Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crisis or reality check?

What is happening is that people the world over are being (rather too suddenly for it to be painless) forced to consume what they can afford to consume without the benefit of the never never. The age of fairy money suited politicians because of the bloated (if phony) tax revenues and that crucial feelgood factor of consumed-out voters.

If you MUST have a car to get somewhere, then you will still have one. It may not be as new as the marketing folks wanted it to be, and there may be a lot more work for repairers, but you will still have a car. The problem is more acute with the slow down in the economies of the raw material providers and manufacturers - and TMP suspects this might have been in Broon's mind when he said the UK was "best placed".

Of course we were - we have no raw commodities, and we make nothing! However, he overlooked the knock-on effect of our dependence on global "financial services" - which he left entirely up to his much-admired and beknighted chums - the Scottish Bankers in his Caledonian fiefdom - to manage. Oops.

90% of the (almost entirely) imported tat decorating most homes is unnecessary. The Sunday Supplement "limited edition" nonsense is no sad loss. You don't actually have to have Sky+ and HD to still reach more TV than you could watch in 100 lifetimes. You don't actually have to fly to Prague for lunch.

The main problem all politicians now face is failure to manage expectations because they haven't been telling the truth (that they MUST have known) about banking for a long time. Honest politicians (if there any) should be worrying about people who saved prudently and now in absolute shock at having been left high dry as they read endless stories about the feckless in benefits, and the unbothered client state.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taking the moral high ground

When TMP pores over the various threads of the Guardian's very excellent "Comment is Free" comment and blogging section, we have to wonder what the apparatchiks and fellow travellers that once fled to the Graun for reassurance must make of it all now. If they thought they were amongst friends who would confirm that the "way of the left" was indeed the only truth and light of politics and left-thinking opinion, they are in for a shock.

The unworldly, sanctimonious and "clique-ist" nature of the Guardian and Observer newspapers meant that Graun web site was always going be a plump target for an ambush by opposing views - but the totality, vehemence and coherence of the annihilation of all fluffy left wing postings by the Labour's growing piles of victims in the real world must have surprised even Guardian stalwarts.

Any attempt to spin Keith Vaz as a defender of propriety in politics in an effort to score cheap points off St Boris was plainly doomed to crash and burn, but still Graun hacks seem to universally underestimate the depth of feeling of the (English) nation. The seething frustration at being ruled by Labour's rickety alliance comprised of a cabal of strident minorities has progressively broken through the noise level and is now clearly the dominant voice on CiF.

It's a pity that most of the Tory party leadership may not have noticed, and appears to be still buried deep in the Blair handbook on how to smarm and con an electorate with airhead politics, and not able to recognise that robust Boris is the real deal, and quite possibly their best man for the sort of nightmare that lies ahead.

So chaps, please bin "How to con the voters the Blair way" and dig out Churchill's book on how to win a war on a bottle of Scotch a day, a fistful of stogies and utter unbridled contempt for enemies of the Nation - such as the startlingly unlovely Keith Vaz and the toxic cabal of the minorities that he represents.

Some of us have suspected Boris has had a grip on the real plot for a while, and incidents like this tend to confirm we were right; so then Bojo - give Keith a lusty V sign (V for Vaz, what else?) and we'll break out into spontaneous cheering.

However, the Graun may be cleverly hedging its bets, since although its famed public sector employment advertising will be amongst the last ad revenue to go in Broon's meltdown, it must be getting a fair bit of traffic from regions of opinion that it could never have dreamed of marshaling in its wildest asnd pinkest of dreams. Perhaps it's is specifically deleting postings that support its left-inclined opinions and contributors to encourage reactionaries to think they are winning?

Ho-bloody-ho...


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Friday, February 13, 2009

TMP's advice to Gordon Brown

For the Nation's sake, quit before you are lynched.

Enough is enough; TMP is now physically nauseated by the site of the grinning Gordon Brown continuing to pretend has has no responsibility whatever for the financial shambles that the UK and its people finds itself mired in. It is ironic that it was Brown's exceptionally long tenure of the treasury that persuaded many "less experienced" financial world leaders that somehow believe that he must know what he was talking about. Boy, how wrong could they be?

