Sunday, 28 February 2010

Better The Devil You Know

Mark Twain said that 'The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated' when a newspaper mixed him up with a dying relative and the Labour Party could do worse than to adopt this as there new slogan because the red flag may not be flying, but it's certainly fluttering gently in the breeze.
A few short months ago it was the Conservative Party 15% ahead in all the polls, the Murdoch Press had abandoned Labour and we were preparing for a Tory Government and the burial of the Labour Party.
Today, a YouGov survey for The Sunday Times gives the Conservatives a 2% lead so where did it all go wrong for David Cameron that he is seemingly finding it so difficult to bury such an unpopular Government?
One of the reasons was touched upon in December with Gordon Brown's comment that the Conservatives idea for Inheritance Tax was ‘dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton'.
The Conservatives predictably slated Brown for bringing class into it but it seems that evoking the privileged background of senior Tories, when they are attempting to form a connection to the 99.99% of the country who were not schooled in Oxbridge, struck a chord with the electorate.
Cameron argued that 'What people are interested in is not where you come from but where you're going to' and that shows a strong lack of knowledge of the people he is asking to vote him into power because where you come from is very important in class divided Britain.
The photograph of Cameron in the top hat and tails of the Bullingdon Club where membership is by invitation only and reserved only for the wealthiest Oxford students was the first of the drip drip of revelations that Cameron was 'a toff'.
His party members were embroiled in the expenses scandal with claims for 'moat cleaning' and 'tennis court maintenance' and Conservatives MP, Anthony Steen, ranting that he was disliked because of jealousy over his 'very, very large house. Some people say it looks like Balmoral'.
It is hard to connect with voters who don't have moats, tennis courts or homes like Balmarol and that is why David Cameron and his Party are sweating over how they have been pegged back by a party that has a track record that includes Afghanistan, Iraq, the expenses scandal, 10% tax rate debacle, billion pound payouts to the financial markets, the non-referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty, the worst recession since the 1930s and a leader outed as a bully.
It seems that possibly the British electorate are taking the view of better the inept devil you know than the posh one that you don't.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Pompey In Administration

Along with Charles Dickens, Peter Sellers and brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens, i hail from Portsmouth and
although i haven't been to Fratton Park for many years, i do have a soft spot for my hometown team.
After years in the lower leagues, we suddenly burst forth, won the FA Cup and had a team full of International stars. And then the wheels fell off and today Pompey became the first team in the World's richest top football tier to go into administration with debts in the region of £70m.
Docked nine points and with relegation almost guaranteed, angry fans are obviously looking for someone to blame and a few people have been put forward as the reason why Pompey are in such a mess.
Hard to point the finger of blame at the Inland Revenue who are owed £18m in taxes and were the main people pushing for Portsmouth's comeuppance. We all have to pay taxes and i'm happy to see that they go after the big fish with as much vigour as they do with everyone else.
Some have blamed the players for pocketing such exorbitant wages but who would turn down such crazy wages if they were being offered?
Others are blaming the FA for not checking out the finances of the two Arabs who took over the club closely enough but then these are the same fans bawling at the FA in the summer for not giving them the necessary clearance quick enough when they thought they were loaded and wanted to sign more players.
For me the blame lays at the feet of two men, former manager Harry Redknapp and former owner Sacha Gaydamak.
It was Redknapp who signed the players on such wages the club could not sustain and Gayadamak who continually gave him the nod until the outgoings became too painful for his pockets and he withdrew his support leaving the club with a sky-high wage bill that sent it spiralling downwards.
Both knew they had created a monster between them and Redknapp, knowing what was coming, quickly distanced himself from the carnage by jumping ship to White Hart Lane.
True, he did win Pompey it's first trophy since the 1940s and under him Pompey fans lived the dream for a couple of seasons but as usual, it wasn't until later that it was discovered that they did it by selling Portsmouth's long term future.
If you Pompey fans want anyone to blame, you will find him sat in the dug-out at Tottenham's ground.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Winter Olympics Highlight

