31 January 2009

It is clear, Brown is in the wrong job

If more evidence were needed, Moses is in the wrong job.  Just watch him in action at Duvos.  Only a few minutes skim watching are needed to confirm that he looks controlled, on top of his subject, contented and happy.  Whether he is right or wrong is not the point here.

When he is taken out of his comfort zone, he gets defensive, is not happy and behaves like  poor actor having just learnt a script.

As he will clearly not be marched off to the IMF or World Bank soon, the Tories have got to get him off his pet subject.  It will not be easy but they have got to find a subject that will take Brown out of his comfort zone and keep him there.

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Has Ben Brogan had a few too many?

Nothing new in what the usually astute Brogan has to say here about a possible cabinet reshuffle, until you get to the last para:

There are also fears that the number of ministers being targeted could be expanded in coming months to include Peter Mandelson

Is he really suggesting that Mandy could be dropped?  Pull the other one.  My guess is that he could well be moved to head up the election campaign, not sacked surely!

It will interesting to see if others pick up on this story or non story as the case may be.

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Brown speaks the truth to Marr

Well someday……but I doubt it

We can only dream dreams!

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Obama’s problems could be Brown’s

I am intrigued by the issues Obama is having with his stimulus package and the lack of cross party support that was highlighted this week.

The US podcast Left, Right  and Center (a must listen) sheds some light on Obama’s problem.  The podcast has views from 3 regulars across the political spectrum (not politicians), hence the title.  Usually there is a diversion of views.  This week the panel were in agreement not only on the stimulus package but more importantly what should happen before approval.

What came across was that Congress should not fast track the package through, but there should be due diligence on the monies, with the appropriate accountabilities.

This throws up a number of issues.  Obama may not get his package through in the form he would like by mid-February, and it could get delayed.  The panel appeared to be saying, what is the hurry.  The other point made is that the bank bail out was rushed in a panic and no one knows where the money has gone.

The US and UK political cycles are not in sync; the former do not have electoral considerations, but the Republican's will do all they can to make Obama’s life difficult.  This spills over to Brown’s agenda.  He wants the US to pass the package quickly as Obama wants, with the spin off for the G20.

However it may not all go to plan.  Brown’s strategy for the G20 and beyond are obvious.  But it is dependent on a US agenda that he has no influence over.  Moreover, I am not convinced that the G20 dominates US thinking as Brown hopes.

How this develops in the run up to the G20 could get very interesting.  Matters may not go as Moses wants and more importantly needs for his own political ends.

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30 January 2009

Moses can’t implement VAT cut

I stumbled across this PQ:

Mr. (Francis) Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the entry fees for the Cabinet War Rooms have been reduced to reflect the reduction in VAT to 15 per cent. [244785]

Barbara Follett: The Imperial War Museum has advised that the reduction in VAT to 15 per cent. has not been applied to admission prices for its branches that charge an entry fee: the Churchill Museum/Cabinet War Rooms; HMS Belfast; and Imperial War Museum Duxford. To apply the reduction would incur costs in re-printing publicity material and revising contracts with third-party ticket partners. Wherever possible, prices will be held at December 2008 levels and planned rises postponed. Where prices are increasing, these will be modest and in line with other market forces.

As prices are falling this means an increase for something the taxpayer funds in any case.

Mr Mobile Phone loves creating his own rules.

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It is becoming national farce day!

I am off for a view stiff ones.

Firstly we had these ridiculous quotes from Brown and Blair, then Moses phone going off in Duvos.

Then Hazel Blears saying:

Campaigning is like sex – if you’re not enjoying it, you’re not doing it right. It should never be a drudge

Who could she be referring to!

Now to top the lot, Branson comes out with this:

Recession is a tremendous time

If Obama comes to the G20, he will visiting a mad house!

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Obama phoned Gordon at Duvos?

Was it Obama trying to get through telling Moses that he was not coming to the G20 or telling him that the UK is on strike!

The bloke is just a walking nightmare!

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The ridiculous quotes of Brown and Blair

You do have to pinch yourself sometimes when you read quotes such as these:

Brown at Davos: I want 2009 to be remembered as the year the world came together

Tony Blair: I suffer doubts over Iraq

Let me attempt another version

Brown at Davos: I want 2009 to be remembered as the year I saved my premiership and secured Labour a 4th term, no matter what short term policies are made, and what decisions I make, that you the taxpayer will suffer from for years to come.

