Sunday, 25 January 2015

Syriza - The New Archanians


Back when Greece was great, busy inventing democracy and defeating the Persians it also did a good line in Comedy. Indeed, Greeks, as with much in Western history, invented modern comedy. The greatest exponent of the original art was Aristophanes.

The news that Syriza have won with 36% the Greek election reminds me of one of these plays. Notably 'The Archanians', in this play the hero is trapped for a long-period. Most of the Athenians do not want peace from the war with Sparta, but the hero, Dikaiopolis manages to negotiate a private treaty to end the war and sets up a market to supply the rest of the Greek cities.

In this way today, Alexander Tsiparas, must continue. He knows that Europe and the IMF cannot really bend to his desires. That way lies a compromise with Italy and even France, which cannot be afforded, even if a compromise with Greece could.

So instead he will ask and be refused. A messy compromise is the best he can really hope for. Somehow, in their desperation the Greeks have believed in the magic money tree rhetoric of the left - but without really appreciating the truth.

The only way out for Greece is to leave the Euro but even Tsiparas will be very reluctant to take the path he has always denied he wanted.

It will be a busy few weeks, but there will be some comedy along the way from all sides before the final curtain.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

I'm Lynton Crosby. I solve problems.

ding dong ...{The door is opened by a dressing gown clad Jeremy Hunt.}
A sharp suited man is standing there. A small ipad in his hand.

"You're Jerry, right?" he asks. "This is Tory HQ?" I'm Lynton Wolfey. I solve problems... May I come in.?"
"Sure..I'm Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary.."
"Ok Jerry. Is it in here?.." Lynton heads into a small office.

He looks in and finds  two men in blood stained suits..."You must be Dave ..And that makes you George..Ok genel'men.. Lets get down to business ..I believe we have a difficulty here and the clock is ticking, is that right, Jerry ?"

"That's right Mr Wolfey"

" Now...let's see...If I rightly understand the situation." He looks at Cameron and Osborne,           "Then you two ...have killed the Tory party? "


Wolfey consults his ipad once more.."You took the principles of a low tax, low spend, small state economy and ... again, if my notes are correct here ... you shot them in the face?"

"Accidentally. We  didn't mean to do it."

"Nevertheless we have the corpse of fiscal responsibility, and a dead EU referendum election strategy, in a battlebus, in a garage..or wait...does this say Farage? ..Anyway ..take me to it."

They go through to Tory HQ basement strategy room with media grids,  week by week focus issues and soundbite boards. There is an election battlebus there. The inside is covered in gore.

"Hmmm ..This is quite a mess." says Lynton. "Ok ..Gentleman We are going to need all this soppy, gooey Lib Dem eco-mush gone by election time...or our core voters will not be best pleased, is that right?"

"Yes sir."

"We have an election in 4 months. . and we need to tidy up, and get the heck out of Dodge? That should be plenty if you do what I say, when I say it."

 Lynton Wolfey looks into the battlebus.. Its in a very poor state. half formed ideas and bits of human rights and Big Society agenda are splattered about inside it.

"George.." asks Mr Wolfey, "About the economy..anything I need to know? Is it running? Does it stall? Is it likely to overheat. Or fail to start?"

"Far as I know its just fine Mr Wolfey. It was going fine and then ..well..we hit this bump. But before then the economy was fine Mr indebted European country, with an over reliance on a financial sector and a southern based service sector bias, following an almighty economic crash."

Still peering into the bus Lynton calls over his shoulder, "Jerry, would you do me a favour?"

"Certainly Mr Wolfey."

I saw some coffee and an NHS privatisation report on a table back in the office..Wold you get me a cup of that coffee ?


"And alter that file on privatisation."

"Er...ok ..Erm...Mr Wolfey, how do you want me to ...

"Lots of cream and lots of sugar.."

" meant how do you want me to make the file.."

" that the file on co-partnership..using private sector resources in the NHS and competitive tendering ? " asks Lynton Wolfey.

"Yes, it is."

"That's going to reduce the rising cost of the NHS on taxpayers and the government budget?"

