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    Thursday, 22 October 2009

    Remember That Petition?

    Remember that petition on the No. 10 website for Brown to resign? Well, it has ammassed 72000 signatures and is still the largest on the site by over 20,000.

    Why do I bring this up you ask...

    Well because today is the day it closes and that Downing Street have to consider it (insert snigger). No prizes for guessing what the reply will be, although we can live in hope...

    Thursday, 30 July 2009

    Action Mandy and his One-Mandy Militia

    There is something about Nick Robinson and Lord Mandelson in a small room together. You begin to think it is missing a scented candle or two, petals, a dimmer switch. But Mandy had left Randy Mandy at home. This was not Mandy Pandy, this was Action Mandy, and he was here to rescue the Party. Again...

    We were urged to imagine a young Mandy, "if you could imagine such a thing". I'd rather not. I'd like to sleep tonight. It's that 'over friendly uncle' moustache that gets me. It's like the bogey monster on steroids. Action Mandy wasn't keen on the past (unsurprisingly, how many resignations?), he wanted to "fight back" (again). It was "down to the whole government and the whole Party", not just Gordon Brown. There was no finger pointing here. Finger crossing perhaps, but no finger pointing. The only pointing was towards the horizon. The "changemakers" are coming, and they will fight, not as "incumbents", but as "insurgents". Now there is something suitably alarming about this, not least because of what is clearly a misuse of the plural. Insurgents? Most of the Labour Party seem more inauspicious than insurgent. None of them seem to 'insurge' anything, let alone the Tories. No, this was no army. This was Action Mandy and his One-Mandy Militia and he was on a rescue mission.

    Indeed, Nick was surprised that Mandy had already, personally, rescued half a million jobs. "At least", said Action Mandy, modesty firmly machine gunned. Actually that was not the only thing that was machine gunned. Nick wanted to know where that figure (suspiciously round if you ask me) came from; Mandy wanted to talk about the banks. Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat... we were now talking about the banks. Action Mandy had rescued us all from the nasty banks, and now he wanted to rescue us from the "slash and burn" Tories (as opposed to 'crash and burn' Labour?) and their savage cuts and deep recession.

    Alas, but how many had Action Mandy rescued with his Mortgage Rescue Scheme? "I'm not the Minister for Mortgage Rescue", protested Action Mandy. Must be one of the few things he isn't minister for. Six. What, thousand? Hundred? No. Just six. "Fine, you score a point", sulked Mandy, drawing a target on Robinson's forehead and stealing his lunch money. What would be his weapon of choice? "Fiscal adjustment". The government, claimed Mandy, "never disguised it". Never mind the disguise, I was struggling to decipher what 'it' was. Nick had a go, deflecting back Mandy's bullshit bullets. "Constraints, measures, choices"... "Cuts?" "You can use your language and I can use my language", insisted Mandy in the manner in which a hit man might discuss the merits of various handguns. It was clear. Action Mandy liked his bullshit, and "fiscal adjustment" was by far the best calibre.

    Robinson looked defeated, but he had one last weapon up his sleeve. Mention Gordon. Especially his favourite 'Labour investment versus Tory cuts' mantra. Action Mandy looked like thunder. Mandy wasn't keen on Gordy, he'd just gotten rid of him for a month. Rat-tat-tat-tat. The bullets sailed towards CCHQ and what Mandy termed, 'the Tories' "undisguised glee at savage cuts"', with undisguised glee. This wasn't simply a "referendum on the government". No, Gordon doesn't like those. What was it then?

    Then it became clear. Action Mandy and his One-Mandy Militia hadn't rolled into Downing Street to help re-decorate, it was here to stay. PM for PM? Action Mandy tried to assure us that he "can't just migrate from one House to another". I wasn't convinced, after all, he'd managed to migrate from one side to another. Nor was this "one comeback too many". The Militia wasn't in town to rescue the Party, or to selflessly save us all from Tory tyranny. Action Mandy and his One-Mandy Militia had its hands on the "levers of power", it wanted its bottom on the seat as well. On the nightmare front, that makes the moustache look tame. The Militia is well and truly in town. Mortgage rescue? More like Mandy rescue. I think it is time we armed ourselves...

    Thursday, 11 June 2009

    How Times Change...

    Unbelievable... Mind Numbingly Unbelievable!

    I made a promise when I started this blog, to piss take, to satirise, to ridicule, but never to rant.

    Today is an exception.

    "DAVID CAMERON MR 10%" the Labour Party website screamed at me. Here are some excerpts:
    The Conservative Party has let the cat out of the bag and revealed that they plan to make spending cuts of 10 per cent across the majority of government departments.

    There is a choice between Labour which believes we must grow our way out of recession - and the Conservatives who have revealed that they would cut the vast majority of public spending by ten per cent


    Brown tried this shit yesterday at PMQs and has been roundly pissed on in this morning's press. The language is so telling - "let the cat out of the bag" - at least Andrew Lansley had the decency to tell the truth. Heaven forbid a Labour minister could so carelessly be straight with the public. Except that Andy Burnham too, in Labour's words "let the cat out of the bag".

    Andy Burnham effectively matched the Tories' spending proposals on Channel 4 news last night.

    The difference between the two parties over public spending is not, as Brown would have us believe, Labour investment versus Tory cuts. It is Labour deception versus Tory decency.

    Rant allowance used up.

    Wednesday, 10 June 2009

    UKIP Parody David Cameron as Hitler

    This Tory version of the traditional Downfall video was quite funny, until I realised that had been uploaded by 'ukipmedia'. What really unnerved me was when Nigel Farrage does a voiceover at the end with some party logo stuff, urging people to find out more about UKIP... having just likened David Cameron to Hitler...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not objecting to the fact that it is a Tory version, I'm not that pathetically partisan. Granted most feature Gordon Brown, but they are hilarious when they are created for amusement purposes by people with a little too much time, whatever leader they depict. I just find it somehow different when used as part of a political campaign...

