Tag: Boris Johnson
China has closed and so will the USA. Ireland has closed schools and banned large gatherings, Italy is in the process of closing everything. Meanwhile, Spain has also closed its schools and banned some more stuff.
Here in the United Kingdom, unlike Johny Foreigner, we have the rather jolly Cheltenham Festival (OK as long as you wash your hands!) while in London, the Coronavirus is managed through the medium of the meeting – the most important of which is the COBRA which is the 1947 Dom Perignon Brut of meetings.
In the UK’s Corporate and Political world, there are three things we like: MEETINGS, the phrase ‘WE NEED TO’ – as in ‘We need to look after our elderly’ or ‘We need to allocate some money for the homeless’ and….
A word which is most definitely the politicians’ favourite and I have used it above. It is the word ‘ALLOCATE.’
Politicians or more specifically, Ministers of the Crown, love to allocate funds. What you may have noticed is that while they allocate with gay abandon, they never tell us how to go about getting our hands on the allocation.
This time, they will be allocating ‘resources’.
Let’s have a look look at the overall favourite – the meeting. Many management scientists have shown quite clearly that meetings are a waste of time and prawn sandwiches. Unless of course, you feel that the primary function of a meeting is for the meeting leader to spend an hour-or-so is full male-display mode, flexing his mouth and impressing the underlings with his wit and rhetoric and if you are an underling, it is the status which an invitation to the meeting bestows upon you.
Another quite valid attraction of attending the meeting is to spend some quiet time making sure that you get not only a prawn butty but the egg and cress, while you fantasise about important matters such as what goes on under the Finance Director’s jumper as it strains under the pressure of her mouth-wateringly sumptuous decolletage while she overreaches when pointing to crap Powerpoint slides.
With the COBRA meetings, on top of all of the above nonsense, we have the drama of statements which appear to have been written by an intern from the Ministry of Stating the Bleedin’ Obvious. Here’s today’s example from Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the latest Cobra meeting: ‘(Coronavirus) is the worst public health crisis in a generation.’ followed by: ‘…many more are going to die.’
So why not make a decision and do something about it. Stop dithering!
For example, Mark Carney, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England pushed the red button only hours before COBRA began and lowered the BBR by 50 basis points.
The statisticians and analysts are having such a wonderful time producing lots of numbers and graphs which clearly point to the inevitability that some of us are going to die. Yes INEVITABILITY!
The other important thing to say is that because it is inevitable it is difficult to comprehend why our leaders are in meetings whilst watching the Coronavirus express heading towards them as they cower, prawn butty in hand , shielding their eyes against the glare of its rapidly approaching lights. Next stop? Pain and Death.
We don’t want to stay at home washing our hands every five minutes wondering what to with that spare room full of toilet rolls – so the answer is not in COBRA meetings and platitudinous statements but in aggressive action.
Now would be a good time.
Boris Johnson and the Dark Lord.
One of the great constants in recent Tory leadership elections has been the sudden emergence of Michael Hestletine from his earth-filled coffin.
The man who shafted Margaret Thatcher and who by doing so, not-only failed in his own ambitions to become Prime Minister but single-handedly established the modern dynasty of ineffectual Conservative Party leaders: Major, Hague, Duncan-Smith, Howard and of course, latterly, the toff’s toff, David Cameron.
As a result of Hestletine’s treachery and blind ambition, he consigned the Tories to almost perpetual Opposition and it took until 2015 for them to achieve a parliamentary majority, the last one having been under John Major in 1992. That is TWENTY THREE YEARS – and it was all thanks to Hestletine.
There’s little point in The Bitter Lord accusing Boris Johnson of creating “the greatest constitutional crisis in modern times”.….and that BoJo has “ripped the (Conservative) party apart.”
FIFA princely cock-up
A couple of years ago I was asked to represent a Bermuda-based bank. They wanted my company to increase their exposure in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). The idea was that I would design an all-singing, all-dancing presentation/pitch and deliver it to various organisations on their behalf. During a meeting with their Board, they asked whether I would mind (for the purposes of this presentation) acting as if I was a member of their senior team rather than as a consultancy. I agreed and they asked me whether a corporate title would help. Eventually, we agreed on Business Development Director and they even printed a few hundred business cards with my name a title on them.
