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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

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.

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Oh Britain, you’re all fags for the public school boys now

In Current affairs, Politics on October 21, 2010 at 11:18 pm

IN FRANCE they march on the streets, they cut fuel supplies to the airport, they stop trains from running. Why? Because they object to a vertically-challenged president telling them they will have to work until they are 62 instead of 60.

In Britain, the government tells the people that they are going to have to share the pain of £81 billion in public spending cuts after the excesses of the banks. And how do the Brits react? Do they take to the streets? Non. Do they mobilise and withdraw their labour in protest? Again, non.

Instead, a Yorkshire mother of three earnestly tells a television reporter that we are going to have to take the pain “until we can get the country back on track”. The Anglo-saxon willingness to self-flagellate is stupefying at times.

Just what exactly does this woman think she has done to deserve years of pain? Did she parcel up crappy mortgages and sell them on like fish past its use-by date? Er, no, she did not. I do believe the fault for that lies elsewhere. Why is the country on some sort of massive guilt trip?

This must be the ultimate political wet dream for the public school boys now running the country. The whole country has been very naughty and now must take its punishment. Bend over Britain – you’re all fags now.

Posh Dave and georgeous George Osborne will be rubbing their grubby little hands together with glee at the big chance now to dismantle the welfare state, and don’t think they’ll stop there, the NHS is well and truly in their sights. They’ve let their mates in the City off the hook with the biggest wimp out of a bank levy. Even the Financial Times says it’s “timid”.

Let’s recap. The banks squealed for years the minute anyone suggested tighter regulation. Then they went on a financial instruments selling rampage and, er, cocked it up. Then they did what comes naturally – they asked (well squealed) for more money. From us. And they got it. The economy went into freefall and who is paying for it? You and me.

Enter George Osborne, stage left, pledging to extract the “maximum” tax from the banks to help repay the deficit they helped to run up.

A whopping £2.5 billion, or 0.04 percent of the value of their assets.

George, you brute.

How are the banks reacting to this? Well once the slithering bunch have finished laughing and then sobered up after celebrating the fact that they’ve screwed the country again, they will no doubt congratulate themselves at hard they twisted the collective nether regions of the Tories and their Vichy coalition collaborators (for there is no other way to describe Clegg and his sellouts) to get the result they wanted. Their highly-paid lobbyists, not least the disgusting British Bankers’ Association, have done their work well. Pity they can’t work for a good cause, like humanity.

Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson has rightly challenged Osborne’s fatuous assertion that the deficit did not have to be run up. Osborne has failed to explain what the alternative was. He has also lied to the electorate about Britain’s interest payments, claiming that £120 million is building schools and hospitals in foreign countries who hold UK debt. This is arrant nonsense. There is some cash flowing out of the country, but nowhere near the amount Osborne alleges. Still, he remains unchallenged because Britain seems obsessed with birching itself.

Of course Johnson has conveniently left out some inconvenient truths. Not least the role the Labour government played in the creation of a massive debt bubble and the failure to institute a savings culture. All so they could lay claim to an extended period of low interest rates.

Ok, this is the bit where you get to beat yourself  up. Borrowed against the house, didn’t you? Thought it was an investment instead of a place to come home to after a day working for the weirdo who tells you your work isn’t very good and you’re not hitting your “performance targets”, didn’t you? Thought you’d invest in a second property because property never goes down and your mate made 50 grand doing up a garden shed and selling it on after only three months, didn’t you? Maxed out on all the credit cards, didn’t you?

As Gordon Gekko says in the second Wall Street film to a group of students “You’re fucked.  You are the Ninja Generation. No income. No job. No assets.”

So take a bow Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and co…it’s your fault too.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs rubs everyone’s nose in it by setting aside £236,000 per employee in “compensation” for the first nine months of the year. That’s a pay and bonus pot of £8.3 billion.

Stop birching and start marching, Britain. Allez!

Dave denigrating the few is nothing new……

In Current affairs, Politics on August 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm

WHAT IS it about British leaders and the US that makes them prone to rewrite that bit of history the Irish like to refer to as “the emergency”? World War Two to you and me.

Posh Dave Cameron has been out talking to the great unwashed to prep them for the savage cuts to public services ahead (thanks again bankers).

But it seems everytime slick Dave opens his posh gob he just changes feet.

Today he reckoned Iran had a nuclear weapon. The day before he said Britain had been the junior partner in the fight against the nazis in 1940. Before that he pissed of the whole of Pakistan. That’s some going!

The latter point will rankle more than a few, but it’s an interesting insight into how the Brits view that period of history. On September 20, 2001 Tony Blair stood beside George Bush junior just days after the attacks on the World Trade Centre and said: “My father’s generation went through the experience of the second world war, when Britain was under attack, during the days of the Blitz.  And there was one nation and one people that, above all, stood side by side with us at that time.  And that nation was America, and those people were the American people.  And I say to you, we stand side by side with you now, without hesitation.”

