Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Revel in the humiliation of Mucky Murdoch – it won’t last….

In Britain, Current affairs, Media, Politics, UK, United Kingdom on July 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

A VICTORY, or is it? The mighty Murdoch has finally been humbled and we revel in his humiliation. The level of public disgust at his news organisation has even prompted a former prime minister to call their methods “disgusting”. Of course Gordon Brown has forgotten how he courted the same disgusting people, went to Rebekah Brooks’ wedding, invited her the Chequers and generally failed to rein in the Murdochs while he was in power.

A judge-led inquiry will investigate the phone-hacking scandal and Murdoch has apparently agreed to appear before a parliamentary select committee for a grilling, but is this the end of the road for the Dirty Digger? Probably not, and by some distance. The old bugger has a hide like a rhino and he has been making billions for decades, so to suggest that  this could be the start of his demise risks underestimating him at our peril.

Let’s not forget he faced a far greater danger in the 1990s when he overextended himself on the launch of Sky and nearly went bust. If the folklore is to be believed, one small savings and loan in the US seemed to holding News Corp by the short and curlies until the larger of the 150 or so banks Murdoch was dealing with at the time placed the smaller institution in a similar hearts and minds-style grip and encouraged them to let Murdoch survive.

Murdoch’s lesson from that was to hoard cash, keep the revenue stream flowing steadily and never be beholden to banks again (a lesson the rest of the world could learn and then we’d be teaching another bunch of miscreants a proper lesson). That has served his empire well and will not change. Sure, he has a large omelette’s worth of eggs all over his dial right now, and no-one can understand why Brooks is still employed at this juncture when so many innocents have been booted, but really, are we that surprised that his papers behave in this way? The almost hourly outrage of Labour lightweights like Chris Bryant and Tom Watson is almost as disgusting as the hacking scandal.

In any case he still has 39 percent of BSkyB and a couple of seats on the board. That’s hefty influence in anyone’s money and in the time Murdoch now has on his hands before he can even consider another bid, there’s scope for some serious plotting on how to take the prize. We can expect a lot of grudging contrition from his UK titles in the short-term, but once he sorts out his plans for a Sunday tabloid title (most likely a Sunday Sun) the old Wapping arrogance will be back.

However, while Rupert is a newspaper man through and through – to be admired whatever you think of his politics – his sons and other shareholders are not massive fans. Apart from the News of the World, the others don’t make masses of cash. Even the Sun has to rely on bingo and its fantasy football competitions to turn a quid. With the News Corp share price bouncing after the decision there may be pressure on Murdoch senior to ditch his UK papers on the grounds that all have been infected with the same virus.

But the beginning of the end? Not on your life.


Let Lumley loose in Lancashire

In Current affairs, Politics on November 5, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Who's been a naughty boy then....?

NAUGHTY PHIL Woolas might just get his comeuppance after being found guilty of making false statements about his Liberal Democrat opponent in May’s general election. A rerun of the poll has been ordered by the courts.

However, with the LibDem approval rating now in single figures after their sell-out decision to get into bed with David Cameron, simply turning up to claim Oldham East and Saddleworth just isn’t an option.

So, in these austere times of budget cuts and self-flagellation, we propose something that should brighten up our bleak political landscape.

Today we launch the “Lumley for Oldham” campaign. Yep. Having handbagged feckless Phil over the Ghurka issue, we think there’d be no better sight than watching her kick him out of the commons altogether.

A defence of Wee Willy Hague….

In Current affairs, Politics on September 12, 2010 at 10:18 am

FULLANDFRANKEXCHANGE’S father-in-law is a deep thinker and a great bloke. Yesterday he weighed into the debate on William Hague sharing a hotel room with his advisor Christopher Myers and came up with this gem.

“Well what if he needed some advice in the middle of the night?” he said.

You don’t get that sort of wisdom with a pisspoor degree.

Libya, lobbying and US hypocrisy….