    Monday, 8 June 2009

    Gordon May Suppress... He Cannot Endure

    Not only is this video a wonderful illustration of what a tit Brown is - Obama beach (says a lot about the Queen fiasco, doesn't it?) - it also demonstrates just what a load of bullshit the PM spouts... often only to then fall into it...

    Note the caption: tyranny may suppress, it cannot endure.

    Pleasingly, well actually, maddeningly, ironic coming from the man who clings to power despite numerous clear signals that the public would quite happily string him up from a lampost with a variety of materials, a BNP banner being one... in fact, they already have. But of course, the rise of the BNP isn't Labour's fault right?

    Oh yes, you keep deluding yourselves that it is the Tories' failure to talk about immigration that has given the BNP their platform. That will be why voters are deserting the "Conservatives" in hoards in the "Conservative heartland" of the North, and flooding to the BNP is it?

    That doesn't wash... maybe it's not the Tories' fault?

    Ah yes, expenses, that must be it - blame expenses. We're unpopular because of expenses. Worst election results ever, because of expenses. Come fifth in the south, because of expenses. Why not blame both? All those nasty rich Tories and their nasty moats *boo hiss*.

    Presumably, if it is expenses, and seeing how awfully bad those nasty Tories have been, the Tories must have also taken a major hit...

    Oh.. um...

    Okay... err... maybe we can blame UKIP? Nasty UKIP with their nasty euroscepticism... the rise of the BNP and Labour's catastrophe must be their fault!? Because obviously, most UKIP voters are Labour voters right?

    Wrong? They're Tories? Err... okay... scraping the barrel here.

    Could the BNP have started in America? Labour's electoral crisis - a global crisis?... unprecedented...difficult times.

    Whatever it is, it obviously is nothing to do with the leader... Gordon is the right man... (repeat after Mandy) ...the right man for the job. He is getting on with the difficult (yes Peter, I'm saying it I'm saying it) task of leading the country through these difficult ti...blahblahblah...

    General Brown, under the orders of the First Secretary, hereby declares that he 'aint going anywhere, and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise.

    Gordon (sorry, that should read Mandelson) may suppress the dissent in the Cabinet, may suppress the dissent in the party, may suppress the dissent among the activists, but there is only so long that he can suppress the dissent in the country.

    The tyranny of Gordon Brown and his First Secretary cannot endure. The question is whether the regime or democracy will crumble first.

    Monday, 1 June 2009

    Britain's Got Talent - Gordon Brown's stunning rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream'

    There was a time when polls were kind
    When I floated aloft
    My words were uplifting
    There was a time when they were blind
    And the world came along
    Came along to the Docklands
    There was a time
    Then it all went wrong

    I dreamed a dream in time gone by
    When polls were high
    And I was winning
    I dreamed that I would lead and fly
    I dreamed the public were forgiving
    Then I was tough and unafraid
    But plans were made and used and wasted
    There was no high debt to be paid
    No ploy unsung, no plot went wasted

    But the vultures come at night
    With their voices harsh as thunder
    As they call for me to part
    And they turn my dream to shame

    I spent a summer riding high
    And now my days are surely numbered
    I took recession in my stride
    But then McBride arose to fame

    And still I dream of victory
    That I will live ten years in power
    There are no dreams that cannot be
    There are no storms I cannot weather

    I had a dream the polls would be
    So different from this hell they’re showing
    So different now from what I seemed
    Now I have killed the dream I dreamed

    Thursday, 28 May 2009

    Quote of the Day - 28th May

    "Politics, as politicians well know, is largely a matter of giving names to what is happening anyway and persuding people to vote for it."
    - Christopher Hollis

    Wednesday, 27 May 2009

    Quote of the Day - 27th May

    "It's not Brown, it's Balls"
    - Michael Heseltine offers his opinion on a speech given by Brown on endogenous growth. The speech was written by Ed Balls.

    Saturday, 23 May 2009

    Funny old thing...

    The Telegraph has compiled a list of MPs' 10 favourite shops.

    At 5 they have Oka:

    "Designer furnishers co-founded by by Lady Annabel Astor, David Cameron's mother-in-law. Michael Gove - £238.50 for birdcage coffee table, March 2006 - Ed Vaizey, £671 Dordogne table, February 2007."

    Highly amusing that the Telegraph's example consists of two ShadCab members. Funny old thing.

    See the top 10 here.

    Wednesday, 20 May 2009

    Condescensions with Nick Clegg – A Lib Dem Party Election Broadcast

    “Please tell me you’ve watched this” the email read. I hadn’t. I was watching a very important patch of recently applied viscous wall covering, dry. Still, it had to be worth a watch? And the wall was pretty much dry by this point.

    I should have known better when the ‘change’ music came on. The violins a-chirped and up popped Clegg, face equally a-chirpy (he always looks so cheerful – he tried to get angry over the Ghurkas but only succeeded to look as though he was smiling through a bout of particularly bad heartburn).

    “Well I’ve been doing town hall meetings for….” Oh God. We’re in patronising territory here, please don’t mention the ‘ordinary people’. Too late. Clegg was telling us that it wasn’t a policy… patronising pause, not a number, not a statistic. Close up on an ordinary person. Apparently it’s just doing things differently – ironic, this format seemed suspiciously familiar. The violins were still going like mad. We weren’t told what exactly ‘it’ was.

    The cameraman clearly had no idea either, he’d clearly fallen asleep. Clegg was suddenly standing at a forty five degree angle. Close up on Clegg’s hands and an ‘ordinary person’ grinning like, well, Gordon Brown. There were many ‘special effects’. Perhaps the intern had found the ‘FX’ menu on Microsoft Movie Maker?

