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Friday, 28 December 2007

It could be hasta la vista for Brown as judgement day approaches

To see the whole article, please go to:

HERE is my festive advice to anybody who wants to understand how the credit crunch will affect Gordon Brown next year: as soon as you can catch a break from playing secret santa, run out to the video store and grab a DVD of Terminator III.
Besides the thoroughly enjoyable pyrotechnics and action scenes, the film, the last starring Arnold Schwarzenegger before he became governor of California, has a simple, typically religious message: judgment day is inevitable.
For years, Brown piled on higher taxes and red tape, gradually eroded Britain’s competitiveness and presided over an increasingly unhealthy and unbalanced economy. For almost as long, few noticed and even fewer cared. But 2008 will be the year in which Brown is finally faced with the consequences of his actions: the public, long anaesthetised by the house price and credit boom, is finally coming to its senses now that the good days are ending.
Brown’s record has long had much to be desired. All the main English-speaking economies have grown faster than Britain since 1997, including America, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Others that have expanded at a better rate than Britain include Luxembourg, Greece, Iceland, Spain and Finland – as well, of course, as all the emerging economic giants, led by China and India.
Britain’s productivity growth has slowed; the trade deficit has exploded, with the current account only kept afloat by dividend and interest payments from overseas; the Exchequer has accumulated vast debts, mostly off balance sheet, at a time when it should have been enjoying a surplus, and faces an explosion in the budget deficit to up to £50bn ($102bn, E69bn) in 2008-09; entrepreneurship and business creation rates lag those of many other countries; savings have collapsed; the markets expect inflation to be a percentage point higher than any other G7 country; and Britain is facing a long-term pensions crisis.
The list of woes goes on and on. Even Britain’s supposedly robust job-creation record is misleading: of the 2.7m or so jobs created over the past decade, up to 1.5m have gone to immigrants and between 700,000 and 1m are public sector jobs, depending on definitions (though the two categories overlap). Few new jobs have been created in the private sector for British-born workers, which helps to explain why the number of adults on out-of-work benefits – the most accurate measure of unemployment – has only fallen from 5.7m to 5.2m.
So why did so few people understand how unimpressive Britain’s economic performance has been, at least until the past few weeks, when his ratings started to plunge in opinion polls?
Surging house prices, cheap and easy mortgages and the credit-based retail boom served as a powerful opiate; as long as their wealth and spending keep on rising, voters can be remarkably forgiving.
At the same time, an inflow of foreign money and unprecedented levels of immigration helped to camouflage the long-term wounds inflicted by Brown’s misguided policies. Without these factors, the economy would have performed appallingly; but most important of all, they made an average economic performance feel like a great one.
There is another reason why so many failed to see just how poor Brown’s stewardship of the economy has really been. The establishment – in business, the media, culture and politics – is almost entirely based in London and its surroundings. Our great city’s astonishing prosperity, its emergence as a preeminent global centre for finance, sky-high wages, cultural vibrancy and cosmopolitanism all combined to convince the commentariat that Britain must be doing better than anyone else.
The reality is that London’s performance has indeed been outstanding: had its rate of growth been that of the UK as a whole, Britain could fairly have been deemed to have undergone an economic miracle. But for the most part, London’s success had nothing to do with Brown; in fact, on balance, he has hindered rather than helped its performance. The use of the City as a milch cow to fund a massive UK-wide increase in state spending – on top of appalling schools, massive crime and welfare problems, and crumbling infrastructure – have all meant that London has performed well below its potential.
While the economy could just about cope with Brown’s tax and spend policies and obsession with regulating all that moves when it was being lifted by a global financial tide, the damage caused will become unbearable next year. April’s hike in capital gains tax and corporation tax for small companies, as well as the crackdown on non-domiciled wealthy foreigners, come at the worst possible time.
Like in Schwarzenegger’s film, it will prove impossible for Brown to put off judgment day forever. The credit crunch, the crisis in the City and the ending of the house price boom mean that the public is now starting to look at Brown’s record in a very different way. Citi estimates 1.7m households will face large increases (worth more than one percentage point) in their mortgage rates in 2008, as previous fixed rate mortgages expire and discount periods on variable rate loans end. With a reduced supply of mortgage credit, spreads between fixed mortgage rates and swap rates have spiked in recent months and are likely to stay wide. As a result, lower Bank rates are unlikely to produce much, if any, near term drop in fixed mortgage rates.
Brown is not to blame for the credit crunch or the cyclical element of the current slowdown; but the hit to their finances and declining house prices mean voters will look at his overall performance in a far more dispassionate light in 2008. Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, there will be no Arnold Schwarzenegger to rescue him from their wrath.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas
A Happy New Year

This card is made from 100% recycled pixels. No trees have been felled in its manufacture or delivery.