In Current affairs, Politics on July 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

Four US senators have buttonholed Dave Cameron on his “meet the new British guy” trip to Washington and suggested, for want of a better word, that it would be a good idea that an independent investigation be held into whether Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi’s release from prison was influenced by lobbying by BP in return for an oil drilling deal in Libya.

Given that Capitol Hill is usually under siege by lobbyists trying to get, er, senators, to see a particular point of view, this is a bit rich, but we’ll give these four fine, upstanding representatives of the people the benefit of the doubt.

We also presume that while they grilled Cameron for 45 minutes they also demanded a full investigation into another small matter…

….whether al Megrahi actually did it.

Seems fair, non? After all, the families of the Lockerbie victims have been asking for the same for years.

Get ready for the hypocrite stakes (or how I was pro-war until I ran for the Labour leadership)

In Current affairs, Politics on May 29, 2010 at 9:30 am

There’s nothing like having the courage of your convictions, and in recent days we have seen nothing like it as far as some of the candidates seeking the Labour Party leadership are concerned.

Yes folks, it’s official, the invasion of Iraq was BAD. Well, it’s bad now. When they were in power the invasion of Iraq was GOOD. Now it’s very, very, BAD. Got it?

Ed Balls, Ed MiliBand and his brother David were all in favour of Britain’s decision to help invade Iraq. Now they all say it’s BAD.

Ok, maybe we’re labouring (pun intended) this good and bad thing, but, really, is this the cream of the crop from which the party faithful have to choose from? More of the same old nonsense from the Blairites and Brownites? Where’s the true party reformer going to come from?

Then we have the rest of the field – Andy Burnham, nice bloke, but seriously overpromoted during his time as a minister. This was only to keep a Blairite in the Cabinet as the bottom of the barrel marked “talent” was well and truly scraped. Diane Abbot, insufferable, but has at least said the party should admit Iraq was a mistake. She also said something the new coalition should be implementing as policy: bankers should pay for screwing up the economy, not us. However, she blotted her copybook when she suggested that the other leftie candidate, the excellent John McDonnell, did not have enough support to secure the 33 votes necessary to get on the ballot and would withdraw. She also against spending cuts, which is economic madness.

So far the Miliband boys have secured enough nominations to enter the race. Ed Balls, not as clever as he thinks he is, is made hard work of it, but now has exactly 33 votes. Burnham has 17, while McDonnell has six and Abbott a solitary vote, which just about sums up her eligibility for this contest.

McDonnell has too many things working against him. He has principles for starters. How galled must he be to see a ConDem coalition overturn the third runway at Heathrow when his own party was ready to ram the monstrosity right through his constituency without a backward glance.

Meanwhile, while on the subject of hypocrisy, John “I won’t sit in the Lords” Prescott yesterday said “I will sit in the Lords” and took his shilling. What a guy.

Have we just been ConDemmed?

In Current affairs, Politics on May 12, 2010 at 6:02 am

George Osborne as Chancellor, gee that’ll soothe financial markets. In the meantime we wait to see what role Vince Cable gets in all of this. Most likely he’ll have to do the dirty work of implementing those deep and nasty spending cuts we’re all so looking forward to.

Dave Cameron wasted no time is assuming the mantle of head boy and picking Nick Clegg as his deputy. If the early signs are true, there may be more LibDems in government than on the backbenches. Little chance of a rebellion there.

And that will be the true test – the first argument of the new relationship, the recriminations. Doors will slam, people will sulk, or as Sam (not his real name) said on a previous post:

“It will start out fine, but then the romance will disappear. They’ll start arguing over money, who gets to sit where in cabinet…stuff like that. Then Cam will catch Cleggy making goo-goo eyes across the chamber with Miliband. Accusations. Tears. Attempts at reconciliation and then…another election.”

Should we shed two tears from the same eye at Gordon’s exit?