From the bits i have seen, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver have been quite disappointing for us Brits.
We won a gold medal in the ladies Skeleton but our medal bag is as empty as Ashley Cole's underpants if the rumours of Mr Cole's equipment are to be believed.
Being a virtually snow-less island, Britain was always going to be nearer the bottom of the Medal Table than the top and it looks as though Australia are going to finish above us which is galling.
As we suck at these snow events, we have looked for other ways to entertain ourselves while the countries with the unfair advantage of having mountain ranges carve up the medals among themselves.
One good old fashioned British past-time is making fun of Johnny Foreigners names and once again it is our Germanic cousins who have cheered us Brits up after watching our two man toboggan slide down the track on it's side.
Footballer Stefan Kuntz has a place in British folklore just by the virtue of his name being daringly close to the name we call Manchester United supporters but even he has been surpassed by the German Ski jumper with the gloriously naughty name, Andreas Wank.
Yes it is childish and immature and we should know better but if Germans are going to give themselves surnames like A. Wank, it would be rude not to cackle like drains when the commentator says things like 'The next German up is A Wank'.
Great stuff.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Daily Mail Upsetting The Canadians

My Canadian colleague is one of the nicest, unflappable people you could wish to meet but something has him riled and it's strange seeing a riled Canadian. It's a bit like seeing a laughing German or a sober Australian, very rare indeed.
It seems that the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, has been having a pop at the Canucks for being bad Olympic hosts, cheating and criticising its role in the death of the 21-year-old Georgian luger.
The maple syrup was almost spat in anger as the Canadians stopped clubbing baby seals for a while to register their displeasure at the British media, and us Brits in general, at the Olympic Fanhouse website. Comments included:

'Why don't they pay more attention to the elected officials who are being charged criminally instead of worrying about the Canadian Olympics'

'This story coming from a country that tried to conquer the whole world !!!!'

'I must be bored. Why do we care what they think? I don't hate Brit's. I just feel better when they're not around'.

'The UK press better have a stiff upper lip in 2 years, I hope their games go off without a hitch'

'I think its just a case of the brits being jealous that we dumped the comonweath and gave up on the queen and that upsets them'

All eyes are on Canada now because of the Olympics and this is bothering the Brits. They are simply cold hearted people who are JEALOUS. At least, we smile and greet people, not like them who are anti-social morons'

'Sour grapes from the underacheiving motherland!'

'you bloody brits are so full of sh--. keep your damn negative comments to yourself'

'I didn't see any Brit lugers...what wrong no guts as usual'

Why are we surprised? The Brits, by nature are inward looking hooligans who have been deprived of all their colonies. Their national soccer team sucks, can't play hockey, unemployment is sky rocketting, dishonest ministers are claiming expenses on houses they have no mortgaged on, London is getting filtier with each passing year, need I say more??'

'And in this particular instance, since when has England been such an authority or power house when it comes to winter sports? Oh's that stupid stick-up-the-butt accent that I suppose gives them the right to look down their nose at everyone else and spout criticism, isn't it?'

'Bloody Brits criticize everyone and think they are better than everyone'

'why dont you strap on skates to some of these big bad football and rugby pussies and see how they make out with our boys!'

'Who needs the Idiot Brits, a once mighty nation reduced to nothing. I say abolish the Gov General and any ties to the Queen, and Full speed ahead Canada'

'It's obvious I'm not the only Canadian who's had the privilege of experiencing the holier-than-thou English attitude'

'So-called "Great" Britain went down the tubes years ago and is now bordering on third-world status with crime, government corruption, completely idiotic local "councils", "justice" system, etc, etc'.