Although Brown won't confess to playing a central role in the many failures that allowed the UK melt down to happen quite so suddenly and thoroughly, here are some things he has said (and probably wishes he had not):-

"There will be no more boom and bust"

"The UK is the best placed economy to weather the recession"

"A weak currency is the mark of a weak government"

"We saved the world"

TMP is weary of trying find to words to adequately describe your continually dismal performance at the helm of state. Gordon, your work is done. You have done what every Labour government has always done: you have wrecked the economy; you have trashed the currency; you have ignored the people in favour of the dogma, you have lavished jobs and pensions on the boys and girls of your client state, you have sowed many seeds of social unrest and dissent that your successors will be struggling to try and manage, while you enjoy a fat-sloth retirement on the lecture circuit.

You and Sarah have no need to worry; you are both minted for life regardless of what damage has been done during your time in government. Thanks to that cynical system of immunity that operates amongst politicians and thus far has managed to keep even the lovely Robert Mugabe out of jail, there is little chance that you will be required to pay for the consequences of your actions. Instead, like Tony Blair, you will be leaving that up to the many millions of Her Majesty's subjects who do not enjoy your immunity from poverty or prosecution.

And although TMP can't imagine there are any companies mad enough to want to pay for your services as a NED, as Phineas T Barnum famously once said....


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The ultimate conspiracy ..?

Never mind a handful of Italians working on refineries, why does any British worker imagine that they now have some divine right to enjoy a better standard of living than the "average" of the world's population - which as a form of shorthand, used to be regarded as the lifestyle of a Chinese peasant. Of course no Western politician is going to dare to go anywhere near the notion of "globalised fair shares for all" on such a scale, but we have just experienced one of those meteor-strike moments when tectonic plate-shifts can happen.

So - once again - why don't we wind the world back 24 months, get Obama to print sufficient $trillions for Billy Bob to pay off his mortgage, and pretend it never happened?

Securitised loans will either be repaid or be worth something; the world's manufacturers will get their customers back; taxes will be paid and the fool's paradise can resume while we work out a softer landing scenarios. The only immediate difference will be that certain politicians and all the world's bankers will be locked away in forced labour camps, pedalling generators and otherwise making a contribution to society for the first times in their miserable lives.

The present global financial crisis has mostly been spared dark conspiracy theories - the allure of the alternative of the "monumental cock-up perpetrated by inept asses" has been considerable. But there is a quite astonishing willingness to accept the cock-up principle at face value; namely that the world's most intelligent businesspeople and politicians really are just as clumsy, dangerous and stupid as they have been painted.

Or maybe the truth will out - and that might just be that someone spotted when we hit peak oil production in 2007/8, there was not going to be a ceiling on demand, and thus the price of oil would sail onwards and upwards - unless someone collapsed a house of cards that they knew very well how to collapse, and thus slam the brakes on the world economy while alternative energy strategies were given time and impetus to get moving at last. Had oil sailed on through $200 a barrell, then the civil and inflationary consequences could simply have become "unmanageable", and the US population might have forced its government to occupy oil producers rather more overtly than they got away with the Iraq sideshow..?

Even now, TMP still cannot believe that absolutely no one who was notionally able to access the best brains, numbers and advice of the global financial industry was properly aware of the enormity of the financial cock-up that had been built on foundations of fairy credit and unsustainable derivatives. Not even a pair of abject imbeciles like Broon and Darling.

Stories like that of Sir James Crosby sacking his risk manager for telling him what he and HBOS didn't want to hear, supports the monumental cock-up proposition. The banks and their advisers (KPMG have some interesting explaining to do) really do seem to have been as willfully stupid as we all suspect.

And where else in the world other than The Great Trough of Westminster would you find the accused, the regulators, the witnesses, the guilty, the judges, and the jury all sitting down together, with every intention of keeping all the cash they have been paid to perpetrate this financial abomination - and the vast majority of those confessed guilty of a crime worth £200bn, continuing in paid employment as if nothing has happened..?

All those fat sloth salaries really must be retrieved under the proceeds of crime legislation. Including Broon's stipend for the past 11 years - less expenses, of course.

Back in te real world, anyone who has been charged £40 by LloydsTSB for being overdrawn £1.80 for 1 day may find it quite hard to muster sufficient contempt for these banking imbeciles.


Monday, February 09, 2009

And end to the chattering, at last?

The Guardian writer Madeleine Bunting has typically been warning her readers about the dangers of giving the people what they want in terms of politics and leadership.

