Monday, 29 March 2010

excretera addendum:

... to which I should have added to my last post this little nugget:

Tory national insurance move 'clearly irresponsible'

An economist who signed a letter that appeared to support Conservative plans to tackle Britain's budget deficit said today it was "clearly irresponsible" of the party to partially reverse government proposals for an increase in national insurance without a full explanation of how it would be funded.

Professor David Newbery, of Cambridge University, said the Tories "don't seem to have a coherently worked-out" plan. "I would have expected more clarity about what their long-term strategy is. One assumes that scaling down the public sector is one of those aims, but how they will do that we don't know."

That would be one of the 20 dufi (you know, plural of dufus) who signed that letter saying that cutting the deficit needed to be done immediately -- well, that's how the Tories spun it. What they really said was that it needed to be done soonish, depending on economic conditions. But don't take my word for it: read The Freakin' Brilliant David Blanchflower in The New Statesman on this, and everything else, too. But specifically on The 20 Dufi here.

So now Osborne has pissed off his own propagandists, which has got to be a little like shitting on our own TV, or something, doesn't it?

Better metaphors apply within:

I really don't get how anyone,

anywhere can think of voting Conservative. Or Republican, if you're American. That's just me. I suppose that's not entirely, true, because I can imagine that very rich people, that narrow percentage of elites whose interests are best served by right-wing economic policy, might want to see the Conservatives get in. And I guess 'social conservatives', you know, those sorts of Neanderthals that would still allow slavery, deny women the vote, foster racism, fascism, ... all that, yes, I guess I can see why they might vote for that same party, though why they imagine their quaint beliefs -- we'll call them errors -- could for any conceivable reason be represented by the same the party who serves the interests of the economics elite... well, anyway. You see my confusion.

But I really can't understand why anyone in the UK is thinking of voting for this lot of pudding-brained muppets. It's obvious to everyone now, right, that Cameron and Osborne aren't real politicians, but just public-school bullies that couldn't organise a end-of-term dance? I mean for fuck's sake.

I submit as Item #3,406,653 in a seemingly interminable list of evidence the following: Watch this video, where Cameron makes a complete dog's ass of questions from The Gay Times. Ok, yes,I tweeted this last week, but I've watched it twice since and it really is quite shocking. Not because Cameron appears confused on his policy on homosexuality (as if 'who-fucks-who' is something that political parties need to have a Policy on), or that Cameron seems afraid of his own party, or trying to apologise for his party's relationship to the rest of Europe, or any number of other problems of which this clip is symptomatic. No. I suspect that Cameron himself is probably pretty down with the gays -- some of his best friends, etc. etc. -- but that he can't say so doesn't surprise me in the slightest and should be a lesson for us all that the Conservative party hasn't really changed a jolly jot, as one of them might say.

HOWEVER, what's really shocking about this is the truly impressive level of complete incompetence that this represents. THIS, most certainly, is one idiot fully capable of blithering in a really special way. It needs to be seen again. And again. And not just for the comedy value. Everyone needs to see this. You've seen it, sure. I know you have. But now: Call your Mum. Forward her the link. Get your Dad in to see it. Send it around the office.

Oh, and hold the press! Today Osborne has demonstrated his macro-economical acumen -- by which of course we both mean political opportunism -- by offering a tax break should the Tories win the election and form the next government -- a caveat all too often mumbled as an afterthought these days. (Come on Media! It ain't over yet!) This is, I'm sure, completely pragmatic and not at all ideologically-motivated (thank-you to The Telegraph for being so... well, so predictable), and I'm sure he'll find the money for that, AND saving all public services AND slashing the deficit wildly.. or he won't. Obviously.

Well. Even The Torygraph reckons that this Gift from the Blue Gods will be worth... hold it... £150 a year to a British worker. Now. I am not the sort that makes enough money that I can sneer at £150 at any time, though I accept that yes, I am more economically better-off than some. But £150 a year? Really? That's only, like, 60 lattés! Really? Is that going to be enough? Are the people of Britain going to look at that and think, Yes. I want that £150. It will be well worth it. Are their souls so easily bought? Are they going to be happy enough with their 8Gb iPod Touch(TM)* that they won't notice it when Osborne and Cameron stumble through budget after budget, slashing away the NHS and education -- which, remember, they really want to do, regardless of anything else -- and so busy random-playing the X-Factor's Greatest Hits that they're not going to notice the Tories sending the country down river? Again?