Almost nine years later, after his “junior partner” gaffe irritated a voter, Dave Cameron said:

“There was no senior partner. We were on our own in 1940 … You are absolutely right and I was absolutely wrong.”

The PM said: “There were a few Polish pilots, there were a few French pilots, [but] on the whole it was Britain standing completely alone against Nazi Germany. It is the proudest moment of our history and we should be incredibly proud of the fact that we stood alone against Hitler.”

Without taking anything away from Britain’s magnificent refusal to bow to the little Austrian twit with a moustache, let’s face a few facts. The Americans didn’t want to touch the conflict with a barge pole, Churchill was delighted when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour in 1941 (note the date Dave et al), and a few former dominions – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and the West Indies to name a few – might have something to say about just how alone the UK was.

Blair was so keen to impress the Americans that it’s not worth correcting his moronic error, but we can’t let the new bloke off the hook so easily. For the record the RAF Roll of Honour for the Battle of Britain recognises 574 non-UK pilots from July 10 to October 31 1940, alongside 2,353 British pilots.

The foreign contingent included 145 Polish pilots, 127 from New Zealand, 112 from Canada and 88 from Czechoslovakia. There were “only” 13 Frenchmen, but in total, that’s more than Dave is making out, so he’s managed to insult a whole new demographic. Well done old chap!

Next time, leave the existing foot in your gob and save yourself a bit of time. Ok?

Let the squabbling begin

In Current affairs, Politics on May 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Gotta hand it to Gordon Brown, he keeps the surprises coming. Having finally conceded that he was outstaying his welcome at 10 Downing Street he came out for the second time in just over 24 hours to say the towel was in the ring.

Now we have a coalition of the chinless and the third placers – strange bedfellows indeed. With no more Labour flirting to de done, Nick Clegg and his team may find David Cameron drives a hard bargain indeed as his leverage is now gone. They’ve come up with the spectacularly brilliant notion that economic stability should be at the core of any policymaking. Well done chaps!

Electoral reform will be on the agenda, but don’t expect a referendum on the alternative system just yet. Quite right too, there are bankers to be shot first. Well, there should be, but we can hardly see posh boy Cameron taking a pop at his old mates in the City any time soon.

Interesting times ahead – there will be a lovey-dovey honeymoon, no doubt. The markets will wet themselves with delight at the formation of a government. We’ll see just how many Cabinet posts the LibDems get. Not many I suspect, but we’re hoping for some sort of role for Vince Cable at the Treasury.

Then we all need to strap ourselves in for a rough ride. Tax RISES, spending CUTS – and DEEP ones at that.

After that, how long before the first sand-pit fight between the two sides????

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…


Big beast Blair returns from the bush to battle for Brown…

In Current affairs, Politics on April 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Is he really that colour?

Jeez, it must be getting serious. Gordon Brown has stuffed things up so badly that an unfeasibly orange Tony Blair had to return from safari and tell voters it’s the policy that matters, not the personality.

Quite true. While the debates have been an entertaining diversion and given us a view of a third alternative, the three main parties have failed to deliver on the key point. How will the big bills be paid off and where are we going to feel the pinch hardest?

Brown’s “bigot” remark should be left alone. Gillian Duffy is probably not be a bigot, but she was in essence saying that Eastern Europeans are coming to Britain and taking jobs off locals. These conversations usually start with the words: “I’m not a racist but…..” Brown’s biggest error was to allow himself to be stuck with a radio microphone when he wasn’t on air – and his aides should take full blame for that. Sloppy man management. Do you think David Cameron or Nick Clegg don’t air their views in the privacy of the car after talking to the great unwashed?

So, Tony Blair rides to the “rescue”. In part he must be doubled over with laughter at Gordon’s misfortune. He must also be furious that the campaign has been derailed at so late a juncture, somewhere in there we think he does actually like the Labour Party.

We have a week to go. Things could get nasty. Opinion polls will narrow. Newsdesks that have never covered an election in their lives will shriek at any minor development and demand ridiculous non-news stories be written. We will be swamped with this stuff. Every one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers will be making David Cameron out to be the great messiah. The Daily Mail will do the same. If you’re an “undecided” don’t be fooled by all of this.

Mrs fullandfrankexchange reminded me a moment ago of the words of the Bard of Barking, Billy Bragg.

“Those braying voices on the right of the House are echoed down the Street of Shame”

“Where politics mix with bingo and tits in a strictly money and numbers game”

He goes on:

“When you wake up to the fact that your paper is Tory

“Just remember, there are two sides to every story.”

But we will have a quiet moment when there will be no campaigning, no spin, no nonsense.