Well done to the Daily Mail, not only have you managed to tick off one of the few countries left who tolerated us but now i have to share an office with a grumpy Canadian stomping around at work in a brightly coloured shirt like some sort of miserable faced pelican crossing making fun of my stick-up-the-butt accent.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Defending The Falklands

When you claim a land 8000 miles away from your capital, to my mind your claim is on shaky ground not that it ever stopped the British empire in it's pomp. India? Kenya? New Zealand? All part of Britain old boy.
Now it seems that the British and the Argentinians are arguing over the Falkland Islands again with the tabloids getting so excited by the prospect of a re-run of the 1982 Falklands conflict between us, that they have taken to comparing the military capabilities of us both and drafting in military experts to dissect how they think any conflict will pan out. God Save the Queen and a resounding spanking for the Argies of course.
As long as i can remember, the Falklands has been a source of irritation between Britain and the Argentinians with the Buenos Aires Government regularly bringing up the subject in the United Nations to negotiate the sovereignty issue which Britain stonewall despite UN Resolutions that compel Downing Street to chat things over.
So why is Britain so keen to keep a tiny island of the coast of South America? Give yourself half a point if you said the estimated 60bn barrels of oil in the seas around the Islands.
Britain is due to start drilling and the Argentinian Government declared that it was taking control of all shipping between its coastline and the disputed islands, and duly detained a supply ship which was transporting pipes to the islands from an Argentinian port.
Not that the 60bn barrels is the main reason for Britain's wish to keep the Union Flag fying in the Falklands, the big prize is the 386,000 square miles of Antarctic seabed that we can claim because of our sovereign rights of a small part of that particular geographical shelf. Virgin Antarctic seabed just ripe for oil and gas exploration.
The Government will make a big play of the 170 plus years of British history on the Island and the 255 who died in the 1982 war but if this current disagreement escalates, it will be as much about doing the right thing for the Islanders as Iraq was about weapons of mass destruction.

More Cheetah Than Tiger

Tiger Woods has apologised for his indiscretions in preposterous scenes that couldn't have been more contrived for the cameras if it had featured him surrounded by sick children from the local hospital.
It pulled off the impressive trick of being both hilarious and toe-curlingly awful at the same time.
Hilarious because it was such an obviously desperate attempt by Woods public relations team to woo back the sponsors and get the Woods brand money making machine back in business and toe-curlingly awful because it ticked every box on the 'How do i get out of this mess' list.
With a delivery as wooden as the tree he drove into that night as his wife tried to wrap a 9 iron around his neck, he liberally sprinkled around apologises to all the right people (except the women he slept with i noticed), managed to sneak in a paragraph concerning his return to matters of religion, (to keep the bible holding clan happy) and managed to put the blame for sticking his penis into 14 women who were not his wife on an 'addiction'.
I imagine some people will buy into the Woods apology, especially the sponsors who will be hoping that this sort of confessional speech which seems to go down well in the States will wipe his slate clean and they can get back to paying him more for wearing a hat or a t-shirt than they pay the entire workforce in the countries that produce them.
The truth is that the only thing Woods is sorry about is that he got caught and it is almost a guarantee that if his wife had not found out about his affairs that night, he would still be at it now and he wouldn't be returning to Buddhism, seeking the forgiveness of his family or seeking help for his sex addiction, or cheating on your wife as it's called when someone non-famous does it.
I imagine Ashley Cole may be taking careful notes though while Cheryl is hopefully practising her golf club swing.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Civilian Deaths In Helmand