    Clegg urged us to ‘just come and talk to him’, ask him anything. Hang on a minute. This is familiar. Clegg Direct anyone? No? Oh right, sorry, this was ‘Conversations with Nick Clegg’ (Part 1 – which means we have more of this to ‘look forward’ to). The Lib Dems must be keen on radical language reform because the last time I looked, conversation involved a little more than have someone answer a question. Tea and biscuits are definitely required. As is less of standing in the middle of what can only be described as a nuclear bunker, wafting your arms. Where were they filming this anyway? Turnstile!?

    ‘Conversations with Nick Clegg’ faded into black (I told you they’d found the ‘FX’) and then Nick Clegg faded back in again. We even got a helpful banner. “Nick Clegg – Leader of the Liberal Democrats”. Really? Lib Dem election broadcast with Nick Clegg? Wouldn’t have arrived at that conclusion on my own.

    The violins had stopped. Clegg was getting serious – I’d turned off, it was dull now and we were only one minute in. It was like watching the head prefect in the school play. He was talking about swiss cheese and tax cuts. Tax cuts paid for by swiss cheese? Had I fallen asleep. Was this real? The Violins were going again as the text faded in (getting a bit advanced!). Tax cuts. Swiss Cheese. Lib Dems. The whole thing was cheesy – a bad imitation of a certain other election broadcast. This wasn’t conversation but condescension with Nick Clegg. I felt cheesed.

    As I type, Dave has popped up, on the train, signing papers, in the car, touring the country doing Cameron Direct. Out of the main party leaders, so far it seems that he’s the only one who can see daylight.

    Monday, 18 May 2009

    10 Things You Didn't Hear MPs Say...

    1. “Moat? I didn’t claim for dredging my moat. That was the estuary. I couldn’t get the yacht up to the mooring.”

    2. “Manure is utterly essential to carrying out my duties as an MP. It greases the cogs of the political system.”

    3. “Using taxpayer’s money to build my property portfolio was a selfless attempt to kick start the housing market.”

    4. “The bathplug was doing the taxpayer a favour. Since I’ve started claiming for my water bill, I hadn’t been bothering with a plug.”

    5. “Dog food was a legitimate expense, Corby is employed as my parliamentary assistant. It comes under staff costs.”

    6. “My gardening expenses may appear extravagant, but Prince Charles doesn’t come cheap and I have excellent vegetables.”

    7. “They were energy saving light bulbs. That’s more an investment than an expense.”

    8. “I don’t know what my constituents are complaining about. My planters give them something nice to look at.”

    9. “Maintaining my estate is at the taxpayer’s expense is just fiscal stimulus. I am helping fight off the recession by contributing greatly to local employment.”

    10. “You’re right. I defrauded the taxpayer. I’ll be handing myself in to the police.”

    Tuesday, 12 May 2009

    Whose Website Is This?

    I count 10 mentions, just on the homepage!

    Any ideas?  

    Monday, 11 May 2009

    An Apology from the Rt. “Hon.” John ‘Seven Homes’ Lewis MP

    Dear Constituents,
    I feel that, following revelations in the Telegraph regarding the expenses of MPs, I should issue a statement on the matter. It is damaging for trust, for the House and for our political system in general.
    Some have commented that my seven homes are indefensible. I have also attracted criticism for supposedly ‘flipping’ my second home between them over the past year. This was not a matter of personal profit, but personal security. If I had the choice, I’d have only one home, but, as it stands, I have to have seven for security purposes. These ‘decoy homes’ are a means of ensuring my security so that I am fully able to execute my parliamentary and constituency business. As for the flipping, this was not because I wished to decorate my homes at the taxpayer’s expense before selling them for a profit. It was merely to protect the identity of my primary residence, and to ensure that terrorists could not work out which of my homes were mere ‘decoy homes’. The trauma of having to move between seven homes, including one in Tuscany, has been a burden I was willing to carry to fully serve my constituents.
    The furnishing of these decoy homes is integral to this security strategy. It is also essential that they are furnished in keeping with the area. If I were to paint a Notting Hill home in anything other than Farrow and Ball it would be obvious to any terrorist that such a home could not be real. I have been forced to sell homes and purchase new ones due to intelligence that they had been compromised. Any profit made was not actually profit, but “profit” designed to give the appearance of profit, normalising the rapid and suspicious sale of the house. As “profit” is not actually profit, it is exempt from CGT.
    All the above claims were made within the rules and all were granted by the fees office. I, however, accept that this isn’t enough, which is why I must apologise. I am most awfully sorry that I have been caught following the rules. In future I shall be certain to ensure that this does not happen again.
    Yours in dutiful service,
    Rt. Hon. J. Lewis MP

    P.S. Must dash - doorbell. That will be the furniture delivery.

    Thursday, 7 May 2009

    Dave the Matador and his Cuadrilla of Red Tories

    The (proverbial) sun was shining brightly in the Chamber today. Gordon listed his engagements, lips curling into a.. oh no! A smile. And it all went downhill from there, for his outer smile may be all smiley (or should that be scary), but his inner smile is but a grimace of rage (as Prescott demonstrated). Dave was confident, dancing around, red cape a-swishing, remarkably upbeat for someone whose bike had been stolen. Again. At least it was chained to something other than a bollard this time. He really has developed into a PM in waiting.

    Dave wanted to know about (rub in) Gordon’s apocalyptic week. The cape a-swished, the trumpet a-sounded. Gordon was released into the ring, unimpressed, for he wanted a good old crisis. Gordon likes crises, he can do ‘swine flu’ – the jury’s still out on the ‘economy’ and the ‘difficult decisions’, my guess is it won’t be favourable. All he’s managed to do is to take some very simple decisions, make them very difficult, and then announce the resulting disaster on youtube.