Tony Blair: I supported Bush over Iraq so as to be seen as a world statesman, and to ensure my place in world history.  Only now with Bush gone, and that I have picked up the Presidential Medal, can I say I have since had doubts.

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British jobs for who?

It looks like we are in for some action by refinery workers that are rather pissed off about the use of foreign workers.  This could get ugly, coming as it does on the back of strikes by the French.  These things tend to have a knock on effect, although the strikes are for different reasons (at the moment).

I suppose Moses will make some ridiculous statement today about the situation on his way to visit the BBC in Duvos.  As the marvellous Guido points out, Brown does have habit of being the catalyst for employment and redundancy issues.

Let us hope the situation does not spiral out of control, otherwise Brown will come back and start declaring “crisis what crisis”

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A fanciful suggestion, maybe not!

The New Statesman publishes an article about a possible coalition between Labour and the LibDems before the election.  Clearly Moses is going to pull something out the hat, but this idea seems rather fanciful.

The article suggests Clegg could be deputy PM and Cable chancellor.  I think the first can be dismissed easily but that latter cannot.  More generally how would this coalition work?  What about other posts for leading LibDems?  Who in the present cabinet, many of whom have long careers ahead of them, would stand aside?  How much would the two parties split?

More importantly, would the electorate buy into this or would there may be a revolt calling for an election?

Then we get to the election.  How would the LibDems defend themselves to the argument that they are propping a dying government?  How would the LibDems defend themselves in the southern seats where they are second to the Tories and hope to beat?

Sounds all too much to swallow? Maybe not.  Brown says that he will cancel ID cards and dump the Trident replacement.  Clegg rolls over at this, as any LibDem leader would

Food for thought?  Could be.  Brown will be a nightmare to work with, but it would stop Mandy in his tracks.

Brown is king playing the short term advantage card no matter what the consequences.

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Too much haste from Obama

Anyone else getting the feeling that Obama is acting in too much haste?  Yes he has to create an impression of action, and the first ones stick, but he is starting to became bogged down.

Firstly, his recovery problem is not going to plan.  All Republicans and 11 Democrats voted against the package in the House of Representatives.  Secondly, a judge has now rejected to delay the trial of a detainee held at Guantanamo Bay.

His intentions are sound but is he doing his groundwork?  Is he shooting from hip rather too much?  Shades of New Labour!

I suggest he is playing to the gallery.  The dog for the girls, the rant on Wall Street bonuses, the rumour (according to Andrew Neil) that Michelle is pregnant, rather deflect from the issues he faces.  (maybe the last example is not relevant, but what is wrong with gossip?)

At his inauguration one commentator said that Obama would have the shortest honeymoon of any recent president.  The comment stuck.  My hunch is that he may be proved correct.

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Brown is beginning to panic

The Times reports that Brown has ordered the building new council houses.

These bits of the article stand out:

Mr Brown has the support of Margaret Beckett, the Housing Minister, in pushing through new regulations, according to government sources, but Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, is said to be resisting proposals that could add billions of pounds to public debt.


Figures published yesterday suggest that about 1.2 million people now owe more money on their home than it was worth last month after house prices fell for the fifteenth month in a row. This figure could more than double to three million by early next year – twice the number of households that were in negative equity during the recession of the early 1990s.

Two points.  Is the Treasury now starting to agree with Cameron’s warning on debt?  Has the parting of the ways started between Brown and Darling?

Brown is beginning to panic with desperate daily measures that are not being thought through.

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29 January 2009

Murmuring generals (2)

As I posted here there is something a foot with the top dogs in the forces.  This quote from the World Tonight (not all at the BBC are in Duvos you see):

General Jack Sheehan said he thought the UK was "very close" to giving up nuclear weapons

Is our Leader seriously thinking of dumping these weapons?  What does Obama think about this?  Are we going to have a dumping of unpopular and needless projects?

Anyone saying ID cards as well?

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At last some honesty from Brown

It is reported that Brown said this on leaving for Davos:

“I want to be alone”

..and at the G20!

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LabourList misses the point

This from LabourList, Some ministers are positioning themselves for election defeat - we need to be working to avoid that calamity.

I will give them a hint.  The problem is the person that “saved the world”.

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What do the The BBC do at Davos?

