge through steady acquisition and consolidation in the name of "efficiency" over the past 20 years: massive national and supranational government agencies, collaborating cosily with the cartels of global companies entrenched in major and increasingly monopoly supply roles.

The most obvious proof that these commercial cartel members are unhealthy is that governments simply could not allow them to go bust - even after they had got their numbers disastrously wrong to the detriment of the entire planet.

It is a specific characteristic of these behemoths that that they only want to deal with each other. This has been the globalisation of the old adage that "no one ever got fired for choosing IBM". The implication being that the risk of failure of the product/service chosen would not fall on the decision maker, whereas had the product/service been chosen from a smaller "no-name" supplier, then the superiors of the decision maker would haul them over the coals when any blame storm erupts. It's a pernicious but effective tactic, and means that the behemoths can only ever grow, regardless of their fitness for task and competence.

So if you are not part of this cosy "system", then you are one of the remainder, scrambling around the ruins of the once-diverse economy for crumbs that fall from the tables of fat cats gorging on their unfairly protected cartel businesses - or waiting eagerly to catch the slops that spill over the lips of the many government troughs.

Despite the controversy over his appointment as Business Tsar, [include current honour here] Alan Sugar has a refreshingly old-fashioned view of the world, that includes a desire to wind the clock back 20 years (see the YouTube interviews) to a world where common sense prevailed before "the rise of mechanoids" rather more than it does now in Broon's Blighted Britain.

One acid test will arise his core passion for apprenticeship. The idea that any self-employed tradesman should take on a school leaver as an apprentice is now almost certainly going to be smothered by the enormous hassle and paperwork that 12 years of Labour's interminable process that means it's very unlikely to happen. Only one of the monster mechanoids that can afford to devote an entire department to HR will be able to find the time and resources to push the paper around to satisfy the rules.

As unemployment climbs, this has to change - and quickly.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Broadband Britain Myth

There is still far too much evidence of ignorance amongst politicians on the matter of broadband, IT and telecoms in general. Blair's admission that he didn't know how to switch on a laptop was considered acceptably jokey at the time. No one is laughing now when our leaders profess such woeful ignorance of the fundamentals for survival in the 21st century.

BT has defended its ancient investment in copper (and aluminium) network to the death and manipulated the government for nigh on 30 years. For various internal political issues, it utterly fudged the obvious opportunity to switch to fibre when we lead the world in the technology in the 80s and 90s.

Despite loudly protesting its innocence, BT has served its own monopoly interests all the way - having delivered a mostly sub-standard service (with institutional attitude) for years. Despite "de-regulation" it carefully waited and then kicked the stool out from under the eager but naive Mercury, which set down a marker to all UK telecom competition that BT was the 600lb gorilla not to be messed with. Don't bother about investing, because we'll spoil your day.

A few cherry picked services emerged to provide point to point services to obvious points of mass connectivity, but aside from an occasional noble disaster - like Ionica's failed microwave home service that failed when the leaves came out - no one has bothered to even try to take on BT in the shires.

But better than "adequate" bandwidth is a fundamental national infrastructure issue - the Queen's Superhighway, if you like.

Copper DSL is a crap shoot with its generally unpredictable performance, compounded by various analogue uncertainties - dependant on exchange routes with a maximum of about 6km before the signal fades out. Fibre is 100% predictable all the way, and could be used from far fewer core exchanges, spaced at 50km - so thousands of exchanges could be shut/redeveloped/sold.

Although the shambles that is Virgin arose form a completely botched cable TV industry, it is the only "in the ground" alternative to BT's copper hegemony. The chances are that Virgin will get the chance to fill in the bits BT has abandoned. Everyone hates BT throughout the entire IT and telecoms industry for its continual abuses of market dominance, it's relentless devious tactics and calamitous lack of vision.

Moreover, once we become a nation dependent on connectivity, then we need to seriously consider how we get not just one but two diverse "fail over" services into each premises. Any business reliant on connectivity knows full well just how disastrous even a minor outage can be - and the same will increasingly apply to consumer installations as government owned banks and post offices progressively shut their doors and tell their customers to use online alternatives.

If ever there was a topic that needed a Tsar to crack heads, this is it. Lord Carter has other fish to fry as he attempts squaring the numerous circles of new media and broadcasting, but let's pray he has the bottle to insist this subject is raised up the agenda and taken away from BT's deathly embrace. For once, TMP will (generously) not immediately assume that his willingness to sit in the Lords as a Labour peer disqualifies him from getting any credit for knowing what he is doing.