    “We’re getting on with the business of governing”, insisted Gordy. There is clearly some disparity in what constitutes ‘governing’. Dave gave another swish of the cloak, wafting it around the chamber towards the Communities Secretary who sensibly hid behind the Speaker’s chair. Hazel wasn’t getting involved, she’d already stuck her knife in. Gordon gurned (sorry, smiled) like an idiot. Out came the old ‘do nothing’ jibe, Dave wafted the cape a bit more. Wafty-waft, “youtube if you want to”, waft, waft. Gordon began to see red.

    “We are taking action…” He was interrupted by gales of laughter from the Tory Cuadrilla poised to gallop in, lances ready. Tory cuts, u-turns, hug a hoodie. “Compassionate Conservatism has gone, gone…” err, Gordon hesitated, where was this going again? “Gone?”. Dave drew his sword. “I’m sure that sounded just great in the bunker, whilst the mobile phones and printers were flying”. Dave was now flying, back and forth, around and around, red cape a-swishing. Gordy stormed after him. Dave wanted a general election. Gordon charged. Gordon wanted to talk about issues, not listen to jibes from a party “in the dark ages”. The whole exchange was getting more like the dark ages by the minute. When was the last time swords were drawn and blood shed in parliament? Must be a t least three weeks. Dave sidestepped, but Gordon was not giving up. He lined up for one last charge. “He is completely out of his depth when it comes to the big issues in this country.” Ouch! Matador Dave had been speared on a horn and retired to the front bench to nurse the wound. Gordon did a victory circuit around a planted question.

    Time for the Lib Dem interval, but this was not the usual funny dancing, or naff 80s music. Clegg entered the ring, knife already drawn. “There comes a point when stubbornness is not leadership; it is stupidity.” Dust was already appearing around Gordon’s feet. Clegg taunted him with “vacuous”, and then with “saving his own skin”. Gordy charged again, straight onto the outstretched knife, then blamed Clegg for attacking him. A bit rich from the man who once owned Damian MacBride.

    Dave was bloody, but still fighting strong to orchestrate the final Tory push. Every Tory in the chamber was red to the PM (not in a Guardian-esque sense of the word I must assert). Question after question Dave’s Cuadrilla of Red Tories came galloping in on horseback, swords drawn, and question after question repeatedly stuck them into the Prime Minister. Petitions, elections, Gurkhas, they all drew blood. Gordon charged around after them. The Labour benches had given up - retiring to the proverbial greenhouse to cultivate a series of plants. Mighty Dave handed the sword to Stephen Crabb. Crabb stepped forward, sword in one hand, muleta in the other. “What does the Prime Minister intend to do about the important issue of bullying in the workplace, given the reliable reports of a senior Whitehall boss throwing around mobile phones and printers and swearing at switchboard operators?” Brown was no longer seeing red, he was seeing blue. He stormed towards Crabb in rage. “Any complaints are dealt with in the usual manner.” Crabb had plunged the great sword of Dave the Mighty Matador straight into Gordy’s one ‘nerve’. The Tory benches took cover in case the PM had a Nokia or two on him. The crowd cheered. Labour fell silent. Johnson risked a smile. Dave had better be careful not to kill this weak bull, for that risks the possibility of a much stronger replacement.

    Tuesday, 28 April 2009

    Some more fun - for those with much work and no motivation

    Ah yes, put down your pens, relinquish your hold on the mouse, it's not like you were really doing much anyway - any distraction is a welcome distraction right?

    There is much fun to be had in the form of Google Similar Image search.
    Now it's not perfect, and you do have to pick your picture, but there is some fun to be had, and some insight to be gained. Above all there are some gems, so who do our illustrious political leaders resemble?

    David Cameron is apparently like Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell - smooth, popular, white teeth... says it all really!

    Gordon Brown is like Fidel Castro, George Bush, Tony Blair, John Prescott and numerous domestic animals - no 'side of the road' flattened animals though, so not all that realistic.

    Harriet Harman is like a whole page of random men - well, equality and all.

    David Miliband resembles Brad Pitt and David Beckham - and I'd been telling everyone he was attractive; no one believed me. He supports Arsenal, the comparison is definitely there - it probably falls apart at the point where it comes to stringing a sentence together though.

    I promise you can waste hours! Then once that has been exhausted, there are many pictures of 'Boden-man' Cameron on the beach to provide further entertainment.

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to carry on leading this great country of ours... do we?

    There is now another support Brown petition on the No. 10 site, this one with 50 signatures...
    50? Not bad...
    Well actually, it is.
    They range from the serious (the person who created it

    To the plotting:
    Ed Balls, Chancellor in waiting
    Robert Mugabe
    Tony B Liar
    Jeremy Clarkson
    Alistair Darling (instructed by Winky)

    To the clever:
    Juan Idescottishgit
    L X Shun Nao
    Thai Mtugo

    To the funny: (well they're all quite funny)
    EightyEight P Bathplug
    Tractor production is UP! I tell you
    It started in America
    Boom AND Bust
    Polly Toynbee von Tuscany

    To the downright rude:
    fat unelected lying hoon
    W Inky McFukcnut (sic)
    James Gordon Brown is an amoral f**king sewer rat the worthless c**t.

    The stars are my polite addition - it seems that youtube isn't the only source of abuse - how long before this petition is taken down? Place your bets!

    While you're at it, SIGN the petition. Now number 5. I obviously did not spend my friday night emailing it to all the newspapers I could think of...

    UPDATE: Thinking about it, I thought No.10 vetted and monitored these things - are they trying to tell Gordon something?