"Good..Take out any word that has privatisation or anything like that at all..Outsouscing. Commissioning. Profit..Dividends..Provider..and so on. Replace them all with some non-specific catch-all anytime phrase. But use cuddly clinicians -passionate-sociological-economic-care. Or nursing-excellence-rainbow-path-gate, OK Jerry ?"

" me, Mr Wolfey. But that...that won't make much sense.."

Lynton smiles.  "It doesn't matter, Jerry. No one is going to read it anyway. Just want to neutralise the bad smells. But I would like that coffee."

Ok .. lets go back to the office.

"Thank you Jerry," Lynton says as he takes his coffee..he has a sip. He takes in the flavour for a few seconds then he turns to Mr Hunt smiling.."This is good coffee, Jerry...  Make sure there is no more of this..I want basic Nescafe or Red Mountain and Tetley teabags only..No biscuits..We have an overpaid, privileged  posh bays tag to clean up too."

Lynton drinks some more of the fine brew and thinks for a moment. After a second he begins to give his instructions.

"OK we are.. Jerry, this looks to be a very well funded party HQ..That would lead me to believe that under the sink there is a box of products that we can use to detoxify this election vehicle?"

"Right Mr Wolfey."

"That's good Jerry. Right..Dave and George... Dave and George..Get a box of those election leaflets," he points to a stack of crates in the corner.

"These 'A Britain living within its means' ones?" asks Dave.

"Yes. take those and some Windex and use them to clean all that crap up. Take as many as you like. We won't be using them.  You need to be fast, fast , fast.
   Get into the back there and pick up all those idiot policies about green energy subsidy and selling forests.  Minimum pricing for alcohol.  I think I saw a great big piece of 7% GDP on foreign aid splatted on the back seat. That hug a husky..something about matching labour's spending plans..opposing grammar schools .. gay weddings in churches.. ..all those wet and soggy pieces are to go in the trash.

Clean up all that interior. Clean up all that horror..Now..when it comes to the bones of the doesn't have to be all spik and span... just surface polished. It doesn't have to be conference clean..Just enough that a passing glance by an observant commentator or media pundit, won't uncover what's underneath. Because we are going to disguise it all with pensioner friendly voter bribes..Conceal all this old middle-ground, left-of-center nonsense with rightist sounding commitments and middle class tax cuts."

 George is horrified ..He blurts out.."But..Mr Wolfey..we can't begin to pay for.."

"Relax George" says the Wolfman.  I said disguise with..not deliver upon. However, George..I need to raid your Treasury. Going to need lots of type of policies..  And some big , cover all, tablecloth type policies? "

George is a little unsure what he has been asked for.."What want .me to  find.."

"Even more spending for the NHS. Promise them double whatever you have promised now.  A ..erm..a  plan to make immigrants wait five years for benefits... A search and rescue-slash- military use-slash medical helicopter branch of the civilian new army..
Maybe , a VAT reduction back to 17.5%? Make it 15%. Get something large, George. Search around for something big enough that will completely cover labour's price freeze and mansion tax and obscure Fargae's get out of EU.
 Jerry.. we are going to need a fluffy disabilities allowance too. To cover the worst of the bedroom tax. Something like an extension to pensioner income bonds and a bring back Treason to the statute books for terrorism..ok ..that sort of thing...
Gentlemen we are going to camouflage this election vehicle. Make it acceptable . It won't stand up to some nosy reporter sticking their beak in and poking around.. But to a casual voter it should seem respectable..reliable.  Jerry..lead the way..You boys..get to work!"

As Wolfey goes to leave Dave  mutters "A  please would be nice."

Lynton Wolfey  stops. Turns. And comes back into the office.

 "Come again?"

"I said a please would be nice..You are asking me to raid the Treasury for party gain. To promise undeliverable things, while throwing away all the liberal coalition success I have had. I have kept it all together for five years. A please would be nice."

Mr Wolfe is visibly annoyed.

 "Let's get something straight, mister.  I was asked to come here to fix things.  Paper over the back-bench EU split cracks. Stop the Kippers from sneaking into your back yard. Make like the debt has actually decreased and everything is Hunky-Dory in the world again. Spin the unemployment figures so that more people are in work, though productivity is back to the 1990s.