After all, the exception proves he rule.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Minority Party: 5%

The most significant (and obvious?) thing to emerge from the EU elections is that the Labour Party's awkward coalition of minorities has come apart at the seams in a big way. Just 5% of the electorate voted Labour - one in twenty - and now the Auld Fraud Broon is busy telling us that having torn up the manifesto of the last general election, and avoided an awkward election on his assumption of the role of PM, he's going to reform the nation. Without any sort of mandate; indeed in the face of coming 3rd in the most recent test of national opinion.

We appear to arrived at the moment when if HM decided it was time exercise her power and dissolve parliament, it's unlikely that many would complain.

Labour has long be a fundamental contradiction in that it appeals to best and worst instincts: the lofty altruism of social justice and fair shares for all, and that rather darker contract with its "grass roots" supporters that amounts to selling its soul to the lowest common denominator by promises of soaking the rich to pay for an endless public employment gravy train.

And such a perfect opportunity missed to hold a cost-effective referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Although we suspect that idea is now irrelevant, since the question of the Tories' referendum will be a rather more fundamental return to the original Treaty of Rome and reprise of the free markets - without the increasingly unloved and irrelevant social engineering agenda. After all, that's what we actually voted for in the first place.

Whatever, we continue to live in interesting times.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

We do not need PR

There is once again a familiar call for the introduction of proportion representation as the way to fix British Politics. Oh no it won't...

Everywhere it applies, PR means professional politicians doing cosy deals amongst themselves in order to stay nose down at the trough.

By all means let's reform the FPTP system so that we get genuinely elected Prime Ministers - and key manifesto promises on matters such as referendums and tax rates can only be abandoned - after holding a referendum.

Maybe we should have a PM elected by a simple majority of the UK vote - without anything contrived like electoral colleges to fudge around the possibility that the "wrong" person might get selected by sheer populism, as far as the "establishment" was concerned. Let's trust the people to make the decisions for once - the politicians' gentlepersons club has properly cocked it up when left to its own devices for too long.

PR means that the ruling clique will be able to pick/choose elements of an amorphous fudge of policy, and never be held properly accountable - ever again!

PR is not any sort of solution, it will only compound the worst aspects of "professional" politics.

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's now S'real: Official

News that Sir Alan Sugar is being rewarded for his stalwart support of Gordon Brown - through thin and thinner - rounds off a surreal period in British Politics with a moment of pantomime. This would appear to be the political equivalent of calling the faithful sub off the bench in the last minute of extra time in the cup final so as to get a reward for their long and loyal service.

Let's pause a reflect:

"No more boom and bust"
"Best placed to deal with the downturn"
"A weak currency is a sign of a weak government"
"British jobs for British workers"

The Damian Green affair, the toxic McBride affair. The pathetic response to the expenses scandal. The grinning loon on YouTube.

What more does anyone need by way of proof that Gordon has been an unmitigated disaster as (unelected) PM..? Why is there even the slightest delay in getting the Auld Fraud perched on his bike, and taking the High Road home?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

TMP's advice to voters

And you thought the amateur dramatics at Westminster were bad? The EU is farce performed by professional con artists and fraudsters on so many levels, that it's difficult to know where to start on the subject of reform.

Many people that take the trouble to understand the issues don't see any point, benefit or reason for closer political union; most of us clearly don't want to be told what to do by Brussels when the parliament is elected and operated as a self-serving Ruritanian farce.

Notwithstanding, we quite enjoy not having to juggle Johnny foreigner's colourful but confusing cash when travelling; we like the idea of common trading areas. And thanks to plastic cards and ATMs that really doesn't seem to matter much more anyway. Plus the intervention of the internet now means that a "common global market" is pretty much inevitable.

We used to actively seek something a bit different when travelling abroad - so why try and turn all Europe into one amorphous Centre Parcs or Holiday Inn?

Most other attempts at practical/cultural unification are farcical anyway (phone sockets, mains plugs, rip-off energy suppliers - and even their windows open inwards!)

The inescapable reality is that there is no rational or worthwhile reason left for the EU to exist, other than to perpetuate the jobs for the boys and girls that it has created. Technology has obviated virtually all the originally stated purposes; so in reality, the EU exists now purely for the benefit of global companies and their manipulative lobbyists (that darn Bilderberg Group at it again?) plus, of course, gravy train politicians.

Many Brits appear to be increasingly united on their suspicion of European politics and politicians, so why don't we just tell Brussels to shove all those aspects of the EU that we (the people) don't want where the sun shineth not..? It's just too bad if that means the number of fat sinecures for retired and failed British politicians is reduced.