    UPDATE II: It would seem that there has been some attempt to 'cleanse' the signatories for most of those that were there this morning are there no longer. The attempt fails as they have just been replaced by more abuse.
    This arguably sends a stronger message than the petition calling for Brown's resignation. As one signatory's name says, do you think you'll manage to get 10 REAL signatures?
    I'm not holding my breath.

    UPDATE III (Wednesday pm.) It's been purged again, down to a measly 14 signatures.

    Friday, 24 April 2009

    Time for Gordon to go - sign the petition!

    Sign the petition, spread the word.

    UPDATE - It's reached the no. 1 spot!

    Thursday, 23 April 2009

    Expenses reform? Make a difference today

    This is a screenshot from the excellent blog of Labour MP Tom Harris.
    Oh, what's that advert for? Surely not John Lewis!? The John Lewis of John Lewis List fame?
    Now I know that precisely what adverts appear in those ad boxes is beyond the blogger's control but on a day where the expenses reform row rumbles on, it is rather ironic!
    The actual slogan of the ad is also laced with irony.
    'Make a difference today' is why many MPs become MPs, and it is this that has been tarnished by the long-running expenses row.
    It's time our representatives made a truly bold difference today. The old system stinks. Gordon Brown's new system stinks. The expenses system needs bold and firm reform before the reputation of Parliament and our MPs is beyond repair.
    Government departments such as the MOD already have a 'second home' system that works.
    There should be a criterion for travel distance (either miles or hours by public transport). If you live beyond the set distance you qualify for a second property. All properties are rented within a certain price band. Rent and the cost of utilities are paid for. The rest is up to the MP.
    Those MPs with grace and favour properties would not qualify. Travel expenses to and from constituencies could be claimed with receipts along with staff costs etc.
    The basic salary would cover work (which, surprisingly enough, includes actually turning up).
    Come on. This is not difficult. Make a difference for us and yourselves.

    Wednesday, 22 April 2009

    The 'DaveVinci' Code - a Budget 2009 special!

    This is Cameron's response to the budget in picture form.

    Play 'spot the phrase' by linking adjacent words! What was really in the budget? Only Dave can find out... *dramatic music*

    (I'm not actually intentionally starting some DaveVinci code thingy! *disclaimer*)

    'Every scheme now announced' is a good one! As is 'red chancellor' and 'tax something'.

    Image from

    Tuesday, 21 April 2009

    Guido has unearthed a real gem - an internal Labour Party briefing document on 'New Media' strategy.

    My particular favourite is the following line:

    "We also need to ensure Ministers are featured on online forums, such as Mumsnet, money supermarket, Treehuggers etc. Both as featured visitors and regular contributors."

    The second one is a particularly good idea *sarcasm*. Money supermarket could add a 'Minister comparison' section to their site. Rated according to expenses, policy, column inches, likability., e-acountability, it would be an instant hit!

    You can imagine Obama on Mumsnet, you can imagine Obama going down well on Mumsnet, you can imagine the press being generally warm to the idea of Obama on Mumsnet.

    I'm not entirely sure the same could be said about any Minister...

    Ed Balls on Mumsnet? Jacqui Smith? I somehow think not.

    Tuesday, 14 April 2009

    'Sweet tooth' or something more sinister?

    Doing the 'lunchtime Politics Home' when a headline caught my eye:

    "Terror plot cops find 'bomb part'"

    'Intriguing', I thought, clicking on the link to the Sun page.

    What could this 'bomb part' be?  Gas canisters, nitroglycerine, nails?

    Detonators, semtex, fertiliser?


    There appears to be all of about a dozen sachets...

    Thursday, 2 April 2009

    Call a doctor! Obama-itus infects Westminster

    I’m surprised the PM found a spare half hour for PMQs. I was expecting a repeat of last week - Harperson with a script deliberately designed to be as dull as possible (a Civil Service special). I’d even brought a book just in case. Alas, the PM was not going to miss a chance to sell his super world saving plan. Again. Unfortunately, however, the country is suffering from ‘global’ tinnitus. Nevertheless off we went: Obama, Medvedev, Singh, Aso, ‘The President of China’ (does he not have a name?). No mention of Subversive Sarko ‘n’ Merk I see. When Tory MP Edward Garnier had the audacity to mention domestic issues, the PM jibed that he had “risen to the occasion today”. I assume he was being sarcastic. It’s hard to tell these days, the image police have purged his voice of any personality.

    Hepburn wanted to know about the unfortunate people suffering from asbestosis, “negligently poisoned in the workplace”. I was curious too, for it seems that the problem is widespread. Gordy remarked that asbestosis was a “terrible disease”. What terrible disease has infected the Cabinet? Smith looked ill, not helped greatly by the chosen shade of puce green. Alan Johnson didn’t look much better and even Ed Balls was missing his usual deranged grin. A case of ‘Poll-itus’ perhaps? In Smith’s case it can only be ‘XXX-itus’, a.k.a. ‘career end-itus’.

    Dave made a similar diagnosis. ‘Expenses-itus’, common name: ‘caught with a hand in the till’. There were groans of agony from MPs but Dave was not dishing out sympathy or lollies. “MPs may groan but frankly I’m fed up with out politics being driven through the mud”. I think mud is quite a polite way of putting it. A euphemism for something else found in abundance in the countryside, and Westminster for that matter. Dave wanted it sorted out “once and for all”.

    Gordy claimed he’d been calling for it for ages. That will be similar to that tighter regulation presumably? Balls was having hallucinations, doing his best Gordon Brown impression (and it is good, he is a mini-Brown, just less Scottish). Darling too was now infected. He sat utterly still with an expression of imminent vomiting whilst Gordon went on about some review or other. Perhaps the Cabinet are suffering from meaningless announcement-itus? Maybe it is a bad case of review-itus?