Operation Moshtarak in Helmand, Afghanistan does seem to have a certain air of 'let's do on a larger scale what hasn't been working for the past nine years' about it.
The objective seems to be to clear the city of Taliban fighters which seems to have been a success. NATO forces telephoned ahead there intention to invade Marjah and Nad Ali, hoping that the Taliban would turn tail and run, which means the amount of actual fighting our troops have to do is minimal.
A happy offshoot of this, and i don't believe for a second that this was the main objective, that was to keep the number of US and UK fatalities down, is that the risk to civilians in these areas is reduced.
Despite this, we still managed to mistake five civilians for insurgents on day 1 and then launch a couple of rockets into a civilian home killing the 12 sheltering inside.
An original NATO statement said the rockets that destroyed the house landed 300 metres off target before changing it to the rockets were actually aimed at the house.
A spokesman said 'In any conflict situation accidents happen and we must remember that most of the civilian casualties are not caused by Isaf – they are caused by the Taliban.'
Well this one wasn't, it was caused by either yet another terrible accident which resulted in us killing the wrong people or complete ineptitude on behalf of the attacking forces.
The Government may be wringing their hands over the 4 British deaths so far but it seems a glib apology and a nifty shift of the blame onto the Taliban for our killing of 17 civilians is all we need to resolve our guilt.
You don't win hearts and minds by killing the very people you are stating to defend. If they don't begin taking a bit more care the idea of them being defenders or liberators of Helmand will be as shot full of holes as an Afghan house after a visit by NATO.

Monday, 15 February 2010


Blitzkrieg Bop - Ramones, White Riot - The Clash, New Rose - The Damned, Teenage Kicks - The Undertones, Ever Fallen In Love - Buzzcocks, The Sound Of The Suburbs - The Members, Babylon's Burning - The Ruts, If The Kids Are United - Sham 69, Alternative Ulster - Stiff Little Fingers, Into the Valley - The Skids, Anarchy in the UK - Sex Pistols.

The 1970's gave us some great bands and some great songs. It was also responsible for some of the worst and led us straight into the New Wave post-punk mess but there are two songs from that decade that stand out for me as pretty much perfect.
Teenage Kicks by The Undertones is probably the best 2 minutes and 20 seconds you could ever spend in front of a music speaker but running it close is My Sharona by The Knack.
The Knack lead singer, Doug Fieger, died yesterday but the silver lining, if there is one, is that the brilliant song is due some air play today and which was greeted by the not very graceful sight of a 40 year old woman with the radio turned up to 10, playing the drums on the steering wheel and screaming 'I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind' as she drove along the motorway this evening.
Shamefully, the radio and music television guys only ever play the short version and not the full 5 minutes which contains an awesome guitar solo which rivals anything the great Slash has pulled off.
I don't know what the Knack went on to do afterwards, not very much from what i can see, and Doug Fieger fell into the drink and drugs that has destroyed so many musicians but he wrote one of the classics songs of of all time. Hard to find a song with a great riff, great drum beat and a cool bass line even if the lyrics are a bit worrying.
Instead of RIP on his headstone, it should just say ''.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Solving The Piigs Crisis

Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain have become known as the PIIGS and are all on the verge of going bankrupt. Being countries of the Eurozone, they are threatening to drag the other 11 European countries who use the Euro over the precipice with them and are looking towards Germany and France to dig deep into their pockets and bail them out. Needless to say, the Germans are choking on their saurkraut at the thought so as usual its down to me to come up with a solution and i have the perfect answer where the Greek fat ladies can sit back down.
Let's go back to 1867 and find a financially challenged Russia hocking around 586,412 square miles of its land to the highest bidder, which turned out to be the Americans. A cheque for $7.2m and America had another star to add to it's flag and a lost opportunity to condemn Sarah Palin to the Russian Parliament 140 years later.
Using this as a precedent, the solution is for the five bankrupt countries to call in the Estate Agents and put up the For Sale signs.
France is ideally placed to snap up Spain and Portugal and hoist the tri-colour along the entire West side of Europe.
Ireland could become part of Britain and Italy would be absorbed into Germany. Not sure what would happen to Greece unless America fancy having a state on the mediterainian coast.
It would play havoc with the Eurovision song contest but everyones a winner. Some countries get to expand without going down the usual route of killing each other with a war to do it (looking at you Germany) and the five bankrupt countries become part of a wealthier countries thriving economy.
Of course the Spanish and Portugese would have to become French, the Italians German and the Irish British but the Iberians would gain a decent national anthem, the Italians would get reliable cars and the citizens of the Emerald Isles a chance to get rid of that association with icky green.
As the originator of the idea, i get 10% of any sale so we just have to agree a price now, exchange the contracts and then gazump all of you by selling the whole lot to China. Cha-ching.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