It's no bad thing that UKIP has managed to blot its own sleaze copybook quite so clumsily - since although there is a temptation to protest vote, on balance it's probably better to stick with the most likely next UK government party, and make your feelings known to your MP at every opportunity.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is the purpose of the EU ..?

Can anyone please explain to TMP what useful purpose the EU now serves? The Commons expenses fiasco provides a useful jumping off point for the biggest rotten apple in the European political barrel.

The European Parliament and its various agencies and institutions now exist for the systematic abuse of power and the laundering of money, for the maintenance of its own interests and those of its overpaid apparatchiks. It shamefully remains unauditable and unaccountable.

It was thought up (like so much else) in the pre-internet age, when information and markets were barely accessible to any but "insiders"; which is utterly different to the globalised world of today. Europe was emerging from a world war when Germany decided that third time was unlikely to be lucky, and instead sought a pact with its neighbours whereby it's economic power could prevail without attracting the same sort of controversy as a Blitzkrieg. The Germans rightly thought that as the largest country in Europe, and with a pretty good track record of being organised and able to make all sorts of stuff, they would be in the economic box seat most of the way.

The French, pragmatic as ever, went along, comfortable in the knowledge that they would simply ignore anything they didn't want or like. The other states were pretty much frog marched along, although most generally managed to convince themselves that this inevitable outcome was actually going to be good for them.

Huge bribes were offered so that the French and Germans could develop the more backward states as better consumers of their products. And at the same time, external barriers were erected and the rules set out to ensure that there was a level playing field inside the EU, by hanging the same millstones of social policy around each others necks.

But above all else, and at all times, the political classes took care of themselves as never before in the history of mankind. This was to be the gravy train to end all gravy trains.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is enough, enough?

Some people are starting to ask if the Westminster Follies has run for long enough. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has been moved to call for a truce, pointing out that the humiliation is complete, and perhaps it is now time to take stock, and start to try and restore some dignity to Parliament.

Stressed MPs - many of whom may be facing criminal investigations although they all felt they were part of the "nod and wink" scheme that made up for their relatively low basic salaries - are talking of possible suicides; but this farce needed to run and run, because for a long time many of the Westminster villagers simply refused to "get it", because they had become part of a 12 year "project" by New labour to use it's vast majority to install a centralised and "presidential" style of administration, with political animals (paid from public funds) like Damian McBride, threaded through the service as never before. Now we can look back over the 12 years, perhaps "conspiracy" actually says it better then "project" ..?

Blair's vacuous babes were emblematic of his "Stepford" Administration, where inexperienced and wholly inappropriate individuals were controlled through programmed responses that took away the need for anyone to weigh up arguments and think for themselves, because the debating chamber became almost completely irrelevant under the junta. The fact that 75% of UK legislation now emanates from Brussels also engendered a sense of futility and pointlessness where those who found themselves sidelined and politically irrelevant found they had more time to spend flipping their mortgages and dealing with their domestic expenses.

Like so much else that has gone wrong with Britain today, this entire affair sits squarely on the smug shoulders of Tony Blair, who was ready to do and say anything to get into power and stay there. He pretty much came from political obscurity, with no respect for any of the great traditions of parliament or democracy. Despite his obviously toffish family and background, he correctly calculated that he could get nowhere as such a raw neophyte in the Conservative party, and set about using his lawyerly skills for wooing the defeated and demoralised Labour party, looking for a new Messiah. And like Blair, ready to do and say anything to get back into power.

His biggest enemy from the outset was always going to be "common sense" and that sense of rectitude that the British understand as "fair play". Blair (and his chief svengali, Alastair Campbell) wanted unquestioning enforcers and vapid lobby fodder. Even 80 year old lifelong party members were to be ejected from triumphant gatherings like the Labour Party conferences, at the first sign of dissent.

Another part of Blair's poisonous legacy is that all parties saw how he had got away with such a lightweight background, an absence of any skill or gravitas - and decided that it was safe - necessary, even - for them also to have candidates that were camera and sound-bite friendly professional politicians, with no life experience to speak of.

TMP believes that the overriding issue of the past 12 years is the substitution of "good old fashioned British common sense" by process, belief in various forms of entitlements, and crude undemocratic diktat. The fact that Labour's "project" has involved importing large numbers of people as cheap labour to fuel the phony boom (and also mostly vote in their favour) meant that it would be necessary to try and eradicate the "British" dimension from Britain, in order that the new workforce should not feel awkwardly excluded from the society that the British believe themselves to be part of - which is a very distinct existence from that of many European countries that have been variously invaded, conquered and carved up many times over the past few hundred years.