    Dave certainly seemed to think so. “I think the problem is that we do not need another review”, he said with a tone of slight amusement. “The public are sick and tired of this situation.” Gordy grinned manically. It’s not the only situation we are sick and tired of. The Cabinet are certainly sick; I’m certainly tired. Darling looked so awful I thought we might need a delegation of buckets. Perhaps someone should call a doctor?

    Gordy went on about Committees and reviews again. Hattie (now back in the giraffe enclosure) nodded like one of those dogs (or indeed giraffes – can giraffes nod?) that sit in the back window of a car. Nod-nod. These are the symptoms of ‘yes-men-itus’ (sorry, person) - that’s terminal.

    Dave heard not the sirens, but the “rustling of the long grass”. At this rate we could have the government symphony orchestra. ‘Rustling of long grass’ could join the ‘buck passing’, ‘skids under’, ‘stable door bolting’ and ‘carpet sweeping’ sections. Symphony no. 3 in A Major ‘Crisis’ (Unfinished). I’d pay to watch it (hang on a minute, perhaps I already have…).

    Gordon reverted to his furious scribbling, something had animated him. Oh dear, Dave had made the (unavoidable) mistake of asking about the G20. Gordy told Dave that this was about “lives, jobs, homes and businesses”, and Dave had mentioned none of them. That seemed a bit rich coming from ‘Global- G20- Gordon’. Indeed, we were treated to a long list of countries. I feared Gordy may get his holiday snaps out, Mandy’s already passed them round the Lords. The list went on, and then we had a lot about America. And then a lot more. Darling had stopped moving. I think he may have succumbed. Still there was more. Suddenly the diagnosis was clear. Brown’s answers were ten times longer than usual and he insisted on preaching (sorry, explaining) things. There was even a line lifted straight from the O-man-G-man press conference. Obama-itus had infected Westminster. The Cabinet were in attention withdrawal (or should that be relief?), but Darling, who was suffering most, was in awe, for he had been sent to Stansted (of all places) to meet the O-man. He had shaken his hand.

    However, it seems that Obama-itus has nasty side effects for it was Dave ‘Obama asked to meet with me’ Cameron who got an eventual smile out of Darling. Ever since the PM started his ‘do nothing’ jibe, said Dave, “he has been going down and we have been going up”. Naughty Merv’s warning had a little more salt rubbed in it, yet the Chancellor was still smiling. He’s met Obama. He’s seen what it is like to have a popular leader. He’s seen hope. Obama-itus seems to be spreading. The Cabinet have been negligently poisoned. Westminster is infected.

    Mandygascar: The Movie

    Last week we had violence, we had war. This week was less battlefield and more battle over the last jam sandwich at the Women’s Institute tea. Make jam not war - all they actually succeeded in making was snore. For once PMQs was actually dull. Even the village elderly and their sandwiches are more interesting. It was not a battlefield of any sort. It was a zoo and one of those dodgy regional zoos you have never heard of and will not make the mistake of visiting again. All the animals sleep in their huts all day thus you pay are robbed of some ludicrous entrance fee to look in a succession of empty cages. The Westminster cage (should that be bubble?) was well and truly empty; I felt robbed.

    Hattie was on top zebra form (like I said, it was dull). Gone are the giraffe days, it is all about stripes. It is the age of the ‘new woman’; I suppose that makes the sharp pinstripes the ‘new zebra’? The ‘new’ zebra was up against one of the lions of the Tory front bench, the other being OsbornehahahahahaKen Clarke. The lion wanted to know about the working capital scheme that still is not actually working.

    The not actually working capital scheme, Harperson assured us, was in fact a very nearly almost soon to be working capital scheme, essentially a probably never working capital scheme. Apparently the government has helped a whole 93 businesses. 93? The zoo sensed it was feeding time. A few seconds later it was 93,000 businesses. Hang on, where did the other 92,907 come from? That was quick. Anything to do with the Business Secretary’s trip to Chile? (or was it Brazil?) I hear these beach bars are really struggling (do they have beach bars in Chile?). I fear said ‘businesses’ may have been the sort that don’t actually exist.

    The lion now wanted to know about the mortgage support scheme, or rather the mortgage lack of support scheme and the job recruitment scheme, or as the government have chosen to interpret it, the job redundancy scheme. ‘HMG – not helping you to find a job’ reads the slogan (well actually it doesn’t, but it should).

    Hattie hopped from hoof to hoof. She trotted out (excuse the pun) the usual ‘do nothing Tories’ line: “the Opposition would take no action and make the recession worse and longer”. Make the recession worse? Not sure we need to, the government (Gordon) seem to have managed that all on their own.

    The call of the wild was spreading for Hague took us to South America, to a particularly disturbing image of the PM and the other PM in speedos. I’m not sure my eyes are up to that particular mental image. This is getting less like government by the minute and more like Madagascar 3. Escape from the zoo to South America. I might pitch it to Pixar. Mandygascar: The Movie. On second thoughts…

    Hague asked about naughty Merv and his fiscal expansion. Or lack of. Does the government agree with the Governor? (Maybe that should that be the Guv’nor?) Hattie tried the ‘do nothing’ jibe. Hague asked again. The Lion seemed weary, batting the irritating flies away with the swish of a tail. Hattie seemed disappointed. She wanted the lion to roar. She wanted a fight. She pitched the class war. “The Conservatives’ priority is to give £200,000 each in tax cuts to just 3,000 millionaires."