How many reports do the over bloated BBC have at Davos?  I think we should be told.  What do they all do there?  Talk amongst themselves?

After all Darling has just cancelled saying this:

"It was decided that as a number of the people he was due to meet had pulled out, his time would be better spent doing other things," a spokesman said.

Well I suppose they have got to find some way of spending their ring fenced money?

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Yates of the Yard called in to the Lords

The only conclusions from this is that it will get messy, take forever, there will be plenty of leaks and no prosecutions!

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So this is what Mandy will do

I asked in this post what Mandy will do about Brown.  Matthew Parris thinks he has the answer in this wonderful piece.  Mandy will dislodge Brown and return to the Commons as PM.

This would split the Labour party from top to bottom.

Back to the drawing board!

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Obama’s non visit

Further confirmation by Fraser Nelson that Obama may not be visiting Moses for the G20.  This is the relevant para from his article in today’s Spectator:

But when Mr Brown spoke to the president last Friday, he heard the word that every anxious host dreads. Mr Obama said he ‘hoped’ to come to the G20 summit — nothing firmer. The word, repeated in public statements by the White House afterwards, was no error. ‘As yet, his attendance is unconfirmed,’ says the US embassy in London. And if the star guest doesn’t show, then the other world leaders may not either. The G20 may revert to its original format: an unremarkable finance ministers’ summit. Having hyped the summit so much, it would mean abject humiliation for Mr Brown.

This can hardly be put down to security reasons.  The date and location have been known for months.  What is going on?  US Presidents do not move around the world at the drop of a hat.  The logistics must take weeks to organise.

This rumour is going to gain traction and in Brown’s defence some announcement needs to be made.  The 2nd worst situation is that he comes as an afterthought.

Without Obama at the G20 Brown’s re-launch of the re-launch is stone dead.

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Surely some mistake with this front page

Has the New Statesman made a printing error?


What does Darling mean by that?

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Gordon, Barack here

GB: Hello Barack.  How are you?  We are getting very excited about your visit to the UK.

BO: I have problem that I wish to discuss.

GB: Oh please come, we all very dependent on…..

BO: Gordon, I have not phoned to discuss the visit.  Please listen.  The House of Representatives have passed my economic stimulus package but not one republication voted for it.

GB: Don’t worry.  I have the same problem with the Tories at this end…

BO: If I may continue.  I met with senior Republicans and their objections hit home.  Of course, I followed your lead, as you insisted, but my people are now saying that the Republicans may have a point.  We may have to revise our policies to get them through the Senate as I want cross party support.

GB: But this will leave me……

BO: I thought I should tell you that my economic team have been in touch with someone called George Osborne.  He has come up with some good ideas that we may take on board.  Do you know him?

GB: (trying to control his emotions). Slightly, but we will give you all the…

BO: Anyway I just wanted to let you know where I am.  I will be in touch again in due course.

GB: These problems started in the US…

Phone goes dead.  Gordon throws the phone against the wall and starts sobbing.

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Nobody is following Gordon!

A very interested article in the Indy on Thursday explaining that the world is not following Moses.  It is just spin, something Gordon said he would leave behind.

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While Brown cries himself to sleep

If the early editions of the Thursday’s papers are anything to go by Brown will need a good rest tonight.  My advise to his staff is that he be left to breakfast alone.

Thursday could be a shocker on the markets.

Meanwhile in Scotland what is old Salmond up to?  Not like this wiry political operator to let his budget fall.  Maybe it was a cock up but it will add to Brown’s problems.  Does Labour now bring down Salmond and force an election?

Just keep reminding yourself that the UK is better placed than other countries, this a global crisis made in America etc etc.  All this may be true but Brown is now in a very deep political hole.

What will Mandy do?

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28 January 2009

The Reader is a marvellous film

Watched The Reader.  What a film.  Winslet is wonderful and should get an Oscar.  The  film deals with Holocaust from a new angle.  Moreover the film is about human morality and the lifelong repercussions that result from our actions.   David Hare’s screenplay and Stephen Daldry’s direction excel.  My only criticism is the first part (the film is split into 3) is overlong.

A must see.

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Brown has retired early to bed

Not the best of days for our Leader or non-Leader as the case maybe.