If she's managed to frighten herself when she peers into her crystal ball, it's probably because the chattering classes at the BBC and Guardian have missed the point from the moment Labour got into power on the back of a Blair euphoria in 1997, and the campaigns of divisive and pernicious social engineering commenced.

There may not have been any tumbrels, but the process of doing away with most of the establishment was thorough enough. The slaughter of common sense on the altars of assorted dogmas, was hugely aided and abetted by the Graun and BBC's role in "managing" public opinion and setting an agenda of mindless political correctness. Public life was progressively populated by conniving professional political hacks like Mandelson and Campbell, who replaced the life-experienced public servants of old, who somewhat unnervingly had minds of their own, rather than a neural link to the Blackberry controlled by Party HQ. And all the time, the sinister Common Purpose think tank appears to have carried on the "good work" in places like councils and police forces across the land.

MP Jon Cruddas may fancy himself as a visionary, but his utterances to date indicate he is stuck with the NuLabour authoritarianism that doesn't want to listen to what the voters are saying unless it's what he has told them to say. NuLabour is stuck in broadcast/preach mode, and only rarely remembers to take its finger off the transmit button and receive. Re-visiting the wibblings of ancient political thinkers is futile. Times have changed.

Look at one of the "New Avengers" reruns on BBC4 (1974-ish). Marvel in the fact that there were barely any cars not made in Britain to be seen anywhere. But now you will struggle to see any cars made in Britain on the street - yet one British-made car, Steed's Jaguar XJ is still in production, and only marginally changed! Which says it all.

We need genuinely radical thinking in this country, and the reality is that the left simply cannot do it. The left has not had a radical new thought since around 1917, and left wing governments since that time have generally lasted just long enough to prove that you cannot work and enforce any system that is so plainly contrary to human nature, without razor wire and overt intimidation.

The Grauniad's chattering-class contributors can rattle on about Ruskin, Toynbee etc and impress each other with their impeccable historical perspective, but we are fast approaching the moment where many governments (that really must have known better) have run out of excuses to explain why their countries are sinking ever deeper into the credit mire, and end up blaming various bogymen and external factors, where one traditional "remedy" has been war. So let's pray that everyone still has got something left to lose, and that more creative and constructive solutions can be devised.

And if Ed Balls is telling the truth (and it may indeed be as scary as the picture suggests) we might as well hear it from a new government with a fresh mandate, that does not carry the piled-up baggage of this shower and its unelected leader.

The one thing not reacting to these stricken times are overheads: cost of employment, rent, rates, energy, even telecoms providers are moaning about edging prices up.

Remarkably little radical navel gazing is coming from traditional media, and few commentators seem to take into account the online revolution that is fast reducing the value of many bricks/mortar businesses to dust. Modern computing and telecoms means that very few office jobs cannot be done from home these days - offices are now mostly "day centres" for companionship and social intercourse. And as for retail... well... that's entirely an optional experience in the meat-space these days.

Philip Blond is one of a number of radical voices questioning the "old ways" - and increasingly these come from a populist point of view that feels compelled to again point out that the UK has been badly governed by a cabal of vociferous minorities where the "average Joe" has been left to fend for themselves. Meantime, overpaid public servants like Jay Hunt (the harridan controller of BBC1) proudly promote their costly campaigns of celebrating radical diversity in pursuit of a social engineering agenda that no one voted for.

Eek! Rule by majority? That would never do!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Celebrate diversity with Carol!

Carol Thatcher may well look like Boris Johnson after sticking his fingers in a 13A plug, but TMP wouldn't be banned from the BBC for saying so.

So the sight of the harpy controller of BBC1, Jay Hunt (no, it's not cockney rhyming slang) on the Breakfast couch this morning, lecturing us that the One Show was in fact a "celebration of diversity" made TMP's day. We have never seen the One show, and now we know what Ms Hunt is actually doing to us, then we have not missed anything in the past, nor need we do so in the future. Thanks, ma'am.

Like 99.999% of the population, TMP wasn't bothered enough about the Ross affair to write and complain - nor is TMP bothered about anything much else that raises the Daily Mail's blood pressure - the BBC of all people should reflect the entire nation and its zeitgeist. It's actually a very useful public service to examine these occasional frissons and place in perspective of age groups, attitudes and assumptions. In fact, it seems a rather grown up way to conduct the whole business, and one of the few opportunities the nation gets to calibrate its moral compass - we specifically do NOT need 100% screened and sanitised content and contributors, how very dare you, you silly woman. You can all leave that to ITV, who live in fear of their fickle sponsors and disappearing advertisers.

