Blog Archives

Why Cameron is wrong

  • Because his ideology is getting in the way of rational thinking and action contingent on circumstances.
  • Because he refuses to admit that without a real strategy for growth, there will be no growth.
  • Because he insists the world economy is in trouble which is simply not true (last time I looked Asia and the Far East were doing fine).
  • Because he suspects he might be wrong, but he doesn’t know what to do about it; he has painted himself into a corner and he can’t find a way out without leaving telltale footprints.
  • Because even if he is right, he has a way of making it feel wrong.

The whole coalition government shebang seems to be predicated on one enormous gamble: cut fast and hard, shrink the state to fit the Tory persuasion and cross your fingers hoping that, in the full term before the next election, unemployment falls and business flourishes to fill the gap. 
It’s a hopelessly optimistic strategy given the fundamental trouble with the European and US economies, the increase in inflation partly as a direct result of the one tax hits all increase in VAT, and the fact that the pound in your pocket is now worth about 80p (pay freezes, inflation again, cost of fuel and knock on costs).

Cameron cut out the bit referring to personal households reducing their own debts in his conference speech the other week, but the fact that he had it in there at all betrays his deep lack of understanding of the hole capitalism has put us all in: people, business and nations.  The whole damn shooting match runs on debt you prat.  Shuffling notional money around so someone, somewhere can cream off the full fat. 

I heard it put very well on the radio a while ago in relation to the Chinese economy, which is doing ok.  The commentator remarked that they had played the capitalist West at its own game, and beat it hands down: by making tat cheaper than we could make our own tat and selling it to us by lending us money we don’t have.

The system is creaking like rackety ship and what we need is some proper intellectual rigour brought to bear on the economy; not half-baked schemes, total inflexibility and antiquated economic policy. I wonder if Ed Miliband can get that creative. On all evidence so far we can be sure Osborne and Cameron cannot.

The culture of capitalism must keep individuals sufficiently dissatisfied that they continue to seek satisfaction from it, but not so dissatisfied that they reject or resist it outright

Dr William Davies

Resist, reject, recycle. Make-do, muddle, mend, & don’t buy crap you don’t need.

Capitalist Consumerism meets Existentialism: what happens this evening?

We are all hoping London will be quiet tonight, but shops in Hackney, Mare Street have been closing early and battening down the hatches just in case. I am sure there will be many more elsewhere.

My particular interest is that my daughters are staying in Hackney with relatives, last night elsewhere near Leyton. My maternal alarm bells have been ringing for 24 hours now, but common sense says if they stay in the house they will be fine. Perhaps it will be no more noisy than a usual summer’s evening in Hackney…

I was noting how many times the word ‘unacceptable’ is being used by the authorities in relation to the London riots; I have now lost count. Their whole tone is too obvious, insulting to the rest of us who can work out the criminality and chaos on our own. We don’t want words, we want to see some action. Balls to the rewarding the criminals line you’ve been peddling Mr Mayor’s Office – your job is to be seen on the streets you are in charge of, with something more creative to say than lofty rhetoric.

There is a line in a book I have been reading by John Macquarrie – it is discussing the human need to have a basic minimum of things for an existence and then from that foundation a human might begin to realise the uniquely human challenge of self-determination, or indeed simply the self. Without the bare minimum humans are put in a constant state of need. Inversely with too much a human being no longer just has things, rather the things have them.

Too much, too little, they both can amount to the same stunting of humanity, most particularly when one is juxtaposed closely with the other. This is not an excuse for what has gone on on the streets of London, but it is a potent ingredient to throw into the bubbling pot of disenfranchised youth who hitherto no-one much cared about as long as they stuck to maiming and killing each other.

Tradescant House, Hackney - I used to live on the 8th floor, far left

Update @ 18.30

Watching the unrest in Hackney on the television now it strikes me that the groups at the north and south end of Mare Street are in different gang territories: the Pembury and the London Fields. A young man I know told me this morning that his old ‘crew’ from Enfield had been touch yesterday telling to come to the hood and do some shopping. The other areas in London that have been affected will have similar gang problems. No-one is mentioning the gang word yet – too loaded and scary for a nice Tory government to address in the middle of the summer holidays. They need to wake up and admit to what is going on: the heart of London communities are being torn out by gangs and gangs step in to fill voids in society. I started the day with my head in hands, I’m going to end it that way.

A reason to be grumpy

One word: George. I have heard some strong language from media pundits about tomorrow’s spending review.

