27 Sep 2008

David Milliband

Who is he, this David Minibland? Tony Blair's researcher, the grinning school swot who still looks and sounds like he's still doing his A-levels. The boy who has never had a proper job - ok he once worked in a think-tank. I cannot believe he is ten years older than me - he looks ten years younger!
And he, and a few other chums of his, seem to think that he is the man to save the country. Except he wont quite have the nerve to come out and say so directly. He is supposed to be foreign secretary, but its not often you hear him say anything of note or meaningful interest about anything to do with the world abroad - and its not like everything in the likes of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia etc at the moment is going swimmingly is it?!
In some ways, David Millibore seems to epitomise the new breed of politican - Ed Balls, Millibore mark 2, I cannot name any more because jsut the sound of their chirpy voices will make feel ill - unable to spout anything other than dreary, cliched media-speak, always on message, clattering home the message about how wonderful the last 11 years have been and how atrocious and appalling the country was in 1997.
I think we should send him on a posting abroad for long period of time, Afghanistan say, so he get on with learning about the real world, which is after all what his job entails.

Credit crunch UK

Gordon Brown has a mighty nerve to lecture about responsibility and prudence - this from the man who has wrecklessly indebted our country with tax, spend and waste. The man who told us it was the aim of boom and bust. The man who preened himself basking in the warm credit of the economic boom, now hides away as an economic chill sets in. Nothing to do with him of ocurse, it all global (keep repeating that word until people believe it) and international factors, you see.
Of course the men (and it is nearly all men) who've gambled these banks into the dust should rightly be condemned, but more importantly held to account for what they did and why they did. We need to know how and why it happened.
Perhaps the msot critical thing of all is to ensure that no one, absolutely no one, get rewarded for failures on this scale. I am all in favour of people taking risks and being rewarded for success, but being baled out for failing sets a horrible precedent. With rewards must come responsibility and accountability.
Why, for example, is the former head of Northern Rock, able to enjoy a nice affluent retirement? Could it possibly have anything to do with Labour wanting to look after its loyal voters (the only ones left?) in the North East? Ditto saving all the jobs in Edinburgh with Bank of Scotland - and you wonder why Gordon Brown is still so disliked in Scotland.
Greed - the culture of spend, spend, spend and pay later...or get someone else to pay later - be it governments or as consumers, this has been the accepted norm. People choosing to buy things they would not normally be able to afford, by stacking them onto their credit cards.
The culture of obsessing about property (witness the proliferation of programmes on TV and screaming newspaper headlines) and the marvel of never-ending house prices (not so marvellous now) have played a major part in all of this.
Young people were told they must own a house even before they'd properly started a life. It doesnt work that way in most other countries.

The entire culture of 'must-have' items of status, which extends to houses, cars, clothes, plastic surgery - has been fundamental to our new religion....shopping.
Dont worry about paying for that 'must-have' item, just slap it on your credit card, its almsot like money you dont have. It sounds good that doesnt it, being able to buy things you want (and never really needed, but thats not the point is it?) without really having to pay for them. Well thats what is happening now. Collectively, we are all (as taxpayers) going have to pay the price and with eye-wateringly high interest to boot.

26 Sep 2008

The Credit Crunch

So we're all doomed. Its the end of the world....well it might just be the end of the world as we've come to know it. And that might not be such a bad thing.

Fear and greed - these are the twin fundamental drivers which have taken us to where we are now.
Everyone likes to blame the big banks and rightly so. But lets look a little more closely at the role of governments.
Personally, I have little time for listening to what politicians say because it matters much more what they actually do.
If George Bush wasnt such a figure of ridicule, perhaps people would be able to better scrutinise why he has been so disastrous. He is an irrelevance, a man who just shrugs his shoulders and can do nothing. He does not seem to understand the principle of managing a budget, which is unsurprising for someone who was a trust-fund spoilt rich boy, who woukld never have had the experience of managing his own money, only spending it.
Which is what he has done with the money of the American people...on an unprecedented scale. Spend spend spend. Borrow, borrow borrow. For what? For a couple of horrendously expensive and poisonously damaging wars in faraway countries which he does not understand.
And now, he plans to spend another $700bn to prop up some rotten banks. How exactly do they value all these toxic debts at $700bn? And how do we know there wont need to be even more governemnt bailouts down the line? Is this really well spent money? Every last dollar of it? No I dont think so either.