Argh!! And now I don't know if this is a case of Death by Zombie or Death by Vampire!! Thanks a fuck of a lot. (Update on that little battle immanently.)

*Please note: it is not Apple stated policy that money bestowed by a reckless government should be squandered on such frivolities. Though doubtless it will be so, hey, you know. Why not?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Non-doms, ditty dom dom ... DOM...

Such is the state of the world at the moment that I feel compelled to release myself from my self-imposed blog ban (or 'blan' -- I am sooo back), lest I damage my internal organs holding in all this shit that presses mercilessly upon my sphincters, desperate to be unleashed into a world so obviously in need of having violent poo flung at it. (And glad to see that my time off has tempered my penchant for dramatic metaphor.) Yes, those mysterious 'other projects' whirl away rather nicely, thanks, but needs must and like Superman, or Spiderman... whichever went away and then came back because they learned how responsibility weighs heavy on the shoulders of the hero... oh dear. That metaphor appears to have run it's course.

No matter! Because there are things that must be talked about, things that a 140-character tweet simply cannot contain. But where to begin? I want to talk about University funding. I want to talk about the ongoing war between the zombies and the vampires as they choose sides in the inevitable UK general election. I want to talk about those Dementors that lurk at the cross-walk outside my sons' school. But first up, the boring boring boring topic of Ashcroft and the non-dom political party donor. Because it's essential, because it is about the world we are making for ourselves, because it has massive ramifications for the election, but mainly, because it's quick and easy.

Look. It's simple. Does the average UK voter, as Nick Robinson repeatedly asks (happily unaware how this undermines his own existence), really care if Michael Ashcroft (fuck 'Lord') is a non-dom for UK tax purposes? Did William Hague know about blah blah and when did he know or not know blah or did he do a secret deal with so-and-so? When did Cameron become aware of whatever? Does Lord Such-and-Such of Somewhere pay lots or little or no tax? Because he once lent a fiver to Alistair Darling...

No. None of this matters. What does matter is that, once again, the British electorate, British politics and, in particular, the Conservative Party, are in the clutches of a mega-wealthy elite that are uniquely damaging to Britain's national interest. I say 'uniquely damaging' in that their role in British (right-wing) politics is directly -- and I suppose unsurprisingly -- related to an area in which they should be specifically and explicitly barred from participating. Like letting the grandson of a warmongering ex-prime minister complain about defence spending. Or like an Australian-American setting British policy on Europe. (And, once, a Canadian, too, but in a move that guaranteed Jean Chrétien a place on Canada's Mount Rushmore, if we can ever be bothered to make one, Conrad Black was stripped of his Canadian citizenship.) Or like, in this case, a Belizean man who does not pay UK tax (potentially worth tens of millions of pounds a year), demanding in this country a regressive tax policy that favours the wealthy, and funding potential MPs that will when elected argue for smaller government on the basis that we cannot afford such lavish public services. THAT is the real problem here.

There. A stupid, obvious point that shouldn't have needed making, I think you'll agree. Why we're not hearing this more vociferously from people who are much more intelligent, and much better informed than I, I do not know.

But this is only a symptom of what we face in the wider context of the election. As Polly Toynbee said in a recent (and always excellent) Guardian politics podcast: There is a difference between a party that knows they have to trim the budget and cut public services and a party that really wants to cut those services, that are salivating at the prospect like Dracula poised at a throbbing virgin's jugular. [edit: it's not really the innocent young virgin the Tories are after, but the saggy, wrinkled old carcass of its usual victim, already drained of most of its lifeforce who, despite a recent transfusion, nevertheless seems to be ready to offer herself up one last time to the evil that promises to finish her off. Yes. That's better.]

Spread the word before May 6th. Please.