The latest news that the UK birth rate is now the highest since 1972 is a very mixed blessing. Despite the issues of an aging population, the planet doesn't need more consumers of resources, and the fact that 24% of all births in the UK are now to mothers born outside the UK, is significant. This news only adds to the belief that no one in government is listening to the people who would have liked to have been consulted rather more closely before their society was changed in so many fundamental ways. But maybe if Westminster sits with its ears shut for long enough, the majority of the "people" will have born to parents from overseas anyway? Perhaps then government will start to pay attention to the English native minority…

This refusal to engage in a debate about the nature of Britain without name-calling and presumptions of prejudice gives the BNP their once-in-lifetime opportunity. Although it seems that the BNP contains too many fundamentally stupid people for the movement to ever take a proper hold - not least thanks to that innate British sense of "fair play", so admirably shown during Joanna Lumley's Ghurkha campaign. But there will be trouble. One of the responsible parties needs to take ownership of the concerns that are apparent throughout the country that England (especially) has been re-engineered into something the English didn't ask for - and don't want - through the process of unfettered immigration.

The present expenses shamble has shown the entire population just how completely corrupt and untrustworthy a large part of the government and parliament has become. If it can display such bad manners, poor judgement and crass stupidity over matters such as porn TV and phantom mortgages - just what else have they mishandled? Of course the only way forward is to hold an early general election and re-examine each and every candidate; those who have not previously been MPs will have the advantage that their lives up to that point will be a good deal less transparent - and there is going to have to be a good deal of weight placed on the argument for the "Devils you know" to support existing MPs who have not taken the proverbial in their expense claims.

But even then, any MP "excused" or "pardoned" is going to lack moral authority, and we have created the most enormous dilemma for the country.

The Boy Dave endorsed the value of basic common sense in his various protestations at the sheer crass stupidity of the Grandees and their presumption of entitlement concerning such obviously tasteless expenses as moats and duck houses. The lack of judgement displayed was stellar, but the opportunity this provides to flush out the worst of the old fossils, is probably very welcome. So far at least, most of the excusable and potentially useful Tory babies appear to be capable of being filtered from the bathwater. From a glance at the league table of expenses, Labour has a rather bigger problem since a minister is always going to face a higher bar of expectations and responsibilities.

Gordon Brown's curiously differential treatment of Hazel Blears' naughty mortgage manipulations seems quite inexplicable if you don't bear in mind that the Auld Fraud is himself slightly bonkers anyway. It is always quite pointless to try and attribute rational behaviour to the unhinged. And since Broon was looking distinctly wobbly before all this broke, just imagine what the torture by Telegraph as been doing for his state of mind over the past couple of weeks.

One of the good things to emerge will be a complete reappraisal of just where the surveillance society has taken us. Technology made it possible for the mole to sneak out the documents - probably on a memory stick or mobile phone memory card. We can either carry on in the knowledge that nothing is safe, or we can start to contain the technology that is increasingly containing us. For many years, executives in US corporations have been reluctant to use email for anything but the most bland and inconsequential purposes, since they know the power of disclosure is total, and it can quickly becoming unreasoning and unremitting.

Nixon's infamous White House tapes were a sign of things to come and had little to do with modern IT - it didn't exist; and most of the MPs' expenses remained hidden for long because they were hand written on old-fashioned bits of paper - but then duly scanned into retrieval system.

On the matter of a return to "common sense", please show TMP anyone happy to have all their private correspondence and communication thrown open to public comment and ridicule, and we'll show you a desperately sad and boring individual. The wonder is that we have yet to get any juicy Mistress scandals from all this. What a tediously boring and dowdy lot these MPs truly are.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summarising Proust

Those who came here looking for Monty Python's famous sketch can find it here... but the task for TMP to round up the past week in politics is on the same scale, given that the Telegraph claims to have been given a million pages of documents by its mole.

It seems that the people of Britain have been woken up at last. Not by the numerous despairing attempts of us doomwatchers trying to point out the constant creep of surveillance and invasion of the mind snatchers from Blair/Broon's nanny state - but by the sound of yelping as MP fingers have been caught in the public till after the telegraph and its moles slammed the drawer shut. And there are fingers strewn all over the floor!

The gravy train just ran over a cliff, but only after 12 years of the relentless erosion of liberty by Blair's presidential style and disdain for parliament and the unelected Brown's simple "unfitness" for the job. The "system" they are all apologizing for and desperate to change was controlled by the champagne socialist dynasties and cliques, that believe they know better than the pesky people who get in the way of their grand plan. And it is now apparent that the compliance of backbenchers in the cynical sidelining of parliamentary process was being bought at wholesale rates by a culture of "nod and wink" expenses. All presided over by their own dodgy pick of Speaker, who was installed in a very crude act of disdain against all the traditions and expectations of parliament. But it now seems that many MPs were too busy flipping their property and speculating to be bothered to attend parliament and find out what was going on.