In Current affairs, Politics on May 11, 2010 at 11:22 pm

What is it about human nature that we can spend months, nay, years slagging off a person for being boring, dour, pig-headed, stubborn, the wrong man for the job and a whole lot worse ad nauseum, yet the second he summons up the dignity to bare his soul in public and do the right thing we are moved to tears?

This evening we experienced such a moment when Gordon Brown emerged from the door of Downing Street and gave the speech we all thought he was incapable of giving. The one that showed he was a living, breathing member of the human race.

Infuriating, isn’t it?

Clearly beyond the ambition and the lust for power exists a man who feels as keenly as the rest of us. But why, oh why, did he save the best until last. Did he get so immersed in the New Labour cesspool of spin and deceit that he forgot who he was? Or are we all just suffering from that usual bout of sympathy we express when someone who is so clearly beaten finally exits the public stage?

We are told that in at least one newsroom people were moved to tears with the dignity of the occasion. The magnificent Sarah Brown, who showed more class in three short years than Cherie Blair could muster in a decade, stood by her man, while, for the first time, the public caught a rare glimpse of the Brown’s two boys. Credit should be given for the way they kept them off the pages of the newspapers.

Perhaps the answer lies in an observation from Mrs fullandfrankexchange, herself rarely wrong on these matters:

“It’s the human spirit that is moving, not Gordon Brown.”

Fair point well made, as they say. Before we get too misty-eyed, let’s not forget his failings, and the impact they have had on a nation. Put away the tissues, you won’t need the for this bit.

While we watched the machinations this week of the power-hungry clawing for their “share” of the spoils after we’d all had our say, a small, but massive, change took place in the running of London’s dilapidated underground rail network. The maintenance contract was moved back in-house.

This signalled the end of the disastrous public/private partnership to upgrade all the lines, which had seen one consortium collapse and saddle the taxpayer with a £2 billion bill and the other make such exorbitant demands that the whole show had to be stopped.

Architect and defender of this mess? Step forward and collect your award Gordon Brown.

Yep, in order to keep what was actually quite necessary public maintenance off the books, old Gordon and his cronies in the Treasury (note, future leadership contender Ed “I’m cleverer than everyone else” Balls has his fingerprints all over it too) insisted on handing the work to a big pack of incompetent clowns who sought nothing more than massive profit for maximum disruption.

Haven’t got a final salary pension? Blame Gordon again. His insistence on removing the tax credit on share dividends crippled pension fund investors, just so he could inflate his revenues. Coupled with his orders that an accounting reporting rule on pension liabilities should be strictly enforced meant that companies who had been living free and easy with their pension surpluses now had large liabilities.

Who wins there? Well it ain’t the poor old employee looking forward to a decent retirement income, we can tell ya. Not when there are shareholders to be kept sweet.

Driving around Afghanistan without body armour in a thin-skinned vehicle that could be blown to bits while your family live in squalid accommodation back in Blighty? Send your complaints to G Brown (constituency office please).

Got a sore toe because someone had a huge temper tantrum and pushed a printer off the end of a desk? Er, sorry Gordo, you again, we’re afraid.

Paying too much for your petrol, travel, booze and fags? Blame all chancellors past and present because the next one isn’t going to cut you a break.

The tax system is too complicated because Brown made it so, he’s doubled counted revenues, stolen ideas that weren’t his, annoyed his EU counterparts more times than you can shake a stick at, moved the economic cycle after he broke his own “golden rules” and installed himself at Downing Street without our approval.

Still crying? You bloody will be when the next lot of jokers move in….

An ugly beauty contest….

In Current affairs, Politics on May 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Well someone has to keep the lights on...

At first it all seemed pretty dignified. Gordon Brown looked at the dregs of his tea cup, read the signs and decided he had to resign if Labour was to have any chance of holding on to power. He marched out to Downing Street and told the nation that he accepted the will of the people and would go.

In four months.

Has he got some sort of hire-purchase deal on a television that he can’t break off early or something? Start calling the removal men Gordon, it’s time to go old son.

