Wednesday 29 August 2012

Arafat 'murder' investigation?

An old, sick bloke dies and they decide to launch a murder investigation?

WTF would anyone murder Arafat? Wouldn't have been the Israelis. He managed to achieve virtually nothing, weakened the Palestinian independence movement by promoting corrupt cronies, created division and resentment between Palestinian factions, and inspired hatred and fear in Israel, encouraging people to vote for extremist idiots. The Israelis had a vested interest in keeping him alive; I'm surprised they didn't stick him on eternal life support like they did with Sharon.

Tuesday 28 August 2012


If OsbornE gets hoicked out of Number 11 in a reshuffle, to be replaced by someone at least semi-competent, like Clark, it will be a disaster. For verily, "The chancellor has now overtaken Nick Clegg at the bottom of the rankings for poor job satisfaction."

And if you're more loathed than Nick Clegg, you're very loathed indeed.

So I just want Gormless Dave to know that I think Gideon is doing a terrific job - wonderful - resulting in all sorts of wonderful outcomes - and I hope he carries on doing it right up until the election.

Friday 24 August 2012

Amateur hour at Sanctuary of Mercy

Oh dear ...

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez has held pride of place in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza for more than 100 years. 
The woman took her brush to it after years of deterioration due to moisture. Cultural officials said she had the best intentions and hoped it could be properly restored. Donation 
The woman, in her 80s, was reportedly upset at the way the fresco had deteriorated and took it on herself to "restore" the image. BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser says the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez have been buried under a haphazard splattering of paint. 
The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic, he says.
I, for one, quite like the new version.  Europe has plenty of old pictures, it can spare one.  Not only does it present a more cuddly vision of the Messiah, but it has given the imortal phrase, "a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic" to the language.

Also, at least the new Jesus isn't blatantly Aryan.  It's probably a better likeness.

Thursday 23 August 2012

I was, of course, entirely right

Well, not quite in all particulars.  But way back in 2010, I offered this hostage to fortune:
... the austerity drive, if it is followed through on, will probably make any double dip worse for Britain, as it will make the recession deeper, and longer. And the big risk is that the government will have too much political capital invested in its cuts and austerity to resile from them and provide stimulus when it's needed.

Even if it does, it's likely that this will be seen as panic, desperation, and disaster as they've made such a big deal of how the cuts need to be applied immediately and the debt and deficit were out of control. Investors won't listen, the bond markets will spook. Then, absurdly, we'll be in precisely the position the Tories claimed we were in prior to the election - weighed down by debt which we can't re-finance, a widening deficit due to the receding economy, and facing a credit downgrade.
And verily, it did come to pass:
Four months into the financial year the government has borrowed £44.9bn, £9.3bn higher than the same period in 2011. That excludes banking interventions and the one-off boost in April from a transfer of Royal Mail pension assets to the public sector. 
The OBR had predicted that borrowing on the same measure would be £120bn for the whole of the financial year, down from the £125bn borrowed last year.
Add to that all the other stuff that is coming to pass that is too long to list.  Which I think contains a fairly impressive amount of Right Stuff for someone with no economic credentials what-so-ever.  Why can't I be chancellor?  I don't think I am any less qualified than the goon who currently holds that office.

Sunday 12 August 2012


Over on the Standard (whippersnapper!) they are getting a bit excited about the latest Roy Morgan poll, which suggests a Labour (32%) and the Greens (14%) coalition might just edge the nefarious forces of the Right (foully coalesced at 44.5%).

Well, maybe.  But even if the numbers are accurate, and were realised at a General Election, I think it would be difficult for such a bloc to be formed. When one party thrashes another by 44% to 32%, I think the former has the moral right to form a government, and it is incumbent on the minor parties to support (or at least not undermine) its efforts. If the gap were narrower, this wouldn't be an issue, but with such a gulf between them, it would be strategically disastrous - both parties would be smashed in the subsequent election. It might even re-ignite the whole "MMP vs FPTP" argument. Not worth it.

The bottom line for Labour is that they are still less popular than when the Clark government was ejected in 2008.  That was after three cycles of government, years of scheming and bad press, monumental policy screw-ups and with a leader who was pretty obviously tired of the job.

Labour need to close the gap if they are going to form a government. That simple. The problem isn't the leader as such - Shearer and Cunliffe would be in the mix either way, and, bluntly, they're both pretty banal. The talent pool from which the leader is drawn is a part of the problem, as is the issue about the disconnect between the parliamentary party and the party at large. But the main problem, to my mind, is the lack of vision. They need a credible alternative platform that manages to be popular, accessible and practical.  People aren't interested in voting for Labour because Labour - as it stands - is about as appealing as a three day dead possum. In summer: "We're a bit like National, but crap, riven and without the charismatic [sic] leader!  We offer nothing much, but the prospect of being a conduit for Green policies!  So vote for us!"

New Zealand says, "Fuck that!" - and quite right too.  New Zealanders aren't so stupidly pedestrian as all that.  They'd rather have Key and National than a crap imitation.  I think, however, they'd probably rather have a proper leftwing alternative.

 They need to get urgent, and get thinking, rather than scheming. Otherwise, another stint of Key and Co. is pretty much inevitable. And if Labour allow that to happen, they should be tried for treason.

Friday 10 August 2012

Aussie Gun Control Bullshit

Someone uploaded this clip on youtube the other day and it has been brought to my attention by American types. It purports to show what happened in Australia after gun ownership was restricted and a buy-back scheme introduced.

Apparently, this lead to soaring crime rates and an increase in homicides:

Only, it is from 1999 (or there about). It identifies Trevor Griffin as the Attorney General, something he stopped being in 2001. The data in the clip is - unsurprisingly - out of date. A quick Google check indicates the rates of gun crime and gun homicide in Australia have fallen to record lows - aside from an anomalous spike immediately after the restrictions and buy-back were introduced, which is the 'rise' the clip refers to. Still, if you're dumb enough to think having 90 guns per 100 people is a good idea, you're dumb enough to accept this sort of stuff at face value. Hey! Gun lovers! The Earth ain't flat! Have you discovered that, yet?


 From the Guardian : The  Observer  understands that as well as backing away from its £28bn a year commitment on green investment (while sti...