Sit down, think about what the parties are offering. Get your polling card, go out on Thursday….

and vote.

Who will brush aside the bull, and make us believe?

In Politics on April 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Day one of the battle and we know one thing for sure – whatever it is that Britain needs after May 6 it has to be BIG.

Apparently the election is a choice between a BIG society and BIG government. So, in the Sesame Street spirit of education, today’s blog is brought to you by the letter “B” (hum the tune in your head – can’t risk the copyright infringement here).

B is for Brown, Gordon to be exact. Broody, Belligerent, Bad-tempered. Today he told us Britain needs a new constitution, and cleaner government if any new administration is to have a legitimate democratic mandate for change.

This means no outside lobbying jobs for MPs. Is it just me, or was the “expose” of Pat Hewitt, Stephen Byers and Geoff Hoon’s “cab for hire” activities a liiiiitttttle bit of a stitch up given it came not long after the attempt by Hoon and Hewitt (one Aussie export you’re welcome to keep) to unseat Gordon?

Apologies for the detour just then. Brown also wants to give 16 year-olds the vote, so no doubt there’ll soon be a Facebook page on that. Teaching them to read and write might be a better place to start.

Meanwhile, posh boy Dave Cameron keeps telling he needs to be elected so he can fix Broken Britain. We don’t quite know how he’s going to do that, apart from screwing poorly-paid civil servants. Oh and he wants to help married couples too, so that should make everything Better.

Of course, a lot of people who have suddenly found themselves on Benefit as a result of the recession might well ask what is going to be done to control the Bastards, known more generally as Bankers, who helped to Bugger-up the economy and seemed quite content to take a taxpayer Bailout to generate Billions and pay the Bosses massive, Bonuses. Is anyone going to have the Balls to curb this excessive behaviour?

As the campaign drags on, you could be forgiven for thinking that all these guys are talking…

Bollocks, something we’ll be hearing a lot of in the next few weeks, from politicians and from media “experts” telling us of conversations with “sources close” to whoever is in the frame on the day. All this will leave us neck-deep in Bullshit –  I think it was one of US TV chat show legend Johnny Carson’s joke writers who once penned: “It’s that time of year where the politicians are speaking what we’re all shovelling around our rose bushes.”

B is also for Bruising – we can’t wait for the gloves to come off and for the Big Boys to really start swinging those punches Below the Belt.

They say politics is a jungle full of Big Beasts. One of the biggest, Tony Blair,  has bared his fangs once already, and the Tories must have been Bricking it. We did ponder in a previous post whether he was just doing this as a favour to the Labour Party, given he’s no friend of Brown’s. You can draw your own conclusions, but he followed up a pretty good speech by, um,  going on safari in Africa – almost appropriate, don’t you think?

When all is said and done, one thing is guaranteed. We’ll all be Bitching about the government whoever gets in. However, you won’t be allowed to unless you get your Backside to the Ballot box on May 6 and have your say….

Hum along now. “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Down-ing Street…”

Cameron quakes as Tony returns to tear up the Tories

In Politics on March 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Well it had to happen sooner or later. The ghost of (recent) Labour past finally found some spare time away from having his photo taken with his fans for a couple of hundred quid a throw and spoke to the great unwashed of the perils of voting for Dastardly Dave Cameron and his posh pals come election day.

Yep, the old vicar of St Albion himself, Tony Blair, entered the fray and spoke to his former constituents in the North East seat of Sedgefield. The venue was the Trimdon Labour club, where he loves to give a speech or two – but his guns were trained further south on Dastardly Dave and his simpering sidekick “Boy” George Osborne.

It was classic Blair – and an almost sad reminder of how great his political skills are. Tarnished eternally by his foreign follies, but still capable of striking fear into the hearts of the opponents he left behind, the former prime minister tore up the Tories.

You almost wish he’d be given free rein to do what Al Gore didn’t wouldn’t let Bill Clinton do to his (and the world’s) cost in 2000 and actively hit the campaign trail.

Maybe the speech itself contained the answer to that query. We had to wait until word 413 of a 2,766 oration before we heard him say “Gordon”. Up until then, and a fair bit beyond it was all about the benefits Tony brought the country. In fact, Gordon gets a mention a mere FOUR times.

The sign-off reminds us of why we lapped up the 10-year tiff that was life in Downing Street with the Blair/Brown show.

“This country faces big challenges in the future.  I want this party to be the one able to meet those challenges.
This country needs strong leadership. I want our leadership to be the one that gives it,” he told the adoring faithful (although we only have the local media’s word for that – everyone else was barred).

Note he says Britain needs “our leadership”. It doesn’t say Britain needs the leadership of “that brooding, bullying, bruising, belligerent, bad-tempered bastard I had to live next door to.  I wouldn’t wish that on the Taliban”. He’s effectively laying down a marker for any challenger to get off his hind legs when the time comes.