You could hear the police helicopter hovering above Downing Street as he made his statement (at least we think it was the cops – could have been that stupid Sky News chopper providing all the other newsrooms with pointless footage to stare at). If it was the police we wonder if they were keeping an eye out for Dave Cameron in case he tried to mount a “green” suicide attack on Downing Street with his bike.

Bookmakers William Hill have been bombarding us with emails on the odds on Gordon going. Yesterday they said he had been backed from 7/4 to 5/4  “still to be Prime Minister on Wednesday, and 4/7 to be gone by then”. Not bad, but what were they offering on Nick Clegg and his mates playing footsies under the negotiating table with the Tories, while some of his other chums were having a crafty fag with Labour behind the bike sheds?

We’ve said it before. Clegg is playing a dangerous, but clever game. The Cameroons are soooooooo desperate for power they’ve offered a referendum on the alternative vote system, which is a sure sign it wasn’t on the table before. Showing their hand may strengthen Labour’s, but only slightly. They still need the LibDems and all those other little parties to make a workable majority.

Brown may be down, and technically he is out, but he knows how to fight dirty, there’s life in the old dog yet and he’ll take a few chunks out of posh boy Cameron before the summer is over.

So now we have parallel beauty contests. One to run the country and one to run the Labour Party. The latter involves a fairly shallow talent pool, the former the mere running of a nation that has been to the pawnbrokers far too many times and has some seriously bumpy road ahead of it.

Great fun, isn’t it…

Who should Nick Clegg jump into bed with?

In Current affairs, Politics on May 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Ok, which one of you has his hand on my bum....

The clock is ticking, we are told. The LibDems are now holding their own beauty contest to see how many contestants want world peace, to work with disadvantaged children and, er, oh yeah, electoral reform.

Dave Cameron is desperate to run the country, so he’ll dangle all sorts of baubles under Nick’s nose to entice him. Gordon Brown rang last night and it appears the toys went out of the pram at Downing Street when Clegg suggested that Gordon’s removal from the squat was a non-negotiable condition of any shacking up with Labour. Oh to be a fly on the wall….

Of course Clegg has to take any deal to his MPs and the  grass-roots activists, so there’s a fair way to go yet.  Not to mention the fact that a lot of Tories won’t fancy getting into bed with Clegg’s mob, especially as they don’t give a stuff about electoral reform.

There are unwelcome noises about the pressure to do a deal before the financial markets open on Monday. Really, this is irrelevant, and undemocratic. We had our say, and we couldn’t pick a clear winner, so the people we did vote for can get around the table and sort this out. As for the markets, well they can sod off. It’s the wide boys of the markets who played fast and loose with OUR cash and got us into this mess in the first place. The last thing we need is a load of bankers, financiers and Digby Jones moaning about uncertainty over the repayment of 170 billion quid in debt. We wouldn’t be in debt if it wasn’t for them, so fellas, take a powder and go lie in a dark room.

Good turnout, but did Britain bottle it at the ballot box? UPDATED

In Current affairs, Politics on May 7, 2010 at 10:27 am


So, looks like a lot of us got off our hind legs and  did their bit. A lot were also shamefully denied their democratic right through incompetence.

However, what happened to the yellow tide we expected? Where was the Clegg effect? Did we go to the ballot box and lose our bottle. Certainly looks that way. Our guess is a lot of people have confused “won’t get into power” with “won’t have a serious influence on power” and thrown away a chance for some real change.

Nick Clegg should take some of the blame. We did warn that he was playing a dangerous game by trying to use his new popularity to unseat Gordon Brown. Nice to see this view echoed by no less than The Times’ own Greg Hurst who knows the LibDems better than most.

We now face the prospect of a ConLib pact – that’s like having a lot of vegetables on your plate. Yuck. Clegg, to give him credit, has stuck to his claim that he will do business with the party that wins the most seats. That means the Tories. Pass the sprouts.