The market wants to see the streets of Whitehall run with blood

This is a ludicrous macro economic experiment that no other country is doing

I don’t know enough about economics to form an opinion either way but it seems clear that growth is key to climbing out of stagnation and as someone said this week “the UK economy is just bumping along on the bottom”. He didn’t say the bottom of what. I suppose if it was Katie Perry’s or Kylie Minogue’s no-one would mind too much. Business wants to grow, but that can surely only be hampered by the upturn in unemployment that these cuts are certainly going to lead to.

I had an overnight theory: that Osborne is a pasty-faced masochist who must have enjoyed some kind of brutal childhood at a particularly jolly public school, but his Wikipedia page says he merely attended some gaff in West London so he probably spent every night tucked up in his own bed with his teddy. Bang goes that theory. Still though, he just gives off this air of half-enjoying the things he’s talked about. Alan Johnson the Shadow Chancellor is a far more avuncular figure. Or, even, bring back Kenneth Clarke. Osborne is cut from the same cloth of previous Tory pantomime villain Chancellors: Nigel Lawson – boooo, Norman Lamont – hisssss.

I don’t think I am going to like the message, I don’t like the messenger and I have realised that he shares a birthday with two ex-boyfriends (23rd May) neither of which had happy outcomes. This relationship is doomed George.

Now if a certain blue-cardiganed colleague and friend is reading this I would just like to say peel yourself off the ceiling because you are The Tory With Heart my darling, and I wish you were in charge x

I don't work with Joan - she shares a birthday with George

Shrinking the State Whilst Telling Us What To Do

One of my come-to-in-the-morning devices, along with tea and biscuit(s), is to listen to the Today Programme. Today I had to turn it over and suffer Aled Jones and then RICHARD MADELEY. My God he is awful. But he is not as awful as listening to any more rhetoric and rot from the Tories. Bring back Chris Evans from holiday now to save what remains of my sanity.  And I am aware that is a bit of a contradiction in terms, but I am desperate not to wake up quivering with rage and shaking my fist.

At least with the radio I am not running the risk of having to look at Gideon “George” Osborne. I can’t bear the sight of him, he looks like a Dickens’ villain. They can’t help themselves these Tory Boy Know-Alls can they? They say they are shrinking the State because there’s too much interference in our lives because of Labour but, you know what, in 13 years I don’t really remember any Labour politician telling me what to read, how many kids to have and what to bloody be like in my own free time.

Meddlesome creatures one and all. Give me some New/Old/Red Ed version of Labour any day over Michael Gove’s book list.

In ONE week they have come out with the following nuggets:

Cameron’s contribution was that we’ve all got to be “doers and go-getters” to make his concept called The Big Society work. This is going to be delivered by people who are on their knees already licking the pavements to survive.

G. Osborne got Jeremy Hunt and a spokesperson to remind us that it is “unfair” that unemployed families are living in Central London on benefits. Yeah right, Kensington & Chelsea has a preponderance of welfare scroungers in residence?  And additionally, that having children was a choice.  The sub-text I take from that is that it is a choice you don’t deserve to make if you don’t have a job.  And if you are single parent the State will somehow sort out the desolate widow from the baby mothers, or the deserted yummy mummy from the feckless Vicky Pollards.

Then, not to be outdone on the Tory prescription for life, the Education Secretary Michael Gove opined “the great tradition of our literature – Dryden, Pope, Swift, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Austen, Dickens and Hardy – should be at the heart of school life”.  Ye Gods – where is Richard Madeley when you need him.  People are only going to read these books if they want to.  It is impossible to force someone to read, and a teacher banging on about it is hardly going to help.  I had to read Jane Austen for O’ Level and I am sure she  is most interesting, what with her witty observations of the time, but I can truly say listening to my headteacher drone on and on out of Pride and Prejudice or somesuch has meant I have avoided all contact with her work since.  Even the films of the books make me want throw a brick at the screen.  Anyway Gove’s speech is in full here, but as was helpfully pointed out by a blog commenter at the Guardian:

Just in case Mr Gove never actually finds his way to an actual copy of the English National Curriculum, he would have found this on pg 71:

The range of literature studied should include: texts that enable pupils to understand the appeal and importance over time of texts from the English literary heritage. This should include works selected from the following pre-twentieth-century writers: Jane Austen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Blake, Charlotte Brontë, Robert Burns, Geoffrey Chaucer, Kate Chopin, John Clare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Eliot, Thomas Gray, Thomas Hardy, John Keats, John Masefield, Christina Rossetti, William Shakespeare (sonnets), Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift, Alfred Lord Tennyson, HG Wells, Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Wordsworth and William Wordsworth

These new Tory values have hardly changed a jot from the Victorian times when “the poor” were divvied up into the “deserving” and the “undeserving”. And Nick Clegg.

*Head in hands*

Osborne & Little wallpaper - I can't

Have it in

The House