Monday, 30 March 2009

Real Targets

In my line of work, I often use the FSA website. Today was no exception, when I noticed this little self congratulatory nugget about some inside dealing.

While it is great that the FSA are clearly doing their job, there is the deafening sound of silence from the FSA about investigating bankers, whose decisions to override the advice given to them, caused the collapse of our remaining banking icon. I’d have thought a criminal investigation would have been due against Goodwin or McKillop (or even both of them). After all, our friend’s across the pond are preparing “criminal negligence” writ’s as we speak.

While we are on about Goodwin, I must mention the little difficulty he had with vandals. We can’t really condone vandalism, it was wrong. But then, so is not taking responsibility for your poor decisions. We have a generation of businessmen and politicians who believe they can do what they please, as they please, and are very pleased with themselves. What happened with Goodwin had shown that public opinion will no longer tolerate such behaviour.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Night The Government Fell

Its 30 years since the last Labour Government fell, in a vote of no confidence. It is prehaps coincidence that some of the issues which forced the downfall of the last proper Labour government should surround the current New Labour government 30 years on.

Its weaknesses with the economy, and the inability to control/satisfy wage demands were two of the key featured of the last Callaghan’s government. Though what actually brought the government down was Callaghan’s dilemma over the aftermath of the devolution referendum.

New Labour, on the other hand, have been strict with public pay, but been rather lax in its dealings with big business. The result has been much worse, with the UK on the brink of bankruptcy. A retreat to “Old Labour” is nothing more than talk. Further more, if rumours about the Calman Commission are true, regards planning permission, New Labour will be storing up trouble for itself.

This however is a blog about the events of 30 years ago. While the obvious victors on the night were the Conservatives, while Labour were the very real losers, though not in so stark terms as would be seen 5 weeks down the line. What of the SNP? It was their motion of no confidence in Labours handling of the Scottish Referendum, which brought the government down. Yet it was the SNP who suffered in election terms, only re-emerging in the Scottish consciousness in the late 80’s. Because of the SNP’s hand in the emergence of Thatch, the central belt electorate felt that the SNP were “Tartan Tories”

Indeed, my own family do not vote because of this. My Dad has a memory of Winnie Ewing appearing on TV straight after the vote saying that a Thatcher government would be good for Scotland. Not the most accurate prediction I have ever heard.

The events of 30 years ago, lead to the type of policy making which is only now coming home to roost. I only hope that we see a similar end to the current right wing consensus over the next couple of years.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Chris Rock on... NEDS!?!!

And the row over Teenage parents rumbles on…

While commenting on Terry Kelly’s blog, it occurred to me that most of what I felt about the lazy poor, those poor defenceless creatures that Kelly clearly loves could be best described not by, as Kelly thinks, Peter Lilley, Alf Garnett or anyone working for the Scum newspaper, but by that hard line Right Winger… er Chris Rock!

For anyone who isn't aware of Rock, he is, as well as being an excellent comedian, has also shared a stage with (pre) President Obama. In his Black People versus N-word monologue, he described N-words in way’s which draw incredible parallels with our own beige tartan wearing populace. The best bit is about 4 minutes in.

Remember kids, all good comedy travel’s…

Thursday, 5 March 2009

In Defence of Tom Harris MP

Well, Tom Harris has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Yesterday, he posted a blog about the scourge of society, single mothers. Before I go on, I must point out that I think he was targeting teenage single mothers, who get every bit of benefit available and really contribute nothing to society generally, rather than single mothers who try and juggle family life with work (who deserve all the benefits that they get), and it is this that I agree with.

However, there are some people who have taken offence at this, Patrick Harvie MSP, who probably doesn’t come across very many teenage mothers in Kelvinside, and Cllr Terry Kelly amongst others. I think however that we must find the causes before we think about solutions.

A benefits system which is able to be abused is certainly a contributory factor, there are, however certain people deny it, young girls who will get themselves pregnant in order to get a flat. This needs to be looked at. However this is by far not the only factor.

Here in Scotland we have the worst sex education in the world, my recollection of Section 6 in Stanley Green is scarily reminiscent of the Karen Dunbar science teacher character in “Chewin The Fat”. We need to be more open about sex, and not be taught by science teachers, more intent in showing flowers. We also need to keep this part of growing up out of the hands of special interest groups. Like Catholic Priests. In this country there is also a lack of positive female role models, most girls ambitions are to wed a sugar daddy, and the rest will be alright. Bit like the WAG’s.

Teenage mothers are a small part of the wider problem, dubbed “Lazy Poor”. You will see these people up and down the country, in pubs, in Bookmakers, doing anything but contribute to their community or anything useful. Admittedly, these people might have problems, they might have issues, and they are the 3rd generation of victims of Thatchers attempt to create a competitive society. But on the 25th anniversary on the miners strike, we should be looking at healing the wounds, which are still gaping form that conflict. If you need proof of those wounds, look at the “Lazy Poor”, yes Thatch put them on benefits, but they need carrot and stick to get their lives, and more crucially our communities, together.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Fred Goodwin: Not The ONLY Scapegoat

Fred Goodwin it seems is feeling a bit picked on. You create a banking monolith, which becomes the pride of your country. You get ennobled… then all of a sudden you go for that big deal too far, and everything crashes all around you. Now everybody is trying to disown you, even those people who encouraged you in the good times.

Don’t get me wrong, Fred Goodwin deserves the vilification that he is getting, he almost sank a Scottish Institution. He deserves to be stripped of his knighthood, and deserves to be charged for Gross Negligence. He certainly doesn’t deserve his huge pension, when he has destroyed the lives of many others.

Problem is, there are others who deserve EXACTLY the same treatment, and they aren’t getting it. Those equally, and maybe more culpable, in sinking the UK’s economy. There were another 3 horsemen at the Treasury select committee 2 weeks ago, one of them Tom McKillop had the power to reign in the boy from Feegie, but decided not to.

This brings us to Brown. While the country burns, he fiddles. He accuses Cameron of doing nothing. Brown is all talk and no trousers, fumigating against tax dodgers and city spivs (I’m paraphrasing, of course), but really doing nothing. Brown is of course the very person who sold the Inland Revenue offices to a company (Mapely Steppes) based in a tax haven. The Treasury, under Brown, employed more advisors with agenda’s and conflicts of interests than even the Tories did under Thatch. That’s not even to mention the toothless tiger he created with the moniker FSA, gee that’s really going to scare them into doing the right thing.

Brown though still has time to do the right thing. The first thing he can do is sack Paul Myners, the guy who gave the RBS board the assent to pay Goodwin his obscene pension. For someone who was employed because he “knows” the city, he was either stitched up by the RBS board or knew what he was doing. Either way, he is as much use to the British taxpayer as a chocolate fireguard, and should be sacked because of his incompetence.