I contrasted this with a similar scenario which presented itself here in the United Kingdom. A relatively small company asked me to help them to break into new markets.There were also specific clients which they had tried to attract but which they had been unable to “hook”. The owner of the business and I agreed that the sales pitch which I had arranged with a major company would be led by me and that he and two of his senior staff would also attend the pitch but more as corporate “ballast”. Once again, we agreed that I would present as his company’s “pretend” Sales Director.
A couple of days later, slides, handouts plus the script had been completed and I was ready to go. Then the phone rang with a rather frantic company owner on the line. ” You can’t call yourself “Sales Director” because, according to my advisor, there are legal implications. You’ll have to think of another title or present as Chief Executive of your own company.”
That is the British attitude. Not positive motivation but “fear” motivation.
The owner of the British company was being advised by an accountant who used to be a bank manager and a small-business specialist. Rules, legislation and regulations were more important than pulling-in business. The British Way.
He was also one of those people who believed that anything to do with “sales” , by definition, was dodgy. He also felt that he should be involved because he had all the figures at his fingertips. An accountant-bank manager attempting a sales pitch! THE nightmare scenario.
The company owner has still not realised that his “adviser” will do everything to ensure that his company remains small, otherwise the adviser will be out of a job and if the company did become big, he would be stranded well above his personal level of incompetence.
I politely told them that they should perhaps consider making the presentation without me and handed-over all the marketing material that we’d prepared.
To cut a long story short – they blew it and will carry-on blowing it until they rethink their attitude to business.
The banker/accountant had advised the company owner that if he agreed to me using the title “Director”, I might be able to lay some sort of monetary claim against his business and that it was “dishonest” to allow me to call myself something that I wasn’t.(The fact that the title “Sales Director” effectively demoted me did not occur to him). Ugly self-interest, an accountant’s caution and total lack of business “nouse” had blown a potential £30 million deal.
Here in the UK we are afraid of success and waste too much time considering what could go wrong, not what could go right and we have too many advisers. I have a relative who always did everything that his accountant told him not to do. He retired at the age of 40 with £7 million cash in the bank.
We “make do” and instead of getting something 90% right and launching it, we wait until it is 100% right, by which time we’ve missed the bus because someone else has not-only launched but stolen all the clients.
The company owner and his accountant above had gone into their presentation without the proper preparation and screwed-up the whole thing and forgot the most important thing – again very British. They forgot to ask for the business! Their pitch was amateurish because instead or preparing , they “made-do”. They thought that they could muddle through.
The Brits have a Heath-Robinson attitude in a Heath-Robinson society. We muddle through and invoke what is laughably called the “Dunkirk spirit”.
Currently, the country is languishing under a blanket of snow and inevitably, the media are hunting for human-interest stories. Stories abut how we are managing and once again “making do” because that is what makes the nation happy.
Roads, airports and railways are struggling because they “made do” in their preparation.
Our FIFA bid for the 2018 World Cup relied on the oratory of Beckham – for Christ’s sake! We made-do once again because we did not realise that the FIFA decision had been made months ago!
Our media likes to expose bribery scandals which upset our delicate British sensibilities so here’s another lesson:
I used to be a director of a company called American Marine and we used to carry out expensive refits on yachts in the Med. To everyone’s surprise, we managed to secure most of the business – from Nice, Antibes and Cannes to anywhere you care to mention on the Italian Med coast. How did we do it?
We would ask the skippers of any yachts which were tendering-out refit business to let us know what the highest quote that they had received was. Once we had the information, we made sure that our own figures well substantially above the highest other quote. Why did we do that?
Because we knew that the skipper of the yacht would demand 10% of the quote (in cash) as commission. Needless to say, we would always make sure that there was an additional amount paid over to him as well.
The higher the quote, the higher the skipper’s commission – except when the skipper was also the owner!
If I sold a yacht to an Arab Prince, I knew that his “advisor” would need a commission. That consisted of a handshake and an envelope full of cash before any deal was signed. Because of our British hard-wired gene-level suspicious nature, we in Britain believe that all Arabs are crooks. I have always found them to be extremely honourable. The real bandits are the suited ones in Europe who shake your hand and congratulate you on a wonderful presentation.
When I was Head of Broker Division at Citibank, I would talk to brokers and offer them ridiculous amounts of commission in return for them placing their clients’ money with us. I could erode a profit margin like no-one else! However, I made sure that there was still a profit and with the volumes that my over-generosity (bribes) generated, I was not given as much trouble by my CEO as I probably deserved.
