Friday, March 25, 2011

The budget for growth

Fuel in the tank? Yeah brilliant...1p cut on fuel coming after a 3p rice caused by VAT. Blithering on about simplifying things. Waffle, waffle, waffle. At the end of the day the only figures that matter are the growth forecast...downgraded again. Osborne & Cameron look like Canutes standing against the tide announcing things are okay.

The fact is that this ridiculous, reckless austerity is just killing things. We'd had a solid year of growth and now, before the cuts have even began to bite the economy is totally stalled.

Why take on the debt in one parliament? It's just ideology and ego.

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have done superbly well in debunking the smoke and mirrors. I know there was very little Osborne could do but it seems clear to me that the Coalition are out of their depth, they bang on about the country's "credit card" or how "every housewife knows". We need a bolder more measured approach, instead we get this blind adherence to their small-government agenda and the devil take the hindmost.

John Maynard Keynes is probably a name Osborne has never heard of but people need to know that the country is functioning, dismantling the public sector, scrapping things like the EMA and raising VAT just tell everyone to batten down the hatches and wait for everything to blow over. Stagflation and mass unemployment loom large.

"It's hurting but it's not working"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Early April Fool? Republicans want to cut off food stamps if someone goes on strike

Wow, that is just despicable :

Now, a group of House Republicans is launching a new stealth attack against union workers. GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Tim Scott (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Dan Burton (IN), and Louie Gohmert (TX) have introduced H.R. 1135, which states that it is designed to “provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs.”

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer.

Read more here and thanks to NatalieDzerins for the heads-up

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Itchy Bees break their million month losing streak

Can't really go wrong on a night when you to the pub through fairly ruralish roads and hear owls hooting all the way and see two shooting stars.

Did really well at a tough Victoria Pub Quiz and WON....ain't in ages so nice to get on on the board. Stu, Anne, Ian and Steph but no Tina and Tony due to (God spares us) imminent baby arrival.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Frank Green art exhibition at Liverpool Art Academy

Went to see an exhibition of Frank Green paintings last night at the Liverpool Art Academy, Seel St in Liverpool.

Am pretty sure there must a be a good percentage of home in Liverpool that have a Frank Green print in there as he specialises in the areas of Liverpool making way redevelopment.

Some superb ones in the collection and a lot more styles and subjects than you generally associate with him. Well worth a look if you are around town in the next few weeks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seriously have been listening to the same guitar solo for 20 mniutes

If there is a finer pub in Liverpool than the Swan let me know. It is definitely one of the best.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

England get out of jail in the cricket world cup again!

Another stuttering Cricket World Cup performance from a completely over-cooked England team leading to another nail-biting and highly unlikely win snatched from the jaws of defeat.

Tragedy in Japan

The daily news updates from Japan are just getting more and more horrible.

So sad as between Japan and New Zealand they my favourite places on earth.

Deforestation map by WorldMapper

Do love this site...always something interesting

Forests and Deforestion

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Geoff Hurst scores whilst a meatball looks on

Can't believe I've never noticed this before. The referee in the 1966 World Cup Final clearly has a meatball for a head.

Perhaps that's actually what Kenneth Wolstenholme was saying "Some meatballs are on the pitch, they think it's all over..."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

David Cameron playing to the galleries AGAIN

Good old David Mitchell for laying bare the bonkersness of David Cameron's pathetic showboating over public services

That's precisely what David Cameron thinks about government. He simply can't understand what all the guys in headsets – the civil service – are up to. And he says it's not just him they're annoying – they're pushing past or obstructing the whole private sector. In an extraordinary speech to the Conservatives' spring conference last weekend, he called them the "enemies of enterprise". To him, they're the Klingons.

He said he was "taking on… the bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible for small firms". On the face of it, this is simple crowd-pleasing stuff. It's easy to slag off the faceless bureaucrats, who supposedly waste our time and money with all their stupid rules. It's convenient to forget that bureaucrats, or civil servants as they're called when they're not being victimised, don't actually make rules, they just enforce them. Maybe, sometimes, they enforce them officiously. Maybe, sometimes, the processes they "concoct" for enforcing them are unnecessarily time-consuming. Maybe fewer of them could enforce the rules just as effectively. But they don't make the rules, Parliament does.

In seeking to blame the civil service for the rules as well as their enforcement, I think this speech is more sinister than Cameron's usual second-rate demagogy and I'm surprised it didn't attract greater attention. To me, these remarks are just as damaging as the prime minister's disparagement of multiculturalism, which rightly drew criticism, and a truer reflection of his political standpoint. Here he's breaking new ground for his evidence-averse Thatcherite ideological crusade.

The whole premise of this government, of its NHS policy, of the "big society", of the "free schools" initiative is that the public sector sucks. The private sector, according to the Tories, beats it for efficiency every time, can be just as compassionate and, at the top, "rewards enterprise". Meanwhile the top of the public sector merely "pays people more than the prime minister".