The full list is published here on BBC News website. Although all parties have found the imprint of their members' snouts in the trough, the majority of those snouts belong to labour MPs, Ministers, even. The dreadful Jacquie Smith kicked this all off with her husband who was caught with his dick in hand (he is also paid for by the state, remember) and his porn TV channel claim. You could not make it up, could you? The Home Secretary, of all people, responsible for some of the most insidious invasions of privacy and destruction of liberty in a thousand years was first to find out what it was like to have her own privacy invaded! Except that it wasn't actually a private matter if it was paid for with public money.

And all this coming so soon after the MPs harangued the dodgy bankers and extracted the "S" word from the next least popular category of sanctimonious, incompetent and bullying trough divers in the land. All we need now is for someone to nail that last bastion of sanctimonious hypocrisy - the news media itself - and we will have the full house.

However you cut it, that the motley collection of shifty characters that have been given carte blanch by three landslide majorities to do what that pleased with the UK for the past 12 years, have been caught on the hop; and how! Every single one of them has been sheepishly apologizing and making excuses including many who would have done nothing wrong in the minds of reasonable people, if only it had been better managed the instant it became obvious what was going to happen.

These people are mostly shown to be political pygmies, whose moral authority to tell the rest of us what is good for us, has just evaporated and can never return. TMP was pondering whether or not to add the word "Blears" to its online spelling checker database, but we don't think we'll bother now, because it is soon (with any luck/justice) unlikely to ever be heard again.

Indeed, TMP got a great sense of amused satisfaction when typing the labels for this post: "deeply flawed Gordon Brown, sleaze, corruption, unlawful expense claims Hazel Blears, Jacqui Smith " Now you lot please go and get the same sense of satisfaction by demanding a general election, and then voting those MPs whose years of sanctimonious preaching onto the dole.

But there must also be some account made of the degree of the sin, based on the position of the miscreant and the size of the piss-take. Normal life would quickly be intolerable if every speed camera was suddenly to be set to trap anyone doing 30.01 mph in the spirit of New Puritanism. But a lot of the stress of modern life after 12 years of relentless Blair/Brown project is that most of the grey areas and general discretionary "slack" of life has been repealed, and is now policed by squads of the otherwise unemployable in they shiny peaked caps. Which employee has never tried it on with their expenses, or not helped themselves to the office pens?

It was the sheer lack of any evidence of "good taste" that has dumbfounded the voters, themselves facing paying for this government's ineptitude over the next 20 or 30 years. TMP is surprised that there isn't more of an effort going into a campaign to get some MPs to be made criminally bankrupt under this government's ironic "proceeeds of crime" legislation.

But it is quite clear the atmosphere was one one of "it's an entitlement because the basic salary has been artificially restrained - and they're all at it, so we might as well join the fun". That means the biggest responsibility must rest with the government itself, and micro-managing Brown in particular. But any preaching minister with an error of judgment of more than £1000 is obviously is toast; any humble backbencher with more than £10k of hard-to-explain claims is probably also a gonner.

Now only a general election that explores all these issues and returns MPs who have shown they "get it" can start to rebuild the essential confidence in parliament that has been so clumsily lost by the grinning mismanagement of Broon, ably aided and abetted in his foolishness by his Caledonian Comrade and fall guy, Gorbals Mick.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The banking scandal in microcosm

We don't think I've seen anyone yet draw the stark parallel with New Labours "nod and wink" relationship with some of the more conniving turncoats of the City and financial services industry, and what went on at Westminster. Talk about a mess of pottage.

Looked at overall, we can see the familiar pattern of trough-diving socialism of the type that has always rotted through any socialist administration. Sly deals being done with the purse keepers - and the comforting group excuse and belief that "they're all at it anyway".

The worst of this is the revelation that we have allowed our nation and its sovereignty to be taken to the brink of the economic and political abyss by a collection of least desirable white-collar criminals ever to walk the streets. What else have they got wrong and done wrong in pursuit of personal agendas?

However, someone has to stand up and call a halt to the fun in order to resume the struggle with the monster of Brown's slump - but now it clearly cannot be Broon or any of his trough-diving colleagues.