It’s also hard to gauge quite how Gordon himself is viewing this “helpful” intervention by Blair (no doubt the brainchild of Peter Mandelson). He could well be saying (in tones of a disgruntled child) “Ohhhhh do I have to? I thought I was prime minister Ok, let’s get it out the way early.” A bit like eating all the nasty vegetables on your plate before the fish fingers.

Or he could well think it’s time to give Cameron a good swift kick in the groin now while he and his party wobble on economic policy, especially as “Boy” George looks to be in big trouble on the credibility front.

It’s no secret that Cameron modelled himself on the great Blair. In fact he told a dinner hosted by The Daily Telegraph a few years back during a Conservative Party conference: “I am the new Tony Blair.” He was politely informed by his hosts that uttering such things in public might not the brightest idea.

Cameron is lite, trite and shite. Not the sort of thing Britain needs inside number 10. Gordon is, well, let’s just say he’s not lite or trite, and leave the matter there, ok?

But spare a thought for poor old Nick Clegg. He didn’t even rate a mention in the speech –  and Tony hates LibDems. It might be time for young Nick to step up to the plate and start playing like a grown up. It’s all very well making gooey eyes at the other two saying: “Come get me boys.”, but that’s gonna wear thin after a while. Time to put on your long pants Nicky boy, you’re playing with the big boys now and whatever happens they’ll kick your bum all around the playground if you don’t stand up to them now, “kingmaker” or not.

It’s the least the voters deserve.

Why Charlie Whelan is not the monster Cameron wants him to be….

In Politics on March 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Pssssst! Hey you!, yes you. Come over here. Can you keep a secret? I’ve got something to tell you. Ready for it?

APPARENTLY THE LABOUR PARTY GETS FUNDING FROM TRADES UNIONS!

Shhhhh – don’t tell anyone, the Tories are hoping to use it as a big campaign tactic and scare voters.

Really, this is puerile stuff, even by today’s political standards. The key is in the name – Labour – geddit? Ok, ok,  we all know the party has been trying to shed the “beer and sandwiches” image of meetings with “union barons” in the 1970s, but it’s no secret the unions have been funding and sponsoring MPs even under the reign of New Labour.

Clearly Dastardly Dave Cameron and his crew of posh wannabes think news that Unite provide 25 percent of Labour’s funding (a serious amount of wedge and leverage, granted), is a poll booster, and their first opportunity to hit back in the class war that has been bubbling away for a while now.

Quite how this will play remains to be seen. Someone giving money to a political party and then expecting something in return is hardly the scoop of the century. What’s the problem here? Trades unions, by and large, are not gun-toting mafiosi extorting people. Their general existence revolves around getting their members better terms and conditions and a little more money each year. They also protect those who can’t protect themselves from the workplace bullies or box-ticking managers and HR types who have all the people-managing skills of a labour camp guard.

Granted, Unite political director Charlie Whelan is not everyone’s cup of tea. There is a long, and we mean lonnnnnng, list of people who would love to see the back of him, but he is a survivor with good political radar and more than happy to get his mits dirty when the big fight starts. He wasn’t Gordon Brown’s bagman for nothing. Old Grumpy Gordon tries to appear to be above the fray, but he picks his loyal lieutenants carefully and they carry out their mucky work with his blessing – I guess we could call him The Gordfather.

What Labour don’t want right now is a damaging internal bitch fight between the dregs of the  Blairites and Brownites. Standing in Whelan’s way is one Peter Mandelson. The hate between those two is no secret, not least because Whelan leaked the details of Mandelson’s undeclared £373,000 interest-free home loan from Geoffrey Robinson in 2000 that cost Mandleson his Cabinet post. Hell hath no fury like a lender not invited to the housewarming, Peter 😉

It should also be remembered that Whelan worked for one Ken Jackson, the old electricians’ union boss who was as right of centre as they come. As with Ken, Charlie likes a taste of power and loves to play politics, so a suggestion we’ll all be singing the Red Flag soon is absurd. The excellent Michael White of the Guardian has a great take on this.

Contrast this with Dastardly Dave’s lot. They’ve been taking Michael Ashcroft’s shillings for years. They gave him a peerage, and allowed him to be non-domiciled for a decade so he didn’t have to pay his full whack of tax in the UK – the jury is out on whether the party knew or not – and their funding history is a hardly a “how to do it right” guide for everyone else to follow. Compare the aims of the trade union movement with the aims of Michael Ashcroft if you really want to make a distinction on which is the more sinister.

Don’t let all this bluff and bluster  cloud the main issue. All it’s telling us is that both sides are testing the water to see how nasty they can get during the main event. It’s going to be a dirty fight, but play your part and vote.