..I don't say please. I tell you what you need to do! OK ?

"If you think you can win this election by telling people you kept Scotland in the Union and spending £250 billion pounds on a train track that rips through Tory shire gardens .. well lots of luck!"

"Gentlemen..I'm here to help. But if my help isn't appreciated.."

"Hey ..hey .. Mr ain't like that," George says quickly..trying to mollify the Wolfman.

Dave is chastened .."Mr Wolfey..your help is definitely appreciated..Its just I don't like people barking orders at me..that's all.. I'm the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom."

Lynton has another sip of the fine coffee

"Well if you hadn't raised taxes on your voter base, " he says, " spent more cash than a whole cabinet of Brown's. Angered teachers and infuriated the medical profession with a top down reorganisation.. whilst going back on an EU referendum pledge, allowing the whole immigration issue to become such a massive problem, 45% top rate of tax on basic earnings and a cap on child benefit..You wouldn't need my help, would you?"

"If I'm curt with you, its because time is a factor. There is an election in four months and you are nine points behind where you need to be. I need to hurry you because we have only weeks to do things you should have been planning for..not wishing for .. years ago.
So I talk fast. And if you guys want a way out of this mess you've made, you need to act fast..So Prime Minister..Please..With sugar on top ....clean your f##ng act up."

BBC Question Time Compo.

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Eastleigh in Hampshire. Panellists include Conservative employment minister Esther McVey, Labour's Diane Abbott, deputy leader of UKIP Paul Nuttall, former president of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron and editor of The Independent Amol Rajan.

BQ believes:
1. Obama + Dave -A fine bromance. Did the PM get all he wanted from the Golden Child?
2. Leon is dead . Tinfoil sold out across the nation. A brief tribute question..morphing into a Simon Danzuk conspiracy. {Danzuk has said if T.May had just got on with this inquiry, then the key witness would have given evidence , and not be dead. .. He forgets it was him that called for two changes of people to head the inquiry...He's as much to blame, himself.}
3. Chill-clot. |what is going on? Why is it such an issue for so long? Woodward {of |Woodward and Bernstein fame}  has already written THREE, 1000+ page books, all about the lead up to the Iraq war. These are factual books with every existing email, post-it note, back-of-the envelope evidence examined in excruciating detail. They are so detailed they are really just too tedious to read. But if you want to know who said what, to whom, about what,on which day, and who was copied in..its all in there. And they been available for years. I read all the Blair bits. 
Its exactly what you already thought.
4. SNP, balance of power..devolution..we will stop privatisation..etc.
5. That invoice to a schoolkid. Pay for the party you didn't attend. Well done parents. Alienated, embarrassed and emotionally scared your offspring, plus given yourself even more factions to avoid at the school gate.All for £15.

1 or 2 points for each correct question asked. Depending on how close to the actual wording.
5 points for guessing the colour/design of  the Dimbleby tie.

 2 points for nearest match if no outright winner
1 point for each witty comment/excessive punning/ lampoon/mock/clever theme  that you put into the comments
1 point for the first entrant each week 
1 point for random other reasons

League Table 2015 

Hopper -1
Blue Eyes - 1
Charity Shield winner - Malcolm Tucker.

EU take the money as Cameron's lies get found out on UK Budget deficit

The Public Borrowing numbers for the UK in December are grim. Instead of the forecast £10 billion of borrowing ( a mere £333 million a day, natch) the actual number has come out at £13 billion.

Oh dear, so far, so bad. Except that £2.9 million is the EU payment made because we have a strong economy of drug dealers and hookers (I knew there was something positive driving all this immigration!).

This is the announcement when made last year that Cameron and Osborne led them to protesting too much that the UK would 'never pay' and it was 'unacceptable.' Everyone else pointed that as a member we had to pay, so we would.

And Lo, we have.

It's a sad end to the Coalition that after 5 years of Government they have averaged only a 1% reduction in the deficit a year and increased payments to the EU.

Nil points.