So, we should stop trying to “make do” and always play fair and derive satisfaction from the belief that although we don’t win, at least we lost honourably.
As far as the FIFA bid for the 2018 World Cup is concerned, we should have done what most other countries would have done. We should have approached each committee member and asked him what we needed to do to be able to secure his vote. The answer would have been simple – money.
What did we do? We sent an ex-England footballer, a new Prime Minister that no-one outside London is particularly aware of and a grandson of our Queen!
So, the Queen couldn’t be bothered to turn up, the heir to the throne couldn’t be bothered, so we sent the grandson. OK, (on paper) he’s nominal President of the FA but he has never actually either played football or been interested in it – and they know it. You cannot fake passion about your product – unless you are a pro. William is a rank amateur.
We sent William because we are in love with our Royal family and imagine that everyone else is. They don’t care about our Royals any more than we care about the Dutch or Scandinavian ones.
David Beckham is a fine-looking young man but in spite of voice-coaching and presentation-training, he is not a presenter. This was a sales pitch which impressed no-one but fellow Brits.
David “Hey look at me I can talk wthout notes” Cameron’s spiel impressed the British media but it was not a sales pitch – it was politico-bullshit. He spoke without notes (wow). That may impress fat Tory ladies on a Conference front row but is not for the jaded palettes of Sepp Blatter and the rest of the football Illuminati. What they saw in Cameron’s noteless “trick” was not an impressive orator but a young Prime Minister who could not be arsed to prepare properly.
Boris Johnson would have made a better fist of the whole thing. Where was he? Either in the audience or munching canapes at a reception.
The FIFA bandits did not want to be entertained by Cameron, Wills and Becks (The Three Amigos). They wanted bucks transferred to their nominee companies in Liechtenstein. What did we do? We entertained them and were happy to be told how well our presentation was received.
We were suckered.
Now it transpires that we managed TWO votes out of twenty-two and one of those was the British vote.
I shall repeat that the decision was not dependant on the presentation. As Sun Tzu said over 2500 years ago “Every battle is won before it is even fought.” When you go in to pitch for any sort of business, it should already be in your pocket. The presentation is the Coda not the Exposition.
By the time Cameron, Beckham and William had entertained the FIFA committe, they were nothing more the “post-deal” cabaret. The battle had already been fought and won. It is unbelievable that they actually believed that such a major decision was going to be based on three amateurish performances by a footballer, a politician and a prince. They had missed the battle.
We “made do” and once again emerged as the gallant losers.
They say that a silver medal merely indicates the first of the losers. We weren’t really even among the losers so we must never ever again send amateurs to do a professional’s job.
Let the recriminations begin. (By the way, it was not the fault of the media).
Boris Johnson, the bumbling but oh-so-clever Mayor of London is set to be one of Labour’s main targets in the run -up to the General Election. After all, he is all that the “ever so ‘umble” Labourites despise. He is articulate, educated and went to a posh school. Plus he is descended from Royalty and not-only distantly-related to our Queen but because of another King’s antics, he shares genes with his boss, Dave Cameron.
Ken Livingstone tried and failed with the class-card so, make no mistake, Mandelson and the Labour Mean Machine will have to work exceptionally hard to trip-up Boris. He has a disconcerting habit of turning any Labour shenanigans to his advantage. Labour is Wile E. Coyote to his Roadrunner. Every time that Wile E. Labour tries to plant the next ACME roadside bomb, Roadrunner Boris hardly pauses as Wile picks up the bomb and shakes it, wondering why it didn’t work. You know the rest – and all that Labour can then see of Roadrunner Boris, is an ample backside disappearing over an ever-brightening Conservative horizon.
Boris is a real star and the hushed tones in the Corridors of Power are whispering his name as a potential Conservative leader. Labour (or should that be NEW New Labour?) knows that Boris is a main danger man. Their personal ACME factory is currently working overtime, trying to cook up fresh schemes to damage Boris.
The other galling thing for Labour is that the Press hounds see Boris as one of their own – especially as he writes better than most of them. Even when Boris was caught with his bike-clips off and his pinstripes down, the press toyed with him for a week-or-so and then the whole affair was forgotten. It must upset the Labour Spinners to know that all that Boris has to do is to pick up the phone.
Harriet Harman has already made the mistake of attempting to paint Boris as the London Mayor who increased fares and so by extrapolation and association, suggested that the Mayor’s actions can be interpreted as an allegory for what any future Conservative government would serve-up to the poor.