  1. A PPS resigns;
  2. Heathrow vote is too narrow for comfort;
  3. IFS report not kind to Moses
  4. IMF reports states that the UK will be the worst performing economy in 2009; and
  5. Rumours have began (not believed here) that Obama may not come to London.

Brown has retired for the evening after sinking a few.  Mandy is at his bedside holding his hand.

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Obama not coming to see Moses?

There is something running around that Obama may not come to the G20.  I can’t quite believe it but if true this will leave Brown very exposed.  I hear that the meeting may get downgraded to a finance ministers meeting.  I have no idea of the reasons, but could it be Obama will spend his first 100 days in the US?

One thing that does not add up is that there is a NATO summit in Europe after the G20, which Obama would normally attend.

I am very sceptical about this rumour but it is out there.

There is no truth that Brown was seen sobbing in No 10 tonight.

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Brown and Cameron are cancelling each other out

A most disappointing PMQ’s.  Cameron got the better of Brown, but these “boom and bust” charges and “do nothing” counter charges are becoming a bore.  It could be argued that the sound bites work on the news bulletins, but the public expect and want a higher level of debate.

Cameron is getting nowhere with this line of attack, and Evan Davis wasted the Today interview last week on trying to get Brown to admit that he had not abolished boom and bust.

Cameron should have used the IFS report as his main line of attack, instead it was used as a sideshow.

PMQ’s are fast becoming an irrelevance to those outside the Westminster bubble.

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Brown Wednesday

Looks like Moses is having a bad day.  The latest IFS report is damning enough.  It states:

Even if everything goes according to plan, the IFS points out that it will be "the early 2030s before debt returns below the ceiling of 40% of national income" that Gordon Brown set as one of his key fiscal rules in 1997.


"But there clearly is a danger investors will take fright at the state of the UK public finances," which would push up interest rates, the IFS says.


that the government "will have to impose a real freeze on public spending" for the three years of the 2010 Spending Review, which would leave spending £22bn lower than projected in the March 2008 Budget by 2013-14.

It appears that Cameron’s warnings on the level of debt are gaining traction.  No more talk from Brown on Tory cuts once this report gets spun my the Tories.

And now this footnote, that a PPS has resigned over the Heathrow 3rd runway proposal.

Look out for a heated PMQ’s!

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Brown’s recession creates jobs

Prepare yourself for Brown making a big play on Asda and other supermarket chains creating jobs as part of  "the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order".  It would be interesting to know how many of these new jobs are full or part time.

My guess is that in times of recession people do not eat out so much.  Nevertheless my guess is that Brown will make much play on this at PMQ’s.

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How does Mandy cope with the recession?



..by having two mobile phones at the taxpayers expense!

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Cameron chokes on Brown

Excellent interview with Cameron in Wednesday’s Indy.  This section is worth highlighting.

"I choked on my porridge this morning," David Cameron said. He wasn't joking about his favourite breakfast food at his family's regular 7.30am start to the day in Notting Hill, west London. What stuck in his throat yesterday was a newspaper report of Gordon Brown describing the economic crisis as "the birth pangs of a new global order."

The Tory leader is still angry about it six hours later when The Independent interviews him in his Westminster office overlooking the river Thames. The Brown Government, he declares, is "in a state of denial" about the economy. "Imagine how you would feel if you had just had your home repossessed, lost your job or couldn't get credit: 'It's all right, I'm just a birth pang.' It was a bit of a moment."

I am glad Dave agrees with my post below

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27 January 2009

A masterful performance by Clarke

It is worth just watching and listening to Clarke’s response to the car bail out in the Commons today.  There are very few in politics today that could do it better.

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The boring Cabinet minutes on Iraq

Why is much being made about a decision to have a set of Cabinet minutes published?  OK they deal with Iraq and the decision to invade.  If  they are published they will say nothing.  All intelligence info will be removed and no names of who said what will be quoted.

None of the major decisions were taken by the Cabinet in any case but by small groups sitting on sofas.  And there is a wider point.  How will effective Cabinet government be restored if minutes are published?

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Brown, Davis and Today

On Friday Evan Davis agrees with Brown on air.  On Tuesday the BBC announces that Davis will now be a permanent member of the Today programme.

Some coincidence from the impartial BBC!

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Driven by events or panic

Moses is now fast losing control of the agenda and is being driven by events.  On Monday Corus downsizes, on Tuesday the lead item on Today is all about the problems in the steel/car industry.  Now Mandy is to make statement about support to the car industry.

