Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bits and Bobs ...

Andrew Rawnsley on Sunday :

It is astonishing to behold Gordon Brown tearing up all the rules by which he spent more than a decade swearing. The Chancellor who used to eviscerate the Tories for reckless fiscal 'black holes' has transmogrified into the Prime Minister who now hails unfunded tax cuts as the 'fiscal stimulus' that will save the world ... The man who once swore that he would stick to his rules on borrowing, come sunshine or showers, now declares that the never-never is the new prudence. This is a stunning inversion of what were once all the basic axioms of New Labour.

It is absolutely breathtaking. But the breath that has been most taken away is that of the Tories. They simply cannot comprehend how the Prime Minister can be getting away with it. Dazed and confused, they search for a goat to scape.

I'm not George Osborne's biggest fan, to put it mildly. But if even Vince Cable can't nail Gordo, what chance does Osborne have - in the short term ?

This crisis has yet to run its course - IMHO we're only at the start. Gordo's bounce will probably deflate. Although there is the (to the Tories) dreadful possibility that things will get really bad, and the worse they get, the more we'll cling to him.

In the light of the new BBC campaign against saying nasty things about da youth, a link to the origial 'chav hunting' video, and the wonderfully po-faced BBC commentary thereon.

David Green in the Times on the welfare state and its disincentives to work and marriage - or even coupledom :

Worst of all, low-income couples with children – precisely those who can make ends meet only by combining their efforts – are discouraged from living together. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, if a single mother earning £10,000 was contemplating living with a boyfriend earning £25,000, the pair would be £5,473 per year better off if they told the government they lived separately – a bonus of 22% for doing the wrong thing.

Many single parents live with a boyfriend or girlfriend despite such financial pressures. A survey for the work and pensions department in 2004 found that 23% gave up benefits to “re-partner”. Their decision to live together was a triumph of romance over economics and we can conjecture that, without powerful government incentives to live separately, more people would marry.

We now have a big problem with welfare dependency. In 1960 all social security benefits cost 5.5% of GDP. In 2006-7 the cost of “social protection” was 13.4% of GDP. The solution is not to harden our hearts and invoke a crackdown. It is to put the welfare state on a new footing: reciprocity.

The Jersey children's home murders turn out to have been a mass outbreak of moral panic - Richard Webster at spiked.

L’Obama, ossia L’Avvento del Messia
Opera in Tre Atti

And a magnificent film review by David Cox in the Guardian, of all places. Think he'll be asked to do any more ?

Hunger, the much praised and garlanded Britflick hagiography of Provo hunger striker Bobby Sands, didn't quite do it for me.

It began by laying bare the supposedly brutal treatment of Republican prisoners at The Maze. I'd been under the impression that standards at this facility were carefully maintained, if only because the cunning Brits were keen to fend off international protests about their dubious judicial arrangements. This wasn't, however, my problem. That lay elsewhere. Far from being shocked at seeing the inmates roughed up a bit, I found myself wishing they'd been properly tortured, preferably savagely, imaginatively and continuously.


TDK said...

Well the Guardian readers editor was unimpressed with him but he does get another post here where he concludes

The Baader Meinhof Complex tells us that if you really do want to defeat terrorism, then you've got to be prepared to meet it with a total jihad of your own. To stamp out their enemy within, the German authorities created a full-scale police state, complete with Gestapo-style surveillance and blanket stop-and-search. It worked.

Anonymous said...

Much the same emotion can be had by watching Scum. A grim social realist (yeah right!) expose of borstal life made in the late '70s. We are invited to feel sympathy for the inmates but as Ive watched it over the years I find myself taking a grim satisfaction from their discomfort.

Particularly irritating is the whinging barrack room lawyer played by Mick Ford, just asking for kick in! Though he doesnt receive it on screen.

So look out for it, if you cant get to see the tale of Bobby Sands, hero of the working class (with oak leaf cluster)

G Orwell said...

Ironically I had a discussion with my guardianist parents a few months ago. They used Jersey as an example of why low taxes are bad because of the "abuse" that had happened there.

I wonder if hatred of Jersey's status as a tax haven had anything to do with this.

Rob said...

I'd like to hear the reasoning of how low taxes lead to child abuse in children's homes. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Yes G Orwell I'm left wondering what other bollox your parents came out with
(no offence intended)

Dammitall! said...

Dear Laban,
I can't understand the reason for the link to spiked.
I am glad that no children were murdered.
Judging by the number of aggressively pro-abortion essays which are linked to on the left-hand side of their page, spiked have a very liberal, almost triumphalist, attitude to the matter.
Please explain.

mister ed said...

"chav hunting"

i like the idea. can some video game maker come up with the goods - it'd sell by the bucketload, amongst the non-chav population.

since most video games seem to aimed at chavs, this new "non chav" game could be a way to break into new markets.

Laban said...

damnitall !

spiked is indeed a lefty publication, and the wife of one of its main contributors is a leading light in the UK abortion industry.

But even a stopped clock is right twice a day. The article would be worth a read even were it in Child Abuse Monthly (incorporating Incest Gazette).

TDK said...

Perhaps Dammitall would prefer to read it on Richard Webster's own blog where he can post a comment on Richard's poor choice of venue.

Or he can go to Richard Webster's main/old site where he can find out that Mr Webster has been pointing out the problems in this case since at least April. Dammitall may care to reflect upon the possibility that other publications were reluctant to publish Mr Websters accurate analysis.

Spiked is the online replacement for LM or Living Marxism, which closed following successful legal action by ITN concerning Bosnian War coverage. That magazine was created by the RCP a once far left group.

Spiked has been described by journalists from The Independent and The Guardian such as George Monbiot and Johann Hari as pursuing a right wing and pro-corporate agenda under a guise of being left wing. Some have said that Spiked's stance has more in common with free-market libertarians than with the left.

Spiked are notable for being anti consensus on a number of issues including
- GM Foods
- Global Warming
- Atrocities in Bosnia

I for one totally disagree with many of their positions, particularly the concerning the non occurrence of Bosnian atrocities but I'm bloody glad that they carry articles about the other things. The creator of the Great Global Warming Scandal is closely associated with Spike, for example.