She forgets that perceptions and not facts win elections.
We know that Boris is a toff. We know that he has increased some London fares – but then again, he has reduced others but left most alone. We think we know that his bike clips have been left-behind on more bedposts than David Blunkett’s Labrador but the important thing is that we don’t care. He has clearly demonstrated that even with a plum in his mouth the size of a rugby ball, he is a man of the people. We perceive him as one of us. Whereas, we see Mandelson as one of them.
Boris sounds, looks and acts as a leader should act and as Mayor of London, this is mere Work Experience. The main job beckons.
Have the Tories blown it?
A ComRes poll, commissioned by the Independent appears to show that the TORIES are losing ground to Labour.
The general flow of the poll is that voters do not think that the Conservatives offer an appealing alternative to Labour and the electorate also thinks that a Conservative government would mainly represent the interests of the well-off.
The Conservatives have been trying to convince the electorate that public services such as the NHS would be safer in their hands but the poll shows that voters are pretty neutral on the topic and not really favouring either party.
Currently, the Conservative lead over Labour is 9 points which indicates a hung parliament and the unpleasant spectre of the balance of power in Liberal hands.
The one single most important thing that the Conservatives must remember is that the majority of the electorate makes voting decisions based on perception and not party policy.
The current perception of the Tories is that of a rabble of millionaire toffs which has no conception of how the majority of the electorate thinks or lives. The fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of Conservatives who are ordinary working people and who were definitely born with a plastic spoon in their mouth. However, Labour has (very subtly) been driving voters’ perception and emotions back to the old “them and us” days of class division.
New Labour was originally elected because the electorate perceived Tony Blair as competent and a “good bloke”. He had learned the lessons of Bill Clinton’s “cult of leader-personality” campaigns and had the benefit of a very cleverly orchestrated PR (spin) machine which suddenly made him a modern “man of the people” and not the opportunist also-ran that he really is. The electorate’s perception was that they were electing a “cool” , competent leader and New Labour famously encouraged the electorate to think that they had become a party of the Centre and not the Left. All that was achieved with words and without evidence – yet collectively, we bought into the idea – and it wasn’t even a new idea. In reality, we had merely been fooled by the new packaging, which itself had been “borrowed”. New Labour was not a new concept. SEE HERE.
During the post-Thatcher years, the Conservatives have had several bad attempts at electing leaders: John Major, William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard were the potential electoral cannon-fodder prior to the arrival of David Cameron. John Major only won an election because of the sudden and fatal shift in perception that Neil Kinnock managed to self-engineer just before the voters went to the polling stations in 1992.
That’s how finely balanced the May 2010 election will be.
The Conservatives should not become too “hung-up” on the “Eton Senior Prefects’ Common Room ” image that they have acquired over the last year-or-so. They have to create a perceptual shift which will indicate to the voters that life under the Conservatives will be fun and that the future will be brighter than under the yoke of a bumbling and incompetent Labour administration.
The fact that some of them attended Eton, if handled correctly will not make any difference as to how the voters see them. For instance, look at Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. He is an Eton-educated toff but has managed to persuade most of us to perceive him as a trustworthy “doer”. Consequently, there is an embryonic but rapidly-growing “Boris for Leader” campaign. Boris has shown that a good leader transcends party politics and is elected in-spite-of and not because-of Party policies.
The Conservatives have made several tactical errors. They should never have become embroiled in a Commons debate over Inheritance Tax because they were always on a hiding to nothing. George Osborne should not have delivered such a negative speech at the last Conservative conference. He was trying to be perceived as an honest realist who would not be making extravagant promises but unfortunately, he had been ill-advised. Instead, he came across as a “devoid of ideas” depressive who appeared to promise hardship, austerity and misery. Perception always wins out. His speech, immediately following Alistair Darling’s recent Budget Statement compounded the image problem.
There is little doubt that George Osborne is very clever and will make a very competent Chancellor but he still has to fight and win the perception battle.
The third tactical error was the Zac Goldsmith fiasco. Millionaire toff, safe Conservative seat and a close chum of the Party Leader. A PR disaster which allowed Labour to reinforce our view of the Conservatives as the “haves” during a period in our history when the number of voting “have nots” is on the increase.
The Conservatives will do well to remember that currently in Westminster they only occupy 193 seats out of 646. Labour has 350.
There are two enemies that they need to face and defeat before they take-on New Labour. Their own complacency and the public’s perception.