2010 Winter Olympics

I've always thought that Ski Instructor was a money for old rope kinda job. After you have shown someone how to put on the ski's, you plonk them on top of a snowy slope and let gravity do the rest. Granted, there is a bit more to it like stopping again but that's covered in the 10 minute slot after lunch. All the hard work of the actual skiing bit is done by friction (or the lack thereof) and gravity.
Obviously some people are better at it than others and these are the ones who will be turning up in Vancouver tomorrow when the 2010 Winter Olympics get underway.
With gravity being present as a given, the only other ingredient is snow and providing the white stuff in the midst of a Canadian winter ought to be relatively straight forward. Or so you would think but due to an unseasonal mild winter in the South West of Canada, organisers are having to improvise.
They have tried airlifting snow by helicopter, hauling it by the lorryload from miles away and shooting ice and water out of a snow cannon and are confident that it everything will work out in the end and we can only hope so because how will we otherwise see what we all secretly want to see. People falling over.
We can pretend to admire the faultless lines and the way the participants glide graciously around the slalom gates but really, we are just waiting for them to lose it and come to a thundering stop in a billow of snow.
Considering we are 8 hours in front of Vancouver, us on this side of the Hemisphere should get to see quite a bit of the Games in the evening with a few late nights if we want to see the people on tea trays that is the Luge or Skeleton.
The drawback is that Germany topped the medals table last time and Australia finished above us but on the plus side Canada might enjoy hosting the Winter Olympics so much that they offer to take the 2012 Summer one off our hands. There's still time Canadians, make us an offer.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Why Emigrate?

A poll, in today's Times newspaper, states that 42% of Britain's would emigrate if the chance came up.
That is a large percentage of the population clambering aboard planes and ships and waving goodbye with the most popular destinations being France, Spain, USA, Australia and Switzerland.
I plan to up-sticks and emigrate when i retire or lose my job due to an incident possibly involving my size fives and a department heads delicates and my first choice would be Sweden but i would give France and Canada serious consideration.
Hot countries like Spain and Australia i would give a wide berth to, i whinge about a British summer so would turn into a basket case in places that have thermometers where the mercury regularly goes above 30C.
Although we all moan about Britain, and it has many faults, there is much i would miss about the place.
I love the unreliable weather and the way you can get all 4 seasons in one day. This morning i left for work in rain, went out lunchtime in snow and drove home this evening in brilliant sunshine. Where else can you get that?
I love the British sense of humour. I haven't managed to find any other country where they laugh at the same things that makes us Brits laugh. We make jokes about ourselves, about everyone else and even tragedy.
Within minutes of a celebrity dying, we are sending each other jokes. Princess Diana jokes were being repeated before most people even knew she had died. Comedians such as Sean Lock or Jimmy Carr could only ever be a success in Britain, they would be lynched anywhere else.
I love the way we play down everything. If someone does something good we are the first to applaud them. The next time they mention it we collectively tell them to stop showing off. Drive a big car? Show off. Boast about how much you earn? Tosser. Bragging about your qualifications? Ooo, get her. As Shania Twain almost said, that don't impress us much.
I love our multi-culturism and the way we have absorbed other nations ideas and cultures into our own. I like it that religion is politely ignored and that our policemen don't carry guns.
There is much wrong that needs to be addressed but there is so much more that i would miss about Britain that you just wouldn't experience anywhere else.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Financial Assured Destruction