Monday, 24 December 2007



BETHLEHEM, JUDEA -In the early morning hours, the Social Services Hotline received a call from a worried neighbour who had discovered a young family living in a stable. On their arrival, the Social Services Emergency team, together with police officers, found a new-born baby, clothed only in strips of cotton and lying in a feeding trough, and its 14 year old mother, Mary D. from Nazareth.

During the arrest of the mother and infant, a man, later named as Joseph D., also from Nazareth, attempted to hold the Social Service staff back. Joseph, helped by local shepherds and three still unidentified immigrants, tried to keep the girl and her infant from being taken away, but were removed by the police.

The police also arrested the three immigrants, who described themselves as "wise men" from a Eastern country. The Home Office and Customs & Excise have asked the public for any information about the origins of the three men, whose immigration status is unclear.

A police spokesman said that the men carried no form of identification, but had gold with them, and certain other high value substances. They also resisted arrest and claimed that God had told them to return home immediately and avoid all contact with officials from any governmental departments. The substances have been sent for further inspection.

The present location of the infant has not been made public. A Social Services spokeswoman informed a press conference, "The father is middle-aged and the mother is under age. We are currently in contact with Nazareth Council Offices to find out what the relationship is between the two of them."

Mary is in Bethlehem Regional Hospital under medical and psychiatric observation. She will be charged with neglect. Her condition will be of great interest to psychiatrists in view of the fact that she claims to still be a virgin intacta and that the infant was from God.

In an official statement the Head of the Psychiatric Department said, "It isn't my job to tell people what to believe, but when their belief leads to the endangerment of a new-born child, as in this case, then such people must be viewed as dangerous. And the fact that drugs were found makes the situation even worse."

On questioning, the shepherds found in the stable said they had been instructed to go there by a tall man dressed in a white nightshirt and with wings on his back. A speaker for the Drug Squad said, "That is probably the most idiotic thing that I've ever heard but we get a lot of this at this time of year."

Friday, 21 December 2007

Grim data undermine Brown's claims

Official figures are showing a very different economic picture from the one painted by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor
Gary Duncan, Economics Editor

Claims by Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling this week that the economy is fundamentally sound and well placed to ride out worsening world conditions were badly undermined yesterday by a spate of bleak official figures.
City economists lined up to sound warnings that the latest grim economic news suggested that Britain's economy is badly exposed to a global downturn and “dangerously unbalanced”.
In a double blow to an increasingly embattled Chancellor, the slew of worrying data showed the Government's finances in the red to a record extent last month, and the country as a whole living far beyond its means, with another record-breaking deficit on the balance of payments.
“The latest flurry of UK data painted a distinctly ugly picture of a dangerously unbalanced economy, supporting our view that the coming slowdown will be a prolonged and potentially painful period of adjustment,” said Jonathan Loynes, of Capital Economics.
The biggest shock in yesterday's figures came as balance of payments data showed that the current account — the broadest measure of the country's international financial position — was in deficit by a huge £20 billion in the third quarter (Q3), the highest figure since records began in 1955.
The vast total marked a ballooning of the deficit from £13.7 billion in the previous quarter, and saw it swell to a massive 5.7 per cent of national income.
As a proportion of GDP, this left Britain's balance of payments as deep in the red as that of the United States.
The percentage deficit matched records set in the 1980s boom.
Earlier quarters' current account deficits were also revised up, with the overall total for 2006 now put at 3.9 per cent of GDP, against previous estimates of a more modest 2.5 per cent.
The pound's overall value on its trade-weighted index tumbled to its lowest level for a year and a half, and shed more than two cents against the dollar, as economists said that the situation looked unsustainable and left Britain exposed to a difficult rebalancing of the economy.
Analysts cautioned that a further slide in the pound, fuelling inflationary pressures, could hinder the Bank of England's ability to fend off a downturn with aggressive cuts in interest rates.
The severe deterioration in the balance of payments was driven by a combination of a record £22.6 billion trade deficit in Q3, with an abrupt shift in Britain's investment income from abroad. In the past, Britain has raked in far more on income from its direct investments in companies and projects abroad than it has paid out to foreigners investing in the UK, but the position has now worsened markedly.
The nation's surplus on direct investment income in Q3 fell to £4.9 billion, from £7.5 billion in Q2, while £23 billion was wiped off a revised surplus for the past 18 months.
Economists pinned the blame on a boom in foreign direct investment and takeovers in the UK, meaning the country must pay out more overseas on income on the assets that have been bought up.
In a further headache for the Chancellor, yesterday's poor data on the public finances sparked renewed warnings that government borrowing could surge well above £40 billion for the present financial year, against a £38 billion Treasury forecast, and reach annual totals as high as £50 billion in future years.
November saw monthly public borrowing in the red by a record £11.2 billion, compared with £9.2 billion in the same month last year, as government spending rose faster than implied by Treasury plans, and despite strong tax revenues.
For the eight months of the financial year so far, borrowing has reached £36.2 billion, up from £26 billion in the same period last year, and also a record.
Economists said Mr Darling could be forced to impose tougher curbs on spending if the credit crisis hits tax revenues from City institutions.
“The Chancellor is likely to be playing Scrooge for some years in order to get this uncomfortably high budget deficit back under control,” John Hawksworth, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said.
Other GDP figures yesterday showed that while GDP growth remained strong in Q3, at an upgraded 3.3 per cent annual pace, this was driven by resilient consumer spending that seemed to come at the expense of households dipping into savings.
The savings ratio, a key gauge of what people are putting aside from pay, fell from 4 per cent to 3.4 per cent in the quarter.