That was the week….
“Aren’t you one of those Fuzzy-Wuzzies that we’ve been hearing about?”
“Actually, I’m the Mayor of London.”
- Diwali was celebrated at Downing Street . Members of the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities were invited to Downing Street to celebrate Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, which promotes messages of hope and togetherness. Let us hope that the most important Christian Festival is also celebrated and acknowledged by the Prime Minister. Mind you, by next Easter, he’ll probably have other things on his mind. Read More
Conservative Party Conference week.
Boris Johnson once again has showed his leadership credentials by being approachable, witty and engaging. He does make the rest of them look a little bit pedestrian. In spite of his shambolic image, you can sense a rod of steel running through both his speech and personality. One to watch for the future. Imagine a TV debate between Boris and Gordon Brown. It will never happen – but what a prospect.
- Boris Johnson and friend
George Osborne’s department lined up like a row of fairground ducks was quite diverting. George Osborne is gradually shaking-off his Tim Nice-but-Dim image.
It’s very brave of David Cameron to allow Ken Clarke a voice – bearing in mind his strong Euro-sceptic stance. The Conservative Euro-sceptics should not attempt to embarrass David Cameron at Conference. They all seem to think that the next election is already won.
Custom dictates that when any Party is in the middle of its Conference, the other Parties keep quiet and do not make any pronouncements. So, Alistair Darling’s crudely populist announcement of cutting the incomes of GPs and other high earners leaves us in no doubt that the Election campaign is now in full swing.
Retirement at 66? Purleeeze George – you can do better than that! Many will still retire at 65 and most of those who have not retired will be out of work – unless there is a local B&Q. The ACTUAL money saved will be negligible and it was hardly worth the leak.
It appears that as far as cutting Public Expenditure, the main Parties are now engaged in what can only be described as a peeing contest.
It was good to see that old duffer Kenneth Brown. So there is life after death!
The Editor of the Sun did not have to buy a single drink in the Conference bar last night. Hardly surprising but the Sun’s move to withdraw support from the Labour Party caused some disappointment among Conservatives. About as much disappointment as finding out that Gary Glitter can’t babysit tonight.
On a completely separate subject, the annual yakfest that is the 11th Pride of Britain Awards took place last night. One is never sure why only some kids with cancer attend the show, why only the kids whose parents managed to inform the media of how their brave 2year-old “dialled 999 whilst motherwas having a seizure in the bath” receive bravery awards and why Gordon Brown has to make a “surprise” appearance. We all like proper heroes but nowadays it seems that we have developed a real “need” to worship – as long as it involves lots of celebrities. If Michael Caine is made to feel any more ” ‘umble” I shall throw up. Having said all that, I’ve never managed to watch the show. This year there is a teacher whose Maths lessons contain RAP (one presumes that the “C” is silent). Then there’s the lady who stood between a small child and a Rottweiler. The best one is an ex-heroin addict with 176 convictions who now helps “young people to change their lives”.. As long as Simon Cowell, Tess Daly and Davina are there plus a room-full of tear-wracked luvvies we can rest assured that all’s well. Now where can I buy a Rottweiler? I’ve just noticed something and it is the final piece of jigsaw in a theory that I have been working on for some time. Here goes. I believe that Christopher Biggins is God. Why? because God is everywhere.
Safety campaigners are saying that if the Conservatives axe speed cameras, the accident-rate will increase. Here’s a compromise – and it will be comparatively cheap to implement. How about a sign that says “SPEED CAMERA IN 50 YARDS” on either side of every single speed camera in the country. Not a good idea, I hear you say. Why not? Oh I see. What you really want is speeding motorists that produce a revenue and not necessarily slow motorists who do not.
Sir James Dyson managed to look like a prat when his autocue failed. A Dyson Vacuous.
Liked the announcement today that the Conservatives will begin a process of ridding us of Government forms and red tape. THAT’S the sort of thing we like to hear.
Conservatism SHOULD be the politics of giving everyone in Britain the ability, opportunity and tools to look after themselves and their families – without the smothering State intervention that is the hallmark of Socialism – even when it is wearing the thin veneer of New Labour. That should ALWAYS be, of course, coupled to the State taking care of its weakest citizens. Call it benevolent Conservatism if you like. Simple. THAT is the message that David Cameron and his rejuvenated Parliamentary Party should be promulgating. Needless posturing and name-calling should have no place in the modern Conservative political toolbox. David Cameron should look straight down a camera lens and explain what modern Conservatism is. Unsurprisingly, there are those who have never heard exactly what modern Conservatism represents because their views and opinions are still being distorted and influenced by New Labour spin.