No 10 states that this is not a "bail-out".  How true.  It is a panic measure to be made up of increasing the availability of loans so people can by cars.

But say people do not want to buy?

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Corus highlights a political problem

It was correct to bail out the banks.  No country can function without a  banking system.  However the the 2nd phase of the recession is now taking hold and thousands will loss their jobs.

There will now be great pressure from the unions and elsewhere for a bail out to underpin the manufacturing industry.  The problem is where is the money going to come from?  Brown, it could be assumed, would rather boost the economy with tax cuts for short term political reasons.  But he has a further problem to solve.  He will not want any unrest with the unions now or in the run up to the election.

This raises huge political and economic issues.  Should he subsidise companies to keep workers on?  Should employee’s reverting to part time working have their wages underpinned by the state?

I am not sure this has been thought through.  Brown assumed that the bank bail out (1st and 2nd phase) would work and we would have a short share recession.  Clearly this is not the case.

Brown needs an action plan fast as this recession could get very nasty indeed at a political level.  If the unions assume that Brown is sunk and the polls keep widening, they will not hesitate to cause Moses a huge problem.

Shades of the late 70’s here.

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26 January 2009

Quotes that should make us worry

Rachel Sylvester has a wonderful article in Tuesday’s Times about Labour’s present panic.  It is full off the record quotes.  These two from “government members”stand out:

“Gordon is behaving like the Leader of the Opposition rather than the Prime Minister. It's all tactics rather than strategy. He makes an announcement, gets the headline then moves on when what really matters is making sure it works.”


“It's as if we're in a lift. We don't know if we're going down to the ground floor or to the basement or whether the entire lift shaft is empty and we're plunging to our doom.”

This is very comforting  from the “not a time for a novice” government don’t you think?

The last quote rather backs up my conclusion below that Moses and Mandy are stumped.

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Brown, the polls and the sands of time

Has there been a shift of mood with the latest polls moving against Brown.  My guess is there could be an Obama factor in the latest poll findings.  Are people asking that with US having a new beginning, so should the UK?  It would be an interesting question to ask.

The other huge problem for Moses and Mandy is time.  It is running out fast.  There is only 16 months to go before there has to be an election.  The realistic options now are June or October ‘09 or May ‘10.  Only Major has been returned after a full five year term since the war, and that was because Labour bungled the campaign in ‘92.

If Brown does leave it to May ‘10 he runs the risk of being overtaken by events outside his control.  At present an election this year in unlikely but not out of the question.

He could cut taxes in this years budget and go to the polls in June or October saying this is my plan, I am the man to see the country through etc.  It does not sound that convincing, does it?

He could say things are so bad that we need a government of national unity.  The problem is, would anyone join?  Cable would be tempted but it would split the LibDems from top to bottom.

So what then?  Of course Mandy would have thought all this through.   I reckon he is stumped.  Electoral history is not on their side.

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Has Brown hit the bottle?

Moses (or a drunken version of) has made a speech this morning saying that the economic crisis should be treated as:

"the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order"

Has he lost all sense of reality or purpose?  He is supposed to be leading the country not swallowing everything Mandy feeds him down the phone every weekend.

Perhaps Mandy is doing this on purpose to show that Moses is going bonkers so he can be replaced.

Any more quotes like this and we will all go mad!

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Thompson wants it both ways but he is off the hook

The BBC’s DG was swinging around like a monkey on heat during his Today interview.  He was insisting that the BBC will not show the appeal, and then proceeded to tell listeners how to donate.  Does he really think we are thick and do not know what to do?

Fortunately for him the story has now hit the buffers as Sky have announced that they too will not show the appeal.  So Thompson survives until the next BBC bungle.

I bet the Mandy and Moses will not be that pleased about Sky’s decision.    It means that the Lords story will now move back centre stage.   Something will bubble up as Labour tries to deflect this story.  My guess is that Brown will try to use Barclays statement to insist that UK banking is robust.  In truth of course Barclays have told Brown to take a hike.  If only he would…..

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A real danger for the UK

I started a post about the latest polls and Moses, and then this was delivered to my reader from Conservative Home.  I could not put it better myself.  If the polls continue to widen in the Tories favour, Brown will fail to act in the national interest.  His personality will just not allow him to.