Blair was left the Clark/Major legacy of contained inflation as a basis for future growth which it now seems was squandered on wide boys and girls of the Scottish financial services industry to help fuel the fantasy property-lead boom that provided taxes to fuel the fantasy welfare state - but just what on earth is Brown leaving to his successor?

A shoebox stuffed full of worthless IOUs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still no ideas, Will?

The Guardian writer and BBC's favourite jouryneman economic guru, Will Hutton, is still stuck bemused in his cosy socialist world where the fairy money once grew on trees, and is still struggling to come to temrs with a world that is collapsing around his ears. Like everyone else, he can offer almost no useful and practical suggestions.

"We need to create a network of public/private banks to support industrial and infrastructure investment and we need a wholesale transformation in the short-term, risk-averse way in which British banks have treated manufacturing companies for more than a century."

Despite Armageddon, we still seem to be up to our arses in bankers, bankers and financial this-that-and-the-others. Doubtless because of Will's "form", this would all be much better under state management and control, since all he has to offer are some historic references to deluded irrelevant precedents.

"British banks [around the time of WW2] were cajoled into supporting new industries and restructuring old ones."

One thing Hutton gets right is to observer that this mess is still mostly about confidence. And by far the biggest problem is the long term crisis of confidence brought on by the government's denial of the presence of the mammoth in the room: far too much public spending and unbelievably huge amounts of public debt.

Inspiring confidence is generally about leadership, a quality that is currently absent in every sense of the word in government, and scarily also in wider society. Brown's period of "leadership" is clearly over, so no one is taking him seriously any longer - especially as his own party jostles for position in the inevitable leadership contests ahead.

The media and the electronic communication age have discouraged anyone of any quality from sticking their head above any parapet - especially when they can see examples of how easily even great talents such as Hutton [yes. we are being ironic], can be exposed to scrutiny and ridicule - and made to look naive and foolish. The present humiliation of MPs' expenses is possibly the single biggest and most sustained exposure of clay feet in the history of mankind.

Current UK "leaders" (in all walks) are almost entirely talent-free, and seem driven by nothing other than their towering greed or hubris - or both. Amongst all the banking disasters, Lloyd's Chairman, Victor Blank, stands out as a fine example of how this double jeopardy can play out.

Anyone of any quality observing the current leadership crises in finance, government, the metropolitan police and just about anywhere else that long lenses, email and Google can pry, cannot be blamed for not wanting to get involved. Yet we are headed into a puritanical frenzy of transparency and accountability that would probably be able to find and dish the dirt on St Francis or Mother Teresa. Only those who have never done anything faintly interesting in their dull grey lives will be able to survive examination under the arc lights of the New Inquisition.

So overall, this seems to be a rather bigger issue and problem than even a bloke of Hutton's immense talents and track record in solving the nation's problem can cope with.

The leaders that got us out of holes in the past tended not to be motivated purely by small scale money like fiddled expenses. Rarely did they allow a bean-counter's take on the world to get between them and their visions. Quite often, these people were obsessive about proving a point and willing to risk everything.

Stopping the gravy train

We paid peanuts, we got monkeys. Sly, artful and self-serving monkeys, perhaps, but monkeys all the same. The current furore of MPs expenses - however its exposure has been motivated - has reminded us of the challenges of being ruled by a cabal of small-minded jobsworth with no experience of anything other than being cogs in bigger machines, that religiously claim their expenses.

This comes about because of a stupid decision made a long time ago to avoid the embarrassment of increasing MPs salaries to match those of (allegedly!!) similarly skilled and responsible jobs - so that MPs get paid substantially less than a huge number of relatively trivial local council managers. Instead, a less politically sensitive way to bolster the earnings was devised to provide a "generous range" of "expenses allowances", as we all now know. The relentless exposure of this crass exploitation of loopholes sets a useful example to Labour's new regions of high rate tax victims looking for way to avoid paying all but the barest minimum for Labour's mismanagement.

It's a pity that this pathetic Labour junta has pretty much confirmed the jaundiced view of the electorate that they aren't worth even minimum wage, but something needs to be done fast to try and restore some respect to our leaders who are an unprecedented laughing stock and devoid of all respect at a crucial time like this. After the demise of the Tories in 1997 over the issue of handful of comparatively minor exposes of political sleaze, there will be quite a few deposed Conservatives looking up how to spell "schadenfreude".

There is much to be said for MPs who do not need the money and for whom politics is not a tempting gravy train for the otherwise unemployable, but a genuine opportunity for public service - and something that you get into only after you have some obtained some experience of how the world works in the real world of real wealth creating employment.

And there is NOTHING in any form of education that comes close to the experience gained from employing and managing people who are spending YOUR money.