When i was growing up, we had the Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine which meant that the Soviets and Americans would effectively annihilate each other in the event of a nuclear war, therefore assuring that both kept their most potent weapons pointed at each other but safely stored in their silos. It also kept each other from dominating on the World stage.
With the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the threat dissolved and America went on to aggressively push its agenda across the globe for the next 15 or so years but now it finds itself being stared down by a country with a very different sort of threat.
In a relatively short space of time, China has rapidly strengthened and is becoming a serious block on American global hegemony.
China scuppered the Copenhagen climate change meeting, is refusing to even entertain Obamas lectures over their currency and has taken a firm oppositional stand against US policies on Iran. America, in return, has recently sold $6 billion worth of Patriot anti-missile systems, helicopters, mine-sweeping ships and communications equipment to Taiwan.
Starting from such a long way back, China is far behind America economically and militarily although it is gaining fast but the main hold it has over the US is the amount of US debt it holds. If it dumped the US treasury bonds and shares, China could trigger a collapse of the dollar, world markets, and cause another global recession which it showed recently, only slowed its economy as everyone else's fell through the floor.
If it did collapse the American economic system, it would harm itself as it is not strong enough yet to survive without exports to America, its top trade partner.
So the US and China find themselves in a financial case of MAD. Both with the ability to crash each others economy as China would suffer without US exports and the US is dependent upon China buying its debt.
Interesting times ahead as the US and Chinese compete and begin to knock up against each other in other realms. Americas free run as unchallenged global top dog seems to have come to an end.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Chelsea Thug Out, Man Utd Thug In

Husband, father and Chelsea defender, John Terry, has been dropped as England football captain following the revelations of his affair and the subsequent impregnation, abortion and secrecy contracts with the former partner of his England team-mate and best friend. Whether Terry's wife will drop him is not yet clear but the hardest decision England manager Fabio Capello must have had to make was which paragon of virtue in the side was he going to hand the captaincy to now if 'off-field' misadventures bar a player from the position.
The Italian's choice was Rio Ferdinand who only served a eight month ban and £50,000 fine for failing to take a drugs test, a year long ban for drink driving and the starring role in a group-sex video.
Frank Lampard may have come in for consideration, after all his misdemeanours just include the small matter of appearing in the aforementioned video with Ferdinand, drunkenly mocking American tourists about 9/11 at Heathrow Airport the day after the event (along with John Terry) and being arrested for a nightclub brawl (which also involved John Terry) and resulted in a doorman being injured.
Ashley Cole is another England stalwart who must have come close to being handed the captains armband, it's unlikely that he's adventures with a hairdresser in the back of her car (stopping only to vomit apparently) soon after his wedding to Cheryl would be a negative factor.
There is always Wayne Rooney to consider, i distinctly recall the 52 year old PVC clad mother of 7 (and grandmother to a further 16) he visited in a Liverpool brothel saying he had lots of energy.
Glen Johnson is another choice with only a shoplifting charge for stealing bathroom accessories from B&Q against his good name.
Another obvious option would be David Beckham who after his move to Real Madrid, hired Rebecca Loos as his 'Personal Assistant' who assisted him no end during their four month affair.
If none of the older members are acceptable, how about the next generation of footballer, players like Micah Richards who used his phone to record himself and his friend having sex with a girl and which was on the mobile phones of all of his friends and most of his Manchester City team-mates within hours.
Such a shame Sven Goran Erickson isn't the manager anymore, if he had spent as much time on the job as he spent on the job when his girlfriend wasn't looking, we would have won everything in sight.
What a fine example the professional footballers are when they represent the Queen and country.
Actually, considering what the Royal family have got up to over the years, footballers are rank amateurs compared to them.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Full Marxs For Karl