I highlighted the problems with Brown's personality that are reflected in The Deal.

There is a real danger for the UK in the present political climate.  The “saviour of the world” will destroy the UK.

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25 January 2009

Good luck to 2 Jags with free BBC air time

I have always treated Prescott as a figure of fun but he comes over as a genuine person.  It is to his credit that he has started a web site and blog.  Whether this has Labour Party approval or he was pressurised into doing it is not clear.  My guess is that with the publicity surrounding the launch (including his interview on the BBC today) it will take off in a big way initially.  It certainly will leave LabourList floundering if it is not already.

Just one further thought.  How come 2 Jags is allowed to launch his blog on the BBC?  Surely Prescott is not considered by the BBC as impartial?

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Burnham calls the dogs off

Seems like the Government has pulled back from a fight with the BBC over the Gaza appeal, if Andy Burnham the Culture Secretary’s comments are anything to go by:

Mr Burnham said he respected the independence of broadcasters and understood the difficulty of judgement having to be made over the Gaza appeal.

"I think these are difficult judgements for all broadcasters particularly for the BBC and the way it is funded. Everyone wants to accuse the BBC of one bias or another.

"I am pleased this appeal will now be shown and other broadcasters have chosen to. I think it is right that broadcasters have their own judgements - broadcasters that have an international presence, it is important for them.

I am not sure the press and public will take the same line.  The damage to the BBC’s judgement has already been done, which Burnham could hardly admit to.

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This must be serious

The Sunday Times alleges that four Labour Lords were prepared to accept cash to amend laws to benefit their clients.  Obviously this is serious, and would not have been published without hard evidence.

Clearly the Labour spin machine is taking it so, having rushed the little known Lady Royall on to the top of the Andrew Marr programme to give the usual platitudes on these occasions.

No doubt the standards committee will called in to investigated.  Then what?  Correct me if I am wrong but I doubt, if guilty, they can stripped of their peerages.

No one should rush to judgement but considerable further damage has already been done to parliaments reputation by the publication alone.

Last week Brown tries a stitch up on MP’s expenses, now he may have his Lordships taking brown envelopes.  This story has legs, is not global, has not started in America, and spells big trouble for our Leader and if true the blame cannot be shifted elsewhere.

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24 January 2009

The best result for Spurs, but please Gordon

I am glad Spurs lost, as now they can and must concentrate on avoiding relegation.  They should be alright so long as Brown stays away!

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The Government can force the BBC to show appeal

Thompson has used a BBC blog to defend his decision on a the Gaza appeal.  Firstly, this shows a sign of panic.  When the Ross saga blew up Thompson was silent for days.  Secondly, he says nothing new and repeats points made earlier by others.  Thirdly, I wonder if he penned this himself?

Whatever, Thompson and the BBC know they are wrong hence the blog.  The other organisations  have now agreed to show the appeal.

If the BBC cannot get it’s act together, then the Government should show the appeal as a Ministerial broadcast.  That would really finish off the useless Thompson off.

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Mark Thompson has to go

What is happening at the BBC?  The decision that it has taken not to broadcast the Gaza appeal makes no sense.  What is the difference to a child suffering in Gaza to a staving child in Africa?  The answer none.  Yet this over bloated organisation allows appeals for Africa but does not allow them for Gaza.

What does this arrogant organisation believe, that someone who wishes to give will not if the BBC does not broadcast the appeal?  All anybody has to do is Google the address, or listen to Benn on Today as I posted below.

The BBC should do 3 things.  Sack Mark Thompson.  Give the awful Ross’s salary to the appeal and reverse it’s decision.

The BBC is fast becoming a laughing stock and takes the wrong decisions at every turn.  Just in the last few weeks it keeps Ross, sacks Stourton, puts the awful Evan Davis up to interview Brown, who states that he agrees with Moses, which is not the job of an interviewer.

Enough I say, enough.

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Tony Benn takes over Today

Whether the BBC is right or wrong not to allow a broadcast for Gaza aid is a matter for debate.  The programme has just had Tony Benn on to discuss why he will be attending the protest outside Broadcasting House.

The old pro steels the show and silences poor old Ed Stourton.  Then he just reads out the appeal address.  Marvellous stuff.  No spin, no sound bites; just a politician who is capable of using his vast experience to get his point over.

I doubt any of the current political class could come close to the way Benn performed.

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