Apart from nannies and cleaners, what experience do any Labour Ministers have of such a crucial element of the way the world works? Bugger all, we suspect, judging by their chronic nativity and reliably appalling judgement. Something we suspect that they have in common with Labour's assorted BBC and Guardian flag bearers who simply have no experience of life outside the UK's publicly funded soft-left media and luvvie bubble. (TMP would point out that the Guardian seems to be largely funded from advertising public sector jobs ands services...)

Although anything has to be better than Broon's pantomime administration, the Tories are not what they once were. Mrs T. was possibly as effective as she was because she plainly didn't need the money like the present collection of simian ministers all seem to. Far be it from TMP to imply that she was a kept woman, but her husband Dennis was not short of a few bob, and the need to pay the mortgage was never going to cloud her judgement.

Tory spokesman Dr Liam Fox speaking on BBC TV said it would be a pity if only the "independently wealthy" were able to afford to take part in politics. But after 11 years of rule by the independently poor, could it be any worse?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Real policies to tackle a real recession

Let's park the ideology if we can, and think through the options; although any solution must start by removing the Auld Fraud and his discredited junta to where they can do no more harm.

The FIRST THING we have to do is work out how to employ 2 million - possibly 4 million once the truth unwinds and the myriad of Labour's non-jobs are excluded. Let's anticipate the problem is actually 3m.

At an average of £100 pw, this is directly costing us £300m a week, or £15bn a year. The indirect costs is almost certainly the same again in terms of other costs such as potential tax payments and contribution to the GDP. What other single element of the crisis is worth so much in cash and social consequences? (The 50p top rate may raise up to £7bn, although so estimate that anything over £5bn would be unlikely as all sorts of complex avoidance schemes once again become the preoccupation of the high earners).

But all "large" organisations are now so completely smothered in process, risk assessment, form-filling, and general arse-covering that the process of employing anyone is not HUGELY more complex and tedious than it has ever been. Especially thanks to the legislation introduced in the past 11 years mostly by the Westminster and EU socialists who have never run a business that employs people in wealth creating functions in their lives.

The only way we can do this is to make the creation and operation of very small enterprises - under 20 people - much simpler, cheaper and less onerous. This means undoing just about everything that has been over the past 30 years to create a centralised command and control state, and leech away the liberties and freedoms that were once managed under the heading of "common sense".

Some paranoid Americans have a fascinating conspiracy view on what's really going on with the shadowy and sinister Bilderberg Group - well worth watching...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Still working out how we got here...

Please don't blame anyone but Labour for the sheer enormity of this mess and the lost opportunity.

The most significant advances of the past century all piled into the last decade - and the start of this one, as ubiquitous telecoms and networking transformed the way we all interact.

No government started to begin to "get it" until around 1995 when the first dotcom boom heralded the arrival of globalisation and unprecedented transparency in trade - which filtered all the way down from multinationals to the bloke on the number 9 bus thanks to things like Google and eBay.

And it was Labour who have held power for pretty much the whole of the critical period, with a PM who was proud to boast he knew nothing about computers to the end. And it seems Gordon Brown is still using an early copy of Visicalc that gets the decimal point in the wrong place.

The Labour government wasted a lot of time faffing about with dogma and scared cows like devolution (of all the divisive and wasteful things!) , the House of Lords "reform", and of course, the vital issue of foxhunting. And they left BT to get away with what BT is best at doing - as little as possible for as much money as possible. Only a big effort in the past 4 years has moved broadband along at all - but the key opportunity to fibre the entire nation for £12bn back in 1997 was ignored.

And for 12 years now, a vast raft of legislation has been dreamed up by those who had never run a business employing anyone in their lives. This has piled the agony onto employers and made the creation and operation of small businesses increasingly stressful and unrewarding. It's no surprise that many are taking the excuse of the recession to trim their workforces at a time when everyone has been softened up to expect it.

Any way ahead starts with flushing the present administration down the toilet of history - and hoping that no "floaters" re-appear. We arrived at that crucial point where absolutely anything must be better, some time ago.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A budget for sabotage, treason and sedition

We all knew the budget would be horrible, and even so were we surprised by Darling's sheer depravity of purpose. It was simply a collection of politically inspired land mines, very specifically designed to blow the limbs off the next Conservative government.

The Damian McBride affair exposed Broon's dirty tricks department and gave yet more substance to the suspicion that Auld Fraud's reputation for personal vindictiveness knows no bounds. The stories of how Broon hounded Blair out of office abound, and the evidence that he is several sandwiches short of a picnic mounts daily - even before the sight of a grinning loon on the Number 10 website promising to restore the dignity of politicians confirmed that he is now probably a picnic short of a picnic.