George Osborne is looking very promising.
So why DOES Jordan look as if she’s wearing a gumshield? Is in “hommage” to her cross-dressing new beau and professional thug Alex (Max – you’re running out of crap copy!) or has she been “done”. I think that we all know the answer to that one.
David Cameron has been photographed with a glass of champagne. Big deal! I shall simply repeat a previous report: The biggest consumption of champagne at Conference time is by Labour. That was told to me by a former Chief Barman at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Hypocrites.
Today, all the Socialist rags are laying-into George Osborne who has introduced a bit of realism into our understanding of the economy. One suspects that once the Conservatives are in power and manage to have a good look at the books, they will see that things are far worse than has so far been admitted by ther present incumbents.
We are still living in cloud-cuckoo land as far as the economy is concerned. The FTSE is UP. House prices are UP, Gold is UP, Tesco shares are UP. In fact – everything is UP. Sounds great doesn’t it? So why aren’t we all feeling more positive. The fact is that the FTSE is up because money is being invested on the Stock Exchange as a result of bank savings rates being so derisory plus, much of the money currently being invested is foreign so it could leave us at any time. The money that is being invested by British banks is not all real money. Some of it is the stuff that has been printed by the Bank of England and handed to the banking system. Mr Quantitative Easing strikes again. Gold has been creeping up for months. It is normally viewed as a “hedge” – somewhere to run when equities and commodities are down in price. That is not the case at present. Something that has gradually been creeping into our collective peripheral vision is the slow-collapse of the dollar. There are strong rumours that very soon, oil will no longer be traded in dollars – there is foreign plotting afoot! Once the dollar really does go into freefall, share and commodity prices will tumble very quickly. The British economy has much to fear because the factors that it has traditionally relied-upon to buttress the economy have all but gone. The City of London USED to be the world’s financial centre. That is no longer the case. WE used to MAKE things and export them. Nowadays, that is down to about 17% of the country’s total economic output. Finally, the British economy and Governmemt are “over-borrowed” with little realistic prospect of repaying much of what was borrowed. If George Osborne had been in possession of ALL the facts, I don’t believe that he would have wished to even beigin his speech yesterday. He did very well and reminded us that we need to take a more collective and inclusive approach to heal the economy.
Yesterday I said that I would probably throw -up if Michael Caine was once-again “umbled” at the Pride of Britiain Awards. Apologies to Michael as it was Joanna Lumley’s turn to be “humbled and overcome”. Please make it stop.
So Boris and Dave are ex-Bullingdon boys and used to piss it up, throw bread rolls about, get toffed-up and pose for silly photos. Go to any Comprehensive School on Prom Night (American import, I’m afraid) and watch scores of youngsters, toffed-up, arriving in ridiculous stretch limos and being encouraged to be extremely silly. So where’s the difference between our Grease wannabees and the Bullingdon Boys. Apparently, it’s only OK to dress like a posh prat and behave outrageously if you’re NOT a posh prat. It seems that those aspirational working classes are being herded by the Labour media back towards a concept which one hoped had been left behind – The Politics of Envy.
There was a great photograph of the Pride of Britain winners outside No 10 Downing Street. Sarah Brown looked very vivacious – so why did Gordon Brown look as if someone had inserted a six-inch ruler between his cheeks? Oh I see. Smile, eh? Wow.
Are we, as a nation, losing our sense of humour? We all remember Boris Johnson insulting Liverpool, Portsmouth and rather bizarrely – Papua New Guinea. He acknowledged all that in the introduction to his speech at Conference this week. Whatever you think of Boris, you have to admit that he carries a very mischievous sense of humour. That reminds me of a pilot who was censured by his bosses for the following Tannoy announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to fly over Liverpool. Would you please ensure that you have placed your hands over your wallets.”
She used to work at Little Ted’s Nursery and is a pervert. Although her husband does have our sympathy, one cannot help but think that at some stage during the marriage, he would have benefited from a visit to Specsavers.
