Archive for the ‘British News’ Category

More Cheese, David?



A Parent Forgets His Child at a Park/Pub/Shop


From Bigrab I see that David and Samantha Cameron absent-mindedly left their eight year old daughter at the Plough Inn pub.

This does not strike me as unusual or suggestive of bad parenting. I know a good many people who have done similar; some without the excuse that they were with their spouses at the time and thought the other one had the child.

What I find baffling is how the Camerons’ presumed security detail did not notice this.

Unpaid Marshalling at River Pagent


SarahAB writes about reports that marshalling duties at the River Pagent was conducted by unpaid Work Programme ‘volunteers’ who previously were told that they would be paid, only to be told that this pay would be from possible contracts during the Summer Olympics which would be endangered if they declined.

Sarah makes reference to In the Year of the Jubilee by late Victorian social documenter, George Gissing. In 1894, he wrote about the mistreatment and low pay of the wheens of menial workers toiling alongside the River Thames to ensure that Diamond Jubilee celebration went well. Which was precisely the allusion I had been thinking of.

It takes some doing to beat someone else to George Gissing allusions.

To Embarrass One Conservative Party Leader is Unfortunate…


to embarrass the next as well suggests you are a bit of a blabbermouth.

Still, at least no-one would consider mocking the Speaker.

What is the Difference Between Harriet Harman and Eric Joyce?


Only Eric Joyce stood down from a Frontbench position after committing a criminal driving offence. Maybe he had drunk middle-class alcohol.

Lord Young


A moment of public rustication aside, Lord Young has it quite good.

Brown Corduroy Trousers Time in Student Common Rooms


The Daily Telgraph has a series of rather good quality photographs of student riotors at the Millbank Tower in London, including possibly the tit who lobbed a fire extinguisher off the roof.

Anyone recognize them?

Increasing Apprenticeships?


Anything is better than YTS. I was placed in an ironmongers and immediately found myself in the middle of a storeroom move. One highlight, I remember, was clearing-up a shattered window without gloves.

At about the same time, a trainee somewhere in England was burned to death when when was sent into the middle of a solvent puddle with only a mop and bucket.

After a month of maybe not 100% effort (I was 18 and receiving 25% of pay of employees), I was let-go: I later found out the employer did this again. Out of all the positions the local YTS provider had, none were thought suitable for me and I was moved to their administrative office where, baring a few crib sheets, I gained no further experience as other registrants passed in and out.

After 18 months of typing out Terry Pratchett novels on the word-processing software, it was realized that I still was there beyond the maximum length of time; so I was jettisoned with two days notice, and had to wait almost a month before my unemployment benefit was approved.

I cannot find any details on whether the LibDem’s previous manifesto pledge of raising the minimum wages for 16/7 and 18/21 year olds to that for 21s and over has been pragmatized out of existence, but pledges by the Business Department for £250 millions in funding by 2015 for apprenticeships can be only good news; even allowing for an axing of the Future Jobs Fund.

In the Calvinist Republic of Scotland, the governing SNP bases its plans on the future on comparing Scotland to other small countries or autonomous regions, such as Basqueland which is a surer bet than Ireland and Iceland.

Scottish Labour has framed its plans in terms of what is available. At the Party Conference in Oban, Andy Kerr, the finance spokesman has vowed to reintroduce a regional Future Jobs Fund with £40 millions. The Party leader, Iain Grey made a decent speech which he argued both for apprenticeships and a pruning of bureaucracies which would, as it happens, not necessarily enamor him to many of the bien pensants who consider themselves the guardians of Scottish Labour or the public sector.

And then he was upstaged by a keratinophobic quip from Harriet Harman which was ever bit as ill-judged as the Tory candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (aka the Western Isles) in 1992 who vowed the fight to protect Scotland from the “Papist intrigues of Europe”, and alienated the southern Roman Catholic half of the constituency.

The great panjandrum himself, Alex Salmond has a dim view of Grey, whom he has called “the Invisible Man” of Scottish politics. Even allowing for the fact that Griffin was perfectly visible (at least in his long coat, waddling and goggles), his invisibility came as a result of trying to create a breakthrough elixir and his own hubris.

Surely that would be more like Nick Clegg?

Menzies Campbell on Spending Review


… as this post goes live, the Shadow Chancellor will be announcing his new script for a Fiscal Wonder.

Menzies Campbell just has appeared on BBC News to justify the wording.  His view, and this may not be a verbatim quotation, is that “it would be irresponsible to leave for future generations the responsibility of sorting out the debts caused by the current generation”.

Lettuce sea. Even if it is the case that the effects felt in Britain of the international credit crisis can be laid, in its entirety, at the feet of the previous Government; the current generation, in its entirety, has not been party to Government economic decisions.

Even if the current generation should take the good and bad (or, more accurately, both) effects of the current Government’s economic decisions (as they will and should); I doubt Campbell, as an individual, will endure any of the negative effects.

On rhetoric, at least, fail.

Benefits Cheats are Mugging the Taxpayers…



… says George Osbourne when announcing anti-fraud initiatives including a three year suspension of benefits rights following a “three strikes” conviction (apparently based on an American sporting term), and £50 fines for deliberately or inadvertently providing misinformation of claim-forms.

An acquaintance of mine obtained menial work at a supermarket which barely surpassed the money he was receiving through benefit.  He carried on claiming for a few weeks, with the intention of clearing one outstanding debt, but was rumbled.

A court trial followed, with full repayment demanded and community service (although, unlike some, this did not presage failure which puts in mind of the Protocols of the Elders of Capel Seion).

Another acquaintance is on the minimum state pension, and has just been informed that some £600 have been overpaid.  It looks as if he will be required to repay this through reduced payments, despite having accepted it in good faith.

Fortunately, I live in the Calvinistic Republic of Scotland where Alex Salmond has promised a two year freeze of rises in council tax, believes in “bobbies not boundaries” and finally has found a small (semi)-independent country which offers a credible promise of economically viable self-rule.