All the Caledonian Calamity now seems to care about is clinging on for as long as possible in order to leave Cameron with the worst possible legacy and the narrowest possible room for manoeuvre. After the Budget from Hell, it's obvious that labour has no expectation of winning any elections soon, and that all that can happen now is yet more carefully laid ordnance designed to inflict maximum damage on Cameron's government. Manifesto commitments mean nothing, roughing up an MP doing his job means nothing, having an unelected PM means nothing - Labour has been about as discredited as it is possible to be with its clothes on.

So fighting fire with fire, surely Cameron would appear to have every right to turn the screw, and make a dramatic move to bring home the seriousness of the situation to the people in an unprecedented move..? For the sake of the nation, Cameron surely has to try and do something dramatic to stop even more of Brown's H-bombs from wrecking even more of the nation's future prospects? (H for Hubris, by the way...)

Why not tell Brown that unless he resigns within 28 days, the next Conservative administration will pursue the entire cabinet on charges of conspiracy, sabotage, and treason - and make certain that everyone knows he means it..?

The LibDems could easily back up such a move - they will probably win a bunch more seats as Labour gets wiped out - and they'll never be in government and in a position where the opposition can try the same trick on them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Up that creek, with ever fewer paddles

Never mind long suicide notes, Polly Toynbee's latest Guardian piece may be the longest resignation submission ever, from her role as a fervent paddler of the Labour Party canoe as it disappears ever further up "a certain creek".

The redoubtable Ms Toynbee may once have been a "heavy hitter", but she is now in simple denial - or while she dallies in Africa, maybe she's just up "de nile"? I never thought I'd say this, but it's time to feel sorry for her.

Polly's personal credibility as a political commentator has been hitched to that of the most bullying and unprincipled politician this country has seen in a very long time. Probably ever. It now seems like a supreme irony that caring Polly ends up as another victim of the (unelected) Auld Fraud as he continues to collapse under the weight of spin-sleaze, scandal and simple old-fashioned greed, embarrassing apologies, and towering incompetence.

Never mind feet of clay, Gordon Brown has possibly only one single thing about his body now that is not apparently made of clay, and I'll leave you to work that out.

Polly has used her considerable influence (surely only explained by her family connections, as with many other New Labour apparatchiks) at the red end of the media spectrum for many years - and has been in a position to leverage her authority and "call" the hegemony of this Government many times, but very consciously chose not to do so. After all, she's had more than advice from CiF in recent times.

She sold her soul to New Labour a long time ago, and has been living in the hope that Beelzebub Blair was going to be replaced by someone in touch with her "Old Labour" instincts. Her embarrassing and effusive eulogies for Brown must surely only provide her with humiliating memories. Did she really say:

"Standing at the dispatch box, the towering superiority of his brain ..."

Yes, she did - she really did.

It was obvious that the "principles" of New Labour were miles apart from Polly's simple if old fashioned "soak the rich and give to the poor" lefty ethos as Blair and Brown crudely courted money in the shape of Blair's Bargain Lordships, and Broon's Scottish finance cronies, bought by his mostly "looking the other way". The many subtle but ultimately catastrophic "initiatives" of "the Project" that have created a disastrous client state were miles apart from her simpler angst-driven agenda of social responsibility and fairness.

We know too well that Polly has a personal agenda based on a laudable commitment to social justice (even if she has never managed to produce any ideas or evidence of how to achieve it), and with that in mind she might have looked into the darker recesses of the souls of Blair and Brown rather earlier. There she might just have spotted "power at all costs, never mind who we tread on in the process".

She was Dorothy to Blair's brainless scarecrow and Brown's mechanistic tin man. Cameron was the pussycat pretending to be a lion when he came along, apparently in need of the courage to face down the warring factions of the Tory party. A less blindly dogmatic old girl than our Polly might have worked out which of these towering intellects might actually belie the more principled politician, and she might just have done the deal of the century to finish the terminally tainted Labour party, and provide Cameron's Conservatives with the courage of her convictions.

Such a seismic event would probably have forced the Labour Party to examine it's dishonestly disastrous time in power more urgently and deeply than anything Polly can now achieve by hiding away in largely irrelevant tributaries of foreign policy as set out here. All the damage is done, and anyone pretending to support this government will end up with that same gangrene that is consuming Brown's zombie junta.

After the next election, Polly might as well retire into obscurity and be done with politics, because it will be many, many years before "her" Labour party gets a look in. Maybe he African adventure is setting out the stall for her next career..?