The Conservatives have announced that they will deal with binge-drinking and teenage violence through the medium of taxation. Surprisingly, this is the first Conservative initiative that I disagree with. Remember that some drugs are far more expensive than alcohol, yet, money is still found for them. The alcohol genie is so far out of the bottle that there are no initiatives that will ever change the Brits’ uneasy relationship with alcohol. Social Engineering through taxation does not work. Let’s face it, Brits drink to get drunk – and then they drink some more. A few more pence on booze will make no difference whatsoever. Practical tip: The increased tax will be on cider and strong lager so do what kids do already, buy normal lager and tip cheap vodka into it. Now what?
Could it be true? Avram Grant is returning to Portsmouth as Director of Football? That should cheer the place up. Here is a photo of Avram practicing his Gordon Brown smile.
- Sharon Shoesmith has launched judicial review proceedings against Haringey Council, Ofsted and the Children’s Secretary Ed Balls. She was in charge of Haringey Social Services during the Baby P murder. One of the great British traditions is that if there is a screw-up on your watch then you fall on your sword. Ms SHOESMITH DID HERSELF NO FAVOURS during her few TV appearances when the Baby P affair was at its peak. She seemed aloof, smug, unrepentant and unapologetic. ” I was following orders” is the usual excuse. Hers was “We followed all procedures”. That neither exonerated her, nor did it go down well with the public. Had she cried, begged forgiveness and made some sort of admission, the public would have been a little more sympathetic. As it was, Ed Balls did exactly the right thing in instructing Haringey to sack her without compensation.
Labour bleating noises have been heard again today. General Sir Francis Richard Dannatt, GCB, CBE, MC is our most distinguished soldier and tomorrow (Thursday) he will be officially announced as a Conservative Life Peer who will be advising the Conservatives on defence. General Dannatt was our highest-ranking soldier and Chief of General Staff. He was going to be promoted to Chief of Defence Staff , which means that he would have become head of all of our armed forces – not just the Army. However, Gordon Brown personally blocked the promotion and General Dannatt was instead given the consolation prize of Constable of the Tower of London. Traditionally the Chief of Defence Staff is principal military adviser to the British Government. Gordon Brown was miffed because of General Dannatt’s “repeated calls for better pay and conditions for servicemen”. So General Dannatt’s sins? Speaking his mind, not being a Brown “yes man” and caring about his soldiers’ safety and welfare. Gordon Brown really has no idea whatsoever – probably because he was dealing with a proper leader. It’s patently obvious that Brown does not recognise the species. He should learn that leadership is much more than Benito Mussolini-type posturing with overworked, overtired, adjective-free, moribund speeches.
Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Quite right too. Climate, Democracy, Nuclear Disarmament – in fact, everything that he has touched so far. It looks as if Zimbabwe’s Morgan Chanderai was the runner-up. There is already talk and discussion of whether Barack Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize with only nine months in office. The fact is that the Nobel committee can see that in spite of the fact that Obama’s actual achievements so far are comparatively modest – he is by far the most influential individual on the planet as far as the short and medium term futures of the Earth are concerned. The progress that he has made in the last nine months is nothing short of remarkable.
It appears that today is probably the last posting day for Christmas. If you want to send cards abroad, you’re too late. Christmas parcels should have been posted by March 31st. Why didn’t Crozier stick to football. This is yet another case of a Business Model triumphing over the Customer. Perhaps Royal Mail should be renamed Royal Lemming.
The essence of New Labour has long gone and has been replaced by the panic politics of the fat bumblebee trapped in a jar. Lots of buzzing with little progress.
If you distilled the original New Labour, you would been left with a concentated solution of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell. There was nothing else.
Admittedly they did have Gordon Brown fretting in the background like a petulant schoolboy who was waiting for his turn at kicking the football. “It’s my turn. Can I have a go now? You said that I could have a go. Why can’t I have a go. You promised….”
Eventually Tony handed Gordon the ball and instead of blasting a few penalties, Gordon began the tediously predictable business of scoring own goals.
The snap election, the 10p tax rate, casinos, cannabis classification, 24-hour drinking, ID cards and inheritance tax are some of the issues which have become U-issues. (The Scottish devolution referendum may yet become a U-issue but for the moment, both sides are right therefore Gordon has made progress because this one looks more like a “Mobius” issue!!)
Gordon’s hard-core supporters say that the only way is up. The recent election results and the installation of BoJo as Mayor of London have placed GB (as well as Gordon Brown) at rock-bottom.
If he is indeed at rock bottom, someone please tell him that the usual procedure is to stop digging and make a U-turn. He should be able to manage that.