If you walk through London's Highgate Cemetery and listen carefully, you can hear the faint sound of laughter coming from the grave of it's most famous resident.
The world financial system is in meltdown, the Governments are taking a controlling stake in the banks and are considering renationlising the utilities companies while people are contemplating putting their money in tins or under the mattress. Banker is the most hated profession and financial institutions collapse with the money makers losing their positions while the workers are losing their properties.
Could it be that Karl Marx's had been on to something?
His basic point was that capitalism is awful. He predicted that the workers would be exploited and the capitalists would get rich at their expense. The good news was that it would collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions.
Can't argue with his assessment so far, he certainly had Capitalism's number with the call that it was prone to crisis. It is exploitative (seen any of your utility bills recently?) and unstable with regular crashes that see's millions thrown onto the unemployment lines while making many homeless when it all goes wrong, as it has consistently down the decades with calamitous results.
The irony is, as we have seen, that only the Governments are big enough to intervene and sort the mess out by taking control and sidelining the capitalists who made the mess in the first place.
We should recognise that a phase of this particular flawed system has passed and we must think of another one or forever repeat the cycle because it is collapsing under its own weight.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

HM Revenue & Cockups

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs spent £140 million on a new computer system last year and according to the Chartered Institute of Taxation, has promptly issued 25 million coding notices with "a significant proportion of these wrong".
The result is that the significant proportion of us will be paying too much tax to the Government for the next year.
Former jobs, already repaid underpayments from past years and old penalties have been re-introduced to this years code reducing the amount we can earn before being taxed as well as at the wrong rate and people alive and well wrongly being marked as deceased on their tax records.
Shambles doesn't begin to describe it but it seems that apart from a couple of short paragraphs on the HMRC website, far from publicising the problems, HMRC denies anything is seriously awry.
The onus, it seems, is being firmly placed on the taxpayer to check their code and ring up HMRC to get it looked at.
I don't know how many of us 25 million understand our complex tax system, but unless it comes with diagrams and an idiots guide, they may as well send me a page full of hieroglyphics as it would make as much sense.
I'm fortunate enough to have an Agent take care of all things tax for me but i'd confidently state that a good proportion of the 25m affected don't and will face hunting one down at their own expense to sort it out or face an hour on the phone on hold while the already stretched HMRC Contact Centre staff work there way through the deluge of calls.
I'm no IT expert but shouldn't all this have been thoroughly tested before it was introduced so monumental mistakes like this didn't happen to such an important and vital system? They spent millions on an advertising campaign to warn us of the penalties if we didn't send in our Tax Returns before the 31st January deadline so it's about time they dipped back into their pocket and made this more widely known.
Of course, if they did this it would be advertising their incompetence as well but as they are the same people who 'lost' 25 million child benefit records and 6500 pensioner details over the last few years, their incompetence is already widely known.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Fight climate change, Join Al Queada

As a vegetarian, it has been mentioned to me on more than a few occasions that Adolf Hitler was also a keen vegetarian. Whether these people expect me to then unveil a swastika armband and goose step around their lounge i have not worked out but the assumption is that all if Hitler was evil, then vegetarians in general
are evil also.
The same goes for Al Gore and his green credentials with his warnings of environmental disaster unless we switch to low energy light bulbs while living in a mansion with the carbon footprint of a small city.
What we need is a spokesman for our cause with watertight eco credentials. Someone who lives in a cave perhaps and doesn't drive or fly or even get out much.
Hang about, who is this green warrior looming into sight berating someone for leaving the RPG launcher on stand by? Jimmidy Christmas, it's only Al Queada head honcho Osama Bin Laden.
In a new audiotape that surfaced this weekend, bin Laden pronounced himself a climate change supporter and blames the industrialised economies for failing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the atmosphere.
'Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury — the phenomenon is an actual fact' he says while probably changing the bulbs in his cave to low wattage energy savers. 'All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis.'
You know the right wing are backwards when even a murderous psychopath who has been living in a cave for the best part of a decade has more enlightened scientific views than them but i'm not sure Bin Laden has the image we are aiming for.
It's not that we don't appreciate the effort Mr Laden, but don't call us, we'll call you.