stanislav,a young Polish plumber said...

A Christmas thought from abroad.

A film is released shortly, I am Legend. Stanislav won’t see it; avoids special effects, Hollywood homo-erotic shit like the fucking plague. The original book, however, written in the late fifties/early sixties, by Richard Mathieson, who went on to write a lot of Star Trek, was a great vampire romp, a lifetime before the delectably violent Buffy -and that prat off the Gold Blend advert - tickled the fancy of a global, literary, Goth-fancying audience.

In the original, the hero, the world’s last surviving non-vampire, Robert Neville, is taunted nightly by blood-guzzlers outside his fortified home, anxious to dine on him, calling Come Out Neville, Come Out Neville.

Our country will continue to fester until those in positions of influence take up the cry Come Out Gordon, Come Out Gordon. Matthew Parris, for instance, in yesterday’s Murdoch-Times comes, eventually, to the conclusion, long arrived at by plumbers, that the prime minister of the UK is profoundly mentally ill, but stops short of pointing out, as he should, the problems of a closet gay fearful of being outed by colleagues and what that means for the proper conduct of his duties. Brown’s position means that we are misgoverned by a knowing privy council of Brownite co-conspirators, organised crime families, like the dismal, lacklustre Alexanders and Ballses, in on what is really an open secret.

And everything's fucked. The schools are fucked, the hospitals are fucked, the army's fucked the navy's fucked, the airforce is fucked, the farms are fucked, the jails are fucked, the banks are fucked, the BBC is fucked, the roads are fucked; morality and decency and civility are fucked; patriotism is fucked, freedom is fucked. And at the top of this mountain of fuckery sits a great, gibbering nancy, stuttering about his fucking vaah-lewes, pretending to be a heterosexual.

We are misinformed by toadying, cowardly, lazy ponces, like the revolting Maguire and White; the smirking, up his own arse Jock Neill, the hustling Marrs and Warks and the ever so fretful people’s tribune, Paxman, who, memorably, slithered around, as fast as his scales would carry him, to apologise to the repellent Mandelson for Parris having stated the obvious about him.

Homosexuality isn't noncing and shouldn’t matter, and probably, to the majority, doesn’t. Dishonesty, though, and spin and fraudulence and masquerade and secrecy and loathsome, spurious, hypocritical, filial piety, however, are their own relentless torture; and Brown, and through him the whole country, are on the rack. Matthew should have formally outed Gordon, as he did Mandelson. Half-truths butter no parsnips. Brown is mad, why is he mad, Matthew ?

it is arguable that Brown's sexuality is of no concern to the world at large and few would condemn him for it. It is the towering, impudent falseness of the man which so rankles and which is quite clearly tearing him apart. His whole existence is a confection; HE defeated the would-be car bombers, HE defeated the floods, HE defeated the foot and mouth outbreak although none of these events were anything to do with him; on the other hand, as chancellor for ten years HE is not responsible for any financial catastrophe which flows from his decisions, HE didn't know, HE wasn't told. As chancellor and effectively domestic prime minister, HE, imprudently, did not give a thought to where millions of pounds of Labour money was coming from, as though his mad father sent it down from Heaven. Brown, at an age when most are grandfathers, suddenly decides, as the premiership looms, to wed and become a normal young parent. This aberrant, contradictory behaviour is deeply offensive to an observer; God knows the impact it has on Jihad-busting, floods-beating, cattle plague-curing, all around Superman Brown, sitting behind his curtains, gnashing at his fingernails.

A recent plumber’s comment was that if Brown had any real friends they would have him sectioned under the mental health act; poor stuttering, twitching, paranoid, droning, nail-biting, snot-eating, cowardly, bullying, delusional Gordon, though, swims friendless, in toxic, muddy waters. Like Hitler, in the bunker, none of his gutless generals, all anxious, still, for advancement even amid the ruins, has the courage to tell Gordon the truth - that he should have come out on John Smith’s death and trusted the people; instead, darker, viler creatures like Mandelson and Campbell and Blair and Kinnock, all now filthy rich, played him for a fool, granting him his Clever-Boyhood dream only as it turned nightmare and they were glad to be shot of it. Let him as he is doing, take the blame, all of it. Must the country be utterly ruined by this man’s fitful delusions, by his ghastly, sermonising father’s Presbyterian voice in his head, by his infantile foot-stamping, his insistence that black is white, day is night; Gordon says it, so it must be so ?