    “The question was about the Governor of the Bank of England.” Again he tried (the third time in case you’d lost track). “The Budget will be on 22nd April.” Err, good. I’m pleased that it will, but err, about the Guv’nor? I was beginning to think that sticking Hattie in the zebra, sorry new zebra, enclosure was a mistake. She was jumping around all over the place, more gazelle than zebra. Back and forth, zig zag, up, down, around and around. The smug looking gazelle (can gazelles look smug?) turned round after much a-leaping to discover that the lion hadn’t shifted from his shady spot under a large tree.

    Hattie had one last attempt to start a war, she gave Hague a final poke. “They have set out their stall: it is the millionaire’s manifesto.” Nice sound bite or whatever it is No. 10 like to call such meaningless phrases these days. A minute ago it was all about ‘worse and longer’, then it was something about the far right, then we a-leaped over to millionaires again.

    Presumably all the people with estates valued between £312,000 and £1 million are millionaires too? Now I don’t mean to be funny, but the last time I looked, to be a millionaire required a wealth of more that £1 million, hence, presumably, the term millionaire? I’m starting to fear the reshuffle. What if Hattie gets the Treasury?

    The only slightly less boring bit was when Vince had a go. Things briefly looked up, but not for long. We were soon back to zebra Hattie and her pre-prepared answers. This was not Prime Minister’s Questions, but Prime Minister’s Statements. I want Leopard Dave and Brown Bear in the enclosure together. We all know that however much a-dancing is done the gazelle, or indeed the zebra, is no match for a lion. It was just a shame this one was not interested.

    Tuesday, 24 March 2009

    Confidence? In the Home Office?

    Now I admit that terrorism is of the utmost seriousness and that the threat level has never been higher (well it has, but, you know, figure of speech) but at the end of the day, one has to get up in the morning, go to work etc... one has to generally get on with life.

    Indeed, it seems the government has a similar sentiment.  Jacqui Smith today said that 'the aim of the Government's new counter terrorism strategy is to reduce the risk of terrorism to allow people to go about their lives freely and with confidence'.

    Sounds good - 'confidence' after all is important.  We don't want the public scared senseless do we?


    Well Ms Smith then gave us a comprehensive list (ooh err, watch out, it's those lists again) of what such 'risk' involves.  Cue mental images of mushroom clouds, a London uninhabitable for 50 years, gruesome boils, people with three heads for centuries to come, that sort of thing.  This was reinforced by phrases such as 'highly likely' and 'strike at any time'.  All rather alarming....

    Sorry, got sidetracked.  What was she saying about 'confidence'?

    I hate to alarm you further, but let us not forget that the Home Office is in charge of all this counter-terrorism lark...

    On second thoughts, forget confidence...

    Sunday, 22 March 2009

    Dale's Database Defect

    I was browsing the excellent TP Political Blog Directory when something caught my eye...

    There is just something about it that doesn't quite add up...

    Thursday, 19 March 2009

    A small tickle on the 6 o'clock news

    Admittedly, at first nothing seems out of place...

    A large lectern or perhaps an unfortunate camera angle?

    It would seem not...

    Schoolboy spat? This was more a knifing in the playground.

    It started out nice enough with an apology of sorts.  I, of course, use the term ‘apology’ in the loosest of senses.  I feared we may have a repeat of last week.  Unemployment, said Gordy, was “a matter of personal regret”.  He regards it as “one person, a second person…”.  I felt alarm rising.  Unemployment has hit two million.  We may be here for some time.  The pain of the usual list – our PM really does like to categorise everything into lists - caused only mild discomfort.  It was the life story that had me diving for cover.  We’ve all heard it, the Americans have now heard about it, no doubt the G20 will hear about it too.  ‘I came into politics because…’  Ahh!  Quick, duck!

    Things had kicked off.  Dave wanted Gordy to admit that his ‘best-placed’ claim was wrong.  Dave wanted a real apology, one containing the word ‘sorry’ or ‘wrong’, preferably in the same sentence as ‘I’.  “Admit it”, demanded Dave.  “No”, retorted Gordy, “the fact is…”.  Dave looked on unimpressed.  He wasn’t being pulled into any fights over lunch money for Gordy kept hurling projectiles of ‘1.3 billion’ and ’44 billion’ around and you can get a lot of turkey twizzlers for that.  1.3 billion what?  Bananas?  Careful, mustn’t get the Foreign Secretary overexcited.  Gordy, like all good teacher’s pets (haven’t we heard all about his school too?), decided that it would be best to ‘correct’ Dave.  The claw came out and began pounding the dispatch box.  Invest, invest invest, pound pound pound.  Snore snore snore if you ask me.  Maybe he was searching for the Trident launch button?  HMS Vanguard is in the Thames pointing at CCHQ as we speak.

    “More!” they cried.  “There’s plenty more!” roared Dave as he began to rise above the playground rabble.  This wasn’t Dave as we’ve seen him before, this was angry Dave.  “Let me correct him” he shouted, pointing his best prefect finger at Gordy.  The slicey hand had an outing, an attempt to slice through the layers of trivia.  It will take more than that.  I recommend that nuclear warhead.  Dave was shaking with anger and frustration.  The hand sliced, the finger pointed, and the soft soft Tory hair waggled.

    Gordy was clearly rattled by the hair waggling.  Even he knows it must be bad when the unshakable Tory sweep waggles.  Only the winds of change can waggle that and up until now Gordy has kept those draughts out.  “He’s wrong about”… stammered Gordy, and then we got a list.  Take cover!  Statistics about.  The ‘1.3 billion’ projectile was once again hurled around, as was ‘110 million’, ‘300,000’, ‘1 million’, ‘next month’, ‘six months’ and even the ‘Secretary of State for Work and Pensions’.  Purnell looked unsure at this.  Then again he always looks unsure.  Maybe he was unnerved at going out to play after double maths and finding the Prime Minister throwing penny chews in the playground.