But in this speech Cameron takes the argument further. By labelling civil servants as enemies of business, he's trying to make them responsible, not just for the failings of the public sector, but also those of the private: "Every regulator, every official, every bureaucrat in government has got to understand that we cannot afford to keep loading costs on to business," he says. "If I have to pull these people into my office to argue this out myself and get them off the backs of business then believe me, I will do it."

He's always said that, when the state wastes money, it's because of the bureaucrats. Now he's also saying that, if private enterprise fails to grow, prosper or fill the gap that shrinking government creates, that's not a flaw in George Osborne's economic policy, that, too, is because of the bureaucrats. In short, whatever goes wrong is the bureaucrats' fault.

If he can get this to stick, it's a masterstroke. It's what Mao was doing when he declared war on sparrows or intellectuals. In difficult times, deft powermongers deliver up whipping boys for the disgruntled. By picking on civil servants, Cameron has made an excellent choice: they work for him, so it's hard for them to complain; they enforce government policies so if policies fail, he can blame the enforcement; yet if they succeed, he can keep the credit.

As a policy, however, it's meaningless. He can't act separately from bureaucrats, he has to act through them. Everything he does – every transparency initiative, every "big society" clarification document, every restructuring of the NHS or the welfare system, creates work for bureaucrats. He also said in the speech: "There's only one strategy for growth we can have now and that is rolling up our sleeves and doing everything possible to make it easier for businesses to grow", without acknowledging that it's the bureaucrats' sleeves he's talking about, not his own or those of his party faithful.

Cameron also doesn't realise, or is wilfully ignoring, how important our large and basically effective bureaucracy is to our place in the front rank of free nations. Without the civil service, acts of Parliament are only words and elections just millions of little slips of paper, like they are in Afghanistan. Civil servants don't merely oil the wheels, they're the axles that join them. Without them David Cameron and his policies would be no more a government than Ian Hislop sitting in a field being sarcastic would be an episode of Have I Got News For You.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Arteta tears his hamstring

It can only be assumed that the Everton team bus must have ran over a unicorn at some stage of pre-season. We just can't get a break this season at all, there have been some abject capitulations but the injury situation is just becoming ridiculous. Cahill, Fellaini and now Arteta all out :(

Add to this the refs absolute inability to spot a foul on our players in the box. What do you actually have to do to an Everton player to give away a penalty? Shoot them with a shotgun? Ritual sacrifice? Nuclear attack?

And whilst I am moaning how is it an advantage to Everton if we are surging forward, get fouled then scramble back possession ten yards back facing our own goal and under pressure?


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Giving up crisps for Lent tomorrow

So this will be my last bag for six weeks. Have give up beer and chocolate without a problem but crisps and tea are soooo tough.

As well as the giving up I also keep a Lentern swearbox so self improvement all round lol

Do love hearing about what other people are doing and sharing the collective challenge. The sense of community it really nice. Makes for a great preparation for Easter.

Friday, March 04, 2011

By-Election : Oldham and now Barnsley send the coalition a message

So now the Lib Dems have been beaten back into 6th place in the Barnsley Central by-election. This is after the Lib Dem vote was blatantly propped up by Cameron virtually ordering tactical voting (and causing the Tory vote to collapse there).


It is now up to Clegg and Cameron to take heed of the message. People aren’t happy with this ideological dismantling of the welfare state. There is a huge amount of saving that has to be found but just destroying the services people rely on (EMA, Surestart, Schools for Future) is just not fair.


The mantra about Labour’s spending is wearing very thin.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Hard work only beats talent when talent doesn't work hard

First of all I am not being churlish about Reading, they deserved to be Everton last night. I along with 1000s of other Evertonians waited until the Everton players had left the field and waited for the Reading players to finish celebrating & start walking back across the pitch solely so we can applaud them. It was actually a nice moment but it briefly masked a massive anger and a huge disappointment over a big opportunity lost for the blues.


Everton just never got going and Reading, from the off, were all over Everton. There was a good period in the first half were we kept the ball for about 15 minutes and you sensed that Reading were clinging by their fingernails but once they’d stabilised and scored they never looked back.


Dumped out of the cup by a lower league team with a plumb quarter final tie beckoning. Win last night and we were 90 minutes from Wembley and everyone who went last time remembers how fantastic a-day that was.


Aside from Osman and maybe Beckford they just didn’t look like they knew how to apply themselves. Players who have been brilliant all season getting taken to the cleaners by opposition they, let’s face it, should beat comfortably.


They never imposed themselves or set a the game went through 80-90 minutes and into injury time Everton never looked like building a head of the steam and laying siege. All credit to Reading...we all knew they deserved to go through, just gutted at the last ray of light in this miserable abomination of a season being snuffed out.