Err, so isn't that then a genuine celebration of diversity..? God, TMP is so confused.

Just as programmes are obliged to carry warnings about language, violence and sexual content, could this guideline also be extended to "celebrations of diversity" and anything else the social engineering dept at the BBC deems necessary to indoctrinate us with..?

If you do want an example of something that is gross, gratuitous and simply unfunny with no redeeming qualities, then watch out for BBC3's "Coming of Age" if it ever reappears. But TMP expects that it does tick all the diversity boxes.

The BBC is clearly headed for extinction along with its political sponsors. Maybe its partners in thought crime such as the Guardian recruitment section should be hedging its bets and seeking adverts from public employment outplacement consultants in preparation..?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who is bailing out who?

Let's get this straight - we are not bailing out the banks, we are not even bailing out the government - we (in the UK) are bailing out Gordon Brown's inestimable hubris and "reputation" as he struggles to deflect attention from his integral role in the shambles.

This bloke has been in effective control of the UK finances for 11 years, and it is simply unacceptable that he should pretend that it's all someone else's fault. Brown should be put on trial for criminal negligence; in fact, since there are doubtless now suicides attributable to recession failure, he and every one of the cabinet ministers over the past 11 years might as well be charged with corporate manslaughter.

The ongoing complete inability to explain what these toxic debts were secured upon is certainly criminal negligence. Do we own vast estates of property in the USA? If so, we might as well send over some our homeless to live in them.

Were these toxic assets bought by UK banks at $2/£1 In which case, are these 25% more valuable at $1.50? No one has a bloody clue - or at least if they do, they aren't telling us, which suggests that "they" don't want to tell us because the news is so awful.

As the economy continues to slide, so many more businesses and individuals become progressively less credit worthy. Hence the quaint idea that zero interest rates can slow down the procession to more bankruptcy and toxic loans - so it's too bad the banks are still charging 7% on very well-secured loans in order to keep their discredited managements in "away days" and bubbly.

Whatever else, we must follow the US and have an election ASAP so that we can flush out ALL the old failures and have a new administration that is not going to be so obviously obsessed with protecting its own arse, and burying its own bodies before anyone else can sniff them out.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bugger globalisation

TMP has always been unfashionably suspicious of rampant globalisation, and struggled to see any good in the concept. Perhaps because TMP had been a close-up observer of the way Microsoft had come to epitomise in the benefits of globalisation in the simplistic view of weak-minded politicians. In reality, Microsoft' manipulation of world markets through abuse of monopoly power is probably a perfect example of why globalisation should be treated with caution.

Globalisation is about transporting the brutal efficiency of a monopoly to any country that's gullible enough to tolerate it. The effects can be just as devastating as allowing foreign flora and fauna into a country without consideration for the indigenous species.

Too many people believe that "free trade" is assumed to mean what it says on the tin. It plainly does not - in the same way that "free market economics" is a complete sham, thanks to to the way politicians always meddle with the fundamentals, in order to buy votes. We are never going to have genuinely free markets, so let's accept the reality and make it work better.

As countries are forced to become dependant on others for large sectors of their economy, so the opportunity to upset economies by "external forces" increases enormously. All countries should aim to be able to do a "bit of everything" - which I suspect was part of the reason for the golden age of the 50s, cited in the article above.

Gordon Brown is accidentally endorsing this view with his mechanized repetition of references to our utter dependence on the "global economy". So then, bugger the global economy. We gave away most of our manufacturing capabilities in return for the "virtual" world of fantasy banking, and it's done nothing but bite us in arse just lately. Let's concentrate on the British economy, you Auld Fraud. How about some British jobs and businesses for British people, eh?

Modern technology now allows for distributing just about every aspect of human endeavour - moving the place of manufacture closer to the point of consumption has other obvious benefits. And it must be healthier in all respects to spread the range of deals and suppliers, rather than allow monopoly and cartel behemoths to dominate and distort as with our foreign controlled utilities.

Cuba, for all its ills, might actually be a pretty nice place to be compared to many of its neighbours, thanks largely to being forced into a degree of self-sustainability that shames the rest of us. I bet Castro doesn't feel obliged to save the world and harp on about global factors every time a camera appears.