Shifty war criminals like Straw, tacky necromancers like Balls and Alexander; braying, flatulent nincompoops like Benn and Harman, dodgy chancers like Alan Dirty Hospitals Johnson, floundering clowns like Milliband and Darling and egregious, cack-handed spluttering imbeciles like Jowell, Purnell, Blears and Cooper and the utterly obnoxious and useless spiv, Hain, care only for their own grubby survival and not a fig for the country. Honourable members like these will have, before all else, ensured their own financial futures whilst wrecking ours and will cling on, discredited, in power, regardless of the harm they do; they will stick, unpleasantly, malodorously, like shit to a blanket.

Matthew Parris pleads winningly that he really does, hand on heart, believe the prime minister of the United Kingdom to be mad; yet offers only symptoms, no diagnosis, no remedy, no, shall we say, straight talking.

What ails Gordon Brown and paralyses him requires that straight talking and not Emperor's New Clothes collusion; the poor man has none around to tell him. The people, then, in kindly, non-judgmental voice, should take up the cry: Come Out Gordon, in the name of God, before you beggar us all and destroy yourself, Come Out Gordon, Come Out Gordon, Come Out Gordon............


Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Her word in court against Santa's

She doesn’t have a chance:


Monday, 17 December 2007

Move over Mervyn

The Government is sidelining the Bank of England by asking Goldman Sachs to find a solution to the Northern Rock problem.  What is the Bank of England for, and why does the tax payer have pay salaries to Bank of England and fees to Goldman Sachs?



Friday, 14 December 2007

England appoint a foreign manager

Perhaps they will see sense and get an experienced foreign manager to run the country.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Divorce is costing the Earth

From the New Scientist:

COULD a rising tide of divorce be helping to kill the planet? It looks that way from a 12-country analysis of the environmental impact of broken marriage.

When couples split, they and their families move into separate properties, so collectively occupy more space, burn more energy and consume more water than they did as a family unit. "Divorced households are smaller than married households but consume more land, water and energy per person than married households," says Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University, East Lansing.

In the US, for example, 2.37 trillion litres of water, 38 million rooms and 734 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity would have been saved in 2005 alone if no one had got divorced. Divorced households spent 46 per cent more on electricity and 56 per cent more water per person than if they'd stayed married. Following a split, US households consumed 42 to 61 per cent more resources per person than while married.

The problem is likely to get worse, Liu warns. Between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of US households headed by divorcees soared from 5 to 15 per cent. Divorces are also steadily increasing in China (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0707267104).

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Some choice quotes from PMQ's

We can do it because we run a successful economy; it is not the failed economy that we inherited from the Conservatives.” – Gordon Brown, Prime Minister in Cloud Cuckoo Land, 5 December 2007


“ The hon. Gentleman should make up his mind whether he wants Northern Rock to be rescued or not. The important thing, for the stability of the economy, the security of mortgage holders and the company’s shareholders, is that it be rescued.“ – Gordon Brown, not giving a damn about the interests of tax payers, 5 December 2007


Monday, 3 December 2007

Iran not the nuclear threat that we thought

... says the US government. Poor old Gordon Brown. Nothing seems to go right for him. Just when he needed a good war to boost his poll ratings.

57% think Gordon Brown is tainted by sleaze

Only 57? What about the rest?

Bouncier than a rubber ball

"I am announcing today that I will be standing down as HMRC chairman as a result of a substantial operational failure in the department. The chancellor will be making a statement to parliament later today." Paul Gray, Nov 20th 2007.

Mr Gray is now working in the Cabinet Office on "Civil Service Skills"

The pips are beginning to squeak

Morgan Stanley's take on the British economy, as reported by HM Telegraph is here.

The US bank said that the British Government squandered the chance to discipline public spending during the fat years and had allowed excesses to proliferate "across the system".

The UK budget deficit is now near 3pc at the top of the cycle (one of the worst in the OECD club), while household spending has reached 97pc of disposable income - matching the level last seen at the peak of the 1988 credit boom.

"As our Prime Minister has been so fond of telling us, the UK economy has enjoyed a record 15 years of economic growth," said the report. "However, instead of using this golden period to bolster savings and prepare for leaner times ahead, the public sector is in deficit."

Morgan Stanley concluded that both Mr Brown and British households had bet that the economic cycle would never turn against them, a bet they are likely to lose.....