    Dave however, was having none of this playground nonsense.  This wasn’t a lunchtime brawl.  This was war.  “We have just had the view from the bunker”.  Maybe Brown really is after that trident button?  Dave was growing angrier by the minute, unleashing not only angry-Dave, but sarcastic-Dave.  “Fred Goodwin, or, sorry, I should say Sir Fred Goodwin.”  Ouch!  The slap stung, the PM reeled, retreating behind the machine gun fire of facts and figures.  That ‘1.3 billion’ projectile once again sailed across the floor.  Super-Dave batted it back, straight into the lap of Dennis Skinner.  “I know that he wanted miners to join the government: well, now he was got one - Lord Myners.”  The projectile exploded; the playground cheered and jeered.  The Speaker suggested that Miss Snelgrove may need ‘a wee tablet from the doctor’.  Is the school nurse in on a Wednesday?  At this rate, we’ll need the St. John’s Ambulance.

    “Are not this Government just running around, like headless chickens?” asked Dave.  Do please take a minute to relish this mental image.  “Is not that combination of ineffectiveness and hyperactivity the worst combination of all?”  Hyperactivity?  Can’t be too careful with that these days.  Perhaps it's the Cabinet who need wee tablets from the doctor?

    Brown accused Dave of being “out on a limb”.  The only limb I see out is that to which Dave’s slicey hand is attached.  The Tory leader’s pained expression said it all as Brown searched his pockets, finding only his old ‘shadow shadow Chancellor’ remark.  The gang were gathering round now.  Brown was out of penny chews.  “Unprecedented means without precedent.  Global means that it affects the whole of the world.”  Dave did not take kindly to being patronised and, face stinging, the knife came out.  “What a complete phoney!”  The anger was real, the frustration audible, the emotion strong.  The knife was given a final twist: “the Prime Minister has led us to this point without a hint of an apology, and the British people will never forget it.”

    Wounded, Brown soldiered on, but the front bench seemed to be in a state of shock, indeed, they seemed positively shell-shocked.  Darling and Murphy looked as though they had been recently installed in Madame Tussaud’s.  The only thing that got a response was a question about college funding.  Purnell managed a brief smile, presumably because his memory of college is about as old as that of him putting on his socks this morning.  There were no smiles elsewhere.  The Tory front bench was sombre.  Their leader was not unscathed.  This was bloody.  This means war.

    Sunday, 8 March 2009

    Watch Out! It's the Image Police...

    What is going on?  Westminster seems to be in the grips of some investigation by the image police… again.  First is the news that David Miliband spent £6,700 on ‘the presentation of foreign policy issues', Whitehall speak for some sort of image makeover, (I use the term ‘makeover’ in the loosest of senses).  Fine, but to be honest, £6,700 seems a little steep.  I could have done it for a lot less than that.  ‘Don’t present foreign policy issues with fruit’.  There.  See?  Just stick the cheque in the post.  The £85 of ‘IT training’ – blogging to be more accurate -  seems slightly odder.  I mean, typing?  The man is intelligent, surely he can type?  I smell the image police again.  The blog-o-sphere is just another outlet through which ministers can go ‘off message’; ‘the message’ and the current ‘buzz words’ must be reinforced.  That’s before you even start on things like ‘tone’ – ‘engaging with the voter in an accessible yet informative manner’.  I’m surprised it was only £85.  For once it seems that taxpayer has a bargain.

    The police investigation seems to be spreading, from King Charles Street to Downing Street.  Again I ask, what is going on?  Every photo on the No. 10 website of Brown’s speeches seems to depict what can only be described as a ‘Messiah Moment’, arms stretched, upwardly turned palms.  One cannot help but wonder if they know something we don’t.  The image police have been at work.  That, however, is nothing.  If the media ‘dessert’ that was the Washington trip was garnished with Brown’s ‘credit crunch tantrum at 30,000 feet’, then the ‘cherry’ had to be the detail that the Prime Minister was ‘jacketless’.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate its significance, after all, this is the man who sunbathes in a suit.  Realistically, however, I don’t overly care whether or not he is jacketless, I’m more interested in what he is planning to do about the economy.  

    Yet, what is most worrying for the sanity of our government (and us, as the taxpayer, for these ‘makeovers’ are not cheap) is that the remit of the image police seems to be growing.  Brown’s Congress speech – the whipped cream on top of the stodgy sponge of the previous day’s press conference – bore the unmistakable signs of image police involvement as soon as the first word was uttered.  Slow delivery, precise enunciation, deep open throat.  Classic.  What was not classic, however, was the new phenomenon of physical punctuation.  This seemed to constitute superfluous full stops in the form of vigorous nodding.  A partnership.  Nod.  Of.  Nod.  Purpose.  Nod.  No.  Nod.  Power.  Nod.  On earth.  Nod.  That can ever drive us.  Nod.  Apart.  Nod.  I was waiting for something to drop off.  Indeed, such was the vigour of the punctuation that the usually unshakable hair was displaced from its sweep.  At this point alarms must have gone off in image police HQ for in today’s Northern Ireland statement, the physical punctuation seemed to have been downgraded to vigorous blinking.  One wonders what will be next?  One wonders who will be next?  Harman and that ‘giraffe’ suit?  Mandelson’s ‘Blair’ hand gestures?  Above all, when one looks at the immense problems we, as a country are facing, and then one looks at the government, one wonders what, precisely, is going on?

    Friday, 6 March 2009

    How Things Change and How Things Don't...

    Isn't it amazing how quickly perceptions of our politicians change.  Amidst media reports of Cabinet dissent, leadership manoeuvers and yet more more finger pointing, I came across this picture from the beginning of January.  Well, I say change, but I'm not convinced that the portrayal of Lord Mandelson or Miliband would look so out of place.  Maybe the former would require a small update with the help of a green pen...